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. Asher,Calgary,Canada

    No changing rules in the middle of the game!

    March 19, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  2. Axel

    Obama doesn't want a re-vote, specially one that would actually count. Because he already lost there once, and he knows it will count against him when he loses again.

    March 19, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  3. bill

    "The Obama people are blocking it in the legislature"

    Let me get this straight – Obama is above the system. Seems like he is pretty tight with the system to me.

    And he want to be inclusive of all the people all the time holding hands, singing songs, etc.etc. Except for Michigan, Florida, certain ethics groups, certain religous groups ("state sponsored terrorism of Palestine"), etc. etc.

    Why are cult members always the last to see?

    March 19, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  4. R. Glover


    March 19, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  5. tori

    instead of blaming obama why dont you blame the politicians who bumped your date up?
    this is what you get for breaking teh rules. the only reason hillary cares is because she knows she won't win otherwise. some president she would make

    March 19, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  6. Dan

    Play Hillary ball- hardball- make her play by rules- cant change rules in the middle of a game.

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

    I wouldnt vote for this guy for nothing.

    He does not care about voters.

    He won the little small republican states BEFORE we knew he was a liar and listened to anti white speech every sunday.

    Since then voters have CHANGED – YEP THATS WHAT CHANGE HE IS GOING TO BRING – people have smartened up and WONT VOTE FOR HIM – INCLUDING ME.

    He is chicken to be on the ballot now and voters in MI and FLA should be outraged.

    March 19, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  8. Nando, Florida

    Get over it Michigan you and HILLARY broke the rules deal with it the rest of AMERICA will not let you and MISSY steal this nomination you will have to take out of our cold dead hand!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    And if you think it won't get ugly in DENVER we will make 1968 look like a episode on BARNEY!!!!!!!!!!

    OBAMA 08

    March 19, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  9. BJM

    Obama and Obama supporters firmly believe that Obama has the popular vote and the lead in the delegate vote. Obama's supporters have been claiming the nomination for over a month now. Why then, are they so unwilling to count the vote of 2.5 million people?

    If he is confident that he will be the presidential nominee and the next president of the United States, why is he unwilling to allow a re-vote?

    He said he was a different kind of politician. He said he'd change the way things are done. If this is his example of "change" then I'm not sure how he is any different than the Bush Administration.

    March 19, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  10. Pat

    Michigan knew the rules and broke them. When did it become okay to reward those who do wrong?

    March 19, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  11. marie

    Nice to see that Hillary is such a partisan. I don't see how opposing the ruling of the DNC last summer and encouraging Michigan and Florida to protest the consequences of their willful and reckless ambitions helps anyone but her.

    In fairness to the Democrats in Michigan ELECT NEW REPS!!! They got you INTO that mess, they CAN'T get you out of it. Where were your protests last summer when it would've mattered???? Clinton signed on to the agreement then and didn't make any of these high-minded speeches when it was going down - one of her campaign architects VOTED TO STRIP THEM OF THEIR DELEGATES. You are being manipulated!!!

    March 19, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  12. EBC

    I fail to see what this is Sen. Obama's fault?

    March 19, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  13. Jeff

    If Obama wins the nomination.
    Michigan and Florida will go to the republicans in the general election.
    Plus the big states that went to Hillary, Obama will have trouble winning

    March 19, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  14. Neutral

    Obama is destroying the Democratic Party and disenfranchising voters of Michigan. Obama doesn't believe votes of people in Michigan should be counted nor acknowledged. Obama was in the ballot but he WITHDREW his NAME, his OWN CHOICE!

    This anti-American Senator from Illinois do NOT deserve a single vote from ANY American who love this country.

    March 19, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  15. Mitch

    This is amazing. Now, Billary don't have to abide by the rules. I wonder how much noise she would be making if she hadn't of won and uncommitted would have gotten more...amazing.

    March 19, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  16. marla

    Obama only cares about the things that are convenient for him only for his own political gain. He doesn't care about anybody else not even his grandmother, you see how he threw her under the bus, for his own political gain he is not a leader but a misleader.

    March 19, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  17. kat

    I can't believe that this is even up for discussion. Florida and Michigan both knew the effect of thier decision. If anyone should be criticisized for lack of backing up anything it should be those who made the decision for the two states to change thier dates. You made your choice and knew the consequence..period

    and how come the media found it unnecessary to make the date change more of an issue. I feel it would have helped the states stick with the rules.

    We may not like rules but they are there for a reason. It saves us time and money.

    March 19, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  18. Terry

    The rules were laid out for all the candidates at the beginning of the election and everyone, including Hillary Clinton agreed to those rules. We have all seen the interview where Hillary Clinton states that the Michigan and Florida votes will not count. The only reason she wants to change the rules is because she is losing...period.

    March 19, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  19. Derrick

    It’s very interesting to me that we are spending so much time and energy on discussing a re-due of the primaries in Michigan and Florida… primaries which were understood wouldn’t count anyway. And because it was understood that the votes wouldn’t count, I’m sure that many voters didn’t even bother going to the polls. We are in the midst of a recession and we are considering spending millions on a re-due of primaries. Doesn’t it just make more sense to split the Delegates in Michigan and Florida 50/50 and invest that money in the economies of the two states?

    March 19, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  20. vic nashville,Tn

    Obama will do what he learn past 20years

    March 19, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  21. Thomas For Hillary

    Oh, the great uniter is being silent on an issue of the people??? Ok, the Obama cult, how can u spin this one. This is pathetic. The Obama fans (not supporters) want to always blame Hillary for being decisive and all that. WHAT DO YOU CALL THIS?? So I guess he wants to disenfranchise them now and if (a big IF) gets the nod he will go back and try to sweet talk them for their votes. Man I hope the superdelegates are thinking long and hard and realizing how Obama would lose the general election in a landslide. Hillary will prevail.

    March 19, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  22. Dan

    Bushbama don't like counting the votes

    March 19, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  23. Becky in In.

    Obama doesn't want a recount. He would rather the voters don't have a voice. The voters of Florida & Michigan had nothing to say about the date being moved up!!! "Let them vote" Obama!

    March 19, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  24. Eric E., Los Angeles

    as i see it Florida and Michigan chose their fate long, long ago! Folorida has since conceeded defeat michigan needs to follow suit. If they waned their votes to count so bad they should have followed the rules. The only reason this is even an Issue is because Hillary Clinton is loosing. There is no logical reason for Obama to agree to hold a re-vote. I am sure that if the shoe where on the other foot (Mrs. Clinton where ahead in votes and Mr. Obama was fighting for a re-vote) some serogate/supporter of Clinton's would have some nice words to say about Obama... something i like to call "Pulling a (Geraldine) Ferrara"

    March 19, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  25. Sam

    no delegates, No Delegates, NO DELEGATES!

    What part of no delegates does she not understand.


    Why set rules if they are not meant to be kept. Tax payers funding another debacle.

    March 19, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
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