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. john

    The GOP uptill now has not learnt their lessons we all have see this type of add we know they don't work

    June 16, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. Bulldog

    If the GOP thinks that these kind of smear attacks against Obama are going to persuade people to vote for their canidate they are very desperate. These are the same kind of small minded attacks that the GOP has been using for decades and I don't believe they will work this time around. Most voters have learned their lesson on how the GOP likes to play. They don't have solutions to offer so they attempt to smear and attack their rivals in hopes of portraying them as someone will not vote for rather than being able to portray their own canidate as someone people will vote for. The GOP has been and apparently still is a non-solution smear machine hoping to damage their opponents enough to scare people into voting for their canidate. They count on other simple minded people to actually buy into their smears and unfortunately there are many people out there who are easily manipulated by their dirty tactics.

    June 16, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  3. Michigan Voter

    As a voter in Michigan, I was fully aware that BOTH parties had already said that the votes would not be counted due to BOTH parties violating primary rules of their respective parties. I did not vote in the primary due to this, and do not feel at all 'disenfranchised'. Those who say that it wasn't their fault, their vote should still count somehow are wrong. They voted for our state leaders who decided to break the rules, so they had their say with that vote. I feel that if I want my vote to count every time, I need to help vote out the ones responsible for abusing the trust given them by voting them into office. None of the candidates had anything to do with the decisions on when the primaries would be, so they are not at fault. However, they all agreed to the rules in BOTH parties prior to the votes, so none of them can claim any type of unfairness if none of these votes had been counted.

    June 16, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. Doyle - MI

    Obama played by the rules, go Obama! Good bye Bush and McBush.

    June 16, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  5. Ascardo

    GOP; IDIOTS. This is noting but distraction from real issues. Obama followed his party rules – what's the issue? I was a McCain supporter until recently seeing the really low and shameful antics of GOP. Thses things cement my view to swtich to Obama.

    June 16, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. Michael

    You have to be kidding, the RNC has the same rules as the DNC, both based off the General Election Model and they want to take the DNC to task. The people who get mad about Florida and Michigan are the people who do not understand the process, will not take the time to set down and read the rules, do the research. Everyone wants to blame Obama, he did not make the rules, they were made in 2006 by the very same people that voted to out Florida and Michigan the first time.

    I would suggest all of you who scream about this need to set down and do the research, understand the process and put the blame where it belongs, with the states, not Obama or the DNC.

    June 16, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. debra

    Obama had the power to allow those Michigan and Florida votes. He was the only one of the candidates opposing it. We all know he was doing it for his own benefit. It is pretty short sighted of his campaign to not see that in disinfrancising those voters at that time, he lost their vote in the general election as well. If he had allowed those votes to count at that time, then he would not have to worry about losing their votes in the general election now. How perfect that he would lose those states in the general election that he tryed to prevent from voting. His deceit may have cost him the election.

    June 16, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  8. Clinton/McCain

    That's why there should have been a revote. He didn't want one because he was afraid to lose again. Now it will hurt him in the general for sure.

    June 16, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  9. mollygonz

    RAYMOND DUKE...who is the DLC?? Also, why would Obama only win Detriot when he has won votes from all groups across the board? Is this a silly attempt at racism? Look at the most recent polls...Obama has women of all races lining up behind him. They are saying that is the group that will determine the election results this year. Wake up!! McSame doesn't have a chance. Isn't raping a little bit strong of a word to use when Obama was just following the rules? What about the fact that the GOP also stripped half of their delegates?? If Obama's going to take flack over that than the GOP deserves the same..the slimy, snaky bunch that they are. CHERYL L. SWAIM... Obama, millionaire...you're joking right??? He has less money than both Hillary Clinton and John McCain..do your research and get wtih it.

    June 16, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  10. Ellyn

    Hillary supporters – if you truly believe that McCain is the better candidate, vote for him, but I haven't heard ONE Hillary supporter who says he/she is going to vote for McCain list any reasons why McCain would be a good president. Leave Obama out of it for the moment – what does McCain have to offer (this is not a rhetorical question)? Which of his policies do you support?

    I have always admired HRC, but this is, in part, one of the reasons she lost the nomination. This sense of entitlement to the presidency has gotten very old. HRC put up an amazing fight, and she would have been a good president; however, she lost fair and square. She agreed to the MI FL decision to take away votes and made not one mention of it until she started losing ground.

    I would have been very disappointed if HRC had won the nomination because I think she is a hypocrite and divisive. I agree with her views on the issues, though. I don't want to stay in Iraq indefinitely, etc. I would have voted for her in November had she won. I don't get these people who don't like Obama's personality but would allow that to override the real problems facing our country.

    June 16, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  11. Melissa

    I smell desperation.

    June 16, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  12. Joe

    Yeah, if I were the GOP, I'd try and find anything I could to talk to Michigan voters about aside from the economy. I know negative campaigning has worked up until now, but let's not forget that it was negative campaigning that got us into the situation we're in now. It is time to vote for a leader who has a vision for the future, not the same old tired politics of the past.

    June 16, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  13. ninetyfivepercent like bush

    Part of the republican master plan!!

    The republicans moved the Michigan primary date.

    And now try and hide that fact!

    June 16, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  14. ProundToBeADemocrat

    Republican you should be ashame of your self, you can not win the voters in Michigan by a cheap ad like this, Michigan people are not stupid to fall for this crap.

    June 16, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  15. Dem 08


    The Republican Party lack ideas on how to move the country forward, so as usualy what are they doing? MAKE FALSE ATTACKS.

    Michigan and American people do you want to be fooled yet once again?

    June 16, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  16. matt

    Seriously? The Michigan GOP "disenfrancished" votes in the same exact manner in which the Dems did right? This is so sad. I'm from Michigan and its just a shame to see what the Michigan politicians (on both sides) are doing. You all broke the rules Michigan politicians, Gop and Dems. Deal with it. You guys should just sit out this election and let the voters decide.

    June 16, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  17. Anubis

    This is amazing...I think this is the first time in history that ...the opposing party is using members of the other party to fight their enemy. They are using Hillary Supporters to hurt the presumptive Democratic Nominee and Hillary supporters are going with it. THIS WILL NOT BE THE RNC/GOP WHO WILL WIN THIS CAMPAIGN FOR JOHN MCCAIN IT WILL BE HILLARY SUPPORTERS. So when our country continue down this spiraling path of self destruction, HRC supporters thank your silly pride for giving George W. Bush politics a 3rd term. Pride come before the fall!!

    June 16, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  18. DP

    I do not care who wins No Bush, No Hillary.......

    June 16, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  19. Annonymous

    Michigan wasn't following the rules of the primary and Obama was following the rules. Hillary agreed not to let the Michigan votes count and then she changed her mind later when she realized she needed Michigan's votes to count. If Michigan had just followed the rules of the primaries to begin with, none of this mess would've happened. Michigan only has itself to blame.

    June 16, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  20. MO


    June 16, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  21. Murph

    You bums are going to get wiped out of office this november.

    Please talk about the issues.

    Obama 08

    June 16, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |

    wow, this is just sad. If you havent followed this process, then listening to a GOP clip about how Obama didnt come here is pretty sad if thats what you think happened. I cant speak for all Michiganders, but i suspect more than a few will be fooled by this message – but i think enough know very well that Levin & Granholm were the ones who sunk our votes without a care. Obama, at the very least made a decision based on principle and can you believe this, actually stuck to it – versus coming here and breaking his promises and pandering to us for the sake of – votes. GASP – the HORROR, a politician with principles, and sticking to them.

    yes, keep that man away from me, i want non of that common sense!

    June 16, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  23. Anonymous

    Michigan wasn't following the rules of the primary and Obama was following the rules. Hillary agreed not to let the Michigan votes count and then she changed her mind later when she realized she needed Michigan's votes to count. If Michigan had just followed the rules of the primaries to begin with, none of this mess would've happened. Michigan only has itself to blame.

    June 16, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  24. Democrat from NY

    Oh, wow! So, we are now punishing a politician who actually and respectfully played by the Party rules?

    This kind of stupid argument...this kind of insult against our intelligence...this kind of old, dirty politics that deceive innocent, hardworking, law-abiding voters with twisted line of thinking just to maintain the status quo of "the rich get richer and poor get children who are sent to stupid wars (for whom, exactly, we do not really know because politicians always told us lies all the ways up to this point) to die absolutely meaningless deaths while their families live more ...

    You see now why we cannot afford to go on like this any more with the same old Washington politics. Hey, American are not that stupid!

    June 16, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  25. Loretta from California

    CNN Moderator Please Post

    Well, let's see here. I supported Ted Kennedy, but when he lost, I didn't cry foul, I didn't whine, I didn't yell, "change the rules" I helped to register voters for Carter. I voted for Bill Clinton when he was accused of having extra marital affairs. I voted for Hillary in the California Primary, and now I am a Obama supporter. Sorry people but most African Americans have been supporting white candidates all of our Adult lives, and I must now ask you.......Why are SOME white Americans having such a difficult time supporting a black candidate?

    Your all blacks support blacks theory doesn't work for me.

    June 16, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17