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. Lynda W.

    Three words:
    Clinton News Network

    March 19, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  2. Joel


    Obama is not responsible for Michigan and Florida vote note counting.
    Hillary as like Obama agreed with the ruling that those votes would not count.
    Hillary going to Michigan today is a clear indication that she is dishonest and has gone back on her very own words whn she stated that "Michigan would not count for anything."
    THE ONLY REASON Hillary is now complaining is because she is behind in the race – no other reason. Everything else is jus plain politica script to fool gullible voters who refuse to do their own research.
    Superdelegates are no fool and they know quite well how this is going to play out.

    March 19, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  3. Sharon

    You didn't follow the RULES you knew this would happen, you knew your votes would not count in the Presidential Race. What part don't you understand. This is not Obama's doing. Take responsibility for your actions. This could of been worked out before the election but Elected Officials in Michigan chose to sit on their hands. Quit whining about this. I will be mad if they count the votes, I know people who did not vote because it didn't count. They said they will vote democratic in the fall. FYI most of the time the Presidential Candidate is already chosen early on so it doesn't matter when everyone else votes.
    Learn to follow the Rules!!!!

    March 19, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  4. Elder


    March 19, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  5. Wake up people... TX

    Come on people.... Obama has no say on what will happen.. He can talk just as much as Hilary, but the bottom line is he can only follow what the committee approves.

    March 19, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  6. joe tex

    Obama doesnt need to say a WORD about the chaos in Michigan, it all speaks for it self.......Democracy Rules

    March 19, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  7. Not an Obamapologist


    So thats Deans 50 state plan, invent some new ones that like his golden child more.

    March 19, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  8. christine

    Hillary Clinton is trying to steal the election by changing the rules. Sen. Obama has won twice as many states, won more pledged delegates and won more popular votes. Hillary is a disgrace and should drop out of the race now!

    Obama 08!

    March 19, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  9. mdw

    Hillary will do anything to win including changing the rules and blaming other people. If she's behind in popular vote, then popular vote doesn't's the delegates. If she's behind in delegates, then the delegates don't's the big states (but only the ones she won, of course) If she's behind in number of states, delegates, and popular vote, then she wants to increase the size of the pie so she can take a whack at a bigger slice. There should be no revote in MI or FL. Unlike the other states that wanted to move their primary but didn't , FL and MI called the DNC's bluff. Now that it's time to pay the piper, they are claiming foul. But this is the price of calling a bluff...sometimes you loose. And somehow this is now Obama's fault , and Obama and the DNC are now un-American? Would someone please remind Hillary that she willingly placed her bet...going along with this until she started loosing states, delegates, and popular votes. She can't take her money out of the pot, and she can't change the game. She needs to play her cards or fold her hand and get out.

    March 19, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  10. Cheryl

    What the heck CNN? Report on the issues supported or not supported by Hillary and her vision for the presidency. This is tabloid reporting.

    March 19, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  11. d

    Why is it up to Obama whether they vote. Should be state officials and the DNC. Not Obama or Clinton to decide.

    March 19, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  12. Frank

    Do a 50-50 split of the delegates including super delegates.. Then mount a recall of the governor and the rest of those fools in Michigan who failed to follow the party rules which they actually had a hand in crafting with the DNC.

    March 19, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  13. eddie .

    let's face it. if the contoversy regarding Barack Obama and Reverend Wright had been in front of us when the primaries began. Barack obama would have been out of the race very early on , and the democratic ticket would read! Clinton / Edwards wrather than Obama / Clinton. And if anyone can read between the lines it may come down to Clinton the choice to run for president and Edwards vice president. I don't see how the democratic party can allow Obama to remain in the senate and further more as a candidate for the highest position in our great nation. So !!! allow the revote in Florida and Michigan . take the votes from the remaining primaries and knock off 20% of Obamas votes for the previous primaries. As i said. had the American people known the facts about Obama prior to the primaries. He woul have been gone a long time ago.

    March 19, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  14. Sheryl

    I agree it's time for the super delegates to take charge. Hillary is out of control and needs to be stopped before she ruins the democratic party.

    Michigan & Florida didn't follow the RULES so that is that!!

    March 19, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  15. From PA

    SO let me get this

    Other states change dates but DNC only choose to punish Michigan and Florida??


    Obama clearly stated in a Florida paper before the results–that every vote should count and he will fight for floridas vote to be counted??

    CNN look into that and report real news...not the monica garbage stuff

    March 19, 2008 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  16. Amber

    How is any of this Obama's fault. Michigan and Florida lawmakers new they would lose their delegates if they moved up their elections, but they did it anyways. Obama took his name off the Mchigan ballot (as did every other Dem except Hillary) as was requested. Now it is his fault that MI and FL Dems are idiots and Hillary can't follow the rules. Get a clue people. If MI and FL won't so concerned about having the "deciding" voice in the primary vote in the first place the Dems wouldn't be in this mess.

    March 19, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  17. Drive The Nation

    Obama isn't afraid of a FL and MI re-vote. Who is pulling that out of a hat? Obama can still win if FL and MI have a re-vote. But he's been consistent with following DNC rules- he's not just going to agree to a re-vote if the DNC isn't going to allow it.

    All of you Hillary Clinton bandwagon supporters are trying to spin this.

    Obama will still win even if they count FL and MI in a re-vote. You can't spin numbers and the math.

    March 19, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  18. Donna

    Michigan and Florida broke the rules. Follow the rules Hillary! Quit trying to change the rules for your benefit. Come to grips with it. You're done.

    Release your tax returns and earmarks, and we knew you supported NAFTA in the 90s.

    March 19, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  19. Ticked in MI

    Michigan "broke the rules" in an act of civil disobedience – the choice of the early 4 states was incredibly unrepresentative, and after itsy-bitsy IA, the pundits were going to hand the nomination over to Obama (if only he'd won NH).

    Now...nothing in the rules said a subsequent redo wouldn't be counted. We were told from 1/15 on that alllllll we had to do was do it allllll over again. I heard time and again from Obama supporters that he was alllll for a redo. OK. We're ready. DNC's on board, as long as the candidates are. MI legislature is on board, as long as the candidates are (at least those who aren't on Obama's campaign). Private parties are ready to fund it.

    What's the holdup? OBAMA

    He had his lawyer send a long letter peppered with frivolous "concerns" like "people might get confused". No suggestions for changes – just a flat-out criticism. His suggestion: 50/50 split. WHAT A JOKE! It's shamefully self-serving (and if it's not, it's incredibly poor leadership).

    March 19, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  20. M. S. Indiana

    How dare Obama stand up to the Clinton Laws...

    Change the date for it to too, will not be fair if the young people cant vote..
    What about the I and R should they not vote to too ??

    March 19, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  21. Dave

    This really stinks as a fix. It will face serious complaints that it is a tainted process precisely because both states voted once already in clearly unsanctioned fashion, and yet, Clinton was declared the leader. The people in theses states especially Florida know of Hillary. Many are from Hillary's home state, NY. Because it was declared unsanctioned, no fault of Obama's, he was not allowed to campaign there. His name was NOT even on the Michigan Primary. The results also showed that many democrats (many that may have voted for Obama) did not go to the polls because they were told their votes would not count toward the National Convention. Hillary did go to Florida for fund raisers.

    If this is the democratic way, then I and many others will turn away. Obama has brought a huge movement of people for change to the 2008 election process. Numbers that have not been seen before. Do this and get ready for a huge movement away to the other side. It looks to me and many others I'm sure, that the Democratic Party wants Hillary to steel this election. Very interesting that this wasn't an issue until Hillary and the party realized she had no chance to win. The number of delegates are not in her favor, with no hope to catch Obama. So now they want to change the rules. She even has her friends linded up ready to privately pay for a Michigan re-do. And, whats going to happen with the votes?
    Ya, I smell a rat. In-fact the hole process has become a big rat hole. Rules are rules, follow them!

    March 19, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  22. John

    Obama can write all the speeches he wants.It will take him nowhere.There is a dirty tactic going on with comments.I hope those Obama fanatics have not invaded the page.Some are being coached by someone.It will not work.The voters are beginning to see the reality. I have sent over four comments to no avail.I guess an Obama surrogate is moderating them for another 20years

    March 19, 2008 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  23. Paul

    This is Obama's true color, do and say anything to win. He use rules, race, words at his convenience.

    March 19, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  24. dee

    I am fan African-American female, and I just want to say that I am furious with Sen. Obama and his campaign for blocking the deating of the Florida and Michigan delgations -"by any means possible".
    Sen. Obama speaks nobly about the right to vote–but clearly cares nothing about dis-enfranchising voteers–if they are not voting for him.
    Obama is willing to engage in very unsavory tactics –going as low as necessary to win the nomination. Obama is so twisted up in getting the nomination–he has completely lost sight of the fact that the Democratic party needs to win the Fall election, and we cannot do that without strong showings in Florida and Michigan.
    The Obama campaign has a deal going with Chairman Dean, and it is at is just horrible. I totally have lost respect for his campaign due to these strategies. This Fall, I do see any states that Obama won tipping the balance for the Democrats, or changing from red to blue.

    March 19, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  25. Lynn D

    CNN: I have watched CNN for years. Almost all day long. But I will no more. I have repeatly left you messages requesting that you be fair and unbias and you have not done so. The delegates in Michigan and Florida should be seated according to the January vote. Senator Obama removed his name from the Michigan ballot but encouraged people to support him by voting uncommitted. The uncommitted received 40% of the vote. Senator Clinton didn't campaign there at all and received 55%. Seat the delegates according to this vote in Michigan. In Florida, both Senator Obama and Senator Clinton had their name on the ballot. The vote was fair. Howard Dean: Punish Florida and Michigan by making them vote last in 2012. Do not punish all of the voters who voted. They came out and voted for who they wanted. Senator Obama: Please don't prevent the voices of Michigan and Florida voters to go unheard. It will be you who lose in the Fall. Do the right thing. Give Howard Dean the okay to seat the delegates as is. Senator Obama: You did not tell the truth to Anderson Cooper. If you are so God loving, then do the right thing. The speech you gave yesterday will mean so much more if you do the right thing. Even if you lose, you went down honestly. Maybe you can't do what is right because you have been listening to the wrong minister. Rev. Wright is wrong. Also, Senator Clinton has worked for this country for 35 years. She has worked so hard. Let her have the delegates that she received in January. You will still get delegates. Do the right thing Senator Obama. Do the right thing. Pray about it. God will lead you to do the right thing and let these delegates be seated. What good will it be to win the battle but lose your soul in the process. God knows your soul Senator Obama.

    March 19, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13