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. Becky in In.

    Sorry I meant revote LOL.

    March 19, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  2. Jenny, Rio Vista, CA

    hmm!! So now Michigan wants Obama to craft a plan. He has. 50-50. However, that is not acceptable to Clinton. It's not up to the candidates to craft plans. It's up to the legislators and the DNC. Stop trying to disenfranchize the voters. The blame goes to Michigan and the DNC.

    March 19, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  3. clark

    go obama

    March 19, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  4. JC

    Maybe Michigan should have thought about the consequences before they broke the rules.

    March 19, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  5. Becky Montgomery

    Who is to blame?

    The ELECTED officials of the state.

    What can be done?


    Quit blaming people who are not at fault. The governors and legislators could have taken another date within the legal window and those votes would be on every web page right now. They didn't do that.

    March 19, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  6. Jot

    Obama is writing a speech about the Michigan vote. Please give him a chance to finish with his speech

    March 19, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  7. EveryoneVotes!

    We live in the United States of America...EVERY VOTE must count no matter who it favors, OBAMA! Now that is an obamanation! The democratic party should be ashamed to allow this to happen. I am a strong Democrat leaning towards Independence of my own party!

    March 19, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  8. Scott

    All time low. Trying to suppress voters because you know you will lose. If Obama gets the ticket and Florida and Michigan don't get a voice Democrats won't win in November, no one wants to vote for someone who got the nomination by suppressing a quarter of the democratic party.

    March 19, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  9. Wynter, Loudon, NH

    So this is the "Man of Hope"? His campaign is showing its true colors in blocking any "revote" in Michigan and Florida.

    This is NOT the Obama we hear about in his speeches. This is more like a Republican move to keep people from voting their choice for the Primary.



    March 19, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  10. Chris, Michigan

    We are so mad at you Obama here in Michigan!!!! WE WANT OUR VOICES HEARD, WE WANT OUR VOTES COUNTED!!! And all you can say is NO NO NO???? You are losing popularity here very fast and the only candidate who is supporting a re-vote and letting our voices be heard is Hillary and now she will win huge here like she did before because of your bad mistakes Barack. GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 19, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  11. Amused, Las Vegas

    Guess he's really afraid to count those votes in Michigan.

    Trying to get his name reinstated after he withdrew it didn't work.

    Trying to get the voters to vote against Clinton by voting "undecided" yielded a sizable victory for Clinton.

    This is not my first choice for president. (Still beats McCain, but that's not much of an accopmlishment.)

    March 19, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  12. Georgene Sloat

    Obamas motive not to endorse a solution is he knows he will loose in both states. For myself if their votes are not counted. I will vote republican. I am 74 and a lifelong democrat.

    March 19, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  13. Jonathan Swift

    Why can't people follow the rules or take responsibility for their actions.? These "unaligned" Democrats include Carl Levin who was on the committee that came up with these dumb primary rules to begin with. As A Chicago Cubs fan I think it was unfair that the Cubs were playing under rules where fan interference did not allow the Cubs to go on to the World Series. There should have been a redo, but that wasn't allowed by the rules. Yeah, I know this is our nations future not a sporting event. But that is just the point. Clinton is playing this like a game ("this is the fun part"?) and changing the rules in the middle of the game does not inspire me to believe that I will be able to trust her as president to do what is honest rather than what will help her to be re-elected. Let the DNC come up with a fair solution- if that is possible at this late date. It is wrong to perpetuate the notion, as the Clinton campaign has, that Obama was responsible for disenfranchising the people of Florida and Michigan. Regardless of what is done it would seem that some people's votes would not count, so why not leave it as is, and seat a delegation based on a 50:50 split of the vote- or are the people of Michigan only represented if they can vote for Hillary Clinton?

    March 19, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  14. ILoveAmerica

    The Michigan Democratic party shot themselves in the foot by holding an invalid primary. They can't blame it on Obama, and Obama is under no obligation whatever to attempt to alleviate the situation that they themselves created.

    March 19, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  15. JohnnyPie

    I am a Michigan Democrat who crossed over and voted in the GOP Primary because I knew my Democrat vote would not count. Now Hillary and her ilk are saying that since I voted Republican in January
    I am not entitled to vote for either her or Obama. What a crock. She's the one who doesn't want to dienfranchise Michigan voters. Bull! She wants to supress Obama's support. Carl Levin and Debbie Dingell should lick their wounds and call it the biggest mistake Michigan ever made.

    March 19, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  16. cherish

    "A top Michigan democrat" unaffiliated with either campaign... please! Don't act like Obama wants to willingly disenfranchise any voter when he worked in Chicago against voter disenfranchisement.




    I don't doubt there are leagues of voters in both states who see this for the fact it is.

    March 19, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  17. Manny. Sifuentes

    Why is Obama so afraid of a do over in Michigan and Florida? Can you say that you are the clear winner, if you don't allow the voice of the entire nation to be heard? Is this his better judgement that unites a party or was that just words? Lets get it together and finish what was started.

    March 19, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  18. aliou salam, Jacksonville FL

    They should take their frustration on their elected officials who made the fateful misjudgement of pushing their elections on the calendar.

    They are being manipulated by Clinton for her own gains.

    Can they take the consequences of their own actions?

    IF not, blame the man who followed the law, and support who ever joined you in breaking the law.

    I propose the number of delegate be divided between the two candidate, but in proportion with the delegates already obtained. that is , if anyone has 1/3rd of the votes, they should get the sme of the total votes of Michigan and FL.
    the other with 2/3rd should keep the rest .

    That way, the candidates would be sitted, but the dynamics in this election would not be disturbed. I don't want florida and MI to influence this election in any shape or form.

    Otherwise, I will vote for McCain.

    March 19, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  19. jeremy

    Why is Mr. Obama at fault here? He and Hillary signed the document boycotting the results from the primaries in both MI and FL. Obama is just doing what he said he would do, which is support the decision of the DNC.

    Hillary is grandstanding here only because she is losing in the delegate and popular vote.

    Funny how she can change opinions so easily. Just imagine how she would be in the White House. She'll say one thing and then do another as proven by her actions in FL and MI

    Even if he were to support a revote, how clean would a PRIVATE financed voting process be? I don't blame him for not wanting to do it.

    The good people of MI and FL should not blame the DNC for the problem, they should blame their own elected democrats who moved the primaries against the will of the DNC.

    Wake up people Hillary wouldn't give a hoot if she were winning in the delegate count.

    March 19, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  20. Mike

    If the vote is left to stand "as is" then just about every state could and will buck the trend, come the next election in 4 years. So basically on the let it stand "as is" is a non runner.

    The candidates are not the wrong doers here, the people who organised early primaries are.

    If Clinton wants the voices of these states heard, then why not hold caucuses, which are easier , faster and cheaper to organise, democracy will then be served, Clinton gets her shot and Obama does better at caucuses.

    March 19, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  21. Laura

    What is Obama afraid of?

    March 19, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  22. Andrea, California

    make up your mind Obama, stop lying and tell us what you want to do already. First you say you're up for what they decide, now you're.....worried? Jesus, this man is getting on my nerves. Haha also i read another article on here where someone literally called Obama "god's gift to us" PLEASE! Get a hold of yourself, he's an arrogant manipulative flip flopper. He wants transparency in the form of this papers and tax returns from Clinton and you know what? He'll get them, and like today show she in fact IS a HARD WORKER, and did more than he could have ever HOPED to in that amount of time.

    Clinton 08.

    March 19, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  23. Janet Randle

    We must be missing something. This sounds like "old fashioned" politics. Obama is nothing more than a typical politician, when the pressure is on, regardless of what is the "right" thing to do, he choses to do what is best for his campaign nomination chances.

    To think that his followers are audacious enough to have believed he was different.

    March 19, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  24. Donna Canadian

    Why aren't we hearing more of this on the air? Sounds like Obama is not cooperating with the DNC and yet last week he said he would comply with the desision of the DNC. Once again lying,
    I am curious about this though, how is it that on CNN Obama gets a special dedicated to OBAMA via Anderson Cooper and then OBAMA gets another hour special on Larry KIng ? Where is Hillary's free air time?
    I hate to say this but after listening to Jack Cafferty going off about Hillary AGAIN on the Situation room and now all these specials on CNN for OBAMA ONLY, I who used to watch CNN ONLY all day for the last 10 maybe 12 years ,now I found the Fox news channel the other day and you know what? I like it at least they equally hate OBAMA and HILLARY

    March 19, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  25. jasyellow

    As a long-time democrat I am so disappointed by my own party. Time after time again our hopeful presidential candidates ended up NOT electable. I am afraid it is happening again. This is a year in which economy and the war in Iraq are supposed to be in our favor. If we can not get a Democrat elected into the White House, then what gives?

    I do not know about Obama. Democracy is about "for the people". I interprete that as for the majority of people. I want someone who will work to bring the country up, not just for a fraction of the population, or for certain other countries. I also feel very worried about his standing by someone who has spread the message of hate. It makes me shudder thinking about how close he is to becomng our next President. God help us.

    [I am an immigrant who loves this adopted country of mine. For those who do not like it here, I suggest they do what I did: emigrate to a place where you could be happy.]

    Really, we need someone who is a centralist. More liberal than Bush but only because Bush is leaning so radically right. McCan fits the bill. Like I said, I can't believe it, but I can see this Republican winning the election. God help us.

    March 19, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
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