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Clinton attempt to steal nomination

Huffington Post 

 Clinton Camp considering nuclear option to overtake delegate lead

By Thomas B. Edsall

May 4th 2008 3.03 pm

Hillary Clinton’s campaign has a secret weapon to build its delegate count, but her top strategists say privately that any attempt to deploy it would require a sharp (and by no means inevitable) shift in the political climate within Democratic circles by the end of this month.

With at least 50 percent of the Democratic Party’s 30-member Rules and Bylaws Committee committed to Clinton, her backers could — when the committee meets at the end of this month — try to ram through a decision to seat the disputed 210-member Florida and 156-member Michigan delegations. Such a decision would give Clinton an estimated 55 or more delegates than Obama, according to Clinton campaign operatives. The Obama campaign has declined to give an estimate.

Using the Rules and Bylaws Committee to force the seating of two pro-Hillary delegations would provoke a massive outcry from Obama forces. Such a strategy would, additionally, face at least two other major hurdles, and could only be attempted, according to sources in the Clinton camp, under specific circumstances:

First, this coming Tuesday, Clinton would have to win Indiana and lose North Carolina by a very small margin – or better yet, win the Tar Heel state. She would also have to demonstrate continued strength in the contests before May 31.

Second, and equally important, her argument that she is a better general election candidate than Obama — that he has major weaknesses which have only been recently revealed — would have to rapidly gain traction, not only within the media, where she has experienced some success, but within the broad activist ranks of the Democratic Party.

Under that optimistic scenario, some Clinton operatives believe she could overcome several massive stumbling blocks:

— Clinton loyalists on the Rules Committee would have to be persuaded to put their political futures on the line by defying major party constituencies, especially black leaders backing Barack Obama. Committee members are unlikely to take such a step unless they are convinced that Clinton has a strong chance of winning the nomination.

Former DNC and South Carolina Democratic Party chair Donald Fowler — a Hillary loyalist — would, for example, face an outpouring of anger from South Carolina Democrats if he were to go along with such a strategy.

— A controversial decision to seat the two delegations, as currently constituted, would be appealed by the Obama campaign to the Democratic National Convention’s Credentials Committee.  Link to full story Huffington Post>>

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