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. Wally

    America needs to alleve itself from the two party political system. Look at what that system is doing to Florida and Michigan. People in those states are not allowed to vote because "Democrats", a created term, will not allow them too. Yet, this same party, then wants a vote in November. I thought America was the ultimate democracy?

    March 28, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  2. laura

    to Zoi:
    I am a Florida voter too. I want my voice heard too. It will be heard in November when I vote for Obama

    Please Hillary for the good of the democratic party just step down. I know grace has not been your strongest point but it is never too late to show a little humanity

    March 28, 2008 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  3. JSterling

    Mr Dean, I am a gay white American and this is the first primary I have ever voted in. (Don't forget us! Many whites have never voted in a primary either.) I have never been so engaged in an election since President Bill Clinton's run. He "spoke" to me and many others like me.
    I am amazed how the DNC can say the nominating system is not broken. The states who go first do not represent America as it stands today. (Perhaps 100 years ago.)
    The DNC talks about rules, but the rules state that the "SuperDelegates" can vote for the better of the party. Although our party does need the support of Republ and Indep in a general election, the are not Democrates. Those who have voted in open primaries and caucuses should not influence the Democratic party structure.

    March 28, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  4. Glenda Rutherford, Williamsport, PA

    Who is Dean kidding? The whole election process is a mess. I am in total agreement with the reader who is tired of the endless campaigns, primaries, caucases, and money raising. Enough! Have all primaries as nearly the same time as possible and stop the madness. The public is sick to death of hearing these people for months and months on end and nothing gets done in Congress because everyone is campaigning. Stop it!!!

    March 28, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  5. George


    March 28, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  6. Kurt

    the media just wants to declare winner. it will NOT be obama. when hillary wins she will have defeated not only the obama campaign but also the ugly sensationalistic unfair media like CNN.

    March 28, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  7. The Perpetual Student

    I disagree IT IS A MESS!!! Now I am finding out that republican lawmakers in those states contributed to this problem. I hope they work it out because I want the people in Fl and MI to have their votes count but on the other hand it is important to follow rules. I think something can be worked out.

    March 28, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  8. DMdallas

    Sure Dean is right. The system is not a mess.
    With his logic it just makes since that the votes of Texans, and those from Ohio, PA and NC should only count every 30 years instead of every election.
    That's ridiculous.

    March 28, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  9. lanray

    So tired of the bickering. Both are acting like school children. Neither should be given the chance to be our next President until they get a grip and just discuss how they can help this troubled Nation. If they continue this squabbling, I will vote for neither one. We need some poise and sophistication back in the White House.

    March 28, 2008 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  10. FAL

    Yes, let's all stop being so dramatic. Our country was built on the premise that those who wanted to serve our country as elected officials would go through a voting process. Did you really expect there would be no conflict, no mud slinging, and no exaggeration? Asking anyone to quit the race is simply a tactic. Whether Hillary falls for it is her business.

    March 28, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  11. cj-delhi,ny

    It is a mess and Hillary is a big part of it. She is so desperate and manipulative. They will stop at nothing. The difference between Obama and Clinton is that he holds his hand out and waits for the falling feather to fall into his hand; she tries grabbing it the whole way down.

    I am pleased to say that several of my friends who have been in the clinton camp have no crossed over to Obama. One of them said, "I just don't understand what has happened to her".

    March 28, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  12. paulie_nj

    Just nominate Gore and end it all together. He has the best chance of beating McCain in November. Not to mention, the Republicans would be totally blindsided by a move like that. Gore was robbed in 2000 and deserves the nomination. I think everyone would be happy with that compromise.

    March 28, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. KJ, CA

    Howard Dean you need to take some responsbility for this mess. As the Chair of the DNC it is your responsiblity to ensure that the primary process runs smoothly to benefit Democrats. Instead you have allowed yourself to be intimited by an ex-President, you have allowed a candidate (HRC) that has no interest in the party only in herself to run amuck, and you are allowing – by allowing this to continue – hundreds of thousands of new activists to be disinfranchised. Check yourself Mr. Dean, check yourself.

    March 28, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  14. SBAMA

    Billary did not win Texas
    Billary did not win Michigan
    Billary did not win Florida
    Billary can not catch up in pleadged dels

    Billary CAN NOT WIN – PERIOD

    DROP OUT!!!!

    March 28, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  15. Phantom

    Some of you guys are just too much. "Howard Dean has never done anything!"

    Um, how about the 2006 elections? How about going from a pretty devastating minority in both houses to the majority in both houses? In a non-presidential election year, no less. That's huge!

    If Senator Clinton was so concerned about the disenfranchisement of voters in MI and FL, then she should have never authroized the punishment meted out by the DNC. But in December, she thought that the primary process was a foregone conclusion. If she was concerned about these "voices not being heard," then she should have made some noise in the days leading up to the initial votes in those states.

    But Senator Clinton thought she had this thing wrapped up. If the tables were reversed, and Senator Obama was trailing and were trying to get delegates - which EVERY nominee agreed WOULD NOT BE SEATED - Senator Clinton's campaign would be burying him. Why is it OK for her to push this disenfranchisment narrative only now that she's behind? If she was really that concerned in the first place, shouldn't she have opposed the refusal to seat the delegates instead of agreeing to it? Shouldn't she have made a bigger deal about it when FL and MI actually voted in January?

    March 28, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  16. ALBO

    Has the Media not an opinion regarding these ourrageous statements?

    1) ""Pelosi and DNC Chairman Howard Dean have so far defended
    their positions in the face of the mounting pressure"" (CNN)
    (but it is suggested that this could change because the DNC is
    out of Money and need the contribution of the authors of the
    Pelosi-letter !!)

    2) " The Clinton campaign denies that they were behind the Pelosi-
    letter" (their own staement)
    (but, oh surprise, agrees with its content !!)

    3) " The Democratic Primaries are not a mess and working better as
    expected" (Howard Dean)

    By the way, the declarations of the MOVE-ON extreme LEFT organization in favor of OBANA and against the HILLARY-supporting "fat-cat" donors damages both OBAMA (reinforcing the
    perception that he is Ultra-Liberal) and HILLARY (exposing her links
    to Big-Money).


    March 28, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  17. for Hillary

    I have never seen so much in-fighting and hatred. I cannot believe anyone who would vote for Obama considering that he has a total lack of judgment.

    The media has twisted everything in Obama's favor, Obama whines and constantly cries foul, his supporters have been pushing Clinton to withdraw when Obama cannot reach the delegate count either and worst, the Obama supporters are the most mean and vulgar that the Clinton supporters had to finally respond in her defense.

    There is no leadership and the DNC has been rigging this contest. More people are choosing to be unaffiliated with either party and I think it is time to start a third party.

    Why doesn't Dean tell those morons in the Democrat controlled Congress to get off their butts and do their job.

    March 28, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. Pappu

    Obama lawyers have successfully blocked re-votes in FL and MI, and the DNC has just stood by. I am leaving the party.

    March 28, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  19. Robert NYC & Miami


    March 28, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  20. fp

    Yes Howard the party is a mess and you, Pelosi and others in the DNC are responsible.

    Excluding Florida and Michigan? is this democratic or is just being done to deliver a flawed, illegitimate nomination to Mr Obama? Florida democrats are the victims of your leadership, the Republicans that forced the primary early and Obama that refuses to agree to either count the votes or to a re-vote. Remember Florida-Bush? Just stealing the primary in a similar way Bush stole it from Al Gore.

    You want unity and you want to see the democrats win in November? Support the movement to bring Al Gore as our next President.

    March 28, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  21. Anybody but Clinton

    Hillary put on you big girl underpants and GO HOME with some shred of dignity. You clearly demonstrated poor judgement by being in the house while your husband is cheating, Iraq, Iran, you "misspoke,sleep deprivated-thrice repeated story. JUST LEAVE.

    March 28, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  22. concerned

    I think the whole process needs to be overhalled as well. I am not able to leave work for hours to attend a caucus here. I just wanted to go to the polls and vote before work, or better yet mail it in. Only those people with open schedules voted in my state. Do those people really represent anything? I agree with others that have written in, it should be a one day vote like the GE, everyone votes for either thier Republican choice of the Democratic choice. That would solve all the problems we have here. The winner would win by straight popular vote period. The Delagates are always distributed unfairly so do away with them. Recounting the delagates is hokey. Just vote, then have a party if you want. That whole convention thing is bogus. Can anyone point out a flaw in this thinking?

    March 28, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |

    I think that the Florida primery should stand as it is. Everyone was told not to campaign in Florida and nobody did. The voters decided to vote for Hillary . Michigan needs to ask why Obama doesn't want them to vote. This year is great everyone gets a say. Hillary and Obama both need to take this fight all the way. Every registared voter should be given the chance to help repair the damage that has been done to our country by the current administration.

    March 28, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  24. Tom,des moines

    I am get sick and tired for those who want Hillary to drop out. Why don't u guy tell that Hussein Obama himself to drop out? As far as I concern Hillary should be the demorcrat nominee.Why? Because she won more blue states then any democrat in the history. Hillary has a better chance to beant McCanin then Hussein Obama. We all know that Obama won't be able to carry any of red states now.

    March 28, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  25. Eunice, Maryland

    I wonder if CNN will post this.

    For the first time am beginning to love Howard Dean. His sins are forgiven. He talked very maturedly this time and I give him an 'A' for that. As long as the delegates from Michigan and Florida are seated and the Superdelegates do thier job then everybody will be fine and no one will feel cheated. But to ask Hillary to step down when all and sundry have not been allowed to vote and for due process of Democracy allowed to run it's course is a complete fraud and is unacceptable. He is the only one so far that is making sense. The rest of them are just completely out of control.

    March 28, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
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