March 19th, 2008
01:28 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama camp says legal issues could entangle Michigan re-vote


The Obama campaign says a Michigan re-vote could lead to several legal issues. (Getty Images)

(CNN) - Hours before Hillary Clinton is set to take the stage in Detroit, Michigan to personally make the case for a re-vote in the state, the Obama campaign circulated a memo from its top lawyer arguing a re-vote could encounter legal hurdles.

Bob Bauer, a longtime Washington lawyer and the Obama campaign's general counsel, said in the memo a rushed re-vote in Michigan like the one currently proposed by the governor is full of several flaws that could serve to disenfranchise voters there a second time.

"[The] questions could put at risk the running of the election, undermine acceptance of the results if the election is held, and in both cases effectively deny Michigan voters, a second consecutive time, meaningful participation in the nominating process," Bauer wrote. (Read full Obama memo [PDF])

Specifically, Bauer took issue with the re-vote proposal's stipulation that Michigan residents who voted in the the Republican primary in January will not be able to vote in any new Democratic contest - the campaign argues several Democrats voted in the Republican primary because the Democratic one was meaningless. He also says legal issues could arise over the financing of the election with so called "soft money," absentee voter rules, and the strain of preparing for a new election in such a short time frame.

Clinton's campaign released a memo shortly after Obama's that took aim at their rival for "refusing to give the people of Michigan the chance to exercise their fundamental right to vote." (Read full Clinton memo [PDF])

"The Clinton campaign believes the right to vote is a bedrock principle of our country and that empowering the people of Michigan and Florida to make their voices heard must be a priority for any candidate running for the Democratic nomination," the Clinton memo states. "As such, we must either honor the original vote or hold a state-run primary that doesn’t leave the taxpayers footing the bill."

The memo also takes issue with the Obama campaign's contention that many of its potential supporters may have voted in the Republican primary in January.

The Obama campaign’s allies in Michigan organized an effort to get people in Michigan to vote for “uncommitted” in the Democratic primary, helping to bring the uncommitted share of vote to 40 percent," the memo states. "So the Obama camp can’t reasonably argue supporters participated in the GOP primary and didn’t vote in the Democratic contest."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (373 Responses)
  1. Read

    no revote

    March 19, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. Trey M.

    Michigan and Florida already had their chance to vote. They did not follow the rules and were punished. Case closed.

    March 19, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. Lynne

    The answer is all to clear. You don't want or need our vote now. Don't come looking for it in Nov.
    This has to do with what is fair and right for voters.
    And anyone not standing behind that has no right to our vote.
    I then am fine with my vote not counting now. Because I will give am vote to where it does count.

    March 19, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. George

    "......OUR CONSTITUTION – a Constitution that had at its very core the ideal of EQUEL CITIZINSHIP under the law; a Constitution that promised its people liberty, and JUSTICE......" (Source: Part of Obamas speach yesterday)

    This message should be of utmost importance. The Obama campaign simply has to live up to the ideal of equal citizenship REGARDLESS ANY FORMALITIES and let the democrats in Florida and Michigan make their voice be heard in a fair way. IF THE OBAMA CAMPAIGN DON´T AGREE HIS SPEACH is proven to be EXACTLY JUST WORDS and his credibility as a President of the U.S. would always be questioned.

    March 19, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. Paul

    Obama, stop those dirty tricks and allow every vote to be counted as they should

    HILLARY 08 – President of the Uniyted States of America

    March 19, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |

    haha! Obama is playing trick again!

    So nasty Obama!

    No Obama at all!

    2008 Hillary!

    March 19, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  7. Judith

    I'm sorry people, Clinton, Mi, and Fla. voted for the rules over a year and a half ago.... Clinton stated in New Hampshire that Mi, and Fla, votes would not count because they broke the DNC rules they voted for...Now she is behind on delegates and she won an uncountable votes, and she wants them to count.....NO WAY....... If she hadn't won their votes do you really think she would want them to count now????? GIVE ME A BREAK....THE DNC SHOULD NOT LET THIS GO THROUGH FOR CLINTON, RULES ARE RULES......

    March 19, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. Taylor

    I don't see what is wrong with having a revote. Put Clinton and Obama on the ballot and let the voters choose. It's only fair that their votes count just like everyone else.

    March 19, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. Observant

    Ron is right. I am also a Michigan resident, and the state officials need to be blamed for this, not either candidate.

    I did not vote here because I knew it wouldn't count. And I know many people who voted in the republican primary instead because Obama's name wasn't on the ballot, Hillary.

    March 19, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. Eli

    Obama camp, you don't want a re-vote in Michigan because your candidate is sure to lose. If your idea prevail, the Democratic candidate whoever it will be, will pay a big price come November.
    These dis-enfranchised democrats will turn republican. If this happens, all I can say, the Democrats are in a string of Bad Lucks.

    March 19, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  11. gina

    I strongly agree with deb in az. Why punish these citizens, who should have as much right to state their choices in this important election, for something their incompetent local leaders decided? You would think Mr. Obama with his equality rhetoric would concur, but hmmm, wonder why he doesn't? Yet another of his hypocritical ways. Wake up America... Anybody but Obama.

    March 19, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. O man in the middle

    Decmocracy is dying and if the true canidate for the people by the people is not nominated, then the democratic party is dead.

    March 19, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. Eminem in GA

    All you illiterates saying it's Obama's fault and/or he must be afraid sound really stupid! The rules were set and agreed upon byt BOTH Clinton AND Obama. What part of that do you simple-minded folks not understand. Do you need someone to write it out in big block letters like you're in kindergarten. Sheesh! You Clinton supporters are really a piece of work but if the shoe were on the other foot, you'd be taking to the streets to protest a re-vote.

    At this point, I don't care who wins the election because the MSM has conducted a modern-day lynching of Barack Obama and it's downright disgusting!

    March 19, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  14. Dan in Minnesota

    I'm kind of hoping that Obama's campaign will come out and say: If you can find a good way to do it we'll support it. Even though most of us who are paying attention know this (on both sides) is mostly a political ploy for advantage and not really an effort to honor the people of Michigan.

    One thing that is VERY clear is that the Democrats need to DUMP Howard Dean who has really (as far as I can tell) not shown any leadership on this. It was paramontly stupid of the Democratic Party to strip both states of all thier delegates.

    March 19, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  15. think

    Let's face it. In a year the Dems probably could have won hands down this year, that probably will not now happen. If FL and MI delegates are not seated, there is no possibility the Dems will carry those states in the general. And, they will probably have Dems voting for Reps. Now, we have people saying that if superdelegates take Clinton over Obama the youth and black vote will walk out. And, based on Obama's refusal to reject Wright and his lying about knowing about Wright's positions, people will not vote for Obama now. And, if the superdelegates don't take it from Obama because he is now unelectable, the Clinton clan and others will walk. So, I think we're set for four more years of Republican rule.

    March 19, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  16. Stephina

    The DNC must seat the delegates from Florida and Michigan. Florida had both candidates names on the ballot and Michigan voters had the opportunity to write in a candidate name or vote un-decided.

    I can't imagine the DNC, who has already helped turned the Democratic nomination into a national circus, not seating the delegates from those 2 states.

    I'm a Republican who was excited about voting for a democrat and supporting Clinton.

    However, I am now so sick of the way things have turned out in this nomination process and how goofy the Democratic party acts that I will now vote for McCain in November.

    March 19, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  17. Kaseam, Philly, PA

    This is why rules are set in the first place.

    It's Michigan's fault, Stupid!

    March 19, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  18. James Edwards

    Team Obama is made up of a bunch of hypocrites, playing the same old D.C. politics games for which he excoriates everyone else. He is being permitted to steal this primary, and I find that extremely disturbing. I wonder whether he will try to resolve this problem, too, by dodging press conferences and instead shielding himself beyind another high-soaring speech rather than address the REAL issues of credibility and judgment!!!

    March 19, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  19. George

    Haha, what a comparison on the front page...

    Clinton talks re-do
    Obama talks terrorism

    And I wonder who REALLY sticks to the issues now...

    March 19, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  20. Ric

    if the 'affirmative action' candidate gets his way, we'll be paying those reparations by February 09.

    March 19, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  21. Andrea

    Everyone knew and accepted the rules. Now both should honor what they agreed to. What message does that give to anyone that you can change the rules in the middle of the game. They should have not agreed to punish the 2 states in the first place.
    I live in Florida and did not vote. Some say I should have. I guess I should have known that Clinton would not honor her word.

    March 19, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  22. frank

    cant Hillary see that there is no light at the end of the tunnel if she is to face off with Macain in November,she should step down for Obama who has a better chance.

    March 19, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  23. MovingOn

    D in MA:

    The rules do not allow for the delegates to be seated as is. The rule was very clear if you hold your primary outside the schedule you will lose you right to seat your delegates. Granted if MI chooses to foot the bill for another vote and it happens after the states that followed the rules I would be okay with that.

    March 19, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. P. Gallager

    . . .Clinton will try and turn this around and blame Senator Obama, when
    it was fault of the govenor of Michigan, who knew what the rules were. Why
    did Michigan move their primary up if they knew that the delegates would
    not be seated according to the rules?. And don't try and blame Senator Obama. Because I will bet that when the curtain is finally pulled back,
    there will stand Hillary Clinton shouting "I AM THE GREAT AND POWERFUL OZ".

    March 19, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  25. Read

    no revot they had the same chance

    March 19, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
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