March 19th, 2008
04:55 PM ET
7 years ago

Mounting frustration with Obama in Michigan as deadline nears

Michigan’s latest primary proposal is running short on time.
Michigan’s latest primary proposal is running short on time.

(CNN) – A top Michigan Democrat reports that negotiators working to pass an 11th-hour plan for a re-vote in the state are increasingly frustrated with Barack Obama’s failure to either embrace the plan currently being considered, or propose an alternative.

Lawmakers are facing mounting pressure this evening to come up with an agreement before the legislature adjourns Thursday for a two-week recess.

“The Obama people are blocking it in the legislature,” the Democratic source tells CNN, who says that the group has repeatedly and unsuccessfully reached out to the campaign for input and cooperation.

The source says that Obama’s campaign has been asked to craft an alternative or to meet with the Clinton campaign to work out an acceptable compromise, but that those requests have been met with silence.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton disputes this account, though the campaign offers no specifics.

The Clinton campaign has been increasing its criticism of Obama for his failure to back a new primary that would meet national party requirements and allow a full Michigan delegation to be seated at the Democratic convention this summer.

Wednesday, Hillary Clinton made her first campaign appearance in Michigan this year, challenging Obama directly to back the seating of a full Michigan delegation.

Clinton won the January Michigan contest with 55 percent of the vote, but was awarded no delegates. She was the only major Democratic candidate to appear on the ballot; 40 percent of the party’s primary voters chose the “uncommitted” option instead.

Michigan Sen. Carl Levin, who has been a major proponent of a new primary vote, told CNN Wednesday that his group of four unaligned Michigan politicians was hopeful that legislators would vote on the plan this evening or Thursday, which would allow the delegation to be seated “without a floor fight and without a credentials fight.”

But Michigan state Sen. Tupac Hunter, a major Obama supporter, says an “overwhelming majority” of members who support both candidates “find something or the other wrong with it and cannot support it in its current form. A new vote, he added, “does not look likely.”

“From where I sit there are no floating pieces to this,” said Hunter - nothing that can be changed that wouldn’t require a major alteration or abandonment of the current proposal. “I’m not sure how feasible it is at this point… there’s nothing I’ve seen or heard that would lead me to believe that there’s going to be an agreement.”

He called on the DNC Chairman Howard Dean to step in immediately and broker a compromise, to help avoid a “chaotic convention.”

“There’s a lot of hot rhetoric out there. Sen. Obama and Sen. Clinton, they’re in the throes of a campaign, we understand that,” he said. “But the DNC needs to come in and calm the storm.”

–CNN's Jessica Yellin and Rebecca Sinderbrand


(Updated with Obama campaign reaction)

soundoff (303 Responses)
  1. April Garlow

    Obama's answer to every situation is to have someone write a speech that he can deliver with the appearance of true conviction.He never called his congress people in Washington to beg them not to sign the resolution, He never gathered petitions against the war, He never marched on Washington to protest the war. He never wrote to the media about his disapproval of the war. He did give one prewritten speech. He never walked out on the racist anti-American remarks of his spiritual mentor. He never stood up for his white family members when this pastor said inflammatory remarks about whites in America. He didn't even defend his own mother. He didn't remove his children when this pastor spewed hatred from the pulpit. But when it started to hurt him politically, he kept America waiting until his speech writers got just the right words, then he delivered another wonderful speech. Personally, I want someone who can talk for themselves, and who can ACT when action is necessary. He's all smoke with no fire.

    March 19, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  2. Deborah

    The decision for Michigan to vote is not the responsibility of Obama nor Clinton.

    Your anger is misdirected.

    An American hoping for a FAIR Election .

    March 19, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  3. B in NC

    Michigan voters, GET OVER IT. You have no one to blame except those who decided to break the rules. And Hillary's plan wants to break more rules. What kind of example is SHE setting? Cheater.

    March 19, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
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