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. formerly optimistic

    "The Democratic Party stripped Florida and Michigan of their delegates because they moved up the date of their primaries in violation of party rules. " enough said.

    March 6, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. Randi

    Pia...why would you vote for somebody just because everyone else likes him? Sounds childish to me. Maybe you should look into having your own mind and opinions, rather than following everyone else.

    March 6, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. Taylor K., FL

    I would not mind a revote, but this should never have happened. Shame on Howard Dean and the DNC for stripping us of our delegates in the first place. This entire situation is such an insult to democracy I can't even begin to describe how disgusted I am with it all.

    March 6, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  4. louise scarborough

    Of course the votes from florida and michigan should be counted. these people's votes are as important as anyone else's. why
    should they be punished for the ignorance of Howard Dean.
    Demoratic party needs to get rid of this joker.

    March 6, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. Jim in Cleve

    Perhaps FL and MI will move the date when they hold their general election to November 1, 2008; ahead of the rest of the country's election day. And of course they'll want their votes counted then, too

    March 6, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. rajah kahn

    Dear Wolf,
    I always llook at CNN news because of you. Your time-slot for the news is the best than Fox and msnbc, who cannot be compared to the way you present the news. You are awesome. There is one problem I have with CNN and that is Lou Dobbs. This guy is so arrogant, He is a BIGOT, RACIST, and PREJUDICIAL. He hates everything that is black, and his views are biased, Why don't you guys remove this old face from CNN. The Spanish lady who had an argument with him sometime ago, made him speechless, the only word he uttered was that she wants him to get "FIRED". This was amusing as he couldn't respond to her in any sensible way He looked so naive and foolish. I really enjyed that day. I couldn't rememberher nam e.But she was brilliant. Why are you guys still having this old dude . Remove him, man....

    March 6, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  7. Jim

    The supporters for Obama seem to not represent the tone of their candidate. They seem to spew hatetred and not the caring of the candidate. I am a Clinton supporter but I will vote for obama in spite of you people who are so negative.

    March 6, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  8. Maggie

    Florida and Michigan knew the rules when they decided to move their primaries. The Democratic Party should stick to the rules. A better solution will be to split the delegates from both states equally between Hillary and Obama. That way everyone goes home happy. Hillary Clinton not only has divided our country, now she has divided the Democratic Party. Way to go Hillary, you’ve done it, you self-centered, egoistic, selfish woman. Not another Clinton in the Whitehouse. I rather have loose cannon McCain as President than Hillary.

    March 6, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  9. John - Houston Texas

    Mich & Florida playing the same game of old style, same old rule of politics. Can't have their way early, now lets have it their way late(our or at everyone else's expense).

    What ever happened to keeping their words, the agreements and the mutually agreed to rules. Now who is making all he speeches???

    March 6, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. Zulul King

    I wonder if Lou, Jack, Anderson & you Wolf , would agree that there should be no exceptions when it comes to rules, because surely our children and society as a whole will question the value of rules, is convieniance the only reason for their existance? It is my understanding that when Mrs. Clinton visited in Florida, she made a statement suggesting that the two states in question votes would be counted. The leaders of these states clearly disgaurded the rules and did not take into consideration the negative effect thier action would have on the voters of those states not to mention the fact that as elected officials , they are expected to lead by example, uphold and inforce all laws, rules and regulations. If Senator Clinton did in fact make this statement it would imply that she knew something that the rest of the country did'nt know. I would hope in fairness to the public that you gentlemen would request that your staff look into this question of whether or not Senator Clinton did in fact make this statement, and acknowledge that it was the leaders of those states that were guilty of not acting in the best intrest of the people who put thier trust in them and elected them into office, a point which clearly seems to be missed in all of this. Wolf spoke in this article about how good it would for the economy if the primaries were done over, and I say that it only encourages criminal activity which is very common in Washington, where elected and appointed officials alike sit in judgement and persecution of the very criminals they should be bunking with. We can only prey that Mr. Obama does not join the ranks should he make it to the Oval Office.

    March 6, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  11. Nipper

    I'm a Democrat living in Florida. I voted in the primary. The ballot had every candidates name on it. I resent the fact that taxpayers would have to pay for a new primary. The DNC is punishing Florida Democrats for something that the Florida legislature did. Why don't you report the fact that Florida Democrats had no power to stop the early presidential primary date in the Republican-controlled Legislature. And please stop saying that because there were no TV ads and no political rallies, we weren't prepared to make a decision. Give me a break. We watched the debates, we read news magazines and newspapers, and we are well informed. All of the Democrats I know are fed up with this nonsense. We will not vote again, and if our votes in January are ignored, we will ignore the Democrats in November. Howard Dean needs to be replaced.

    March 6, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  12. MexAm

    Vanchavo. Not all Hispanic share your myopic views. Obama is a farce and no friend of Mexican Americans. We love our country too much to turn it over to the left wing of the Democratic Party. That is why we prefer Hillary by 85% in Texas and Ohio. All the Southwestern States voted for Hillary, that should give you a clue. If not Hillary we will vote for McCain. It's about our country, not Africa.

    March 6, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  13. linda hemmingsen

    I think if they have to vote again, which i think they already did in florida with the top three on the ballot.,it should be a primary.It seems that cacauses are not as fair and is undemocratic.In canada it would be terriable if we had to go in a room and have people strong arm us into changing a vote we wouldn't tolerate it!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Our voting is almost sacred to us , it is our duty as it should be yours to be able to go into a booth and in private to vote who you think would do the best job as president of the US. of course i think it would be clinto , barack may be a good man but he is young, not ready and his history is that he talks of being a uniter but has not record as such, including no record of any thing in the senates he worked in. also their is still too much out there that has to be looked into about him and resko etc. maybe next time. hillary is more experienced and she knows what she is talking about and can deliver. The world will fill better with experience, beacuse right now there is just too much going on.

    March 6, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  14. Amy

    Okay so Hillary has lost 27 states and won a total of 17. She behind in delegates by about 80-90 or so. She's not going to be able to win. She won't be able to get the superdelegates to override what the numbers show. She's losing in states won and in delegates pledged, if it weren't for her 40 + superdelegate advantage she'd be even further behind. That's why she must do everything she can to win...including break the rules. Florida and Michigan are not in play because of a decision they made long ago. They were warned that they'd lose their delegates to not go the route they chose and they thumbed their they cry foul. They're crying foul now because their friend Hillary is in trouble and she can't say the governors of these 2 states were called and told to make a lot of noise and get the population of those 2 states in an uproar. I just hope they are smart enough to know that their votes don't count because they got railroaded by their own local government...not the DNC. Hopefully Howard Dean has enough backbone to know that rules are rules and you can't change the rules halfway in.

    March 6, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  15. Buckeye

    Both FL and MI legislatures and voters were told what the consequences would be if they moved their primaries. They still decided to do so. They sealed their own fate with their decisions. The FL Governor is saying the taxpayers of FL have already paid for one primary. Great. The rest of us have already paid for our own state primary, too - and I don't want to pay for FL and MI revote. So, FL/MI were only testing to see if DNC would REALLY penalize them? And now they want all of us to pay for them to play by the rules after the fact? I don't think so. I hope Dr. Dean stands by his statement of the rules and consequences were known before the legislature/voters voted. The DNC needs to spend its money to ensure a Demcrat is elected in November - not spending it on two states who made the wrong decision and want others to pay for it. Let the State Dem and Repub Parties and State Governments split the costs three ways if they want another vote. All three of them are responsible, let them pay for it. Then perhaps they will pause and think before they make such a devastating decision again.

    March 6, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  16. kl bisig

    I am so disgusted with our Government and the way they can change what ever they want to over rule or take away what we think is our right as a U.S Citizen to have our vote count. I have a very hard time physically getting around, but I managed to do so to get out to vote in the Mi Demo Primary only to find out it doesn’t matter to Washington. I say the people have spoken once again and once again the Government says SO WHAT! I also feel George Bush was not elected the first time there was a cheaters problem and then leave it up to yet another Government body to give it to him the second time. YES he neither got the votes or the Nations approval.( Unless you are in the million dollar club bracket.) At the cost of fuel and living in general I think the votes the first time around should be counted and used.. More expense on the voters is unfair but if so let it be we have spoken unless this is censured tooooooooooo.

    I have voted let it count! K.L.Bisig MICHIGAN

    March 6, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  17. morris

    In today’s Democratic process ,I’m confused over the people being fooled by the Clinton’s process. The meaning of Democracy process is for the people by the people. Hillary Clinton’s and Bill Clinton’s meaning for the Democracy process is for the Clinton’s by the Clinton’s. I don’t believe that the voters can’t see that the clinton’s is ultimately for themselves. Before this race for the presidency began I liked the Clinton’s, but as this process goes on I see the real side of the Clinton’s . All I see now is the Clinton’s are about themselves and their reputation and power. Hillary no’s if she goes on with these debates and primaries and caucuses, its going to fracture the democratic party as a whole. The delegates are what they are , she won’t have more than Obama . So if the Clinton’s believe In Democratic Process, she will get out the race an support Obama and fight against MCcain. If she goes on its going to hurt Obama and herself. The ultimate goal is for the Democrats win the white house.
    When the dust settles those self indulging people may cause Democrats to loose the White House. The American people and the Clinton’s supporters need to see the writing on the wall. We the people need to be responsible because the Clinton’s and her supporters don’t understand the consequences of continuing on. We need to vote in these next states for Obama no matter what, so we can prepare for the Republicans, because they will be prepared for the Democrats. If it goes to the convention we will see the snakes in action. If Clinton wins by their connections at the convention we will see how self indulging they really are, then the voters will have voter remorse.

    March 6, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  18. Dima

    I wonder why is it that American crowd loves hearing about dreams, unity and some changes? Ever since this country was founded in 1776 we hear about dreams, unity and change, and yet for 232 years it stays the same. People need to come down from the skies, stop dreaming and wake up to reality. This country does not need someone who dreams about changes and unity (which is not bad of course) it rather needs someone with solid experience who can handle multiple economic (can someone say recession) and social issues and improve diplomatic ties with other notable nations around the world (Europe and such).

    March 6, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  19. Rich

    Look at the facts:
    1. The DNC set the rules, Florida and Michigan knowingly violated the rules by moving up their primaries.
    2. The DNC told the candidates not to campaign in Florida and Michigan as the delegates would not be seated.
    3. Clinton was the only candidate on the Michigan ballot, and did actively campaign in Florida. (She violated the rules)
    4. If you count these 5 million + votes and award the delegates to Clinton, what about the other 48 states that played by the rules.

    Its simple Obama followed the rules and is winning the delegate count; Clinton now wants to change the rules because it the only way she can win. Why have primaries when it comes down to a bunch of party bosses deciding the people are wrong and they will pick the nominee.

    March 6, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  20. Ron

    Florida and Michigan delegations MUST be seated in order for this country to claim it is "DEMOCRATIC"- (after all the word LITERALLY MEANS GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE). If a DEMOCRACY silences the voices of millions of PEOPLE, then I am outraged to be an American. Democracy is more important than petty committee rules.

    March 6, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  21. Zeke-Florida

    Charge the voters to vote. $10 each will raise $20M if 2 M people vote.

    March 6, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  22. Jack from WV

    This just bewilders me how two States, Florida and Michigan who knew as well as the other States when their primaries were suppose to be held, yet on their own decided to hold them early knowing that there was going to be problems. Now since it didn’t work out Mr. Dean understands that without those votes counting the possibility of going to the Nation Convention without a clear winner is almost impossible he is open for suggestions. Give me a break. I have children and I have told them that if you make a decision and a bad one you must suffer the consequences, and so must Florida and Michigan.
    I know that since this race is heating up once again and the possibility of either Obama or Clinton bowing out is just not plausible, Mr. Dean will have to come to some sort of compromise. Either way it’s wrong these States should suffer the consequences.

    March 6, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  23. Michael

    C'mon CNN. Report the facts. This is stupid that you're giving this airtime. All this does is serve one candidate and cheat the system that was agreed on a long time ago. These 2 states knew the ramifications. Please stop pandering to the stupid. This is beginning to sound like the movie Idiocracy.

    March 6, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  24. gene

    Wolf, I was watching your program a few minutes ago. Why do you allow Cafferty to be so biased to Hillary Clinton. Todays question was: should Obama go negative" . There was five responses and he blasted Hillary in all five. I don't know what his problem is, but he is acting like a sick old man that is suffering from a little dementia. Please talk to him and tell to be fair to all parties.

    March 6, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  25. Jamie Shiner

    To win the office of president of the United States one only has to win 11 key states in the Electoral College. Michigan and Florida are 2 of these states. These 11 States can elect a president and no votes in other states are needed to win. The National Democratic Commitee had better be careful how they deal with this issue. Give both these states to McCain and the GOP is on its way to victory. Jamie, Green Bay, Wisconsin

    March 6, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
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