February 13th, 2008
03:50 PM ET
13 years ago

Blitzer: 'Be careful what you wish for'


WASHINGTON (CNN) - In the world of politics, be careful what you wish for.

The politicians in Florida and Michigan thought that by moving up their primaries before Super Tuesday, they would exert greater influence on the nomination of their respective party’s presidential candidates. The Republican National Committee stripped those states of half of their delegates. The Democrats stripped those states of all of their delegates.

John McCain has a huge advantage right now in the Republican delegate count. That explains why there isn’t much buzz about what the Republicans did.

But it’s a very different story on the Democratic side.

Hillary Clinton “won” the Florida and Michigan contests even though she and her rivals promised not to campaign in those states. They didn’t. She did show up in Florida on the night of the primary to claim victory. She had a huge rally there.

The only names on the Democratic ballot in Michigan were those of Clinton and Dennis Kucinich. Barack Obama’s name was nowhere to be found there, though his name was on the Florida ballot. And with the candidates not allowed to campaign in either state, it wasn’t really much of an election - though Florida and Michigan Democrats certainly showed up in good faith to vote.

Now there are lots of background discussions and efforts underway to determine whether the millions of Democratic voters in those two states will actually be disenfranchised at the Democratic Convention in Denver at the end of August. That’s because the party’s nomination could come down to a floor vote.

If Clinton and Obama remain competitive after the March 4 contests in Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island, and the other remaining contests, including Pennsylvania's April vote, then it could come down to a brokered convention. Will the Florida and Michigan delegates be seated? There could be a huge and historic credentials fight, the first since 1972 when Democrats finally nominated George McGovern.

Here’s the irony: By moving up their contests, the Florida and Michigan Democrats wound up with exactly what they feared would happen to them if they waited until Super Tuesday. They became marginalized. Had they held their contests as originally scheduled, it potentially would have been very different. Let’s see if the problem can be fixed.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (304 Responses)
  1. Florida Democrat

    How can you just ignore 1.7 million Democrats that voted in Florida. Everyone's name was on the ballot, the fact that the candidates chose not to cmapaign doesn't mean that my vote shouldn't count.

    February 13, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  2. moderate dem

    So if we go Obama's route and hold the super delegates to vote for the winner in their state, will Ted Kennedy and John Kerry have to vote for Hillary? Is Oprah a super delegate?

    February 13, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  3. hapind

    well you have that choice now with McCain

    February 13, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  4. Phil G- new york

    Its so funny now how Hillary is not talking change anymore after she tried to steal it from Obama. Now she saying we don't need change we need progress. How can we trust a president who didnt know of her diminished campaign bankroll as it came as a "surprise to her."

    I see bad new for the economy

    February 13, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  5. Liugi in CA

    What a disgrace and a slap in the face to the millions of voters who are being ignored. If their "votes" actually meant something, this ongoing coronation of Obama would be mote.

    What a farce. I am so sorry to my fellow Americans that their time and efforts seem to stand for nothing.

    February 13, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  6. SlapStick, Florida

    In the case of Michigan, the only fair way to resolve this situation is to have a caucus or primary so that it is fair to both candidates because Obama was not on the ballots. As for Florida, I feel that they need to have primaries again because neither party was allowed to campaign here. Anything other than that would be highway robbery to any candidate.

    February 13, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  7. jb san francsico

    The statement that the democrats in Florida wished to advance their primary is not entirely accurate. The republican controlled legislature and governor moved the primary and the dems had no control over the date of the election and are being denied representation because of these political games being played. Once again Florida is the Bermuda Triangle of Democracy.

    February 13, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  8. THE voting game

    Hillary Clinton did not break the rules. She did NOT campaign in Florida. BOTH Clinton and Obama's names were on the ballot, NEITHER directly camapigned, Obama had national ads that ran in Florida, and there was an unprecedented voter turn out. All canidates were on an equal playing field. To say that Hillary Clinton had an advantage because of her name recognition is ridiculous. Florida voters read the newspaper, watch CNN, watch the debates, and are very politically aware. The primary was held on January 29, 2008 – not 6 months ago. We know about Obama and the issues he stands for.

    Florida Democrats should not be punished because the Repulican run state legislature moved the primary date. For our party to do this to its members is unacceptable!

    To suggest that we ignore the will of the thousands of voters that came out to vote on January 29th in favor of a new caucus is equally as absurd. A caucus is not truly representative of what the voters want. Only those that can get the day off and find a baby-sitter for 6-8 hours can actaully participate. Many of the individuals that already cast their votes will not be able to participate in such a process. They will be left out of the process.

    February 13, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  9. Greg

    It seems like you are the only neutral reporter on TV. I have lost alot of confidence and respect with MSNBC. The Media is painting a bleak picture of Hillary.
    All I see on TV is Obama , not too much about Hillary, only negative remarks about her.

    The Media made Obama into some sort of a savior, which is disgusting. If he is elected he will be a failure along with our country.

    Would Wal-mart, IBM, Ford, General Motors hire him as a COO or CEO, I don't think so.
    Why would the voters with any intelligence vote for someone with a lack of expertise , knowledge, this is extremely dangerous time with the world in the shape it is in.

    May God help us.

    February 13, 2008 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  10. Ruby S. from Idaho

    I still say we should have had a revote in Florida on the Gore and Bush election!

    February 13, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  11. Yolanda Diaz

    What about Michigan and Florida – Lost? no way? we have to fight for it

    February 13, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  12. Lisa

    Why don't they have caucuses... oh wait Hillary said they don't matter...

    February 13, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  13. Jim, Carbondale, IL

    They should hold their primaries on the same day, a week or so after Pennsylvania.

    February 13, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  14. Krissy


    Those are easy questions that you can find the answers to if you RESEARCH. Voters who sit on their couch and wait for all of the complex plans to be spelled out for them by news pundits are LAZY. Go to Obama's website. He clearly spells out his history, his ideas, and how he plans to impliment them. To fear someone because you think he is Muslim is tragic (he is Christian by the way).

    OBAMA 08!!!!

    February 13, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  15. Tim

    Let's get down to the real issue here... the primary system is clearly weighted against penninsulas. Down with the land-locked states!!

    February 13, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  16. Laverne Miller

    Now we have NAACP and ACLU involved in Super Delegates..Look out what you wish for yourself. Wolf...We.ve had Barack Obamas name inscribed on our heads listening to CNN and Fox News; and now you want to know what will happen at the Convention..Well; lets see' if Michigan and florida are counted for Hillary and if she has Super Delegate edge; what do youThink would happen if she was given the nod? We Senior Citizens know..Start ducking...Your life won't be woth a nickel..The Media has unleashed a Monster; and doesn't even realize it yet..

    February 13, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  17. Elizabeth; Dallas, TX

    "Last year, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton took the unusual step of renting out some of her lists. The transaction once again highlights the Clintons' connections to a businessman who now faces questions from the Securities and Exchange Commission.

    Reports from Clinton's campaign show that on Dec. 3, it collected payment for renting out three mailing lists, the sale of which netted them $8,225. " National Public Radio. 2/13/2008.

    Hmmm... no new scandals? Hillary just loaned a buddy of Bill's company your private mailing information. Hurray! I didn't want my privacy anyway! ?(Sarcasm) Oh yeah, she also failed to appear this week to vote against immunity for telecom companies that give your your phone records to the government without reason.

    February 13, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  18. Dean K

    Wolf, you stated the Democrats voted to move the primary up to Jan. 2008. It was the Replublican majority Florida legislature that appoved the move to Jan 29, knowing full well that the DNC would not accept the delegates accorded to the winner. Knowing also that the RNC would only take half of their delegates.

    February 13, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  19. Gonzalo

    Please let us be fair. All candidates were on the ballot in Florida. In Michigan, Clinton was the only person on the ballot; however, it was by choice that Edwards and Obama decided to bail. Obama can't say let the pledge delegates decide this race(which is true) and than turn around and say discount the millions of votes in Florida and Michigan just because they don't favor him. Obama just advocates hope when it favors him? Basically the DNC agreed to disenfranchise voters in MI and FL, as though it was their fault their primaries were held early. A re-contest would be unfair simply because it would once again go against the votes of the people who already voted. No matter what you say silencing votes is wrong.

    February 13, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  20. CaliGuy

    If all the candidates agreed to the DNC's rules before starting their run for president to not include Michigan and Flordia on their agendas neither one of the remaining two should be asking for the delegates. Now as if they should be seated in Denver at the convention the simple answer should be "no". Our party needs a little more backbone as to when we say something we mean it eventhough it may have a political downfall. Im pretty sure Democrats will carry those states in November because none of us will vote for a Republican and their continuation of the war. Oh and Wolf are you a Liberal or a Conservative?

    February 13, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  21. Cloria

    My opinion is that all of us, Obama and Clinton's supporters, should contribute funds to cover a reapeat in Michigan, this time a Caucus so that Obama can claim those votes. They can hold it after Puerto Rico's 65-take-all delegates Caucus on June 1st. Meanwhile, as loyal Democrats, we should all unite behind Floridians who are desperately claiming representation at the Convention. They need us now, we will need them in November. And please, no need to insult the intelligence of Obama's supporters by insinuating that, because they did not see their candidate in person, they just stayed home. Clinton's supporters didn't either but they watched the debates, read news papers, and watched the news, just like all educated voters around the Nation are doing. November is just around the corner, the time to unite is NOW.

    February 13, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  22. Melissa

    I am from Michigan and I am very angered by the fact my voice has not been heard in the caucases/primaries. Neither has my husband's. I won't take it out on the DNC, I blame our state's legislation. I think we as Michigan voters should have a do-over and arrange some type of caucas(I read primaries would cost too much money) so EVERY voice is heard in this state.

    February 13, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  23. Jose Hernandez

    Michael white took the words out of my mouth. To all Americans, do not vote on race or gender. I do see a great candidate, a candidate that this country has not seen in a long time. Some one has to go back to the Kennedy era to see an individual with so much charisma, intelligence and inspiration. Voting for either McCain or Clinton would be to vote for a continuation of the Bush legacy. We need new blood in the White House, someone that can bring true chance. We need a Leader with a new Perspective. We already know what the Clintos’ or the McCain have in store for us.

    February 13, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  24. Matt Scott

    So elections were it was known for months that delegates were not going to be seated accurately reflect the will of the people of those states?

    Who are you trying to kid?Yourselves obviously.

    February 13, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  25. Sparkle, MO

    There is always something fishy with voting in Florida. The politicians in Florida chose to disregard the decision of the party even with stern warnings. If FLoridians are upset, they should elect new state leadership and stop trying to taint this election

    February 13, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
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