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. cory

    i am from michigan and i now live in florida.. i voted already in florida now my vote does not count.. well if they dont count the votes, everyone in florida and michigan SHOULD NOT VOTE IN THE GENERAL ELECTION.. there is NOWAY a DEM would win the president spot if they dont win either one of these states............ makes a person wonder why they vote in the first place......

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

    Obamas silence is a clear indication, in this matter, that he is the very typical washington politician that he says he wants to rid the system of. he didnt hear it, he did hear it, lies lies and more lies. now who is doing whatever it takes to win the nomination?

    March 19, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  3. Frank

    Obama's working on a speech about the Michigan vote?! Speeches don't count, votes too. A "new" politician of "hope"? No, same old same old. He knows he would lose Michigan so it is more important to him to suppress the people from voting than it is to try to find a way to make their votes count. Face facts, no Michigan or Florida delegations at the convention = no Democrat in the White House come Jan. 2009.

    March 19, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  4. susannah jones

    o'bummer.....he can't make up his mind, just vote 'present' O man

    susannah jones

    March 19, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  5. Justin

    If Obama doesn't want a new vote then he'll have to submit to the old one. He is complaining now because Michigan is floating a closed primary to anyone who voted in the Republican primary... well thats the way it is, one person one vote. People can't vote twice for the same primary, nobody else gets to, why do Obama's supporters think they're so special that they should?

    March 19, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  6. WILMA


    March 19, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  7. Charlene PORTSMOUTH,VA


    March 19, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  8. joe tex

    Michigan Voters need voice their concerns to the party leaders in Michigan, The Re-Vote is out of Obama's hands. Hillary is just using this opportunity to get more Votes for her convenient.......Wise up!!!!!!

    March 19, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  9. David

    The problem lies with the Michigan representatives who moved up their primary knowing the cost. Now we're stuck with a no-win situation. The problem with the revote that it bars people from voting in the revote if they decided to vote in the Republican primary. Many Obama supporters voted in the Republican primary because they were told the Democratic race would not count. With the current revote plan, they would miss their opportunity to vote.

    March 19, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  10. rickey, freeport, NY

    Both Florida an Michigan violated rules that were set forth, and both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton agreed that the delegates would not count if the two states moved up their primaries! Now all of a sudden Senator Clinton is in a position she didn't expect to be (trailing). She didn't say anything previously about counting the two states, but now she does. Our entire electorate process needs to be revamped. Every year it's something different to debate about.

    March 19, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  11. Anthony

    Once again Hillary supporters are dumb enough to fall for her spin. She just got onboard with the revote yesterday and thats only because the Florida revote is a wash. For a month she didn't want a revote and just wanted the delegates. Desperation in a politition is really sad! Both the states are responsible for this not Obama and not the DNC!

    March 19, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  12. Cindy

    Why does it have to be decided by Thursday? A flawed plan is no better than no plan. In fact it'll be worse than no plan.

    No body in Michigan wants to address the Democrats who voted on the Republican ticket, who will now be barred from voting?

    Comeon Michigan! Stop blaming others, come up with something that addresses this problem!

    March 19, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  13. jason

    SHUT UP!!! They broke the rules! Howard Dean do something already!

    March 19, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  14. Joe

    Don't blame Obama. Blame the state governments who knew full well in advance what would happen if they moved the primaries up.

    Allowing Michigan and Florida to re-vote is rewarding the incompotence of the state officials and a slap in the face to all the other states that played by the rules.

    March 19, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  15. Freedwoman

    OBAMA's no Democrat if he blocks the people of Michigan from voting! He will get his at the convention when those "chickens" come home to roost! He does not belong on the ticket anyway with his complete lack of governmnet experience & achievements. GO HILLARY!

    March 19, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  16. Barbara-Maine

    I am waiting to hear the speech....I'll probably be waiting until August

    March 19, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  17. Michigan = Bias For Hillary

    Wait a minute. How can all you or anyone try to put the blame on Obama for this mess. I was attending the University of Michigan during this time, and it was unequivocally evident that top officials in Michigan, including Michigan Governor Granholm and Senator Stabenow were pro-Hillary. They were doing what they could to boost Hillary, including moving the primary date illegally, breaking party rules they and the rest of the state's party officials agreed to. It is Michigan state's legislature who have disenfranchised voters and now the state is in a mess. They should have never moved the date and obeyed party rules like the other 48 states and this would not be an issue. Those so called "unaligned Michigan politicians" are just Hillary supporters who have remained hush to not bias the state toward Hillary. Let's be real here and stop putting the blame on Obama as Hillary and her supporters LOVE to do. In addition, while Obama is out speaking to the American people about issues that are most important to us, Hillary is out complaining and rallying in a state that broke party rules and should be forgiven because she knows her candidacy is practically done for. She would not be doing this had she ran even a decent campaign and be ahead of Obama. It's time for to step aside and the state of Michigan to accept the consequences for their actions. People of Michigan should not be upset with the candidate(s), but state party officials for screwing them over for moving the date.

    March 19, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  18. Edward

    Haha, thats preety funny Jot. unfortunately its probably true 😦

    March 19, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  19. Boomer For Change

    Where was Hillary's concern for the so-called disenfranchised Michigan voters when she signed on to the DNC agreement to not campaign in that state or count the delegates? This woman is just a ruthless politician that flip-flops when the situation suits her can she be trusted with global diplomacy??

    March 19, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  20. Howard pays

    I think that there should be a re-vote and the DNC and Howard Dean should pay for it for starting this mess in the first place.

    March 19, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  21. steven new york

    Florida and Michigan broke the rules, they were punished.

    Now we want them to be unpunished because why? because they some how fixed the fact that they broke the rules? No. Because they had a fair primary and it should count? No.

    We want them unpunished so we can show the world that breaking rules is okay. From a first time Democratic supporter this type of logic is disgusting and absurd. People can not have their cake and eat it too.

    I learned that by age 5, seems some never learned that lesson.

    Good luck on teaching future generations right from wrong with the examples you are setting.

    March 19, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  22. Anna, SW Missouri

    Where was Hillary's concern about the Florida and Michigan voters before she was losing the election? Oh yeah, those votes didn't count then. As much as I hate to think about it, I think it is time for the Super Delegates to put an end to the Hillary campaign. She just wants to make it imposible for Barack Obama to win the election so she can run again in 4 years. She will be too old in 8 years, and by then New Yorkers will have voted her out of the Senate.

    March 19, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  23. Mimi in TX

    All you Hillary supporters should be telling your candidate that she should have NEVER agreed to disenfranchise the voters in Michigan in the first place. Now that your candidate is losing she wants to lay her problems at Obama's doorstep. She knew exactly what was going to happen from the get go.

    Now that she is losing she wants to cry about it????? The nerve!

    I guarantee if Hillary was winning (ALTHOUGH SHE ISNT) she would care less about the people of Michigan.

    March 19, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  24. Paul, Northern Ireland, UK

    I hate to dip my little fly in Clinton's ointment, but Michigan and Florida BROKE THE RULES! Isn't it funny, how she was happy enough to agree on these states' ineligibility when she was AHEAD, but now she's behind, she's all of a sudden taken to championing the cause of Florida and Michigan (even taking a little trip up to MI to tell everyone how much she cares about them, and how Obama is the bad guy), and proclaiming how the voices of so many million people MUST be heard! Well, you weren't that fussed on hearing them BEFORE Super Tuesday, Hillary, but hey, rant all you like, blame Obama for everything, and change the rules in the 4th quarter, which is pretty much your form.

    Anyone who votes for that pathological megalomaniac gets everything they deserve!

    Obama for President, from Northern Ireland (and no, Hillary didn't play a big role in bringing peace here- she just came to make the tea).

    March 19, 2008 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  25. Jay

    Michigan's getting what it deserved. You break the rules, you suffer the consequences. It's as simple as that.

    March 19, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
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