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. Bored voter

    Let's start in June ... this garbage has gone on far too long.

    August 20, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  2. Jim

    There is still time to pick a winner... The DNC needs to pick Hillary at the convention or suffer a loss...It's the choice... Howard Dean wake up....YEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

    August 20, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  3. P, CA

    PUMAs: You're being "spat on"? Hatred drove you to it? Really? Take a look at the first 30 comments on this post and tell me who is being more hateful? Most everyone is being somewhat negative, but this dogpile on Obama for some imagined slight against Hillary is petty and ridiculous.

    If Hillary is really her own person, then she would be complaining like crazy right now like you. Is she? NO. She's put support behind Obama. Makes you think. Maybe unity means something.

    The paranoia is going to drive you all crazy. Next thing, you'll be telling your children "You better brush your teeth before bed, or Obama will come and eat you up!!" Your conspiracy theories are all fake. Take Occam's Razor to heart and stop making things complicated.

    August 20, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. Nicole In NE

    I was at a caucus as were lots of people I know and all of you complaining about them and pulling out these "conspiracy theories" are pretty ridiculous. Sorry, but our vote counted too, weather you like it or not!

    Everyone is still crying about FL & MI, but would love to throw out any vote from the caucus. That is pretty laughable.

    Yes – I too am for a primary day, all states – same time. But the problem is even Hillary's people agreed to the rules and everything for this primary season. They are complaining because THEY lost.

    August 20, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  5. v.a.

    amen! enough of the circus.

    August 20, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  6. Down with Obama


    August 20, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. Great Idea

    I'd say this is a good recommendation from Barack.

    Obama 08

    August 20, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  8. Deb, Allentown, PA

    I know this isn't relevant to this ticker story, but it's important.

    Is everyone aware that McCain said today that he didn't disagree that we might need to reinstate the draft?

    Do you want your children to die for the warmongering fool McCain?

    August 20, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  9. steve

    jim – read a newspaper.. florida and michigan were also punished by the republican party in the primaries – the difference being they were quick and decisive about it, seating half the delegates from each state. then life moved on.

    meanwhile the dems couldn't figure out who was going to even be on the ballot, who would count, whether they would count at all, all they could do was bicker an argue.

    sometimes real life is more complicated than your "right-wing conspiracy"

    August 20, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  10. Albert Bond

    How has John McCain's war experience (capture) prepared him to be president. Also, please explain how being captured has made him a war hero.

    August 20, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. Nicole In NE

    Jim – your absolutley right! But no one wants to look at that at all. I don't believe they seated MI & FL fully did they? So why switch to the Republican side because of the DNC when the RNC was actually the ones who screwed them?

    It makes no sense to me at all!

    August 20, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  12. Webster 208

    And why must Iowa and New Jersey always be first to have a caucus and primary? Why not allow other states to vote earlier than Iowa or New Jersey? Why have superdelegates if all the party stalwarts will pressure them to vote according to the "will of the people" as expressed in the results of the caucuses and the primary elections? Or if states are to have a caucus, why not schedule them over several days, during different hours of the day, so the results will be more representative and not only reflect the preference of the unemployed or those who could afford to leave their kids with nannies and attend the caucuses? Why schedule the primary election over several months when all the wise men of the party only end up complaining that the primary election is taking too long and needs to end before all the states could vote?

    August 20, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  13. Lyle

    Although the primary calendar was a problem and the caucus system is beyond broken, these are not the major hurdles to the future of the DNC. The DNC will continue to fail in electing a Democrat to the White House because the party has strayed so far left that it has LEFT the majority of the party behind. The DNC must start learning from its mistakes and stop foisting ultra-liberal, can’t-win candidates on voters.

    With Mr. Obama, the DNC has reached the pinnacle of liberal ridiculousness. After losing yet another election this fall, perhaps the DNC will rethink the path they have taken and start offering qualified, experienced, more moderate candidates for the nomination.

    Whereas Mrs. Clinton would, without doubt, be one her way to victory as we speak, Mr. Obama continues to spiral toward the bottom, destined to become the greatest failure in DNC history.

    August 20, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  14. Nicole In NE

    Phantom of the Oprah:

    seriously? That's all I can say, because I was laughing through your entire post!

    August 20, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  15. Luis in Miami with no hope to win

    There you go... lets start healing. We need the solemn promise that the voters will not be punished for decisions made by state houses and governors.

    August 20, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  16. Vig

    This caucus caca has left us with a presidential candidate who will lose the election to McCain. It has no umph. The more Obama opens his mouth, the more he comes off as as not only inexperienced but half the time seems to make things up off the top of his head. He doesn't have the Presidential "right stuff" – too bad. Had Clinton not been kicked around, we would have a Democrat in the White House in January. Get ready to hear President McCain.

    August 20, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  17. anonymous

    Now there is speculation that Obama could pick Caroline Kennedy for V-Pres. I have great admiration for the entire Kennedy family and I shall always hold President Kennedy, Jackie, Caroline and John as the perfect family in the White House. I always hoped that John Jr. would have run for President and I sure would have voted for him. There will never be another President like John Kennedy and there is no comparison with any candidate as to that of John Kennedy. I admire Caroline Kennedy, as I think she is a super smart lady, however I do not think she is ready to be in a position as V-Pres. I am sure she would probably be the first to acknowledge that.

    August 20, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  18. Nick

    Enlightened Voter- I am so sick of you and your ignorant comments. Running a campaign and governing are far from the same thing. Just look at Bush. He ran a great campaign so by your logic, he is a great president.

    Furthermore, what makes you think Hillary, or Obama managed thier campaigns. That's what campaign MANAGERS are for. You better believe that it was David Ploufe and Axelrod that won Obama the nomination.

    Also, what does this article have to do with Hillary Clinton? People like you are the reason Hillary supporters won't jump on your bandwagon. YOU are the ones who were constantly negative.

    August 20, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  19. anonymous

    Even if Obama did pick Caroline Kennedy as VP, he still will not win as our country knows that Caroline Kennedy is not ready for that. He is really grasping at straws. He is just going to be a good loser.

    August 20, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  20. Ken

    Obama is going down and the American people are starting to see him for what he is! Just a "Pied Piper", leading the blind (Obama supporters).

    If the Democrat Party want to win the White House, then the delegates need to change their vote and vote for Hillary Clinton to be their nominee.

    The only way that Obama has even a chance is to put Hillary Clinton on the ticket as his VP, otherwise a whole lot of people like myself (Hillary Clinton supporters) are going to vote for McCain.

    Obama DOES NOT have the talent, skills, knowledge or experience to beat McCain, let alone be our next President. The ONLY chance that he has is to put Hillary Clinton on the ticket as his VP, otherwise, he is going down for the count!

    August 20, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. Mark Ferbet, Grain Valley, Missouri

    Yes, I agree. Something needs to be done... I say get rid of the Superdelegates all together... they are a hinderance.

    The current system is full of flaws, and is so complicated the average American can't figure it out.

    August 20, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  22. mmd

    CNN, I'e got the answer to my earlier question. All the poll are conducted for old people. Now days everyone else has a cell phone. Why don't you have a segement where you ask all cell phone users to respond to the question. Who do you want for President.? That should get you and the 19th century Mccain up to date.

    August 20, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  23. Joyce in Florida

    Just get rid of the caucus. They are useless and do not represent a majority of America.

    August 20, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. Ted

    Legislation is needed to let the parties have any rules they want.
    But required to be the same for both parties.

    Fat chance of course, since the legislators cannot even agree on an income tax form.

    August 20, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  25. annie

    Congresswoman Feinstein and now Tubbs – real true Hillary supporters being taken off the list of convention goers before the convention. This smells rather perculiar.

    August 20, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
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