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. David Ocala Fla

    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.

    May 6, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  2. HD

    There must be something to the Paul vs Clinton fraud lawsuit.

    The Justice Department is calling on dishwashers, cashiers, clerks, waiters, etc. who supposedly donated $1000 to Clinton in a fundraiser. They are asking if there was any coercion and questions are coming up regarding how they could actually afford to donate those amounts. It does seem odd.

    Maybe someone in our government is doing their job.

    May 6, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. Venus

    And no------–!!!

    Hillary will not be on our Obama's ticket! She was too nasty to him!

    Go Obama!

    May 6, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. Steve

    Can all of you Billary supporters ticked off about Michigan & Florida not do math? If they are let back in and she wins 60-40 she only nets 75 delegates! Not nearly enough as he is already ahead by 143. The Superdelegates would still have to come in and save her and that would disenfranchise a nation, not just two states...

    May 6, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  5. xtina

    reply to Lonnie: wouldn't you say it's an "Imperialist" who tells me to drive a certain car, to go the doctor when THEY say, not when I feel like it; to eliminate trans fats not because I want to but because THEY say; to put only government-sanctioned light bulbs in ; to stop smoking not because I want to but because THEY say; to give them 40 per cent of my income so they can regulate every part of my life? That's what the Democratic candidates want and that's pretty "Imperialistic".

    May 6, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  6. Sharon Minnesota

    The exit polls in Indiana and North Carolina are showing that Clinton supporters in large numbers will defect to John McCain if Obama is nominated. Here's why:

    For the last 8 years we have had an administration with a president that represented the far right evangelical wing of Christianity. I happen to believe that they hijacked the Christian faith for their own political purposes coupled with a lust for money. In this primary election of 2008, we have seen the issue of religion show up again in the Jeremiah Wright spectacle. I for one do not want to trade one disaster for another with a radical left wing of Christianity and see our government hijacked one more time. Sen. Obama has not convinced me that his religion is not a primary influence in his political life. Jeremiah Wright is only a symptom of the church he belongs to. The doctrine of Black Liberation Theology is Marxist in nature and an aberration of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Please do not equate this opinion with racism as most blacks I have known all my life have rejected this doctrine at hand.

    As a general rule, I do not trust the judgment of the media with my political choices. From the very beginning of this race, Sen. Obama has been a favorite of the most liberal media people in the country. Spinning the truth is a profession in modern journalism and an everyday occurrence when it comes to politics. However, there have been a few paltry exceptions in this democratic primary race that I will not mention here.

    Sen. Obama has not proven himself politically in the short period of time he has served in our government. Being president of the United States of America is the top job in the country and everyone knows you don't go into a company and get the top job. You are required to work your way up unless of course you buy the company. Then you can be the top boss. It doesn't or shouldn't work that way in a democracy.

    The combatative spirit of the supporters of Barack Obama is a symptom of a sick society of people who are willing to say or do anything to destroy their opponent. This is not a good thing to deliver to the White House and I believe that we will see many of these people looking to get their reward from Sen. Obama if he is elected.

    I am supporting Hillary Rodham Clinton for president. I believe that she is a moderate in most of her political stances and this is where I place my confidence. I have one vote and it's for her.

    May 6, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  7. Farren Ballanst

    Yes, DNC officials in FL & MI broke the rules; the voters had nothing to do with it. If those states' voters feel like they got stiffed by the DNC (whether they're right or wrong), they might not vote for the democratic candidate.

    We can pound our fists and demand justice, or we can think about the future of our country. It is in our best interest to come up with a solution.

    May 6, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  8. Lisa

    I never knew the decision to vote with up to the Polictians, What happend to Democracy? Obama is going to steal this election just like George W.

    May 6, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  9. X-Man

    They should seat the Florida delegates because both candidates names were on the ballot even though neither campaigned there so it's even in that respect. The other issue with Florida is that it was out of the control of the Democrats in that state. The Republicans control the legislator there and they forced the issue of moving the primaries forward. The Dems had their hands tide. Michigan is a different story. Maybe they can do an absentee type ballot.

    But they need to have the votes counted in both these states or else the Dems are going to lost both in the general election. It's not about Hillary or Obama at this point, it's about having every vote count and giving people their voice now or else we'll hear their angry voices come November and both these states will go for McCain.

    May 6, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  10. Kimberly, Raleigh, NC


    If voters wanted to be counted, they should have made their voices heard when it mattered – when their legislators were planning to move the primary dates.

    Too little, too late... too bad.

    May 6, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  11. Sam in MN

    Black vote in IN and NC by exit polls, comapred to OH and PA:

    OH: Obama 87% Clinton 13%

    PA: Obama 89% Clinton 11%

    IN: Obama 92% Clinton 8%

    NC: Obama 94% Clinton 6%

    May 6, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  12. Griff

    What the hell happened to all my comment's today? I make one comment, about abama, and the Teamster's link. Farmer's Union??
    I lose my internet connection, and my comment's are all gone.
    Is obama in too deap with the Teamster's, and the Farmer's Union..
    There's a Cover Up????

    May 6, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  13. All the WaY

    no matter how many shots you take at McCain it will not change the outcome of him becoming the Next President

    May 6, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  14. janey

    count Michigan and Florida–they are every bit as important as Guam and the rest of the states..I guess Obama supporters think there are too many "old" and "blue collar" people and that they should have no say in anything!

    May 6, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |

    All States count. All votes count. How can you exclude two of the most important states? Wait, you can't!

    Clinton 08!

    May 6, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  16. Ernest

    Gov. Howard Dean, DNC rules are rules. Hillary violated the rules and she must be punished. Divide the delegates 60/50 for Obama/Clinton
    and seat Florida and Michigan. This is common sense.

    May 6, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  17. hmmmmm.....sounds fishy

    Irish Clinton hos wonder why Obamas supporters are so arrogant....well it is partly due to the stupidity in the posts that you write on here....."the terrorist love Obama.....but Clinton and Mc Cain love the US..........I think you should put your dentures in Granny before you think will help with the blood flow.........and if Mc Cain the American lover wins ....go ahead and enlist your grandson to fight in the McAmerican Armed services......

    May 6, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  18. Kan Madison

    Let's caliculate.
    First, seat Michigan based on January primary.

    Clinton won with 55 percent of the vote over 40 percent for "uncommitted".
    The number of pledged delegates of MI was 128, so Clinton would get 70 delegates.
    If the two to third of "uncommited" votes were counted into Obama, he would get 34 delegates.

    Second, seat Florida based on January primary.

    Clinton won with 50 percent in FL, followed by Obama at 33 percent.
    The number of pledged delegates of FL was 185, so Clinton would get 92 delegates, while Obama would get 61.

    Then, Clinton would get 162 pledged delegates from FL and MI,while Obama would get 95, resulting to narrow the gap by 67. (Now Obama up at least 150 pedged delegates)

    In Michigan, Obama removed his names from the ballot.
    In Florida, Obama did no campaigning.

    So if the primary will hold in both states on August, Clinton could not narrow the gap by no more than 67.

    May 6, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  19. NOMAD

    HNSP; and the rest of the bunch;;;;;;;




    Read people read!

    May 6, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  20. Dennis

    There is a lot of blame to go around. First, the Florida and Michigan legislature and state parties should have heeded the warnings from both parties. If they hadn't changed the date, this wouldn't be a problem. Second, the DNC shouldn't have made the penalty so severe. They should have cut the delegate allocation in half like the RNC did, and then threatened to strip the state of all delegates in a following election if the situation wasn't fixed. Or, they should have had the foresight to set up a rotating primary system so that the same states weren't always deciding the candidates. Third, the system should have been enforced by the party and the candidates. The party requested the candidates take their names of the ballot in Michigan. They all should have done so. At the same time, the party should have placed a penalty on candidates for failing to do so.

    There is no easy fix. Any method of counting the delegates in Michigan and Florida will be tainted and create problems for future elections.

    May 6, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  21. Jack in ND

    ""What that proves is that Obama supporters are much more loyal Democrats than Clinton supporters are.""

    Sounds like Clinton supporters put Hillary's interests above those of the party, just like the candidate herself does.

    Fortunately, I'm not a Democrat, and this Independent voter will vote for McCain if Obama is cheated of the nomination, and he'll enjoy doing it.

    May 6, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  22. Jackie


    May 6, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  23. Robert - Portland, OR

    Why do you keep my posts in a state of awaiting moderation?

    Howard Dean is a joke but at least he got it right when he said, " It was politicians that made a mess of this — not the voters." But he forgets that he is the leader of those politicians and should have never allowed this to have happened.

    It's funny how he is pushing the Supers to come out before it is their time and place to come out, just so that he can save face. Michigan and Florida were not the only states to come forward and move their dates, yet some of them were given additional Supers instead of being disenfranchised like Michigan and Florida.

    This entire process is flawed with people voting in Congressional Districts that they don't permantly reside in (college students) and of which delegates are awarded based on size as determined by the 2000 census, allowing Republicans and Independants to vote (does the Teamsters Union or any other Union for that matter allow just anyone to vote in their elections?), allowing votes from people who cannot legally vote in the General Election, and on and on.

    The fact is Dean and the Supers who have voted out-of-turn, without knowing all the facts, have let the party be hijacked by the Green Party of which I myself supported until I learned that REAL CHANGE is not going to come by getting someone seated as President, but can only come from starting at the bottom and moving up.

    I know that when I vote, I'm no longer voting for a dream, I'm voting for what is best for my party. Obama is not what is best for the party nor the United States and if he is on the top of the ballot in November, I'm voting "PRESENT."

    And further for all of you who think the Rev Wright issue isn't, ponder this;

    While Obama and his supporters want to sweep Rev Wright under the carpet the fact is that he is a hot-button issue and should be. Let's face it, love him or hate him, Rev Wright knows Senator Obama better than any of us. Obama and his family went to this mans church for over 20 years and Obama himself stated the man was like family. In fact he wrote about him in his book.

    Now that Rev Wrights hate and racism issues have come to light, we are supposed to dismiss this and continue supporting Obama. And futher Obama tried to throw him under the bus. Now comes Rev Wright speaking in public what he has preached for years and tells what he knows of Senator Obama, that he a politician and says what a politician says to get elected. Obama then jumps in the drivers seat of the bus that he threw Rev Wright under and runs him over.

    People it isn't Rev Wright who changed or is crazy like Obama and his supporters want us to think, it is Obama who has done the about face… It's called pandering.

    May 6, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  24. Jim

    Howard Dean is a total tool. Show some backbone, would you? I want the politicians who BROKE THE RULES AND STAGED THEIR PRIMARIES EARLY in Fla and Mich to step forward and explain to the American people why it is we are in this absolute turd of a debacle right now. Someone needs to be accountable, and it shouldn't be Obama or Clinton. These two states' legislators are to blame. The election results should be null and void. Clinton is a complete and utter cheat if she takes these votes. She was the only one on the ticket in Michigan. WHAT A JOKE. Hillary Castro. Say No To Pink Pant Suits.

    May 6, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  25. Joyce in Florida

    Our votes should be counted from our primary of January 29th. The will of the voters spoke. Hillary Clinton won fair and square. Senator Obama is the ONLY one disenfranchising Florida and Michigan because he didn't like the results. Also, he flip-flopped on Michigan. And you Obama supporters want him to run our country? THAT IS AN ABSOLUTE JOKE.!!! He will not win. If Senator Clinton is not the nominee, I will write-in her name on my ballot. I will NEVER vote for John McCain!!! HILLARY CLINTON FOR OUR PRESIDENT. GO HILLARY 08!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 6, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
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