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. Rodney Dallas TX

    For those of you stupid enough to believe Obama's speech yesterday, atleast know one thing. OBAMA WAS READING A PIECE OF PAPER. He DID NOT write the speech. He read someone else's words. If he was in fact sincere, he would have given this speech during his press conference the day before. HOWEVER, the speech writer didn't have it complete so he had to wait a day. You all are completely stupid if you believe one word of his so called sincerety. I'll repeat for thos of you that didn't get it the first time. HE WAS READING SOMEONE ELSE'S WORDS.

    March 19, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  2. pennythoughts

    Obama threw his grandmother under the bus yesterday, but not his pastor. Ironically he attends a church that would not welcome his mother. Another empty speech. What have you done to unify this country?? And where were you when Clinton was talking about race with the Black State of the Union event?? Oh yeah, too busy campaigning...

    March 19, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  3. truth be told

    Clinton = Double talk

    Die hard Clinton supporters = please do us a favor, continue living in your fantasy world and don't forget to go vote for J. McCain in November

    March 19, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  4. Sara

    Hillary, can you step down graciously? Is that possible?

    March 19, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  5. elijah

    The DNC made the rules!! The Michigan and Florida democrats voluntarily chose to move their election date ahead. Therefore, THE DECISION they made is solely their responsibility!! Sorry, Hillary - NO CHEATING ON THIS ONE!! YOUR CASE IS CLOSED!!

    Further, if you get some time go onto the Clinton Library Website and view some of the "First Lady" documents!! There are more BLANK PAGES than CONTENT PAGES!! I cannot see where Hillary Clinton can promote "35" years of experience!! BLANK PAGES!! NO CONTENT!! As a paralegal, I did MORE WORK in ONE DAY than she did in ONE YEAR!!

    March 19, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  6. uchujin


    Do the country a favor and fade away.

    TX Terry – get your facts straight and engage your brain before moving your mouth. Have some "Intellectual integrity" in analyzing the entire scenario. Oh, birds of a feather....

    March 19, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  7. souza

    The Republicans changed the dates, so why should the Democrats not have their votes counted? It is everyone's right in this country to vote. They are even voting in Iraq. I can't believe this stuff still goes on in this country.

    Obaman's I am sure will blame Hillary for that too.

    March 19, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  8. MickyD10


    Perhaps you should go back and re-read the entrire transcript of the speech. He said no such thing. But I understand where you are coming from. I really do. Many Hillary supporters who post here seem to have a problem with reading comprehension, it's okay.

    March 19, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  9. Mary

    no matter who carries the state, the votes should all be counted....dictatorship is what he is after...his world is to say the least ...only black or always laws are meant to be amended

    March 19, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  10. Realist

    Where's the rest of the speech? Why does CNN always cut his speeches?

    As for the MI, FL hecklers, get this: Hillary pledged not to "campaign or participate" in the elections. The state party leaders broke the rules. The candidates did not object, they pledged to comply. The voters did not object.

    The rules of the proposed election change the primary from an OPEN to a CLOSED election. The elections clerks say the election cannot be conducted in the time given. Neither the party nor the candidates can legally solicit the private funds the proposal has suggested.

    You want a re-vote: get a legitimate proposal for an election that can be performed. Otherwise, it's a 50/50 split and move on.

    March 19, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  11. Emily V.

    Obama supporters, stop talking. Hillary is behind. Let's not give her credibility–she has none. She's losing and will go anywhere, and do anything for a vote. Let her campaign tactics twist in the wind, we are ahead.

    Like Obama, I'm looking onward, and upward. He gave a great speech yesterday, and no one can take that away from him, or this campaign.

    Onward and Upward for Obama 08 !

    March 19, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. Monica, Texas

    Did you notice the article stated a "small crowd of supporters" seems like the people of Michigan are not truly interested in any do-over either. The people have spoken!!!!!!

    March 19, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. Bob

    HILLARY 2008!!!!!

    NObama dosent care about the American people, just the ones who vote for him.

    March 19, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  14. Jay Cee

    I just want to know when will the National Media begin to report about the Law Suit Paul Vs Clinton???

    March 19, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  15. john paul

    i like hillary, i like barack, and i am torn between which of the two i should rally behind, lets face it , they are BOTH politicians and they are what they are, HOWEVER, the votes of the people should count, however many or few, i say seat the delegates

    March 19, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  16. Truthiswhatweneed

    For the sake of the party Hillary, Give it up!! You have no chance of winning the nomination, unless you cheat the American people. With Obama's speech yesterday, it demonstrated why we need his ledership at this crucial time. Hillary your type of politics is all washed up. We need something that is new and just, and that is Obama. So go back to New York and work on bringing that 100,000 new jobs you promised when you were running for the Senate. Sorry Hillary, its not your time, it's time for Barack Obama and the American people.

    March 19, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  17. Eric

    Both MI and FL are would have the problem of republicans coming out and voting for Clinton because they want this to drag on all the way to Denver.

    March 19, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  18. Gerard, Tampa

    It is not Obama's job or Clinton's for that matter to solve the problem of Michigan and Florida.....they broke the rules and they should fix it.

    Maybe hold their elected officials accountable for putting your votes at risk. Put the blame where it belongs, on them. They moved your primaries!

    Clinton, grow up! I suspect you taught your daughter that she is responsible for her own about michigan and Florida!

    March 19, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  19. George from Minneapolis

    I would have to question the intellegence of anyone who believes the b.s coming out of Hillary's mouth regarding the votes in Michigan and Florida. The facts have been reported over and over again.

    Rules were in place, they were broken BOTH candidates agreed with the sentence and NOW that reversing the sentence will benefit one of them (Hillary) we should change the rules. Sorry, thats not how it goes.

    My 5 year old son understands that rules are in place and if you break them there are consequences. Are we to believe that Hillary does not understand this idea on which the world revolves ??

    And, the sad thing is that some people believe this B.S coming out of her mouth.

    March 19, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. Amy, Kazoo

    This is a simple case of calculating what is to gain and what is at stake for each candidate. I'm a former Clinton, turned Obama supporter, and I'm not blind by ANY candidate to see that the one who stands to gain something from a revote is for it, and the one who stands to lose everything is against it. It's quite simple really.

    March 19, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  21. Tom,des moines

    Obama and his supporter think they can win the general election without the help of Hillary supporter and without MI,FL,OH and PA, u guy r delusional

    March 19, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  22. Jay MN

    "Hillary used her first appearance in Michigan this year"

    What does that tell you? She was complicit with the rules that served to disenfranchise the state, and she still would be if she didn't need it now.
    Wanting them to vote now has nothing to do with Michigan, its all about her.

    March 19, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  23. Bob

    Obama should just drop out and GO AWAY!

    March 19, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  24. dave

    Tell me you trust Obama when he says we shouldn't rush the Michigan re-vote. That a politician pulling a card out of his sleeve if I ever saw one. The DNC already agreed to let Michigan do a re-vote and Obama says no? Since when did Obama become King? I thought this was a democracy.


    March 19, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  25. danielo

    Hillary wants it both ways when she talks of "empowering the American people." "This is a crucial test," she said. "Does he mean what he says or not?"

    Common sense!
    You can't empower the people to choose and at the same time empower a few people to overturn voters choice.

    If Clinton is not engaging in double speak, then she should agree that the voters and delegates and not the super delegates should ultimately count in picking the Dem candidate.

    She just want to pick a few more votes to make a case for overturning the popular will. Shame.

    March 19, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
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