March 6th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
12 years ago

Blitzer: Florida and Michigan could yet be pivotal

Blitzer: Florida and Michigan should consider paying for new primary contests.

Blitzer: Florida and Michigan should consider paying for new primary contests.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Whatever it costs the taxpayers in Michigan and Florida to re-do their primaries – whether it’s $18 million or $25 million or even $30 million – would almost certainly be money well spent for their states. That’s because those states potentially stand to gain a lot more from having another round of what could be critical presidential primaries.

The Democratic Party stripped Florida and Michigan of their delegates because they moved up the date of their primaries in violation of party rules. If Michigan and Florida have primaries in June after the last scheduled Puerto Rico Democratic caucuses on June 7, and neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama yet has the needed number of convention delegates, those two states will become the center of the political universe.

Think about how many millions of dollars will be pumped into the Michigan and Florida economies. The two campaigns alone will spend millions in political advertising. Other outside political interest groups will pump in millions more in commercials. The hotels, restaurants and other related industries in the states will be in high demand.

Both of those states will also gain an enormous amount of publicity, not only in the United States but around the world. It would be a bonanza for their respective tourism industries. Just think about the coming economic gain for Pennsylvania which holds its primary on April 22. This is one of the best things to happen to that state in a long time.

Remember - those are key factors why both Iowa and New Hampshire are always so diligent in preventing other states from usurping their first-in-the-nation status for the presidential contests. People there make a lot of money from their caucuses and primary.

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean says the national party can’t afford to foot the bill for another round of primaries, and that the states should pay for a re-do of the votes. (Normally, states pay for primaries; political parties pay for caucuses.) Politicians in Florida and Michigan say they don’t have the cash. That, however, may be a shortsighted stance.

One can make a very strong case that two more potentially-decisive primaries – with hundreds of delegates at stake - would not only determine the Democratic presidential nominee, but would in effect become a significant economic stimulus package for both of those states. It would be an amazing cap to an already amazing political season.

- CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (247 Responses)
  1. LG

    One wonders about Howard Dean... if Obama stood to gain from these two states, you KNOW he would want to count them. How transparent can he be?! His resistence is hurting the party not helping.

    When the rule was made, we had no idea that the voices of Florida and Michigan can be a deciding factor in a close race. Well, now that it is, let's reconsider, do the right thing, and move on!

    March 6, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  2. smith

    They better complety RE DO their primaries,,

    they can't count votes that they knew would not count..

    and thus Obama did not compete
    or even get on the ballot.. that would be ridiculous.

    if they consider themselves so important..

    than redo their primaries..

    heck .. it will be GOOD for the economy!

    March 6, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  3. Pia NJ


    Yes, it could indeed be pivotal and that's important for you since you are a big Hillary fan. As for myself, I would rather root for the winning stallion than the losing and aging old nag!

    By the way, I remember the article you wrote on Mitt Romney, not too long ago, titled 'Deny, Deny, Deny to the Bitter End'. Well, here is your chance to put the same one out for Hillary. All you need to do is change the name. At least Mitt Romney had the decency, self respect and integrity to step down while he was losing.

    March 6, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  4. Matthew New

    To host another primary in the State of Michigan would be well worth the money. I was told that the initial primary cost $12 million dollars. I am sure that the initial expense to have the primary over would be worth the revenue and attention that our State desperately needs.

    March 6, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  5. Luna

    The next time Governor Dean is on – someone should tell him that it is not about him, the DNC, Obama or Clinton. It's not even about Michigan or Florida – It's about THE VOTERS ...

    March 6, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  6. Avis C, Richton Park,IL

    Wolf I understand the people of Michigan and Florida feel like their votes should count, however where was all the out pouring of anger before the election. This should have and could have been taken care of before super tuesday. It isn't exactly fair since Edwards and others were still candidates at the time. What do we teach our children? That they can change the rules in the middle of the game? We need to be carefull how this is handled because there are young people voting in record numbers and this will turn them off! I have a lot of family in Michigan and they think it's too late to change the rules and Michigan was warned of this before the election. If the people of Michigan and Florida are upset and rightfully so they should take issue with their elected officials, after all they knew the rules and decided to go against them in the first place.

    March 6, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. js

    Hillary has disgusted me so much that if Obama doesn't win, I will vote for McCain…
    she will accomplished the same as hubby bill when he destroyed the party leading to gore's loss in 2000…and look what happened….
    I will just help hillary's goals along and just vote for mccain….
    she is an extremely evil, shallow, bitter, scorched earth socialist…..
    she is (or should be) irrelevant in 2008 if we are turning over a new leaf in this country……
    Do not underestimate how her blaming "activists", racial groups, pandering to others, telling bald-faced lies, distortions, exaggerations threaten to turn off the dem voters and independents energized and motivated by Obama….
    I am one of thos Obamacans registered as republican until bush II, now maybe going back……at least mccain is conservative in policy….doesn't promote socialism…..isn't win at all costs, even tearing apart washington and our country, like hillary promises to do….

    March 6, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  8. richard

    Please do a web search on obama alice palmer. The true OBAMA. Do the research people I cant do it all.

    March 6, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  9. Randi

    I think it is only fair to rehold the primaries in FL and MI. What is the point of democracy if EVERYONE doesn't count. Yes, it is FLs and MIs fault for moving the date of the primary, but he candidates should not suffer. Because it is such a close race, I think that it is necessary for them to vote to see if one candidate or the other can pull ahead and make the decision for the nominee clear before the democratic convention. If it goes all the way to the democratic convention, this could be disaster for the party.

    March 6, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  10. Vote for Women

    I would rather vote for a Republican than Senator Obama.

    Hillary has my support 100% and I am proud to vote for her.

    March 6, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    Florida should count. They were all on the ballots. Michigan should be redone.

    March 6, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  12. HD

    Rules are rules. The delegates from MI and FL should NOT count this year in the democratic race. The decision was made almost a year ago and in the past two months Hillary and the republicans are wanting these delegates to count. That is simply not fair by changing the rules in the middle of the game to favor the Clintons.

    Beware when you see the Clintons and Republicans fighting for the same thing. Also beware when you see 10% of republicans in Texas voting for the Clintons.

    I have made several small donations to the Obama campaign and contributed to his $55 million fund raising in February. If the party steals this away from Obama by either superdelegates or by Florida/Michigan, then I will switch my party affiliation and vote for McCain as many other voters under the age of 30.

    March 6, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  13. concerned cit

    Hey CNN, how about reporting on the Clinton NAFTAGATE. Don't try to burry it, put it front and center.

    March 6, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. enomisa

    Those voters had their civil rights violated.
    How dare the DNC presume to ignore the voters of 2 states? If you choose not to turn up to vote, that is one thing. But if you WANT to vote and TURN up to vote- that vote needs to be counted.

    I would take it all the way up to the Supreme Court, if I cast a vote and it was not counted.

    The DNC screwed this whole primary up for the democrats. The caucus system is insane. It excludes more voters than it includes. Some can't vote at all, others get to vote twice. Young people with greater mobility, more time and more bully power get an unfair edge in caucus.

    The core democratic base feels disenfranchised. For the most part we wanted Hillary. But the open primaries allowed independents and republicans to vote in our primary and choose our nominee for us. That is not fair. Superdelegates better restore the will and vote of the registered democratic voters. If they go with Obama, they will lose a large portion of the lifelong democratic base.

    March 6, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  15. therealist

    Sure Wolf, millions of dollars spent at TV stations and Hotels is a fair trade for millions of taxpayers dollars. And as for the worldwide publicity, think 2000, think laughing stock there buddy.

    Sorry not buying your resume boosting agruments on this one Wolfy..

    March 6, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. Darth Vadik, CA

    "Hi, my name is Wolf Blitzer, I eat drywall and cheese, my last bowel movement was during the Johnson administration, Andrew Johnson administration".

    March 6, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    I never though about it that way. Great points

    March 6, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    This will be typical of the gaggle which has become the Democratic party. First the impotent congress, and its appointment of a socialist leaning leader in the Senate. Then the knee jerk response of stripping the right to vote in the primaries from Florida–when the Florida Dems–were literally powerless to fight the Republicans who were the instigators for moving up the primaries in the first place. Now the haggling over wheter to include the states they previously stripped of their rights!!!

    Leapin Lizzards!!
    How can we trust them to create collaborative consensus with Republicans to (work together) when they appear incapable of handling the jobs they have right now!!!

    John McCain baby–at least he listens and acts accordingly.

    March 6, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. Terrance

    Never though about it that way Great Point

    March 6, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  20. Peter Landry

    Why did the Democratic Party leadership nullify the primary in FL and Michigan without reducing the number of delegates required to win the nomination?

    It seems like a very stupid thing to do, from such a learned group????

    March 6, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  21. Alex

    Allowing these two states back into the delegate-decision process is highly unfair to Barack Obama. As Obama was not on the ticket in Michigan and did not spend anytime in Florida, Hillary has a clear advantage. Many people have feelings about Barack not visiting or campaigning in either state and ignoring these states altogether. At that time he was the underdog and needed to focus all of his attention on the primaries that would matter. Now, to put him in the position of having to compete in states that Hillary visited (post or prior doesn't really matter) and showed support toward, walking a thin line between not campaigning there and campaigning there, is outrageous! He now needs to compete against Hillary and residents of these states that now hold a grudge about their votes not being considered. Everyone seems to be opening doors everywhere to give Hillary a chance to steal the democratic nomination from someone who has played by the rules and who has taken cheap shots from the media right before the Ohio and Texas primaries. If the media didn't interfere right before those primaries, Democrats would be working on their campaign against the Republicans today, rather than waiting several more weeks to find out who the nominee will be. In addition, Democrats will be severely handicapped as this race has become extremely divisive, derogatory,and slanderous.

    March 6, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  22. Rom, NY

    Furthermore, if by miracle she wins I will be voting for her because she couldn't be worse than Mc Cain
    But let's get real as she
    What's the point of going on if at the end she will still behind in the popular votes and pledged delegates ????
    She should start thinking about what's better for the party

    March 6, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  23. BJ In Idaho

    Why don't we just change all the rules midstream for Hillary Clinton, since it seems she will go to any lengths to win. She says she won the most important states so let's just do away with the rest of the US citizens since we count for nothing and forget ALL OF THOSE STATES that Barack Obama beat her in.

    After all nothing counts except what the Clintons want to. I will swtich over and vote for McCain if Hillary gets the democratic nomination and I know many others who will also.

    With people like the Clintons around nothing in Washington will ever change. Same ol Same ol!!

    March 6, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  24. Adam-Atl. GA

    Super Delegates were created for the sole purpose of having the ability to decide a race that's "too close to call". As everyone is well aware, now these Super Delegates and most of the Democratic Party/voters do not want that to happen. So, if the purpose(rules) of the Super Delegates are wanting to be changed then so should the scenario of Florida/Michigan. If rules are to be amended then rules in other scenarios should be as well.

    March 6, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  25. AJ, IL

    Wolf, I am not sure what you are basing your analysis of Michigan and Florida tourism on, but you are wrong. This is the problem with milionaires like yourself. For Florida and especially Michigan to waste taxpayer money on RE-DOING a primary when the economy is on the edge of a recession is irresponsible!

    Someone on the Obama campaign would be politically smart to say that $25 to $30 million of Florida and Michigan could be better used to help homeowners whose homes are on the brink of foreclosure!

    Obama in 08!

    March 6, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
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