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DEMOCRATIC NATIONAL CONVENTION / TOP OF THE TICKET
/ DON FREDERICK AND ANDREW MALCOLM

Tardy for roll call

August 28, 2008|DON FREDERICK AND ANDREW MALCOLM

The mystery of why the California Democratic delegation, despite having a chance to do so, didn't publicly announce its preferences in the roll call that led to the historic nomination of Barack Obama for president has been solved.

The answer has nothing to do with the complicated calculations we presumed might be at work. Instead, according to Bob Mulholland, a senior advisor to the state party, California took a pass simply because a tally of its 441 votes was still underway when the state's name was called.

It would have been fascinating to see how many California delegates -- in a state whose primary Hillary Rodham Clinton won by a solid margin -- had gotten with the "support Obama" program that was evident soon after the roll call began. But by being unable to get its business done in a timely manner, California allowed several other delegations to publicly announce their votes.

In all, 32 delegations were called until Obama teetered on the magic number needed for the nomination and Clinton, speaking for the New York delegation, asked that Obama receive the prize she had so vigorously sought.

Boos and the Boston Red Sox

A small but audible chorus of "boos" briefly disrupted the Democratic roll call as the party steamed toward nominating Barack Obama for president.

What was the cause? The spokesperson for the Massachusetts delegation noted that the state was home to the Boston Red Sox.

The discord that greeted that pronouncement apparently was more about baseball rivalry than political rivalry; it seemed to come from the New York delegation.

Obama joins precedent-setters

As the first biracial American nominated for president of the United States by one of the nation's major parties, Barack Obama joins these other precedent-setters:

* Al Smith, who became the first Catholic on a national ticket when the Democrats nominated him for president in 1928.

* Geraldine Ferraro, who became the first woman on a national ticket when nominated for vice president by the Democrats in 1984.

* Joe Lieberman, who became the first Jew on a national ticket when nominated for vice president by the Democrats in 2000.

Excerpted from The Times' political blog Top of the Ticket, at www.latimes.com/topofthe ticket. Frederick reported from Denver; Malcolm reported from Los Angeles.

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