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Thursday, January 17, 2008

Nevada Judges Rules "at large" Precincts Allowed

The other day we showed you some court action that was happening in Nevada about nine casinos holding caucuses to make it easier for people that work on the Nevada Primary day, to have their votes count.

The Judge ruled against the Education Association which filed the suit along with some area residents and OK'd the casino "at large" precincts by rejecting the lawsuit contesting them.

He cited case law that “recognizes the parties have the right to determine how to apportion delegates.”

Bill Clinton got snippy during an interview recently, when discussing this issue claiming that those voting at these "at large" caucuses would be worth 5 times the votes as those voting off strip, although Hillary Clinton's campaign made no "formal" statement about the lawsuit.

Former President Bill Clinton got positively riled -- as in steely-eyed -- today when pressed by a local TV reporter on the issue of lawsuits filed by Sen. Hillary Clinton's Nevada supporters to challenge the Jan. 19 Democratic "at large'' caucus locations that will serve workers on the Las Vegas strip. Many of those workers are members of the 60,000-strong Culinary Workers Union -- which has endorsed Sen. Barack Obama.


But it got fiery indeed when San Francisco's ABC 7 News bulldog politics reporter Mark Matthews grabbed him afterwards and pressed him on the Nevada lawsuits. Matthews asked politely why the ''at-large'' caucus locations have been challenged by members of the teachers union -- many of them Hillary supporters. (The critics say the Strip location caucuses will give culinary union members an unfair advantage, one other workers don't have, to participate in the Nevada caucuses during their work hours.)

Matthews asked Clinton about the perception that the challenges were filed only after the culinary union's recent Obama endorsement.

Clinton, just inches from his face, fired back.

''There were teachers who filed the lawsuit. You have asked the question in an accusatory way, so I will ask you back,'' the former president said. ''Do you really believe that all the Democrats understood that they had agreed to give people who worked in the casino a vote worth five times as much as people who voted in their own precinct?''

''Did you know that? Their votes will be counted five times more powerfully, in terms of delegates to the state convention, compared to delegates to the antional convention.''

Matthews noted the state party approved the set up.

Clinton: ''What happened is nobody understood what happened..they uncovered it. And now everybody's saying, ''Oh, they don't want us to vote...what they really tried to do was to set up a deal where their votes counted five times, maybe even more, as much.''
Matthews: ''If the culinary workers had not endorsed Obama, would they still be dealing with it?''

Clinton: ''I think that the teachers and the people who are voting in their own precinct would have filed a lawsuit once they found out that the vote counts five (times) know, this is a one man, one vote country...And I'm amazed nobody like should be offended by this.''

Matthews noted the lawsuit was filed by some Clinton supporters. Clinton: ''We had nothing to do with that lawsuit. I read about it in the newspaper.''

''So when you asked me that question, your position should be easier for the culinary workers to vote than anyone else who works in Nevada on Saturday..and their vote should count five times as much as anyone else's.''
''So if that's your position, you have it,'' he told Matthews.

''Get on your television station and say, ''I don't care about the home mortgage crisis. All I care is making sure that some voters have it easier than others, and that when they do vote -- when it's already easier for them -- that their votes should count five times as much.''

''If you want to take that position, get on the television and take it. Don't be accusatory with me. I had nothing to do with this lawsuit.''

''Some people in Nevada are old-fashioned,'' Clinton said. ''They think the rules should be the same for everybody, and everybody's vote should count the same,'' the president said. ''I had nothing to do with that lawsuit, and you know it.''

Matthews' final question: what about critics who are 'saying those are the rules that were agreed to in March, by the same poeople who are bringing the lawsuit?''

Clinton's final round, eyes blazing.

''None of them knew that the votes were rigged that way. They found that out later. The state Democratic party is in the postion of defending a system that makes it easier for some people to vote, and counts those votes five times as one could have known that at the time.''

The New York Times has previously referred to this as a Proxy" fight between the Obama campaign and the Clinton campaign because top officials from the Nevada State Education Association, who initiated this suit, are Hillary Clinton supporters and were unhappy that the casino workers and other workers in the area that could not get time off of work on that day to travel to their home district and vote and then back to work again.

CNN Political Ticker brings an update with Obama's reaction to the court's decision.

The Obama campaign applauded the court's decision. "We're glad that the Nevada court upheld the Nevada Democratic Party's caucus plan which encourages voter participation," Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement.

"While the Clinton camp clearly believed the voices of workers should be silenced in service of their perceived political interest, they enjoyed a 25-point lead two months ago and have much of the party establishment in their camp. So, despite their inherent advantages we are pleased this should be a close and competitive contest Saturday," said Burton.

Other Nevada political news from USA Today reporting that things are heating up again between Clinton and Obama.

Until the next battle........