March 28th, 2008
09:44 AM ET
10 years ago

Dean wants Clinton-Obama fight over before convention


Watch Howard Dean on CNN's American Morning.

(CNN) - Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean told CNN Friday his party's system for choosing presidential candidates is "not a mess," despite the maze of complexities exposed by the close, bitter battle between Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

He also gave his clearest indication to date that he would like the fight wrapped up before the official nominating convention in August - as well as a guide on how to end it.

He said the undecided superdelegates - party officials who can choose whom to back - should weigh in once the voters have had their say.

"I'd like the other 350 (superdelegates) to say who they're for at some point between now and the first of July so we don't have to take this into the convention," he said on "The Early Show" on CBS. He made similar remarks on ABC.

Dean told CNN he's convinced the delegates from Florida and Michigan, who are currently not being counted, will ultimately be seated at the convention.

And he told CNN that party leadership has had "extensive discussions" with the Clinton and Obama campaigns to cool down their rhetoric.

"I don't think the party is going to implode," he said when asked about that possibility.

Full story 

(Udpates with Dean's comments on Superdelegates)

- CNN's Josh Levs

soundoff (163 Responses)
  1. Tex

    Senator Nelson is wrong to say the Democratic Primary on the national level is a mess. What is a mess is what Florida and Michigan Democrats caused. They disenfranchised their own voters by their own actions and their failure to follow the rules that all the other states followed.

    People fell for the line that it was the Florida Republicans fault. But Senator Nelson didn't protest the move to move Florida's primary up in violation of the DNC rules.Evidence shows he encouraged it. The blame needs to be placed in the correct place. Then, of course, the Michigan Governor was part of the reason the Michigan Primary was also move up in violation of the DNC rules.

    Does it surprise anyone that the Senators from Florida and the Governor of Michigan are Hillary supporters? Hillary herself is not a rules follower when it doesn't suit her purpose. maybe that why she is losing and Obama is beginning to pull away.

    March 28, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  2. sheila

    There is only one fair way to seat the delagates from Fla -seat them as they were voted since both were on the ballot.
    MicH-seat the undecided as Obama and the clintons for clinton. Its really not that complex-the real issue here is Deans an idiot for laying down a rule that is not up to him its simply states rights.Geeze I am so glad that guy never became president because its clear he thinks democrat means demagouge.

    March 28, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  3. Bob Stephens

    I think that the party only needs to talk to the Clintoneestas, since they are the ones that always throw the first punch. Obama is only trying to defend himself

    March 28, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  4. Observer

    A blow to democracy –this is, the way the presidential nominating process is being handled by exempting the voice and vote from Florida and Michigan.

    Highly offended!

    March 28, 2008 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  5. Ralph

    As long as Obama keeps on blaming the Clinton campaign for his
    own bumblings, it will problay go to the convention where the delegsted will nominate the one that is trluly deserving to be president.. And she is HILLARY R. CLINTON.

    March 28, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |

    Dr. Dean:
    You are in denial. Hundreds of thousands of Democrats in Florida have left the Democratic Party in the last few months. All the incredible support both these candidates have been able to gather and the financial backing from regular people, the new voters and young people, all for nothing… I hold you Dr. Dean responsible for loosing the election in November. The damage is done and you and the rest in DNC should had been working to solve the situation but NOTHING has been done and the clock clicking. BLAMING AND PENALIZING THE VOTERS IN FLORIDA WAS COMPLETELY WRONG. Thanks for nothing and for all the frustration you had caused. I can wait until you are no longer the president of this party if it survives you.

    March 28, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  7. Bill

    And Howard Dean has not been successful at anything he has done for the democratic party. Rather than listening to him, the democratic leaders would do well to fix the damage instead of losing another election.

    March 28, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  8. Jeff

    Can't we just shorten the process to something like 2-3 weeks? There is no reason to battle it out together, to great expense for months and months, leaving what, 3 months to campaign against the Republican nominee?

    It doesn't make sense to me that we would spend 7 months choosing our nominee then spend 3 months battling for the general election. Run the primaries in February, then spend March through November battling out the opponent (hopefully on the real issues).

    The Michigan votes cannot be counted "as-is"; the Florida votes could, since both candidates were on the card, but really should not be.

    And people talking about how Hillary should stay in the race so voters aren't "disenfranchised"...its not an election, its a nomination within the party. Are the voters who "didn't get a chance" to vote for John Edwards disenfranchised? No. Just because there are only 2 left has never meant that #2 should not drop out at a certain point.

    March 28, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  9. Katy Hill

    Dean ranks right up there with Bush for the "idiot politician of the yearawared". He is out of touch with reality and the people.

    March 28, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  10. Riaz Amin

    Agree. Why must a nomination process end before the finish line. In the past the best candidates drop out way too early because they did not have enough money in the begining (a wealthy candidate can easily outspend a better candidate early on).

    This is the best democratic process I have ever seen in USA. It may be worthwhile to modify this process a little more to bunch more and more states together, so the process isn't drawn out so much.

    March 28, 2008 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  11. nhk

    PLEASE OBAMA QUIT!!!!!! YOu are destroying the Democratic party. I love it when they say to cool it when Obama has finished his attacks. This should be a fair system. It's not.

    Hillary 08

    March 28, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  12. JH

    As for my 2 cents – this guy has been part of the problem all along. He, of course, like a typical politician will not accept any responsibility for his ineptness in this MESS. How dare he blow off the millions of voters from Florida and Michigan and not let them have their say. This guy has no foresight. He should have seen this back in August when this first surfaced – now he says the delegates will be seated but not sure how. Again where is his foresight – how many people will look at this as a legitiment move. Without a true, accurate vote, no one will accept whoever gets the nomination in the end as having won it fair and square. No one but Dean and Pelosi. They are doing what THEY want as Obama supporters, not what the majority of people in MI and FL want. Mr. Dean – I am no longer a democrat, you and Nancy Pelosi have shown me firsthand why it is the dem always seem to be a day late and a dollar short – it is because of inept leaders like yourselves. Until the both of you realize that YOU are part of the problem the party is going to continue to fall apart.

    March 28, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  13. Jason, Oh.

    This dude is an idiot. He doesn't have enought balls to be a chairman. And I think he's also in the pocket of the Clintons. The stuff he's been saying the entire primary season hasn't been adding up to me.

    March 28, 2008 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  14. Mike

    Uhh, yah... McCain's is going to win thanks to Mr. and Mrs. BOZO, polarizing their own party. I'm as liberal as they come, but these 2 are awful. And with Ralphie running, it's going to make it worse. waaaaa waaaaa, can't we fire them all and start fresh?

    March 28, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  15. Mary

    I hate to be the one to tell you Dean but the party IS a mess. I was
    watching and dumbfounded by the arrogance of the pundits on CNN last night stating that when the nominee is decided all the people who say they won't vote will come around.
    I will support Hillary or nobody as will others.
    Many will support Obama or nobody.
    There is no way to fix that.

    March 28, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  16. Jack Robertson

    The easiest solution to the problems facing the Democrats is for Queen Hillary to realize that the coronation isn't going to happen. She should bow out gracefully (it would be the only graceful act of the Clinton campaign) and allow Americans to vote for change. Perhaps Obama could throw her a sop such as permanent envoy to Iraq when he becomes President.

    March 28, 2008 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  17. Marc in DeKalb, IL

    Getting Obama and Clinton to agree on how to seat the delegates seems to require nothing short of divine intervention. I fail to see how such an agreement can be made.

    Clinton wouldn't want to yield on including them as is, because the illegal results favor her.

    Obama wouldn't want to yield a re-vote, because such a re-vote favors him (that is, Hillary would lose in Michigan with Obama on the ballot, and she would lose some votes in Florida, she'd still win, but not be nearly as wide a margin).

    ... and so I think it is up to the Democratic party itself to make the decision.

    Including the delegates as is, from two flawed primaries, is both unfair (since Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan and did not campaign in Florida, where-as Hillary had fundraisers, which require fundamentally ARE a form of campaigning)... and sets a bad precedent, worse than the re-vote.

    ... but the re-vote itself sets a bad precedent for states violating Party rules.

    It's a lose/lose situation, and Florida and Michigan did it. Not Obama, not even Clinton (though her clamouring for "as is" is nothing short of divisive)...

    ... the system WOULD NOT BE A MESS, if it weren't for the violations of the politicians of Florida and Michigan.

    There needs to be some sort of penalty for violation. I would feel satisfied if the leaders RESPONSIBLE for the early vote (and therefore, the fiasco that has resulted) *RESIGNED* and a revote was held. The precedent would not be set in an undoable way, it would be clear WRONG WAS DONE (and it *WAS*)...

    March 28, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  18. DD, New York

    Finally, Dr. Dean, you found your backbone. You must do everything to keep the Democratic Party cohesive. Perhaps you should have spoken up like this much earlier.

    March 28, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  19. Ann

    I wish the sermons of Rev. Wright exposed earlier, then Obama would NOT be ahead of Hillary.

    This is the LESSON that we choose someone who has no public record. That's a DISASTER for the country.

    Hillary will stay in the race!!!!!

    If Obama gets nominated, he steals it.

    March 28, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  20. txpoodoo

    "Oh, beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain."

    Someone else pick it up.

    March 28, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  21. Robert

    Go away Dean!

    March 28, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  22. Jefferson in Ontario, Canada

    Howard Dean,
    This election is a mess. Just schedule new primaries for Florida and Michigan ASAP, regardless of what Obama likes it or not. Let all democrats decide who should be the nominee. How hard is that?

    March 28, 2008 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  23. sad

    Good for Dean. We neededhis leadership. The Obama camp and the media need to stop trying to force an outcome for this election. Dean also clarified the historic role of the superdelegates, which is not something that either the Clinton or Obama camps had anything to do with establishing. Stop calling the race and let the campaign finish up in June. Go Dean!

    March 28, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  24. Joe Black

    "The fundraisers, who reminded Pelosi in the letter they have been strong contributors to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, ..."

    The Democratic Party is at a crossroads – we ave to decide whether this will continue to be the Party of big dollar contributors, corrupt candidates who take tens of millions of dollars in backdoor "fees" from supporters, or whether the Party will truly be of the people.

    While Hillary rakes in big buck contributions from wealthy donors, who aslo pay her $12 Million a year in fees (and Bill $20 Million), Obama gets most of his money from small contributors – and made only 1.5 Million last year (about 1/10th what Hillary made, and 1/20th what Bill made).

    There are two radically different wings ofthe Democratic Party, and they cannot ever be reconciled.

    The Hillary wing is just a different brand of Pay-toPlay government than the Republican Party.

    The Obama wig represents real progressive change and putting government back in the hands of the people, and not moneyed special interests.

    Just wait until Hillary AND BILL release their tax returns and see where the money is coming from. China, Dubai, Vin Gupta, lots of nice folks....


    March 28, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  25. Lewis

    Howard Dean is not in a position to understand imposion.

    March 28, 2008 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
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