“It’s important to send the right signals to them and the people living in those states that we Democrats value those states, value those voters and want them as full partners in a general election in assembling 270 electoral votes,” said Clinton strategist Harold Ickes, a member of the rules committee.
Obama could afford to allow Clinton a few delegates — going into the meeting, he was just 42 away from the nomination out of more than 2,000 required. Clinton was more than 200 delegates behind.
The committee appeared to be leaning toward a compromise that would allow each state to restore half of its delegate count. That probably would add fewer than 30 more delegates to the total that Obama needs, with three more contests to go — Puerto Rico on Sunday and Montana and South Dakota on Tuesday.
Members of the committee discussed their options over a lengthy dinner with DNC Chairman Howard Dean that began Friday night and lasted until 2 a.m. Saturday. People who attended said no deals were reached, although there was a widespread sentiment that they should try to come up with some resolution that would put the issue behind them.
Obama campaign officials, eager to move on, said they were willing to give Clinton the edge in delegates, but they were not willing to accept the Clinton camp’s hard-line stance that all the delegates should be fully seated in accordance to the January elections.
“We have both fought hard throughout the country, both of us, for delegates and the fact that we’re willing to essentially cede her delegates we do not think is an insignificant gesture on our part,” Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said. “But we’re willing to do this in the interest of trying to bring this to a close so we can focus on the general election.”