March 19th, 2008
12:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Clinton challenges Obama on Michigan vote

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/03/19/art.clinton0319.ap.jpg caption="Clinton used her first appearance in Michigan this year to rake aim at Obama’s lack of support for a re-vote there."] DETROIT, Michigan (CNN) - Hillary Clinton traveled to Michigan Wednesday and challenged Barack Obama to approve a new proposal for a primary re-vote, painting the issue as a matter of civil rights and charging that Republicans may take the state in November if voters there do not get a say in picking the Democratic nominee.

"I am here for one simple reason," Clinton said to a small crowd of supporters gathered at an AFSCME hall. "To make sure Michigan's votes are counted, and your voices are heard in this election."

Clinton, trailing Obama in pledged delegates, scheduled a last-minute trip here as part of a larger effort by her campaign to schedule re-votes in Michigan and Florida, both of which were stripped of their delegates when they violated Democratic Party rules by moving forward their primary dates.

On Monday, the Florida Democratic Party ruled out a new primary vote.

In a series of memos and conference calls in recent days, the Clinton campaign has portrayed Obama as obstructionist because he has failed to advocate for a re-vote in Michigan. A draft proposal by the Michigan state legislature, which has received a tentative go-ahead from the Democratic National Committee, would hold a re-vote on June 3 using privately-raised funds.

The Obama campaign released a memo Wednesday raising "serious" legal and procedural questions about the Michigan proposal. Clinton said the matter of Michigan's delegates boils down to each candidate's commitment to voting rights and questioned if Obama is committed to "empowering the American people."
"This is a crucial test," she said. "Does he mean what he says or not?
"
Citing the number of voters in the Florida and Michigan primaries, she said that "nearly two and a half million Americans are in danger of being shut out of our Democratic process." "I think that's wrong, and frankly it is un-American," Clinton said to applause, as supporters behind her waved signs reading "Michigan votes count" and "Count my vote!"She also argued that "ignoring Michigan and Florida would be a grave mistake" because it could alienate Democrats in those states.

"If the Democrats send a message that we don't care about your votes, I'm sure John McCain and the Republicans would be happy to have them," she said. "In fact, the Republicans will argue that Michigan and Florida voters shouldn't trust the Democrats to look out for them when we won't even listen to you."

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

soundoff (299 Responses)
  1. Arthur-Texas

    Obama will do anything to get elected,even disenfranchise his own people.What kind of democrat is a person that says your vote doesn't count?Is this the same same person that wants to bring us together?
    May be he should ask his hate filled Reverend what he should do.

    March 19, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. Susan

    How do we spell desperation?....BILLary! Enough already. Hillary wasn't concerned about voters rights in Michigan nor Florida until she fell behind and decided it was her only way to gain delegates. She is trying her best to play "insider politics".

    March 19, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. Diane

    I didn't see where Obama said he didn't want the Michigan votes to count. He is simply stating the obvious – the law was set & it needs to be resolved before anything more happens and extra dollars are spent in vain. I think the DNC should have thought this out BEFORE the original election. Of course Hillary is ready to go - money is no object and she doesn't realize the word NO and/or follow the law applies to her!

    March 19, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. Alice in Fort Myers

    Not smart, Obama you phoney liar racist. Really not smart to make the Florida and Michigan voters madder at you than they already are.

    Not that it matters – after the last couple of days, you're toast in the general election if by some miracle you get the nomination. You should just go away quietly now before you humiliate yourself further. I have an idea – why don't you go to church?

    March 19, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  5. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    First she refuses to abide by rules all candidates agreed on about campaigning in these two states.

    Her concerns about these voters are too little too late.

    Live with it Mrs. Clinton.

    March 19, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. WBW OHIO

    All you Hillary lovers watch what you wish for. If Hillary gets the nomination, as sure as the sun will rise tomorrow McBush will be the next President. She will never be President of the United States.

    March 19, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. Mike

    I have no doubt that Obama will win the delegate count by a small margin... Clinton will win the popular vote by a small margin(that is why Obama does not want the redo)... super delegates will have to decide on who is more likely going to win the general election...

    Not sure why everyone is talking about overturning the will of the people... if it ended today Obama is ahead in both but if this goes to the convention it will be split as stated above... all of you need to look at the math... not ABC, FOX, CNN's math...

    I voted for Obama and I have come to the realization that Clinton is more likely going to win in November!!!

    March 19, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Ann, CA

    Hillary flip flops as usual and goes about accusing Obama of that. Well, the truth cannot be hidden for long and Senator Clinton is desperate but the more she prolongs this, the more time Obama has to get the truth across.

    March 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. Freedom fighter

    The hate of the Obama people has taught this lifelong democrat this much:
    Independents and Republicans stay out of our primary if you are going to splinter the party and insult, hate, demean and denigrate your fellow Americans.

    And for Obama, hate is never right.
    You can not constantly cover up your mistakes by making a pretty speech to redefine what you meant and justify your hatred.

    Stand up for the constitution as Hillary has done.

    March 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. Nancy

    I am concerned that no one is truly listening to the candidates right now and that Obama's golden rhetoric is smoothing the way for his lack of judgement. No one running for President of our country at this point is really qualified to take charge. With the trouble we're in right now, I see more trouble coming after the elections.

    March 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  11. Mike

    Hillary we are asking you to DROP OUT of this campaign!! You and your husband have done a lot of DAMAGE to this PARTY!!!

    March 19, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. RedSea Foreign National

    Well on the revote topic, it was clearly in the rules that they could hold a revote if done by June 10, and they both agreed to that. And clearly not in the rules that they must take their name off the ballot. By taking his name off the ballot Obama sent a clear signal that he cares more about party rules and his superior party officials than the voters. And he says like a baby, 'My name was not on the ballot'!. That is because he took it off!

    And the legal argument of Obama is that it will be a closed party and people who have already voted cannot vote. Is it possible even in an open primary for people to vote twice, once as a republican and once as a democrat? Even though he took his name off the ballot, more than 90% of his supporters wrote his name in and still voted for him! Funny the Constitution says that the federal government has enumerated powers (which it lists) and all other powers go to the STATE. There is no mention of political parties in the Constitution. Obama studied and taught Constitutional law as well!

    March 19, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. david

    Man does she have a good point. Does Obama REALLY want to empower American people or just himself?

    It's not the people of Michigan's fault that the party screwed up. It is their CIVIL RIGHT to vote.

    What is Obama afraid of....losing?

    March 19, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  14. RedSea Foreign National

    Well on the revote topic, it was clearly in the rules that they could hold a revote if done by June 10, and they both agreed to that. And clearly not in the rules that they must take their name off the ballot. By taking his name off the ballot Obama sent a clear signal that he cares more about party rules and his superior party officials than the voters. And he says like a baby, 'My name was not on the ballot'!. That is because he took it off!

    And the legal argument of Obama is that it will be a closed party and people who have already voted cannot vote. Is it possible even in an open primary for people to vote twice, once as a republican and once as a democrat? Even though he took his name off the ballot, more than 90% of his supporters wrote his name in and still voted for him! Funny the Constitution says that the federal government has enumerated powers (which it lists) and all other powers go to the STATE. There is no mention of political parties in the Constitution. Obama studied and taught Constitutional law as well!

    March 19, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  15. Steve in Albuquerque, NM

    Obama is objecting to the revote because it is *excluding* voters, it is not like the original primary and it *disenfranchises* voters. Obama is not obstructing a *fair* revote.

    March 19, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. Ralph

    It has become apparently clear. Obama supporters are afraid to have a revote. They know that Hillary won those states, and they know that now that Obama has shown that he is as racist as his "uncle", that he doesn't stand a chance to win the nomination. No revote. FL and MI voters have already cast their votes. Let their voices be heard, and give Hillary her justly deserved delegates. If Obama wants to split, then I think he should split the deleagtes he got in the Texas caucus, by having his thugs threaten them harm if they didn't vote for him.

    March 19, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  17. Vince Los Angeles, CA

    Hillary Clinton is an opportunist. She was agreeable to the rules that Michigan and Florida would not count if their primaries were moved up...NOW she wants them to count and is trying to paint Obama as an obstructionist?? The people supporting her are moronic and divisive. I am DONE with the Democratic party whether Obama wins or not. I will not support such an idiotic party and I urge ALL persons who can actually use their brain matter for something other than eating McDonald's to leave the Democractic party and register INDEPENDANT!!

    Obama '08

    March 19, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  18. Gerard, Tampa

    Matt D, clarification, yes the respublicans in Florida moved the primary but not one of our democratic legislators opposed this Bill. We here in florida need to hold our elected officials accountable.

    This has nothing to do with Obama or Clinton, she is just screaming because she is losing.

    March 19, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  19. Randy

    The Democrates have done it again....where is Howard Dean? Rules are rules. Michigan and Florida voters were told their votes would not count...now Hillary needs them so we should change the rules? Now, you get real Hillary!!

    March 19, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  20. A. Harrison

    Sounds like those "PRESENT VOTES" all over again.

    GIve Michigan their VOTE..AGAIN!

    Hillary 2008!

    March 19, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  21. Jimmy Lee from Atlanta

    So let me get this right. Michigan broke the rules, and are suffering the consequences. Hillary wants to let them vote anyway.

    That just reeks of the same lack of accountability we see in the Bush Administration. If they broke the rules, let them suffer the consequences.

    Easy as that.

    The only reason HIllary wants the re-vote is that it is the only way the math could ever work in her favor. A real presidential candidate would stand by the rules, whether they like them or not.

    March 19, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  22. anthony

    I think advertisers should stop advertising on fox news for starting the Rev Wright issue about race. Starting the fire and adding more and more fuel to it.

    Investor, Anthony from ,Greenwich,CT

    March 19, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  23. Bob

    OBAMA, we are asking you to DROP OUT! You are destroying our Party!!! Your connection to your Church is going to destroy our chances of winning the Election!

    WE THE PEOPLE DEMAND YOU DROP OUT NOW!!

    March 19, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. News At Eleven

    I think if there is any doubt about Barack's speech yesterday, it is because issues on race is a subject some people will never be able to understand. It is simply over their heads.

    Did I like what his pastor said? No. But, I also understand it was part of the fire and brimstone that lots of preachers have in the midst of a heated Sunday sermon. I'm too educated to think that there is only one point of view, and that this educated pastor can be summed up in two seconds, on the eleven o'clock news. I'm so glad my parents raised me to think for myself, and not let the media do my thinking for me.

    My vote still goes to Obama. He is the best choice for this country.

    I am a Democrat who never voted for Bill Clinton. I'm prouder of that record today, then I was back in the 90's.

    Obama 08

    March 19, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  25. Gonzalo

    Okay let me get this straight. Obama talks of united of setting a new tone on the issue of race and building a better united America. But, refuses to fight for MI and FL votes? Oh wait I get it, only build bridges and talk about race when it conveniences you, good one Obama. I'm totally voting for the candidate that is only courageous when it is convenient. That is not courage, that is politics.

    March 19, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
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