February 13th, 2008
03:50 PM ET
10 years ago

Blitzer: 'Be careful what you wish for'


WASHINGTON (CNN) - In the world of politics, be careful what you wish for.

The politicians in Florida and Michigan thought that by moving up their primaries before Super Tuesday, they would exert greater influence on the nomination of their respective party’s presidential candidates. The Republican National Committee stripped those states of half of their delegates. The Democrats stripped those states of all of their delegates.

John McCain has a huge advantage right now in the Republican delegate count. That explains why there isn’t much buzz about what the Republicans did.

But it’s a very different story on the Democratic side.

Hillary Clinton “won” the Florida and Michigan contests even though she and her rivals promised not to campaign in those states. They didn’t. She did show up in Florida on the night of the primary to claim victory. She had a huge rally there.

The only names on the Democratic ballot in Michigan were those of Clinton and Dennis Kucinich. Barack Obama’s name was nowhere to be found there, though his name was on the Florida ballot. And with the candidates not allowed to campaign in either state, it wasn’t really much of an election - though Florida and Michigan Democrats certainly showed up in good faith to vote.

Now there are lots of background discussions and efforts underway to determine whether the millions of Democratic voters in those two states will actually be disenfranchised at the Democratic Convention in Denver at the end of August. That’s because the party’s nomination could come down to a floor vote.

If Clinton and Obama remain competitive after the March 4 contests in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island, and the other remaining contests, including Pennsylvania's April vote, then it could come down to a brokered convention. Will the Florida and Michigan delegates be seated? There could be a huge and historic credentials fight, the first since 1972 when Democrats finally nominated George McGovern.

Here’s the irony: By moving up their contests, the Florida and Michigan Democrats wound up with exactly what they feared would happen to them if they waited until Super Tuesday. They became marginalized. Had they held their contests as originally scheduled, it potentially would have been very different. Let’s see if the problem can be fixed.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. ys

    I find it amazing, & hypocritical....

    On one hand, people say Florida should not count, because they broke the "RULES"... (& by the way Clinton won yet Obama ran TV Ads...!)

    & Yet the same people say lets not abide by the DNC "Rules" when it comes to Super Delegates, because those "Rules" favour Clinton.

    Obama supporters cant have it both ways.

    February 13, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  2. Laura

    Obama is just like Bush, he wants to cheat people out of their votes. He don't care about real working people.

    February 13, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  3. Jerry Barnes

    Have we forgotten voice of the people. In Michigan regardless of the vote results the option was there to vote for Hillary Clinton or vote uncommitted. The voice of the people was a plurality to Hillary. The people have spoken and should not be disenfranchised. The punishment should be on the party leaders of the state not the people. Likewise the blame in Florida should be on the state Democratic party leaders not the people. If we disenfranchise the votes in both of these states then we are no better than the Republicans. They stole the vote from Florida voters in 2000 and as a result we got George W Bush. Lets not go down that path. Grow up you guys! Voice of the people they have spoken. Remember Hillary Clinton is a Democrat too. To listen to your venomus remarks you would think she was a staunch Republican. I am ashamed of your devisive remarks you all make me sick. To have so much hatred for a candidate from your own party you should be ashamed.

    February 13, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  4. BRiley

    The fact that Florida and Michigan are not counted is not Hillary crying over the results...it's a matter of the right thing to do. Why should the people of Florida be penalized for a week? Come on let's get real...maybe Obama and all of his New Voters (where were they before now?) are scared of the results if the Florida and Michigan delegates were counted. I think that is sad that he would want to win when it's really skewed!

    February 13, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  5. Karyn F.

    I'm with Joyce – Cafferty and now even Wolf Blitzer have lost my respect with their daily Clinton-bashing and bowing down to Obama, Obama! same with the guys at MSNBC,,, I can't wait to see those guys eat crow when Hillary wins Texas & Ohio, gets the Michigan & Florida delegates validated, and then top it off with the Super Delegates! the news anchors might have apoplectic fits, serve 'em right

    February 13, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  6. A

    I think it's a sad day when people have to resort to cheating. I think if Michigan and Florida votes are aloud there will be alot of people of different backgrounds and races that will not come out to vote in November, and I am one. There is no reason to vote if my vote doesn't count, or again If I'm dissatisfied with more of the same cheating and back-dealing that's how George Bush got in office. Hiliary needs to step aside and support Obama the next president of the United States.

    February 13, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  7. DECOL

    Nothing will be perfect ,,,,but they have to be seated

    Florida , because all names were on the ballot – should stand as is

    Michigan should be a compromise – split them 50-50

    February 13, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. Wayne

    Exactly: "Be careful what you wish for"

    Barack is a false prophet. He will lead this country off the cliff.
    And his worshippers will drunkenly follow as they march over the edge with their false messiah.

    After 8 years of Bush, USA gets what it deserves if it votes in THE beast.

    Be careful what you wish for indeed!

    February 13, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  9. RRH

    Sandy, I agree. Florida actually went to Hillary and beat McCain. Obama betterr be careful and Floridians have a long memory.

    February 13, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  10. Nicole

    Rules are rules, all the candidates agreed to them before the primaries.

    Tough luck for the hill camp, if you really want Florida and Michigan in the race, a fair solution needs to be decided upon. Reschedule a new vote for both, maybe one where there is more than one name on the ballot, and both candidates have adequate time to campaign.

    I am sick of Hillary claiming she won there. How do you win, when there was no actual competition? it is not a race when you are the only runner.

    February 13, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  11. Vincent Ruzi


    No one really even thought the race would be this close.But sence it is you have to count these votes. Democrats came out in record numbers,(two million).and casted there votes. They new who they wanted to vote for and clinton won huge it`s clinton country . There was only a five day difference,anyways what really could of changed in five day`s. Obama can`t cry about this ,he lost two more big states. he loses all the big states. and wins all the little ones .Once they award clinton these delegates she will be right back in the lead. If obama`s a true honest canidate he should deal wiyh it and move on. I am a true democrat and I`m having trouble even thinking about voting for the most lefty of all the senator anyway`s .I think by voting for him we are playing right into the republicans hands.


    February 13, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  12. Bryan

    The Hillary fans are probably praying to the Bill Clinton gods that this works out in their favor. HEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHEHE!!!

    February 13, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  13. Lisa in Iowa

    The answer is simple.

    1. Schedule a caucus or new primary.
    2. Allow enough time for the candidates to campaign and for the voters to be notified of the new election event.
    3. Hold the event.
    4. Count the delegates.

    It will incur some expense, but the voters in these states need to be represented.

    February 13, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  14. Joann

    The Fox with the Sour Grapes; Hilliary Clinton reminds me of that old fable. In that fable the hungry fox couldn't reach the grapes high on the vine, no matter how high he tried to jump he couldn't reach them and finally he walked away saying, "I didn't want them anyway." So is Hilliary Clinton with the states in February, she couldn't win them, but, so she says, they weren't worth the trouble anyway; too small, demographics weren't right, etc. etc. So it is with Florida and Michigan. At the beginning of this race she was the front runner, set to sweep across America, so she signed that agreement with one thought, "I won't need them anyway.". Now she finds she does need those delegates and she's starting to jump for them! Reaching out greedily for delegates she had signed away. She talks about Florida and Michigan needing a voice, where was her voice in that regard when she first put her signature to paper? Oh, that's right, she was way ahead in the polls and a front-runner. She talks the talk of being a voice for all the states but her actions regarding Florida, Michigan and the February states says something totally different. Her actions contradict her words. She is campaigning to be president, by now, this late into the campaign I would have expected her to start acting like one. It certainly would be great to have a female president, but certainly not this one, who disregards states when she doesn't need them or can't win them; "if you're going to disregard states while your running for president then wouldn't it be expected that you would disregard states if you become the president?" Her opponent, Obama, on the other hand, has shown by his actions and his words that all states are important, every state matters in his run for the presidency and therefore will matter when he is president. Sure, go ahead and vote for this female to be president, but if she is elected lets hope America doesn't end up like the grapes...rotting on the vine!

    February 13, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  15. paul

    Why, may I ask, are the headlines now CLINTON TRAILING OBAMA when just last week by almost the same margin of delegates, give or take some, Hillary was ahead of Obama and NOT one headline made it seem she was ahead. CNN has turned into the political channel with no true news. Its as if NOTHING AT ALL is going on in the US or the world. That all the bad guys, good guys, accident victims and everyday people have decided that since there is an election coming up IN 9 MONTHS that they might as well not do anything newsworthy.

    CNN... please get back to reporting the news. Get back to telling me what is happening in Iraq, Africa or europe as well as my home country. Get back to reporting true news and not conjuncture based on polls. Even after all the failures from the beginning of these campaigns with the polls CNN still insists on referencing the newest one but jokingly adding, "well, we all know how trustworthy they are". Why even bother reporting it?

    CNN... be unbiased in your opinions and reports. Who report how well Obama does when he loses and then when Hillary loses you report what a bad job she is doing and that she might as well give up.

    Give me a reason to watch you and not just watch another channel LIKE BBC WORLD NEWS when it comes on at 8pm and 10 in my area.


    February 13, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  16. Texas

    Our right to vote, come on lawmakers, all those folks came out to vote anyway, and their votes don't count?

    Wait one second there...........they pay taxes just like the next person. Who pays your salaries?

    That is really inappropriate, unacceptable and should be brought to someone's attention that has the power to take action.

    February 13, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  17. KAH

    The entire Democratic Party is at fault and it is unfortunate for Florida and Michigan votes will not and should not be counted. Officials from these states made up their minds to move the primary up wanting to be "more important." The rules were set in place and Barack and Hillary agreed to them. Edwards and Barack at least stuck with the parties wishes by refraining from truly competing and campaigning in those states. Both sides have valid arguments for whether or not the votes should be counted but all candidates agreed. If an exception is made to allow these votes or give them a revote then our system has lost credibility. You can't just change the rules to benefit your candidate one way or the other. Also.... A year ago these people knew their votes wouldn't count so how credible can the vote really be?

    February 13, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  18. PSbro

    I am amazed at how much so called "expert" pundits are not plugged into the real world. Does anyone think over 1.7 million votes are not going to be counted in terms of delegates at the convention?
    FL & MI are not marginalized, they just might be the breaker in all of this. The DNC has created this mess. Howard Dean is a flop as DNC Chairman. If it had looked like Obama was going to carry MI or FL, they never would have done this. It's all to do with Dean's hatred of the Clintons. So now, the DNC has a choice, seat them or we can all say President McCain

    February 13, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  19. yy




    February 13, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  20. marc from Indiana

    Is this the same democratic party that was crying about counting every vote in FL in 2000. My, my, my how things change when the shoe is on the other foot. What a bunch of hyprocrites...

    February 13, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  21. Laura

    Wolf you are no better than FOX or MSNBC. All of you at CNN support Obama. You guys keep spinning and spinning for him. You want the republicans back in!

    February 13, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  22. Sherry

    Hey Jack, why don't you come to work tomorrow in a t-shirt that says "I hate HIllary and I love Obama", I believe you are a biased jerk and so are most of your co-workers.

    February 13, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  23. JEB BUSH


    February 13, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  24. Jose Card - Independent

    Hillary promised her Florida delegates they will be seated at the convention on the primary night in which she claimed victory.

    How will she keep her promise to seat them if she is losing day by day? Perhaps that is not going to be an issue as delegates jump ship day by day. Why did she make a promise against the party rules to begin with?

    February 13, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  25. Alicia, Florida

    I think many of the people here are missing the point. The Florida Demicrats were screaming that they should not be disinfranchised BEFORE the primary. The Florida Democrats begged the DNC not to penalize them for something that it could not control – the Republican State Legislature made the decision. For the DNC to do this to their own party members is unacceptable.

    Also the fact that NO ONE COULD campaign is very important. NO ONE had an advantage. In Florida, we watch CNN, watched the debates, went to the canidates' websites, and read the newspapers. Name recognition was certainly NOT an issue. It was a fair election and it is ridiculous to ignore the will of the voters. This is what Obama continues to stated OVER AND OVER AGAIN!

    I would also like to point out the BEFORE Obama LOST in MI & FL he stated that the voter's in both states should NOT be ignored and should be seated! I agree!

    February 13, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
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