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. Kevin M

    Obama's lead in the vote and delegate count is not likely to be hurt by any Michigan re-vote where he is tied in the latest polls. It would be a tragedy to have a re-vote invalidated because of avoidable legal challenges. It would be silly for Michigan to disenfranchise any of the democratic party voters. Let's structure a re-vote that will count. It is time to look beyond the surface and check the facts. Obama has the judgment to lead in a way that supports us – we the people.

    March 19, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  2. OBAMA=COWARD

    Obama is a coward. He is afraid that he will loose if there is a re-vote.

    If he is a democrat and care for American People then he should opt for a re-vote or else let the earlier election vote count.

    If he doesn't do this then he is not a democrat.

    We don't want a candidate who is coward as Obama is for our country's president. This is one other bad judgement of his which makes every one say that Obama is a coward

    March 19, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  3. LGriff

    Hang it up Hillary, Why are you pleading with Obama for Michigan votes. It's not his fought they can't vote. It's the official these people of Michigan elect. Obama is in the lead, why should he push this for your benefit. That would be bad judgement, GET IT!!!!!!!!

    OBAMA 08

    March 19, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. dave

    serious" legal and procedural questions about the Michigan proposal.

    Give me a break.

    March 19, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  5. Michael "C" in Lorton, Virginia

    Michigan: Break the deal face the wheel of consequence; now Hillary's has put her spin on this issue; break the deal, steal the wheel. It' over. Even if Hillary were to win the remaining primaries to be held, and that is high improbable, she will still be behind when the convention rolls around. As as Pelosi stated, the candidates who prevails in the primaries will be the candidate that the Democratic party will support. To do anything to the contrary, would mean that the Democrats will be eating their own (D. Morris)

    March 19, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  6. jason

    i read what obama says about a revote. then i read what hillary says about a revote.

    I see obama trying to find out how it can or can not legally happen. I see hillary giving speeches.

    Ironic?

    March 19, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  7. Elizabeth

    I live in Michigan. Hilary, I learned something about "fighting." What we resist persists. That which you fight against only gets stronger. Fighting for the votes in Michigan will get you about as far as fighting for health care got you in the 90s. If we want change as a nation we can't be divided. Give it up.

    March 19, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  8. Cindy

    What a mess.

    Hillary, stop grandstanding.

    March 19, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. carrie,detroit

    this hillary is so annoying.the people of michigan and florida need to realise that if she wasnt losing,she wouldnt care about their votes.
    and she didnt even win because alot of people didnt vote,knowing it wouldnt count.probably just her uneducated worshipers did.
    and this is not obama's call,this is the dnc
    so she should give it yp.the more i see and hear more of this woman,i hate her more.i really feel sorry for bill.

    March 19, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  10. Frances

    Obama is not the reason Michican and Florida are left out, it's their own fault. If they had followed the rules in the first place neither one of them would be in this situation. Wake up people. Clinton is only pushing for the votes to count becaus she is behind. If she was ahead, she would not be trying to get the votes counted. She doesn't care anything about the peole who voted, just herself. So if it would benefit the Clintons, then its the right thing to do. Don't you think? Obama simply said that he would abide by the rules of the DNC so what's wrong with that? Go figure!!

    March 19, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  11. D Wilson

    What ever happened to following the rules? Florida and Michigan knew what they were doing when they did it . The voters in those states should blame their legislators, not the candidates! John Edwards and Barack Obama did what the DNC said they should do and for Senator Clinton to try and make it sound as if Senator Obama is deliberately disenfranchising voters troubles me. She is showing herself to be desperate and underhanded. I can't support that type of campaigning. That is not the type of leader I want.

    March 19, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  12. Independant

    I never realized why Clinton was so divisive until she began running for President. How can she expect to bring the nation together to get anything accomplished if she becomes president?

    Somehow she will steal the nomination and we will have 4 more years of Bush. Uncompromising, 'My way or the highway' mentality. God help us!!!!

    March 19, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. TJP

    Obama compares his Grandmother to Reverend Wright. You can choose your friends but not your relatives. Two good choices: Wright and Rezko. 20 years relationships with both. One says the victims were responsible for 9/11 and the other is indicted for political corruption. This is a man with brilliant judgment? Give me a break! Go Hillary!

    March 19, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  14. ct

    Obam is the one who should step out of this race. Too much darkness behind him, around him.

    March 19, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  15. Trev

    Some uniter Obama has turned out to be. His gives a spectacular speech yesterday. At the same time though, he does not want MI and FL votes to count. The goal should be to punish the people who broke the rules instead of the voters. How are the Democrats going to win the general without Michigan? Answer: we are not!

    Hillary 08

    March 19, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  16. Stephen

    I thought Clinton signed an agreement to not campain in Michigan?

    March 19, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  17. Tim

    No Revote. Split the delegates.

    March 19, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  18. Enrique

    What little respect I had for Hillary Clinton is gone. I find it completely laughable that she's blaming the Obama campaign for the situation in Michigan. Is she taking us for fools?? The Obama campaign is NOT the Michigan legislature. She has flip flopped so much and has poorly managed her campaign that I have real concerns as to how she would govern our nation.

    March 19, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. Rodney Dallas TX

    OH CNN, update your delegate count. MSNBC has Obama at 1625 and Clinton at 1506. Your cheating Obama by 4 but cheating Hillary by 27. Was that on purpose CNN?

    March 19, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  20. Jose

    Elaine: enough with the bigotry and race baiting...we have moved on. I guess you will have to find another strategy to move the mindless Clinton voters...

    March 19, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  21. Kendra

    All the Democratic candidates agreed to the rules, which explicitly stated that any state moving its primary before Super Tuesday without express permission from the DNC (and those states were voted on before the final rules were set anyway) would lose their right to seat delegates at the national convention in Denver. That being said, when the Democratic parties of Michigan and Florida voted to break the rules, they knew the consequences and the magic number of delegates needed to win the nomination was adjusted as such. The 2025 number does not count the MI and FL delegates so if they do get a re-do (which I don't think they should because they knowlingly broke the rules and would get exactly what they wanted in the first place–a large say in the nominee) the number of delegates need to secure the nomination would also need to be increased.
    No nominee should be able to try to change the rules mid-game, especially those trying to change it in their favor. I feel for the voters but it isn't Hillary or Barack's fault. If you want to blame anyone for your votes not counting, blame your state's Democratic party and the people who voted to break the rules. You must reap the consequences of your elected official's mistakes.

    March 19, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  22. Amy, Kazoo

    I forgot- the point is that if the situation were reversed, BOTH candidates would be switching their positions.

    March 19, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  23. Alice Rea

    Senator Clinton, Michigan Government and the Democrat National leaders agree that it would be fine to have another vote for Michigan

    Where is Obama when he brags about unity?

    March 19, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  24. La Petite Sorciere

    Hillary Billary YOU agreed to it, why are you now wanting to change the rules? We know that you and bill think you are above the law, but enough is enough......... where are your tax records, does it take another law suit?

    March 19, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  25. Hillary Independent

    Why Hillary did not run as independent when she realized that MI and FL vote will not count ?
    To exercise her fairness, she had to fight beforehand or run as independent. If you become members of the party you have to abide by the rule.

    March 19, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
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