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. La Petite Sorciere

    yes yes most people can see she is a lier she never never will walk the talk, a republican always a republican. !!!!

    March 19, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  2. carrie,detroit

    i am really amazed at this clinton suppoters or worshippers.they are so rude,brash,arrogant,uneducated and just plain dumb.they have used the most insulting words on our future president,sen. barrack obama.they have lied and made up stupid stories about him.
    so CNN,what is the use of moderating comments,if u allow this kind of insulting language?i am really disappointed in you.
    i am beginning to think obama should leave this bid,because he is too good for the presidency of this country.
    a genuinely sincere person who has the ability to change alot of america and the world,and he is being attacked for no reason,i am apalled.
    he deserves so much better.
    al gore showed he was better and he is loved and respected all over the world.
    shame on hillary,because she started all this negativity and insult on barrack
    and her ignorant followers follow suit.

    March 19, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  3. Robin

    Why should the average citizen vote be discarded. All they did is show up to vote when they were scheduled to.

    March 19, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  4. Hillary Wins Another State

    NEWS FLASH.................

    Hillary has won another state, according to the political cartoonist, Mike Luckovich. THE STATE OF DENIAL !

    March 19, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  5. BJ

    Why does the Clinton campaign and Clinton supporters blame Obama for everything that happens.

    Rules only seem to apply to Obama and not to Clinton. Michigan and Florida knew what they were doing when they broke the DNC rules. You can darn well bet that if Clinton was ahead, there would be no way in hedes that she would agree to a re-vote in Michigan and Florida.

    GIve Obama a break...the next thing we know he will get blamed for any natural disaster that happens.

    March 19, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |

    Hillary stop this nonsense. We abide by the rules and regulations in this beautiful country of ours.

    You agreed to this whole mess in Michigan and Florida. You Hillary signed and sealed this document agreeing to it along with Barack Obama and John Edwards. You have the audacity to change the rules and regulations. Please becareful.

    Thank you and listen to me

    March 19, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. TN_Dave

    Hillary should be ashame of herself and the way her campaign is being ran. She signed off on the loss of delegates from MI and FL and now since she is behind in all catagories she will do anything to try to catch up even if that means going back on her word. We do not need a leader who can not be honest with the american people and stand by the very word she gives. And to spin why she doing this instead of telling the truth is what makes this even more troubling to me. So with all this said, I wish she start thinking about the democratic party and step aside and lets join forces to beat John McCain. SAY GOOD BYE HILLARY!

    OBAMA '08

    March 19, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  8. Scott in Boston

    With or without Michigan, Hillary's got the momentum and will win the majority of the super delegates, therefore the nomination. Her critics say she will do anything to win the election...What a novel idea...! -Is she supposed to play to lose...? Who are these people? This is the exact 'personality trait' necessary to beat John McCain in November.

    March 19, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  9. SW-GA

    She agreed with the DNC's terms before, now since she is losing she wants to flip flop on this too. I am really worried that her drama is going to ruin the Democratic Party! And as far as her documents go... We all know she is only releasing the documents that make her look good. What's the hold up on the TAX documents!

    March 19, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  10. Celia Ann

    Why wasn't Harold Ickes upset when he made the rules on the DNC Committee?? Why wasn't Senator Clinton screaming it was unfair when she signed the Pledge??? Why are we being treated unfair NOW and not then???

    March 19, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  11. Jay Graham, Dallas, TX

    Its the media coverage and the publicity that Obama is getting recently made him a rock star and his campaign show lots of arrogance. How can he ignore the votes of FL and MI? He knows that he can't win FL and MI again on e revote. That is why the campaign is putting all the obstructions with the help of his DNC buddies. Take these states out from general election and McCain is a sure winner.

    March 19, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  12. Dave ND

    CNN didn't want to post this when I said it before but it's true.

    This is a primary race conducted by the Democratic party. Unlike in November, there is no inherent right to vote in this process, and the Democratic party could just as easily select a nominee behind closed doors.

    It's a courtesy, and one that Howard Dean decided to revoke from two states that didn't live up to the rules that were set and agreed before the primary season began.

    March 19, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  13. elogho, toronto canada

    I don't believe what I hear and read in 2008 America. It is a matter of deep regret that people can't see beyond their nose what Hillary sands to achieve.

    Why didn't she advocate for a do-over or re-vote immediately after the MI and FL primaries when she was leading or when her lead looked looked insomountable after the Super Tuesday?
    Was she not part of those who signed and agreed that delegates for those two states should not be seated for breaking the laws of DNC.

    She is making it look like no one else is capable of being the US president but her.
    She wants it so desperately that she could do anything to get there.
    let her show she must obey the simplest andlocal laws without issues.

    March 19, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. RJ

    Super delegates get behind Barrack Obama now. End this charade.

    The DNC GOVERNS the rules of the Democratic primary elections. END OF STORY.

    Move on. Get over it.

    March 19, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. Eric

    I was shocked when I heard that Florida would not redo a primary and now I hear that Obama is trying to prevent a revote in Michigan claiming legal issues. Please. What a cry baby. Does he not realize this will come back to haunt him in the general election if he gets the nomination? If Florida and/or Michigan don't have a revote or the DNC doesn't count the vote from the previous primaries in those states, I will vote for McCain if Obama is the nomine.

    March 19, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. mattD

    What happened to democracy if those millions of people's voices in both Michigan and Florida could not be heard. Especially in Florida, the Republicans were the ones who broke the rules and now the Democrats are being punished by it. Both states cannot be disinfranchised. This is a serious issue and Obama needs to step up to the plate and solve the issue head-on. Isn't his speeches were about bringing people together? So why is he not allowing those millions of people in Michigan and Florida to cast their votes.

    March 19, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  17. Paula Miller

    Hillary doesn't care in protecting the Democrats from McCain in Nov. She through Obama overboard when she said he was not ready to be Commander and Chief of US. She is all about Hillary. She has no use for the small states or caucus results of many states. She is all about "Big" state wins. Interesting enough, essentially, Barack won Texas by one delegate. She doesn't want people to know that. Barack
    won Texas (Big State).

    March 19, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. Beza

    Why was this not an issue to Clinton when she was leading? WOULD SHE BE SAYING THIS IF SHE HAD THE LEAD? I am just disappointed that she wants to fight for the 2 states when it is to her advantage. Why didn't she fight this hard at the beging when they said you can’t campaign there? I WOULD NEVER VOTE FOR HER !!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 19, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. Grif

    She Through the Gauntlet.... Away to go - Hill...........

    March 19, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. Beza

    OBAMA siad he will go along with the rules that DNC came up with and he did but she is not following the rule. she is distrying her own party. if obama was to run his campain the way she did there will be soooooooooo many things about her that would make you want to throw up

    March 19, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  21. Never McCain

    To those of you posting that you'll never vote for Obama. Who really cares? There are those that will vote for him. That's what I care about.

    March 19, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. Armand1980

    CNN stop erasing my comments, none have been insulting or bad comments, im just asking you to please stop prohibiting me from posting. STOP .

    March 19, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  23. JayBee, Germany

    The cncern here is that the rules are being bended to allow another re-vote in Michigan. Whoever is calling for this is setting a precedence that will be costly for tthe party

    March 19, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  24. DJ in TX

    Come on people. Please read the MI rules. If someone voted Republican in the orignal primary, they would not be able to vote in the re-vote. I've read numerous comments that many MI Dems voted in the republican primary because they were told their vote wouldn't count anyway. So in a Dem re-vote, theire vote STILL wouldn't count. I'm sure there are BOTH Clinton and Obama supportes who did this. If and only if those voters are able to re-vote as well, should their be a re-vote. If not, how will it be fair.

    As also noted numerous times, why has Clinton all of a sudden wanting these votes to count? Has ANYONE asked her that question. If she cared that much, why did she WILLINGLY sign the agreement that MI and FL delegates do not count. All through the primaries, we heard not one word from Clinton about those votes. Only after 11 losses and found she was behind, did she say anything.

    I don't agree with the DNC for doing this. It is totally unfair to the voters. They should blame their state legislators for this fiasco and make them pay for it in their next election. But stop blaming the candidates. It is not their fault.

    It doesn't matter anyway. The Democratic party is completely dividied. And the funny part is it is dividied by race and gender. The party that talks about inclusion and equality shows its true colors in this election. Whites are now voting for Clinton just because she is white, women are voting for Hillary just because she is a woman and black are voting for Obama just because he is black.

    What a waste – two candidates who are BOTH uniquely qualified, and yes, both with their own faults and shortcomings. Either one is better than McCain or any Republican. If the comments of the last few weeks are true, niether candidate can win in November. They BOTH appear to have lost a particular voting bloc of the democratic party. Niether will win without the support of the others main voters. And I fear that has already happened. So sad. BTW – I'm an African American who supported Obama, but I'm considering staying home in November no matter who wins. I'm sick of the Democratic party as a whole. They just don't seem to get it. Reagan said it (and I hated him) the 11th commandment, don't talk bad about another Republican. Why can't the Dems do the same?

    March 19, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  25. Taguchi, Des Moines

    Hillary–where was your opposition when the Michigan DP made its bed? Where was your opposition when you (and everyone else) agreed that Michigan and Florida delegates wouldn't be seated? Every argument you've made was as true back then as it is now.

    Kinda reminds me of....where was your opposition when you voted "yea" on the war?

    Your judgment is right on the money when you've had several months to determine whether your position benefits you.

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