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Aug 282012

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images(TAMPA, Fla.) — A convention-floor fight might still be brewing in Tampa, Fla. over a proposed Republican Party rule on delegates.

Some Republican National Committee members were up in arms Monday about a proposed rule that would weaken states’ control of who gets to attend future national conventions as voting delegates. While primaries typically determine how many delegate votes candidates will receive, states typically meet later to fill out those delegate rosters. A new rule would allow presidential candidates to veto those choices.

Republican National Committeeman Jim Bopp, who had led the movement against the rule, reached a compromise with other RNC members Monday, but some of his fellow partisans have rejected it, according to internal emails obtained by ABC News.

Fanning the flames, Sarah Palin posted to her Facebook page urging Republican National Committee members to revolt against the proposed rule, which was supported by backers of presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

Palin wrote Monday night:

Had a great time today in Gilbert, Arizona, at a rally for Kirk Adams. It’s very important to pay attention to these down ballot races like Kirk Adams, Jeff Flake, and Paul Gosar in Arizona. We have to remember that this election is not just about replacing the party in power. It’s about who and what we replace it with. Grassroots conservatives know this. Without the energy and wisdom of the grassroots, the GOP would not have had the historic 2010 electoral victories. That’s why the controversial rule change being debated at the RNC convention right now is so very disappointing. It’s a direct attack on grassroots activists by the GOP establishment, and it must be rejected. Please follow the link to Michelle Malkin’s article about this.

Bopp’s compromise would eliminate the ability for presidential candidates to veto state delegate selections, instead mandating that delegates vote as they are bound by primary or caucus results, but fellow RNC members are not all on board.

According to internal RNC emails, some members will push for a “minority report” to block the delegate rule change, attempting to push that to the convention floor for a vote, potentially adding a show of disunity to Mitt Romney’s coronation as the party’s presidential nominee.

Perhaps lost in the RNC’s internal dispute is a broader change that would effectively prevent future candidates from pursuing Rep. Ron Paul’s strategy of amassing delegates at state conventions.

Another proposed change, untouched by Bopp’s compromise, would eliminate unbound Republican delegates, requiring every state to allocate delegates to presidential candidates according to statewide votes. Paul remained a topic of conversation this year without winning any states, as his supporters out-organized longstanding local party members at county and state conventions in a handful of states.

Paul gained plurality delegate support in four states in 2012. Under the new rule, he would not enjoy plurality delegate support in any state.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Aug 272012

BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/GettyImages(TAMPA, Fla.) — Tampa may have avoided the worst of the soon-to-be hurricane, but a storm of a different kind is brewing at the Republican National Convention.

Members of the Republicans’ National Committee from across the country may be on the verge of a messy fight over party rules on the very same day they are poised to crown Mitt Romney as their presidential nominee.

At issue is whether presidential candidates can effectively pick and choose the delegates who attend the convention. Opponents of a new party rule have called it “the biggest power grab in the history of the Republican Party” while supporters are hoping to avoid a public dispute on the convention floor during a week meant to promote unity.

Last week, the RNC Rules Committee approved a controversial change to the delegate selection process. Currently, states hold primaries and caucuses to determine how many delegates will be awarded to each candidate, but state parties generally meet later at state conventions to actually choose those individuals.

The new rule, however, gives presidential candidates veto power over their own delegates, representing a big boost in power for the candidates and a reduction for states. If Mitt Romney, for instance, didn’t like a delegate slated to cast a vote in his favor at the convention, Romney could throw him out and choose an alternate.

“This is the biggest power grab in the history of the Republican Party because it shifts the power to select delegates from the state party to the candidate,” Republican National Committeeman Jim Bopp of Indiana said in an email message to fellow committee members obtained by ABC News.  “And it would make the Republican Party a top-down, not bottom-up party.”

Bopp, who is one of the leaders of a movement to squash the changes, called the proposal an “overreaction to the problems in a few states where Ron Paul delegates threaten to not support the winning presidential candidate.”

RNC members like Bopp who are discontent with the move have proposed their own measure to block it — what they refer to as a “minority report,” which would remove the new rule.

Supporters of the change, including Romney loyalist Henry Barbour, a national committeeman from Mississippi and the nephew of the state’s former governor, Haley Barbour, are lobbying members against proposing the “minority report” (and, thus, avoiding any potential drama in the convention hall on Tuesday).

“We believe a minority report is futile and will only encourage division on the floor,” Barbour wrote in a private message to RNC members Sunday night. “Now is the time to unite behind Governor Romney.”

One top Republican told ABC News that the simmering tensions represented a “serious revolt” by some RNC members against the Romney allies who proposed the changes and that any type of floor debate on Tuesday — when Romney and running mate Paul Ryan will officially be nominated as the presidential and vice presidential candidates of the party — would be “highly unusual.”

And opponents showed no signs of backing down.

“I am shocked that this rule passed,” Republican National Committeewoman Kim Lehman of Iowa wrote in an internal email message. “Every delegate that I have shared this with is upset and stunned that something so undemocratic could come from the Republican Party. This new rule needs to be stopped. Not only is this a power grab, this is a change of governance from ‘We the People’ to the Candidate.”

Republicans are also poised to make it harder for candidates like Ron Paul to amass delegates and influence over the convention.

In 2012, Paul’s supporters focused heavily on caucus states where the Texas congressman could amass delegates without winning the statewide vote. His backers exploited their in-depth knowledge of state party rules in states where party conventions — not statewide presidential votes — determined how many delegates Paul would bring to the GOP convention in Tampa.

Under the new rule, that strategy would no longer be viable, and candidates like Paul would no longer be able to gather delegates in caucus states. Instead, statewide votes would bind delegates in every primary or caucus.

Paul managed to collect a plurality of delegates in four states. Had this rule applied in 2012, Paul would have collected a plurality in none.

“The rules change here is overkill,” Bopp wrote in his message Sunday night, likening it to “killing a fly with a sledgehammer.”

On a conference call with reporters on Monday, Romney campaign strategist Russ Schriefer played down the potential for “disunity.”

“We are a big party. We have people with different, opposing viewpoints. I don’t think this is a particularly divisive point of view on which people are divided on, but the one thing we know is we’re all united in defeating Barack Obama,” Schriefer said. “I guarantee you on Thursday, as we walk out of this convention, we will be one hundred percent united behind electing Mitt Romney and defeating Barack Obama for the good of the country.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Aug 272012

Hemera/Thinkstock(LOS ANGELES) — When House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi was voted in as speaker of the House in 2008, dozens of children, including her five grandchildren, stood on the House floor to witness the event. But when Barack Obama is officially voted in as his party’s presidential nominee at the Democratic National Convention next week, there will be no young children on the convention floor, which is open only to credentialed state delegates.

One mom, Susie Shannon, a California delegate from Los Angeles, is fighting the DNC rules so her four-year-old daughter Gracie can accompany her onto the convention floor.

“It’s either allow children on the floor or provide child care,” Shannon said. “You can’t expect that every single woman who is a delegate can leave their child at home in another city for week and go to the convention.”

Neither the Democratic National Convention nor the Republican National Convention provide any type of child care services, although the DNC does include a list of nearby child care centers in its delegate packet.

RNC spokesman James Davis said children are allowed on the floor of the GOP convention if they have the proper credentials, which “in theory” he said could be given to a 4-year-old such as Shannon’s daughter.

The DNC said it has no plans to add child care services and justified keeping kids out of the delegate seating area for security and capacity reasons.

“Democratic conventions have historically required credentials for all individuals to access the convention hall to ensure the safety and security of all attending,” DNC Committee spokeswoman Joanne Peters said in a statement to ABC News.

While kids are banned from the convention floor, they are welcomed on the floor of the House of Representatives, where members of Congress can bring children under the age of 13 while the House is in session.

Four Southern California chapters of the National Organization for Women teamed up with women’s rights icon Gloria Steinem to condemn the DNC’s policy and call for the party to allow delegates to bring their children with them into the convention voting space.

“Women are the key to a Democratic victory, and sometimes, children are the key to women,” Steinem said in a statement. “It’s both right and smart for the Democratic Convention to behave as if children exist.”

While Steinem is critical of the Democratic Party this week, she was commending its leader for supporting women’s rights.

“He understands that women are absolutely full human beings,” Steinem said of Obama in a video for his campaign.

Shannon, who is on the executive board of the California Democratic Party, said she has brought her daughter along to every state convention for the past four years with no problems. She criticized the “hypocrisy” of the Democratic Party because while it courts women voters on one hand, it is “not providing for the needs of many women” at the convention.

“It’s sort of like a check your baby at the door kind of policy,” Shannon said. “If they want the mom vote and they want moms to participate and they want to say they are speaking for moms, they need to accommodate for them.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Aug 272012

ABC News(TAMPA, Fla.) — At 2 p.m. on Tuesday, when the Republican National Convention reconvenes after taking a recess for Tropical Storm Isaac, the first order of business will be officially to nominate Mitt Romney.

Romney is to be nominated through a roll call, in which each state plus American-held territories will vote for the candidate. When Romney hits 1,144 votes, he will have officially clinched the GOP nomination for president. The order of the voting will proceed alphabetically, which means that theoretically, Missouri will be the state to put Romney over the top. After Missouri has voted, 1,148 votes will have been submitted.

It is possible that some delegates will abstain, or will vote instead for one of the candidates who has dropped out of the race, meaning that it’s possible the 1,144 threshold will be pushed back, beyond Missouri.

It’s not uncommon for the delegation from the candidate’s home state to be the one to put him over the required delegate threshold. In 2008, Arizona delayed its vote so that it could be the one to make Sen. John McCain the nominee.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Apr 112012

Darren McCollester/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) — When Rick Santorum suspended his campaign on Tuesday, he effectively ended the 2012 primary cycle.

At 285 delegates, Santorum lagged far behind Mitt Romney’s 661 delegates amassed.  There was no mathematical scenario wherein Santorum could claim the 1,144 delegates required to win the Republican nomination for president.

However, there had been a narrow chance that Santorum might be able to deny Romney that magic number, forcing a brokered convention in Tampa, Fla., in August.

Santorum’s decision on Tuesday closed that window, although Newt Gingrich has vowed to stay in the race until the convention.

Romney still has to win an additional 483 delegates before he can technically claim the title of the 2012 Republican presidential candidate.  So, how long until Romney reaches that point?

There’s still a little more than a month to go until the Romney campaign gets to that critical number.  Mathematically, it can’t happen until the end of May.

The next slate of primaries are scheduled for April 24, when a total of 231 delegates will be up for grabs across five states.  After that, the primary schedule picks up again, with Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia holding their primaries on May 8, followed by Oregon and Nebraska on the 15th, and Arkansas and Kentucky on the 22nd.

A total of 507 delegates will be at stake in those 12 contests.

With Gingrich and Ron Paul still in the race, it’s possible — even likely — that Romney will not win 100 percent of those 507 delegates.  Gingrich has a solid chance of picking up a couple delegates in states like North Carolina, West Virginia and Arkansas.

Still, assuming that Gingrich and Paul don’t experience a huge surge of momentum in the wake of Santorum’s departure, Romney looks well poised to clinch the nomination by the end of May.

If he doesn’t get there by May 22, Romney will almost certainly reach 1,144 by the 29th, when Texas holds their primary with 155 delegates at stake.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio