March 6th, 2008
08:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Clinton repeats calls to seat Florida and Michigan


Watch Clinton's comments Thursday.

(CNN) - Hillary Clinton repeated Thursday that delegates from Florida and Michigan be seated at the Democratic Party’s national convention this summer, and appeared to suggest she is open to the possibility of holding do-over contests in both states.

"I'm going to let the leadership of both states see what they think is the best approach," Clinton told reporters in Washington. "I think that it would be a grave disservice to the voters of Florida and Michigan to adopt any process that would disenfranchise anyone and I'm still committed to seating their delegations and I know that they're working with the Democratic party to determine how best to proceed."

Clinton's latest calls for the delegations to be seated come amid an increasingly heated back-and-forth between officials from both states and the national parties. Both the Republicans and Democrats sanctioned both states earlier this year for holding their primaries ahead of February 5 - the Democrats said Michigan and Florida's entire delegations would not be seated at the convention while the Republicans said only half of each state's delegates could be seated.

The Democrats’ decision on how to proceed with both states' delegates could have critical impact on the presidential nominating race - both Barack Obama and Clinton are locked in close contest for pledged delegates, and neither will be able to attain the needed 2,024 to clinch the nomination.

Obama's campaign has criticized Clinton for seeking to "change the rules" after Florida and Michigan voted, and said it will follow the party's leadership on the issue. Clinton came out on top of both states' meaningless contests in January. Neither candidate campaigned in the states, and Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan.

Clinton's comments come the same day Florida Sen. Bill Nelson, a supporter of the New York senator, formally wrote a letter to Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, calling on him to pay for a re-vote in his state. (Read Nelson's Letter [PDF])

“With two outstanding candidates battling so closely for their party’s nomination, there’s no way you can tell nearly two million Florida voters they don’t count," he said.

Dean has said the party will not pay for do-over contests.

"[The DNC's] job now is to elect the President of the United States and we're not going to have the resources to run a primary in Michigan or Florida," Dean said on CNN's American Morning Thursday. "So we hope they can comply with the rules, but they're going to have to figure out how to pay for it."

Related: Florida Gov Charlie Crist discusses the potential of a second primary

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (329 Responses)
  1. Chris, Denver CO

    If they want to count, all they need to do is schedule a new vote that complies with the rules. Simplest thing in the world.

    March 6, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  2. Cindy

    What is even funnier is that in Michigan a full 41% voted undecided rather than vote for Hillary. What does that tell you.

    Be careful what you wish for, you just may get it.

    At this point the democratic party must tread very carefully. Anything they do that gives the appearance of pandering to HRC's wishes and that does not give Obama a fair shot at winning delegates in these two states will be looked at as an attempt to steal the nomination away from Obama. If that happens, there will be hell to pay.... now and for the next 15 to 20 years.

    As to you outraged voters in Michigan and Florida.... why don't you spend time venting at the bozo's who made the decision to ignore the DNC and move up the primaries. It is not the fault of either HRC or Obama but you are the ones who are having to bare the brunt of their decision. That's OK, I'm sure the DNC will let you vote in the general election.

    March 6, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  3. Len Arenas

    Forget that it is obvious that Hillary is desperate to rob, steal, cry for, or plead for delegates. Does't it occur to everyone that this means that she is a situational moralist. Forget that for a moment, but isn't it indicative of just how she would conduct foreign policy if elected. Gee, I can't see how she would be able to colloborate with half the Democrats in Congress, much less the Republicans. Just remember, she was not able to push through health care reforms because she was not able to build a team playing partnership. Now, what makes anyone think that she can do it now. I'd say that having Hillary for President is just begging for America's continued downfall economically, diplomatically, morally, and all at the expense of the working poor.-Wake up America!-Len

    March 6, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  4. Simona Continente

    Erm...Who is Obama? Hillary for President please. Thank you

    March 6, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  5. Lindsay

    Funny...because she wasn't so worried about disenfranchising voters a year and a half ago when the decision to take away the delegates was made. She will change her mind when it suits her. Of course this is all part of her "endgame" to try to steal the nomination. First, she will try to change the rules that everyone agreed upon, then she will try to get taxpayers or the DNC to pay for another primary (seriously crippling the party's funds going into the general election), and finally, she will try to sway the superdelegates to vote AGAINST their constituents. Meanwhile, she will unfairly attack Obama and hope she can fool people into believing she is the candidate of "experience." Take note...she has only held an elected office since 2000. By contrast, Obama has held an elected office since 1996. Being the spouse of a politician does not equate the same experience! Don't think that the Republicans won't jump all over her "experience" argument in the general election.

    March 6, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  6. Obama Supporters.....

    At minimum seat the delegates....but otherwise – just do a vote – no caucus! Done – and then perhaps we can see again that the great states of Michigan and Florida will bring another winner in for Senator Clinton – even though we already know that Senator Obama will spend dilligently for all those votes.

    He did it in Texas – Ohio – Vermont – Rhode Island and he will try it in Florida and Michigan........

    Prove him wrong – that all the money in the world will not take away your good senses of who will be the next great President – Senator Clinton!

    March 6, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  7. HG

    If Obama lost 12 in a row. He would of been out of this race. But since it is a Clinton we must always give them another chance. I dont how people can call the media bias when they are keeping her pitiful campaign afloat. Think before you vote do we really want BUSH-CLINTON-BUSH-CLINTON. I think its time for the Clitons and Bushs to go off into the sunset.

    March 6, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  8. HD for Obama

    I am from Kentucky and am tired of people putting down our state so I understand how voters in Mississippi feel when they are being put down. This is not a negative is a quote of what she said a few months ago you poor Clinton supporters. Simple.

    You should not put down a community or state because they are not as educated as the prominent families that Hillary comes from. Everyone is not dealt the same hand. The biggest surprise I see in this campaign is that the Clintons are winning votes among the so-called "wal mart democrats", which by the way is offenssive to me because this is the largest store in my hometown of 6,000 people. Why do voters want a candidate who feels this way about the poor and less educated? Why would they not want a candidate who struggled and fought his way to where he is now instead of being born into wealth and then marrying well?

    If John Edwards wants to see real change in Washington, then why hasn't he endorsed Obama yet? Edwards said that Clinton was the status quo candidate and if real change is needed to help poor, rural areas like my hometown, then we need real change in Washington. Not another Clinton administration.

    March 6, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  9. jenn

    somebody needs to let mrs clinton know that she needs to play the game by the rules and that she cant go changing the rules in the middle of the game even if they dont suit her... poor poor hillary – not getting her way!

    March 6, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  10. pd4hillary

    Just a couple of quick pts.

    Florida Dems, if we are not counted in this contested election, we should change our political party. Let the Democrats know that they cannot disenfranchise 1.7 milion voters. I for one will do so.

    A suggestion of splitting the delegates 50/50 is the equivalent of not counting the votes, since that is not the way Florida Dems voted.

    No, it was not the FL Dems fault that the primary was moved up, it was the Republican legislature and Rep governor that did so.
    Obama may win on technicality on this issue, but he will lose the war on principle. Florida will not go for him in the GE, especially if the FL Dems had no say in the nomination process. That is just a cold hard fact, so don't blame Hillary for stating what should have been obvious to all at the beginning. You don't win elections by negating elections. All Dems should demand Dean's resignation for letting this issue get out of hand. This will lose the election for the Dems in NOV.

    March 6, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  11. Jan Collins

    Only if they re-do the vote and just do caucuses.

    March 6, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  12. Heather Peterson

    This Michigander would like the opportunity for my voice to be heard...for OBAMA.

    March 6, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  13. Kim

    This really is a no brainer. People vote and the votes should count. The fact that the Democratic Party can't get its act together is no fault of the voters themselves who have little to say on when a primary or caucus is held. If the Democratic Party wants to risk the wrath of the Florida and Michigan voters, so be it. John McCain will be very happy.

    March 6, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  14. Fake it til you make it Hillary

    Hillary wouldn't have this problem if she was a fair hearted person.

    Obama 08

    March 6, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  15. David

    Hillary is doing the right thing! Obama could have gone and "campaigned" there even though the media is doing it free for him EVERYWHERE! So, cnn, msnbc, fox and other networks reach Michangan and Floirda so he did in a sense campain in those states.

    I am really sick of cnn posting such negativities about Senator Clinton - Obama supporters are really hostile people!
    So much for a better world with unity and such.

    Hillary all the way!

    March 6, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  16. Mary

    You all are right – no surprise that Hillary wants a re-do. I wonder if she would agree to holding caucuses in both states – which would be a cheaper way to go.

    March 6, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  17. moderate dem



    March 6, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  18. SAW

    If ANY ONE OF US had our vote stifled, I'm sure we'd feel pretty upset about it. It is NOT the citizens of Michigan and Florida who are to blame. It is the fault of the leaders of the Democratic Party ..... Howard Dean and his sidekicks. It is our Constitutional right to have our voices heard and our party has denied it to those two states and also to all the states who hold caucuses. Many senior citizens and physically challenged adults who need wheelchairs could not participate in caucuses because of physical limitations. Yell and Scream and Demand changes from the party but don't deny american citizens the right to have their votes counted. Personally I think the fairest way is to have primaries held or reheld in both states .... again, caucuses discriminate and OUR PARTY is one of INCLUSIVENESS so let's not advocate to EXCLUDE! It's the simple old saying .... Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. GoooooooOOOOOO, DEMOCRATS!

    March 6, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  19. Laura

    If Hillary really meant it when she said she doesn't want to disenfranchise anyone in the primary process, she wouldn't tolerate or even suggest that Michigan's delegates be seated as things currently stand. Obama and Edwards followed the bizarre "rules" and left their names off the ballot. Seating her delegates for Michigan without anyone in Michigan being given the opportunity to vote for Obama in the primary is unethical, unfair, and against the whole idea of a democracy. Seems like we have a new dirty-tricks politician on the rise. She'd be a better leader if she learned something about "taking the high road."

    March 6, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  20. Leo

    Using her own words:

    It's pathetic.

    Talk about flip-flopping. Kerry is a rock compared to her.

    March 6, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  21. Dave near Buffalo NY

    What an absolutely shameless example they (she and everyone who supports her) set for others. Make no mistake, supporting her is a vote for the sort of standards she is displaying right now.

    March 6, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  22. Don M.

    The Rules did not apply to Hillary when she hid the Rose law firm records from subpoena for two years in the White House living quarters. Why should they apply to her now?

    We little people would be staring at a grand jury if we did what she did. But she is a Clinton, after all.

    March 6, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  23. La Raza

    The people in Ohio are all fools. No wonder your economy is in the toilet. You actually bought in to Clintonitis. What a shame you are!

    March 6, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  24. RachelBSW

    I honestly feel sorry for the Florida and Michigan voters, but YOUR elected officials let you down with this. They knew the rules and voted to break them anyway. Only the Clintons would find it fair to change the rules in middle of the game.
    There have to be consequences when the rules aren't followed. I'm sorry that it hurts the people, but you guys need to take it out on you legislators.

    Obama 08

    March 6, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  25. Bobby

    Democratic Party, DNC, Howard Dean, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton all at the a little crow/take responsibility, for Michigan and Florida delegates/voters.
    1. Florida primary states as it was voted, all parties were present on the ballot and 1.7 million voters turned out.

    2. Michigan primary, 40% were uncommitted, give Mr. obama 90% of the uncommitted voter, as Obama or Edwards did not appear on the ballot.

    3. Hillary Clinton, receives 10% of the uncommitted vote, because it would be a certainty that Edwards would have received at least 50% of the uncommitted vote if his name had been on the ballot.

    4. Democratic Party and DNC/Mr.Howard Dean, has to live with the results, Michigan and Florida have voted Hillary won. DNC and the organizing committees from Florida and Michigan must live with the results also, to have taxpayers/voters pay for this mess created by the organizing committees is unconscionable, the players have to step up and be accountable, it’s an easy fix when you take responsibility for this stupid attempt at limiting democracy. To think that voting out to states, how many states would a Democratic Party be allowed to eliminate 2, may be 4, lets go 18, yes where does it end, remember “no taxation without representation”. Mr. Dean and Mr. Obama and all players concerned might want to think about that.

    5. Mr. Obama, stop crying about the rules, your election platforms clearly stated, that the delegates would determine a candidate for the Democratic Party. Mr. Obama, voted on the rules to disenfranchise voters/delegates from Michigan and Florida this is a fact, the above statement is totally contradictory to what you are saying in your speeches. This was a backdoor/old boys solution to Michigan and Florida and Mr. Obama voted right with the establishment and not part of the solution but part of the problem. Mr. Obama,your personal gains have been in momentum as a result of Hillary wins in Michigan and Florida but no delegate count. The solution allows you 90% of the uncommitted vote and you should think of this as a gift, this costs you nothing in money or time, plus you’ll be able to spin this any number of ways.

    6. Ms. Hillary Clinton, won Florida and Michigan and has had significant negative/hurtful/bias media coverage pertaining to Florida and Michigan. Meanwhile Republican governor fight for the delegates/voters not to be disenfranchised but is unwilling to pay for a new primer, some $18 million. The momentum gains for Obama from Michigan and Florida were huge and continue this day as Hillary fights for her delegates.

    7. This cheap/inexpensive solution suits Michigan and Florida it puts delegates/voters first, before it Hillary and Obama. The DNC and Florida and Michigan’s organizing committees be accountable to the disenfranchised voter/delegate, no one is changing the rules, we’re getting the job done. The players have to remember, that they made this stupid mess and they have to clean it up! Without costing the taxpayers anymore money.

    Mr. Howard Dean, DNC, Ms. Clinton, Mr. obama, Florida and Michigan’s organizing committee. The solution is simple if all the players stand up and eat some crow. Or let this all go to lawyers, going to the convention, and just make one hellish mess of it’s all. Your educated people, stop trying to blame everyone for all this stuff, make it easy for all of us, yes the taxpayers are people who pay for your temporary jobs. To Howard Dean, if you are unable to champion this fight/solution, just get a new job and quit.


    March 6, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
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