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. Natasha M. in KY

    Why did both Hillary and Obama agree on this??? Now the thought of a re-vote seems to go against what they once agreed upon...

    March 19, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  2. Alexandra

    Hillary is a liar.
    Why did she agree that Michigan won't count initially?
    However now that she is trailling in popular votes, states won, and delegates she want to move the goal post.
    Shame on you Hillary!

    March 19, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  3. Gee

    Together we can turn the page on Americas past, would that statement include Florida and Michigan? May we need another speech on re-doing the primaries in Fl and Michigan. The good thing is that now we know the hotair balloon is actually empty. Obama is a liar and will stop t nothing, including excluding people from the political process. It is a shame is still think of himself as a uniter. He must be confused.

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

    Of course she'd be more than happy to accept the votes from a state where she was the only democrat on the ballot. If the tables were turned, however, don't believe for a second that she wouldn't be scrambling in the opposite direction to discount them. Every candidate agreed with the decision to suspend the delegates from Florida and Michigan – but now that she needs them, she's their champion. Two faced, pandering politics as usual.

    March 19, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  5. Bob

    Before calling ar challanging anyone on the matter would you show the people your tax return and let us know by the way,what you are going to do with trial pending on your head, on april 25... meaby the timing won't be on your favor. Before calling for re-vote just wait please.

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

    Obama is willing to neglect anyone to win..........same old politician in younger skin. Nothing new here except retoric.

    March 19, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  7. Yellow Hillary

    Oh, so she's wearing the yellow jacket to support the Wolverines. She's a piece of work, anything for a vote.

    March 19, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  8. Hill Supporter from Minnesota

    My hope is that after the speech Obama made yesterday those states going forward vote overwhelming for Senator Clinton. It is the working people of this county, not the political, media and educated elites that should determine who the candidate will be. Neither CNN nor MSNBC had one commentator who critiqued the speech with careful analysis; again, just a bunch of gushing Obama neophytes. This is too bad. I had to turn to FOX for that kind of analysis and before Obama came along, I had always been a CNN viewer; this is what it has come to.

    March 19, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. Kevin M

    The last poll I saw had Clinton and Obama tied in Michigan. The Obama camp raises relevant issues about disenfranchising democratic voters who voted in the republican primary. If Michigan chooses to re-run the primary, it makes sense to avoid steps that we likely undermined the result. The Michigan voters deserve to be heard. Let hope Michigan structures any re-vote in a way that allows the outcome to stand. It is time that we look beyond the infighting and look it what truly supports us.

    March 19, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  10. Sara

    Agree to rules, then change them, when things don't go your way. Businness as usual for Clinton.

    March 19, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. Jay MN

    Why didn't she think it was unamerican last year?

    March 19, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  12. conrad benloss

    If senator Clinton was on the other side of the result , she would not be speaking like this , she is a selfish woman. I rather kill my self rather than vote for her. after seeing what she did in Texas , to safe her political career she would take the democratic party to hell with her . It begs the question if she is in the race for the good of the people, or if she is there for good of the Clinton's "Legacy". America will realize that if senator is our next next president then it will be Buiness asual in DC.

    March 19, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. Mary

    The DNC ruled before the vote that it would not seat the delegates if Michigan moved up the date for the primary.

    How can Clinton say she won? She didn't. She only won among those Democrats who chose to vote in an election the DNC said in advance wouldn't count. How many Michigan Democrats decided to vote Republican instead or abstain because the primary wouldn't count? The Michigan primary clearly violated the DNC rules.

    You can't change election rules after the fact. The Michigan party chose to move the primary vote date, knowing the consequences. They and Hillary can't complain now because the DNC did what it said it would do. Michigan voters don't count more than the Democratic voters in other states who played by the rules.

    If the DNC caves, the party will lose. Play fair, Hillary and Michigan.

    March 19, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  14. Natasha M. in KY

    Terry...if you think Barack has skeletons....the mere name of Clinton does not even compare....

    March 19, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  15. Oregon Voter

    Why does Obama want to silence the voice of voters? Does he only want to hear people who are his supporters? How does that make him a uniter?

    His true colors are showing more and more these days. He needs to step down as presidential candidate.

    March 19, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  16. carlo

    Oh, boy here we go. Why is it that Clinton feels as though she can set the rules as she goes along? What's so amazing is that so many people fall for this woman, who has a long history of lying and being accusatory when things don't go her way.

    Obama does not have enough power as a junior senator to influence votes in a primary. He, like Edwards AND CLINTON, agreed to rules that had been enforced. She is lacking honor, the ability to fess up to her own shortcomings. She is a master dodger (like Bill, who successfully dodged the draft) and refuses to accept responsibility for her actions.

    March 19, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Sara, Wisconsin

    People, the primaries are not federal elections. They are sophisticated opinion polls to help the DNC decide on its candidate.
    There is no legal "right" to participate outside of the rules set by the DNC – who said the elections in MI and FL wouldn't count.
    To petition to change the rules after the game starts in not generally accepted practice.
    Hillary is merely acting like a spoiled brat. Madam, if you wish to be seen as Presidential Material, grow up.

    March 19, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. Flagbearer

    Hillary is so desperate. Rules are rules and Michigan and Florida broke those rules. End the discussion and stop being a despo! You can't partially adhere to the rules, by not campaigning in the states and somehow expect to do away with the other half of the rule. Be reasonable please!

    March 19, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. Angry and Disillusioned in Michigan

    Obama as called himself a different kind of politician, above partisanship and wanting to represent the people. Well I think he is showing everyone that this is a load of bull, just like his comments on NAFTA.
    Obama wants to win and that is all he cares about. He is playing the same games that every other politician plays. If he is all about the people, then lets hear what the people have to say.
    Hilary welcomes a re vote, then why not Obama. He can campaign in Michigan and Florida and both have a fair chance. But because he knows that he can't win in Florida or Michigan he doesn't want them to get a chance. He would disenfranchise millions to punish them for the actions of a few government officials who moved the primaries.
    Go ahead and play your games Obama, because come the General even if you are the nominee, you will lose Florida and Michigan, along with Texas and Ohio. And that will spell the end of all you high talking nonsense.
    Let Michigan and Florida have their voices heard. Obama only wants to hear from us if we split the votes evenly between him and Hilary, how is that democratic or fair. Earn them, by holding a second vote.

    March 19, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  20. Cora

    I actually listened live to the Obama speech yesterday. He would not in his own words "disown the reverend" . That shows who he is. The people you hang around with define who you are as a person for an outsider looking in. Then there is that comment hsi wife made about "finally being proud to be an American". Why is that? Just because her husband is doing well? I am sorry but this for me personally is not about race, is about the character of the person. It i unacceptable for a highly educated person in this position at this most important time in his or her life to not be able to control those deep feelings that would present one in a negative light. The more he talks the less efficient and professional he sounds. All Obama did was split the democratic vote. He has not united the country, he has divided it. Is this what we should expect from him as president? I am extremely disappointed.

    March 19, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  21. Jeff

    Of course she isn't saying anything about the current proposed stipulations in a the fact that only those democrats that voted democrat in the original primary can participate in the those dem's that voted republican in an attempt to make their voice heard would not be allowed to vote...basically she wants to ensure that a re-vote is heaviliy in her favor...typical clinton trash...they are all lies, controversy, and scams...The Clintons are nothing but career criminals and they have had their three strikes...lock them both up and throw away the key...

    March 19, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  22. Susan, TX

    Well that is truly interesting, Clinton's co-chair even admitted that even with a re-vote it would be hard for Clinton to catch up to Obama. What is she up to now....even the dems in office in MI voted against a re-vote because of the cost. Now she is pointing fingers at Obama saying this is all his fault? The ones that need to be held accountable is the people of MI who didn't scream and fight but instead let their politicians do whatever they wanted by moving their primary up. As Obama says get involved in the political process before it happens, voice your opionions. Unfortunately, they screwed up. Get over it....quit listening to Clinton and accusing him that this is all his fault...... Hey, Clinton, Obama is catching up to you in the PA polls. What happened to your 18 point lead now that it is only a 6 point spread. This must be really ticking her off.

    March 19, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  23. Go away Hillary!

    Wake up!

    Quit wasting your time all you HRC supporters... 75% of America despises her... She will NEVER be president. Why is it not obvious?

    March 19, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  24. Sara

    She disgusts me too, no integrity. It is all about her hunger for power, not what voters want. OBAMA 08'

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

    Obama is totally trying to run out the clock on this decision b/c Michigan demographics favor Hillary....

    is this the change and new style of politics he's been talking about so much?

    it seems to me like he's the same old politician

    March 19, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
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