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. theodosios

    What you mean fixed? Fixed at Hillary’s favor. Both states are out of the game because rules should be obeyed.

    February 13, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  2. Oregon Independent

    Billary will never quit. It's not in her/his nature and they will beleive that many of the super delegates "owe" them.

    The Dems are in trouble.

    February 13, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  3. Lucas, Nashville TN

    MI and FL got stupid.

    They should have obeyed the rules, and they did not. The only possible compromise is a caucus, possibly in April (since there is only one contest then). But since Hillary broke all the rules before, I am sure she will find more to break then.

    February 13, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  4. Alison LePage

    As a Florida Democrat, I demand that my vote count, this time. In 2000, in my county, Duval (Jacksonville), 25,000 ballots from predominantly Democratic precincts were rejected and went uncounted. This cannot be happening, again! The point needs to be made that the Republican-dominated Florida Legislature made the decision for all of Florida to move up the primary date—they knew what they were doing and hoped that Democrats wouldn’t show up to vote against a controversial amendment on the same ballot. Well, 1.7 MILLION Florida Democrats did turn out to vote. Just because the candidates didn’t campaign here is not a good reason to ignore us. There were ads on CNN for Obama the week before the primary and Hillary did show up after the polls closed, but BOTH were on the ballot. 1,700,000 voters should NOT be ignored!!

    February 13, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  5. Sam

    America: 'Be careful what you wish for' with Obama......good luck america

    February 13, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  6. John in VA

    The democrats are a joke if they don't seat the FL and MI's delegates. 48 united states of America for Democrats?

    Nobody campaigned in FL. FL delegates should count.

    Obama and Edwards have run ads urging the voters to vote uncommitted. They got 40% combined. Either the DNC paid for another primary for Michigan or comes up with some compromise to allocate the uncommitted to Obama.

    February 13, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  7. Siobhan Ogilvie

    Wolf – just a note, why are you allowing your show to be unbalanced? I'm really upset and I have been an incredibly loyal viewer of yours. You remain one of the most unbiased journalists out there but Jack Cafferty's daily negative reports on Senator Clinton packaged with his daily endorsements and praise of Senator Obama is just so undeniably wrong – he even found a way to campaign for Obama in his baseball hearings report. This is something I would expect on Fox – not on your show. I really am going to have o stop watching you if this is allowed to continue. I will still watch you on Sunday's since you don't allow this campaigning by CNN employees on that show.

    February 13, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  8. Pat Mullin

    A delegate is a delegate is a delegate. How do the powers that be in these states think that their delegates would somehow be less important because of the date they were awarded?

    February 13, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  9. Jamie

    Both Florida and Michigan were well aware of the national party rules, which were written four years ago, stripping them of delegates if they violated the party's timetable. The legislatures and state parties in those states thumbed their noses at those rules. If the voters in those states feel disenfranchized, as they should, their ire ought to be pointed where it is deserved - and not at the national party. I have no pity for someone who knowingly breaks the rules, knowing the consequences, and then complains when those consequences are applied as written.

    February 13, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  10. TX Obama Mama

    The DNC did a disservice to both Michigan and Florida by making their primaries pointless. However, all candidates knew the rules even if the citizens of the states didn't. These rules were accepted by all candidates. Changing the rules mid-stream just because it would benefit you directly makes me even less likely to vote for you, HRC. However, if she'd like to continue to complain about it, I'm sure she'll see that, just like Bill's negative verbal attacks against Obama in South Carolina, her words will have the opposite effect of what she wants.

    A do-over at this time would be difficult to negotiate and costly. Maybe they could give the states caucuses...but wait..Obama does better with caucuses than Hill does...so I'm sure that won't make her happy either.

    And winning Michigan or Florida is not something to be proud of considering the DNC stripped people of their rights. The results are probably NOT typical of what would have happened had FULL campaigning been allowed and FULL fundraising efforts by all candidates. Hillary can not claim victory when others didn't have the opportunity to express their clear opinions. Perhaps, Edwards would still be in the campaign had Michigan or Florida been fair. Who knows?

    We should definitely consider changing these rules going forward in the party. However, I don't know that we have the time or the opportunity to do it now ... and we shouldn't consider it just because Mrs. Clinton wishes it.

    She is not concerned with having the voters' will heard because she pooh-poohes all over caucuses and the meaning of the Potomac Primary and any state she doesn't win. How come freedom is only an issue to her if she benefits from it?

    February 13, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. vicki

    "OBAMA BEER" is this how we deal with foreign policy, get everyone drunk and forget the real issues....................This is hope?

    February 13, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. JIMBO

    Good article. Let it be known that this Ridiculous idea was pushed through by the Republican State legislature in Florida. Now the Democarts are suffering due to another stupid Republican move !!!
    Write the Democratic party like I did and voice your anger. This should not be happening and those delegates should be welcomed at the Convention. !!!

    February 13, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  13. Ryan, Miami

    I didn't vote in the Florida democratic primary because I knew it wouldn't count (thanks to our bone-headed state party officials). Many of my friends also didn't vote for the same reason. We were warned by the Democratic party not to break the rules or our delegates would not count, but we did anyway.

    Florida and Michigan should not be counted....and we should not re-elect our state party officials who were responsible for this.

    February 13, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  14. Chris in VT

    Hillary won the vote in Florida – it is that simple – and it was a level playing field. Michigan may be different because both names were not on the ballot. Hillary had name recognition alone? Obama certainly used that by taking Oprah out onto the stage. I'm so tired of all this media hands off babying of Mr. Obama. going to spoil him. He's going to make a great President when he grows up real fast to find out the media and the world aren't as kind and gentle as he's being led to believe. It will be all very different if he gets where he wants to go here. He is a first term junior senator with little or no no experience with the real, mean world. This is such a dangerous candidate. Mr. Careful. So careful we don't have any idea who he really is. Well – he flatters us real nice from his "float" as he goes by. I think he's an excellent preacher – but we need a President. Hillary is over qualified. We're lucky she wants anything to do with this – we're the ones who need HER.

    February 13, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  15. David-Paul Niner

    This is total nonsense. The DNC doesn't seem to grasp the concept that it was NOT the citizens of Florida who elected to move their primary forward. The issue was never put to a vote. They have no right to remove our representation at the convention.

    The right to representation is absolute. The DNC can take up the issue with Florida's governor if they don't like it.

    The citizens of Florida need the ACLU to speak for us here.

    February 13, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  16. mad as hell

    So, must I still pay taxes if my vote doesn't count?

    February 13, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  17. Mark

    Michigan and Florida disenfranchised themselves. It is truly ironic, and would be completely backwards to turn around and give them their vote back. They made the decision to move up, they should have to deal with the consequences, or else you can expect more idiocy next election. It's like promising your kid a punishment and never following through.

    February 13, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  18. What? Who took their names off the ballot?

    Obama supporters are just crying now because their candidate made a perhaps crucial error by removing his name from the Michigan ballot..........poor judgement! Then to scamper and call for a non-committed???? Bad decision.....Clinton is the only one who left her name there...............good decision............good judgement! Now that is past experience talking!

    Who would think that the DNC would throw out two states? I guess the Obama camp in those days! I feel bad for those voters and their votes should count as they stand!

    Sorry Obama supporters but to not allow the votes of Michigan and Florida to count for your candidates own personal gain is terrible! And that is all it amounts to. If Senator Obama had won those states I suggest that you would all want them to count.

    As a true and fair democratic person I want them to count because the voters are entitled to it.

    February 13, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  19. Jenny, TX

    It is ridiculous to discuss whether these or those votes should be counted. All the voters must be counted. The voters in Michigan and Florida must have their voices once they casted their ballots.

    February 13, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  20. Larry

    Sorry I mis spelled in my last post. I meant too say Obama should get the 40% of the voters in Michigan who voted uncommitted.

    February 13, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  21. Koop

    Obama would have won in Michigan anyways. Most of us Dems here voted on the republican side in an effort to stave of the biggest evil in favor of a lesser evil. If our votes would have counted, we would have cast them on the Dem side. If not a win outright for Obama, Clinton only makes out with a couple delegates. (Obama would win in Michigan anyways, so Clinton should just give it up)

    February 13, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  22. Harry, Michigan

    All the candidates agreed beforehand that the races in FL and MI would not count. In the interest of preserving honesty and trust in government, the delegates must NOT be reinstated. I think after Hillary loses in Ohio and Texas, she will realize that she will lose if elections are reheld in MI and FL. Then she will slink back into the shadows with her antiquated style.

    February 13, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  23. Sí se puede.

    He david,

    you go for a re-vote in Florida and it would be 65-35 allright! In OBAMA's favor!!

    February 13, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  24. DavidHere

    Hope this problem can be fixed, all votes count!

    I hate media just attacking her- either they complain for being tough or some other things with Bill- practically she can not defend or be aggressive. Obama gets free ride and enjoying something he don’t reserve. Hell with the media and take swing they are not helping anyway and nothing more to damage

    February 13, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  25. Joe

    Florida is to blame for that whole 2000 election fiasco. Hanging chands, butterfly ballots, broken machine. Forget these guys. Michigan and Florida broke the rules, so they should pay the price. Otherwise, what's to stop a dozen other states from trying the same thing in 4 years?

    February 13, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13