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. Indy in AZ

    Mr. Obama, all I can say is how disappointed I am. As someone that identifies himself as a "uniter" I had hoped that you would be able to begin showing your ability to bring people together and find solutions, starting with MI and FL... How would you be able to deal with a crisis such as diffusing war in the Middle East, on the Korean Penninsula, or off the Taiwan straits? I have been supporting you and thought that you were the best candidate to lead this country, but I am deeply troubled by your display of "leadership" qualities. Although you delivered a powerful speech on race, I still can't understand how anyone can listen to their minister curse this country and not feel moved to walk out. Again, I'm so very disappointed. I thought and hoped you were the one.

    March 19, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  2. Matthew

    It amaze me how everyone is so concered with the votes in MI and Fla. They wasn't concered when Stole the Election in Fla and then in IL. the next term. Hillary wasnt't concered about anyone rights then. Move on please, NEXT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 19, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  3. Sandy

    Michigan voters aren't mad at Senator Obama! The top democrats in the state knew the consequences of their actions in moving up the Michigan primary. The 2 million or so democratic voters who PURPOSELY didn' vote in the Michigan Primary because we KNEW it wasn't going to count anyway, will not be disenfranchised. We'll cast our votes when it ACTUALLY WILL COUNT ... in the November election! Even remotely suggesting that Senator Obama is to blame for our delegates not being seated is ridiculous.

    March 19, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  4. O'Connor

    I am surprise that rules stipulated by the democratic party should be changed in the middle of the election. Whatever it is Obama is leading in every aspect Hillary should just forget of this election. Obama cannot be crucified for what some else had done. He went to that church to pray not to scrutinizing his pastor's. We have friends, pastors, teachers and relatives who behave the way they want and say things they want even if we do not support it. I do not think Obama should be punished or sent to jail for some one's crime.
    I still support Obama because of his positive judgement regarding the war and the things he has done for other in his state.

    March 19, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  5. Jack - Miami

    This is ridiculous. You have each candidate calling out the other and people blaming the candidates when it is the fault of the DNC and the leaders of the states that caused the problem.

    The DNC needs to step in and resolve – one way or another.

    As a Floridian – I will not remember in November that my primary vote did not count.

    March 19, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  6. Carole in Canada


    Oh I get it!!! Instead of having a church going president, you could elect Barack Obama and have a "God Dam America" rally every Sunday morning. You can even hold it in the Oval Office!!!
    That would be change right?
    Can you please explain how Rev Wrights hatred of America is any different from the hatred we hear from Osama Bin Laden on his terrorism promoting videotapes

    Discusted 08

    March 19, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  7. Bryan San Ramon

    Mr. Obama,

    You need to stop saying things about Hillary using this for political gain. THIS IS POLITICS of course and you both are in them and in the end its about the people and people's only voice is at the ballot box. If you don't acknoledged that Obama soon, this will be your next scandal.

    March 19, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  8. Anne - Los Angeles

    Senator Obama calls Senator Clinton disingenuous.........hummmm – and so he lied last Friday, he lied during the NAFTA/Canada stuff, he seems to actually be so accustomed to his Minister mouth that he can't understand what the flap is all about and he is willingly participating in disenfranchising millions of voters.

    Wow – so how about that list for disingenuous!

    Psych 101 – bad case of projection and very poor judgment! We are all judged by the company we keep!

    March 19, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  9. Pricilla

    CNN, can you tell me why my comment is still awaiting moderation?

    March 19, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  10. Brian

    Shouldn't they be more frustrated at Clinton. She can't come back from her deficit so she is trying to re-write the rules!

    March 19, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  11. O'bamacan


    the only thing Hillary cares about is herself. If America is going to not vote for Obama because of something a retired old pastor said then there is no question about why our country is in the state it's in now.

    God bless America

    March 19, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  12. Independent

    The Michigan govenor broke the rules and moved the primary up in order to give her candidate a name brand advantage – and now it's backfiring on her.

    To now blame Obama, or anyone else for this mess is absolutely rediculous!

    Perhaps Gov. Golmhan should have thought about the voters in her state instead of helping her candidate at all costs.

    March 19, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  13. Take a stand already

    “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.

    No surprise here. Also note the Dem party's frustration with Obama's FAILURE to either embrace a plan or propose an alternative.

    This is another iteration of Obama voting 'present' instead of taking a stand. It is another iteration of his slippery dancing around issues with evasive language.

    What you see is what you get, voters. Extrapolate Obama's avoidant behavior to what he'd be like in the White House – indecisive, avoidant, slippery.

    March 19, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  14. KMB

    While I support MI and FL in their attempts to have a revote I am dismayed at both candidates. First, Obama should support any plan that comes up as long as all democrats are given the right to vote. Second, I just feel that Clinton is such a hypocrite. How can she seriously talk about how MI and FL should be allowed to revote when it apparently didn't concern her last year when she signed the agreement. Obviously she thought her road to the White House would be easy, but Obama was more of a challenge than she counted on.

    Obama 08

    March 19, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  15. Kathi

    You re vote and a lot of us from other states will vote republician. You set the rules. They broke the rules. We play by the rules. You can not reward parties and candidates for breaking rules. When are you guys going to look at the basics. Did they follow the rules everyone agreed to or did they break the rules that they agreed to? That is the only question that should be asked. Right or Wrong? You can not ethically revote.

    March 19, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  16. Rena

    Michigan I'm suprised Florida I'm not if you really wanted to be seated you would have followed the rules!

    March 19, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  17. Sue

    Clinton's supporters have pledged up to $12 million to hold a re-vote in Michigan. Usually when a politician buys an election, they're more subtle.

    March 19, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  18. Vincent

    this is an obamination! shame on your barack obama!

    does anyone else just loveeee this new type of politics?

    March 19, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  19. Grif

    Who loves you?/// Lou???? She out there, somewhere!!!

    Happiness. Happiness. Keep searching.....

    March 19, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  20. karen from va

    Obama is not to blame for this. I believe this was the governor of Michigan who ignored the DNC. And don't forget, voting is controlled by the states, not the federal government, so make sure she doesn't screw the voters again in November.

    March 19, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  21. scarey

    Give me a break, Scott– this isn't and shouldn't be Obama's problem to fix - how about showing a little frustration with the DNC - and the leadership there - that is where the blame should be placed. Obama played by the RULES as they were dictated by the DNC. Michigan and Florida knew the edicts handed down by the DNC. Put the blame where the blame belongs - it is NOT incumbent on the Obama campaign to "cooperate" with some sort of a fix ginned up by the Michigan party and the Clinton campaign. Keep it Real!!!!

    March 19, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  22. kathy in ohio

    March 19th, 2008 5:58 pm ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Obama & Cnn 2 weeks ago all your analyst were saying you can’t disenfranchise Michigan and Florida voters. Now all of a sudden you’re saying it doesn’t matter because Hillary isn’t going to get enough delegates anyways. Well I don’t think Reverend Obama will reach the magic number either. SO why don’t you let the AMERICAN voters decide what they want and keep your opinions to yourself. I think a sleeping lion has awoken and you want to silence him.

    March 19, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  23. banlieu

    just follow the rules.The DNC is there for that. If the DNC can not anything for the democratic party let them continue without michigan and they will understand in the future.

    March 19, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  24. dave

    Dear Everyonevotes. Everyone doesn't get the chance to vote in the current deal on the table that favors Clinton.

    March 19, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  25. McNoodle

    "The Obama people are blocking it in the legislature"

    Huh? The Obama people are in the Michigan state legislature?

    This story doesn't make an sense. Michigan moved their primary up knowing that their delegates wouldn't count. Perhaps they should have thought of this then instead of now. Wheres the accountability?

    March 19, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
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