March 19th, 2008
04:55 PM ET
10 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. Michigan voter

    You can be frustrated all you want. It's not going to happen.
    Split them 50/50, easiest option.
    Puerto Rico is going to decide who the Democratic nominee is going to be.

    March 19, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  2. WOMAN4Hillary

    Obama has no clue what Judgement means...He has to ask Rev. Wright for Sprirtual Guidance..

    He cannot handle the big leagues..He is in deep trouble..

    You have no chance in 08

    Hillary or McCain 08

    March 19, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  3. Exodus

    Of course Obama doesnt want a re-vote. He sickens me.

    March 19, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  4. Nancy

    There should NOT be a re-vote. They broke the rules. Live with it !

    March 19, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  5. jab

    He is afraid of a re-vote and with his mounting problems he should be. He just needs to go on and allow all of those people a say in the election process or he will only do more damage to himself.

    March 19, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  6. John

    Well, Michigan, if you are frustrated with the system your legislators put in place to cause this fiasco you should be aware that the rest of the states are pretty frustrated with you as well. Try playing by the rules next time rather than trying to change them after you violate them.

    March 19, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  7. Anna, Florida

    NO BAMA '08

    March 19, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  8. Nate in Mpls

    Remind me again how any of this is Barack's fault.

    March 19, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. Andrew Tippen

    As a British fascinated observer of this mighty democratic battle I must admit to being absolutely baffled by the support Hillary Clinton appears to be able to muster. Her great experience seems very shallow in reality and her ascertation that she was instrumental in the Northern Ireland peace process has produced nothing but huge amounts of laughter over here! With Barack Obama it appears America has discovered a once in a generation politician yet vast swathes of democrats still seemed tied to a woman who merely stood by a philandering husband. Are there any truly inspirational Hillary speeches out there that we are missing over here? I'd also say that in a country of some 200 million it would seem very strange that you couldnt find two presidents of the same political pursuasion who were not directly related to one another over the couse of potentially 28 years! Kind of makes a mockery of the cries of anguish levelled against tinpot dictators who install members of their families to replace them!

    March 19, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  10. Celia Ann

    I have contacted many Democratic Law Makers this week. We should not have an "Un-Informed" Re-Do in this depressed state. Most of them agree. The whole illogical point of moving the primary up was to have a larger voice. Well, now the voters have a really loud voice. Those who are up for re-election need to protect voters rights, not only by counting thier votes, but by being sure that each candidate is bring full disclosure to the campaign.

    Fair and full disclosure before another primary is what I believe would be right and lawful.

    March 19, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. Jay

    Obama should just drop out now. he messed up BIG TIME with just sitting back and listing for 20 years to the hate preached at his church. he should have tried to talk to him about it and not just let it go!

    March 19, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. Paul

    Another pro-Clinton smear job from the hacks at CNN. How about a truthful headline next time?

    March 19, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. NickNasc

    This is testimony to ALL of you who CHEAT, LIE and IGNORE RULES and LAWS.

    This is a simple case of Rules are Rules and you whiners can't face the fact. Your Whiner in Chief ( Hillary) is setting a GREAT example of leadership.

    How pitiful can you get? It is scarey though, a chunk of our nation has proven that it has NO Morals , NO ethics and NO Honor. The end of this great nation is very near if this keeps up.

    March 19, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  14. gary

    Obama dont want Hillary to beat him again in Mich. and Fla. If he cant have it his way with cacusses which everyone cant vote ,he dosnt want them heard.Primary is the real way to vote.You dont have someone trying to change your mind to which canadate to vote.HRC is trying to get Mich. to revote again. Obama is a sore looser.We dont need that kind of a canadate elected for our countrie's leader.He is a slick operator and would make a better Preacher than a Leader for our country. America wake up. concerned Vet

    March 19, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. Arthur-Texas

    Obama is failing the Michigan voters in the worst way.If he does not believe in Democracy, why is he running for president?What confidence or lack of, must he have in himself if he is afraid to face the voters of Michigan.
    It begs the question,do we want a president that does not believe in the American people to have the right to vote.

    March 19, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  16. JP

    Mounting frustration with CNN as times goes on.

    If I want biased, spun news, I'll go to Fox. CNN used to be pretty unbiased, but in the last couple of months has decided to fully endorse Lady Hillary, while blasting Obama at every opportunity. Is CNN on the Clinton payroll?

    March 19, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  17. Dave, California

    Here's and Idea. GET OVER IT!!

    The longer this continues the more drama is being fostered in the dem party. It's and all out civil war right now.

    March 19, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  18. John in PA

    One thing we know, BHO can't take a punch. He would rather run and hide than step in the ring with Hillary. Do we want a President that is a fighter, or one that is a hider? You make the call.

    March 19, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  19. NoObama

    Obama's the one who talks about reaching across the table
    yet he refuses to meet up with Hillary to talk about a fair re-vote

    SHAME...SHAME ...SHAME on you Barrack Obama !(his words doesnt match his actions)

    HILLARY 08'

    March 19, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  20. Seattle Sue Seattle, Wa.

    With all his wins, why is he so afraid to have a revote in Michigan and Florida? I for one think every citizen's vote should count.

    March 19, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  21. GEE


    March 19, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  22. King of NJ

    get mad at your State Gov, their the one's who decieved you!!

    March 19, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  23. Fay (the Texan who voted for Obama)

    Interesting. Where was this top Michigan Democrat when they decided to accept these primary rules? Give me a break! Rules are rules. They were broken so now you must pay the consequences. How is it that we expect 5 yr. olds to follow this but not adults?

    March 19, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  24. Roger B from Portland, OR

    Of course it is Obama's fault. I mean, It is clearly the job of a campaign to define the terms of an election. This guy says that the Obama campaign is blocking the legislation...but how? Can someone explain this to me?

    I suspect Michigan's revote will meet with the same fate as Florida's.

    March 19, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  25. Justeace, CT

    Did Michigan and it's politicians not know the rules? Did someone trick them and not tell them that if they held their elections early they wouldn't be counted? If not then stop whining that you want a re-vote! That's like calling a time out in the 3rd quarter because you want to re-do the opening shot because you didn't like the height of your jump. You agreed to it, you signed off on the punishment and now you and your citizens have to live with it so GROW UP!

    March 19, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
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