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Mad at Hillary

An explosion of vitriol from the left Wednesday night at Hillary Clinton over her speech in Boca Raton, Florida.

On the Huffington Post, a quote from Steve Benen that her remarks "seem to be part of a deliberate strategy to tear Democrats apart and ensure a defeat in November."

On the far-left Daily Kos, blogger JL Finch thundered: "We cannot allow Hillary to steal the nomination(!)"

And in the New Republic, lefty favorite Jonathan Chiat accused her of a political felony: "Her speech compares discounting the Florida and Michigan primaries to vote suppression and slavery," adding, "it's not just that she's convinced herself it's okay to try to steal the nomination, she has also appropriated the most sacred legacies of liberalism for her effort to do so. She is proving herself temperamentally unfit for the presidency."

What awful thing did Hillary do? Ken Vogel of Politico put it this way: "Hillary Clinton is evoking one of the darkest episodes in modern Democratic Party history."

Hillary Clinton's offense, so wounding to some on the left, was simply that she reminded voters in Florida, specifically in Broward County, that a consistent mantra of the Democratic Party for the last eight years was that Bush won/stole the election by not counting Florida votes and if the votes had been counted we would be looking back on the Gore presidency instead.

That is nothing more than a central tenet of the left's and the Democrats' seething anger at George Bush for the last eight years.

So what did she say that made it hurt so much?

"I receive dozens and dozens of letters and e-mails and phone calls, every couple of hours it seems like, all making the same urgent request: Please count my vote," she said.

Mrs. Clinton was confronting Democrats with the issue that at the moment the voters of Florida and Michigan are not being counted and the May 31 meeting of the Democratic Party's rules committee is charged with solving that problem. The votes and the delegates of both states are literally her last chance to contest the nomination.

"I believe the Democratic Party must count these votes. They should count them exactly as they were cast. Democracy demands no less," Clinton said. "I believe that both Senator Obama and myself have an obligation as potential Democratic nominees — in fact, we all have an obligation as Democrats — to carry on this legacy and ensure that in our nominating process every voice is heard and every single vote is counted."

Mundane stuff, but it was enough to provoke outrage on the left, which contends that by counting Florida and Michigan voters (but especially Florida) she is stealing the nomination.

Admittedly, she was not gentle with the people who want her out of the race now: "We believe the popular vote is the truest expression of your will. We believe it today, just as we believed it back in 2000 when right here in Florida, you learned the hard way what happens when your votes aren't counted and the candidate with fewer votes is declared the winner."

She placed herself on the side of voters themselves against the Democrat Party bigwigs (hello, Howard Dean?) and the Obama campaign: "You didn't break a single rule and you should not be punished for matters beyond your control."

And, if you're Chairman Dean, this line had to sting: "The Republicans will make a simple and compelling argument: Why should Florida and Michigan voters trust the Democratic Party to look out for you when they won't even listen to you?"

So my question today on the radio and for you e-mailers: Hillary wants Florida votes to count — is she standing on the "Gore Principle" or is she trying to steal the nomination from Obama?

Call the "John Gibson Radio Show" starting at 6 p.m. ET. Find it at XM 168 or Sirius 145 or go to www.gibsonradio.com.

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