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FL/MI: Clinton camp not backing down

From NBC's Mark Murray and Andrea Mitchell
In advance of Saturday's DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee hearing on Florida and Michigan, the Clinton campaign held a conference call with reporters, repeating its claim that it wants nothing less than a 100% seating of those state's delegations to the Democratic convention.

In the call, Clinton adviser Harold Ickes -- who serves on the DNC's Rules committee -- stated: 1) that the primary contests that occurred in those states in January need to be recognized; 2) that the pledged delegates allocated from those contests must reflect those voters' will; and 3) that the states' full delegations be seated at the convention.

"We fully expect that these issues will be resolved on Saturday," Ickes said.

"Resolved in our favor," interjected Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson.

Tina Flournoy, a Rules committee member and Clinton supporter, added on the call: "There is one number we're interested in -- that is 2.3 million people having their votes counted."

Asked during the Q&A session if the Clinton campaign was willing to compromise -- the conventional wisdom is that Florida and Michigan will be punished by having their delegations cut by 50%, a proposal that the Obama campaign seems open to -- Ickes replied, "We are going to go to the committee with our position." He added that 2.3 million voters from Florida and Michigan "cannot be swept aside."

Also asked how the DNC could maintain calendar discipline in 2012 and 2016 if Florida and Michigan aren't somehow penalized, Flournoy said that no state in the future would want to go through what these states have gone through -- so the punishment had already taken place.

In addition, Flournoy rejected the suggestion that she and Ickes have a conflict of interest by sitting on the committee since they are connected to Clinton's campaign. She said she has been either a Rules committee staffer or member for 20 years -- and that there are others on the committee who are Obama supporters.

And during the Q&A, Flourney disputed the interpretation of a DNC memo containing legal guidance for the Rules committee -- which seems to suggest that Florida and Michigan must be penalized by losing at least 50% of their delegates. According to Flournoy, the memo says one of two things can happen: that you seat only 50% of the delegations or that you seat the delegations in full but give each delegate just half a vote. "The DNC is saying that the rule can be read either way."