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. mc

    oh b/c it's not a caucus i wonder what race hunter is: tupac? who is the race baiter now. if this is left out and obama wins wm voters will unite against obama thank god!

    March 19, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  2. Independent


    March 19, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  3. Steven

    So much for hope and change Obama....

    March 19, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  4. Dave

    I think they should just give Obama the Uncommited votes and move on.

    March 19, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  5. Nicole

    Well EVERYONE agrees it is a mess, and that a solution HAS to be found, yet it IS Obama that is always quiet and when pressed accuses Clinton of baiting him. I am so frustrated with him, People have asked over and over for those two to sit down and find a solution, and when Clinton offers a solution and asks for them to talk, even offered the money to pay for it, Obama and his supporters still find a way to try to make it look like SHE is the bad guy? She DID actually say she would accept the decision of the DNC when they said it wouldn't count, but she always said BUT, she felt it would better if they could find a way to get the delegates seated. I remember her even stating she would not take her name off the ballots because she did not feel that was fair to the VOTERS. It was the VOTERS she was thinking of, yet no one seems to want to acknowledge that part of it, no, because it is her and her haters are so ready and eager to find things to bash her over.

    LOOK, Obama is in a mess, he is going to need all the help he can get now, he has people furious with him for lying. And of course it WILL benefit Clinton, but I think every primary will benefit Clinton at this point, and as she starts releasing all these things he is accusing her of being dishonest for not releasing, are now starting to come out, and he is going to just keep looking worse.

    But the bottom line is those VOTERS are NOT the ones who asked for things that way and they SHOULD be allotted another vote or let theirs stand. PERIOD.

    March 19, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  6. DrFill

    Now it's Obama's problem?
    That's rich!
    When he's President, he'll have a solution for Michigan, and the jabronis in office may not like it very much.
    You broke it, you fix it!
    If the DNC signs off on it, so will he.

    March 19, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  7. Ratgurl

    That's what happens when you try to change the rules because you don't like the outcome. The politicians of MI & FL agreed to not seat their delegates if they moved their primaries up.... now they don't like the consequences? Try a little tough love – the constituents of these 2 states should FIRE their politicians for acting so stupidly.

    And I don't think Obama's campaign is sitting by silently, they were the ones who originally followed the rules. Why should they be penalized for playing fair?

    March 19, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  8. Eye Opener - Las Vegas

    How naive of people to think that the Obama campaign is even remotely interested in settling the issue of Michigan and Florida when he is at an advantage right now. The fact is, it is not in his best interest.
    Who cares about the voters in these states? Bottom line is, Obama is a politician and as Michelle Obama puts it, "politics is a contact sport."
    And, Clinton knows that, but then again, she is not running on promises of change.

    March 19, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  9. jason

    from what i've read of the obama camp's effort towards the revote, it seems more like they are just making sure there aren't legal ramifications before they jump into it.

    meanwhile, hillary's crowd just seems to be ragging on the obama camp for taking their time – without mentioning the possibility that maybe the obama camp is just being thorough.

    Remember 2000, and the legal uproar in florida? Obama seems to want to avoid that, regardless of who is in favor of it. Clinton seems to just want a mob to take to the streets.

    what's up with that?

    March 19, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  10. c. johnson

    What ever has happened to the "American" vote and ALL votes should be counted? All people who has voted are all Americans and their voices should be heard!!!!

    March 19, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  11. Reggie

    The DNC need to make a stands regrading the Michigan & Florida by not allowing these states to seat their delegates

    March 19, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  12. Me

    Why in the world should Obama bail out Michigan so Hillary can have her delegates. Do you people think he is stupid? Rhetorical question because obviously you do.

    March 19, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  13. READY999

    MICHIGAN -broke the rules and must abide by the rules. No REVOTES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 19, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  14. jaybee

    Disenfranchising millions of votes in both Michigan and Florida is just wrong and undemocratic. This will only hurt the democratic party in a long-run especially when it comes to the election in November. Obama, I thought your message is to bring people together. Looks like you are alienating millions in both Michigan and Florida if you do not step up and help those millions of voices heard.

    March 19, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  15. Manuel TX

    Is this a surprise?

    The Obama campaign (Axelrod) and Obama are trying to run out the clock.

    This is fine with me. Obama is unelectable. He will lose the general election and then Hillary can retake the WH in 2012. 🙂

    March 19, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  16. Mike

    I am sorry but there is no reason why Michigan and Florida should be counted. The rules were laid out in the beginning and Michigan and Florida decided not to follow them.

    So now because the race is a little bit tighter we should have do overs?

    How about a do over of the super bowl as well? I mean as a New England fan i kinda feel jipped it was a close game and if its a close game we should adjust the rules that we both agreed on prior.

    This makes no sense and Michigan is now going to try to make Obama look like he is not cooperating. When in the end it was entirely their decision the not follow the democratic primary's concerns.

    March 19, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  17. tomdavie

    I told you fools that Clinton leaving her name on the ballot in Michigan and praising the Florida voters would not work out well for Obama.

    But this isnt simple Clinton pandering. She put the effort in to care. Took the abuse from the Obama people as 'playing games' .

    Now when you look at the whole thing, Obama consistently looks like a guy who only would care if there were delegates at stake, or it favors him. He never has made any indication he cared about the voters in the slightest.

    March 19, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  18. gloria "Hussein" and Proud

    Rules are rules and why would he want to help her win. Clinton needs to sit down. I have friends who live in florida, and voted an they don't want their vote to count They knew what the rules were and some people are willing to follow them. It's on Howard Dean and the DNC!

    March 19, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  19. It's Over

    Hillary, quit it.

    No state can save you, and certainly not Michigan where you only got half the vote in an uncontested election.

    March 19, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  20. SUZIE


    March 19, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. CB

    Ummm... Michigan broke the rules. That should speak for itself. Just like Obama, I would give them the cold shoulder as well. Let her drown in her own waste. Clinton is an Idiot.

    March 19, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  22. Eric

    What a piece of work, this Obama. Either do a re-vote in Michigan and Florida or step down now Obama! You are a joke!

    March 19, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  23. leo

    turn words into action obama ,,
    we all want to be heard

    March 19, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  24. christine

    michigan was punished for what they did, IF CLINTON WAS LEADING LIKE OBAMA IS NOW WE WOULD NOT BE HAVING THIS PROBLEM,its because its the clintons they can change anything to suit there needs, even the so called superdalegates if it was clinton leading they could have all voted for her so fast this could have been over by now, but those superdelegates are waiting for anything to give clinton the vote I will vote republican if they do that they even listen to bill clinton when he says wait they wait i am tired of the clintons politics

    March 19, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  25. White, Female Boomer for Obama

    Barack Obama has consistently stated he will abide by the rules the DNC decide on. It shouldn't be up to the candidates to decide as each has either something nto lose or gain. I agree with Donna Brazil...DNC sets the ground rules and the two sit down and negotiate...

    Study has revealed that TWO MILLION voters DID NOT vote as these elections were not to count...what about the candidatesand the voters who played by the rules??

    March 19, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
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