Problems Mount for Barack Obama as the Democratic Convention Nears

Lingering Hillary Clinton problems and those pesky states of Michigan and Florida.

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Call it delusional, even fanatical. But a growing Web-based movement of Sen. Hillary Clinton supporters is pressing to have Clinton's name "placed in nomination" at the Democratic convention in Denver later this month. Some are hoping, as Congressional Quarterly reported, that "if the roll call of the states is conducted, she might—might—still win."

There was a bit of a media dust-up about this story over the weekend. The New York Daily News cited a source close to Clinton confirming that "she won't file a formal request to the convention asking to be nominated along with Barack Obama, who eked out the victory in their fierce primary slugfest. 'She is not going to submit the signed request,' the insider told the Daily News. 'People are still circulating petitions on her behalf, but this is a done deal.' "

Then Congressional Quarterly quoted a spokesperson for Clinton saying something slightly different:

Clinton spokeswoman Kathleen Strand said in a statement Friday that Clinton was "100 percent committed to helping Barack Obama become the next president of the United States and realizes there are passionate feelings that remain among many of her supporters." Strand said that no decisions have been made (about whether Sen. Clinton's name should be placed in nomination) but, when they are, "they will be made collaboratively with Senator Clinton and her staff, the DNC and Senator Obama's campaign."

Ultimately, the candidate and his top aides get to decide who speaks and when. The Obama campaign has to weigh the potential disturbances Clinton supporters might stage if he denies her a roll-call vote. There are Internet rumblings about a march on or during the convention by disaffected Clinton Democrats.

However unlikely these groups' chances for success are, the spectacle of continued party disunity must be rattling the cages of Democratic leaders. That, particularly as Obama's short-lived bounce in the polls (following his travels to the Middle East and Europe in which he appeared to have appointed himself president) has dwindled to nothing.

The bad press has mounted for Obama as this weekend alone he was widely accused of flip-flopping on offshore oil drilling: "Long an opponent of offshore drilling, Sen. Barack Obama offered encouraging words for a bipartisan energy plan that would permit oil drilling within 50 miles of Florida's west coast," the St. Petersburg Times reported. And in case you had forgotten, there's still the issue of how much the Michigan and Florida delegates will get to participate at the Democratic convention.

"Barack Obama, who battled with Hillary Clinton over delegates from Florida and Michigan during the Democratic presidential primary campaign, today urged that delegates from both states be allowed 'to cast a full vote' during the party's convention this month," Bloomberg reported.

All this brings to mind the Will Rogers quote, "I am not a member of any organized political party. I am a Democrat."