Hillary Clinton advisor Harold Ickes serves on the national party's committee that stripped both Florida and Michigan of delegates to the nominating convention for breaking early-primary rules.
But Saturday he told reporters that Clinton's victories in those states should count toward delegates anyway, allowing her to overtake rival Barack Obama.
"I was not acting as an agent for Mrs. Clinton,'' Ickes said of his vote punishing the states as a member of the Democratic National Committee's rules commitee. "Those were our rules and and I felt we had an obligation to enforce them.''
Ickes argued that the candidates were on "equal footing'' in Florida, though he said Obama had an "edge" because one of his nationally broadcast commercials ran in the state. As for Michigan, he said Obama's decision to take his name off the ballot was "voluntary" and made "for political reasons to curry favor with Iowa."
In response, the Obama campaign is circulating quotes from Democratic leaders that suggest counting Florida and Michigan would be unfair. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said yesterday: "Well, I don't think that any states that operated outside the rules of the party can be dispositive of who the nominee is. That is to say they can't make the difference because then we would have no rules."