February 22nd, 2008
11:12 AM ET
7 years ago

Clinton says again Florida and Michigan votes should count

Sen. Clinton celebrated winning Florida's Democratic primary with Florida Sen. Bill Nelson.
Sen. Clinton celebrated winning Florida's Democratic primary with Florida Sen. Bill Nelson.

(CNN) – If the Democratic presidential race is still unresolved at the party’s nominating convention in Denver, Hillary Clinton said in a new interview that she will continue to push for the inclusion of the Florida and Michigan delegations, despite penalties that stripped both states of their voting power.

Interviewer Evan Smith of Texas Monthly asked Clinton whether her plan was to press the national party to reverse its decision to punish the states for moving their primaries earlier in the year, in violation of Democratic National Committee instructions.

“Yes, it is. Yes, it is,” she said. “It’s in large measure because both the voters and elected officials in Michigan and Florida feel so strongly about this. Sen. Bill Nelson, of Florida, early on in the process actually sued because he thinks it’s absurd on its face that 1.7 million Democrats who eventually voted would basically be disregarded, and I agree with him about that.”

Clinton won both the Florida and Michigan primaries, but no delegates were awarded, in accordance with the DNC penalties.

The major Democratic presidential candidates all signed a pledge not to campaign in either state before their primaries. Most of the major candidates, except for Clinton also removed their name from Michigan’s primary ballot.

Clinton told Smith that she had promised not to campaign in either state, and had kept her word – but that she had never said she would not ask for the results of those contests to be made official, a request her campaign made public on the eve of Florida’s January vote.

“I signed an agreement not to campaign in Michigan and Florida. Now, the DNC made the determination that they would not seat the delegates, but I was not party to that,” she told Smith.

She said that, unlike Texas, both Florida and Michigan were critical to any Democratic victory, and that because “the people of those two states disregarded adamantly the DNC’s decision that they would not seat the delegates” and turned out in record numbers, the party should not invalidate their votes.

“Florida, in particular, is sensitive to being disenfranchised because of what happened to them in the last elections,” said Clinton. “I have said that I would ask my delegates to vote to seat.”

Barack Obama's campaign has said they are willing to consider various proposals for the inclusion of Florida and Michigan – but that they are opposed to seating the delegations based on the results of January’s primaries.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand


Filed under: Florida • Hillary Clinton • Michigan
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Me

    Hey Will, check your facts, it's been reported time and again that record numbers went to the polls in Michigan and Florida...

    February 22, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  2. Dan from Michigan

    Hillary supporters: I'm a Democratic voter from Michigan. I, and many of my Democratic buddies (including my wife), did not vote in the meaningless election held here in January. I can't speak for Florida, but STOP FIGHTING TO HAVE MICHIGAN DELEGATES SEATED! Many of us Democrats stayed home, or voted in the GOP primary, instead of wasting our time on a meaningless vote. Stop saying you are speaking for us. You're not. Hillary will not get my vote if she tries to pull this kind of crap.

    February 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. Chris

    Yes, all candidates were on the Florida ballot. Senator Obama and Senator Edwards (and perhaps others) were not on the Michigan ballot. All candidates agreed not to campaign in those states. The most fair thing to do would be to allow those states to hold new primaries, with a sufficient time allowed for the candidates to campaign in those states. However, if they do not hold new primaries, I do not think the delegates should be counted. Yes, it disenfranchises the people of those states in the nomination process. But think of all the people who probably stayed home when they heard their votes would not count. How is it fair to accept what is essentially a tainted vote as it currently stands? The legislatures of these states knew what the consequences would be when they voted to hold earlier primaries. They called the DNC's bluff – but they weren't bluffing.

    February 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  4. mel

    as a florida voter, i feel like i made my vote count in the only way it could... in the form of a small contribution to the obama campaign. as much as it stung to have the votes not result in seated delegates, AFTER the results come is not the time to cry foul.

    would hillary have won florida if the candidates were actively campaigning here? probably. would she have won michigan if any other candidate's name had even been on the ballot (THAT'S fair)? maybe. it's too late to speculate about this time, instead the party as a whole just needs to focus on fixing the problem for next time.

    February 22, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. ORK

    Ready to cheat and twist on day one! Ya, and what a slap on the face of Texas! You are a repb. state, you don't count!

    February 22, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. Di

    If Obama wasn't on the ticket...just shows how stupid he was and you want his as a President??????

    Those votes should be counted!!!

    February 22, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. Kkaye

    The talk was that she would pursue those delegates in Florida and Michigan if she was behind. And just like breathing here she is.

    The problem here is that she NEVER took the Obama campaign seriously. She thought she had the black vote sewed up with her husband. She thought Senator Obama would win one or two, certainly not 10 in a row.

    If she had run her presidential campaign like her Sentorial campaign...She probably would not be in the place she is now.

    February 22, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. Margaret, Silver Spring, MD

    She has no integrity.

    February 22, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. carrie

    hillary has shown herself to be a fickle minded,manioulative woman with total disregard for the law.how can such a person be the president of the united states.i have lost all the respec t i once had for her.obama has my vote anyday.

    February 22, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  10. Rob

    It would be a mistake of historic preportions not to seat Florida & Michigan at the convention. However it would be a mistake to award them to Sen. Clinton. Florida was the site of the 2000 Bush scam & Michigan has the most desperate economy in the US so one can hardly blame them for wanting to be heard early & often. Their delegates should be halved in number & seated at the convention as uncommited until the first floor vote. If they are disenfranchised by the Democratic party those two states will probably end up red in November and our country will be sending its sons & daughters to die in Iraq for McCain for 100 years.

    February 22, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  11. matt

    This is the best thing that could happen to the GOP... The DNC comes out with a set of rules and everyone agrees to them. Then we see Clinton's hunger for power come to light. There will be court battles… and best of all, whoever wins is illegitimate.

    I can’t stand Clinton (it appears that most Republicans and half of the Democrats agree with me on that), but I kind of hope she wins. She will be shown for what she is, a power crazed politician, who only cares about winning.

    Win or lose, at least she will weaken Obama in the effort.

    February 22, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  12. dayle

    MI and FL votes will count in Nov. 44 electoral votes for McCain. I am a MI voter.

    February 22, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  13. Charlotte

    I said way back this election could come down to the last state to vote. All this jocking to be early. I now believe this election in November will depend on the running mate of each party. The first time the VP will be an all important factor.

    February 22, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  14. Eric

    Hillary really is the definition of win at all costs.

    She can't keep her word about agreeing to the DNC rules when they suddenly aren't in her favor, and that just shows she won't keep her word to the American people either when it's not convenient for her.

    Desperate moves by a desperate politician.

    February 22, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. r-u

    I can only speak about my home state: Florida
    Let do the fair thing. 1.8 million Democrats disenfranchised in Florida
    (AGAIN)... whoever becomes the nominee is going to need Florida.
    We take this seriously here and democrats are going independent in droves (close to a 100,000 statewide). Obama should also be fitting for the people that voted for him here and making sure the delegates from Florida get to vote at the convention or come November don’t count on us Senator Obama. I am starting to regret voting for this man.

    February 22, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. rob

    "I've always thought that it's a Constitutional right to vote. I don't believe the DNC has the right to disenfranchise voters in any election — no matter where they live. Their "rules" are not a part of the Constitution."

    There are no rules in the constitution regarding the nomination process. Less than a century ago, there were states who chose their _general_ election delegates by allowing the state legislature alone to vote. The two main parties are free to choose their candidate however they please, just like every other party. The only rules to which they are subject in the nomination process are the ones that the party themselves have set down.

    February 22, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. NG

    Maybe she should follow her same line of thinking with her thoughts on the superdelegates and realize that "well, you know, these are the rules that are followed, and you know, I think that it will sort itself out." Let the rules stand for this situation... Those votes in Michigan and Florida aren't valid. Do another caucus or just let it go.

    February 22, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  18. raf

    Why not just have another primary for both states, with everyone's names on the ballot? Good grief.

    February 22, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  19. MARY

    RULES ARE RULES.....OOOOOOOOOOPS I FORGOT RULES IS A WORD AND WORDS DON'T MEAN ANYTHING. IF THE DNC CHANGES THE RULES IN MID-STREAM THEN THEY WILL LOSE NOT ONLY DEMS, BUT A LOT OF US INDEPENDENTS ALSO. DO OVER OR DO NOTHING!!!!!!!!!!

    WHY CAN'T ALL PRIMARIES BE CHANGED SO THEY ARE ON THE SAME DAY, PERHAPS LATER IN THE YEAR. THEN THERE WOULDN'T BE ALL THIS FUSS AND BOTHER. I HAVE A FRIEND IN PA WHO WILL NOT VOTE IN THE PRIMARY BECAUSE THEIRS IS SO LATE THAT THE NOMINEE IS USUALLY ALREADY CHOSEN.

    February 22, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  20. Hypocrisy

    Well...when it comes to Superdelegates, the system and the rules are more important than the will of the voters. When it comes to Florida and Michigan, the will of the voters is more important than the system and the rules.

    Hmmm...

    February 22, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  21. Noreen

    There should be a re-vote. Knowing that Florida's vote did not really count, many people probably stayed home....and in Michigan, Edwards and Obama were not even on the ballot.

    February 22, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  22. Joe NJ

    MICHIGAN DEM PRIMARY VOTES
    2008 2004
    Clinton 328,151 84,214 Kerry
    Uncmmitd 237,762 26,994 Dean
    Kucinich 21,708 21,919 Edwards
    Dodd 3,853 27,439 Other
    other 2,363
    TOTAL 593,837 160,566

    ALMOST 4x as many people voted in 2008 DEM Primary
    2x as many people voter for Clinton in 2008 than for every one in 2004

    HOW CAN ANY MICHIGAN VOTER SAY THAT PEOPLE STAYED HOME

    OBAMA ANDEDWARDS TOOK THEIR NAMES OFF THE BALLOT BY THE REQUEST OF IOWA AND NEW HAMPSHIRE STATE PARTY OFFICIALS

    IF THEY WANTED THE VOTES OF MICHIGAN VOTERS THEY SHOULD HAVE LEFT THEIR NAMES ON TH EBALLOTS.

    THEY CHOSE TO TRY TO INTIMIDATE THE STATE PARTY AND PENALIZE AND THE VOTERS QUIT CRYING!

    February 22, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  23. Cynthia St. Louis

    If Billary continues down this road, the Democratic party will be fractured, leaving the way open for McCain to win the presidency.

    I guess that grabbing power, however you can, is more important than the future of the Democratic party and the country to the Clintons.

    What a sad and disgusting end to a poorly strategized, managed and financed campaign.

    February 22, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. Upstate NY

    MI and FL votes should count and the voices of those voters should not be ignored. Obama is so arrogant that he didn't put his name on the ballot.

    Will all this matter? No. I remember presidential candidates winning the popular vote but loosing the election to the electoral votes.

    McCain will win over Obama (if it comes down to the two of them) unless it's a Clinton/Obama ticket where she can put him in his place during a debate.

    I really don't care who wins because it's a loose-loose situation.

    February 22, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  25. CaseyB

    Who cares what Florida thinks? Thanks to the idiocy of its residents, "W" got elected in 2000

    February 22, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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