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WASHINGTON - Harold Ickes, a top adviser to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton's campaign who voted for Democratic Party rules that stripped Michigan and Florida of their delegates, now is arguing against the very penalty he helped pass.
In a conference call Saturday, he contended the Democratic National Committee should reconsider its tough sanctions on the two states, which held early contests in violation of party rules. He said millions of voters in Michigan and Florida would be otherwise disenfranchised - before acknowledging moments later that he had favored the sanctions.
Clinton echoed Ickes' contention that a suitable arrangement could be worked out to seat the states' delegations.
Ickes explained that his different position essentially is due to the different hats he wears as both a DNC member and a Clinton adviser in charge of delegate counting. She won the votes in Michigan and Florida, and now she wants those votes to count.
"There's been no change," Ickes said. "I was not acting as an agent of Mrs. Clinton. ... With respect to the stripping, I voted as a member of the Democratic National Committee. Those were our rules and I felt I had an obligation to enforce them," he said.
As of Saturday, the delegate count stood at 1,280 for Obama and 1,218 for Clinton. Clinton would pull ahead with Michigan and Florida's 313 delegates.
"The Clinton campaign should focus on winning pledged delegates as a result of elections, not these say-or-do-anything-to-win tactics that could undermine Democrats' ability to win the general election," said Obama campaign manager David Plouffe.
Fifty more delegates swing behind McCain
LANSING, Mich. - Sen. John McCain, the presumed Republican presidential nominee, picked up 50 GOP national convention delegates from Michigan and Louisiana on Saturday.
Republicans met in both states to resolve how to divvy up delegates to the national convention in September.
Thirty-two of Louisiana's 47 delegates said they intend to vote for McCain, and three others also are expected to back him.
Likewise, a majority of Michigan's presidential delegates say they'll back the Arizona senator now that primary winner Mitt Romney is out of the race, although it's still unclear how many will go to the national convention. The Republican National Committee stripped Michigan of half its 60 delegates for defying party rules by moving its presidential primary to Jan. 15.
The announcements mean McCain has 903 total delegates nationally, according to an Associated Press tally. Mike Huckabee has 245, while Romney's total drops to 253. A total of 1,191 are needed to secure the nomination.
[Last modified February 17, 2008, 01:48:14]