WASHINGTON – Democrats recommended a February start for the 2012 political calendar and the likely renomination of President Obama, with Iowa and New Hampshire keeping their traditional early voting spots.

Abandoning the typical January beginning, the Democratic National Committee’s Rules and Bylaws panel on Friday proposed holding the Iowa caucuses on Feb. 6, 2012, and the New Hampshire primary eight days later, on Feb. 14. Nevada caucuses would be Feb. 18 and the South Carolina primary on Feb. 28.

All other states would hold their primaries and caucuses March 6 or later. The calendar must be approved by the full DNC at a meeting later this summer.

Democrats who gathered in Washington for a two-day session also looked to limit the influence of the independent superdelegates in choosing the party’s nominee. Superdelegates are the members of Congress, governors and party elders who can back candidates regardless of how their states vote.

In 2008, Obama won over scores of superdelegates, helping him build an advantage over rival Hillary Rodham Clinton in the final count. About a fifth of the delegates to the national convention were superdelegates.