Posted on September 5, 2012 at 5:01 PM
Wednesday, Sep 5 at 5:13 PM
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) -- Embarrassed by Republicans, Democrats amended their convention platform Wednesday to add a mention of God and declare that Jerusalem is the capital of Israel.
Many in the audience booed after the convention chairman, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, ruled that the amendments had been approved despite the fact that a large group of delegates objected. He called for a vote three times before ruling.
The party reinstated language from the 2008 platform that 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 language on Jerusalem states "it 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 switch on Jerusalem puts it in line with what advisers said was the president's personal view, if not the policy of his administration. The administration has long said determining Jerusalem's status was an issue that should be decided by Israelis and Palestinians in peace talks, but has been careful not to state that Jerusalem is Israel's capital.
The White House wouldn't say whether the change in the Democratic platform language reflected a change in administration policy.
Republicans argued that not taking a position on Jerusalem's status in the party platform showed the president was weak in his support of Israel.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan also questioned Democrats' initial move to omit the word "God" from the party's official platform.
Romney said that "suggests a party that is increasingly out of touch with the mainstream of the American people."
"I think this party is veering further and further away into an extreme wing that American's don't recognize," he said.
Following the decision, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland told reporters, "I assumed it would go. It was an effort to bring clarification." But the decision to amend the platform did not rest well with some delegates.
Noor Ul-Hasan, a Muslim delegate from Salt Lake City, Utah, said she felt it went against the principle of 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. She also questioned whether the convention had enough of a quorum to even amend the platform. "There was no discussion. We didn't even see it coming. We were blindsided by it."
Angela Urrea, a delegate from Roy, Utah, said she felt it was sprung on the convention without any discussion.
"The majority spoke last night," Roy said, noting the platform was approved on Tuesday. "We shouldn't be declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel."