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. s.b.

    Clinton isn't trying to change any rules.

    There are rules and process in place to seat teh FL and MI delegations and to revote.

    These rules exist, just like the sanction rules exist.

    It shows a distinct ignorance of the rules to suggest that Clinton is propossing to break any of them, or change any of them.

    Everyone knnows the MI and FL delegations will be seated at convention and always were going to be seated. They just didn't think it prevent determining a winnner before that.

    Super delegates may not vote for Clinton over Obama, but they sure as heck will vote to seat these delegations at convention. They aren't dumb. They have to be seated.

    March 19, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. Hillary all the way!

    For the all the Hillary haters – you all need to open your ears. Americans like yourselves are into what is popular not what is real. Hillary may not be everything we hoped and prayed for but with her we know what we're getting. With Obama you have no idea what he will bring to the table except all the skeletons that are flying out of his closet. Obama will be the beginning of the end for America. He is just as big a liar. Read his speech on the Iraq war from 2004. Totally the opposite of what he says today. Hillary and Obama will lie, cheat and steal to make it to the White House where they can lie, cheat, and steal.

    March 19, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  3. Ben K

    Dear Democrats,
    You know why so many Americans don't vote? Do you know why "independents" are so important? Just read all of your comments. "Shut up Barack" and "Hillary is the devil." You cannot even be respectful of the two candidates that have reinvigorated your party and have offered the first potentially successful programs in years. Instead, you rip each other apart, piece by piece, brick by brick. This is why partisanship fails. This is why I left the party and, while voting consistently and proudly democrat, could never stomach giving myself a title represented by so much discord and strife. Get your act together and select a nominee like adults. For the first time in decades the Republican party looks reasonable in light of the comments of democratic supporters. There is no doubt in my mind that the democratic candidates are the better candidates. But there is great doubt as to whether you–the mllions of individual supporters–are as enlightened and destined for greatness as you seem to believe. Hillary or Obama 08, end of story.

    March 19, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. The Wall

    We don't need no Mrs. Clinton
    We dont need no thought control
    No dark sarcasm in the campaign
    Clintons leave them kids alone
    Hey! Clintons! Leave them kids alone!
    All in all it's just another brick in the wall.
    All in all you're just another brick in the wall!

    March 19, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  5. Christine, Tampa

    She could have fought for Fl and Mi before the DNC made the decision. She could have appealed to Howard Dean and others. I didn't see any news headlines stating Hillary Clinton says please don't disenfranchise Fl and Mi. Even when she signed the agreement she could have said I'm signing but I don't think it's right. The truth is back then Hillary thought her nomination was inevitable and she DID NOT CARE about Fl and Mi. Now that she is behind and desperate she cares. If the voters of Fl and Mi are too naive to realize this perhaps they shouldn't be voting.

    March 19, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  6. Alonzo Demetrius, FL, USA

    Hillary knew when she campaigned there the first time, that the votes would not count. It doesn't bother her at all to demand a state re-do its primary and what-ever cost in funds as well as respect for law, just because that's the way her ladyship wants it.

    March 19, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. Adam

    C'mon Obama own up to your word you gave over a month ago. Stop backtracking on what you said for once. We all know the reason you don't want a revote now is because all your skeletons are creeping out of your closet. If you had your way, you would end this now to prevent more of who you really are from coming to fruition. If you claim you can unite the party, then support the revote and don't disenfranchise millions of voters.

    March 19, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. A J from Plymouth,Michigan

    We already voted in the primary election. Who was it that changed the rules?? They should be held accountable for their actions.
    They chose to move the primary ahead and not having all candidates on the ballot so why should we give them another chance. They blew it.
    Looks like the democratic party is on the way to it's own demise here in Michigan and nation wide. I think we have had enough of the Clinton's and the Bush's they represent all that is wrong with this country, Greed and Power. If anybody thinks they really have the American people's interests in mind they are sadly mistaken.

    March 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. Harrison

    HRC – she should be a comedian. Her little friend, Ickes, voted to strip the delegates of Michigan last year saying it was his duty. Now – he and the former first lady are upset and blaming Obama yet it was of their own doing. That just entertaining! How stupid does she think the public is? Talk about doing a 180 when things don't quite go your way. Great leadership! Anything to drag your opponent down.

    McCain 08

    March 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  10. Nate in Mpls

    "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."

    Her willingness to throw Obama under the bus and endorse McCain in this way is appalling.

    Give her FL and MI and she's still behind. She just doesn't get it.

    Anything to win.

    March 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  11. Ted in Chicago

    Robin the simplicity and shortness of your comment says it all

    March 19, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. Let's get it right

    Obama isn't against giving the states a say in the election. He has said over and over he will agree to what the DNC decides. That is the way it should be handled...not HRC trying to ram rule changes down everyone's throat to help her agenda.

    Both Candidates should stay out of this discussion completely. I think OBama is doing that...She however isn't.

    March 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. An Ohio Voter

    The DNC should stand up and correct the Michigan and Florida vote situation fairly and quickly. Howard Dean should be ashamed of himself. Count the Votes and seat these delegations. The United States of America is made up of 50 states, not 48.....

    Thanks for standing up for them Senator Clinton. You have always been a fighter. Keep fighting and don't loose sight of what this is all about. If it is not fair, PLEASE KEEP CHALLENGING IT!!

    That's what a true Leader would do.

    Go Hillary!!!!!!

    March 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  14. Wallace

    I have been reading some of the comments posted and I’m surprised on how people are distorting Sen. Obama’s speech. This is a speech that republicans, democrats and independents needs to sit down and reflects on for this country to move forward, I was impressed when I heard Ms. Buchannan chief strategist of former presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney said the speech transcend partisan.
    Nancy in her posting writes that Obama in his speech said he was in church when the pastor makes the comment. Nancy, please go back and listen to the speech or read the transcript, at no time did he said that, what he said was that he had heard him made some comments he does not agree with. We have at one time or another heard people we love make comments that we do not agree with, we do not because of that disown them; we have the right to disagree with what people say without becoming enemies. There is something in the constitution that is call freedom of speech; it means people are free to say what they like. If you disown all you friends or family that you’ve heard said things that are not right, by now I believe you will be a loner.
    Hillary is showing us now that she can change her mind at anytime provided it benefits her. It’s certain that she never imagined that Florida and Michigan votes will be important to her, which is why she signed them off, but now that it will benefit her she wants their votes. In essence, she is telling us that she would stop the war in Iraq within few months of becoming the president, but have the right to change her mind once she become the president, if it’s going to benefit her in the long run.
    We all have right to our opinions about people that are running for political office, moreover, the highest political office in the world. Let’s put our prejudice apart and take a closer look at this people, not only on what they say, but also, on how their words correlate with their behaviors.

    March 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. G KLINE

    Frankly, this is all silly. Those paying close attention knew that Hillary was toast somewhere between Wisconsin and Texas. Anyone who can't see it's over at this point now, is just plain embarrasing. I'm sure Hillary knows this better than all of us. Hoping and carrying on for Hillary to win, means you haven't done your homework, or don't have the integrity to face facts. I feel your pain, but fess up, it's over. The focus now, should be how to defeat McCain.

    March 19, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  16. michelle20

    How can you fairly count the votes from an election when there was pretty much only one name on the ballot. How many of you would have gone out to vote in an election where your candidate's name wasn't on the ballot AND you were told that the votes would not count. Her "win" is ridiculous. So how do you "punish" a state for breaking the rules? You let them do it all over and give them the power to basically decide the election. I don't think so.

    March 19, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. joeWhat electgorial planet is Hillary Clinton On

    What electoral planet is Hillary Clinton on? Does she not get it, does she not know, or is she just in denial that the mess in Flordia and Michigan is her fault? If Hillary Clinton had not of broken the rules of her own party we would not be in this situation. She should of removed her name also. Her non-compliance of her own party rules shows that she does not believe in or hold to her own party beliefs.
    The voters in both states knew that their vote would not count. Why did they come out an vote anyway?
    Once again we see how self-serving Hillary Clinton is. She is now trying to place the blame on Barack Obama for the situation in Flordia and Michigan and challenging him to support her attempt to make votes count in the two states that did not hold a Primary for Democrates. If he does meet her challenge it is in her best interest. If he does not meet her challenge it makes him look bad. The Fundamental right to vote in Michigan and Flordia was not exclusively taken away by Barack Obama like Hillary Clinton would like for us to believe.
    Do we really want a president who will break rules to suit their own interest? A president whose greatest experience is contriving. If she were ahead in the polls I wonder if she would want a re-do.

    March 19, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  18. lifelong democrat

    We all know that you are the people's choice.
    Stand up for the people and their constitutional right to vote.
    That is the higher ground.
    Obama only wants votes in his favor to be counted- even if they got counted twice.

    We Hillary supporters are tired of being bullied into voting for Obama directly or indirectly by discounting our votes.

    Hillary you are the best.

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

    Hillary Clinton amazes me. She is in Michigan challenging Barack Obama to help make sure the voters of that state can have their primary votes and their delegates counted. News flash to all Michigan voters, she signed a legal document stating that she agreed with the DNC to not campaign in that state because they broke the rules of the DNC, SHE KNEW THEN THE VOTES WOULD NOT COUNT, HELLO!!!!!! Your own state caused this problem and Hillary would have you believe she is your best friend (even if you don't vote for her ...Yah!) and challenge some one else who is only playing by the rules. Hillary Clinton plays by her rules and no one elses.
    Think for one minute if the shoes were reversed, she woud do everything in her power to make sure that no re-vote was held. WAKE UP MICHIGAN!!!!!!!!!!

    March 19, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. madeleine

    It is so obvious that if Hillary didn't think she could have more delegates in Florida and Michigan, there would be no talk of "voices not heard".
    She must really think American people are very dumb. She goes with whatever can work on her favor and that is why she would not be such a good president. She has shown in her past that she's a fierce politician and I'm afraid that it can get in the way of good judgment.
    Even staying with Bill after he ridiculed their marriage was probably a good political move and nothing else.

    March 19, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. Frank

    Michigan and Florida knew the consequenses when they changed thier primary dates. To make this an issue against Obama is laughable.

    March 19, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  22. Gene

    She is doing anything to win delegates, superdelegates and nomination. She shakes trees, tears democratic party, inject racism, sexism for her advantage.....I reject falling into cultism of two families running White House like private entity. Those caught up in this comedy show are delusional...

    March 19, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  23. Leah DiMarco, TX

    Dear Hillary-

    Senator Obama has more better things to worry about and talk about at the moment: The Iraq war, race in America, the economy, better education, etc.

    The DNC is in charge of deciding about Michigan and Florida. Hillary please stop your spin and leave Senator Obama alone right now – he is in a campaign running against Senator McCain.

    Obama '08

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

    The fact is...all votes need to be counted whether the rules are changed, broken or ignored. The democrats cannot afford to lose to the republicans again. That is the bottom line. Think democrat ! Right now we all know it will either be Hilary or Obama. It's time for everyone to stop taking cheap shots @ Hilary and Obama. They are not dividing the party, we the people are with our narrow minded comments. Fight for the party!

    As for your comment Terry....If Clinton makes you feel that you are beneath her, you really need to check yourself – what is wrong with you?

    March 19, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  25. Mark AL

    So yesterday Obama gave a speech in which he summarized racism in America in broadest, most generic terms. He personalized it by comparing private chats with his grandmother to the public inciting of hatred to a group of 8500 (not counting the DVD sales). In the end Obama grew oh so insightful conclusion that racism is bad and we still have a lot of work to do. What am I missing? In what way was this so-called "masterpiece" speech not a mediocre 9th-grade essay?

    March 19, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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