Democrats rushed to amend their convention platform on Wednesday, adding a mention of God and declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel, after President Barack Obama intervened to order the changes, the Associated Press reported.
The procedure stumbled uncertainly when Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the convention chairman, called for a voice vote and the 'yes' and 'no' votes seemed to equal each other, said the AP. On the third try, Villaraigosa declared that the amendments were approved, causing many in the audience to boo.
CNN noted, "Observers in the convention hall were dubious as to whether the affirmative votes outweighed those in the negative, much less reached the two-thirds vote required."
"There was no discussion. We didn't even see it coming. We were blindsided by it," said Noor Ul-Hasan, a Muslim delegate from Salt Lake City. The incident revealed tensions within the party over Israel and created what the AP called a "public relations spectacle" as Obama arrived at the DNC.
"It was an unfortunate omission," said Newark Mayor Cory Booker on CNN's "Starting Point." He said, "We have a president of the United States who believes both in God, and we know that, but also believes in that plank" on Jerusalem.
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Mitt Romney, speaking on Fox News, said, "I think their having removed purposefully God from their platform suggests a party which is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of American people," according to The Los Angeles Times. "I think this party is veering further and further away into an extreme wing that Americans don’t recognize."
In 2008, the official platform included the language, "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 same line was missing in the 2012 document and reinserted on Wednesday night, according to The LA Times.
According to campaign officials, who spoke anonymously, Obama directly intervened to have the language on God and Jerusalem changed, said the AP.
Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, the chairwoman of the DNC, called the omissions "technical" and said they were added back "because President Obama personally believes that Jerusalem is and will remain the capital of Israel, and felt that the platform needed to reflect his personal view as well as the language from the 2008 platform," according to CNN.
Here is a video of the vote, courtesy of The Wall Street Journal: