June 16th, 2008
10:49 AM ET
10 years ago

GOP attacks Obama over Michigan primary

Obama campaigns in Flint, Michigan on Monday.

Obama campaigns in Flint, Michigan on Monday.

(CNN) - As Barack Obama took to the trail in Michigan on Monday, the state's Republican party released a web ad needling him over his decision not to campaign in Michigan during the Democratic primary season - a line of attack Hillary Clinton warned of throughout her own presidential bid.

"Why did you boycott Michigan for so long?," the web ad asks. "You stiffed our voters."

The nearly two-minute long video proceeds to highlight Obama's "bitter" comments from a San Francisco fundraiser earlier this year.

"You insulted our way of life," the ad says, displaying assorted images of hunters and churchgoers.

A blog post on the Michigan GOP's Web site said the ad was created "to remind Michigan voters that when they wanted to hear from Barack Obama, he took every opportunity to thumb his nose at them."

In her push to have the disputed Michigan and Florida delegations seated in full, Clinton regularly argued that in a general election, Republicans would hammer Obama for his reluctance to do the same.

"If the Democrats send a message that we don't care about your votes, I'm sure John McCain and the Republicans would be happy to have them," Clinton said at a campaign stop in Detroit in March. "In fact, the Republicans will argue that Michigan and Florida voters shouldn't trust the Democrats to look out for them when we wont even listen to you."

Obama removed his name from the primary ballot in Michigan last year, a decision that led to a long-running debate with Hillary Clinton's campaign over the how to fairly count the votes from that state's unsanctioned Democratic contest.

Clinton won the uncontested Michigan vote in January with 55 percent of the vote, beating out "Uncommitted," which netted 40 percent. Earlier this month, the Democratic National Committee voted to seat the full Michigan delegation with half a vote each, allocating 69 delegate votes to Clinton and 59 to Obama.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Michigan
soundoff (415 Responses)
  1. Obama-Junkie, IL

    The GOP executes what it does best, the politics of personal destruction and distraction. In an election year in which Americans want change, the GOP offers more of the same.

    It is easier for McCain and the GOP to attack Obama on unimportant side issues instead of topics like the economy, health care, gasoline prices, and the Iraq War.

    The GOP trying to slam Obama on a Democratic primary is about as dumb as John McCain proclaiming he is an expert at the economy after reading one book!

    June 16, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  2. Bill Coder for Republican Victory

    When will the American public wake up and realize that the United States had a robust economy (thanks in part to the Bush tax cuts) until the "eft took both Houses in '06? After that our economy tanked and we have the Democrats to thank, not the President or John McCain. Obama will not win because while he's in San Fransisco delivering cheap applause lines to the elitist liberals, talking about "change you can hope for", John McCain is looking out for real Americans with their guns and their God.

    June 16, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. Keith, PA

    This election will be decided on the important issues and NOT on gaffes made by the candidates. McCain is providing a steady supply of gaffes but those won't be important when we have an economy that's going down the tubes and which hurts our national security. National security starts with economic security. Obama is right on the issues and he'll win because we've got to change the direction of the country.

    June 16, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. APS in Hawaii

    Amazing how Obama should be called the teflon candidate. because no matter what he does wrong, the news media will be there to save him. Of course he was wrong to do what he did. But, in his mind he did it in his bid to keep them out of the convention. When will he come up with a specific plan instead of generalities? Democrats blew it with Obama, I truly wish Hillary was the nominee. The GOP is waiting for after the conventions and then they are going to blast Obama out of the water. Worst part is Obama is already conceding defeat before the election is held. What a loser!!! What happened to the 50 states concept?

    June 16, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  5. sensi johnson

    Raymond Duke, you and others like you are so uncivilized and I am suprised that CNN will provide a platform for your childish comments.
    This is just some of the reasons why our policies and democracy is no longer respected around the world. I think the GOP needs to do a better job of attacking Obama on the issues, rather than wasting hard earned donors capital on these sort of ads that can be rebuffed in seconds.

    June 16, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  6. Kyle

    People are really stupid if they believe this crap...

    June 16, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  7. Michigan Democrat

    The GOP is trying to appeal to small town rural voters with this ad. Too bad most Michiganders are urban. And we know why Obama didn't campaign here and who was responsible for the whole primary mess. It was the leaders of Michigan, not the candidates of either party. What people here care about is who can help us out of the mess we are in economically and who can bring an end to the war in Iraq.

    June 16, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |

    McCain is so out of touch! The American people are focused on the economy, energy costs, the war, healthcare, education, affordable housing and so on, not what the DNC and the RNC did to punish their respective delegations for not following party rules.


    OBAMA 08

    June 16, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  9. Jaime

    Republicans only care about your vote. Not you, nor the rules, nor your children, nor your children's children except their future vote.

    Get it.

    June 16, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  10. Fitz

    People are still talking about this Michigan vote. What did Obama have to do with the decision to move up the primary? Why are some disgruntled and may I say stupid Hillary supporters still railing on? who the hell are those PUMA folks? or did I ask that already with the disgrutled part? Let's blame Obama for everything why don't we. He deserves much more credit for what he has accomplished. It's funny Pflager said it and the media has been saying the same thing for month's. I guess Pflager just used stronger insensitive language then right. Hillary figured thsi was her's that's why she never bothered to go out and give interviews, she did it from home. that was arrogant to say the least. When the tables turned, she began to show up to the interviews in person (thanks Russert) anyway let's also not forget who started that fear mongering against Obama, Yes Hillary supporters.

    June 16, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  11. EAS

    We are now in GENERAL election mode, and Obama has been in Michigan more than McCain. How does McCain has an advantage???

    June 16, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. VOTE 08!!!

    Follow the rules and there won’t be any issues. Elected officials in Michigan should respect the rules, that way the citizens in Michigan who these officials represent and speak for will be respected and we won’t have to deal with this nonsense. Both parties moved up the primaries is that the candidates fault? No. Obama followed the rules set by the DNC; if he hadn’t then they would have something to say about that.

    McCain is not slick. He promised a clean campaign, but he allows the Republican Party to run ads like this. McCain this game you are playing is so old. I hope Obama sticks to his core message of change and doesn’t give in to these silly attack ads.

    June 16, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  13. rhurst

    Just so Obama08 female knows,, Hillary did win. The DNC along with Obama stole the election from her. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote and she won the pledged delagate vote. The DNC along with Obama mapped out how to win a year and a half ago 4 other states moved up there primarys and were not punished, why Mich. and Florida,,,,because they were Hillary states thats why. Dean picked Obama as one of Deans Dozen two years ago ,,a group he groomed to win the white house,,,why did the DNC decision favor Obama ,,because Obama is Deans hand picked chosen one...let the republicans do there worst..Because of Howard Dean ,Pelosi,Donna big mouth Brazile and Obama ,,I couldnt care less. Year after year our politions lie and cheat,,,right in front of us,,they dont evan bother to hide,,,its disgusting NOBAMA 08

    June 16, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |

    I Dont Know Anything About The Economy But Thats Ok Because Im Rich! I Will Keep Our Troops In Iraq For One Hundred Years! I Will Lie And Pander For Your Votes! I Am McShame And I Approve This Message!

    June 16, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  15. dan

    On one hand, we are now seeing the first reprocussions of the prolonged primary battle between Obama and Hillary.

    On the other hand, if the McCain campaign is going to go on the attack, it better be able to do more than re-package Hillary Clinton's old attack lines.

    HINT: Hillary Clinton LOST.

    Finally, ironic isn't it, that the main attack line that the GOP is still relying on is that tired "bittergate" stuff? Taking comments out of context is always a shady technique, but honestly, half that comment is about church going folks- and Obama is clearly more religious than McCain.

    June 16, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. tina

    So now Barack is guilty of actually following the rules, and not campaigning there, and not having his name on the ballot. Now the republicans are really sinking low. Mud-slinging is not enough?

    June 16, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  17. Republican for Obama

    This is a poor attempt. Voters in MI and other battleground states are much more intelligent than this. Just point out the differences with McCain, Barack, and you will be allright!

    June 16, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  18. CW in DC

    As I said before and will keep saying:

    You'll never hear the talk about issues.... am I the only one tired of this mess? It's a whole new ball game GOP – you need to try something different.

    June 16, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  19. Allan American (Costa Rica Resident)

    Try all you like GOP but your going to lose the election in November.

    I voted GOP in the last three elections and I am deeply upset over my vote. Never again. McCain is the same as Bush. He has been around in the Senate long enough and as a President of our wonderful country would be a dud.

    Ready for a Change in direction. Go Obama 08!

    June 16, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  20. Cheryl L. Swaim

    Poor millionaire Obama.

    June 16, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  21. Marge Hibbing Mn

    obama will say, do and perform anything to win this GE. He will "change" his opinion any way the wind blows. He will agree on one thing today and "change" it tomorrow depending on who he is talking to...he has done it since the day he announced his run for the nomination and he has done it to flame slur and swiftboat HIllary. I hope he gets beat so bad his name will compare to Benedict Arnold.

    June 16, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  22. G

    I understand this concept is difficult to Republicans to understand, so I'll break it down real simple:

    Obama followed the rules of the DNC.

    Poor Republicans, after Bush flaunting our Constitution, politicizing the DOJ, and lying us into war, I guess following the rules is too far a stretch for them. Nice of them to point that out so clearly.

    June 16, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. Jim

    This is what they do, they talk about none substance none issues, same ol' bs smere campaign that got this c- president into office 2 time's, they pulled a hell of a fast one on us spitting on our intelligence, they think the voters are like kids and you can easily change the subject to rile them up...if we fall for it again, I think I'm gonna save money to move to canada because I will loose all faith in the American people and their intelligence if the republicans smere machine thinks they can get away with swift voting and changing the subject AGAIN.

    June 16, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. P, CA

    [Red] and blue. And who knows which is which, and who is who.
    Up and Down. And in the end it's only round and round and round.
    (Pink Floyd, with one relevant word change by me)

    To bloggers from all sides of this election:
    You're all being hypocrites, filled with righteous indignation that you believe gives you the right to hate each other. I salute those of you who present positive opinions and facts to support the stories. But some of you seem to want to push hate, fear, your distorted views of things, counter-hate because you think someone hates you, or even just blatant ignorance.

    Look, do me a favor: before you start typing, take just 3 minutes to think quietly about WHY you feel the way you do... is it worth it? The fact is that the MSM, bloggers like myself, and casual readers are LAUGHING at you. The machismo, baseless accusations, poor spelling/grammar/syntax, and general ignorance of your posts make you a caricature much akin to a comic strip, and we're all amused.

    But at the same time, we're worried that the qualities your showing will send us back to the dark ages and help us de-evolve in the eyes of the world. We're scared that knowledge, the ability to articulate, and respectful argument will all be shunned in favor of mob mentality, blindly following hate, and arrogance.

    Make us feel better and do that thinking I mentioned. You owe all the candidates that much.

    Thank you for posting this, CNN.

    June 16, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  25. Independent for Obama

    What?! Every democrat had to agree not to campaign in Michigan – this is the fault of the state for moving up their primary, breaking the rules, and screwing everything up.

    Clinton, Obama, Edwards, and everyone else agreed to it as part of the DNC penalty. It is NOT just about Obama...

    This is such a crock.

    June 16, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
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