May 6th, 2008
02:00 PM ET
15 years ago

DNC Chair on resolving Florida, Michigan stalemate


Watch Dean's interview with CNN's Don Lemon.

(CNN) – Howard Dean, Chairman of the Democratic National Committee, set forth three principles that he thinks should govern any effort to reach a compromise regarding seating the Michigan and Florida delegations to his party’s nominating convention.

First, “we want to respect the voters who went to the polls,” Dean said. “It was politicians that made a mess of this - not the voters,” he told CNN’s Don Lemon Tuesday.
“Secondly, you have got to respect these two candidates,” Dean said of Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. “You cannot change the rules at the end of the game and change the outcome.”

“Thirdly, you’ve got to respect the 48 states that followed the rules they way they were supposed to,” the former presidential candidate said.

“So there will be some sort of compromise in the Rules Committee on the 31 of May, I hope,” the DNC chair said. “But we don’t know what that compromise is going to look like right now.”

While Clinton and Obama have continued to battle for the Democratic nod, the DNC has run ads targeting Sen. John McCain, the Republican Party’s presumptive nominee, and Dean took the opportunity to take a shot or two at McCain Tuesday.

“He’s wrong on the courts. He’s wrong on Iraq. He’s wrong on the economy. He’s wrong on healthcare,” said Dean.

Filed under: Florida • Howard Dean • John McCain • Michigan
soundoff (114 Responses)
  1. Common Sense

    Now I see why America is so polarized and why others are told they fit the group that votes for someone because they either have no common sense or racial and media agrees and plays it again and again and again.

    Rules are rules – You cannot bend the rules in the middle of the game to benefit anyone. Yes you can bend them in this case not to disenfranchise voters but it should not change the outcome and more importantly

    1) The 48 states that played by the rules
    2) The folks in those states that knew their votes wouldn't count and either did nothing or voted for someone else

    The news media is crying for more ratings and they are feeding our insasious appettite for drama. This is not a reality show it is chosing the next president of the US and more importantly who will lead us and the world. Period!!!

    If you do not already know....The whole world is watching and even though it is not perfect it is still the best democratic process in the world and I think we need to demonstrate a higher standard from the press mainly.

    May 6, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  2. Tom

    Bill Clinton cheated on his wife.
    If Hillary steals these null/void election results, she will have cheated on all of us.

    May 6, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |

    This is the maddness.

    WHY WHY WHY would you set and agree to rules back in February or whenever and then say Hey HEY HEY I DON"T LIKE THE RULES SO I WANT THEM CHANGED.

    THIS IS POLITICALLY INCORRECT. With all the new voters and first time voters what kind of a message will this send to them. We have had this year along in number record the most new and first time voters that has come out and placed their vote and now you are trying to get them to understand and accept that this is how the practice of voting works That the voting laws can change after an election has started.


    So you say what about the first time voters in MI and FL.

    The rules that were in place at the begiing of the primaries have to be enforced, how will this look from a worlds point of view that the AMERICANS can change the rules when ever they feel like it during and election process.

    If we do this at this point trust me rules and regulations will hold no merit becuse in this case something that is as important as the presidential campaign for the UNITED STATES of AMERICA has reniged on the rules set the pace for all rules to be changed according to whom ever decides to change their mind and say I don't like the rules anymore.

    May 6, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  4. Beverly, NYC

    NO RE-VOTE!! FL & MI governors knew the rules and consequences of moving up their primaries and they choose to do it anyway. The people of Florida and Michigan need to hold their leaders accountable. IBoth candidates also know the rules and acceptedir until she started losing and realized it was not smooth sailing to the 2025 delegates needed now she cares, SPARE ME. I would not trust FL on a re-vote, If they voted on wether the sky was blue I would check for myself.

    May 6, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  5. Robby, Portland

    It is going to be TOO funny when all of the Rush Limbaugh republicans have to bow to Hillary Clinton if she gets the nomination because of their
    "Operation Chaos" joke.

    May 6, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  6. Phong Nguyen

    I am a Florida and Clinton-supporting voter and I do consider either not voting at all or voting for S. McCain if Florida is not counted! The DNC should accept the results of the Florida primary or holding a re-vote! Considering the two democratic candidates, at least the Clintons have done a lot more good for the country than the Obamas! S. Clinton has a lot more experience than S. Obama and she has gone through a lot more problems than he did! With so many problems today we are not in the position to take risk with S. Obama's talk of change!!! I trust

    May 6, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  7. noemi in los angeles

    This wont be necessary after today's Obama win.
    Hillary clearly CANNOT catch up. If she had played fair and said the truth, maybe she would have been the nominee. She had my support in the very beginning, but her lies crossed her out of my Presidential list. Obama would have won Ohio and TX had it not been for Operation Chaos; I hate listening to Rush on the radio on my way to work, he's mad I tell you... he's out to destroy the Dem party.

    Obama 08

    May 6, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  8. No state should ever be disenfranchised

    If Obama does not win he will call in Sharpton and his buddies to start a riot/civil war. So we better not include Michigan and Florida you guys or Obama and his thugs will run us out of town.

    Disenfranchise a nation if Florida and Michigan are let in – are you people nuts. This is a free and open election for people to vote any which way they want. Since when are you people telling people that they should not be allowed to vote.

    May 6, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  9. John C.

    Funny how Florida and Michigan rule changes are more important than New Hampshire and Puerto Rico changes. NH moved their primary up after the race started and Puerto Rico moved thiers up to June 1 and changed from a caucus to a primary in March of 2008!
    So explain to me again why Florida and Michigan are being held out as examples of "rules cannot be changed in the middle of the game" when other states can do so.
    Thank God Howard Dean never became president. He is useless and very indecisive.
    If my vote in January does not count at the convention, do not expect me to support the democratic nominee. That will be 2 or the last 3 presidential elections where my vote did not count. The difference though this time is that it is the democrats who do not want my vote to count.
    If it is not good enough in the spring, do not expect it in November 08.

    Don't you know? Dean let the other states move up to encourage different ethnic and minority groups to vote. That's ok i guess? But we are going to make an example out of two of the biggest Democratic states?????????

    May 6, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  10. Joseph, Los Angeles California

    Dean is right. They broke the rules... What if everybody did? They broke the rules and the only thing I see is that they have to sit back, let our nominee be elected, fairly, and support whomever that nominee is. Their votes will count come election day.

    Keep in mind that all the candidates agreed and signed on to those rules. Typical of the Clintons to try to steal the election by riling-up peoples emotions. Florida and Michagan, your vote will count in November. Use it wisley...

    May 6, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  11. Nunya

    Wake up and pay attention people.

    The Supreme Court has established already that the political parties are private organizations and can choose their nominees in any fashion they choose. With that in mind, there is absolutely no 'right to vote' involved in the selection of a party nominee. The 'right to vote' applies to the general election where you choose the actual office holder – it has nothing to do with selecting party nominees.

    The DNC established the rules for the selection of the nominee. The states broke the rules. There was a stated punishment for breaking the rules – no delegates at the convention. Any other outcome is changing the rules. Changing the rules in a way that rewards those who break them is setting up the wrong incentives for expected behavior in the future.

    Thank you Mr. Dean for pointing out so prominently that the party needs to respect those 48 states that did follow the rules. I would add to that that you also need to respect those voters in Florida and Michigan who didn't vote in the bogus primaries because they knew the rules against the primaries being held at that time and expected that the results of the primaries would not count.

    From a practical standpoint, anyone who thinks that the results of those primaries as they stand is an accurate reflection of what the voters in those states really want is just out to lunch. There are many factors feeding into the numbers as they stand being flat out wrong – but most importantly:

    1. Not all candidates were on the ballot. This resulted i some who did vote voting for someone whom they would not choose because their first choice candidate was not present. It also resulted in some voters choosing to vote instead in the Republican primary because there was no real race on the Democratic side with all but one of the major contenders being absent from the ballot.

    2. Not all voters went to the polls because the results were not going to count. "Don't bother voting, we're not going to pay attention to the results anyway... Surprise! We are going to count them after all! Gotcha!!"

    May 6, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  12. Venus

    Sharon Minnesota -– why don't you shove your long-book about what you believe is wrong with Obama as opposed what is wrong with Hillary and why you want her to win!

    Go vote for Mc Cain and take the other republicans with ya!

    Go Obama!

    May 6, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  13. noemi in los angeles

    Michigan May 6th, 2008 5:09 pm ET

    I live in Michigan and I believe that THE RULES SHOULD BE FOLLOWED…. I have to follow rules, my teens have to follow rules… why make the rule if it's going to be over-turned to satisfy political advantages. FOLLOW THE RULES OR QUIT MAKING THEM. I want a few rules bent for me at work, too…..
    Michigan, you are right, you wise state you. I completely agree with you.

    May 6, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  14. NOMAD


    May 6, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
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