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. RRH

    Forget it CNN you have already removed two entries thus far. It's deliberate and I am upset. I will not have my rights trampled on because I may not share your views. Post and put back what I contributed. This is very serious.

    February 13, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  2. Avis C, Richton Park,IL

    Sandy, Obama didn't make the rules. It was the DNC, Duh!

    KNOW YOUR FACTS BEFORE YOU ATTACK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YES WE CAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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

    Hillary won because no one else campaigned there–Gee! What can't you people understand?

    This would not be an issue if Obama or Edwards won.

    February 13, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  4. S. Holt

    You cannot and should not change the rules in the middle of the road. DNC put them out, they should stay out. Hillary is crazy. Who does she think she is? Above the law? We need a leader like that? I don't think so. I am a strong Democrat, all my life. But if it comes down to Willary Hillary, I will cast my vote for McCain. At least he shoots straight from the hip. I love Obama and all he stands for. GO Obama.

    February 13, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  5. Laura

    All votes should count, not to count them is a republican tatic.

    February 13, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  6. Chris, Silicon Valley, CA, USA

    My interpretation of this...

    Democratic National Committe to average citizens in Florida and Michigan: "You do what WE say or your vote doesn't count."

    And, after the Democrats raised such a fuss in 2000, saying, "Every vote must count."

    What a bunch of hypocrites.

    February 13, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  7. Jessi, Fl

    If Hillary had not already agreed to ignore the delegates, there would be no controversy, the DNC would have to seat them. But she did agree to ignore them, as did Obama. As a Floridian, I was infuriated to learn that my vote would be largely symbolic and none of the candidates seemed to mind the disenfranchisement of millions of voters. But blind loyalty to the party establishment appeared to be important to them. But the agreement was made and it is what it is and it should be honored.

    Another note: Florida turnout was high for both Democrats and Republicans (we had an important property tax amendment so many groups were trying to get out the vote) but was one of the few states (if not the only state, I haven't checked) where turnout for Democrats was less than that of Republicans. So the lack of a campaign probably skewed the results and whatever delegates are awarded at this point would probably not reflect the actual views of the states.

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

    Jerry and others: what kind of message would it send if Democratic presidential candidates simply disobey the rules of their own party? Clinton disobeyed the rules, Obama did not. So, we reward Hillary? Does that make sense?

    February 13, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  9. hapind

    Why all the blather about disenfranchisement. This has nothing to do with Clinton or Obama. If you have a beef, blame it on your state democratic leadership. Either way shut up, who cares. It is a primary election of one of two privately funded extremist organizations. If you don't like it, quit, become an independent.

    February 13, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  10. v.ananthan

    If I want to invest , I will be looking for an experienced economist..

    If I want a teacher for my kids I will look for "experienced teacher."…

    If I am very ill I will look for "experienced doctor..".

    If I want a military commander I will prefer experienced COMMANDER …..

    But If I want a commander- in -chief NO NEED OF EXPERIENCE,
    good speeches are ENOUGH…

    February 13, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  11. From PA

    ahh if I remember correctly.......obama and edwards teamed up against hillary in Michigan............they asked their voters to vote uncommited, because they knew people would vote for Hillary, so thats was their.. just in case plan

    well guess what....Hillary beat Obama and Edwards combined together in Michigan--WHY ISN'T CNN TELLING THAT PART OF THE STORY????

    ohh...And I wonder, I really wonder what stance the media would take if it turns out to be Obama versus McCain........pay attention to the so called obama supporters in the media.........AND SOMEONE PLEASE TAKE NOTE, SO HISTORY DOESNT REPEAT IT SELF

    my backup plan would be canada, I have a feeling the canadian dollar is going to be better than american dollar

    February 13, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  12. Ga.Gal

    This entire situation is so sad. At a time when people across the nation are energized and excited like never before – especially our young people - the more I hear about the Florida and Michigan delegates, the more I realize how our dreams of a Dem. president will go out the window. This delegate situation is going to cause tremendous party disunity. Just take a look at the previous emails – pro and con. Add to that the fact that the superdelegates can literally undo whatever it is we have done as voters – and I foresee thousands, no make that millions who will walk away from the general election and stop caring. Millions -not just in FL and MI – who will feel that their vote didn't matter. And then who will win? - McCain. Let's not hand him the election and give him approval for 100 more years of war! For our sakes, for our children's and grandchildren's sakes, let's unite. The DNC was short-sighted when they made these rules to not foresee the complications they would cause. Please don't tell me that my choice for President is going to be decided by what goes on in Florida – again...Heaven help us all.

    February 13, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  13. Geri

    Blitzer & Cafferty the Obama official news reporters on the Obama News Network!!

    February 13, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  14. paul

    As a long time democract it is disturbing to me that we, as a party, continue to "give away" election after election. I support Hillary Clinton, however, if she fails to win the nomination, I will stand by my party and vote for Obama. However, I am even more disturbed by the fact that many of Obama supporters, who support his campaign of "unity", would turn their backs on the party if he does not win. In addition, I am tired of hearing how Clinton should step aside, last I checked this race is currently a tie, give or take a few points, lets take it to the end. There should be no reason why we would lose this election to the Republicans. If we do, then all involved in the leadership of the Democratic Party should go!

    February 13, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  15. Marian

    But Obama did run political ads in Florida all kinds of people from Florida have stated that they were there. I understood he said he bought national ads that ran there as they ran in states he wanted to have them run in.
    Punish the ones who did not follow the directions not the ones who honored their right to cast a vote.

    February 13, 2008 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  16. Newton

    The time to protest the DNC's decision was before the election, not after it.

    February 13, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  17. Denny from Michigan

    A needed comment from Michigan......I have already commented on why Obama and Edwards names were not on the ballot, but I see many think Hillary was the only one, well that is not true. The only names missing from the multitude of democratic canditates was Edwands and Obama as THEY ASK TO HAVE IT REMOVED, I call that a bad choice on their part.
    Next everyone thinks a caucus is the way to go.......forget it as we use a ballot type election process and many people would not go tn a caucus, as well many are like me and voted on the day I was scheduled. As far as the canditates coming to Michigan, our door was open for them all. I had no problem listening to the debates and finding information about them, in fact I am old enough to go back to JFK's days so I am quite aware of many things and how to find information on political canditates. Last of all, Michigan has a high number of "snowbirds" that cast absentee ballots and a caucus would not be fair for them either. So again I say we cast our ballot as the deligates decided on whether to leave their name on or take it off.
    Now if we have to stretch the fairness rule to recognize Obama and Edwards then take the un-committed vote and divide it between the two and let the rest stand as taken. Besides a vote now would be greatly different as everything has change as to the runners left in both the republican and democratic parties so that is not the right choice.
    The ballot was cast, there were multiple choices, I was not told that I could not vote for a democrat or that my vote would not count at the poll and I always have the right to write in a name or could have voted non-committed.LET THE VOTE STAND AS TAKEN AND. NO RE-VOTE as it was as fair for one as it was for all (except those that removed their name from it and for them I say YOU MADE THE CHOICE SO LIVE WITH IT.......................).
    Denny the Mad Michigan Voter

    February 13, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  18. Tom

    After the debacle in Florida in 2000, Florida should permanently lose the right to vote. Kathleen – what's her name – what an idiot. How's that little bit of payback taste, Florida?

    February 13, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  19. Wayne

    interesting how barack's worshippers don't want FL and MI votes to count because those are the rules, but they want superdelegates not to have to follow the rules and vote who they pledged and instead vote the same as their respective state.

    Kerry and Kennedy must then vote for Hillary!

    Barack the false prophet, a hypocrite. Imagine that.


    February 13, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  20. Tom

    Hey Jessi – I'm really glad your vote didn't count. Chances are you don't have the intelligence to pick anyway.

    February 13, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  21. ed presciutti

    Hello Wolf. There have been many comments ( negative ) i must say, regarding superdelegates in making the final decision of picking a candedate in the democratic party in the event it should come down to that . On the other hand !!! if the reporters ,commentators and political analysts from CNN or any other media folks want to be fair. You should be pushing for either a real primary or caucus to be held in Florida and Ohio How do you expect Hillary to have a fair chance at winning out when all you people do is talk about The brilliant and charming manner Obama has with peole and how much most people dislike Hillary? You people have been one sided all through the primaries and it gets progressively worse. Come on . get on with honesty, and drop your push for Obama. Thanks for reading this note, and I hope to see this one posted . REMEMBER THE NEW ENGLAND PATS. AND NEW YORK GIANTS SUPER BOWL? everybody had written the giants off because new england had done so well throughout the season. What a pleasant surprise it was to see the Giants Win!!! well here I go. Hillary 2 , Obama zip . final score. Eddie from Rochester N.Y.

    February 13, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  22. THE voting game

    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 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  23. William

    And this is the party that is going to "fix" this country?

    Hillary's going to give us "universal health care" (the person with the "solutions") and she can't even manage her own campaign.

    February 13, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  24. Marian

    I find it funny a state that had less than 500-D votes can say that their votes should count and those in MI or Florida should not. No one wants to be left out when it is not the voters fault.
    What if they had a rule that if you did not have 100,000 votes your state they did not count? Yep count the D and R look at the time and money that would be saved and all the ads on the TV would be less LOL

    February 13, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  25. jayhii

    Why were only Kucinich and Clinton to appear on the Michigan ballot? If the DNC chooses to allow FL and MI to seat delegates and count them, this is certainly unfair to Obama in relation to MI. How can the DNC rectify this before the convention?

    February 13, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
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