An attempt to change part of the Democratic Party Platform at the last minute on Wednesday lead to an awkward moment on the convention floor.
In video sure to end up in GOP television ads, Democrats tried to reinstate a reference to God and the identification of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in their party platform with a voice vote. But when Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the convention chairman, asked for the approval of the delegates, those who shouted opposition were as loud, if not louder, than those who voiced their support. [Scroll down to watch.]
He asked for the voice vote at total of three times. Following the second vote, he paused for several seconds and looked behind him for guidance from a convention staffer before turning back and asking for a third vote. Even though the no’s were again as loud if not louder than the aye’s on the third vote, Villaraigosa said he had determined that two thirds of those present had voted in favor. Boos filled the arena in response.
Noor Ul-Hasan, a Muslim delegate from Salt Lake City, Utah, said she felt it went against the principle of the separation of church and state.
“There are people who don’t believe in God and you have to respect that as well,” Ul-Hasan told the AP. She also questioned whether the convention had enough of a quorum to even amend the platform. “There was no discussion. We didn’t even see it coming. We were blindsided by it.”
Angela Urrea, a delegate from Roy, Utah, said she felt it was sprung on the convention without any discussion.
“The majority spoke last night,” Urrea said, referring to Tuesday’s vote. “We shouldn’t be declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”
Within minutes of the awkward vote, Republican National Committee staffers had put the video on YouTube and tweeted it to their followers. GOP officials argued that not taking a position on Jerusalem’s status in the party platform raised questions about Obama’s support for the Mideast ally. Romney said omitting God “suggests a party that is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of the American people.”
According to reports, it was President Barack Obama who personally ordered Democrats to reinstate language from the 2008 platform that said “we need a government that stands up for the hopes, values and interests of working people and gives everyone willing to work hard the chance to make the most of their God-given potential.”
The Democratic Party’s decision to restore its 2008 mention of Jerusalem reflected what advisers said was the president’s personal view, if not the policy of his administration, reports the Associated Press. The administration has long said determining Jerusalem’s status was an issue that should be decided by Israelis and Palestinians in peace talks, but has been careful not to state that Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.
On Wednesday, the platform was changed to declare that Jerusalem “is and will remain the capital of Israel. The parties have agreed that Jerusalem is a matter for final status negotiations. It should remain an undivided city accessible to people of all faiths.”