April 2nd, 2008
12:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Dean meets with Florida Democrats

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean.

(CNN) — Florida’s Democratic leadership and national party chairman Howard Dean presented a united front today as they met to resolve their dispute over the seating of that state’s delegation at the presidential nominating convention in Denver.

"It is my commitment, working with the Florida delegation and the campaigns to find a fair solution so that Florida will be seated - and we are confident enough that we have reserved hotel rooms for the delegates from Florida in Denver," said Dean.

"There will be no empty chairs on the convention floor in Denver," added Rep. Alcee Hastings.

The session, held Democratic National Committee headquarters, included Dean, congressional Democrats and state party chair Karen Thurman. Shortly afterwards, the group issued a joint statement. After a joint meeting today among Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, Florida Democratic Party Chairwoman Karen L. Thurman and Florida’s Democratic Congressional Delegation, the participants issued this joint statement.

“....We all agree that whatever the solution, it must have the support of both campaigns. While there may be differences of opinion in how we get there, we are all committed to ensuring that Florida’s delegation is seated in Denver. We’re committed to working with both campaigns to reach a solution as soon as realistically possible," said the statement.

"...We will continue to work towards a solution to ensure delegates are seated and logistics are in place for a Florida delegation in Denver.”

The Clinton campaign praised the meeting. "We have long maintained that pretending the voters of Florida and Michigan don’t exist is not fair in principle and unwise in practice," said spokesman Phil Singer. "Chairman Dean is clearly committed to seating the Florida delegation and we urge Senator Obama to join us in calling on the rules and bylaws committee to make this a reality."

The national party stripped Florida of its delegates last year, along with Michigan, when both states scheduled their primaries in January, in violation of DNC instructions. None of the major candidates campaigned there ahead of those votes.

The major presidential candidates all agreed not to campaign in the state in advance of the January 29 contest. More than 1.75 million voters – a state record – weighed in, and Hillary Clinton won a majority of the vote, but no delegates were awarded.

Florida’s Democrats had been weighing several options for a re-vote, including a possible mail-in primary, ahead of the DNC’s June 10 deadline – but two weeks ago, the state party announced that it would not hold a second primary, regardless of whether the cost was covered by outside contributors.

At the time, Wasserman Schultz, who had been staunchly opposed to a re-vote, told CNN then that “now it’s time for all the people involved in ensuring Florida’s delegation is seated to come together and make sure that happens.”

She also expressed a willingness to consider a proposal that would allow the full delegation to weigh in at the convention, but for each delegate to get just half a vote.

Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a supporter of Sen. Barack Obama, rejected that proposal, which seemed to gain traction as prospects for a new contest grew more remote.

He told CNN’s Gloria Borger that the Illinois senator would like to “give Florida the opportunity to vote” – but not in a way that would change the overall outcome.

The Clinton campaign – which won in both Florida and Michigan, which faced the same penalty – has pushed for both states’ delegations to be seated, with spokesmen accusing the Obama team of looking to “disenfranchise” voters.

- CNN Associate Producer Rebecca Sinderbrand

(updated following DNC press conference)

Filed under: Florida
soundoff (217 Responses)
  1. aliou Jacksonville FL

    The media's negative attention to Obama"s preacher and the forgiving, attitude toward Clinton's outright lies about Bosnia sniper is not helping. Moreover, Obama's family is mentioned only for negative comparison while chelsea clinton is given fullfledge coverage for a surrogate.

    Everything Obama seems to be blown out of proportion, if it is negative. Whereas everything positive is shrug off. An example is the fact that the media was quick in announcing a Clinton win in Texas. Now the results have come out to be in favor of Obama. Yet the media has been reluctant to change their negativity and announce that Clinton didn't win both contended states.

    April 2, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  2. AJ

    Whats the goal. Dean has already made it quite clear that he is an Obama supporter and will do anything he can to skew the election in his favor. This meeting will be a joke.

    April 2, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  3. Former Obama supporter

    If they don’t seat those delegates, and Obama gets the nomination, then he will lose both of those states to McCain. Obama didn’t want their vote, so don’t expect it in the general election. I pretty sure McCain will appreciate those votes.

    April 2, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  4. j

    Dean needs to solve this: give them half the delegates, just like the Republicans.

    April 2, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  5. Kevin - IN

    One reason that Clinton won Florida and Michigan may be because Obama didn't campaign there. I think if there was a revote, she'd only get a small majority in Florida, and would probably lose Michigan. Making the whole process a huge waste of time and money.

    April 2, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  6. StopwatchingMSNBC, Rochester, NY

    Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, a supporter of Sen. Barack Obama, rejected that proposal, which seemed to gain traction as prospects for a new contest grew more remote.

    He told CNN’s Gloria Borger that the Illinois senator would like to “give Florida the opportunity to vote” – but not in a way that would change the overall outcome.

    I think those two lines reflect exactly what Hillary has been saying. The Obama camp does not want MI and FL to vote, because they will tip the scales to Hillary in the popular vote. Therefore the Obama camp is disenfranchising voters.

    Obama may win the nomination becaus eof this, but in the long run, he loses the election because FL and MI will not vote for him.

    April 2, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  7. freedom

    fools meddled in the electoral process.

    You thought Hillary was hated. Wrong!

    Now, after having bloodied her to the point where she may not be able to recover, you are seeing the writing on the wall.

    Her supporters will not simply sacrifice their principles and vote the party line.

    Republicans tend to put party first, but democrats tend to put justice and principles and ideology first.

    Hillary has gotten bashed and throttled and screwed. Obama has been given every advantage.

    April 2, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  8. sw

    Dean should resign!

    April 2, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  9. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    Even a fool like Dean should have been able to see this one coming when the decision to stip delegates away as punishment was made.

    The Democrats don't have the foresight to predict this train wreck–but people somehow believe they have the wisdom and leadership to: fix healthcare, restore the economy, etc., etc,........

    Give me a break!!

    April 2, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  10. DB, San Francisco

    Try this next time you get pulled over and see how it goes over: "What stop sign officer? I didn't see a stop sign? A ticket? C'mon, give me a break! I was upset and in a hurry to get home... Hey, what if I go back and stop at it now, will you tear that ticket up? Please!?"

    April 2, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  11. PA

    In PA Clinton had over a 20% lead in the polls before Obama started to campaign in the state. Now that has narrowed to 9%. This has been the pattern in every state in this contest. Had Obama campaigned in these early elections, he would have closed the voting margains with Clinton and received more votes thsn he did. He did not campaign in these states. To seat them as they are is not fair to Obama and his many supporters, but to not seat them at all, is unfair to Florida and Michigan voters. They need a revote or they need to divid them so that they do not effect the election.

    April 2, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  12. DS

    FL and MI broke the rules, knowingly. And one does have to wonder if that was a strategic ploy? THe bottom line is that Florida and Michigan's state officials disenfranchised their voters: no one else.

    Leave the ruling stand as is. Perhaps FL and MI should be allowed to rescind their votes for their state officials, who broke with the DNC law.

    KC MO

    April 2, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  13. Stephen

    Whether it's 1/2 a vote, full vote or triple voe, if it's based on the beauty paegant contest, i.e., the January primary, it's a farce. There's no way that would be fair to Obama, or anyone else. It seems the only reasonable and fair solution is to apportion the deleagates 50/50. Yeah, that gives neither an edge – which is the way it should be, given the true results of a valid primary cannot be known – yet it gives the state representation in Denver, which is what they are seeking.

    April 2, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. mike

    I am so sick of Hillary Clinton!

    April 2, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  15. jj

    all parties were on the ballot and there was record turnout-count what the votes were. MI is a different story, people say 50-50 but they forget Edwards would have received some if not the majority of the uncommited votes so that really wouldn't be accurate. Funny how it's only the Obama camp who says it should be 50-50 or none at all. I know I'll remember that in Nov along with a few hundred thousand others.

    April 2, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  16. Hillary 08

    Same old Same old............boring!

    April 2, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  17. RFB

    A 50 – 50 split should not be an option. This does not give the voters a voice, it is just a quick fix that means nothing.

    April 2, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  18. Bob Stephens

    i know this seems like an unreasonable request to the Democratic party, but how about sticking to the rules......

    April 2, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  19. KiloWhiskey - Denver

    Florida voters – the idiot children of the US!

    April 2, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  20. sophia nyc

    Hope he actually gets something done.

    April 2, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  21. Fatima

    I think that the Democrat Party should split the Florida and Michigan delegates equally since they insist on being counted even thought their officials did not play by the rules therefore, they are still punished.

    April 2, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  22. Ed K.

    The Democratic party better wake up and spend the needed money and have elections in Florida and Michigan. The DNC is crazy if they think they can win the general election by kicking two major states to the curb.

    April 2, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  23. JMS

    Florida and Michigan should be seated 50/50. The voters are not to blame, its the state party reps. This way it does not influance the outcome and they still get a voice. If the voters are not happy about it then they need to vote the people responsible out. Obama is not trying to disenfranchise them. He just realized that the results would be help uo by lawsuits for months, possibly even after the convention.

    April 2, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  24. Anonymous

    Forty-eight states have FOLLOWED the rules. Michigan and Florida DID NOT. The votes of these two MUST NOT be counted for any PLEDGED delegates given that CLINTON and Obama were in agreement from the start – more than ten MONTHS ago. Not keeping one's word (candidate and DNC) is a fatal blow to their integrity and character.

    April 2, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  25. DNC mess

    If the DNC cannot resolve the Florida and Michigan vote disenfranchisement, you will witness Democrats leaving their party and becoming Independents. You may even witness candidates switching affiliations...before the general election.

    April 2, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
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