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. Janice Bardin Ky

    Why are you reporting Obama's name was not on Michigan ticket? Other news journalist have reported he asked to have his name removed! Also, the $150,00 Obama got from Resco, what is the name of the charity that Obama gave the money too?
    Janice Bardin KY

    March 6, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  2. Emily Miller

    Why is no one talking about the Republicans voteing for Hillery Clinton in Ohio and Texas so she could get the nomination so they didn't have to run aginst Oboma.Check around and you will find out thats how she won the states.

    March 6, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  3. Douglas Locklear

    I retired from the miltary in 1997. I am for both States MI and FL votes to count . If they want to punsh the States for the early Primaries . Then let's punish them with they don't decide one Candidate to back than the other . I say niether State spends any more money at all . No, Reprimary at all . Take all the delegates from both States and just divided them between both Candidates equally .This will cost no more money or headaces . It will give no one the advantage . It will help the Democrates to get closer to the 2025 delegates they need for the nomination . The importance is that every vote count and the people of FL and MI are included in this Campaign. They will just have a voice of 50/50 of thier delegates split as the punishment . This is very fair in my opinion and very cost effective . It just makes sense and helps everyone all around . I see a Big Democratic Convenion Confusion coming if these two States delegrates are not included in the process . I back Obama ,there is a better way to solve the delegate issue of FL and MI . Let's be Americans and work it out to be fair to everyone . Money is tight for both States to pay to have another Primary . So, let's make ends meet the best we can . Like all Americans across America right now .Everyone is feeling the pain of our weak economy right now .

    March 6, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  4. George Spelvin

    I'm going to try and explain this for Dave and other Obamabots using very small words. Try to follow along:

    The DNC said any contest held before the given date would not be awarded delegates. Thus, to be counted, MI and FL need to hold new contests. It's not changing the rules.

    Although, your pious sense of justice demands that the people of FL and MI be punished, it was bad judgement by state party officials, not average citizens that put them in this position.

    Bottom line: Disenfranchising those voters will hurt our chances of putting a Democratic president in the White House come November.

    March 6, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  5. Gram

    No Do overs, just let the local election boards recertify the elections that took place already...Saves everyone $ and give Barak all the unclaimed votes in MI...He still loses...

    March 6, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  6. Mad in Texas

    There should be no re-election here. The first one should count. The states have the right to hold elections when they see fit. This should be taken to the Supreme Court. ALthough Bushes Republican supreme court probably will through it out. It is a shame how crooked our government has become. HILLARY 08

    March 6, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  7. So Sad

    This is a problem that requires a solutions. Both candidates should be advocating a plausible and fair solution. It seems that Hillary is the only one willing to do that.

    This is why I think that: There are only two options 1) Seat the delegates as is or with a re-vote or 2) let the primaries continue until the convention and let the superdelegates decide.

    Obama would prefer the second option because he will argue that he won the popular vote(even if it is by 1000 or so) so the superdelegates should vote for him. However, that is not the role of the superdelegates. He and Hillary both agreed to the same rules which suggests that superdelegates should vote how they feel without pressure from candidates or constituency. Of course, this would help Obama

    Hillary, on the other hand, would prefer that the previous primaries in FL/MI should be counted as is and the delegates should be allocated accordingly. Both candidates would like a resolution that will be advantageous for their respective campaigns.

    Objectively, the most fair solution is a re-vote after both candidates have an opportunity to campaign in the states. It seems that Clinton is the only one willing to have a re-vote. Obama is against it.

    We need a FAIR resolution so give us one. SEAT THE DELEGATES AFTER A REVOTE!!! Think of the candidates, the party, and most importantly the PEOPLE!!! Let us vote

    March 6, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  8. G.L.

    Is it Saint Obama?....Prophet?...No, friends, he's just a politician–and he has the indicted friends to prove it!

    If you need a Super-God hero to save you, look around you...they are the ordinary folks in your community you probably never noticed.

    March 6, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  9. Jose Morales

    I think this Democratic Party Presidential Candidadte Election will be decided in the Puerto Rico primary which will happen on June 6. Then, the american citizens (4 Million) will decide who our next president will be. Ironically, 4 millions of US citizen to whom the system has consistenly denied voting right for the President. Its time to fix the democratic deficit that exists in Puerto Rico.

    March 6, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  10. Ann

    A "do-over" in Florida and Michigan? Absolutley not. How dare we talk about a re-do and spend millions of dollars again?
    People are losing their homes and jobs are being sent out of the country. Give that money to them if you must sprnd, sprnd, spend.

    I am a Floridian and the reason I went to the polls was to vote on important legislature that related to property owners. Many people who had no investment in that legislature, stayed home. The politicians who are pushing for a redo(including our Republican governor) should ask those people before they make such a decision. Where was all the outrage before the primaries began? We may not like it, but we'll get over it if we have to obey the rules. Maybe next time we will pay more attention to what the DNC is doing.

    March 6, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. Will

    To allow both Michigan and Florida to have a "re-do" would set a dangerous precedent for future primaries. What would stop other states from following a similar course of action. The Democratic party needs to follow through with its decision to deny those delegates to be seated at the convention. If the voters in those states are upset by this, they should think about replacing those who are making the decisions.

    If the Democratic National Committee is serious about the statement

    "Our goal is to restore accountability, honesty and openness at all levels of government. To do so, we will create and enforce rules that demand the highest ethics from every public servant ....."

    I can't see how they can reverse their decision.

    March 6, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  12. Fred

    The Florida solution

    Have an immediate redo before the Pennsylvania primary and have the two remaining Presidential candidates, State of Florida, and national Democratic party pay a share of the cost of the redo. Florida should pay a portion because of they caused this problem in the first place.

    March 6, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  13. SONA

    Sen. Obama’s decision to go explicitly negative suggests that he is unable to make an affirmative case for his candidacy beyond ad hominem attacks. Why isn’t he discussing the hearings that he held on the Foreign Affairs subcommittee that he chairs? Why isn’t he talking about his travel through Latin America? Why isn’t he briefing the public on his comprehensive plan to address the foreclosure crisis now? Why isn’t he stumping on his universal plan health care plan? Because he can’t and so he is advancing a campaign strategy premised on process and personal attacks.

    March 6, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  14. Mike from Calgary

    Florida and Michigan rendered themselves ineligible therefore a majority is reduced from 2025 delegates to 1842 votes. Obama therefore only needs about 315 more delegates to win a majority and to secure the nomination.

    Knowing how much money has been spent to secure the nomination, fiddling with the Rules will result in the DNC having to reimburse all candidates their election expenditures and to reimburse states who properly held primaries all of their costs thrown away. That would run $135M to Obama, $115M to Clinton, $200M to states that held promaries under the rules. Does Clinton, the DNC and Florida & Michigan want to renege on their promises and to pay all costs thrown away! Maybe Obama was right when he talked about the Clinton and the silly season! She really is silly, sarcastic and small-minded, and with the lastest revelations on Page 1 of todays Globe & Mail (Canada's Naytional Newspaper), she is a HYPOCRITE whom all should DENOUNCE AND REJECT!


    March 6, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  15. Brett


    March 6, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  16. Sue In Florida

    Clarification please. Hillary has been speaking for Florida votes to be counted from the onset. This is "NOT" new because she is in need of the delegates. If you don't live here and know the whole story, don't throw theh accusations out. W. Blitzer, a good story and I personally wish that we would pay for another primary in our state. Otherwise, there can never be a legitamate "known" winner at the close of the day.
    Why so much fear in seating Forida and MI if everyone is so sure of an Obama victory. Good story, thanks!

    March 6, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  17. abhimantgani, Liverpool, England

    I wrote a month ago highlighting this problem and i say it again. Why are the votes of millions in 2 key states being ignored because of the ego of the incomptent Howard Dean who is hell bent on the selection of another Fairy Liberal – Obama. All the big speeches of Obama for being inclusive does not include the people of Michigan and Florida!!

    Please dont tell me he did not campaign in those states. Well neither did Hillary but won handsomely in both states. In fact Obama and Edwards advised their supporters to vote " uncommitted" in Michigan and got fewer votes despite their names being on ballot in Florida.

    Barrack Obama is the most hypocritical politican with differing standards on same issues depending on how it works in his favour. Thankfully his problem issues of Nafta and corrupt doniors etc are coming out in open.

    March 6, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  18. James M. Jimenez

    Why does it take so long for my comment to be reviewed and posted when so many are posted after mine?

    Here is my post from 4:35 p.m. ET that still was not posted (by the way, Jack Cafferty just raised my point on the Situation Room in his comments section re Charlie Crist's hypocrisy–at least Jack can figure out what Blitzer apparently cannot grasp).

    My post:
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    While Wolf was spending time with Florida Governor Charlie Crist on the Situation Room today touting Wolf's great idea that the $18 million or so cost of a re-do Florida primary may be good for the Florida economy, he failed to point out and ask Crist why he signed into law the Florida legislature bill moving up the Florida primary in violation of both the RNC and DNC rules. Many viewers may not know the history and Wolf had an obligation to point this out and confront Crist with Crist's hypocrisy. Given that at the time this legislation became law, Crist knew that moving up the primary date in Florida was a violation of DNC rules, the consequence of which was disenfranchisement of the Florida delegates, why didn't Wolf ask Crist the hard question–why is Crist so concerned about disenfranchisement now when he wasn't concerned about the consequences of his action in signing into law the early Floriday primary date?

    Come on Wolf and CNN–be better prepared–and ask the poignant, illuminating and relevant question!

    March 6, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  19. Nick

    This is so ridiculous, now Hilary wants to have redos because she is behind in the delegate count. Why not voice this much earlier. The fact still remains that Michigan and Florida broke the rules and now these are the consequences, typical of Florida

    March 6, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  20. Johana Miami,Fl

    Our Vote has to count! I hate the fact that Obama is against it and doesn't 2 penny about our votes. His going down!

    MY VOTE IS FOR HILLARY!!!!!!!!!!

    March 6, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  21. Debbie

    The problem is that this is nothing new. This was decided a year or more prior to the primary. The candidates, including Cilnton and Obama, agreed to honor the ruling of the party, none of them (remember, it was more than two back then) campaigned, and Obama wasn't even on the ballot in MI. So the results of those primaries can not be considered valid. The only way to have a "fair" primary is to do it again.

    I think it's the purest hypocrisy of Clinton to agree then, and now to call for the votes to count. She's no better than a Republican. In more ways than one.

    March 6, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  22. Paul

    Why is it the rest of the country's problem or the DNC's problem if Michigan and Florida messed up? True, it's not the voters' fault. But it comes down to this: Don't seat the delegates and disenfranchise the voters in two states, or seat them and disenfranchise the voters in the other 48 states that played by the rules.

    March 6, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  23. Dr JP

    "DO THE MATH!?" Apparently your math skills are lacking at best. Fortunately for you, CNN does it for you. If you had been watching since the Vermont, Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island, they determined that we won't likely have any idea who's going to win the primary until the superdelegates finally come into play. And, by the way...considering that without a revote, Hillary can add the numbers from Florida and Michigan to her count, and very likely could do the same even with a revote (this is why Obama wants to ignore the votes cast by the millions of Americans in those states) would likely still pull a majority of the votes from each, adding these two states could only serve to help her. So, please you Obama-can't -be-beat fanatics, stick to the facts and try to keep your panties in a wad in the upcomming months.

    March 6, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  24. tj

    Wolf is not proClinton's, he, all CNNs and other so called democratic unbiased media is proObama in great extent.
    I am tire of hearing insults to Clintons from Obama's supporters.
    It shows what kind of people support him.
    Tell me who supports you and I'll tell you who you are.

    March 6, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  25. joan

    Incredible how many people are Hilliary bashers... I think all this hatred speaks way louder to the person posting rather than to Hilliary.

    and I heard the Obama supporters were more educated... hmm doesn't sound like it.

    Luckily he is better than his supporters.. I like both of them .

    As far as the primaries in MI and FLA... why not a do over that is a mail in ballot? Would have to be less expensive and could work like a charm.

    March 6, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
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