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From the Associated Press


Obama Camp Complains to Nevada Dems

Thursday January 24, 2008 12:46 AM


Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP) - Barack Obama's presidential campaign complained in a letter to the Nevada Democratic Party Wednesday that rival Hillary Rodham Clinton benefited from numerous violations of party rules during the state's caucuses on Saturday.

Clinton won the popular vote by a margin of 51 percent to 45 percent. Under complicated delegate allocation rules, however, Obama could receive 13 delegates to Clinton's 12.

The letter to Nevada Democratic Chairwoman Jill Derby from Obama lawyer Robert Bauer lists instances of early door closings, obstruction of voters, and improper handling of voter preference cards. Obama aides said the campaign has received more than 1,600 complaints, including 300 that came in to a hotline at the time of the caucuses.

Bauer said the campaign is not challenging the outcome of the caucuses at the precinct level, but he asked Derby to conduct an inquiry into the Clinton campaign tactics during the caucuses. The campaign offered to provide the names and contact information of the individuals making the complaints as well as unedited copies of their accounts.

In a statement Wednesday, Derby indicated that the state party would conduct an internal review. ``We take seriously any complaint provided to us by any of the campaigns or by individuals who participated in the caucuses,'' she said.

The Clinton campaign also has complained about behavior at the caucuses. On Sunday, Clinton senior adviser Dave Barnhart said he witnessed an enormous ``gantlet'' of Obama supporters at the Mirage casino-hotel caucus site who tried to intimidate Clinton backers.

``The Obama campaign is clearly frustrated by its loss in Nevada and is grasping at straws,'' Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said in a statement.

He did not address the specific complaints cited in Bauer's letter, but said Obama allies used ``strong arm tactics'' against Clinton supporters and, in reference to a Spanish radio ad aired by a labor union backing Obama, said ``they ran outrageous, false and offensive ads against Senator Clinton.''

The ad, by the Unite Here union, said Clinton ``does not respect our people'' and called her shameless.

Attached to the Obama letter to the Nevada state party was an instruction sheet that Bauer attributed to the Clinton campaign. The sheet offers guidance on how to persuade caucus-goers to caucus for Clinton.

One line states: ``It's not illegal unless they tell you so.''

``This certainly suggests that, for the Clinton campaign, the operative standard was, simply and only, what it could get away with,'' Bauer wrote.

The letter complained that the Clinton camp distributed a caucus guide to supporters that said caucus site doors would close at 11:30 a.m. The party's rules stated that caucuses would be called to order at 11:30 a.m. but said attendees had to be signed in by noon.

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