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. m

    this is nonesense. In fact the Clintons should be punish for not keeping to the rules of the game they signed into. They knew the rules. It is not about Obama. It is about those trying to change the rules in the middle of a contest as Dean the Chairman of DNC rightly said. Don't push the game to Obama.

    March 19, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  2. Christina

    do you think SOMEONE could do an article on WHY the DNC allowed other states to move up their primary, but when Florida and Michigan did it they were counted out? I have looked all over to find the reason why. I am a Florida Voter and I would like to have at least the why. I know why they did not count my vote in 2000. The lease they could do is explain it to us this time. You would think that there would be some consideration for why that change was voted for to being with. This was an extra on a bill to require a paper trail in Florida. (Never mind they did not out law the butterfly ballot)

    March 19, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  3. Vig

    Obama doesn't want a revote because he knows he will lose – so how is this any different than Clinton wanting a revote? THey both play to their advantage – only in this case it's our constitutional right to have our votes count.

    March 19, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  4. John Smith

    'Thou shalt not commit adultry" This is one of the highest laws in life!

    Hillary STAYED with Bill after Bill's multiple infedilities. May be we should DUMP Hillary for sticking with a sinner, her husband!!

    Well for those who want Obama to go back to his pastor, who would be the greater sinner here: Hillary who stays with .......after all his.....; OR Obama who stays with ...after a .....? Becuse you like to JUDGE, you go ahead and throw the first stone with a clean conscience!!!!

    March 19, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  5. HSNP


    March 19, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. greenfun

    Obama cares about all voters in this country EXCEPT those in Fl and MI.
    If I were in those states and he refused to value my vote, I sure wouldn't vote for him in November. Plain and simple.

    March 19, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  7. Ron, TX

    How is it Obama's fault that the re-vote plan isn't getting enough support in the Michigan legislature?

    March 19, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  8. fritz fubar

    Let me tell you that there is no way Debbie Dingell is "unaligned". As a Michigan Dem who had a visit from her when Hillary was trying to manipulate whether there would be a primary in January (versus a caucus), I can tell you she is a Hillaryite.

    At least her husband has the guts to say so rather than playing at something he's not.

    March 19, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  9. Dan, PA

    He will do his best for those votes not to count. Specially now that he's rather slowed down. Big chance that he would lose Michigan too. So why take the risk?

    Come up with a plan Barack. Enough of the speeches. If you deny Michigan in Florida and somehow get nominated – there will be an asterisk next to your name forever. And you will definitely suffer in November.

    March 19, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  10. Jacque

    Barak used the RACE CARD instead of addressing the REAL ISSUE of BAD JUDGEMENT. He attended that church for 20 years – brought is young children to hear a RACIST, ANTI-AMERICAN bash the "rich white folks" running this country!

    Barak "Bad Judgement" Obama will not get my vote in the general election! This conservative Democrat will VOTE REPUBLICAN!

    March 19, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  11. Bobby

    This is such a non-issue. If the voters of Michigan truly want satisfaction they should write their governor and ask why the state decided to ignore DNC rules.

    March 19, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  12. The Austrian

    Hmmm... perhaps Obama realizes that enabling a re-vote, while fair to the unjustly punished voters, frees the guilty party officials who violated clear-cut party rules? These leaders CANNOT be allowed to get away with their violation with a mere slap on the hand.

    Still, it would be nice if Obama would say something concrete about his position here.

    March 19, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  13. NO2U

    Obama has stated that he will do whatever the DNC asks. Not what Clinton wants or Michigan or Florida for that matter.

    Why should they get rewarded for breaking the rules? You didn't see Clinton fighting for these 2 states before there early primaries to seat the delegates! Now that she's losing, they must be seated? I call BS.

    March 19, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  14. Joe

    Why are the voters willing to put a Republican in office because of THEIR politician’s decision to move up the primary date? The citizens of these two states should be mad at their politicians not the candidates.

    Florida/ Michigan: Please re-direct your anger….

    March 19, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  15. Bond_Dallas

    How funny! Why should Obama agree to new rules of a revote? Clinton is not honoring the first rules that said "there will be no delegates awarded to the winner". Rules are rules,,, I have a 9 year old and a 14 year old, I always ask them to follow the rules. What message are you sending our children by breaking rules agreed on by both sides? To bad for Clintonians, just too bad. Better luck in 20016. Hillary will only be 70 years old. She still got a chance, McCain is 71,, think positive.

    March 19, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  16. MinOR

    I keep seeing comments referencing “rules” ticker articles. Just what are the rules?
    I would suggest that all truley concerned voters do what I did – find out.

    Go to the DNC and download the rules. Very interesting reading, and be sure to check out the quote from DNC chair Howard Dean which is in a graphic caption.

    I guess he forgot to say “except Florida and Michigan voters” when he made that statement.

    March 19, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  17. tony

    He's on the ropes

    March 19, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  18. DMAC/Post Falls, ID

    Obama doesn't care about the voters. He is for caucus' so that only a few of the many get to make the decisions. He is looking for problems to keep the vote from happening. Another under handed stratagy. He should be a Reublican.

    March 19, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  19. Jennifer


    March 19, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  20. Johnson

    Of course, blame it on Obama. I mean its not like he is busy trying to stop people from smearing his name left and right, nor is he trying to fend of attack from BOTH Hillary and McCain, nor is he running a presidential campaign, he has all the time in the world to sit down and figure out something like that. If Hillary is so desperate to count the votes, why doesn't she propose a plan instead of attack Obama every chance she gets?

    Obama is just following the rules that were established before the primary season. You don't enter a race and then go 3/4 of the way through it and then say "OH OOPS, i forgot to say that you have to change your shoes and you have to wear a different type of shorts while you are racing." people should FOLLOW THE RULES that were established by the DNC. If you don't like it, then don't be in the DNC..its pretty simple.

    March 19, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. Grif

    The Ultimate Power, is all he is interested in.

    March 19, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  22. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Hang in there Obama....if we are going to changrethe rules make it fair for everyone. They knew that they were not going to be seated from the start. WHERE WAS THEY'RE ILLISTRIOUS DEMOCRATIC GOVENOR ...and Hillary Supporter.......WHEN ALL OF THIS WAS INITIALLY GOING DOWN ????

    March 19, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  23. mike

    Sounds like OLD POLITICS to me...

    The only change he represents is the split of the democratic party

    NOOBAMA go away you do more harm than good

    March 19, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  24. Hildy Maze

    As a Democrat who as voted throughout my life (58) this could be the first time I will NOT vote if Hillary Clinton is the nominee. Obama is an authentic, courageous, honest man with wise, thoughtful judgement. Hillary Clinton is an old habit. Obama represents genuine change for a more enlightened world view. Sadly this country may very well choose to remain in the political gutter, with Hillary or McCain.

    March 19, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  25. Jerry

    Why is this an Obama problem? This is a DNC problem-they made the rules, the candidates agreed to abide by the rules, Florida and Michigan broke the rules. End of story.
    Democrats in Michigan and Florida should blame their party chiefs in those states–What were they thinking?

    March 19, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
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