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. Current Nonsense Network

    Every vote counts!

    General election needs wins in MI & FL!

    February 22, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. Annamica, OH

    I agree wholeheartedly. For those people who say the Superdelegates shouldn't disinfranchise your vote by picking the nominee, shouldn't you also be in agreement that the voters of FL and MI shouldn't be disinfranchised? After all if your vote has to "count" shouldn't MI and FL voters votes "count" in the same regard?

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

    Can the media bring more attention to the fact that Edwards and Obama were not on the ticket? So Clinton vs Uncommitted was an honest primary? Geez!

    February 22, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  4. Karen

    That's fair for Clinton to get the delegates from Florida and Michigan. Be honest with her that she earns the delegates from Florida and Michigan. Florida and Michigan should give Clinton the delegates!

    February 22, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. Will

    It makes no sense at all to use the January results when a lot of voters in Michigan and Florida stayed home because they thought their votes wouldn't count. If anything, caucuses need to be arranged so that the voice of the people in those states can be legitimately heard.

    February 22, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  6. Tou

    Just like her voting to authorize military force in Iraq but now saying that she didn't know she was voting to authorize a war. Go figure.

    February 22, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  7. MJ-Kentucky

    I agree they should count, because after all, are these two states not part of the union? Maybe theres and Obama conspiracy!

    February 22, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. TGS

    Backing out of a Promise made to the DNC and her fellow candidates in an attempt to get ahead in the count is far more egregious than that of borrowing words from a friend and confidant who shares the same speech writer.

    February 22, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. from NH

    I agree that every citizens of the United States should be recognized as a potential voter in any election.

    However: the party, right or wrong voted to not recognize the outcome of the voting in either Florida or Michigan and everyone knew this before the fact. If anyone is to blame the citizens should throw out their Democratic representatives to the National Committee.

    Allowing their vote to count is like locking the barn door after the horse has escaped.

    February 22, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. Maria Fernandez

    Please note the comment by Binh is completely untrue. ALL CANDIDATES WERE LISTED ON MY BALLOT IN FLORIDA!!! I am willing to bet Binh is neither from Florida nor Michigan.

    February 22, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  11. Joey

    Take a look for a surprise that may be waiting in the wings especially if Nader is mixed in the bunch…
    YOUTUBE – Obama limo party for information on recent story

    Go Obama/08

    February 22, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. Doesn't Matter

    Hillary was against the delegates from Michigan and Florida before she was for them.

    February 22, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. John Adkisson

    At the end of last night's debate I was starting to believe Hillary Clinton would find a core of decency deep within her and graciously accept the voters' will. Today, she is back to advocating cheating. I don't want my kids raised with another terrible role model in the White House.

    When you give your word and promise to play by the rules - you keep you word and don't change the rules in the middle of the game. My 11-year old knows this - the Clinton campaign doesn't.

    February 22, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  14. Libby

    they voted, she won, they should count. In a race this close with two legitimate candidates....all voters/delegates should count!!

    Go Hillary!!!!

    February 22, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. rob

    Maria, In Binh is referring to MI, where only Clinton was on the ballot. This is common knowledge which is easy to confirm with even a tiny bit of investigation.

    February 22, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  16. dsw

    No one other than Clinton was on the ticket in Mich.

    February 22, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  17. Bruce Glogowski

    If your going to ask that the delegates be seated then let's have a do over for both Florida and Michigan with all the players on the ballot.
    I don't think it would be fair to hand over the delegates to anyone after all not everyone was on the ballot.

    February 22, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  18. xmes

    I understand the plight of the Floridians and the people from Michigan however, the rules are the rules. In the beginning, Clinton knew that the delegates from Michigan and Florida were not going to count and as someone else said, many people stayed home and did not vote because of that reason. Now that she is losing, she wants to count the delegates. Do you think she would want the same thing if she was ahead by 100 delegates? NOOOOOOO. This is the very reason why other countries look at America with distrust. If she would do someone in her own country and political party like this....what will she do to other world leaders?

    February 22, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. Kris

    I think they've already disenfranchised people in florida. Me being one of them. Trying to resurrect my vote is a slap in the face. you didn't want it then because you were soooooo stuck on your party principals. Now all of the sudden it's important??

    What's this tell us about your character. You are firm in your partys pocket till it doesn't serve your interests? Principals matter only on years that arn't election years? Rules don't matter if they get you votes? If it gets more votes for me then who cares how we get them. Be it legal wrangling or some story about how a close race won't be settled by the people but by a battle between al gore and bill clinton at paper, rock scissors. Can't fix a flawed system mid stream.

    February 22, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  20. Nancy

    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. And why is it that FL seems to always have election issues, whether it's a machine problem or a counting problem? It's always FL. It's difficult to believe that one state can screw up so many Presidential contests. Coincidence, or incompetence, or not?

    February 22, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  21. Joshua, Nashville, TN

    Obama's name was not on the ballot in Michigan.

    Either way, it is clear she wants to seat them because she "won" them. If she lost them, she would not be saying anything.

    February 22, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. NC in SC

    All candidates names were on the ballots in FL...not in MI. I agree that they should organize caucases. And who will pay for these you might ask....well since Obama and Clinton are raising an average of 1 million dollars a day from their campaigns...why not have both of their camps split the costs???

    February 22, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  23. Iwik

    As a Floridian, I think they absolutely should not count. Absolutely not. We broke the rules, we got punished – we can deal with it. Unless they work out a way to do it over, and allow the candidates to campaign here normally, I see absolutely no reason why they should be allowed to attend the convention and vote. All she's doing is scrabbling for more delegates to her name. If she had lost them, she certainly wouldn't be demanding that they be seated at the convention.

    February 22, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  24. Danny

    As a Florida voter, this is insulting. There was no real campaign here and everyone knew our votes weren't really going to count. For that reason, this election was bogus and our votes should not count.

    I voted, but none of my three roommates did because "Our votes don't count anyway."

    February 22, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  25. Me

    Hey Will, check your facts, it's been reported time and again that record numbers went to the polls in Michigan and Florida...

    February 22, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
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