March 6th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Blitzer: Florida and Michigan could yet be pivotal

Blitzer: Florida and Michigan should consider paying for new primary contests.
Blitzer: Florida and Michigan should consider paying for new primary contests.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Whatever it costs the taxpayers in Michigan and Florida to re-do their primaries – whether it’s $18 million or $25 million or even $30 million – would almost certainly be money well spent for their states. That’s because those states potentially stand to gain a lot more from having another round of what could be critical presidential primaries.

The Democratic Party stripped Florida and Michigan of their delegates because they moved up the date of their primaries in violation of party rules. If Michigan and Florida have primaries in June after the last scheduled Puerto Rico Democratic caucuses on June 7, and neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama yet has the needed number of convention delegates, those two states will become the center of the political universe.

Think about how many millions of dollars will be pumped into the Michigan and Florida economies. The two campaigns alone will spend millions in political advertising. Other outside political interest groups will pump in millions more in commercials. The hotels, restaurants and other related industries in the states will be in high demand.

Both of those states will also gain an enormous amount of publicity, not only in the United States but around the world. It would be a bonanza for their respective tourism industries. Just think about the coming economic gain for Pennsylvania which holds its primary on April 22. This is one of the best things to happen to that state in a long time.

Remember - those are key factors why both Iowa and New Hampshire are always so diligent in preventing other states from usurping their first-in-the-nation status for the presidential contests. People there make a lot of money from their caucuses and primary.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean says the national party can’t afford to foot the bill for another round of primaries, and that the states should pay for a re-do of the votes. (Normally, states pay for primaries; political parties pay for caucuses.) Politicians in Florida and Michigan say they don’t have the cash. That, however, may be a shortsighted stance.

One can make a very strong case that two more potentially-decisive primaries – with hundreds of delegates at stake - would not only determine the Democratic presidential nominee, but would in effect become a significant economic stimulus package for both of those states. It would be an amazing cap to an already amazing political season.

– CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer


Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (247 Responses)
  1. GO HILLARY!

    Hey, HD for Obama:

    If your comment is true....WHY DID OBAMA LOSE MARCH 4???????
    SEEMS TO ME THE MORE PEOPLE GET TO REALLY KNOW HILLARY, THEY VOTE FOR HER!

    BTW, OBAMA RAN ADS THAT ENDED UP RUNNING ON TV IN FLORIDA!!!!!!!!!!!! HE ADVERTISED THERE, SHE DIDN'T!

    March 6, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  2. Amy

    Everyone knew the rules. What are we teaching our children from this? If you're not winning it's okay to break the rules or convince others to do so in order to win? Win at any cost?

    It's not Howard Dean's fault. It's the fault of the party leaders in Michigan and Florida. They are the villains (besides the Clinton campaign trying to cheat). It's wrong and it's unfair. I think they should be taught a lesson. Let their own voters vote them out of office for doing such an arrogant thing. But don't blame someone else for this one. You agree to this. Michigan and Florida were trying to cheat. Now Hillary's trying to cheat. Just say NO!

    March 6, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. SAM

    March 6th, 2008 2:00 pm ET

    WHO besides the Obama people care about Hillary's tax returns! BARRACK get back to the campaign and give us specifics on how YOU propose to fix America!

    BARRACK – how are you going to bring the republicans to the table to give us their gains under 8 years of George and Company?

    BARRACK – how are you going to balance the BUDGET?

    BARRACK – how are you going to get the ECONOMY moving?

    BARRACK – how are you going to add American JOBS?

    BARRACK – TELL us what YOU are going to DO!

    WE DON'T CARE HOW MUCH MONEY HILLARY PAID TO THE IRS! I DON'T EVEN CARE HOW MUCH YOU PAID TO THE IRS BARRACK!

    I WANT TO KNOW HOW YOU propose to get the RICH to pay their "FAIR SHARE" of our country's "BILLS"

    ANSWERS BARRACK – OR GO BACK HOME!

    VOTE HILLARY CLINTON

    March 6, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  4. Ronald, American living abroad

    Why won't you post my comment?

    Why is Hillary trying to change the rules of the DNC? CNN is hyping this story because they realize they only have a couple of more states withwhich to pump up HRC's numbers. Just like HRC, who dismissed Mississippians as backwards, CNN is ignoring Wyoming and Mississippi and only looking forward to PA. Shame on you CNN for helping Hillary hide the truth about how many delegates she has and how many elections there are still in play.

    March 6, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  5. Fake it til you make it Hillary

    HILLARY NEW SLOGAN IS:

    FAKE

    IT

    TIL

    YOU

    MAKE

    IT

    OBAMA 08

    March 6, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  6. Dan

    Wolf you often mention the fact that they didn't campaign in Florida but it's too late to change minds after people have voted, it would create a backlash and a bias for Hillary. It's as if id tell you, " Wolf you didnt know what you were doing when you voted the last time," how would that make you feel? They both didn't campaign in Florida thats as fair as it can be.

    March 6, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  7. John Russell

    Now that the DNC leadership, the Democratic presidential primary candidates and the electronic media are all beginning to support statewide revotes in Michigan and Florida for the Democratic presidential candidate, the odds are that there will be statewide revotes in Michigan and Florida.

    Does anyone seriously think that the issue is the $25 million to $35 million that it will cost to revote in Michigan and Florida?

    Primary election tactics are overshadowing differences in positions on issues between Obama and Cinton. "Personality and personal style" are overshadowing "issue position based substance" to the point the "personality and personal style are becoming the substance" of this Democratic primary election.

    March 6, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  8. E.H

    i HAVE NEWS FOR ALL OF OBAMA SUPPORTERS. HE DID CAMPAIGN IN FLORIDA!!!! HIS AD WAS ON TV EVERYDAY. HILLARY WAS THE ONLY ONE WHO DID NOT BREAK THE RULES. REMEMBER.... WE HAVE A RIGHT TO VOTE ...... AND TO HAVE OUR VOTE COUNTED........ LISTEN CAREFULLY...... IT WAS A REPULICAN WHO MADE THE DECISION TO MOVE OUR DATE..WE WILL PREVAIL......

    March 6, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. Anna

    Wolf Blitzer, from a strategical view, Florida and Michigan should be allowed to participate in the primaries. It is unfair to penalize millions of voters for the mistakes of their legislators. Since you, CNN, are such staunch Hillary supporters, and your ratings escalate during these events, perhaps CNN would be willing to put up the 18-25 million dollars needed to "re-do" the primary elecions in both states. Bear in mind as you consider my suggestion, that everyone in Florida and Michigan are not all Clinton supporters, Obama will surely take a large portion of those votes.

    By the way, you continually say that Obama out-spent Hillary by 2 to 1. Well, if you convert the amount of free air time CNN gave to Hillary from Friday evening until Tuesday, the day of the primary elections, to dollars, then one could conclude that Hillary out-spent Obana at a higher ratio.

    March 6, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  10. Garrett, Seattle

    Re: Johnboy March 6th, 2008 3:57 pm ET (see below)

    Your words do to Obama supporters exactly what you decry, only worse. You're rudely accusing Obama supporters of rudely accusing Clinton supporters. You complain that such people call Hillary supporters stupid, so you turn and call Obama supporters dumb:

    "I notice the Obama supporters really insult anyone with a different opinion. They call Clinton Supporters stupid and ignorant and uneducated.

    Funny, but most of the Clinton supporters are the parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings of the Obama supporters.

    So you insult the very people who loved you and nurtured you and educated you. Obviously education is no substitute for intelligence and common sense.

    Obama supporters epitomize and illustrate the saying: THE DUMBING DOWN OF AMERICA."

    Grow up.

    March 6, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  11. Justin

    Come on. The reality is that unless Florida and Michigan count neither candidate can win. If this wasn't the case there would be no debate, but it is the case. This question is an issue because of the numbers, not because Hillary is desperate (sp?), a whiner, a liar, a cheat, or a vain phony . Forgetting the reality of the numbers… If it were the other way around Barack supporters wouldn't have a problem. Excluding these two states threatens the legitamacy of the democratic process and of democratic principles. In a time where America is trying to show other countries that democracy works, it would be foolish to ignore the votes and voices of the people of two major states of this union.

    P.S. Even though it keeps being said that Barrack is ahead in the popular vote, it is untrue. Hillary is ahead in the popular vote. More people, based on votes, not delegates, want Hillary Clinton to be the president of this country. Why is everyone ignoring this fact?

    P.P.S. CNN, I find it hard to believe that the only people that have commented on this issue are Obama supporters. This is what SNL alluded to in the unfair treatment of Hillary in the media. Does anyone remember that the so-called negative direction of Hillary's campaign was in response to negative campaign ads from the Obama camp? Why isn't the media bringing that up? Furthermore, how is asking the questions that every American should be asking themselves when choosing a president a negative campaign tactic? The Obama supporters are getting so mad that Hillary has asked these questions because deep down they know the answer.

    P.P.P.S. Blitzer for president?

    March 6, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  12. john

    I agree with all you have said. the Governor of Florida,cannot see it your way because he is part of the problem,remember his signature is on record.

    March 6, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  13. Mary Jo

    Obama is our Savior. Voters in Texas, Ohio, and Rode Island have arrogantly voted against Obama, so now we can all understand why it is so hard for Michelle to be proud of america. Michelle felt the same racist oppresion at Princeton and Harvard that we all suffered on Tuesday. We need to remember that Obama will change an evil america, and treaty with our muslim brothers. He can apologize to them for americas evil actions – Shame shame shame Texas and Ohio.

    March 6, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  14. Adam

    The Florida GOVERNOR is an Idiot. He approved the bill to move the primary and now he wants the party to pay to redo the Primary. HE SHOULD PAY FOR THE REDO OUT OF HIS OWN POCKET> Talk about mis management.. and WOLF, it escapes me as to why you allowed him to ramble on and NOT ASK THE QUESTION why on EARTH did he move the primary knowing full well the DNC would have issues with the Delegates

    March 6, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  15. darryl

    does wolf blitzer work for the clintons. it seems like every time he opens his mouth it sounds like a talking point for her. maybe you should spend a little more time checking into what she really did while she was first lady and report on that instead. are you a reporter or a talk show host?

    March 6, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  16. RMSfromColorado

    Right now the Democrats are handing the Republicans the gift of two key states in the November election. Whoever wins the Democratic nomination, they will be poisoned by this issue, at least in these two states and maybe more. Anyone remember Chicago in 1968? Think about a whole bunch of voters from Florida and Michigan on the streets of Denver chanting “every vote counts”. Better yet, how about adding an opposing group out there too from the Obama camp chanting “follow the rules”? I doubt Mayor Hickenlooper will get in the proper nostalgic spirit by ordering his police to break up the gathering with force, but then we can’t have everything.

    Now imagine a press conference with Obama, Clinton and Dean standing side by side. Clinton and Obama state that “tomorrow we will be fighting each other for the nomination. But today we are joining together to make sure the Democratic voters in all states are heard. No more stolen elections. We are joining together to do what is right.” They agree to split the cost of a revote in the two states so that the votes can count under the DNC rules. Dean steps up and says he will work with the state Democratic parties to make sure this happens.

    All of a sudden the Democrats look like winners again. Only if.

    March 6, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  17. Tim

    It doesn't matter how you slice it,

    THERE IS NO FAIR WAY to let Florida and Michigan have "do-overs" without favoring one candidate over another.

    If you allow them to have primaries, you open the door for Hillary to say, "I was the only one who stayed on the ballot the first time, so I'm the only one who cared about you, even when your votes didn't count."

    Unfair advantage to Clinton.

    If you allow them to have caucuses, Clinton will get her butt kicked by the Republicans and Independents who will vote not just FOR Obama, but AGAINST Clinton.

    Unfair advantage to Obama.

    IT'S WRONG.

    No other way to slice it…IT'S WRONG TO LET FLORIDA AND MICHIGAN HAVE DO-OVERS.

    March 6, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  18. brent

    Wolf,

    An oddball idea for you on how to finance possible primaries in FL and MI. Why not have both of the candidates share the cost of holding the elections. They have the money. Each state would contribute in-kind with its elections staffs, and perhaps the DNC could also share in the cost.

    If both candidates think that a "revote" is a good thing, then let them pay for it.

    March 6, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  19. Brett

    Lets get the story straight! Sen. Clinton DID NOT "WIN" MICHIGAN or FLORIDA! You can not win a fight or a race or an election if the the hosts choose not to follow established rules!

    March 6, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  20. Karen in Philly

    Charlie Crist blabs on about democracy and seating the Florida delegates, but he neglects to mention that he and his Republican legislature were responsible for this fiasco by signing the bill moving the primary in violation of DNC rules. He wants the DNC to pay for it, thereby reducing the amount of money that the Democrats have available for the general election. What a ploy – could it be more Machiavellian?

    March 6, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  21. Geno Gray

    I'm sorry, I agree with Mr. Dean on this one. You can't change the rules in the middle of the game. I don't think the DNC should have to pay for anoher primary; that responsibility should rest with the individuals who went against the regulations set. If anybody is to blame for this outcome it is that group of people. You can't break the rules, and then cry about the consequences!

    March 6, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  22. Heather McAlister, NC

    Look, if we're going to throw the rulebook out the window, then all the other rules go with it. If Michigan and Florida get to re-do their primaries, then who's to say that the super-delegates should still be the ones to make the decision about who gets to be our nominee at the convention if neither candidate gets the 2,024 delegates needed to clench the nomination? Either these two states re-do their primaries, and at the end of the day the one with the highest delegate count in June gets the nomination, or we don't let their votes count and let the super-delegates decide.

    Personally, I think that voters in Florida and Michigan will remember that the DNC didn't count their votes come November, and that could definitely be devastating to the Democratic party. I also agree with what you said, Wolf, that both states could benefit financially from the attention they'll be getting from around the world, and if they wanted to find the money to pull off a re-do, I'm sure they could.

    But if the Clinton camp can get the party to accept do-over primaries in these two states, then the Obama camp has the right to push for the delegate count alone choosing the nominee, as opposed to the convention choosing the nominee. I don't think it would be good for the party to keep fighting amongst itself until August, because that would give McCain a lot of time to campaign nationally. But I also believe that choosing the nominee through a national convention is a very improtant aspect to our democratic system.

    March 6, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
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