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. Walt, Belton,TX

    Howard Dean is wrong on and for America!

    May 6, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. Independent

    I think that his explanation is very reasonable.

    While they can't give Florida and Michigan the same say they would have had had those states followed the rules, they can seat the delegates as a face-saving maneuver once the nominee has already been decided by the other primaries.

    I have no problem with that, and I'm a Floridian so it actually impacts me and my state. The democrats need time to come together, and crying over spilt milk (i.e., Michigan and Florida) isn't going to help us.

    May 6, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  3. Ardnuas

    You can NOT change the rules at the end of the game to try to help Clinton win........... SHE AGREED WITH THE RULES, BEFORE THE VOTING STARTED!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 6, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  4. mitchell

    don't change the rules at the end of the game,to determine the winner.

    May 6, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  5. Jan, Houston

    Michigan can't be considered since Sen, Obama was not on the ballot. Please don't tell me that this could wind up being decided in the Florida courts. I don't think this country to stand that again.

    May 6, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  6. Bernardine

    I live in Florida. I voted knowing the rules. For heavens sake follow the rules YOU made. I do not feel bad. I do not feel left out. We all have rules we are to follow, that's life. You cannot change them now!!!

    May 6, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  7. Venus

    Ha,ha,ha Hillary supporters! You do know what this means???

    You are the man Howard Dean!!! I have been waiting for this!

    This should put this issue to bed and send a strong message to the queen – she can let go and stop clinging to the throne! I know she will be BITTER!

    And, as some of the good people from MI and FL – YES! What about the voters who did NOT vote because they understood the rules and didn't vote?

    Go Obama!

    Now – next step! Penn-Ave – Obama for President 2009!

    And, for some of those Hillary supporters who say they will vote for Mc Cain – go ahead – Obama has attacted so MANY new voters that it won't matter because Obama will still be your president!

    May 6, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  8. lou

    You can't do all three. You can't let the votes stand as is...respecting the voters who did vote...because Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan...which would make being fair to both candidates impossible. Clinton has something up her sleeve, and Dean is behind it. Why else would she stay in a race that the math shows she can't win.

    May 6, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  9. Steve

    Florida is a needed state to win the presidency (remember the big picture) it's not very smart to ignore them during the primary, it was a level playing field and Obama lost, get over it. If you want the next president to be a Democrat you need to pick the person who can win the states we need not the one who wins the states that we all know are going to go Republican during the election. Wake up Democrats Obama doesn't have a prayer against the Republican machine, they got Bush elected twice for Gods sake.

    May 6, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  10. DAN

    McCain and the republicans might be wrong on some issues but they didn't disenfranchise millions of voters. Party rules are not constitutional laws, It's not like the whole of the party had a referendum on the rules. It was intentionally done or its plain incompetance. Like taking your name off the ballot in case you need to make that argument later and it doesn't make you look as bad when you loose like Obama did in Michigan, this is just plain dirty politics. You don't hear Flroidians and Michiganians yelling mad at the republicans.Thats why if those two states are not counted dems. are sure loosers in November.

    May 6, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  11. florida

    I live in Florida where we voters (must Hillary supporters then and now) did not have our votes counted due to our Republican state legislature. The DNC failed us by counting us out in the first place and they will fail the American people by having a candidate who was not supported in our critical state!

    May 6, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  12. silence do good

    Don't let Obama suppress voters he doesn't like! Does his arrogance and elite attitude have no limits? Do not bow to his pressure and thugs. Include everyone.

    The only thing Obama has to fear is the will of the people – remember the people? If you let him marginalize entire states, the DNC will never be the same. He is destroying the DNC.

    May 6, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. Betsy

    "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.”

    This goes for everyone, including Obama supporters as well. If we seat any delegates it will be changing the rules. If it's a 50/50 split, it will be unfair to Clinton and the voters, if we go by the actual results it's unfair to Obama and the people who didn't vote in those states because they thought it wouldn't count. If we go by a percentage of the popular vote in all states excluding MI and FL, that is unfair to all the voters in those states.

    The DNC fouled up something big time here. They should have followed the RNC's lead on this, but they didn't.

    The only fair thing to do is to hold new primaries. The only people against that are Obama supporters. They seem to only be happy if MI and FL delegates get split in some way that favors Barack. That doesn't seem "inspiring" to me. Let the people speak. Why be afraid?? The rules will have to change if any delegates are to be seated, so please stop spouting the "Rules are Rules" line.

    May 6, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  14. John

    Clinto did cheat in florida she held several fund raisers campaigfning by any other name is still campaigning.

    I am so fed up of the worst political team on TV the clinton News network the results of the Laryy King Live Poll to the question "who do you want to win North Carolina and Indiana Primaries" was not published.
    So here goes Obama 71% Clinton 29%
    Let the so called best political team on TV stuff that in their mouths and choke on it, you bunch of Clintonite dummies.

    May 6, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  15. mommagirl

    Hey Michigan,
    Just curious....why would you NOT fight about the rules to count your vote being changed when you didn't have a say in it? I'm voting for Obama but I think it makes him look like a wuss in Florida. Neither of them campaigned there. I don't get you people. I'm all for rules but I'm not sure I'd want the state Dems to make a decision to eliminate my vote unless I had a say in it. Primaries are important. Either He'll stand up and win with votes from ALL Americans or he looks like he's afraid. If you can't be objective about your candidate, you don't really believe him as much as you say you do!!!

    For my previous comment: For the record I KNOW OBAMA WAS NOT ON the Michigan ballot. It's Florida I'm talking about above.

    May 6, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  16. James

    We have three parties.


    The DNC and RNC have their rules, the Clintons have a different one.

    May 6, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  17. TruthTeller

    Paul Krugman now says that Obama misrepresented his comments about Mccain's gas tax proposal in an add which falsely claims those comments were made about Sen. Clinton's plan, which Krugman says they were not. Obama running a false add! No, not Saint Barack. Even worse, turns out Obama voted for a state gas tax holiday while a state senator in Illinois. And although Obama now says he learned from that mistake that the gas tax holiday didn't work, it turns out that the only empiracle study done on the Illinois gas tax holiday shows it did work. New politics of hope indeed!

    May 6, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  18. I wish

    Dean needs to step down!! He is not able to resolve the MI and FL. If democrats want to win in Nov then the votes of FL and MI should be counted or else there should be a re-vote. Is Dean a knuckle head? Why is he taking so much time to decide FL and MI?. Why he is listening to Obama?? If Obama doesn't want a re-vote let him drop out of the race.

    May 6, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  19. 58 white old ladies for OBAMA








    May 6, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  20. Lonnie

    Thank you Michigan for speaking out, Rules are rules, they all agreed and knew what they were getting into.

    May 6, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  21. JC

    Dean's credibility is at stake.
    It looks like every state should move up their primary date in 2012 so they can all be punished by becoming the pivotal states for Dem primaries at the end.
    Who actually gets paid for such a dumb idea?

    May 6, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  22. hmmmmm.....sounds fishy

    if ten dollars a month will make a huge differnce in your life IRISH GRANNY.....I am sorry to belitle that ....but for those of us that haven't reached retirement it does very little......considering that we will be paying more after the holiday .....thirty bucks can't buy my vote .......go dems and Obama of course

    May 6, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  23. Lonnie

    Irish Gram, a vote for McCain is a vote for Imperialism and national bankruptcy.

    May 6, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  24. Sara

    Let's end this and send Cinton ou to pasture. OBAMA 08'

    May 6, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  25. Changing the rules???

    I never knew there was a rule that voters votes would not count. All fifty states have to have their say. Have a re-vote – then Mr. Obama's name can be on both of the states and both candidates can campaign. You Obama supporters do not care that these peoples votes will not count. Obama is the one that will do anything to win.

    If Florida and Michigan's votes are taken away, then I think they should go to the Supreme Court. You people have NO RIGHT to take anyones vote away. I do not care what the DNC thinks they had the right to do, the fact remains that it is the right of every American to be able to vote and have their vote count – PERIOD.

    Hillary just might not win with Florida and Michigan, but at least the game would have been played fairly.

    If Michigan and Florida are not inluded -then Obama is a cheater and should not win for sure.

    May 6, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
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