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. 4Hillary

    How would the story read if Obama would have won these two states?? The cult followers would be in an uproar demanded these delegates be counted.

    MICHIGAN and FLORIDA voted for whom their candidate. By the way Obama DID RUN AN AD DURING SUPERBOWL. Which just happend to have one the highest ratings! That plus the free media press he gets is more than enough I would say!

    Never underestimate an INTELLIGENT Woman!!

    Behind Hillary all the way!!!!

    February 13, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  2. Michael Marciniak

    By the way, it does not matter about seating the delagates in Florida, Obama going to win anyways and come General Election Time All of the Floridians, including myself, a White man is and my wife and whole family, including women and some Latiino in the family will Vote for Obama and pick the President in November.

    We are Americans, Floridians, Obamacrats and Obamacans We will pick the Prez in November.

    By the way Wolf, do you history, the first President of the U.S. was John Hanson. He was also a Black man. There was six presidents prior to George Washington, and the First President was a black man because of his moorish back ground. I bet you didn't know that. Obama would actullay be the second balck man as president, but the first under the new constitution. Do you history, learn more.

    February 13, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  3. Jeff

    Once again, FL will decide the winner. I see no reason to ignore their votes. Or they would be voting for John McCain in November.

    February 13, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  4. Julio

    How come that the rules can not be changed to allow Florida and Michigan votes to be counted and everytbody is lobbying for the rule of independency for the Superdelegates to be be changed....look's like a conspiracy to me as a florida voter ,i rather follow my governor vote than vote democrat if my vote don not count.

    February 13, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  5. Deb

    Hey I live in Florida and voted. Our republican governor and legislature moved up the primary. The democrats in this state got screwed by our own party. No one campaigned here except for some Obama national ads. We voted and they should be counted.

    February 13, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  6. California Independent

    What was it Mark Halperin called Obama? Halperin was repeating Edwards words.

    Come on CNN. You can pick at every comment insulting a Clinton. Cough up the one on Obama. Halperin called Obama a ?????

    February 13, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  7. Anne

    OBAMA'S NAME WAS NOT ON THE BALLOT IN MICHIGAN...it's undemocratic to claim a win when you had no competition!!

    February 13, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  8. Charlotte

    All you OPhamanics, Michelle said in her interview she would not vote for Hillary in the general election. Now your guy is suppose to be a democrat, right? What kind of democrat would say that? I guess I will follow her lead and vote for McCain at least he is the best qualified between the two. McCain has crossed the aisle many times in the past and I'm sure he would be willing to work with both sides. McCain is right, we have had troops in other countries forever

    February 13, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  9. Denise - From Brazil (South America)






    February 13, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  10. John Meeks

    As a Floridian, I am very disappointed in the Democratic National Committee for taking punitive action against Florida and Michigan for refusing to play New Hampshire and Iowa's reindeer games.

    How is it that two tiny states that are about as diverse as Sweden get to pick and choose the candidate for president? It is an insult to the rest of the nation that two mostly rural states have such disproportionate influence. If another country chose their leaders this way, we would be sending Jimmy Carter over there to monitor them.

    Yes, Florida and Michigan 'broke the rules' but these rules were deliberately rigged to benefit less than 10% of the nation's population. And, yes, it nauseates me to see presidential contenders have to curry favor, beg and scrape for votes. I will puke the next time I see a lonely spinster in New Hampshire gush about how she plans to vote for someone merely based on the fact that he sat in her living room for an hour. What a tool!

    Every time I see Donna Brazile, I turn the channel because it is very obvious that she has nothing but irrational hatred for Florida and Michigan. She is carrying water for two tiny states because she is tone deaf with regard to national politics. She and Howard Dean should be ashamed of themselves for allowing our nomination process to be so beholden to states that do not reflect the rest of the nation.

    February 13, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  11. Mike in Rochester NY

    Out of curiousity I checked Politco.com and noted Ben Smith's 09Oct2007 blog on Michigan. Evidently, Obama and a few other candidates voluntarily removed themselves from the Michigan Ballot. Those candidates played the risk of recusing themselves from the official voting options, even though the possibility that an eventual tally would occur. Oddly, this was just be Iowa, but the same choice wasn't volunteered in Florida.

    February 13, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  12. Ratgurl

    She was okay with the rules before. What changed? Oh yeah, all her followers defected to Obama.

    February 13, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  13. IndependentTurnedObamite

    Shawn Smith, Kansas City, MO – I see NO point in your argument that HRC will have the lead if FL delegates are counted. It is SO illogical and corrupt.
    Oh wait, Now I am talking about Hillary herself. Thats right. I get your point now.

    February 13, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  14. MR CEE

    Personal appearances alone do not constitute campaigning. Certainly, the prople of Florida and Michigan read newspapers, watch television (CNN?), enter the blogosphere and listen to talk radio. Therefore, they were well informed and opinionated. Moreover, they voted in droves. The results of their voting efforts should not be disregarded. What? Have we all of a sudden become only 48 states? Also, the Superdelegates should vote as they please. Those are the established rules. Why is everyone trying to tell everyone else how or for whom to vote? We should all mind our own business. Perhaps that is why, since the days of the Founding Fathers, voting is done in PRIVATE, albeit caucaus is PUBLIC. Good luck to Hillary and Barack. Let them fight to the end; and mat the best man or woman win!

    February 13, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  15. Matt

    To all those people saying Clinton had an unfair advantage in Florida, I say two things:

    1. Do you think Floridians are stupid? Do you think they don't have TVs and can't watch rallies and debates? Do you think they don't have newpapers and can't read about where the candidates stand on the issues? Do you think they don't have internet access and can't get analysis from any number of blogs? Do you really think they're too stupid to decide the better candidate without a face to face?

    2. Obama is the one who broke the rules by running ads on CNN in Florida, through his national ad buy. Hillary played fair and square (holding private fundraisers which were allowed and not holding public rallies in the state until after polls closed).

    As for Michigan, I may be cynical but my guess is both Obama and Edwards took their names off the ballot because they saw the polls at the time showing Hillary crushing them and didn't want a "psychological" loss. Plus, there surrogates mounted a campaign of sorts against Hillary pushing the "uncommitted" option. Obama, and Edwards, did not HAVE to take their name of the ballot. They made a flawed strategical decision to do so and the voters should not be disenfranchised as a result.

    February 13, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  16. voting game

    A Republican Govenor change the date, image that...HUMM.
    DNC should allow all votes and delegates to be ceded.
    This should be announce way in advance of the convention, otherwise the process is perminately damage. Sad for America.

    February 13, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  17. Bev

    Hillary's claim that as she won Florida and Michigan she should get their delegates and that they should be seated sounds to me like she is a spoiled child that is not used to loosing, that thinks the rules don't apply to her. She seems to think that she makes all the rules as they suit her. She is a poor sport and looser. She is also very, very desperate. Perhaps is she hadn't told voters for and against her, activists and states that they didn't count, that they weren't important enough for her, then maybe she wouldn't be in the spot that she is in now. The people and states that she represents is starting to narrow down. She can no longer claim that she represents all segments of the population. She is becoming a representative of only 3 sectors, older women, latino's and the very poor.

    February 13, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  18. Kathy Riordan

    There were thousands of us in Florida who voted in the primary in good faith whose voices will not be heard. While the Republican candidates all waltzed through Florida, we did not get the opportunity to see the Democrats up close in any real sense. Still, we went out in great numbers and voted based on the information we had at that point, including media reports, national advertising and debate appearances. No one was posted at the Florida polling locations to tell Democrats they shouldn't vote, since our votes would essentially be worthless. No one told us to stay home. No one gave us a ballot missing the names of Democratic candidates. Those of us who were registered as Democrats were given Democratic ballots. Many of us now wish we'd re-registered as Republicans for the Florida primary, simply so we could have affected some input. Clinton supporters voted for Clinton. Obama supporters voted for Obama. Edwards supporters voted for Edwards. It wasn't a joke to us, and we went on record. That should not be ignored. Florida voters have been marginalized before; it seems beyond imagining that this could be happening to us again.

    February 13, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  19. AJ

    There should be a redo whether it's a caucus or primary this way it is fair and no one is disenfranchised.

    February 13, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  20. PS

    If Obama gets more delegates and either the rules for FLA & MI are changed or the "superdelegates" override to install Senator Clinton, it will no longer be just a perception, but indeed a fact, that Americans no longer elect their own leaders and that only the Bushs and the Clintons can run America. If this happens, Obama supporters will work tirelessly to support McCain. If Obama gets more delegates, Senator Clinton must pledge to do everything she can with all her "experience" to help President Obama on "Day One". The 9/11 attacks were planned during the Clinton Admin and exectued during the Bush Admin, so it is negligent to believe that both families haven't made deals with each other to cover up each others' mistakes. If America wants to prove to itself and the world that it understands and can handle the threats against it, it can only elect Obama or McCain. And Obama has the hearts and minds of more Americans, especially the next generation who must feel that heir voice matters or they won't be inspired to pull up their own socks.

    February 13, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  21. FreeNYfromHillary

    Hillary and Bill need to go back to her double wide in Arkansa.

    February 13, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  22. sean

    Hillary really should do what Romney did for his party.For the good of the party she should drop out .

    February 13, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  23. Ben in Philly

    Hillary supporters keep saying that because nobody campaigned in Florida that that makes it fair. That's the biggest farce out there. The point of campaigning is so that voters can get to know the candidates and what they stand for. This did not happen, and as a result, voters chose a known quantity in Hillary. How could anyone fault them for it? That being said, it was not an equal playing field, and it's highly dishonest to suggest it was.

    February 13, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  24. john - arizona

    Here is the simple truth.

    florida and michigan created their own destiny in the primaries.
    their party state leadership made these decisions. if florida and michigan voters want to focus frustration somewhere it should be directed at their own state leadership.

    rules are rules. these voters will still maintain their right to vote in the genral election. nothing unconstitutional is taking place here.

    if they care about the nation they'll stop whinning and get out and support the candidate of their choice now in their communities and focus on the bigger picture of healing our nation. hurricane season is coming and the winters are getting colder... embrace your communities.

    the primaries of florida and michigan simply don't factor in to the nomination process. get over it!

    no 'second chances' or 'do-overs' that's for children...

    February 13, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  25. Jennifer

    No body cared about MI or FL until Hillary was losing. It's been almost a month and half since those primaries. Noooowwww all of the sudden people are concerned about the voters. This is the most obsurd thing I have ever seen! GO OBAMA!!!

    Obama, who played by the rules, and now they are trying to cheat him... Typical of Hillary...

    February 13, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
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