By Jessica Huseman
Following intense criticism sparked from leaving mention of God and dedication to Jerusalem being the capital of Israel out of the Democratic platform, Democrats voted to amend the language of their platform on Tuesday. Whether or not a majority of delegates actually voted in favor of the change is now in question.
The Associated Press reported Obama intervened personally on the Jerusalem issue, and that his reaction to a reference to God being left out of the platform “was to wonder why it was removed in the first place.”
Los Angeles Mayer Antonio Villaraigosa called for a vote three times before eventually ruling that the amendments had been approved. Many in the audience booed in response, emphasizing the large number of delegates that objected to the amendments.
Whether the majority voted in favor the amendments is also now in question. CNN’s Diana Bash, reporting from the floor, said it seemed “pretty clear” to her that “the ‘nos’ had it.” See the video at the bottom of this post to judge for yourself.
The vote re-instated the language from the 2008 platform, which 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 2012 platform previously approved yesterday left the phrase “God-given” out entirely, and instead read as follows:
“We gather to reclaim the basic bargain that built the largest middle class and the most prosperous nation on Earth – the simple principle that in America, hard work should pay off, responsibility should be rewarded, and each one of us should be able to go as far as our talent and drive take us.”
The vote also reinstated the 2008 language 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.”
The original omission of both things was almost immediately pounced on by Republicans, causing what is largely considered an altogether embarrassing situation for the Democratic Party in the midst of its convention.
Earlier today, NPR reported Republican Presidential Nominee Romney said the omission of God “suggests a party that is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of the American people,” while GOP vice presidential pick Paul Ryan called the move “rather peculiar.”
They jumped on the omission of Jerusalem as quickly, and with stronger language.
“Mitt Romney has consistently stated his belief that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel,” said Andrea Saul, Romney’s spokeswoman. “President Obama has repeatedly refused to say the same himself. Now is the time for President Obama to state in unequivocal terms whether or not he believes Jerusalem is Israel’s capital.”
In voting for the amendments, the Democratic Party attempted to act in response. As former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland told reporters, the move was “an effort to bring clarification.”
But the vote on the measures was hardly clear. While the original platform was approved handily on Tuesday, the vote today was extremely unpopular with large segments of the Democratic base.
Noor Ul-Hasan, a Muslim delegate from Salt Lake City, Utah, said she believed the amendments threatened 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 said, questioning whether the convention even had enough of a quorum to amend the platform.
“There was no discussion. We didn’t even see it coming,” she said. “We were blindsided by it.”
Angela Urrea, a delegate from Roy, Utah, said she felt similarly blindsided.
“The majority spoke last night,” Roy said, referring to the platform approved Tuesday. “We shouldn’t be declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.”