The Audacity of Spin

A campaign blog.
Feb. 5 2008 3:51 PM

The Audacity of Spin

Transcribing Clinton spin is getting tiresome, but here's an addendum to yesterday's post about how the Clinton team is counting delegates. In a conference call today, communications director Howard Wolfson launched into a minihistory of delegate allocation. He said he supports the democratization of the election system after 1968, but that any changes that happened later—implicitly, the expanded role of superdelegates—are now just part of a reality we now have to deal with:

There is a role for superdelegates in our party, as per rules of our party. These are not rules we set; they predate Bill Clinton. We are going to play under the rules we are given.

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More than happy. Except, of course, when it comes to the rules the Democratic National Committee set out for early state voting. When it comes to Florida and Michigan, Clinton's camp still thinks their delegates should be seated—even though neither Obama nor Edwards was campaigning in Michigan. When a reporter asked whether those two states should be pressed to hold caucuses and thus comply with the national party's rules, Wolfson said, "There are a number of options," but "that's not for us to say."

So just to be clear: They're going to play by the unfortunate "superdelegate" rules—and even emphasize the role of superdelegates when it doesn't matter—but spurn the rules of the national party. At the same time, they're happy to insist that Michigan and Florida have their votes count, but suggesting another election—one in which more than just their candidate competes—is "not for us to say."

Excuse me while I go shower.

Christopher Beam is a writer living in Beijing.