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

Clinton challenges Obama on Michigan vote

[cnn-photo-caption image= 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. Jennifer

    Wow this is fun.

    WHo messed it up – The DNC and the Michigan democrats
    WHo supported the move – Hillary, Barack, John
    WHo wants a re-vote desperately – Hillary
    WHo 's mistake is it if she cant have one – Barack's

    This is so fair Hillary. Nothing should come in the way of you and the white house. Because it is your birth-right to be the President and at all cost.

    March 19, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  2. Greg

    It never ceases to amaze me how Obama can say "it's all about every vote counting, except in the races where he lost. Imagine that? Doesn't he realize that neither he, nor Hillary, nor John Edwards were able to campaign in Michigan or Florida and none did. So they made a decision without all the trapping or BS that our campagins are famous for. Again, imagine that????? But then, the media and the public in general just seem to keep brushing all Mr. Obama's faults under the carpet. Remember Mr Rezco??? Or how about NAFTA and the Canadians? Or how about his ties with Black Supremecists (there is another in his past...only that one was a muslim leader)? Or his close aid calling Hillary a "monster"? The evidence is mounting as to just what a crock Mr. Obama really is!!!! Hillary, please save us!

    March 19, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  3. PhillyGirl

    If all the states that Hillary lost don't count then why is she so worried about the votes in FL and MI?

    Bottom line is she knew what the rules were from day one, signed off on them, along with all the other candidates.

    If the people in FL and MI are worried about their votes not counting this time, then they should be very careful when they vote for their next governer and state legistatures to insure they kick out all those that put them in this mess in the first place.

    March 19, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  4. Terry

    Obama: A person who leads and tells us how it is

    Clinton: A person who loves power makes American people feel that we are below her.

    March 19, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  5. Daniel in Michigan

    I voted already. Go away.
    It is disingenuous to suggest that your supporter audience represents Michigan voters, when that is wrong. We are mad up here, but not entirely upset with the outcome. I voted uncommitted and was very happy about it. What is done is done. Just because you find yourself behind Hillary, doesn't mean that you can fix the rules to favor your advantage. This is the politics of the past, it is time to move on into the future!

    March 19, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. Brandi

    She will do ANYTHING to win this race and that frightens me on so many levels. Those papers were NOT released without her bullies (lawyers) taking out what they don't want expose.

    I am NOT convinced.

    Texas Terry - what politician doesn't have skeletons? What human being for that matter. You will never vote for him? That says a lot.

    March 19, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  7. Jimmy

    Obama sure has a trauma when confronted with issues. Obama, let the people vote.

    March 19, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. Art from NC

    This is CRAZY!!!! Do you for even one second believe that if Hillary was in the lead right now, there would even be TALK of a revote??? Hillary will do and say ANYTHING to change the rules in the middle of the game and win. She is so pathetic!

    March 19, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. Alex H

    Oh but they did count. They did exactly what they were supposed to, elect delegates. That's exactly what they did. State laws determine how the primaries are run and delegates are chosen. They did so, they held an election, and their delegates were chosen. Job complete!

    Now the DNC says "if you broke the rules, we won't use your delegates" and that's their right because they can decide how they want to run their organization. You got your right to vote, you voted. Your delegates were selected now the DNC says "tough cookies, you broke the rules, I see you have delegates, but rule breakers wont have a say in our party this year".

    So, you had your vote, it was counted, and the DNC has it's rules and they were followed through. Stop complaining, you have no case.

    March 19, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |





    March 19, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  11. VIVIAN

    Hillary is a hypocrite and a liar. She shouldn't talk about about Obama meaning what he says. She doesn't mean ANYTHING she says.

    March 19, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  12. Raphael Houston Tx

    Obama does not want the voters from Michigan and Florida to have a voice. Its obvious his character is being tested and he wants this race to end asap.

    Its obvious who really has the best interest of the American people in mind and wants your voices heard.

    Go Hillary
    Go America

    March 19, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  13. sozzi

    I do not even know why Hillary is fighting for the Florida votes to count. It's not like the democrats are going to win in Florida. The Florida Democratic Party has failed in 2000 & 2004, that will not change as we can see. Therefore, the battleground will be staged in other states.


    March 19, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  14. pmac

    If she wants a revote have her pay for it. Split it 50-50 and quit blaming Obama for your legislators ineptitude.

    March 19, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |

    Right in plain view, the Clintons are trying to change the rules as usual and making her stupid rap speeches that she does that even though the MI government broke the rules of the DNC and knew what would happen if they broke the rules. They did, now idiot witch Clinton wants to cheat her way to the elections, Obama play by the rules and look who's ahead. Honesty always works.

    March 19, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  16. Dem123

    It is not surprising that Barack the dishonest is all for dienfranchising as well.

    March 19, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  17. CLF VA

    Hilary is a fighter and i love her for it!

    Hilary 08

    March 19, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  18. Christian

    Before you talk about Hillarys tax returns (like a usual obama supporter does to divert attention away from the issues) take a look at Barack!! He has only released ONE YEAR of tax returns!!! Hillary and Bill have more than 20 yrs of their records on file!!!! She is now in the process of releasing more!!! Maybe he should actually release all his records and be truly transparent. He also needs to release all of his papers while in the Illinois legislature!!! Obama is a liar and people need to start to realize it!!!!

    March 19, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  19. Donna B.

    All I can say is GO HILLARY!!!!!!!!! Lets see what Obama does, if he is so sure he will win he should let Michigan votes count....

    March 19, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  20. Words are important - so are VOTES

    Taxes and old records are not nearly as important as votes. Obama voters will never be satisfied with what is shown them anyway – so why bother. EVERYONES VOTES HAVE TO BE COUNTED, THAT IS THE AMERICAN WAY. If Obama gets the nomination that will be a loss for America, but he will never beat McCain, even if there are no cross-overs, he will lose. Is past is catching up with him and I bet before its over, more wil come out.

    March 19, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  21. California Independent

    Funny how Obama doesn't like the rule that allows a re-vote. He said he would do it if the DNC approves it. Well, the DNC approved it and he and he trotted out his lawyers just like he did in Chicago and backed out.

    I was very surprised to see CNN actually allowed the reporting that the rules allow a re-vote. Obama supporters keep denying it. They have problems with facts.

    If it isn't Clinton, McCain '08

    March 19, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  22. DD, New York

    I am utterly stunned that there is such a mess concerning Florida and Michigan. There are some disgrunted people in Florida who feel if their vote is not counted, they are forming a Florida Democrats for McCain in November! It bothers me to no end that the exacting of punishment for not following the DNC rules is the disenfranchisement of those citizens' votes. Fine those officials who moved the primaries up early heavily, count the votes and situation resolved.

    March 19, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  23. MERLE7

    First agree to the rules, then break them when it is convenient, this is a quality some americans want in a president? Why did Hillary not use good judgement or experience last year before agreeing to these unpopular DNC rules. I guess it was like her mistake in agreeing to the Iraq . FL and Mich made their beds now they should lay in them.

    March 19, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |

    . . . .There was only one politician in the audience during Clinton's snake
    oil salesman's visit to Michigan. The Govenor didn't even show up. The rest were Hillary's sect of uneducated voters.

    YES WE CAN!!!
    Obama 08.

    March 19, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  25. Tiffany

    The funny thing is that Clinton didn't hold to her pledge and she supports breaking the party rules for her benefit. As a politician Clinton there is a bigger picture than just a win! Have some integrity! Start taking the moral high ground instead of looking like a street scrap fighter! This country needs a leader that will be better than the rest, not just like everybody else! You've alienated too many people for your candidacy to be considered worthy of the American Democrats!

    March 19, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
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