April 2nd, 2008
12:00 PM ET
6 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. Craig

    Oh please let them change the rules so Hillary can steal the nomination. Operation Chaos continues.

    McCain 08

    April 2, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. 4Real SC

    I agree with Charles. Set the delegates but not give delegates to either candidates. They broke the rules and if we reward them with a delegate then what will they do next time. If Hillary wants their votes, tell her campaign to pay for the revotes.

    April 2, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  3. Bit, Alabama

    I hope that Florida and Michigan delegates will be seated and that both Candidates will get half of the delegates. It won't be fair for Hillary to get most of the delegates because the other major candidates played by the rules and all of them agreed and said that they understood the rules. When Hillary got behind, that's when all hell broke loose and she wanted the votes/delegates to count and go her way. The safest way to play it is to split the delegates fifty-fifty.

    Let's get on board Democrats and support our party against the Republicans. Let's put our anger and disagreements aside and let's fight for our country, our economy, and our children!

    April 2, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  4. LieLieLieLieLieLieyy

    You Break the rules you pay the price. why have rules if you are going to breath them.

    April 2, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. NLS

    This article is wrong. Do some research CNN. While the candidates made an agreement not to campaign in Florida, Hillary broke that promise and went to Florida days before the primary and campaigned anyway. Dirty tricks? Why yes indeed.

    April 2, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. William

    Here's a plan. Have a polling group like Gallop create a roster of delegate candidates most likely to reflect the distribution of voter preferences in the population - and let them vote their preferences. If Hillary is ahead in the public view, fine: if Obama is ahead, this will be reflected as well. To make things farer - provide a two week period for campaign presentations before drawing the random pool.

    April 2, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. William Martin

    Well I don't know how CNN can say that none of the major candidates campaigned there when it is well know fact as well as well documented in Florida's news that Obama did in fact have a television ad in Florida. Unless of course Obama was not a major candidate. But I do think that people should know that Obama did in fact have an ad in Florida...which is not fair to any of the other candidates.

    April 2, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. TS, TX

    Did anyone stop to think, as to why senator Clinton agreed to NOT count FL and MI delegates?

    I guess, she was so sure that she will win the nomination that she did not need any Delegates from either FL or MI.

    April 2, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. Mike

    Rules are rules. The voters in Florida and Michigan can vote their state legislatures and governor out of office for going against the well known and publicized rules. In fact, since this well known and publicized, why did the voters not stop their states from doing this in the first place?????

    April 2, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. kentucky

    Why is it that CNN has not interviewed those in Michigan that violated the rules of the DNC? Was it the governor of Michigan that screwed things up? Who did she support when the rules were placed in effect? I think there's a story here CNN . Why not try and bust the people responsible for this and see what their true motives were? Sure looks funny that Hillary's name was the only one left out there.

    April 2, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  11. Angela

    Didn't Mrs. Clinton agree with the Party when Florida and Michigan were penalised? Then she decided to campaign there. Honest? Obama's name was not even on the ballot in Michigan. He remained loyal to the Party.

    April 2, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  12. Jeff in AL

    These delegates must be seated. Without them, a clear front runner can never emerge for the Democrats.

    April 2, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  13. Reality check #1

    Let the original votes count. If not, let all us revote, there are alot of people who voted for Obama before the Wright ordeal that would not vote for him now if they could change their vote. Let the votes count and seat the entire group of delegates.

    April 2, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  14. Not Just Seated------COUNTED

    We don't just want them seated, we want the votes that were cast in good faith COUNTED.

    These votes were cast in a certified election, fair to all. Obama is the only one who had campain ads running in Florida.

    April 2, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  15. One More Thing About Florida,Michigan

    I was always taught as a child not to cheat. Don't lie. Don't renege on a promise. Play by the rules.

    Isn't that what we teach our children?

    April 2, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  16. john

    dnc you had better seat both to and mi or I vote republican for the first time in my life!!!

    April 2, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  17. Roger

    Hey what about Wyoming's Governor backing Obama? CNN isnt that news worthy ? Another super delegate, another previous Bill Clinton Appointee defects to Obama.

    April 2, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Don’t you see what Clinton is really doing? She is trying to prolong this process in order to destroy any chance of the Democrats taking the White house in 2008. She knows she will not be the nominee of the party. The only thing she can do now is destroy the party and run again in 2012. With Obama losing to McCain; Hillary will have a clear shot into the next Presidential Election in 2012.

    April 2, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. Voter

    Florida has VOTED!!! The VOTES and Delegates should count!!!

    Howard Dean and the DNC need to let this count and not let the date change before the convention over ride the American VOTERS!

    April 2, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  20. Rebecca

    Obama campaigned in both states and trys to say he didn't but he did...Hillary and others did not...Everyones name was on the Ballot in both states so Obama he lies again.....There were no rules that they had to take their name off the Ballot....Hillary was smart and left hers on the Ballot...So Obama please stop.....Hillary won she should get then all.....NO 50/50 ..ALL

    April 2, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  21. William

    Would you use a pre-season game to settle a tied World Series? Who can ever come up with this childish suggestion? The Clintons.

    April 2, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  22. Stephanie

    It would not be fair to seat the delegates based on the original vote in January. There was no campaigning there, and it was so early in the voting season at the time of the vote it was definitely an unfair disadvantage to Obama. Hillary won by name recognition, because the voters had not been exposed to the candidates at that point. I say they should split the votes in half, and that way in the upcoming primaries that would push either candidate to possibly reaching the required number of votes to secure the nomination. The same is the case for Michigan

    April 2, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  23. HAM

    What is it with Florida and voting...

    Funny how important every vote was in 2000... but now it's not? Why... cause it could hurt Obama? The hypocracy of some people is astounding!

    April 2, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  24. KevinPenn Sr Alabama [Teamsters Local 402]

    Howard Dean you need to step up to the plate and prepare to prevent Clinton from making a mockery of the democratic party by her negative tactics.I am leaning toward the independent ticket but I have been voting for Obama. He can win it all .Go Obama 08 !!!!

    April 2, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  25. We will prevail

    txdude, please do your research. Obama didn't disenfranchise FL & MI. Stop trying to make up things. It makes you seem ignorant.

    I am an Obama supporter but if Hill gets the nomination, then I will have her back ;)

    Dems '08-forever

    April 2, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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