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No deal reached on Michigan re-vote

  • Story Highlights
  • Sen. Obama is "confident" Florida's and Michigan's delegations will be seated
  • Lawmakers' inaction viewed as a blow to Sen. Hillary Clinton
  • Michigan state Senate adjourns without taking up primary proposal
  • Lawmakers now on two-week recess
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(CNN) -- Sen. Hillary Clinton's bid for the White House suffered a blow Thursday when Michigan's state Senate adjourned without passing a bill to schedule a new Democratic primary.

Sen. Hillary Clinton presses for a re-vote in Michigan on Wednesday at a campaign stop in Detroit.

The Senate's inaction makes it nearly impossible that a re-vote will occur.

The legislature is now on recess for two weeks, and by the time lawmakers return, it will probably be too late to approve and organize a new vote before early June, the deadline established by the national Democratic Party.

Michigan held a primary in January, but the Democratic National Committee stripped the state of its delegates for scheduling the contests too early.

Clinton and her rival for the Democratic presidential primary, Sen. Barack Obama, would also have to sign off on any plan.

The proposal that was under consideration in Michigan called for a re-vote on June 3.

The Clinton camp had been pushing for a re-vote in Michigan -- as well as in Florida, which also was stripped of its delegates because of an early primary -- because it believed the New York senator would have done well, and it viewed the re-vote as an opportunity to narrow the lead that Obama has built up in the delegate count.

Clinton won the Michigan primary in January with 55 percent of the vote. She was the only major candidate on the ballot. Some 40 percent of Democrats in the state filed ballots declaring themselves "uncommitted."

After the re-vote plan stalled, the Clinton camp blamed Obama for not backing the proposal.

"When it comes to the Michigan and Florida primaries, Senator Obama seems to only be capable of saying no: No to honoring the January elections, no to holding a new primary vote, no to a vote by mail," deputy communications director Phil Singer said in a statement. "The only thing he seems to be for is divvying up delegates in a way that doesn't reflect the will of the electorate."

Obama's camp had expressed concern with the proposal. Under the proposal, Michigan voters wanting to cast ballots in the new primary would have to identify themselves as Democrats and certify that they didn't vote in the state's Republican primary in January.

Michigan usually does not require party identification in primary elections. Some said this requirement is unfair to Democrats who voted in the Republican contest, knowing their party's primary was invalid.

"We support a fair solution that allows Michigan Democrats to participate at our National Convention this summer, and we look forward to working with the Michigan Democratic Party and the DNC to achieve that goal," Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement after the Senate adjourned.

In an interview with CNN's Larry King, Obama said said he was confident a solution that would be found to make sure Michigan was represented at the national convention.

"We're going to abide by whatever rules the Democratic National Committee puts forward, as we've done from the start," Obama said. "But I think that there should be some way for us to make sure that they're seated, figure out how their votes should count." Video Watch Obama call for a 'fair' solution »

When asked if he thinks there could be chaos at the DNC Convention in Denver in August, Obama said he believed it would be resolved by then.

"I'm confident that Democrats will come together, because we recognize there's so much at stake," Obama said.

Clinton blamed Obama for holding up the re-vote. On Wednesday, she challenged Obama to join her in supporting the plan.

"Sen. Obama speaks passionately on the trail about empowering American people. Today, I am urging him to match those words with actions to make sure people of Michigan and Florida have a voice and a vote in this election," Clinton said at a campaign rally in Detroit, Michigan.

"This is a crucial test [for Obama] -- does he mean what he says or not?" Video Watch Clinton make her challenge to Obama »

Obama said Clinton has been "disingenuous" in her calls for a new primary.

"She said when she was still trying to compete ... for votes in Iowa and New Hampshire that Michigan and Florida wouldn't count," Obama said Wednesday on CNN's "Anderson Cooper 360." Video Watch Obama respond to Clinton »

"Then as soon as she got into trouble politically and it looked like she would have no prospects of winning the nomination without having them count, suddenly she's extraordinarily concerned with the voters there. I understand the politics of it. But let's be clear that it's politics."

A top Michigan Democrat expressed frustration Wednesday with Obama for not embracing the state's proposal.

"The Obama people are blocking it in the Legislature," said the Democratic source, who has not backed either candidate.

The source also said negotiators repeatedly and unsuccessfully have reached out to the campaign for input and cooperation.

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

However, a state senator who supports Obama said supporters of both sides are contributing to the logjam.

Earlier this week, Florida also ruled out the possibility of another primary. The DNC also stripped Florida of it's delegates for holding a primary on January 29.

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Two Democratic state senators on Wednesday proposed dividing up the delegates evenly or allocating them proportionally based either on the national popular vote or the national delegate count, excluding Florida and Michigan.

Neither Clinton nor Obama may get enough delegates -- 2,024 -- to clinch the nomination before the national convention in August. Clinton is trailing Obama in delegates -- 1,479 to 1,621. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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