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

Blitzer: 'Be careful what you wish for'

ALT TEXT

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. Linda in Gainesville,FL

    As one of the 600,000 democratic Floridians who voted for Hillary Clinton and a registered elector since 76– Yes, we should count !
    its not like we're a territory awaiting statehood. Obama can campaign , or rather give his rah rah yes we can speeches until his tongue turns blue but he still would not win Florida.
    And if by some quirk of fate he does win the democratic primary I know alot of democrats who are voting for John McCain. And I'll be one of them.

    February 13, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  2. Vince

    ALL OF YOU "TALKING POINT" HILLARY-ITES... OBAMA IS ON "RIGHT NOW" GIVING "DETAILS" AT A LIVE TOWN HALL!!!

    LISTEN NOW, OR SHUT UP THAT PHONY, STRAW MAN REPUBLICAN ARGUMENT FOREVER..

    PAGE ONE IN "POLITICS" HEADER ON CNN.

    February 13, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  3. Liam Brent Kelly

    Man, am I ever going to be thankful when the clinton's finally pack their bags for irrelevancy town. The article I read states that the states of Ohio ect. have supported her in caucases and primaries in the past?!!? excuse me but exactly when did she ever run nationally to receive this support. From day ONE the nomination was handed to her with the backing of ALL the heirarchy and even the media that continues to add superdelegates to the count EVEN THOUGH THEY HAVEN'T AND DO NOT HAVE TO DECIDE until even subsequent votes,(if required), at the convention. From day ONE she has lost, lost, lost. She HAS NOT consolidated her 'gift' and she hasn't even won in campaign contributions despite the big red clinton machine and the dem heirarchy supporting her 'coronation'.

    The continued presumption that she IS even a viable candidate at this point due to SOLE focus on delegates and AN EVER GREATER emphasis on the superdelegates IS obscene for a party that calls itself DEMOCRAT. The people have spoken...THOSE ARE REAL PEOPLE...they are NOT 'states'...they are NOT delegates or superdelegates...THEY ARE THE PEOPLE...and in LARGE margins they continue to reject clinton and support Obama.

    This would simply be tired if it wasn't so troubling and dangerous. If the democrat party continues to disrespect THE VOICE OF THE PEOPLE whose interests THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO SERVE in favour of superdelegates and party machinations THEN they can pack their bags in november NOT for the executive mansion...but for irrelevant town themselves.

    I will pray at that point they stuff the clinton's in the luggage and force upon them what they clearly will never see: TOO MANY GOOD AND DECENT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN BURNED FOR NO GOOD REASON EXCEPT THEIR VAINGLORIOUS PURSUIT OF 'A JOB' AND THAT HATE AIN'T GOING AWAY...IT IS GROWING INCANDECENT.

    The democrat heirarchy had better see the writting on the wall...much more of this and they are going to start losing independants who are just as anxious to say good riddence to bush & co. as they are to more of the clinton's.

    February 13, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  4. Evan Dowling

    I am an Obama supporter. However, everyone involved should be smart and mature enough to be ready to compromise.

    Since Florida had all the candidates on the ballot, the Dems should adopt the Rep solution there and seat half of the delegates. That way Florida is still penalized yet the voters get some representation at the convention.

    Since Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan the party should schedule a caucus.

    February 13, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  5. Sandy

    Obama thinks florida voters are nothing. Well If he wins that is what Florida will give him..NOTHING.

    February 13, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  6. Doug

    This isn't much of a news story. Local politicians in Michigan and Florida made a choice.....a poor choice. The citizens in these states are penalized because of the leadership of their state's democratic party.

    I don't think this will be an issue in the end if Obama's momentum continues in Wisconsin, Hawaii and into Texas and Ohio.

    Clinton supporters should focus on the futre and not focus on the past. Funny how she doesn't acknowledge her defeats in the past few days but yet can recognize primaries that were not suppose to count way before this process started.

    If Clinton really feels strongly that the votes in MI and FL should count, then she should support a re-do in which they can really compete for votes. Keep in mind many voters did not go to the polls because they knew at the time that their vote would not count towards the delegate count this year.

    February 13, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  7. ANTI CLINTONS

    What does big bafoon Bliter know. NOTHING!

    Obama is the right person, MI and Fl made a mistake, learn from it and move on.

    Hitlery went to those states to act like she had won the elections. Thses two states broke the rules, they knew that if they did what they did that they would pay for it...now the payoff.

    They can act like they are "victims" they are not. If they feel they need to cahnge the rules, then change them.

    If Obama campaigned in MI, then he shouldn't have. Hitlery went to those states as if she was the "winner" of those states also and fed them a load of crap that she would seat the delegates, she is doing what she claims Obama does, makes hollow promises. She can't keeo this one...surprise, surprise.

    Obama!

    February 13, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  8. maria h.

    I hope that Democratic Obama supporters who want a Democrat in the White House wake up in time to realize that he does not have a lock on winning against McCain in a general election.
    I am a Clinton supporter who will not be supporting Obama if he should be the Democratic nominee.
    I would vote for McCain in a general election, and I know many more voters who feel the same way I do.

    February 13, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  9. Doug

    In response to Dave above....

    It is true that Obama's name was on the ballot in Florida. However, Obama did not campaign in Florida so he didn't get a fair shot at speaking to the voters of that state. Clinton received more votes based on her name recognition thanks to her husband...it is a household name that people are familiar with.

    The situation is similar to Guiliani in Florida. Prior to the candidates entering the state, he was winning the polls by large margins. This was based on national name recognition. After the candidates entered Florida, then opinions of voters changed and well you saw the results. Obama did not get a chance to speak to the voters of Florida. He did not campaign there despite some people's strange opinion that he did b/c national TV spots ran in Florida.

    What is the solution? Rules are rules. It was decided before this race started that the delegates would not count. You shouldn't change the rules in the middle of the game.

    What is wrong with this country? People enter the country illegally and then they are not penalized though the rules are clear. Politicians trying to reverse decisions made prior the race starting when two states made poor decisions to have their primaries before Super Tuesday. There are rules for a reason and they should not be broken to help the Clintons.

    February 13, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  10. Dave

    John at 6:42: EXACTLY. Thank you, fellow Michigander.

    February 13, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  11. RRH

    Excellent article Wolf. It is perplexing as to how these two states can reconcile. I think Howard Dean may have caused this mess in his own party. I hope in time the Democrats find they are not being represented well by the DNC under his leader ship or lack there of. Dean should work out a fair way to have these two states seated at the convention or they may pay in the general election.

    February 13, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  12. tracker

    WE HAVE ONE GREAT CANDIDATE AND ONE THAT WISHES HE WAS IN THE DEMOCRATIC RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE. SEEMS TO ME WHEN EVER FLORIDA COMES INTO PLAY THEY ARE NOT COUNTED (SOUND FIMILAR? )ANYONE VOTING FOR A REPUBLICAN NEEDS MEDICAL CARE REAL FAST (MAYBE HILLARYS PLAN WILL HELP YOU PAY FOR IT) OBAMA SOUNDS LIKE A PREACHER NOT A PRESIDENT. HE NOW IS COMING UP WITH MEDICAL CARE, HOMELESS,ECONOMY,GLOBAL WARMING,NO CHILD LEFT BEHIND,WAGES,AND BRINING OUR SERVICE MEN AND WOMAN HOME I'M GLAD TO SEE HE WAS LISTENING TO HILLARY AT THERE DEBATES BECAUSE BEFORE THEN HE HAD NOTHING TO SAY ON ANY TOPIC THAT MATTERED.I AM SICK OF THE CLINTON BASHING.BEFORE BILL CLINTON(8 YRS.OF REGAN AND 4 YRS. OF BUSH ONE) WHERE WAS THE ECONOMY THEN? YEP IN THE TIOLET.WHO TURNED IT AROUND??CLINTON.WHEN HE LEFT OFFICE THERE WAS A SURPLUS WHERE IS IT NOW? WE HAVE BEEN BOMBED LIED TO, NO MEDICAL CARE,PEOPLE LOSING THERE HOMES, OUR MILITARY WORN DOWN AND IN NEED OF CARE OUR CHILDREN WITH SCHOOLS RUN OR SHUT DOWN.YEP WHY WOULD ANYONE VOTE FOR HER??SHE WILL BRING OUR MILITARY HOME( YOU CAN NOT SET A DATE) TO MANY OTHER AMERICANS WOULD BE LEFT BEHIND) TO SAY YOU CAN DO IT IN 16 MTHS.IS A LIE THERE WOULD BE TO MUCH AT STEAK. OBAMA DOES NOT HAVE THE EXPERIENCE TO BECOME PRESIDENT. WHAT WE NEED IS CHANGE FROM BUSH THEN HILLARY WILL TAKE THE ACTION NEEDED.

    February 13, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  13. Wani T

    United States talks about women rights and its lawmakers give lengthy lectures to other countries on gender equality. How hypocritical! Many countries in Asia, Europe and now in Latin America had a female as a head of the state. Forget about electing as a president, but in last 230+ years of history, US is yet to even nominate a female as a presidential candidate. Hillary Clinton is the first woman who has taken a giant step forward and she may not be the perfect, but she is good enough to be in the white house and certainly much better than few others who have been already in the white house. If in our daily lives we honor our mothers for bringing us up, we value our wives for supporting us and we encourage our daughters to become what they dream of becoming, then why Americans are so shy about selecting a female president. US is truly a third world nation when it comes to gender equality. More than 50% of US population is female and I think it is high time that US elect a female president.

    February 13, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  14. Patricia

    If the DNC allows these two states to have their delegates seated, and they are allowed to vote – I feel they should NOT be held to what was a "sneaky" election tactic for Hillary – for someone who was not supposed to campaign, why would she set up a Victory Rally??? That to me smells like rotten eggs.........another Clinton move to manuipulate the election...that's Hillary and Bill – lie, steal, and bribe their way to victory....DON'T PUT UP WITH IT AMERICA!!!!!

    February 13, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  15. Manuela

    well, I am sad to see Obama to be the future candidate for democrats. I wonder what is happening to this country? First of all why do people hate Hillary so badly that many people vote for Obama just so Hillary doe snotw irn? I am telling you it is sad to acknowledge that yes we live in a country where men hate women and will do everything possible to not allow them to succeed. Even if we live in modern times, men still hate women, bash them in public, humiliate them in the media and treat them like crap. Believe it or not, this is the cruel reality. Us women, we might as well put a burka on because we are living here in US like in Afganistan, just that we are llowed to walk around in sexy outfits. But we are still hated badly, we are still being punished and treated like crap and we are still miserable and not given the chance to suceed. I wonder what happen to all these stupid black women who vote for Obama? Are they stupid or just follow their husbands words??? What is going on women out there?? Can't you see that men treat you like crap no matter what race you are? You rather listen to your men than stand up for yourselves? Please vote for Hillary, she is the best candidate out there, better than Obama, a lot better. I don't like him at all. He is sneaky and we are in big trouble if he wins, because in the end the white guy is going to win and we will have 100 years of war in Iraq and bad economy just for as many years. Are you stupid??? Wake up and vote for Hillary. what is going on with you stupid people???

    February 13, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  16. Lamont

    Gee please vote for Hillary. If you want change, then you need someone with experience who can deliver that change. That's Hillary. Obama is empty rhetoric. He is like Bush, but African-American and on the extreme left. He has no experience, plans, policy and has no idea what he is talking about. The media gushes at him because they are sexist and have a difficult time seeing a female commander in chief. The media also gives him a free ride because he is black so they don't want to appear racist by criticizing him or questioning him. In the end the Republicans will eat him alive because they don't care to have an Affirmative Action President. I wanted a black presidnet more than anyone. But don't vote for somone because they are black or because a different name is gonna be on the presidential seal and they talk a good game. Vote for someone with experience that is necessary to deliver real changes to Washington and to combat the problems we have in America after the 8 years of the Bush nightmare. In these times, we need a president who can really lead on day one. Obama can't do that period. I don't care what big headed Ted Kennedy says. Kennedy is only using Obama to manipulate him and push his agenda. So don't believe any of this JFK hoopla.
    Seriously, I wish Colin Powell was running because I would vote for him in a heart beat. The only decent candidates were Clinton, Edwards, Biden and McCain. And since Edwards and Biden are out. Clinton is the number 1 choice. McCain is next. Obama is dead last and slightly only better than Bush.

    February 13, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  17. bob

    Doesn't matter. Their party , their rules. MI and FL broke them purposely, now their paying the price. End of story.

    February 13, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  18. Hi! Flint, MI

    I find it personally offensive that Clinton only spoke up before the Florida primary and then had a victory rally there, and yet never set a foot in Michigan. If she was so concerned about every vote counting in the Democratic nomination, then she should have voiced that concern before hand and not after the fact.

    February 13, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  19. JohnB

    Hillary had her chance to fix health care for eight years.
    She does not deserve to be President, she thinks that we owe her that job. The Clinton campaign, which depends heavily on wealthy contributors who have already reached the $2,300 legal maximum they can give to a candidate. No more money for General Hillary.
    Hillary will say or do anything to win.
    Wake up America! Vote for Obama 08!

    February 13, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  20. Democrate 100%

    The Democratic Party needs to hold those primaries again, at least in Michigan since the public voted with an incomplete ballot.

    Florida delegates should be seated since all candidates were placed on the ballot – give equal exposure and opportunity to voters.

    As for those "non -democrats", thanks but no thanks for your feedback, this is a democratic primary.

    February 13, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  21. UpWithDemocracy

    It is truly unfortunate to see the country not only divided by red and blue but, now subdivided at least on the democratic side in such an overwhelming way. Both candidates have very similar platforms and take similar positions on almost every issue. Furthermore the United States has not only politically but militarily spread democracy around the world using its own democracy as an example of an ideal democracy. If we elect another Clinton we will not only appear to the rest of the world as hypocrites for having the same two families as commander and chief for 26 years. Elected or not, having the same two families in office for 26 years is ridiculous. Hillary should not have even run in this election. There are plenty of well experienced female leaders in our country that can represent the Democratic Party in a successful way. So the only obvious choice for me is Obama who is very intelligent and will likely pick very competent running mate. Down with the royal families and up with Democracy!! What will be next? Could it be Jeb running on the republican side to succeed a Clinton? Oh the possibilities of our hypocrisy.

    February 13, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  22. JerryZ

    The DNC had rules and they broke them. They were punished for it.
    DNC told Obama & Hillary not to participate in Florida and Michigan. Hillary & Obama signed on to follow the DNC wishes.
    Hillary broke the rules when she threw a party after the elections.
    Right now if you were to seat both states, Obama still leads. Thats why you don't hear from Hillary right now. Before the 8 in the row primary wins for Obama, she was all over it. Now she's not saying anything, doing spin right now to save her campaign.

    One thing I like to ask Wolf, is the Hillary '08 t-shirt you wear under you suit off? Normally your behind Hillary.

    February 13, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  23. brenda

    OMG!! Can I say thatIam truly afraid for the future of this great land? I fear the unknown, as I am sure most do, and Obama is unknown to me and the rest of the country. I do not know what his message really is or if he secretly holds on to his Islamic faith, or if he really knows what is best for 300+ million people or just for those that are black or poor. I do not know why he thinks he can change anything since congress is the body that allows for that to happen. I dont know if I want a Muslim being the leader of the free world. I do not even know where he is from! Some say Kenya, some say Kansas and some say Hawaii. What is his background and how did he learn so much about runn9ng a great country in the few years that he has been a Senator? Im scared, really scared.

    February 13, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  24. Anon

    To all you Clinton supporters who believe that she should get the delegates, are you kidding me? Michigan's ballot only had two names on there and neither of them were Obama's name. Secondly, how is it fair that they couldn't campaign in Florida and Clinton gets the delegates? They jumped on the Clinton band-wagon from name recognition only. Are you people saying that Obama shouldn't get a chance to get the delegates if the democratic commission agrees to seat their delegates? How is that democracy?

    And to whoever said that Hillary is standing on her own two feet and Obama isn't. Come on. I think Chelsea, Bill, and all the officials that have endorsed her are evidence enough that she sure as heck isn't. there isn't a candidate that is. I forgot as well. Who's running for president. Billary?

    All you Clinton supporters are threatened by the movement that Obama is bringing. If clinton is so interested in the future of this country, then let the future decide. The future is voting for Obama. Step aside Billary.

    February 13, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  25. zagros1

    The Democratic Party has already offered a solution: Michigan and Florida can hold caucuses and the Democratic Party will respect the will of those caucuses. it is the Hillary Clinton camp that wants the delegates seated as is - because she knows she would lose a caucus.

    February 13, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
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