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Michigan Democrats: Split Delegates 69-59

KATHY BARKS HOFFMAN   04/29/08 10:43 PM ET   AP

Clinton Michigan

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan Democrats working to get the state's delegates seated at the Democratic National Convention on Tuesday suggested splitting them 69-59 between presidential candidates Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama.

The Democratic National Committee stripped Michigan of its 128 delegates for holding its presidential primary too early in the year. The state also has 28 superdelegates.

Clinton has argued that she should get 73 delegates based on the results of the Jan. 15 primary, which she won _ 18 more than Obama.

Obama, who removed his name from the ballot, wants the 128 pledged delegates split evenly, 64-64.

The compromise, suggested Tuesday in a letter to Michigan Democratic Chairman Mark Brewer, fell halfway between the two proposals.

Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor said the campaign looked forward to working with national and Michigan Democrats to find a solution.

Clinton spokesman Isaac Baker said "the bottom line is that Michigan's votes must be counted."

The four Michigan Democrats who made the proposal are Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick, United Auto Workers President Ron Gettelfinger, Sen. Carl Levin and Democratic National Committee member Debbie Dingell, wife of Rep. John Dingell.

"While we expect that neither candidate will explicitly embrace this approach, we believe that the DNC should adopt it and both candidates should accept it because it is fair and because it would resolve an impasse that with each passing day hurts our chances of carrying Michigan and winning the presidency," they wrote.

Michigan Democratic Party spokeswoman Liz Kerr said Brewer was reviewing the proposal and had no comment.

The DNC stripped Florida and Michigan of their convention delegates _ 366 in all, including pledged delegates and superdelegates _ for holding their primaries too early in the nominating process, which violated party rules.

Clinton and Obama agreed not to campaign in either state as a result, and Obama joined other candidates in removing their names from Michigan's ballot.

Clinton won both contests. Trailing in delegates, with 2,025 needed to become the party's presidential nominee, Clinton and her campaign have been pressing for those primary results to be recognized. Obama, who wants to preserve his lead, objects.

Both states have abandoned plans to hold do-over contests that would count, but are demanding to be allowed to participate in the voting for the nominee at the party's national convention in Denver in late August.

Last week, the party's Rules and Bylaws committee announced a May 31 meeting to consider a separate plan to give each pledged delegate half a vote at the convention as a way to resolve the dispute over Florida's and Michigan's contests. Superdelegates would keep their full votes under the plan.

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Filed by Will Thomas  |