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Dean says he's committed to seating Florida's delegates

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  • NEW: Howard Dean: Democrats will do everything in power to seat delegates
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(CNN) -- Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean said Wednesday the party would "absolutely seat" a Florida delegation when it meets in August in Colorado for the national convention.

Howard Dean wants superdelegates to publicize their pick for the Democratic nomination by July 1.

"It is my commitment, working with the Florida delegation and the campaigns, to find a fair solution so that Florida will be seated -- and we are confident enough that we have reserved hotel rooms for the delegates from Florida in Denver," he said.

Dean met with Florida's Democratic leadership to discuss how to handle the state's 211 delegates.

The DNC stripped Florida and Michigan of their delegates as a penalty for scheduling their primaries too early. Both states want their delegates to have a say at the convention, but the party has been unable to come up with a plan to seat them.

Florida's Democratic leaders and Dean issued a joint statement following Wednesday's session saying they are committed to working with both campaigns to reach a solution "as soon as realistically possible." Video Watch supporters of Obama and Clinton react to Dean's assertions »

Clinton and Obama have been busy campaigning in Pennsylvania, where 158 delegates are up for grabs in an April 22 primary. Clinton on Wednesday toured the Pittsburgh Life Sciences Center and hosted an economic summit in Pittsburgh.

The senator from New York promoted her plan to keep jobs in the United States. She proposes $7 billion in yearly tax incentives if companies promise not to ship jobs overseas. She also suggests eliminating tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs.

In a speech to the AFL-CIO in Philadelphia, Obama discussed his plan "to invest in our middle class." He also has an event scheduled Wednesday in Wallingford.

Also Wednesday, the senator from Illinois picked up a big endorsement from former Rep. Lee Hamilton of Indiana, who was the vice chairman of the 9/11 commission and co-chairman of the Iraq Study Group.

Hamilton told Bloomberg News he was impressed by Obama's approach to national security and foreign policy.

A spokesman for the Clinton campaign said the former first lady has "tremendous respect" for Hamilton and looks forward to his support in the general election.

Indiana follows the Pennsylvania primary. Democrats face off there on May 6.

Dean has come under criticism that he hasn't done enough to bring an end to his party's prolonged presidential campaign. The Republican race was decided nearly a month ago.

"I have to chuckle a little bit -- the people who are complaining that I'm not taking a stronger role -- when you drill down on that a little as I have ... I see what you mean. You'd like me to be a strong leader and adopt your point of view and then ram it through the DNC," he said Tuesday.

"I'm not going to do that -- for either side. There are going to be donors and supporters on both sides that are mad at me. I'm going to play this one by the rules."

Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan proposed a plan earlier this week for his state that would take into account the January primary and the total popular vote of all primaries nationwide.

Under the proposal, Clinton would receive 47 delegates based on her vote total, while Obama would be awarded 36 delegates based on the "uncommitted" result; the rest would be divided according to the nationwide popular vote total after all the primaries are completed.

Clinton was the only top tier candidate whose name was on the Michigan ballot. Most other candidates removed their names following the DNC's decision.

Clinton received 55 percent of the primary vote, compared with 40 percent for "uncommitted."

Dean said Wednesday he was "optimistic" about Michigan but added further discussions were needed.

Obama leads Clinton in total delegates, 1,626 to 1,486. But neither candidate will win the 2,024 delegates needed to capture the nomination outright, meaning superdelegates probably will determine the Democratic nominee.

The superdelegates -- a group of almost 800 party leaders and officials -- cast their vote at the national convention and are free to pick the candidate of their choice.


Dean has proposed that they weigh in publicly by July 1 so the party can rally behind a candidate before the convention.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada said Tuesday he would support such a proposal. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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