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. Lorenz, Queens, NY

    Good timing Clinton

    February 22, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  2. Joe Quinano IV

    Lie, cheat, steal...I thought that was the Repulican playbook for getting votes? Oh wait...I forgot, we're talking about the Clintons. The Dem Party and America as a whole would be better for the Clintons to accept their tainted place in history and stop trying to taint the future. If Hillary gets the nomination, I will never vote Dem again. Ever.

    February 22, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  3. Hold a caucus

    If the Florida and Michigan delegates are to be seated, then they should hold a caucus to determine the doling out of delegates from those states. The reason HRC received more votes in Michigan is because hers was the only name on the ballot. In Florida, she had the most name recognition. I'm not saying she wouldn't win again but at least make it fair and allow both candidates to campaign there and let the people know who they are and what their ideas are. Only then should any results of these states count. It's not fair to simply hand over delegates when the DNC and all parties agreed not to count them. Quit splitting hairs Hillary and hold a caucus.

    February 22, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  4. MR CEE

    From where I sit seems to me that if the DEMOCRATS would prevail and disenfranchise the democrats of Florida and Michigan then those voters would likely protest by voting Republican in November. So, neither Clinton nor Obama wins. How does President McCain sound now?

    February 22, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  5. kwame


    February 22, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  6. Greg, NY

    The only solution is to have another primary or caucus. Think of all the people that didn't vote because they knew it wouldn't count. Also think of the fact that Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan in the first place. Fair? Not even a little bit.

    If Hillary really wanted everyones vote to count, she would realize this too. She just wants an advantage.

    February 22, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Randy - Denver

    The elections WERE NOT FAIR many stayed home because they knew their votes would not count, in Michigan the ONLY name on the ballow was Ms. Clintons and yet she did not even recieve half the votes! People KNEW before the vote that these votes were not to be counted, if ANYONE can show me where Ms. Clinton objected to that BEFORE the elections than she might have a leg to stand on but the fact is she felt (and has said) theat she expected the race to be over by Super Tuesday and therefore at that point did not think she needed them, now she wants them, sorry lady the rules are the rules FOR EVERYONE! If they want some kind of do over (as Mr. Obama is willing to do) than that is fine but to count the votes as they stand now is ludicrious and deep down even Ms. Clinton knows that. I also want to point out that there are those who did not vote because they knew the results would be ignored so should we disregard THEIR votes because THEY ACCEPTED THE RULES!?! Talk about unfair give priority to those who cannot accept the rules and disenfranchise those who did now THAT is standard Clinton talk!

    February 22, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  8. rick

    If Hillary wanted the states to count, she should have said so BEFORE she knew she got more delegates. I have lost all respect for both clintons!

    February 22, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  9. Matt Scott

    Just do what the republicans did and seat half of them just to shut her up.She still won't win.

    February 22, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  10. Tom Swift

    How many people do you suppose stayed home and didn't vote because the vote wasn't going to count? Can you say that this was a real primary under those conditions.

    There are really only 2 ways to resolve this. 1 – do not change anything and don't count the delegates, or 2 – do the primary over again.

    Would Hillary be on her high horse "fighting" for the voters in Fla & Mich if the votes had gone against her? yeah, right. Do you suppose she would support a do-over? I thought not.

    McCain/Rice '08

    February 22, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  11. Brian

    Wicked, wicked.

    February 22, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  12. Tamara

    As a Florida resident, I went out to vote last month. But I knew full well that is was not a standard primary. All along I expected that there would have to be a caucus or other primary to determine the delegate allocation from my state. Although I went to the polls that day, many people did not because of the announced rules for the process. Those voters are entitled to their right to cast their ballots in an election that counts. The only way to do that is to do a "Do-Over"... or is the Clinton campaign worried that those results might underscore their tremendous decline in the past month???

    February 22, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  13. Paul

    The Florida and Michigan votes will count...in the general election...for Obama 🙂

    February 22, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  14. Margaret

    Florida votes should count as is, since both candidates were on the ballot. Obama has no grounds to argue this one.
    Michigan is a different story since Hillary was the only one on the ballot. Michigan should have a re-vote and soon.
    The DNC is mis-guided if the don't do something quick to have these votes counted !

    February 22, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. Joe

    I'm not from Michigan or Florida, but if I was a voter out there I wouldn't be upset with the DNC, I would be upset with my state legislature. They BROKE THE RULES. Rules are in place for a reason, and there should be consequences to breaking rules. If we allow the Michigan and Florida votes to count, what is to prevent EVERY state from similarly breaking the rules and moving up their elections next time.

    Furthermore, Obama's name was not even ON THE BALLOT in Michigan. Can anyone honestly tell me that Hillary would have received 60% of the vote if Obama was on the ballot??? And, while Obama's name was on the ballot in Florida, he did not campaign there. It is a statistical fact that everywhere Obama campaigns he catches up to Clinton and often overtakes her completely.

    Hillary is grasping at straws here. Let Michigan and Florida delegates be seated only AFTER the winner has been chosen!

    February 22, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  16. DRHunk

    She has said this from the begginning even when she was well i nthe lead. She has always thought those votes should count no matter the outcome.

    Look up the Ticker from back when the DNC said it would not count thier votes, Hillary was all over them.

    February 22, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. HRC

    The voter's voices should be heard!

    Superdelegates? Well that's another matter..

    February 22, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. bobbie

    Was this comment made after the debate in which Hillary deflected a question about the superdelegates?

    February 22, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  19. Gary

    In a democratic society..things have to be kept fair. I agree that the DNC might have chosen a better penalty. I liked the GOP position where they reduced the allocated delegates by half. That allowed for the election to have meaning but also penalize the states. The issue , in this case, remains that you cant change the rules in mid stream. That is opportunist and not democratic.

    Florida and Michigan are 2 different scenarios. In Florida, the State Dems were ' forced' to move up their primary as the GOP initiated that move. That being said the DNC disallowed the switch in dates. They were aware of the penalty but decided to proceed and the candidates agreed to the terms. Florida has the better position in that all the candidates were on the ballot. And yes while voters may have sat on the sidelines because they were told their vote wouldnt count I believe the vote reflects the will of the Florida Dems.

    In Michigan, the State Dems messed up that primary badly. It is the State dems that caused their problems. They were appropriately penalized. The difference here of course , is that only Clinton had her name on the ballot. Shameful as that is, the problem is there is no way to understand the will of the Michigan voters without a re-run.

    February 22, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  20. Roz

    Of course the Obama campaign opposes seating those delegates, he's winning. therefore it's okay fby him to not include thousands of american voters in the process. If he was losing he would most likely be demanding they be seated.

    February 22, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  21. Lee - Warwick, RI

    Please don't believe the smoke and mirrors.

    Obama 08

    February 22, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  22. Prayu


    February 22, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  23. Barb

    I guess Hilliary has forgotten that she knew along with others that the Florida and Michigan delegates would not be counted. If the DNC changes the rules for her, I feel it will be the end of the Democrat Party!

    Go Obama!!

    February 22, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  24. Andy, New York, New York

    She's right, but the truth is, the votes have already been counted and she won.

    Only problem is, the votes don't translate into delegates, according to her party's rules. The decision not to seat delegates was made BEFORE the elections were staged, so Clinton's point about not being in agreement with the DNC is hogwash.

    So as not to let Florida and Michigan feel left out, they can attend the convention, but not as DELEGATES! You have to wonder if Hillary was way ahead of Obama by 500 delegates whether she'd still be making noise over Florida and Michigan?

    The more Hillary comes across as desperate is the more she is turning people off! She was supposed to have wrapped this thing up on February 5th, according to her December 2007 plans and predictions, but it didn't happen as planned so she is left walking wounded.

    February 22, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  25. David, Hartford

    desperation personified

    February 22, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
1 2 3 4