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. lil P

    I hear a lot of Obama supporters saying the votes should not count in Fl or MI because they know Obama will lose there. They also say thAT rules are rules and aren't meant to be broken and all Hillary Clinton supporters are doing is whining. Well, don't whine obama supporters when the superdelagates make Clinton the nominee... RULES ARE RULES, RIGHT??? This is just getting ridiculous.

    March 6, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  2. Hillarity's revenge

    The "voter's" who support Obama probably won't even vote if it rains in November. Obama and his supporters seem to be against a UNITED States of America. I would say anyone who is against all the primary votes being counted will be far more interested in tearing America apart over the legal wrangling we've all gorwn to love in November than a popular victory. A politician must be able to compromise to represent the people. Now that Obama has had his fun he should step aside and let a real politician get the repairs this country needs done started.
    Clinton/Edwards 08

    March 6, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. Jaycee Delaware

    They don.t need to waste tax payers money. Hillary needs to get out. Let her go and join Joe, one of them could be McCain's v p.

    March 6, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. beebop

    For a party that has always stood on the side of every vote being counted .... for one which has rallied around and railed against seating a president whose popular vote was less than the man he defeated, I am sick to my soul that there is any argument at all about whether or not Michigan and Florida should be disenfranchised by the Democratic party. This is a low point in the history of this party. Any one who attributes motive is neither interested in the Democratic party nor the democratic process.

    March 6, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  5. Hannah

    I find the amount of backlash on this article quite concerning. I understand that people have strong opinions about who they feel would be best for the Democratic presidential nominee and I do not see anything wrong with that. In fact it is an admirable trait to have such a strong feeling towards whom you support. However the type of backlash disturbs me because at the end of the day one of these two will be the Democratic presidential nominee and if continued the split feelings may cause a rift in the Democratic party that we will not be able to in time for the November elections, a rift that any politician would love to exploit to pull votes in their favor, thus giving the Republicans an advantage to sway democrat and liberal Republican voters.

    On to the article at hand, when I heard that Florida and Michigan's delegates were stripped I was appalled. I understand that the two states did break the Democratic convention guidelines and something should be done, however I do not think that the people should have their votes stripped from them. Putting myself in their shoes I would be very frustrated to know that my constitutional right was taken away from me because of something my state did. At this point in the race redoing the votes would provide for skewed votes based on how other states voted and that is a reason why many states wanted to vote earlier then later. I understand that Obama was not even on the Michigan ballot, however if voters wanted to vote for him that should not have been an issue, as even now voters are still voting for people who are pulled out of the race. People are saying Clinton wants so and so and Obama wants this and that, but at the end of the day shouldn't it be what the voters want? Because at the end of the day its the voters choice (well ideally it is, but as we have experienced in the past having the votes doesn't exactly equal a win). Whatever happens one can only hope that the Democratic Party does not rip its self to shreds because right now we are doing the Republicans job for them.

    March 6, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  6. Dave

    Florida and Michigan should follow the same rules as the other states. If those two states get a "do-over", why not all the others? If the Democrats change their own rules with impunity, how can they be trusted to stick with other, more important, rules – like the Constitution? Wake up, dude! There is a reason the Clintonians and the Republicans are united in their desire to make sure Florida and Michigan "count" – it hurts Obama. The media could restore some integrity if it more intensely questioned the credibility and motives of all of these people all the time.

    March 6, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. 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.

    March 6, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. BajaninGA

    Hillary"s negatives attacks on Obama will cause her to lose my vote now that she is attacking Obama in order to win the nomination. I am not alone with this decisions.

    March 6, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  9. Pastor Richard D. Hague Jr.

    Wolf, I have continously sent this message to many interested parties who have expressed an interest in resolving the Michigan and Florida delegation problem. My resolution is very simply and cost effective. Agree to seat both delegations and divide the delegates equally between Senators Clinton and Obama 50/50. The DNC could end this squabble today and the remaining states could be left to make their rightful decision. Let's be sensible about it 50/50 is fair.

    March 6, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. mike

    Maybe this is somewhere in the thread already but if Florida and Michigan get to redo voting at this point, doesn't that disenfranchise all of the voters in all of the states where there were more options than Obama and Clinton? Shouldn't all of the people who voted for Edwards get to revote now?

    March 6, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. G.L.

    No organisation–not even the DNC–should have the constitutional right to disenfranchise a segment of its' people. It is not the violation of setting their primary dates in opposition to the rules of the DNC that is at issue her, but rather the violation of the civil rights of the citizens of Florida and Michigan by the DNC. The decision to invalidate the delegates is the real legal issue here. If the DNC wanted to chastise the state parties for breaking rules, it should have been done in a manner that did not collaterally damage the current election process or the voters. Did it not occur to them that they could have imposed a fine? Then the fine monies would now be in the general election expense coffers and the democratic process would not be reduced to a laughing stock in the eyes of the global community.

    The delegates in FL should stand as is. The playing field was level. No one campaigned. All names were present on the ballot.

    An argument also exists that it was not a requirement of the candidates agreement to remove their names from the ballots, such that Senator Clinton was maybe a bit more astute than Senator Obama (and so was Dennid Kucinich, so it wasn't dirty pool either).

    It may be impossible to treat these two states differently unless they both agree to that.

    IF a second primary were to take place, rather than a full scale campaign onslaught, simply replay the broadcasts of the previous debates on TV in those states. Then they will have the same information as the people who have voted elsewhere up to what would have ordinarily been their primary date. People would have had to have been under a rock since January 19th not to have heard and seen sufficient input on these two.

    The one thing that will not work ,and as we have seen in the Texas 2-step, is a caucus! What a mess! Particularly in FL, where you have an overwhelmingly large senior population that cannot physically withstand marathon voting. In both states, the voters have spoken–they should not bear the brunt of the load due to the DNCs' stupidity.

    SO! Seat them both...the DNC can take its' lumps for trying to rob the voters of their voice...Gore had to take his, didn't he?...and let's move on!

    One more thing-FIRE HOWARD DEAN!!....He was a wimp without a plan when he ran for president and he hasn't changed a bit. What were they thinking when they gave him the reins of the party????

    March 6, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  12. Kay

    I am appalled that some people think that rules are more important than protecting every voter's right to be heard.
    Most people don't realize that it was NOT the Florida voters who decided to move the primary date up, it was the Republican controlled state.
    How is it fair to the 1.7 million voters here in Florida to be disenfranchised for something they didn't do.
    We preach bringing Democracy to other countries in the world and yet so many people here are not only OK with the undemocratic decision of DNC, but instead are demanding that 1.7 million voters should be disenfranchised.

    March 6, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  13. desfox

    The Money Obama spent although did not get him a victory in Ohio and Texas the fact remains that he closed the gap significantly from the end of Super Tuesday. This is exactly why the candidates need an oportunity to campaign in Michigan and Florida if they are going to redo the elections. Otherwise it is not fair to either one of the candidates to use the results from their Early Elections.

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

    Hillary will win Florida. Obama will win Michigan– especially if there is a caucus.

    End result – same as before. Obama wins total pledged delegates.

    The rest of the campaign is a waste of time and money . . . sadly . . .


    March 6, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  15. barry elkes

    can someone please tell me who it was in Florida and Michigan that changed the date to screw up the votes-was it the governors? Who is responsible?

    March 6, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Tony

    Obama breaks the rules and is the only Democrat to run Radio and TV ads in Florida. Now he's insistent that the rules be followed and that the votes in Florida shouldn't count. Do you think that could be because he was trounced in Florida by Clinton?

    March 6, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  17. Paul


    Obama should unite the party by admitting that he is not ready to lead our nation

    Hillary will be our Nominee,

    Obama should start investing an equal ammount of money on his campaign . It will show America that without double spending he cannot cause a significant impact in those people, including me who understand that he is simply not ready to lead our nation.
    Hillary can make a great difference and Obama could be a potential good Vice President. Obama can learn as a VP and eventually become our President.

    This election is not about race , gender or SES, it is about the future of our loved nation.

    Live to America and

    Hillary for President!!!

    Hillary 08- President of the United States of America

    March 6, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  18. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    I agree that Florida and Michigan should play by the rules, as Clinton agreed to. However, if the "powers that be" in the Democratic party feel inclined to favor Clinton, the answer should be new caucuses. This is the fair outcome.

    As for those who talk about Obama always giving the same speech, listen to McCain and Clinton. Their stumps are always the same as well, except for Clinton who occasionally can't help but resort to some sort of patronizing, sarcastic remark about Obama.

    For me, Obama will be the answer. He will represent our country throughout the world and prove that we are beyond continuing the Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton type of leadership.

    What a wonderful world this will be if we can show we have "minds of our own."

    March 6, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  19. Bonnie Nipple

    A Florida and Michigan "do-over'? Why not Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina having to repeat their elections – they broke the rules also. Iowa held their caucuses 33 days earlier than the timeline set forth under DNC delegate selection Rule 11.a; New Hampshire held their primary 28 days earlier than specified and South Carolina held their primary 10 days earlier than specified. Why sanction Florida and Michigan and not the other three states?

    March 6, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  20. kathleen kennealey

    I believe these are the facts:

    Michigan and Florida broke the rules of the DNC, knowing full the consequences of breaking those rules.

    End of discussion, move on folks!


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

    here's the solution:

    1.Florida stands. Obama was on the ballot, neither candidate campaigned (so it was a fair contest), and it was the republicans fault that the primary date was changed.

    2. Michigan re-do. Obama was not on the ballot and the DNC rules were broken by the Michigan democaratic party.

    March 6, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. beverly foster

    Wolf Blitzer in urging and almost insisting that Florida pay for a new primary on the specious gruinds that it would make money is making his preference for Hillary quite obvious. Sickening.

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

    It seems that Clinton cannot overcome the Obama delegate count. It would be unfair for those voters in MI and Fl who didn't vote because they didn't want to participate in a mock primary. Hillary can do math, so why hasn't she dropped out of the race. It's because she knows the fix is in. By god if Hillary steals this elction through manipulation and the superdelegate vote, she is going to rely on those republicans who cross voted

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

    Typical Clinton, anything to win. She agreed to the rules. Now she wants to change the rules she agreed to.

    Obama was not on the ballot. Many people did not vote, because they were told the vote wouldn't count.

    If we let them vote again, then we need to let all the other states re-vote, where people voted for Edwards or another candidate who is no longer running.

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

    Well Clinton is saying let Florida and Michigan be seated. Well I guess this shows how the Clinton's would change the game in the middle of race. Why wouldn't she want a re-vote? Why because this will benefit her however if the shoe was on the other foot, she would be wanting a re-vote.

    This is a strong indication of the person and how she will lead this country, again it is JUDGEMENT.

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