April 2nd, 2008
12:00 PM ET
7 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. wilnj

    New Hampshire moved its primary up and wasn't penalized. Michigan senator Levin wrote this in a Ny Times Op-ed. Florida republicans changed the primary date, Fl. Dems had no choice.

    April 2, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. Debbie, NJ

    Hillary did not win. How can you count a contest with only one player.
    She got the Dems vote. She was the only Dem to vote for. Now we'll see who the delegates vote for. GO OBAMA!!!

    April 2, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  3. D.J.

    I am appalled! I am a Florida resident and voter and voted for clinton! Its not the citizens fault for the changing of the primary voting date. So why should the citizens be punished for what the stupid elected officicials in the state capital concockted up without the citizens approval or forefront knowledge!? I SAY PUNISH THE LEGISLATURE AND GOVENOR FOR THEIR REPUBLICAN CRAP NOT THE INNOCENT DELEGATES OR CITIZENS! I deserve to have not only my voice but my vote count in the primary AND at the convention AND in november ! This was just another rooste the state republicans and SOME democrats cooked up to help the republican nominee! I AM SICK TO MY STOMACH OVER THIS SHERADE! I WARNED ALL U IDIOTS WHO VOTED FOR CHRIST AND FOR BUSH WHEN U DID ;IT WOULD COME BACK TO HAUNT THE NATION & NOW LOOK -IT HAS! ha ha u idiots..at least i can say i was right. AGAIN! as usual!

    April 2, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  4. MELMARIE

    JOHN KARSTEN TOOK THE WORDS RIGHT OUT OF MY MOUTH!!!
    I JUST CAN'T SEE WHY THESE HILLARY SUPPORTERS CAN'T SEE THROUGH THIS SHADY LADY.

    April 2, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  5. paul

    The voters of both Fl and Michigan should not be disenfranchised.If this were a southern state that included a minority group of voters we would be saying it is fair. Well it is not a fair election if the DSemocratic leadership does not count all votes.

    April 2, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  6. Paul

    The votes should count.

    April 2, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    It needs to be resolved quickly I hope. Given that there was no control over the date of the primary by either campaign, there should not be any bickering about the re-vote ideas. There should only be concerns raised about how quickly it can be done as well as possible legal issues. If there is some concern over signatures, then state it. I believe that was done by the Obama campaign at one point.

    April 2, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. AMY

    Hillary agreed and Obama agreed not to count . Now lets change the rules – just because? Why is it that only the Democrats can change the rules? This is a sure sign of what is to come if you vote in a Democrat. Unfortunately McCain is no good either . Oh the games people play......

    April 2, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  9. Common Sense

    I love Obama. So Florida screwed themselves, I say they should vote their democratic and republican state officials out of office. Rules are rules.... It should not count.

    April 2, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. Talimee

    Dean: Fix it now so there are no questions about who wins this nomination. The primary process is already a joke; at least try to make it legit in order to have a strong opponent against McCain. Count Florida and Michigan asap.

    April 2, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. cjm

    Rules are rules. Stand your ground Dean.

    April 2, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  12. d Garrere

    Common sense says divide the delegates equally so that they can weigh in on other issues at the convention and not affect the election. Sen. Obama did not even place his name on one ballot so why should Sen. Clinton benefit from the fact that she did? The rules were made clear ahead of time and what is to stop others from violating the rules next time around if their is no penalty??

    April 2, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  13. Stop the Insanity!

    It's such a double edged sword!!

    If you seat the delegates, it breaks the rules set forth by the party that everyone – including Mz. Clinton – agreed too. These states and the candidates knew the votes would be superficial only. They AGREED to do it anyways. Now the rest of us have to listen to this crap because the race is so close and Hillary needs the votes to MAYBE swing a win for the presidential bid.

    If they don't seat the delegates, everyone ignorant Hillary supporter blames Obama and jumps on the McCain bandwagon (and for the love of God – has anyone bothered to listen to his policies, they're awful!! How could you even think about voting for him regardless??)

    .... And Hillary loses the election because her very presence drives Republicans out to the polls to vote for her in state primaries and everyone else will stay home because it will just be the same old crap.

    The race is over, Hillary should follow Mitt Romney's example and graciously step down. She is a powerful, smart woman and she is needed back at work. Hillary supporters who say they will go over to McCain's side – GET A GRIP! Stop acting like 6 years olds throwong a temper tantrum.

    April 2, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. Charles

    I think people forget that when the DNC was making this decision to strip Fl & Mi Hillary waas the front runner and agreed with that decision. If you truely want those votes counted that was time to reject the decision by the DNC not when your behind and pretend that you want those votes counted for the good of the party.

    April 2, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  15. Jack

    In Wyoming a oal of 8,753 votes were cast resulting in the awarding of 12 delegates. In Florida 1.75 MILLION votes were cast, resulting in 0 delegates. Where is this fair.

    Only in America.

    April 2, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. JAMES

    I am sick when America almost lets the Queen to advance her theft motives. How can she blame this mess on Obama when she knows she and the leaders of Fl and Michigan helped cause it?

    I do not think she would make a good president. She must continue though until she is appropriately humbled by the young and intelligent Obama

    April 2, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  17. tired of hill

    When we were younger our parents and society taught us to play by the rules...Someone forgot to teach hat rule to all.
    Dean set the example dont change the directions .Do not seat the delegates

    April 2, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. txdude

    If Obama and the DNC disenfranchise FL & MI...democrats will definitely loose in November.

    April 2, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  19. CW

    When the tables are turned, who are the ones complaining now? You Obamaniacs crack me up. You people feel so entitled and you think you're better than everyone else. Grow up and get real.

    If you count Florida & Michigan's actual votes, Hillary has the popular vote even if you gave Obama the 40% uncommitted from MI. Even if you didn't count the delegates towards the convention, the actual votes of the citizens should be considered as every person in this democracy has a right to vote and be heard.

    April 2, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  20. Helen

    It is time to let Florida people speak. The delegates should be seated according to the voting result.

    Go Hillary!

    April 2, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. Adam

    I'm a Florida resident and I in no way, shape or form believe the results should be counted as they are now. Florida broke the rules, END OF STORY. Why is it nobody seems to want to take responsiblity for their actions any more? If the my fellow Floridians are angry about this, then when our officials come up for re-election, you know what to do.

    April 2, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. Kmp;

    D.J. unfortunatlely you do not realize that it is not the people they are penalizing it is the party they are penalizing. They knew what would happen but held their primary anyway, unfortunately because they broke the rules the vote will not count. It is in no way either canidiates fault. And personally I don't trust any vote coming out of FL because they just cannot seem to get one right without messing it up some how.

    My main contention with this whole deal is with Clinton and her constant belly moaning in how this is Barack's fault and he is trying to suppress the vote. He had nothing to do with this and both he and she both agreed in Sept. to the judgement handed down to both MI and FL, but now that she needs those votes Hillary is saying that Barack is trying to suppress the will of the people. Rules are rules once they are written they must be followed and sorry but to allow any seating of the delegates would just go and prove to our children it is okay to break the rules because there are no consequences for your actions.

    April 2, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. CAW white male 3 kids

    Dean's 50 state strategy gets cudos for the GE, but he needs to keep his mouth shut about FL and MI and let them work it out. No reward, however, for breaking the rules, because there is no re-creating past circumstances and current circumstances distort perceptions of favoritism. King Solomon would suggest a 50/50 split – And, given this isn't a baby, that's as close to 'fair' as we're going to get and seat a delegation. Let's be done with it folks; we've got bigger fish to fry.

    April 2, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  24. Nathan

    Since when did the DNC, or any candidate, get to decide which voters are allowed to vote? Voting is our constitutional right!

    Howard Dean, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, the DNC– they are not the Constitution of the United States. We the people have a RIGHT to vote, and to have our votes counted.

    "Stipping Delegates" is code for "Disenfranchise Voters". It is illegal.

    April 2, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. Lauren

    Dean do whats right stick up for the Party and its rules. The DNC stripped them do not give them back.

    April 2, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
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