May 21st, 2008
06:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama willing to ‘go more than halfway’ on FL, MI

(CNN) - Obama senior adviser David Axelrod says the Illinois senator’s campaign is “open to compromise” and willing to cede Hillary Clinton the advantage in talks over the seating of the Florida and Michigan delegations at the Democratic National Convention this summer.

"We are willing to go more than half way. We're willing to work to make sure that we can achieve a compromise," Axelrod tells National Public Radio’s Michele Norris in a Wednesday evening interview. "And I guess the question is: is Senator Clinton's campaign willing to do the same?"

Clinton spent Wednesday in Florida highlighting her push for full delegations from both states to be seated in accordance with their January votes, which were not sanctioned by the Democratic National Committee because of the early primary dates. Her campaign has charged the Obama team with blocking a compromise on the issue – a claim that campaign has denied.

"Well obviously, any compromise is going to involve some give, and that means if there's something on the table, we're willing to consider it," Axelrod told NPR in the interview set to air Wednesday evening. “That may include us yielding more delegates than perhaps we would have, simply on the basis of the rules."

Obama now appears likely to finish the primary season with a delegate lead, including superdelegates, that would not disappear if both states’ delegations are seated based on the results of January’s contests, in which his name did not appear on the ballot in Michigan. Clinton won both primaries.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Florida • Hillary Clinton • Michigan
soundoff (352 Responses)
  1. Daniel, Loganville Ga

    SHAME on Sen CLinton for letting this get this bad. If the tables were turned the DNC and the Clintons would have demanded Sen. Obama get out a long time ago. SHAME we started this primary season on such a high note.

    May 21, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  2. J Lee

    This is SO not fun anymore.

    There is something sick about Hillary Clinton's inability to let go. What do you think her motivation is, really?

    Does she stand for the dignity of women when she stays with a man who would humiliate her and trash the sanctity of their marriage in front of the whole world?

    I don't know what to think of this woman anymore.

    May 21, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  3. Joseph Adewole

    What happens to Michigan where only Hillary's name was on the ballot papers? You cannot claim to vote where there's no contest....only one person contested!
    In anyway it is done, Dems need to take that State in November.

    May 21, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  4. KE

    Hillary must fight on.

    We need a fighter, no big rallies and no big talks, we need someone in the White House who can get things done.

    I hope people figured it out by now, it takes a lot more than being a capable man or woman to go on against giant media when they write you off like happened so many times to so many people before.

    Hillary 2008

    May 21, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  5. Bob

    For God sake, why is Hillary still lying to her supporters.Why is she giving them false hope that she's gonna win or that she is leading in popular votes.Hillary is the one that is making her supporters not wanting to vote for Obama.Obama is winning . It is the work of God and people that have removed themseleves from in the BOX. WHY CANT WE ALL GET ALONE

    May 21, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  6. Montana is Obama Country

    It is really to bad Hillary Clinton is such a selfish woman.. Hillary is not fighting for Americans or for FL & MI.. Hillary is "fighting: only for Hillary...

    It won't matter how much Barack Obama gives to her it will NEVER be ENOUGH.. Not only is Hillary is greedy that way.. BUT... she also has tried in every disgusting way change the race and rules which she agreed too.

    Hillary will not compromise because it is not in her nature. Hillary is going to destroy the nomination process as well as Hillary will take anybody down with her including our votes.....

    While she screams for FL & MI she discounts the rest of American voters..

    I did not vote for her and I will never vote for Hillary even for the sake of the democratic race.. I ethically cannot vote for her and her ethics or her lack of...

    I am willing to suffer under McBush and hope for a better candidate next cycle.

    Hillary's campaign is in debt and she will run a country with debt.. She is selfish and unreliable for the party..

    Hillary needs to drop out now..........!!!

    May 21, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  7. Dennis

    The Hillarator...She cannot be bargained with...she can't be reasoned with...she won't show remorse or pity...she'll never stop and she will keep coming until Obama has lost!! We need John

    May 21, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  8. Mike

    It would be a bit easier to accept Senator Clinton's arguments to seat Florida if she was forthright about why she is pushing for it. Using the argument that "they deserve to have their votes counted" rings hollow when we all know the real reason she wants them counted is because she arguably "won" those primaries.

    Lost in the discussion are those who didn't vote because they knew it wasn't going to count, or those who couldn't vote for Obama because he wasn't on the Michigan ballot. Also lost in the discussion is the fact that in those places where neither campaigned, the stronger name brand (Clinton) naturally pulled through votes. Time after time during the primary season, as voters in states where Clinton had commanding early leads, learned more about the other candidates (Obama in particular), Senator Clinton's lead evaporated. The fact that neither candidate campaigned in Florida or Michigan renders any voting in those states suspect. Though many voters did indeed cast ballots, but they were denied the opportunity to make informed decisions based on full exposure to these candidates.

    As much as I respect Sentor Clinton's positions and record, I squirm each time I hear her make the blatantly self-serving arguments about how "the voters from Michigan and Florida deserve to be heard". Is there any doubt what she would be saying if the results in those states went the other way?

    Taking a "principled" position because it is convenient is a dangerous way to try to to earn respect.

    May 21, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  9. vl

    Wow, how big of him. NOW he wants our votes to count? Please, he showed us quite some time ago what he thinks of the residents of MI & FL...... not much.

    May 21, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  10. Mike

    Do not do it. She is the one who has disenfranchised them because she is losing. If a revote is done OBAMA would win. OBAMA '08 '12

    May 21, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  11. Darren M.

    Cheaters never win

    May 21, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  12. Stevo in PA

    Shane read the comment correctly...Duh
    He's not giving her 100%. She didn't earn it even though she's flip flopping. The Republicans are going to eat her lunch!

    1) NAFTA
    2) Bosnia Sniper Fire
    3) To tired to answer that 3am phone call
    4) Not aware of the IRAQ consequences
    5) Legal Problems in California over Party Donation Bribe
    6) White don't vote for blacks
    7) Rule Breaker
    8) Won't pay debts
    9) Elitist $109 Million but still owes $20 Million to Contributors
    10) And all the rest

    May 21, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  13. Joyce in Florida

    By the way, shelly, we are not full of hate. We are angry voters who want their vote counted from our primary of January 29th. You should just zip it and unless you live here and have gone through it, you have no say so here. ZIP IT CHICKEE!!!!!!!!!!! HILLARY CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT!!!

    May 21, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  14. Desmond Sequeira

    Once more, OBAMA the accommodating consensus builder, ready to sit and talk, not only to Iran but even to those trying to steal the nomination from him.

    Mrs Clinton wants to be President. Meanwhile, she wants to change the rules she agreed to, in order to win and be seen as champion of the states of Florida and Michigan. She has twisted the truth so much so often that it is now looking worse than a twister. Her math is pathetic and arbitrary. She has her campaign in debt, obviously because of poor management. What will she make of America?

    May 21, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  15. paul oregon

    i hope obamas campaign is not selling his supporters down the drain. something seems awful fishy. is the dnc going to handthe nomation to hillary this witch will not quit untill she is nominated
    or splits the dem. party to bad the dcc doesnt have the balls to stand
    up to the clintons. if the dnc wants a revolt on there hands contune
    to stick your head in the sand and give this to billary

    May 21, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  16. Lynnette

    I have to give it to Obama. Let's see what Clinton does now and if she is cordial and gracious enough to meet halfway. I bet my last dollar that she's not. It's just not in her nature.

    At least he's willing to make a deal – not Clinton she wants it all even though the states of Florida and Michigan screwed their own voters with the bogus primaries.

    To Sharon Minnesota: SHUT UP!

    May 21, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  17. truth now

    Sharon in Minnesota, unlike Hillary Obama is able to raise money without Mich. or Fl. Before Feb 5th Hillary didn't give a flying f-- if those states were seated. Now that she has (get this straight) lost, she wants to seat them to try and steal the election. If she was so caring for the people in those states, she would have protested from the start. I don't blame Obama one bit for not counting them. They did not follow the rules and should be punished.

    I hear people from Fl. saying " it was the Republican Gov., but what's the excuse for Michagan. Her friend the Gov. wanted to crown her with a win in Feb. too bad it didn't work. Now they want to change the rules when everything has been settled. I say hell to the nooooo!

    May 21, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  18. MBFLA

    Wake up Shane! Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan and we were told our votes would not count towards delegates in Florida. BOTH Clinton and Obama agreed to the same rules but now Hillary wants to change them.

    The DNC has to resolve this, not the candidates. Let's not destroy the party, shall we?

    May 21, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  19. noemi in los angeles

    If Hillary can break the rules in FL and MI by including their votes AFTER all agreeing that they would NOT count.......... then maybe they can break the rules for California too and do a re-vote... because Obama would surely win for sure!!! Oh wait, she already wont THAT state, why do a re-vote?? She could care less about the votes in MI and FL is she had lost them...... she's only wanting to "count" them because she wants to win, not because of the vote. If she REALLY want to "could every single vote" she would not be excluding the caucuses from being counted!!!

    May 21, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  20. sara michelle b.

    In the best interest of the Democratic Party and its prospects in November, Senators Clinton and Obama should work this out. It is critical that Michigan and Florida play a role at the convention and that Democrats residing in these key swing states become energized. The party and candidates are foolish to lose their last best chance at avoiding disaster here. If the DEM nominee loses Fla. and Mich, the GOP will take the White House in all likelihood.

    The difficulty is that the issue is no longer delegates, and that's why Mr. Axlerod is willing to deal on delegates at this late stage after Team Obama blocked the issue for weeks and weeks. The issue is popular vote totals. Senator Clinton wants to count her Florida popular votes since they were cast on a level playing field with Mr. Obama on the ballot. Michigan is just a headache to sort out. But, get it done folks!!

    May 21, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  21. Mai

    Senator Clinton needs to be very, very careful about the liar Senator Obama. He will and do anything to win this election. His whole campaign has been about dishonesty. Don't let you guard down, Senator Clinton.
    Remember he is the same man who said he did not know his mentor and pastor was a hate spewing racist. He is the same man who said he only knew Tony Rezko from 5 1/2 hours of legal work.
    Yes, every vote needs to be counted as it was voted. Nothing less should prevail. The votes of FL and MI could have been settled months ago if Obama had wanted to play fair.

    May 21, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  22. Jess

    I am watching Lou Dobbs right now and cannot believe what I'm seeing. Lou just read two emails from his viewers regarding the Florida and Michigan primaries and both the comments are surprisingly (!) pro-Clinton. Really, Lou? You never receive any anti-Clinton emails? Or is it that you are simply not inclined to read any email with which you do not agree or air any comment that does not serve your own personal political agenda?
    It is so glaringly evident that you support Hillary Clinton that I cannot rely on you for unbiased news or views.
    As for Michigan and Florida, did Hillary Clinton not agree to the rules before the results of those primaries came in? Why the sudden hysterical desire to count those states?
    Isn't Clinton the person who was all about the *big* states like CA & NY, isn't she the one who implied smaller states don't matter? Only now when she needs smaller states like WV & KY, has she changed her mind. Is there anything she will not do or say to get this nomination? AND is there anything you will not do or say to make sure your broadcast is as pro-Clinton as possible?
    Seriously, Lou?

    May 21, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  23. Nah!

    The question I have is "Why are these two states an issue?" They broke the rules they helped write. They should pay for it. Hillary agreed that they should not be included until she was behind, and has now changed her tune. On the other hand, Hillary wants to discount the caucus states because somehow they aren't valid elections in her mind. Huh? Weird. So, Hillary has this interesting logic where states that will help her should be included, and those that Obama won should not be included.... I admit I can't follow this logic.

    OK. Well, let's say we do it Hillary's way. Hillary still can't win. Why would she push so hard? Because she wants to win in the popular vote. The problem is that the popular vote does not nominate a candidate. The delegates do. I'm guessing next Hillary is going to want the rules changed so that the popular vote is the way the nomination gets accomplished.

    I understand that Hillary is doing anything she can to win the nomination. She should be commended for her tenacity. Where it gets weird is that she wants all these rules changes so that things go her way. As president, she won't get to ask for these "do overs". What will she do then? It won't be pretty for her. She'll quickly get isolated by those that disagree with her, both nationally and internationally, and she may very well become the second worst president in US history.

    May 21, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  24. Dal CA

    The Senator from PUNJAB will fight like the Punjabis do. No quarter given and take everything for themselves.

    May 21, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  25. charles

    The thing that bothers me about Mi. & Fl. is that she signed a pledge not to count these states. Thats never brought up on the talk shows. One of advisers, Mr. Ickes (as a memeber of DNC Rules Committee) voted to strip the two states. Now that she needs them she wants to change the rules. I would ask the people of Mi & Fl. to ask her if she felt your states are so important why did she sign the pledge. Also what do you do the next time a state wants to move up its primary.

    May 21, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
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