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The story begins when Los Angeles Mayor and convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa recognized former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. Strickland is an ordained minister, and he offered up an amendment to the party platform, addressing two “omissions” Barack Obama and his party suddenly realized were political liabilities. In short, the Democratic platform was one in which all references to God had been deleted, along with the idea that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
According to Politico, Obama knew nothing about this until Wednesday morning, when he saw media coverage of the omissions and undoubtedly realized what a public relations disaster it would be for his party. He then ordered both items restored to the platform because, according to his campaign handlers, the amended version is “consistent with the president’s own positions.”
The task of amending the platform was then handed to Villaraigosa. He introduced Strickland, who got the ball rolling. “Thank you, Mr. Chairman. This summer I was proud to serve this party as the platform drafting committee chair,” said Strickland. “As the chair I come before you today to discuss two important matters related to our party’s national platform.”
Let’s pause. What Strickland is essentially saying is that everyone involved in formulating the original platform signed off on it–meaning no one had a problem leaving God out, or tossing Israel under the bus–until Wednesday.
Strickland continued. “As an ordained United Methodist minister I am here to affirm and attest that our faith and belief in God is central to the American story, and informs the values we’ve expressed in our party’s platform. In addition, president Obama recognizes Jerusalem as the capitol of Israel, and our party’s platform should as well. Mr. Chairman, I have submitted my amendment in writing and I believe it is being projected on the screen for the delegates to see. I move for adoption of the amendment as submitted and shown to the delegates.”
The amendment was indeed projected on a big screen for all the delegates to see. Then it was Villaraigosa’s turn. “A motion has been made. Is there a second?” he asked. The crowd “seconded” the motion. “Is there any further discussion?” he continued. “Hearing none, the matter requires a two-thirds vote in the affirmative.”
At that point things took a stunningly revealing turn. “All those delegates in favor say ‘aye,’” commanded Villaraigosa. A fairly loud “aye” was heard in response. “All those delegates opposed, say ‘no,’” continued the Chairman. “No,” the crowd responded — in equal measure. Villaraigosa was totally flustered. “In the opinion of the….let me do that again,” he stammered. “All of those delegates in favor, say ‘aye,’” he repeated. A little louder level of response was heard. “All those delegates opposed say ‘no,” re-interated Villaraigosa. The same equally louder level of nay votes–again.
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