WASHINGTON — To jeers and boos that showcased deep party divisions, Democratic party officials approved a deal Saturday to seat delegates from the disputed Florida and Michigan primaries with half a vote each, dealing a blow to Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.
The deal, reached behind closed doors and voted on publicly in a raucous meeting of the Democratic National Committee’s rules panel, would give Mrs. Clinton a net gain of 24 delegates over Senator Barack Obama — but fell far short of her hopes of winning the full votes of both delegations.
The decision left Mrs. Clinton lagging behind Mr. Obama in delegates in the final weekend of campaigning before the last of the nominating contests — Puerto Rico on Sunday and Montana and South Dakota on Tuesday — are held.
Under the compromise, Mrs. Clinton, who won the Michigan and Florida contests that were held in defiance of party rules, picked up 19 delegates in Florida and 5 delegates in Michigan.
The deep wounds among Democratic partisans — and the unification challenges awaiting the party — were laid bare when the committee voted on Saturday evening. Supporters of Mrs. Clinton jeered the decision, loudly booing and hissing the members of the group as their faces were shown on a large screen in the room.
One woman, wearing a blue “Team Hillary” shirt, shoved a man in a suit and tie wearing a small Obama button on his lapel. Another woman in a white Clinton shirt hung her head in her hands.
“That was a crime!” a man shouted. “McCain in ’08! McCain in ’08!” a woman yelled from the back of the room. “No-bama! No-bama!”The question is, will Clinton supporters fall in line like the Republicans seem to be falling in line behind McCain, or will the Clinton supporters support McCain, or write in Hillary?
And then the news came that Obama quit his church.
Senator Barack Obama is ending his membership at Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, a congregation he has belonged to for about two decades and one that had become a lightning rod in his Democratic presidential bid.
Mr. Obama informed his campaign advisers of his decision today, according to people familiar with the situation, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak for the candidate. Mr. Obama is scheduled to explain his decision tonight in South Dakota.Sorry, Barry, but it's too late for this.