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In controversial vote, Democrats amend platform

Responding to public backlash, Democrats at their national convention on Wednesday amended their platform to include faith in God and recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.

But delegates were split on the changes. Convention chairman Antonio Villaraigosa took three roll call votes before declaring that the amendments had passed and was booed when he did so.

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Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, who chaired the platform drafting committee, presented the amendments.

“As an ordained United Methodist minister, I am here to affirm and attest that our belief in God is central to the American story and informs the values we’ve expressed in our party’s platform,” Strickland said. “In addition, President Obama recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and our party’s platform should as well.”

An Obama campaign official confirmed to the Globe that the president made a personal appeal to include the changes to the platform. The Associated Press was the first to report Obama’s intervention.

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The changes required two-thirds vote approval. When Villaraigosa, the mayor of Los Angeles, called the first time for delegates to say “aye” or “no,” he was unable to determine the result.

“In the opinion of the -- let me do that again,” Villaraigosa said.

A second vote also sounded about even.

Villaraigosa, appearing flustered, called for a third round of voting.

“I ... um. I guess I’ll do that one more time,” he said.

The third vote sounded close, as well, but Villaraigosa declared that “in the opinion of the chair, two thirds have voted in the affirmative.”

“The motion is adopted, and the platform has been amended,” he said, drawing boos from opponents of the changes.

Callum Borchers can be reached at callum.borchers@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @callumborchers.
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