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. Ted

    Democrats better watch out in Florida for election spoofs.

    February 13, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  2. maria

    Florida & Michigan voters should have screamed disenfranchisement BEFORE their respective primaries – way back when the DNC told the states their delegates would not be seated if they moved their primary dates. And before the states accepted those consequences & moved their primaries despite the DNC decision. Now, it's a done deal and it's called – CONSEQUENCES OF YOUR ACTIONS Florida & Michigan. EVERY ACTION HAS AN EQUAL AND OPPOSITE REACTION. In your case, Florida & Michigan, the reaction of your action was the opposite of your intent – Deal with it.

    The sad reality is that this type of behaviour really seems to be the norm these days. Make a decision on something, don't like the consequences of your actions and cry victim. I really, really, really hope the DNC sticks to their original decision and keeps these two states' delegates from being seated. I believe I shall write a letter to Mr. Howard Dean. Doubt it'll mean anything, but if enough people write to them, perhaps they'll understand the will of the people they're supposed to represent.

    If the DNC changes their decision, and allows these delegates to be seated, they to will have to deal with the future consequences of that decision. Let's say in 4 years some other state does the same thing – decides to move their primary, the DNC threatens their delegates will not be seated. What's to prevent them from going ahead & moving their primary? They'll look to Florida & Michigan as examples of rogue states that can walk all over the DNC & not be punished. Next thing you know, several years later, more & more states will do the same, then it'll be the demise of the DNC and what will be left? Please, please, please, DNC stick to your original decision, if nothing else for the principle behind it and your future integrity.

    What am I saying, most politicians know nothing about principle & integrity...sheesh, we are headed in the wrong direction, aren't we?

    February 13, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  3. Debra

    If they could exclude states, they would have excluded FL in 2000. Get over it Obama babies.

    February 13, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  4. ForceBeWithUs

    Florida will be remembered as the state whose officials, together with some in DC, enabled the second Bush in the Oval Office, contrary to the rules, fairness and decency. It would be an irony of the sort if Florida plays the same role to push the second Clinton in the Oval Office, again contrary to the rules, fairness and decency. Hope we had enough of such games, beneficial neither for folks in Florida nor in Michigan or elsewhere.

    February 13, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  5. Harry, Tennessee

    A lot of good thoughts in this Blog, and here we are still waiting for the results from Washington State. They said that the results would be in on Monday and here it is Wednesday night and still no results Whats Up???

    February 13, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  6. lula

    All we want is for our representatives,is to represent our
    interests,not theirs.

    We pay the bills,your salaries and expenses.We will live with
    whoever we elect.We do the electing.

    A lot of us will try to stick you(Democratic Party) with McCain
    if,we don't elect OUR nominee.Then you can enjoy.

    Not too many superdelegates will be reelected.

    February 13, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  7. Gigi in Alabama

    After this is all over, why can't we just have "one" primary for all states and then forget about super delegates. It would save money and everyone would have the same opportunity of voting. It would stop this so-called momentum of one or the other and would give us a chance to vote on all candidates, not just a couple that we may or may not want.
    My vote on Super Tuesday turned out to be nothing but a protest vote. I wanted John Edwards. After seeing the number of other voters that did the same thing, maybe Mr. Edwards should have stayed in the race.

    February 13, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  8. Basquale

    Fact is that the DNC punished Michigan and Florida because of violation of the rules, period. So now Hillary is behind and all her supporters screaming the delegates of these states have to be seated. It's absurd. But we all know what happened in 2000, it would be another big scandal with Florida involved.

    I'm sick of Hillary, sick of these games she is playing. Anybody has to stop her!

    February 13, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  9. Ted

    Republican seem to have figured out how to win elections in Florida.

    February 13, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  10. Dave

    All names were on the ballot in Florida. Since none of the candidates
    campaigned there then Hillary won Florida. However, Michigan is a different situation. They need to hold another primary including both candidates. Everyone in all states should have the right to vote and have it count.

    February 13, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  11. Dorothy, White Salmon, Wa

    The candidates were not suppose to campaign in those states, but clearly Obama did. He ran ads even on CNN which covered those states. So, Obama broke the rule. Also, he and all the other candidates could have had their names on the ballots. That was not against the rule. It was up to their campaign to get their names on the ballot as they did in Florida. So, whose whining now? Obama broke the rules by advertising. The votes should count.

    February 13, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  12. Ann Kuminns

    If the delegates from MI and FL are to be seated, they must have another caucus or primary because many of the voters did not vote since the they were told that their votes would not be counted anyway. They should not go back on their words and dishonor all those voters who were just following the advice of the party. To seat any of those delegates would be a sham and a shame. The state officials knew what the consequences would be, and yet went ahead with breaking the rules. They had better come up with something real soon so that it can be resolved and we voters want to make sure that we have a say in the elections.

    February 13, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  13. 4REAL

    Okay here we go again with the Bush tricks in Florida. If they want the delegates to be seat, rerun the election and let them campaign there. If not then let them set out. Hillary needs to stop showing how to destroy a process that is down. She will continue to let the war go on and on until everyone there is dead and there is no way, we should spend more money on that war. Hillary let by gones be by gones. You can't have everything your way.

    February 13, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  14. Outsiders View

    Outsiders view-

    Im an Australian dont really care either way:

    The rules are the rules and Hillary cant will an election against the republicains if she wins the nomination by fraud or stealing votes !

    The Two states Fl and Mich should be seated and they should split the votes 50/50

    Everyone wiins that way!

    Don't you think ?

    February 13, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  15. Uthea Romero

    Obama should have demand his name be put on the ballot for Michigan. Does he believe all votes should count? It is the American way. If he could not get the forms timely, how can he run as President, he will be behind once the Republican start putting the pressure. It that the kind of President we want to lead this country. Obama beer heads.

    February 13, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  16. billy depp

    Whats there to fix–Just count them! It is too bad Barack Obama did not get his name on ballot..that is his problem..Everybody followed the rules and did not campaign. Count the Votes!

    February 13, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  17. Gio

    If Obama doesn't allow the Florida and Michigan delegates to be seated in Denver he wouldn't look like the UNIFIER he claims to be.

    If Florida and Michigan become disenfranchised I will be voting for Sen McCain.

    February 13, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  18. Phil G

    This is pretty simple!! They knew the rules from the start!! Florida and Michigan do not count by their own fault!! They were warned of what would happen an they did it anyway. Case closed!!

    It is funny to see how the political game works. All the candidates understood the rules and abide by them. The Clinton campaign only started to question the rules midway through the South Carolina primary after the BILL EFFECT. I would be outraged and never vote again even if my vote is for Clinton. I have become ashamed of their campaign. They attempted to aid in blocking from having polling site inside Casinos on the Vegas strip that would've prevented the right of many to vote due to the constraints of work. They lost that battle but won the state. Now they want Florida and Michigan where they knew the rules even though they didn't campaign but she mentioned the states names numerous times leading up to their primary. I also dont agree with OBAMA saying super delegates should side with their states. All of this should have been disputed before. To redo an election in those to states knowing the status of the election right now and the Clinton's having the bigger name brand would take away from the democratic process. Sorry Florida & Michigan if you want to complain, complain to your state party its their fault. But they got what they wished for they wanted to alter the race and they did EXACTLY THAT!! Let it be decided by the voters they way it is now. If they want to be the nominee, its right there for the taking. Win in Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania by a considerable margin and the job is yours!! Anything else would be uncivilized.!! Please let me know if you agree!

    February 13, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  19. Katie

    You know, you say that Obama's name just didn't show up on the Michigan ballot, what you neglected to say was that he chose to take his own name off the ballot. That was his choice and I think he needs to suffer the consequences for the choice he made. I am a Michigan democrat and I have felt through this whole process that my vote is not being counted. I feel that we deserve the right to be heard and that the results should stand as the are, Clinton won Michigan and Florida. By the way, stop the bias reporting. It is perfectly clear that CNN is supporting Obama. CNN and other networks are doing whatever they can to bash Clinton. Shame on you!!

    February 13, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  20. Robert in Denver

    The parties in Michigan and Florida knew they were violating the party rules, and they were penalized accordingly. There is no do-over. The made their choice and they live with the consequences. The party nominee will be chosen without their votes. Their votes will count in the general in Nov. If residents of these states feel disenfranchised, they should take it out on their state party leaders.

    February 13, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  21. Rick in Florida

    As a Florida registered democrat, I am furious with the Democratic Party about disenfranchising their Florida Democratic Party members from the election process. As a result of party leadership and the reckless strategy to omit Florida from the nomination process, the legitimacy of the final nomination will be in doubt in one of our party's most contested swing states: Florida. The republican controlled Florida legislature made the final decision regarding our primary date, not ordinary voters like myself. I have to wonder if they planned for the current situation as a strategy to suppress and demotivate the Democratic vote in Florida in the general election. Well, I think it could work...I know that I am not alone in considering to not vote at all in the November election unless my voice is heard in the nomination process.

    February 13, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  22. Ian

    I say just split the MI and FLA delegates 50/50 and move on. Counting the delegates in those states as they are right now wouldn't be fair to, and doing re-votes in those states would be ridiculous. Both those states broke the rules, I feel bad for the voters but you know, it's the people they elected that chose to move their elections.

    As for the Obama not being on the MI ballot, neither was Edwards. The two respected the DNC's decision. Hillary left her name on the ballot so that she could claim victory. Come Florida, it only made sense for Obama and Edwards to leave their names on the ballots, otherwise Hillary would just have her name on there again (alone) and claim victory for nothing. Obama and Edwards clearly didn't want to just give Florida to Clinton like they did Michigan.

    Either way, they should just split the delegates 50/50 in those states and leave it at that. Doesn't change anything in the standings besides raising the current delegate count of each candidate.

    February 13, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  23. Oregon Modliberal

    I just read a leaked paper from the RNC. The have been promoting Obama to make sure Hillary didn't have a cake walk nomination! They have been organizing and registering Republicans as independents to help Obama. This fight between the two is taking its toll on Dem. unity and the winners are the Reps!
    I am an Obama supporter but I now know how he suddenly gained so much ground on Hillary and why there are so many more people voting in the Dem. primaries than the Rep. primaries but now it makes perfect sense; the Reps are setting us up!
    Watch, Hillary will suddenly catch Obama in the next several states contrary to what all the pundits will expect. Why? Because there will suddenly be an influx of Hillary supporters from no where! The Reps. Couldn’t win this one fair and square so they found a way to win it otherwise!

    February 13, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  24. DEE



    February 13, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  25. Billy

    I noticed several times tonight Wolf and his hood kept repeating that Clinton was the only name on the Michigan ballot.Then someone said Kucinichs name was on the ballot..Wolf my biased Friend why haven't you explained to your viewers why Barack Hussien Obamah and John Edwards name was not on the Michigan Ballot..I'm Sure it won't take a rocket scientist to find out Both of them ASked to remove their name and for their supporters vote undecided..But this would sound a whole lot better if you said this insteed. that Hillarh Rodham Clinton had some kind of Mystical Vodoo to put her name on the ballot...CNN the most Biased name in the news and .......PS Barack Obamah run TV ads in Florida..please check your facts..Report the news and dont try to make news with your slanted views..

    February 13, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
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