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After three votes, Dems put Jerusalem, God back into party platform

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Democrats on Wednesday reinstated language in their party platform recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, but only after an unclear vote in which as many delegates appeared to oppose the change as support it. 

The party also added the word "God" back into the party's decree, following criticism that it did not include the word at all.

The additions were approved by a voice vote that seemed to split the crowd evenly and confused Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who was leading the proceedings. 

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Villaraigosa looked around the stage and appeared uncertain over how to proceed after an initial vote, in which the "nays" to adding Jerusalem and God back into the platform sounded just as loud as the "ayes."

Villaraigosa called for a second vote with similar results. He then called for a third voice vote, and while it sounded evenly split, he proclaimed that two-thirds of the delegates approved the changes, which sparked some grumbling in the audience.

Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz said the platform was changed to reflect Obama's views.

“The platform is being amended to maintain consistency with the personal views expressed by the President and in the Democratic Party platform in 2008," the Florida congresswoman said in a statement. "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 party reinstated language from its 2008 platform to get the word 'God' into the 2012 platform. The new language states: "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." 

After the convention agreed to alter the platform, former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland explained the two amendments.

"As an ordained United Methodist minister, I am here to attest and affirm that our faith and belief in God is central to the American story and informs the values we've expressed in our party's platform," he said.

"In addition, President Obama recognizes Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and our party's platform should as well."

Republicans had criticized Democrats for not recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital in the document. And after the change, Mitt Romney's presidential campaign knocked Democrats for a "begrudging recognition" of Jerusalem. 

"Although today’s voice vote at the Democratic National Convention was unclear, the Democratic Party has acknowledged Jerusalem as the capital of Israel," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement. "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.”

Republicans also had criticized Democrats for not including the word "God" in the platform.

GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan in a Wednesday appearance on Fox News said, “I guess I would just put the onus and the burden on them to explain why they did all this, these purges of God.”

— Updated at 6:02 p.m.