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. Doug Forbes

    Forget Obama for a minute.

    Hmm. doesn't this sound familiar...

    She votes for the war that has needlessly ravaged our economy and security and, more importantly, ravaged thousands of lives. Then all of a sudden she is Ms. anti-war, commander-in-chief, stalwart of judgment, I never voted for "this" war.

    She votes to uphold her party's decision that Florida has once again broken the rules and botched a voting process (for which Michigan replicated the inanity). Then she is Ms. anti-party, commander in cheating, stalwart for fooling the people, I never agreed to "this" rule.

    Ms. Clinton is shameless and I cannot believe that people continue to be shrouded under her subterfuge. It is mind-boggling.

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

    Bottom line, Dems shouldn't be allowed to vote in Republican Party Primarys, Republicans shouldn't be allowed to vote in Democratic Party Primarys, and Independants shouldn't be allowed to vote in either. It's like me walking into a Board meeting of a company I have no affiliation with and demanding a vote.

    The people of the states of Michigan and Florida have a right to have their votes counted. To punish everyone within the state for what a few politicians did is no different than walking into a room and punishing the whole room for what one person in the room did.

    And as for the agreement, it was simply to not campain in those states. A rule Obama broke by playing a grey area and running ads on CNN, MSNBC and FOX NEW CHANNEL. Obama and Clinton both have a duty as elected officials to stand up and fight for our rights and Obama seems to be ingnoring his duty by not standing up for the people.

    March 19, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  3. Obama Girl

    Robin, you are correct, but the NDC made the rules and the states broke the rules and now everyone is crying wanting something to come along, like instant gratification... to fix what their leaders broke.
    What Hillary and some folks are asking for is going to involve lengthy legalities. Hillary's comments are also involking her republican book FEAR tactics. Again? Hillary might do better if she switched to the Republican ticket...once again.

    March 19, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  4. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    Now that Hillary has released some of the documents that are SO IMPORTANT to everyone, some are already saying they have been "doctored up" LOL. Get a life please. If our dear Mr. Obama was behind in delegate votes, would he want a re-vote or not? You bet he would. You can't have everything BOTH ways guys. If you want to jump up and down over a win in Wyoming when a total of 8,000 votes were cast, you need to include 1.7 million in Florida and whatever the number was counted in Michigan.

    March 19, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  5. Deb, IN

    I don't see the problem here. Neither candidate will have enough delegates without MI and FL.
    Obama supporters cry all you want either the so called "super delegates" can choose the nominee or the people can decide!!!

    March 19, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  6. John Q

    They broke the rules! Now they have to suffer the consequences! I don't get why there is a debate. If the DNC doesn't enforce their rules, then what's the point of having rules to begin with? States will just do whatever they like, knowing that eventually the DNC will give in. Unbelievable!

    To top it all off, she's basically asking MI and FL to vote for McCain if they don't revote. How typical – she should just be McCain's running mate, because all she's done so far is help his campaign.

    March 19, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  7. DEM, Texas

    How many deals do Bill have that he's working on that Hillary don't want to talk about . I sad that so many American would rather elect a crook that places her own interest ahead of American people.

    That the sad truth. Flip Flop and Sue when she can't get the results she wants.

    Sad, Sad, Sad

    Elect Sad Hillary in 08 and Cry for the next 4 years........

    March 19, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  8. Cat

    Obama supporters are hypocrites. Cry like mad when there votes don't count when Bush won, but scream like mad that its unfair to count the votes of two states that aren't being counted because it could hurt them.

    Go figure!!!

    March 19, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  9. JP

    The leaders in Michigan did not care about the people because if they did they would have followed the rules. If any elevator goes up they can see that all types of illegal processes will take place if there is a re-vote put forth for Michigan. Go ahead and whine, you will get over it. It's the same thing we tell our children when they have disobeyed. It teaches them dicipline, and make them think not to do this again. I wonder how Hillary, her campaign, or these leaders of Michigan sleep at night. Oh, I forgot, maybe they are calling Hillary at 3:00 a.m. in the morning because they have a crises on their hand! And the answer is, let's not think rationally and use good judgment for the people..make them think that their votes will really count this time too.

    March 19, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  10. John, Las Vegas, NV

    Oh yeah, a Clinton asking if someone else (Obama) means what they say or not. Not that's a doozy coming from the most two-faced political couple in American history which talks out of both sides of the mouths on both faces. Hillary, GO HOME!!!

    March 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. Jay MN

    Steve – ""Its an uncomfortable feeling for me that Obama do not want the Michigan and Florida votes counted.""

    Was it uncomfortable when Hillary didn't want them counted either?

    March 19, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  12. Alex H

    Sarah C –

    Thank you for posting that, you are absolutely correct. Though I'm surprised CNN allowed that to be said. I have been speaking that message for weeks now, commenting on this site and not once have they allowed my comments to be posted because it had that message.

    Congratulations and well said.

    Everyone else, she's correct. Now get over it.

    March 19, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  13. Gary in Toronto

    Hillary has never explained why (if she was so concerned about disenfranchising voters) she signed the papers agreeing that Michigan and Florida wouldn't count. Why doesn't someone ask her point blank if this is how you feel why did you sign that?

    Ickes – who plays a prominent role in her campaign – was one of the architects of the decision. If she's so concerned about democracy shouldn't she fire him?

    I love the fact that they can try and blame Obama for this with a straight face. The hypocrisy is simply breathtaking.

    March 19, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  14. HSNP

    The Obama campaign is trying to suppress the VOTES OF MILLIONS.

    March 19, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  15. Dee, AZ

    What am I missing? I honestly mean that. My understanding of the whole FL and MI 'issue' is that the DNC told MI and FL not to move their primary dates up and if they did their delegates wouldn't be seated. And they did it anyway? Please correct me if I'm wrong. Really. I'm just puzzled by all this.

    March 19, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  16. dajack

    Way to spin it, Hillary. You agreed to abide by the DNC's decisions and not campaign in those states. You agreed that their delegates would not be seated. And NOW you're up in arms about disenfranchising all those voters.

    But Obama, somehow, is the one who might not mean what he says.

    Okey doke!

    OBAMA '08

    March 19, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  17. Gary

    VALID POINT!!! I am proud fo her being an advocate of democracy in the election process!!!!!! Seat those votes now & let the voice of MI & FLA be heard!

    Well, Obama is busy repairing his image from the J. Wright scandal so he does not have time for this!!! Very immature! I will never vote for him!

    March 19, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  18. s.b.

    The DNC plan was always to reinstate the delegates from MI and Florida. Its in the rules. The DNC is in the business of winning elections not writing off two states before the election even begins.

    Obama cannot win without FL and MI. He is trying to push a 50/50 delegate split which goes against all democratic principles and the democratic process.

    He is the one who is trying to cheat and get delegates that were not voted for by the people of these two states.

    Since Obama has nixed revotes in both states, I hope they stick to their guns and accept nothing less than the seating of ALL of their delegates as is at convention, which was always the plan.

    If the convention votes aginst seating MI and FL, the democrats can kiss the white house goodbye. Its political suicide.

    March 19, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  19. for freedom

    Way to go.

    We love Hillary- OUR constant and true Champion of the people.

    Everyone is Equal in Hillary's eyes and she has been working for 35 years to that end.

    Obama is the divisive one. He took a once unified democratic party and splintered it into bits just to star himself in history

    March 19, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  20. John, Las Vegas, NV

    Hillary is not a figher. She's a liar. Get it straight people!

    March 19, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  21. End Game1

    Of course Hillary would want the votes to count even if she had the lead, It is about the general election folks. It would mean more support if she had the lead, either way they should count. I have no clue why Obama is resisting these state counts. He may lose either way but all 50 states should be counted, period. What is his national domocracy view, I guess one side, and not united. SAD.
    Of course Clinton wants them to count, it is for the democratic parties sake regardless who is nominated. Obama folks narrow sighted view tells me alot. Clinton is the only Democratic candidate that can win now, sorry too many bridges Obama has burned to be successful in November.

    March 19, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  22. Maya

    Why should they count results when some people stayed home? or are the ones that stayed home because they knew it wouldn't count not about hypocrisy....some people need to think before they speak....she signed the paper saying they won't count so she didn't care then now she does? yea ok I believe that....

    March 19, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |

    Obama is afarid that he will loose hence he is not opting for a revote.

    We do not want a coward President. We want a president who is strong and a fighter.

    n August 2007 the Democrats’ Rules and Bylaws Committee voted by a 30-1 margin that Michigan and Florida’s delegates would not be seated. Among those 30 was — guess who? — a certain Harold Ickes.

    March 19, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  24. DP

    It does not matter no revote no Hillary.........

    If you want McCain in office so be it.

    But Hillary will NOT be there............

    Obama 08

    March 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. Independent

    all this while she discounts small state voters....

    March 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12