February 22nd, 2008
11:12 AM ET
15 years ago

Clinton says again Florida and Michigan votes should count

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/22/art.hrcnelson0222.gi.jpg caption="Sen. Clinton celebrated winning Florida's Democratic primary with Florida Sen. Bill Nelson."]
(CNN) - If the Democratic presidential race is still unresolved at the party’s nominating convention in Denver, Hillary Clinton said in a new interview that she will continue to push for the inclusion of the Florida and Michigan delegations, despite penalties that stripped both states of their voting power.

Interviewer Evan Smith of Texas Monthly asked Clinton whether her plan was to press the national party to reverse its decision to punish the states for moving their primaries earlier in the year, in violation of Democratic National Committee instructions.

“Yes, it is. Yes, it is,” she said. “It’s in large measure because both the voters and elected officials in Michigan and Florida feel so strongly about this. Sen. Bill Nelson, of Florida, early on in the process actually sued because he thinks it’s absurd on its face that 1.7 million Democrats who eventually voted would basically be disregarded, and I agree with him about that.”

Clinton won both the Florida and Michigan primaries, but no delegates were awarded, in accordance with the DNC penalties.

The major Democratic presidential candidates all signed a pledge not to campaign in either state before their primaries. Most of the major candidates, except for Clinton also removed their name from Michigan’s primary ballot.

Clinton told Smith that she had promised not to campaign in either state, and had kept her word – but that she had never said she would not ask for the results of those contests to be made official, a request her campaign made public on the eve of Florida’s January vote.

“I signed an agreement not to campaign in Michigan and Florida. Now, the DNC made the determination that they would not seat the delegates, but I was not party to that,” she told Smith.

She said that, unlike Texas, both Florida and Michigan were critical to any Democratic victory, and that because “the people of those two states disregarded adamantly the DNC’s decision that they would not seat the delegates” and turned out in record numbers, the party should not invalidate their votes.

“Florida, in particular, is sensitive to being disenfranchised because of what happened to them in the last elections,” said Clinton. “I have said that I would ask my delegates to vote to seat.”

Barack Obama's campaign has said they are willing to consider various proposals for the inclusion of Florida and Michigan – but that they are opposed to seating the delegations based on the results of January’s primaries.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Florida • Hillary Clinton • Michigan
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. tmd

    It would cost too much money to put together another primary or caucus. The logical thing to do would be to split the delegates between the two remaining candidates and allow them to attend the convention. That way the citizens of both states will have a voice in the decision.

    February 22, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  2. Christine

    Actually, Obama had a national ad campaign running and the ads DID RUN IN FLORIDA. Some would argue that is campaigning when campaigning wasn't allowed. Senator Clinton visited Florida after the polls closed. She did not campaign there.

    February 22, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  3. mary

    I am from Michigan and I want my vote to count! It's not my fault Obama took his name off the ballot, he did that on his own. In Florida, Obama was running TV ads, no one else was. Everyone's name was on the ballot in that state. Obama LOSS that state too!!!! Florida and Michigan are apart of the United States, we pay taxes, enjoy different freedoms, EXCEPT now our freedom to vote has been taken away.

    February 22, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  4. Rob

    "I've always thought that it's a Constitutional right to vote. I don't believe the DNC has the right to disenfranchise voters in any election — no matter where they live. Their "rules" are not a part of the Constitution."

    We're not electing someone to office. We're choosing who our nominee will be. The courts have ruled time and time again that the party has great leeway in picking their candidate however they want. This was reaffirmed last month when Clinton backers went to court trying to stop the Nevada Caucuses because it gave extra weight to the "at large" precincts.

    Remember years ago they didn't have primaries, but rather a bunch of old fat men went into a back room and smoked some cigars then came out with a nominee... Legally they still can do that...

    February 22, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  5. Marianna Buono

    Look, even voters from the States themselves have asked that the votes not be counted because it had been already decided that the votes would not count.

    Now, in her desperation and to her own peril, she is demanding to count a contest where in fact there was none. No one but Hillary was on the democratic ticket in MI.

    The question is: why didn't she take her name off the ballot like every other candidate?

    I think this is another example of poor judgement and execution on the part of Hillary Clinton.

    February 22, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  6. akaDoug

    Keeping crying mindless, Hillary supporters...but don't keep trying to steal the election!

    February 22, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  7. DJ, LA, CA

    Poor Florida...always caught in the middle of such political fiascos. Bush vs Gore recounts, now Clinton wants to fight to the bitter end to get votes to count, despite Obama's name not even being on the ballot.

    Sounds like a dictatorship – have an election with no opponents on the ballot?

    February 22, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. Nikky

    Hillary, Hillary, Hillary – you are pulling a Cheney/Bush move by playing fast and loose with the rules of your own party. "I didn't say I would take my name off the ballot" (knowing Obama did) and making a last minute trip to Florida was just too "slick and Clintonlike" – Not every American is blind to what the meaning of the word "is" is. Bill could get away with it but you are no Bill Clinton. And speaking of plaguerizing, what was that "Jekyll & Hyde" closing last night about?

    February 22, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  9. CG

    What a convenient fight for her to take on-since she won. She would not be saying a word had she lost...so unashamedly self-serving. Flip-flop: She was for the enforcement of these sanctions against FL & MI before she was against them!

    I agree that the DNC should have a do-over of some sort for both MI & FL between now and June. These voters need to be heard and included. Definitely need them for November!

    February 22, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. KMAN

    Their votes do count ... they count for NOTHING! Play by the rules Clintons ... you'll find it refreshing and new to you!

    February 22, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. Peace

    Why didnt she claimed it as soon as voting was done if at were important to her? Typical Hillary looking for every loophole! You are done Madam!

    February 22, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  12. RJ

    Hilliary's campaign tactics reflect upon her character flaws, and general lack of abilities.

    Do you really want more of this?

    You can bet that the Republican's will destroy her if she gets the nomination. A very large number of Obama supporters will "turn off", and the country will remain deeply polarized.

    February 22, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  13. Michael

    Marianna – I have only two words for your misinformed "paid" blogger message – horse feathers!

    Just say Nobama to the snake oil salesman.

    Hillary for President!

    February 22, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  14. Henry

    "Unlike TEXAS, Michigan and Florida are essential".... Did you hear that, Texas? You're not essential to a democratic victory in November. Way to go, Hillary – alienate the state that could save your rear in this primary season!

    Texas, I hope you are listening!!!

    February 22, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  15. Amy in Iowa

    For all you people that claimed she was not going to tear down the party, once again Hillary Clinton proves she can not be trusted.

    February 22, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
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