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. DF

    stop it..seriously, just stop it! Hillary was opposed to seating FL and MI until she lost badly in south carolina. She is manipulating and using the people, and anyone who thinks otherwise is not thinking critically (or even obviously).

    March 19, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  2. Jason

    Rules are rules...I don't like it any more than anyone else. But every state and candidate agreed to play by the rules, and now they're screaming to change the rules mid-stream. I don't get it. Where's the honesty in pushing to count "illegal" votes? For so long Democrats have complained about Bush breaking the rules with Iraq, but now Clinton and her cronies are trying to do exactly the same thing. How does that make her any different than Bush? I for one am glad Obama is keeping his mouth shut on this – he's willingly submitting himself to the agreed upon rules; he's saying, "I have faith in my party, I will go along with whatever they decide." That's principle...that's honesty...that's the kind of president I want.

    March 19, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  3. Kaci

    Again, and again, and again – Clinton not willing to follow the rules. The very rules she agreed to when she thought she was going to be crowned the nominee. This has all been beaten to death. Obama should not agree for either state to re-do The two states broke the rules by holding their primary early. They were aware of the consequences well over a year ago. The officals of those states chose to break the rules that everyone agreed to and are responsible for this problem – not Obama. So let's teach our children a lesson – you don't get to have a "do-over" when you break the rules. How ridiculous we are. So does this mean rules can be broken at any time, and it's okay as long as everyone agrees it's okay? Let's see, next time you get stopped by the police, say you didn't mean to break the rules – can you have a "do-over?" Oh and they next time the mortgage company forecloses on your house, say it's not fair because you didn't like the rules of the contract and want a "do-over." Come on, get real.

    March 19, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  4. Geri

    You all forget he's the "fair haired boy" of the media. Whatever he does will be praised by them then they'll knock Clinton. He's a liar & a racist.

    March 19, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  5. norvef

    Of course Obama wants to have the voters of Fla. and Mi. heard but i just don't get it why this people are always disobeying the rules and when you punish them, they turn around and makeit seems like it's your fault.

    why can't they all act as intelligent people and accept that they made mistake and they deserve the punishment.

    to road to CHANGE is admitting that you made a mistake.

    you can;t just go around and disobeying the laws of the land and expected not to get punished if that's the cased then why don't we let all the prisoners to be free.

    March 19, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  6. Charles

    Yes we can! Suppress the votes of two states...

    March 19, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  7. Kevin

    Obama is working to comply with the DNC, you fools.

    Some of you people need to educate yourselves on the difference between the RIGHT to vote in a presidential general election, and the PRIVILEGE to vote in a party primary.

    Also, most everything the Clinton campaign has proposed disenfranchises countless voters. It's not a matter of Obama "being afraid of losing." Polls show him at no overall statistical disadvantage whether Florida and Michigan count or not. He's about fixing the process, not "fixing" the process like Clinton aims to.

    March 19, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  8. Terry S

    Of course he doesn't want them to vote because then he'll lose.. Now why would he want that??? His campaign says Hillary will do anything to win? Like include everyone's votes? How undemocratic of her. NOBAMA!!!

    March 19, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  9. Ochoano

    some food for thought:
    Sen. Clinton attacks Obama.
    Obama critizes Sen. Clinton.

    Sen. Clinton ordered surrogates to attack Obama.
    Obama does not know his surrogates critize Sen. Clinton.

    Senator Clinton voted for the war because she is anti-american and sent to soldiers to die.
    Obama does not vote because he could'nt but opposes war. (Anyone could have predicted problems not just the opportunist)

    Sen. Clinton is racist .
    Obama trasncends races.

    Talk, Talk, talk

    March 19, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  10. Uncommitted

    Leave Barack alone! He has enough problem with his pastor. Give him the nomination and let him "duke it out" with John. I just hope Barack knows someone (perhaps a supporter) who is an internet expert. They need to wipe out YOUTUBE's database before the GOP get a hold of all Rev. Wright's sermons.

    March 19, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  11. Political Jonze

    He'd only lose because Hillary's henchmen (and women) in Michigan put forth a biased to the point of rigged re-vote plan that disenfranchises(see I can use that word too) hundreds of thousands of non-Hillary voters all in her crooked attempt to win by any means necessary.

    With news breaking that now she has financial backers willing to pay the $12M, I guess it should be no surprise I mean isn't the saying "Those who pay the bills get to make the rules".

    She's attempting to privately fund a biased, crooked election. Hillary Clinton is trying to buy the Presidency of the United States. Let that sink in for a minute.

    March 19, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  12. Rush's Son

    Haha. Thanks guys. We look forward to getting the Florida and Michigan vote. Mccain 08!

    March 19, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  13. Larry-Kernersville, NC

    I'm just amazed that Sen Obama can be blamed for the debacle in MI. Blame the Gov and the legislature they made the decision to move the primary. Senator HRC's attempt to blame Obama is a gasp of desperation. Lets leave the MI primary decision to the DNC. Lets let Howard Dean earn his salary.

    March 19, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  14. breaktherules

    and you lose.

    March 19, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  15. Carole in Canada

    Hey just thought of a new middle name for Obama
    How about "Barack Pinocchio Obama!!!!

    March 19, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  16. Mark

    Well we can see now that Obama isn't really for the people, he is just out for himself. A president should be for the people he represents, regardless of the conditions. Well I guess the real obama is being brought out. Michigan and Florida should be seated or revoted. I will be a sad day when delegates aren't seated because of other people and a prospective hopeful president. I don't think that America would be too happy, if Obama blocks this opportunity for state delegates to have a chance to place their heartfelt vote, it will never be the same. Hillary would start look better and if the democrats of Florida vote independent, the democratic party will suffer.

    March 19, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  17. Disenfranchisement?

    Don't you dare bring up disenfranchisement in this debate. It's a party primary, an internal–and not necessarily "democratic" election. You don't have a right to vote in it, voting in a primary is a privilege that comes with being a member in good standing of the party. The Michigan Democrats are clearly not members in good standing, because they broke the bylaws of the party. End of discussion.

    March 19, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  18. Illinois

    Obama...writing a speech??!! Of course he is! What else does he do? Enough of speeches. For once, actually do something!

    March 19, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  19. jen in cali

    All i can say is "WHAT A WUSSY"!

    March 19, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  20. Paul

    They both agreed and signed off on this months back, knowing full-well the consequences. Bottom line is you make a choice, stick with. Regardless of which side you are on, right is right. Yes, it's disappointing these votes will not count and by all means should. Shame on the Republicans and Democrats who played part in it to begin with.

    March 19, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  21. Voter

    can't wait to see what all the Obama-haters will be posting soon on this blog, give the man a break. If everyone listened to Obama's words instead of all the media distortions then they'd have another view on his character.

    March 19, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  22. Franky

    You know, I understand both positions. I'm not hating on Hillary and I'm not hating on my boy, all I'm saying is that they understand what situation they're invloved with. So, in essence, it balances out. I don't care who does what or who does with, all I know is that the Democratic party messed up. And unfortunately, both states are idiots! To be honest with you, the more this goes on, the less I'm going to care....

    Like I said, they balance themselves out, I could care less who has a better position to it, all I know is that they understand their plight. I want Michigan to try but sometimes, just sometimes, when you break the rules, there's a little say in the "Mob" that goes if you break the rules, you get WHACKED(Sorry, didn't really want to bring that analogy). So, consider yourself lucky Michigan.....

    March 19, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  23. Okay

    Lets just give it to Hillary, forget that she is losing. I for one would love to see the Republicans put the real dirt out on the Clintons. And, she still will not be President.

    March 19, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  24. Randhir

    A person in Michigan and Florida has every right to be represented at the democratic convention. If they are not represented by DNC, I myself and many of my friends will sit at home in November because we feel betrayed by DNC. Laws are made by DNC and can be changed by DNC depending on the mood of the voters as long ias t is fair to both the candidates.

    March 19, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  25. DG_NJ

    Earth to Michigan! You broke the rules! Hilary Clinton's camp is very very scared I see. LOL

    March 19, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
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