POLITICS
03/28/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Michigan Revote Unlikely, Says Obama Memo

*** NEW UPDATES BELOW (3/19) ***

CNN reports that some Michigan Democrats' are growing frustrated with Obama as the deadline nears for determining a plan for a Michigan revote.

"The Obama people are blocking it in the legislature," the Democratic source tells CNN, who says that the group has repeatedly and unsuccessfully reached out to the campaign for input and cooperation.

The source says that Obama's campaign has been asked to craft an alternative or to meet with the Clinton campaign to work out an acceptable compromise, but that those requests have been met with silence.

The New York Times reports that Hillary Clinton will begin campaigning this morning in Michigan for the revote that she has already agreed to support:

In a sign of how badly she thinks she needs the Michigan delegates to catch the Democratic front-runner, Senator Barack Obama, Mrs. Clinton made a last-minute schedule change and planned to fly to Detroit on Wednesday to plead with Michigan lawmakers to approve a new primary election in June to replace the January contest that awarded no delegates.

"We will go and make the case for a re-vote," said Mo Elleithee, a Clinton spokesman.

The Obama camp is accusing her of playing politics:

Even before Clinton announced her travel plans, Obama's spokesman accused her of merely looking out for her own political interests.

"As others in Michigan have pointed out, there are valid concerns about the proposal currently being discussed, including severe restrictions on voter eligibility and the reliance on private funding," said Obama spokesman Tommy Vietor. "We have raised these concerns, as legislators in Michigan did today, and we're waiting to see if these issues can be resolved by the Legislature."

The Clinton camp is likely more interested in the momentum that would accompany a Michigan win, a momentum that was denied when Florida quashed the possibility of a revote. As for the actual delegate count, even Clinton supporters doubt a revote would have much effect:

One of Hillary's most important supporters in Michigan, former Governor Jim Blanchard, went way off message in a conversation with me moments ago, saying that even if a revote were held in the state, it would likely be so close that it wouldn't make much of a material difference in the delegate count.

"I think if we had a vote in Michigan, it could easily be close," Blanchard told me. "The amount of delegates wouldn't make much difference."

UPDATE: The Obama camp has effectively ruled out the idea of a Michigan revote in a recent memo, citing the difficulty of organizing an unprecedented election in such a short period of time:

No one disputes that the election will have to be hurriedly prepared; and it is further accepted that it is, in material respects, unprecedented in conception and proposed structure. Michigan will be, for example, the first to state to have re-run an election in circumstances like these, to redress violations of party rules, and it will be the first to do so with the state supplying the legislative and administrative support but with private parties underwriting the costs with "soft money". Whether the state can achieve its goals here depends on the nature and seriousness of the legal and administrative questions presented by this initiative -- questions that, raised after the election, could put at risk the running of the election, undermine acceptance of the results if the election is held, and in both cases effectively deny Michigan voters, a second consecutive time, meaningful participation in the nominating process.

For the reasons discussed briefly below, there are such questions and they are serious both in nature and in their potential, if not likely, impact on the June election proposal.

Continue reading the memo.

UPDATE: The DNC has gone on record in suggesting that the current draft legislation in Michigan would pass muster, by their standards:

We have recently been asked whether the legislation as proposed by Michigan would fit within the framework of the National Party's Delegate Selection Rules. Our review of this legislation indicates that it would, in fact, fit within the framework of the Rules if, it were, passed by the state legislature and used by the Michigan State Democratic Party as the basis of drafting a formal Delegate Selection Plan. If a formal Delegate Selection Plan is received we will convene a meeting of the RBC to consider such a Plan.

However, the Michigan plan still needs a sign-off from both candidates, and the memo above makes it pretty clear that the Obama camp isn't budging. Remember that the Michigan legislators will take their spring vacation next week, so a decision needs to be reached by Friday if there is to be any chance of a June 3 primary.

UPDATE: Beyond the obvious logistical problem of running an entire election on private funds and little time, this is blow to post hoc crossover voting likely affecting the Obama camp's decision:

State Rep. Matt Gillard, D-Alpena, said the do-over primary will create as many problems as it solves, including barring participation by Democrats who, because they thought their party's Jan. 15 primary was a farce, voted for a Republican.

"This won't work," Gillard said. "People were told the Jan. 15 primary didn't matter. Now they're being told if they voted in it, they can't vote in one that does matter."