January 10th, 2008
11:20 AM ET
10 years ago

Unexpected wrinkle for Clinton in Michigan

Clinton is the only major Democratic candidate on the ballot in Michigan.

Clinton is the only major Democratic candidate on the ballot in Michigan.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic leaders in Michigan are urging supporters of John Edwards and Barack Obama, who are not on the ballot in the state, to vote “uncommitted” in the January 15 primary – a move that could create an unexpected headache for Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

Clinton is the only major presidential candidate who did not pull her name from the Michigan ballot after the national party penalized the state for scheduling the vote in mid-January, rather than later in the cycle.

The national party voted to strip Michigan of delegates as a penalty, but party leaders in the electoral-vote rich state have expressed confidence that they will be seated at the convention.

None of the candidates, including Clinton, will be campaigning here, and none have authorized write-in campaigns – which means that, under state law, their supporters cannot cast write-in votes for any of them.

But if at least 15 percent of the voters in a congressional district opt for the “uncommitted” option rather than voting for Clinton, delegates not bound to any candidate could attend the national convention – a development that could allow Edwards or Obama supporters to play a role in candidate selection there.

In this cycle, more than in recent campaigns, the delegate count may prove important. Narrow losses – which still add to a candidate’s delegate total – could keep more than one presidential hopeful in contention. “For the first time since 1988, this is a delegate race,” Clinton aide Howard Wolfson told reporters Wednesday.

A new group, Detroiters for Uncommitted Voters, is launching a grassroots campaign to promote the “uncommitted” option. The Detroit News reported Thursday that Democratic Rep. John Conyers and his wife, Detroit City Councilwoman Monica Conyers, said they will launch ads calling for "uncommitted" votes if there is no other way to register support for Barack Obama.

The option is also being endorsed by Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, and the state’s Democratic Party Chair Mark Brewer as a way for Democrats who do not support Clinton to participate in the vote.

Neither man has endorsed a presidential candidate.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (229 Responses)
  1. Real Story

    Obama is for the People, The media, Elitists and those who have fallen victim to simple Bush/ she is a woman tactics, are for Hillary. It is time America got their act together and voted in a real individual . I'm so tired of bull politics , WE NEED A CHANGE AMERICA
    Obama 08

    January 11, 2008 04:22 am at 4:22 am |
  2. Steve A

    The Republicans are running scared of Obama. As a former professor of Constitutional Law , he is precisely what our country needs now, after Bush, Cheney and Rove have done their very best to shred it.
    The criminal Rove 's attacks on Obama can only give Obama A BOOST.

    The Republicans have tooled up their campaign against Hillary, and are scared that she will not be the nominee.

    January 11, 2008 04:42 am at 4:42 am |
  3. Tess

    Hey, Clueless in Battle Creek:
    You also missed the fact that Qwest is moving into Downtown Detroit. Brainy businesspeople know a good deal when they see one: reasonable retail rental prices, an educated workforce hungry for jobs, amazing geographic location and a cultural gem on top of all that.

    Sure, it takes a little while longer for things to filter out your way but, do try to keep up on what's been happening lately (it would help if you turned off Fox every now and then and got some real news). If you get too bored clearing brush, look on the bright side, perhaps you'll have fun this summer at 'Taste of Battle Creek'...I hear there's a new cereal out this year!

    Just let me know when you get hungry for some culture: I'll send you a postcard from the Ansel Adams exhibition at the DIA (you might want to get a frame for it at Wal-mart) or, maybe, if you open your eyes, you can see their cast of Rodin's 'The Thinker' as it travels to Grand Rapids this summer...on second thought, all that input might be too much for your 'system'.

    January 11, 2008 06:32 am at 6:32 am |
  4. Rasta

    The bi-monarchy takes roots...

    George H W Bush
    Bill Clinton
    George W Bush
    Hillary Clinton
    Jeb Bush
    Chelsea Clinton

    If you want to CHANGE this get fired up and be ready to go NOW.

    January 11, 2008 06:43 am at 6:43 am |
  5. Mike

    While agree that this trend of states trying to gain attention by moving up their primaries is foolish, what gives the DNC the right to take away citizens' right to vote? I was wrong to think that throwing the constitution out the window was limited to the Bush administration. I echo "GO VOTERS!"

    Omaha, NE

    January 11, 2008 06:58 am at 6:58 am |
  6. FloridaBoy

    Florida was similarly penalized by the DNC. Is Hillary planning the same thing here? What voting option is there for those of us in FL that do not wish to continue the "status quo"?

    January 11, 2008 07:03 am at 7:03 am |
  7. West Palm Beach

    Michigan, welcome to the club. Need any extra voting machines?? Love, Florida

    January 11, 2008 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  8. West Palm Beach

    Michigan, welcome to the club. Love, Florida

    January 11, 2008 07:55 am at 7:55 am |
  9. BF Boca

    NH was biased by the media coverage that Hilary recieved for the tears shed. I can't recall any other tears in History that got so much attention. By the way Hillary was crying because she saw that she was losing and not because she cares about anything. What would happen if she became president and was encountered with a life threatening difficult decision, are we going to have a president who will break down and cry.

    I also think she must articulate better all this exlperience that she talks about. Let her explain How the ideas were concieved, managed and completed by her and what the results were. I think we will probably see that she does not have the experience that she says. By the way being the presidents wife does not qualify as experience. Ask the Pilot of a 747 jetliner if his wife can fly the plane just because he sleeps with her. Don't think so.

    January 11, 2008 08:04 am at 8:04 am |
  10. S Jose

    some people may say Hillary is weak or tricky for her tear (she really didn't cry u blinds...) The media, people are pushing her to the edge and pressuring her so much but let me ask u guys did she fall down or bow out? She is still standing eventhough she lost in Iowa and she overcame lots of pressure as a first lady, a senator and now as a presidential candidate. Even if unluckly she lost to Obama, she still be standing gracefully. People blame on her that she did vote for war so let me ask u when ur fellow innocenent americans died bcoz of one stupid act how will u reply at that moment?
    Let me ask u how ur belove obama would reply if he got a chance to vote for the war??? Do u think can he really really do"CHANGE THAT WE CAN BELIEVE" when he become the president of america. And how will he respond to his father and step father and his own previous religon if there will be another 9/11 attack happen again. Do u ever think that how it's so tough and difficult as a woman in politic but she is still fighting and keep going. it may be true that she made mistakes but does anybody never did mistake in their life??? How about obama? is he like a mistake free zone? just use ur brain my fellow american don't just dream or just blind. obama's speech may be inspirational like we watch in the movie but in reality things are more difficult than just talk.

    January 11, 2008 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  11. Citizen

    Steve A,

    You have it the other way – in fact, Republicans want Obama – a guy with no meat, muslim, a lot of hot air, and 136 PRESENT votes as a state senator and on and on...

    They will have a fun day with him as democratic nominee. Go check some news letters on internet and you will get a picture.

    Wake up America and don't be fooled again like you were in 2000 and 2004.

    I am seriously considering changing party – I would rather be lableled as an _hole than an idiot.

    January 11, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  12. hate ryan, new york

    Hay did u guys see the photo in the last debate in NH, Look at there, Obama, Edwards, Richardson standing together like ...heee heee at least we r in a group and look at Hillary standing alone.... It seems that they love each other to attack Hillary? Yep u three guys if one of u win, another two will be Vice and Advisor to the president? Shame on u guys, u guys actually deon't think of how will u guys help or do for this country!!

    January 11, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  13. Tommy, Orlando, FL

    The Press is BACK on track to Woman Bashing again.... How sad... They never learned their lessons.

    January 11, 2008 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  14. AnnAloha, PA

    Go Independents for Change!!!
    Vote you hearts and you minds!!!
    Looking at all you FOOLS that allowed the sexist media management and the anti-feminist females that reeled all of you in with the Jerry Springer effect...I sit hear totally amused and chuckled at the very thought that you fell for it Hook, Line and Sinker. Geez, could you all be more ignorant to this?
    Call Senator Obama and Senator Edwards and tell them how stupid it was for them to for-go Michigan. Senator Clinton did'nt tell them not keep their names on the ballot. See how cockey they were, to believe by not participating(by their own choice), shows just how serious they really took this race.
    I wish the media would pose that question to each of them, to get their response. Do you regret for-going Michigan?
    Poor Michigan, I totally feel sorry for you, especially those of you that supported Senator Obama and Senator Edwards.
    If I were you all, I would direct your anger at the 2 people that need to hear from you, Senators Obama and Edwards.
    Stop whinning and hold them responsible and not the DNC or Senator Clinton and please try to move on after to hear from them.

    January 11, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. CS, IL


    I totally agree with you. People this is POLITICS! Politicians must play hard .. sorry. If you don't like that answer, please see the "We Are the World" – no real platform but I'm biracial so I have a better view on foireign policy" thought process of Obama.

    Everyone is blaming Hillary for not taking her name off the list. I would not have either! What the hell! She wants to win. If Obama or Edwards truthfully thought they could win Michigan, they would not have. This is not about respecting the DNC, this is about giving the hell up and turning on Michigan!!

    I don't know who I'm voting for, but I won't vote for Obama. He has handed me NOTHING in terms of concrete plans. I get that he has a lot of ideas of being Pesident .. but hell, so do I. Wanna make me President too?? I don't appreciate his bad impersonations of Martin Luther King speeches and I truly don't appreciate his growing arrogance, even in the face of a campaign that is really missing "the beef".

    It's kind of sad that so many people don't even realize how misogynistic they sound in their responses. That so many don't want to see how biased the media is.

    I would be outraged if I lived in Michigan. I really feel for you guys.

    January 11, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. Anonymous

    Personally, I don't think it matters what the Clinton campaign does. They can't win, because people immediately have the attitude "not her", and do not listen.
    I listened to a town hall meeting where she answered question after question, and now she honestly will get my vote. She clearly knows what she's talking about. People just immediately close their minds at the mention of her name. I was that way also until I listened to everyone, and after voting for George, because he was going to change everything and bipartiasnship was going to be. We have the worst mess I have ever seen. Now, I have decided I want experience in Washington. Edwards is to weak. Obama can speak, but he does need to be around politics alot longer. The media is ridiculous. I use to like CNN, when it was about news, now it reports, and analyzes everything to death. The Obama wave is a prime example.

    January 11, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. Robert, Lancing MI

    Democrats of Wisconsin,become informed and take control of your future !

    Go to http://www.fairtax.org and read up!

    Our current income tax is dragging this country into the mud, and we have to make a positive change.

    Goals of the FairTax
    1. Eliminate all federal taxes including payroll, income, inheritance, gift, social security, medicare taxes.
    2. Replace them with a National Sales tax which will fully fund all government programs at the current rate.
    3. End the IRS.
    4. Repeal the 16th amendment.

    Advantages of the FairTax
    Taxation becomes visible so everyone can see exactly what they are paying in tax. Make taxation fair, cause everyone would pay the same thing. Give incentive to excel to the American people and American business. Attract new business to this country. Make America Made products more competitive in the world market-place. And much more.

    Learn about the FairTax, and then demand that your democratic leaders support it.

    Thank you.

    January 11, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  18. Annie

    I like both Obama and Hillary. All the Dems are ok with me.

    But.... what is the 2008 presidential race really about?

    This race is not about terrorism, education, healthcare, the economy, the environment, religion, race or any of the other issues that we pretend to be interested in. It is about only one thing, and that is gender.

    We were shocked and/or amused when those two hecklers disrupted a Hillary speech to shout at her "IRON MY SHIRTS!" (The guys who did this worked for a morning radio show and were doing it as a publicity stunt).

    The truth is, many men and woman believe that is exactly what Hillary, and all other woman, should be doing. We just don't want to admit it to ourselves. It is politically incorrect.

    No one, male or female, wants to be thought sexist. But Hillary scares everyone,
    since she is doing something that no woman has done before.

    We don't want to admit that we are sexist, so Hillary is attacked relentlessly by both men and women for her past behavior and supposed faults.

    When I read each one of the attacks on Hillary, I ask myself
    "If she were a man, would they be saying this?"

    Most of the time the answer is no.

    Hillary is trying to break the highest and hardest glass ceiling in the USA. It is no wonder she is being vilified.

    Some history for those of you who are interested in learning facts. The rest of you go on to the next post...or just flame away....
    In the early and mid 1800's neither woman nor blacks are citizens of the USA nor are they allowed to vote.

    The two groups work together to try to gain the rights of citizenship for both blacks and females.

    After the civil war, BLACK MEN (only) are given the right of citizenship with the passage of the Fourteenth amendment in 1867-68. This amendment goes to great lengths defining citizenship.

    It states that they must be "male". It is clear that woman are being excluded from having the legal and voting rights that they would have if they were allowed to be citizens. This is the first use of the word male in the Constitution.

    "No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States"
    In 1868, the fifteenth amendment passes Congress, giving the vote to black men only.

    "Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by
    The United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
    Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

    It is obvious those women are being deliberately excluded from voting. No political correctness here.
    At this point, black men have what they want, and woman of all races are left to fight on their own for universal suffrage. For the next 52 years, women who fight for the right to vote are arrested and jailed when they try to gain voting rights. In 1886, women are excluded from the dedication ceremonies for the Statue of Liberty.

    In each election, brave woman attempt to cast votes, but they are arrested and the votes are discarded.

    In the 1890's, suffragettes begin work in each state to gain voting rights. Colorado gives woman the vote, followed by Idaho, Washington State, California and Alaska, Oregon, Arizona and Kansas.

    Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony die, having never cast a vote despite working for that right for over 50 years.

    As woman get closer to having universal voting rights, physical and verbal attacks on suffragettes become increasingly violent. In 1913 they are attacked by mobs and hundreds of woman are injured. (Editorial comment. This is a typical response to woman who are gaining power.)

    Woman are arrested, jailed and brutalized in an attempt to scare them away from their goal, which now appears to be within reach.

    In 1920, the Nineteenth Amendment is ratified. “ The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex."

    "So what?" you say? "That is ancient history."

    Not quite. Nothing has really changed in the last hundred years. Although women have been able to vote for 87 years, we have still not been represented in the highest or even the second highest office in America. Why is that?

    We have still not had a black president or vice president. When a woman gets within reach of presidential power, the violence and attacks escalate in an attempt to humiliate, discourage and exclude her.

    Although Obama has black blood, he is not being attacked in public or in print as Hillary is. Is there more fear of a woman being president then of a black person being a president? It appears so to me.

    What demographic group has been most excluded from seeking the highest political office? Women are 50.7% of the US population, so why haven't we had a woman president?

    Don't tell me a woman can't do the job. (So what is the reason???)

    Blacks are 12.8% of the population.

    I think the people who are best able to analyze this are BLACK WOMEN.
    I want to know, are your going to vote your gender or your race?
    If you HAD to choose between only those two factors, what would it be?
    Which has the biggest impact on your life?

    It is clear to me that in 2008, sexism is more hostile then racism.

    Would you say what you are saying about Hillary if she were a man?

    This campaign is about GENDER...and nothing else.

    January 11, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  19. Tim Calhoun '08, Moreno Valley, CA

    D, two words: Margaret Thatcher.

    Hillary is the Maggie of the Democratic Party.

    People have this ridiculous notion that female leaders would make the world an idyllic, tranquil place. Female leaders have been pro-war (not to mention corrupt) in the past and will continue to be in the future...just like male leaders.

    Let's remember, Hillary helped put our nation into Iraq in the first place.

    January 11, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  20. sgifford

    To the posters saying that this "Vote Uncommitted" is a conspiracy against Hillary: It really isn't. It's just a way to vote for another candidate. Hillary shouldn't be denied the nomination because she's a woman, but choosing another candidate is not anti-woman or anti-feminist, it's just choosing a different candidate. And in Michigan, the only way to choose a different candidate is to vote Uncommitted or vote in the Republican primary.

    To the posters saying "Blame the candidates, not the DNC" and/or "Vote for Hillary, she left her name on the ballot": The DNC forbade candidates from campaigning in Michigan and decided not to seat our delegates, so they really did play a pretty big role in this situation, and deserve a good part of the blame. And at the time Clinton decided not to take her name off the ballot, she said it was because it was unnecessary, since the delegates weren't being counted anyways. She hasn't opposed the decision to ignore our delegates (and hence our votes), and she hasn't campaigned in Michigan. So she's not blameless either.

    The fact is that the entire Democratic Party is to blame, from the DNC to the Michigan Democratic party to the candidates to the Democrats in the state legislature that voted for this disastrous plan. Fellow Michigan Democrats, please let party leaders and your legislators know your thoughts! See my earlier post for a link to a site I have set up on the issue, which has links to contact the people responsible for this, and also an online petition to sign.

    January 12, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  21. Michael MacDonald

    I share the outrage of the Michigan Democrats who have written protesting the Democratic primay debacle. The people who created this fiasco, Governor Granholm, Chairman Mark Brewer and Senator Carl Levin are all supporters of Senator Clinton, whether they have formally endorsed her or not. The urging of the latter two to vote for an "uncommitted" slate of delegates is utterly disingenous. This is the same as choosing a perfect stranger at the precinct door toe exercise your right to vote however he or she chooses. Brewer and Levin want a small vote for "uncommitted" to give a patina of fairness to an election in which tens, perhaps hundreds of thousands of Democrats have been disfranchised. Were CNN and the other national media to publicize how this situation has arisen, who is chiefly responsible and the rage it has provoked among loyal democrats like myself, viewers and readers would grasp that this is a major political scandal. A cabal of Clintonites has stolen the primary in the nation's ninth-largest state. Their smarmy claims that the primary will make Michigan matter in the primary selection process are as disgusting as they are false. The leaders of the party have trampled on the most fundamenal right in American democracy. Senator Levin declares loudly that the delegates chosen in what will be a rigged Clinton victory will be seated at the Democratic convention in August ("not to worry, Clintonites" in other words) and he is probably right. The stench of this election will linger long afterwards and many like me who would have welcomed a Clinton victory in a full and fair primary will not be voting on Tuesday and, should she win the national party nomination, making the same choice in November. The Party will not allow us to cast votes for Edwards or Obama now–they have even passed a law invalidating the votes of anyone who dares to write in their names (how's that for a democratic rule?). They should not be permitted to get away with this, and the reporters covering this outrage should not present it as some sort of unavoidable snafu with (a familiar phrase in the scant reporting) "plenty of blame to go around." Michiganders know that party satraps could easily have avoided this fiasco; instead they deftly brought about precisely the result they intended.

    January 12, 2008 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  22. Debbie from THE SHOW ME STATE


    January 13, 2008 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  23. Zain

    Those of us who choose not to support Hillary, are not necessarily anti-women. She is untrustworthy and simply not the best canidate. Just because you choose not to support Obama doesn't make you a bigot. I personally support Barack Obama. He has the right vision. He has gone to great lenghts to research his plans. He is intelligent, a good speaker, and just what our country needs right now. John Edwards is also a great canidate. Although I support Obama, I would not be upset to see Edwards in office. Best case senerio would be President Barack Obama and Vice President John Edwards. But, that's just one man's opinion.

    January 13, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  24. Ginny CA

    To Jennifer in Mich, and Ben in Flint Mich: You both advise Former Obama Girl to go to either Obama's website or visit a local or national Obama headquarters where someone there will explain Sen. Obama's plans to her. Might I add another bit of advice here? I believe it would be wise for Sen. Obama to do the same: go to an Obama site and learn what his plans are. If he only knew what they were, perhaps he would be able to express them to voters instead of speaking in generalities and catch phrases. From the beginning Edwards and Clinton have been articulating what their goals are and the steps they will take to accomplish them. Now it's up to Obama to let us know that he has, at least, some idea about how he will achieve his goals.

    January 14, 2008 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  25. Steve

    This Article Specificaly left out the fact That Dennis Kucinich is on the Ballot there and IS Campaiging there ...
    The Media refuses to give Dennis any coverage .. wich is destroying our democracy ... they have also basicly now left eddwards out of the race now ..I wouldnt be surprised if they exclude him from next debates .
    we must stop Media control of our election process NOW if we are to ever return to some form of Democracy!!

    January 14, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
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