May 21st, 2008
04:16 PM ET
15 years ago

Clinton recalls 2000 Florida recount in push to count votes

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Clinton is making three campaign stops in Florida Wednesday."]BOCA RATON, Florida (CNN) - Making a last-gasp campaign swing through Florida on Wednesday - just ten days before the Democratic National Committee will decide the fates of the disputed Michigan and Florida delegations - Hillary Clinton forcefully pressed for the primary votes in those states to be counted "exactly as they were cast."

"It is well within the Democratic party rules to take this stand," she said, defending her position in front of a sizeable audience at a Boca Raton retirement community. "The rules clearly state that we can count all of these votes and seat all of delegates, pledged and unpledged if we so choose, and the rules laid out make clear the process for doing so."

It was Clinton’s first campaign stop in Florida since the night of the state’s primary on Jan. 29, and Clinton picked a suitable venue to make her case for counting every vote: Palm Beach County, ground zero of the politically-charged 2000 Florida recount.

"We believe the popular vote is the truest expression of your will," she said. "We believe it today just as we believed it back in 2000, when right here in Florida, you learned the hard way what happened when the votes aren’t counted and a candidate with fewer votes is declared the winner."

The New York senator made repeated allusions to the 2000 recount and proclaimed that the Democratic party, the party of civil rights, has a duty to count every vote to determine the true intent of the electorate. Moreover, she argued, counting the votes is a simple matter of American democracy.

“I have heard some say counting Florida and Michigan would be changing the rules,” she said. “I say not that not counting Florida and Michigan is changing a central governing rule of this country, that whenever we can understand the clear intent of the voters, their vote should be counted.”

She avoided criticizing Barack Obama directly, but Clinton tied Obama’s decision to remove his name from the Michigan primary ballot to the current predicament facing Democrats in Michigan and Florida.

“I know that Sen. Obama chose to remove his name from ballot in Michigan and that was his right,” Clinton said, “but his choice does not negate the votes of all those who turned out to cast their ballots, and we should not let that process rob all of you from your voices.”

“You didn’t break a single rule and you should not be punished for what happened beyond your control,” she added.

Earlier in the day, on a flight from Washington, D.C. to Florida, Clinton aides spoke to reporters and emphasized Florida’s general election importance, stressing their belief that Clinton, not Obama, would fare better in the state this fall against John McCain.

The campaign also revealed a new metric by which to gauge their late-blooming momentum this primary season: Since the end of February and excluding previous contests, said spokesman Mo Elleithee, Clinton has won more contests, more delegates and the overall popular vote.

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Florida • Hillary Clinton • Michigan
soundoff (198 Responses)
  1. hillary supporter for mcbush

    obama just recieved the endorsement of 85's finished.

    May 21, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  2. FedUpDem

    Elizabeth May 21st, 2008 4:24 pm ET

    Hillary and Bill received a majority of votes from the hillbillies in Kentucky so now she definitely is a HIILLBILLY candidate. Let's get rid of her!

    With comments like this is it any wonder the obamidiots are destroying the party?

    May 21, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. Brian

    What a political scheme.....
    Now she is screwing the public with a gimmick to recoup
    her money she loan her camp.
    What happen.? Did the PHONES STOP RINGING AT 3AM.?

    May 21, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. Caryn, WDC

    So that's what haggard is.

    May 21, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Cornel

    hillary please go away

    May 21, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. chris

    Just because Howard Dean is an inept leader it doesn't mean the people of Florida should be disregarded. Regardless, the DNC mistakes voters are demanding to have their vote count....Trust me, if the tables were turned you would see Obama doing the same

    May 21, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  7. andrew

    she's just using seinfield's rule of opposites.. "i am losinbg, therefore i am winning..."

    funny thing is i did respect her before this campaign, but now she just showed her true colors inthis campaign... a real pig of a candidate.

    May 21, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  8. Catherine

    What is bothersome here is that this behavior will cost us the election. As long as we continue on this road the party will become more divided and will be distracted from the bigger picture –McCain and the general election. I really believe that either Obama or Clinton would be great nominees. The numbers now are clearly in Obama's favor and while I agree it is important for Clinton to finish the primary season, her recent rhetoric signals a move to continue to divide the party. I must admit some disappointment in Sen. Clinton. What is her real motivation here?

    May 21, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. Jane L.

    I listened to Sen. Clinton's speech and found it to be one of the most patriotic speeches I've heard. It's certainly in keeping with her long record of service to this country. I hope Florida voters will stand up and be counted.

    May 21, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  10. susie

    The DNC sure cried alot in 2000. All they kept saying was, "every vote should count", They sure changed their tune now.

    May 21, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  11. Tony Z- MD

    Now I know why kids lie and steal. They learn it from politicians like Hillary Clinton. Next she is going to be telling the Cuban community we should oust Castro.

    May 21, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. JJ

    Hillary Clinton's position on Florida and Michigan is very hypocritical. She says she feels so strongly about delegates from those states. Did she feel that way when the DNC made the rule or when those states violated the rule that all of them agreed to?
    Also why does she keep changing the goal post?
    Two things are clear:
    1. Obama has put in place a formidable political organization, and that is indicative of how he may lead this country.
    2. Clinton has been desperately hypocritical in her choice of what matters for nomination, and that is also indicative of how she may rule this country.
    Whether those rules about Michigan and Florida, or even rules about delegates are right or wrong, nobody contested it at the beginning and nobody should contest it now.

    May 21, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. Tim

    First of all, the number is 2026 and will not be changed to 2210. Only in America can you twits words, lie, call for the overturning of the rules, invent your own math, lose in every category and then make up your own and get free media coverage to talk about it. Can some ask Senator Clinton (and demand a answer) why she signed on the dotted line that FL and MI would not count and not has spun completely the other way? It is not about the seating of the delegates as she rejected the last plan from MI. It is about her winning.

    May 31 will settle the fair seating of the delegates from MI & FL without a game changing advantage to either candidate. I am sooooo glad that the Super Delegates will end this by June 10. Senator Obama earned the nomination and will receive the necessary number 2026 by the end of June.

    Obama 08/12

    May 21, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  14. Nicole in NE

    I really don't appreciate the people who want to throw out caucus votes. It may not be the best way – but that's just too bad. I
    stood there for 2 hours to support my candidate and did thousands of others who had caucuses.

    I don't want to disenfranchise Florida and Michigan either, but please have some respect and don't disenfranchise us!!!!!

    My VOTE, my ONE vote COUNTS! You can't just pick and chose which ones you want to count. That's why we vote in the first place!

    May 21, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  15. We love you Good bye

    Insteady of bashing her like that people, don't you think she need to go for therapy, something must be terribly wrong in the way her mind process things. The American people have spoken so far that Obama is the Democratic nominie and they still have to speak between Mc Sain and Obama, just that simple even a kendergarterner can process that and I am suprised a Law graduate, Senator, Former First Lady is having hard time to process that. I would love so much for you to be the President but on this one you lost and it hurts so bad. Life is not always what we want that is why we have ups and downs and you got your down this time.
    I admire you senator for the good of the party and country step aside, you have prooved your point but that is not what the people chose.

    May 21, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  16. Dennis

    If she takes this past June 4th, God help us all.

    May 21, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  17. briggette duque


    May 21, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  18. Fredi

    Hillary, what's the big deal about Florida? Obama got 33%, Edwards 14% compared to Hillary's 50% that's a 3% difference or 5-6 delegates. Hillary is trailing by 160+ delegates! What is she trying to gain in Florida??????

    May 21, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  19. Sandy


    May 21, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  20. James BP

    S O R E L O S E R !

    May 21, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  21. vince

    Why don't you Obama supporters get a grip. Look at the facts. Did Mrs Clinton agree that the delegates shouldn't count ? Probably. 4 states petitioned the DNC to move their primaries up. South Carolina, Illinois, Michigan and Florida. South Carolina and Illinois were allowed to. Michigan and Florida were not. South Carolina and Illinois wanted to move theirs up to have more of an impact on the election. Florida was being moved up by the republicans. Not really sure why Michigan wanted to move up. Why did Howard Dean and the DNC allow 2 Obama states to move up? For no reason other than to have more of an impact. While Florida was supposed to pay for 2 primaries ( one Rep and one Dem) ? Only one state had a legitimate reason to want to be moved up and Howard Dean denied them? Just because Hillary agreed to get shafted doesn't make it right. Also why didn't Dean allow them all to move up ? Or none? Kinda strange that 2 Obama states were allowed to move up while 2 Clinton states got denied and ultimately disqualified.

    May 21, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  22. FedUpDem

    Mike May 21st, 2008 4:25 pm ET

    If it is so important for their votes to count then why did she sign a piece of paper saying that they should be punished and not counted at the beginning of the race? Are we so short sighted as to think this has anything to do with voters being disenfrachised. It has everything to do with Hillary doing whatever it takes to win. She will pull hair, bite, and spit just to come closer to winning. You can't win. Please come back to the real world with the rest of us, and let's focus on the real enemy.


    The real enemy is obama and his naive supporters. Grow up.

    May 21, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  23. Really?

    If all the votes count, how come HRC gets to exclude caucus votes in tabulating her "lead" in popular votes? Can she at least say that she's disenfranchising voters in those states - states which followed the rules - when making her claim to the popular vote?

    May 21, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
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