August 20th, 2008
03:25 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama, DNC call for new primary season calendar

Obama and the DNC are urging for a change in the primary season calendar.

Obama and the DNC are urging for a change in the primary season calendar.

(CNN) - Days before Democrats meet in Denver to name their presidential nominee, Barack Obama’s campaign and the national party leaders called for a new commission to deal with many of the primary season controversies that dogged the party this election cycle, and to develop a system to end the frontloading of the election calendar.

The campaign, along with the Democratic National Committee, said Wednesday that they would ask the party’s Rules Committee, which meets Saturday in Denver, to create a new commission that would re-vamp the primary season calendar. The goal would be to make sure no votes were held before March, with the exception of a handful of party-sanctioned contests in February.

The new group would consider reducing the number of superdelegates – elected officials and party leaders who are not bound by primary results.

It would also consider undefined “changes” to the caucus system. The Clinton campaign, which fared poorly in many caucus states, complained during the primary season that the voting system was an unfair one.

Recommendations from a similar group tasked with addressing the issue – and reducing the disproportionate influence of Iowa and New Hampshire in the presidential nominating process - led the party to adopt a plan last summer that prohibited nearly every state, except those that won a special lottery, from holding their primary before the first Tuesday in February.

South Carolina and Nevada were chosen; later, Iowa and New Hampshire were granted special exceptions that also allowed them to vote in January. Florida and Michigan’s decision to hold their primaries that month, in violation of the party’s instructions, resulted in the loss of all of their delegates to the national convention.

At the Rules and Bylaws Committee’s June meeting, those delegates were restored at half a vote each. Earlier this month, Barack Obama’s campaign sent a letter to party leaders asking them to seat both states’ delegations at full voting strength, a major Clinton demand after the primary voting season began.

The new “Democratic Change Commission” would be charged with delivering its report no later than January 1, 2010.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. Al - NYC

    gloop gloop gloop... the mighty "OBAMA" has begun to sink...

    someone quick call the coast "Hillary" guard!!!

    August 20, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. kel

    Now is the time to do it so that in four years if a state breaks then they will know what would happen to them.

    August 20, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. Enlightened Voter

    The Clintons are disgusting! They do not understand the word dignity, or to lose with grace. I am so glad she did not win because I would be forced to not vote this year, the first in 25. If I never see another clinton again it will be too soon. How do people want her to run this country when she couldn't even manager her own campaign or its finances.

    August 20, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  4. Lisa

    The first think they should do is make sure everyone votes are counted. How do you expect to win an election when you give Florida and Michigan a half of a vote?

    August 20, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  5. Phantom of the Oprah

    Reason that Obama is slip sliding away:

    The shine has worn off the newness of the hype and he is now no longer a novelty but a droning braggart who can do no wrong.

    Republicans did not vote for Hillary... but rather for Obama to eliminate HRC- their true threat.

    Now the Republicans who were never the bragged about "crossover appeal of Obama voters" have now gone back to being Republicans.

    This was obvious to anyone watching the primary: the attacks were all on Hillary, the praise all on Obama. Why would republicans vote against themselves and their interests? They would never be honest about which democrat would TRULY be the hardest for them to beat.

    The democratic base was vastly for Hillary and the Republicans feared her... so they pretended to like Obama.

    August 20, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. Selected by hate and division and race card

    What about new and competent leadership.

    Dean and Pelosi were flunkies for Obama and their job was to install Obama to make history.

    August 20, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. Steve

    We could just have everyone vote on the same day...

    Oh, wait, that would actually be fair. Maybe that can wait til Lil Howie is gone.

    August 20, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. Nova from NV

    DNC primaries were clearly unfair and it did turn a lot of democrats into a Republican or an independent for 2008. The DNC leadership also did nothing while Hillary Clinton got a sexist treatment by the media. They can modify their process all they want, I will not vote for them.

    On a different subject, The fact that CNN prematurely reported that Stephanie Tubb Jones died is a very comical blunder. Congress should investigate if Ray Charles is also dead since CNN has reported it as well.
    This is why the University of Phoenix should not offer Journalism degree online.

    August 20, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. yns



    While you are at it - get rid of the convention as well. No need to have one when the people have spoken!!!!! All that money could be spent feeding our hungry children or providing healthcare for the needy!!!!!

    August 20, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  10. LIbertine, Fort Myers

    Despite the beliefs of the GOP and DEMS there are a lot of conservative members of both parties who don't have faith in either of the candidates to bring about real change without catering to corporate or social special interest groups within their agendas.

    The Libertarian Party!!

    A place for those who have to hold their nose to vote for McCnasty and OprahBama.....

    Barr/Root 2008
    The Libertarians–change you can trust–and living by the same principles you live by.

    August 20, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. Hatred drove us away

    Too much bragging and self-glorification from the savior, Obama- the presidential seal, his excellent European promo tour, his perfect judgement, his self-righteousness, his sense of prefection....

    The vulgar, filthy, nasty "support" he inspired in his cult.

    Dividing the party for his personal gain and inflaming the racial tensions to secure the AA voting bloc.

    These are the things that derailed Obama .

    August 20, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  12. John in Ohio

    This is the time to talk about revamping the primary system; not in the middle of the primaries when your candidate is losing, but once the primaries are over. You don't change the rules of a game in the middle of a game.

    August 20, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  13. Carmon Minneapolis MN

    Its been almost a year now and I have had the same home phone number and cell phone number and I have NEVER EVER EVA EVA EVA been polled. So my advice to all you who have not been polled, don’t believe this because after almost a year of campaign polls that the media keeps reporting on you cant tell me AFTER A YEAR they could not have found the time to call either of my phones by now.

    As a matter a fact no one I know has been polled. I bet CNN won’t post this because they don’t want people to know that these polls are a load of BS and that they are Media Driven.


    August 20, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  14. pat

    Democrat for Change: McCain 08. This long term Democrat is disgusted with what's happened with this whole primary process. The Obama "kids" (ie. supporters) have turned this into a fine mess. It's time for this young, educated Democrat to go Republican in 08. Hillary Clinton would have been a great choice – even if he choses her as VP, I doubt I will vote for the losing Obama ticket.

    August 20, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. Greg in Ohio

    Yes changes the rules again until Hilliary and Bill can win. Gosh if I were only a Democrate

    August 20, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  16. Moderate Democrat, New York

    Get rid of all the caucuses and hold an actual voting process in every state so every voice, every vote is heard and counted; set a date which primaries begin for every state – no exceptions; have the primaries end in a certain time frame instead of dragging it on and on and on as this one did. Amen!

    August 20, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  17. Indie-Voter undecided no more!

    I am very open to being voting and not all the media hype around a lead or not. We all know how polls are and I recall HRC lead being grand until the last leg of the race. Not to mention, I think it's very premature to think that McCain is doing this great thing in leading the Economy, let alone this Country. All I'm saying it will be pure hell to pay if McCain wins. Nothing points to his success. Just a bunch of bull junk.

    August 20, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  18. John B. From New Hampshire

    hey phantom... put down the ganga and read. the repubs would have had a field day w/ hill... with all her skeletons she would have been toast. as to your theory of repubs voting obama to erase their "true threat" in hillary... sure.. that's why rush l. told reps. to vote for hillary in "operation chaos... because they didn't want her to win????? good god man! facts have a funny way of making you look retarded!! LOL

    August 20, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  19. jeffrey

    the ground work is being layed for obama you beter hope you didnt make a HUGE mistake not putting mrs clinton on your ticket....because SHE WILL BE PRESIDENT......the question is if......its could have been as your successor in 2016.....but it looking more and more everyday like she will be our canidate in 2012....i hope shes better to you than your were to her....but that wont be hard.....

    August 20, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  20. Steve, Chelsea, MI

    How about rotating regional primaries?

    August 20, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  21. Desiree

    They need to change it to winner takes all in each state. This primary went on for too long because of the splitting of the delegates for each state.

    August 20, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  22. Franky

    @Phantom of the opera

    What are you?? A conspiracy theorist?? LOL!!! So much info for so much time. And by the way, no one knows for sure who voted for whom and so forth. Plus, maybe if Hillary wouldv'e taken this seriously in the beginning maybe she would be the nominee by not her fault that she's stupid! LOL!!!

    August 20, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  23. fella from Chicago

    The biggest change needs to be a winner take all policy like the Republicans have in their primary. The splitting of delegates by congressional district is a joke. +1 majority gives all of a particular States delegates to a candidate.

    August 20, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Worst...Resume...Ever....

    Better idea. Get rid of the silly caucuses where one candidate can send in a bunch of paid partisan kids to take over the process in multiple states.

    August 20, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. James at 45

    The primary system needs fixing. This year's "front end" system allowed the empty suit to run over the other Dem candidates, except HRC, with practically no scrutiny from the press until it was too late. And even that tiny bit of scrutiny is still insuffcient.

    Finally, an idea from Obama that I like. Whoops - the story said it came from "Obama's campaign." Not from the One. Typical.

    Go McCain!

    August 20, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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