New Democrat delegate plan emerges

Desperate to make Florida's Democratic primary vote count, two top state Democratic senators issued an appeal Wednesday to the campaigns of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton to seat some or all of Florida's delegates.

In proposing their new plan, Sens. Steve Geller and Jeremy Ring said that, at the least, half of Florida's delegates should be seated, based on the Jan. 29 vote. That would give Obama 42 delegates and Clinton 63.

The other half of the delegates would be awarded on the following proposed bases, which could essentially give Clinton a net of 18 delegates:

''We are willing to compromise. But we have to have partners who are willing to compromise,'' Geller said, noting he's calling the candidates to step in and help out because the Democratic National Committee is so bent on canceling the results of the primary vote.

Geller and Ring noted the plan is just a proposal and that they don't want ''to get caught up in the details. . . . It's not the only plan.'' One thing to figure out: Who gets the delegates for John Edwards?

''We're calling on the campaigns to work it out between the two of them,'' Geller said.

Ring said he spoke with unnamed ''surrogates'' for the campaigns, and that each accused the other camp of not wanting to come to the table. Ring wouldn't say whom he spoke with, including Florida Democrats in Congress. Ring said this plan was to correct the perception that the national party doesn't care enough about Florida. He also pointed out that Florida's delegates won't make or break any candidate, but seating them at the convention will soothe people.

''Perception is reality,'' Ring said. ``This eases the angst.''

Not every Democrat likes the plan. Sen. Nan Rich of Sunrise and Sen. Ted Deutch of Delray Beach said the delegates should be awarded solely on the basis of what Florida voters decide, not what the national Democrats say in their primaries.

''It is based 50 percent on the will of Florida voters and 50 percent on the will of other voters,'' Rich said. ``It needs to be based on what happened in Florida -- not what happened in the Iowa caucus or Wyoming or anywhere else.''

''Three Democrats, six opinions,'' Deutch joked.