May 21st, 2008
04:16 PM ET
13 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. Addis - observer

    Funny America!... U can say i win even when u lose.. Only in America! .. ya.. that is the beauty of America!... The impossible is possibe here in America. ( the world is laughing at this woman!)

    May 21, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  2. Blue

    I believe Obama advertised in Florida prior to the election. So why does Hillary's stance come as a surprise to anyone? He broke the rules, so let's just count the votes and do this right. It's 50 states not 48 or 57, you will need FL and MI in the general. Talk about bitting off your nose to spite your face!

    May 21, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  3. Dominique

    Well she is obviously not going to exit the stage with any sort of grace. This is sad, and it is even worse that the media is covering her spin without adding the proper context.

    The 2000 Florida recount is a completely separate issue. Disenfranchisement applies to the right of citizens to vote (and have their votes count) in a general election.

    There is no such right in a primary contest. The DNC made the rules for electing a person to be the nominee in the general election. Florida and Michigan broke those rules so their primaries are not valid.

    Hillary is proving that she will say and do anything to get elected. That is not an admirable trait. The country has suffered through eight years of a say anything and do anything president. We don't need another four. Hillary enough is enough.

    May 21, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Aaron in Arizona

    When is someone going to talk these points in the news:

    That by saying the popular vote is "the will of the people", that she is actually trying to "disinfranchising" all those voters that participated in the Caucuses all around the country.

    Secondly: The next election season would be utter caos if those two states were not punished for moving up their primaries. So my point is, how would counting or seating all the delegates in those two states be fair to all the other 48 states that followed the rules?

    Thirdly: If she did not like the rules of the Democratic party when she joined it, then she should have NOT joined the Democratic party.

    My point: This is a democratic party primary...NOT A GENERAL ELECTION FOR PRESIDENT!!

    May 21, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. rita/ohio

    She is going by the Rules according to Clinton. She was o.k. with the rules as long as she thought she would be the winner. Someone should tell her the more she cries about this, the bigger looser she becomes. Supedelagates, do your job, and stop this crazy women. We need a united party to win in Nov.

    May 21, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. leezee

    How hard would she be fighting to NOT seat these delegates, if seating them DECREASED her chances to become the first woman president of the US?

    May 21, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  7. noemi in los angeles

    I don't think Clinton can argue with a "sexist" bid. Nobody has been sexist here. She's playing the victim. EVEN IF they had been sexist, she can't complain when she's played the role of a typical housewife who forgives her husband's infidelities… yes, he had more women than lewinsky. Look it up.

    What kind of woman allows her husband to cheat on her and still stay with him?? How can any women stand by her after this, especially feminists?? This does not show a STRONG character, it only shows us that she's willing to put up with Bill in order to have political power…. because who votes for a divorced politician??

    Whatever, I'm a woman, and I don't see Obama as sexist. Clinton is simply spinning any story to get elected. Remember, she's the "Do and Say Anything Candidate".

    Chill out, Woman!! Typical women political pandering, whining, and complaining!!

    I don't have a problem with women in the highest political office. In fact, I voted for Bill Clinton, I have gone to Clinton rallies...I even supported her until a year ago when I started doing my reasearch and realized she wasn't who I thought she was. I would LOVE to see a woman president in my time, but it's just not Hillary after all her negatity and corruption. Thanks, but NO THANKS!!!

    P.S. She is fighting to get MI and FL votes arguing that she wants to count everyone's vote (just so she can be ahead in popular vote).........HOWEVER, in doing so she is disenfranchising the voters who voted in the caucuses!! Talk about hypocrisy!!! BTW, popular vote does not win you an election, just ask Al Gore.

    May 21, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  8. mmartin arkansaw

    the rules said they don't are starting to believe the delusion, you are signed the rules that punished mich. and fla. ,so, go away!

    May 21, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  9. Blue

    I believe Obama advertised in Florida prior to the election. So why does Hillary's stance come as a surprise to anyone? He broke the rules, so let's just count the votes and do this right. It's 50 states not 48 or 57, you will need FL and MI in the general. Talk about bitting off your nose to spite your face!

    May 21, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  10. Concerned Democrat

    Counting votes as they were cast is such could she even suggest something so stupid.

    May 21, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  11. Will - OKC

    Of course she was singing a different tune when she still considered herself the "inevitable" nominee. She signed a statement pledging not to campaign in those states and is on record as saying that they broke the rules and their votes would not count.

    Why do you not call her on this? I am sick of seeing Clinton surrogates come on TV and say whatever they want without being challenged by anyone as to the veracity of what they are saying.

    Also, CNN – STOP bashing Obama at every turn just because you can't believe that Hillary will not be the Democratic nominee. You are doing everything to destroy his candidacy and whether you admit it or not you do have influence on voters who rely on you as their main source of reporting.

    May 21, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  12. Kathy, from NJ

    Hillary's rule: change it when you need it, customise it, make it happen, make it fit, I must win, you're the loser, I'm the winner........Mmmm just like my 4 years old son. Hillary go give ....... to Bill or else he'll be looking, you know.

    May 21, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. Bij- New York

    this is very sad...any one that thinks this woman is seeking the unity if the party is fooling themselves...

    May 21, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  14. jeff - Dallas

    One question Prior to the primary, was the Clinton campaign in agreement that the state primary should NOT count based on their flaunting of the DNC's ruling? \One answer – Yes she was.

    Hillary Clinton – hypocrite.

    Fifty year old white Texan for Obama

    May 21, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. Dave

    Clintons only care about people when it is politically beneficial.

    May 21, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. noemi in los angeles

    If Clinton STEALS the nomation from Obama... then I will do as Clinton supporters said they would.... write-in Obama's name. How do you like that??

    May 21, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. Michael

    Hillary, please go away.

    May 21, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  18. Ralph V. AZ

    She didn't care about Florida and Michigan when she was ahead. Now that she's behind it is the biggest issue of the campaign.

    Originally she agreed that Florida and Michigan wouldn't count. What do you think she would do if she was in Obama's shoes? Would she be trying to include Florida and Michigan? I think not!

    May 21, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  19. Katrina in Savannah

    Are u serious!!!!!!!!!! This is ridiculous. How spoiled, arrogant, conceited and egotistical can you be? Are we now going to say that the presidential democratic nomination contests really started in March? So next we will be saying, we should only count those states which she was the winner.

    give me a break!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 21, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  20. kathy

    How many times can she try to change the goalposts? How desperate! Someone should record her rants and play them back to her. She has every right to stay in the race, but she doesn't have the right to change the rules. Sure Florida and Michigan voters–all voters have the right to be heard. No one talks about the voters who chose to not go to the polls because they were told their votes wouldn`t count. She does not care about them, because they might be Obama voters. OBAMA 08

    May 21, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. jaxgram

    talk about arrogance, astounding – Clinton's – it's time to limp off the stage!!! Obama should offer her nothing, not one concession, her behavior is repulsive and so typically Clinton... the country owes those two slimes, NOT.

    May 21, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. moderate clinton supporter

    I'm somewhat appalled by individuals that call clinton supporters racist. Speaking as an African American I don't believe his race affected my decision at all I support clinton because of her policy and experience. I do believe that Race has worked in Obama's favor; I simply have a hard time believing that 92% of African Americans have voted for OBama because they like his policy. That i believe is where racism has come into play. it is not from the clinton camp.
    IN addition I believe that when Obama is the nominee CLinton should be his VP those that question her integrity and imply that malice would overshadow her ability to do her job must not be educated or are simply ignorant. imagine 16 years of a democratic America. That's my America.
    is it yours?

    May 21, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. mmartin arkansaw

    she had 12 people at her rally in fla. obama's rally in fla. was packed.hahahahahaha.i'd love a revote.hillary would not win.

    May 21, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. Pam

    Another day, another new set of primary rules from the Clinton campaign.

    May 21, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  25. Delamere

    Clinton supporters offered a plan to pay for a re-vote in Fl and MI but Obama’s campaign refused. What is he afraid of other than losing in these two critical states?

    Well pay your campaign debts first.....stop the hypocrazy and pay your debts first and then talk of paring for the revote.......

    May 21, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
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