October 11th, 2007
05:00 PM ET
11 years ago

Clinton explains Michigan decision

Clinton explained Thursday why she opted to stay on the Michigan ballot .

(CNN) - Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton seemed to hint Thursday she expects to win her party’s nomination, as she defended the decision to remain on the Michigan primary ballot. But just down the road in New Hampshire, another Democratic White House contender, Bill Richardson, accused Clinton of having it “both ways.”

Clinton was asked about the issue on a New Hampshire radio show, days after five Democratic candidates removed their names from the Michigan ballot after the Democratic National Committee ruled the state violated party rules by scheduling its primary before February 5.

“I just personally did not want to set up a situation where the Republicans are going to be campaigning between now and whenever, and then after the nomination, we have to go in and repair the damage to be ready to win Michigan in 2008,” Clinton said in an interview on New Hampshire Public Radio program “The Exchange.”

Clinton said any weakness in Michigan could hurt Democratic chances to win the state in 2008. “I did not believe it was fair to just say, 'Goodbye Michigan' and not take into account the fact we're going to have to win Michigan if we're going to be in the White House in January 2009," she said.

Richardson, one of the Democrats who removed his name from the Michigan ballot, expressed frustration over Clinton’s decision.

“Maybe she's made up her mind that she's the nominee, but you can't have it both ways and say you're not going to be on the ballot in Michigan and say OK, leave my name on the ballot,” Richardson said at a campaign stop in Manchester.

- CNN Political Assignment Editor Marissa Muller

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Sonja San Francisco CA

    What a mistake to disfranchise voters.

    October 11, 2007 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Kevin, Florida

    Clinton is a very smart woman,cant wait to call her Madame President in 2009

    October 11, 2007 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  3. my911call, Wilmington, NC

    Hillary is not dumb. There is a reason that she is a front runner. A good chess player sees all current and future possibilites.

    October 11, 2007 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  4. Jim Belvidere, Illinois

    I was hoping she'd go to Michigan to open her mouth again about whatever her handlers think will poll well...I wish she would go away.....Michigan will still vote for her...too many democrats in that god forsaken state.

    October 11, 2007 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  5. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca


    "I just personally did not want to set up a situation where the Republicans are going to be campaigning between now and whenever, and then after the nomination, we have to go in and repair the damage to be ready to win Michigan in 2008,”

    Mrs Clinton, you have no ethics or party loyalty. You agree with the other candidates to avoid Florida and Michigan. After the OTHER candidates keep their word – you backstab them by keeping yourself on the state ballot so you could get more "power".

    I hope this rings loud and clear to the type of person you are! Your ambitions over your ethics.

    October 11, 2007 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |

    I'm glad that someone in the Democratic Party is thinking of more than just capturing the nomination. I don't think the millions of voters in Michigan appreciate being disenfranchised.

    Michigan is too important a state to be playing politics with. It's a must win if any Democratic candidate is going to capture the White House. Let us pray that during the general election the Democratic voters in Michigan won't show their distaste with the Democratic Party and vote Republican.

    Hillary, PLEASE help the Democrats win this slam dunk election cycle.

    Hillary 2008

    October 11, 2007 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  7. Melinda, Cleveland, Ohio

    WOW. I'm really disappointed/confused/upset. I've been following this entire matter closely. Earlier (before I knew that Clinton and Dodd were definitely not going to withdraw their names) I wrote:

    "I have complete confidence that Hillary (and Dodd, for that matter) will withdraw from the Michigan contest. If she didn't, I would never consider voting for her in my own state (Ohio) and I would discourage others from doing so too. But I think she will and so now I still have a tough decision to make."

    And then:
    "John, it's not about party loyalty, it's about ethics. They all agreed not to campaign there and they shouldn't.

    The entire DNC needs to rethink the way they hold primaries to give every state a voice in this process, but having states just keep moving their primaries forward is not the way to go about it."

    Like I said, I've been following this issue and have thought about it a lot. I'm really disappointed that Hillary decided to stay on the ballot.

    October 11, 2007 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  8. Sarah, Mason City, Iowa

    This entire thing enrages me. I've often heard people say that if Hillary is the democratic candidate, the republicans will come out in force to prevent her from winning the general election. And this has worried me.

    If Hillary is the democratic candidate, I will certainly vote for her as the best option. BUT until then, her actions in the Michigan case have upset me enough to double my efforts in making sure that democrats come out in force and vote for anyone but her.

    Talk about polarizing. I've always thought that we shouldn't tear ourselves apart from the inside and hurt our own party, and this is exactly what she is doing.

    October 11, 2007 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  9. Sternberg, Mauldin, SC

    Yes she can say it.

    October 11, 2007 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |

    She is completely full of it.. Anyone supporting her is either dumb, blind or naive and inexperienced.

    October 11, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  11. pam Eugene OR

    Is anyone surprised? Typical double dealing HRC.

    October 11, 2007 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  12. Chris Hassel, Saint Paul, Minnesota

    The Democratic party caucus and primary rules are what they are, whether we like them or not. This time around, Iowa in the Midwest, New Hampshire in the Northeast, South Carolina in the South, and Nevada in the West are the first four caucus/primary states. Thus, each major region of the country has one state in the early voting process, and after these states vote, the other states do the same. If we wish to change the system because it's a bit archaic, then let's do just that...for the 2012 election cycle. But for this (2008) election cycle, these are the rules, and we ought to abide by them. If we do that, all of the candidates can at least be scrutinized on a one-on-one and small-group basis in these early states; people will be able to size the candidates up and ask them difficult policy questions, etc., which will inform their votes. If a whole bunch of other states start demanding that they also get first-voting rights, the nominating process will become a generic media circus, dominated by money and commercialism, and Senator Clinton will walk away with the Democratic nomination without having to answer detailed, intricate questions in any sort of depth because she is the one who is raising the most money right now (she outraised even Senator Obama by quite a lot last quarter). So of course she has signed on for the Michigan primary; Corporation Clinton (TM) can steamroll everyone with cash and rather superficial appearances on national talk shows. Senator Dodd seems to want to be on the Michigan ballot out of desperation–he's getting nowhere in the early voting states, but if he comes in #2 or so in another state (such as Michigan), he may hang on to be in a position for the V.P. slot. But Governor Richardson, Representative Kucinich, Senator Biden, Senator Obama, and former-Senator Edwards are right in saying they will not be involved in a rule-breaking primary. I applaud them for it, and I hope that people across this country (including in Michigan) see that they are not "dissing" Michigan so much as following the current rules, and applaud them for it, as well. The really sad thing, to be honest, is that Senators Clinton and Dodd, both of whom I admire, are trusting that caucus and primary voters see this scenario as a "disenfranchisement" situation; actually, it's political calculation and manipulation on their part, plain and simple. Regarding future plans, well, perhaps in 2012, Michigan could be the first-voting caucus/primary state in the Midwest, Rhode Island in the Northeast, Louisiana in the South, and Oregon in the West....

    October 11, 2007 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  13. anon, new york, NY

    This shows Hillary has foresight. To do otherwise would short-change the dem nominee in the general election, as the republican party is not enforcing similar rules.

    The dem nominee need the votes from michigan and florida.

    Just imagine the embarassing situation that, if obama gets the dem nomination, he has to go to michigan and florida to beg for their votes.

    October 11, 2007 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  14. steve Banny Toccoa Ga

    Interesting position: principled yet not following principle.

    October 11, 2007 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  15. Heather, Nashville, TN

    Go Hillary!! I want a President who has all of our best interests in mind. I want a President who does not let who she is and where she comes from affect her decision making ability. And because I want all of these things I want to be able to say Madam President in 08....

    October 11, 2007 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  16. pam Eugene, OR

    CNN I have added a comment. You just aren't showing it!
    I say again.
    Same old Hillary. All the canadates agreed not to be on the ballot there but just how is? She can not be trusted. She is very dishonest and slimy.
    No Shrillary for me thanks
    Obama )*

    October 11, 2007 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  17. Bob Fulton, Clinton Corners, NY

    Clinton explains Michigan decision

    Because I can.

    October 11, 2007 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  18. therealist

    Michigan and Florida voter's are meaningless. Hillary IS the DNC nomination. She's shown her loyalty to MoveOn.org and now George Soros has given her his blessing, that's the final say in kool-aid land. The proof is the liberal slimers(bias media) focus on demonizing Republicans instead of Hillary's opponents. The corruption is disgustingly apparent in every other CNN headline.

    October 11, 2007 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  19. Sue in Michigan

    Darn, I was going to vote in the Republican primary, but now I'll have to go cast a vote for Hillary instead.

    October 11, 2007 09:49 pm at 9:49 pm |
  20. Daniel, NY

    This is first of all a huge blow to Democrats, but also a huge blow to Clinton who cannot use a firewall strategy anymore! (Full analysis here.

    October 11, 2007 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  21. Mike Dallas, TX

    Hey CNN and MSM

    There is a bigger story from the AP:

    CANTERBURY, N.H. – Hillary Rodham Clinton called Barack Obama naive when he said he'd meet with the leaders of Iran without precondition. Now she says she'd do the same thing, too.

    During a Democratic presidential debate in July, Obama said he would be willing to meet without precondition in the first year of his presidency with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.

    Standing with him on stage, Clinton said she would first send envoys to test the waters and called Obama's position irresponsible and naive.

    But asked about it Thursday by a voter, the New York senator said twice that she, too, would negotiate with Iran "with no conditions."

    "I would engage in negotiations with Iran, with no conditions, because we don't really understand how Iran works. We think we do, from the outside, but I think that is misleading," she said at an apple orchard.

    CNN and the MSM has been piling on on Barack Obama even though he talked about it in a straight and consistent manner. It is high time for CNN to bring this story to the forefront and hold Hillary's feet to the fire.

    October 11, 2007 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  22. Ivan,Chicago, Illinois

    Hillary is right we need Michigan to win the White House in 2008. The national party leaders should sit down with these state committees and come to an agreement where we don't tear our party apart over this issue. It's about time that the primary process is changed. Iowa with 7, and New Hampshire with 4 electorial votes being the first in the nation, makes little sense. Two states with less than 5 per cent of the electorial vote give such a major roll in deciding the nominees for President.ridicules.

    October 12, 2007 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  23. Anonymous, Somewhere, MI

    Clinton's right, Richardson's wrong, end of story.

    (of course choking on Hillary's exhaust fumes from back there in fourth place probably isn't helping Richardson's higher thinking capacity.)

    October 12, 2007 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  24. Jimmy, Ann Arbor, MI

    Go Blue! Beat the Buckeyes!

    October 12, 2007 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  25. Mike Longview, TX

    Hillary is doing the only sensible thing. She knows that the voters of Michigan are important to her winning the general election.

    October 12, 2007 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
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