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. truth Hurts BZotch

    Its a shame that the two most backwards, racsist states voted so late in the primary season. Kentucky and west Virginia's inbred populace gave Hillary a false sense of victory.

    May 21, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. Paul, Charlotte NC

    Like Bush, she just wants to change the rules when they don't mesh with her goals.

    May 21, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. Kevin Leo (Jonesboro, GA)

    For everyone out there wondering why things have gotten so ugly between Barack and Hillary supporters, please take note of hillary's speech and ever changing positions on multiple topics. Everytime I try to look at her in a more positive light and try to support her decision to remain in the campaign even though she has no real chance of winning (legitimately!), she comes out again with inane comments.

    I am in total agreement that Fl and MI need to be seated but they also need to be penalized. Hillary's pandering quickly covers up the fact that she was completely aware of the penalties to be applied to the states and signed off on the agreement just like Barack, John edwards, and other candidates. Barack was true to his word while it appears as though Hillary is trying to go back on hers for selfish reasons.

    If she wa truly standing up for the citizens of these states, she would have done so at the time and not after the fact. This reminds me of her whole NAFTA position. "I was against it even though I helped to campaign for it."

    May 21, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. mmartin arkansaw

    i just heard that 85 superdelegates,will be endorsing obama ,'s finally over.she has to get out ,now,whether she wants to or not.

    May 21, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. WoW!

    She really looks exhausted in this photo...

    By stating she wants the FL and MI votes to count now, her protest seems so disingenuous and self serving, because she agreed to the rules in the begining.

    FL & MI knew the rules, and they decided to break them. There were voters who didn't go to vote because they knew their votes wouldn't count. Now to reward the people who did go is NOT fair!!!!!

    May 21, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. Nikole

    Hillary's plan for revotes placed exclusions on who would be allowed in the revote. Therefore, that plan was not fair.
    Hillary clearly stated that she knew that these votes "would not count" when she was ahead. Now that she is behind, she "cares" about the votes.
    Why aren't people addressing this last point?

    May 21, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. Debby

    She is doing this because 1.7 million came out to vote and alot for her. Obama would do the same thing if he was in her position. She is not speaking for a mere 10 thousand votes its millions. Rules should be broken when an election is this close and with the millions that came to vote. The DNC and Dean won't count them or they will after Obama has the nomination locked in. Dean will be the reason the party is split in Nov. because this can be overturned easily in Florida. Michigan is different Obama's name wasn't there so they should be split 50/50. Hillary should get all Florida's delegates as people voted for whom they wanted with their names on the ticket.

    May 21, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. Mary

    Can't help put pipe in again....I really think that she has lost her mind...she had all of the chances over the past week to leave in a graceful and respectful fashion...and instead she is tilting at windmills...she is making a joke of herself and her she will have a hard time being elected dogcatcher going forward. I am actually starting to feel sorry for her, she is obviously delusional.

    May 21, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. Francis in Philly

    Even if they had a re-vote, Michigan would be split 50/50, if not in Obama's favor since it's right next to Illinois. And all the people who voted Edwards in Florida would vote for Obama, making it again, split even. It would get her nowhere, though Obama would probably get the delegates he needs to get the nomination and leave her looking liek a fool.

    May 21, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. BC girl

    Hillary, you contradict yourself so much it's disgusting. Lying about dodging sniper fire is Bosnia. When Florida and Michigan violated the rules, you voted that they should not be counted, and once the votes came in your favor, now you wanted them counted? It's no wonder non-college educated people go for you, they don't bother taking time to separtate the fact from fiction. Not only that, many of them vote for you because you're white or an annoying stubborn feminist that will vote for someone solely on the fact that you're a woman, even if your integrity is questionable and you play dirty politics. As a woman, integrity is WAY more important.

    May 21, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. Shelby


    And to all you Hillary supports screaming that Obama blocked the recount, think about it, if the situation was reversed do you think Hillary would be fighting this hard for those votes to count? NO! When she thought she was shoe-in she signed the agreement.

    May 21, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. Christine

    She's making a fool out of herself. I'd actually like to see the remainder of the candidates who signed the DNC paperwork that they agreed not to participate in Florida and Michigan come forward and say something about this. Unfortunately, there is a constant myth that Hillary is perpetuating about seating Florida and Michigan as is and it will come back on her in the long run.

    She needs to allow the rules committee to look at all scenarios before making a complete decision. Ultimately, trying to cheat your way through a nomination is no different than athletes using performance-enhancing drugs to up their game.

    Time to give it up Hillary and start acting like a real woman and not a victim of the system, you signed the paperwork, you agreed to the rules set before the party and you just don't like the results – TOO BAD, SO SAD.

    May 21, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. Jeanne, San Diego

    The 2000 election is unrelated to the current problem the DNC faces with the votes from Florida & Michigan. Florida & Michigan violated the rules, rules which Clinton agreed to until it became a disadvantage for her. I am the first to agree that voters shouldn't be disenfranchised but Florida & Michigan do need to be penalized in some way and if you're not going to follow the rules, why have them. The DNC needs to find a way to penalize Florida & Michigan without disenfranchising the voters. The end result will probably not benefit Clinton in the way that she wants and depending on what she does, it could divide the party resulting in a lost election the Democrats should have easily won. She might want to consider how voters will view her if we end up with another 4 years of Bush policies. If she wants any future in politics, she should consider that very seriously.

    May 21, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. E. R. Jordan

    I personally think Senator Clinton suffers from the "Scarlet O'Hara"

    May 21, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Margaret

    Notice how Sen. Clinton's revisionist math doesn't include the pledged delegates from the CAUCUSES, because then she couldn't catch Obama. She protects the enfranchisement of voters only if and when it serves her purpose.

    May 21, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Mat

    What I don't understand and never will, are Hillary supporters who just say "GO get them Hillary" and "All the way to Denver"

    Didn't she sign an agreement saying that FL and MI woulnd't count? Isn't it the DNC RULES that if a state changes it primary date they can be discounted? So now, why is it so noble of her to be demanding their votes count – Just tell me why the rules should be changed? Why – Seriously, I want to hear from an educated Hillary supporter!

    May 21, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. R.I.F.

    So let me get this straight. She never ever cared about MI & FL until she was behind, and she agreed that the votes would not count but now she wants them to count in full? Even the RNC cut their delegates in half in Fl & MI and sources say that's probably what the DNC is going to do here. We can't set rules and then break them just because one person doesn't like them.

    On top of that, now only the states that voted after the end of February really matter? What's the next metric? Only states that have less than five natural lakes matter?

    May 21, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. russell

    didn't she and her staff agreed to not count those state's . it's in writing.
    so why is she trying to change the game that she agreed to in the begining of this election , this is not the person that I would want to run tis country , because she sounds like a sore loser .

    May 21, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  19. Jen-Louise

    Here we go again. Would Hillary be making these arguments if the roles were reversed? Obama did not make these rules he only followed them and now according to Hillary we should re write the entire democratic nomination process so that the out come favors hers??
    I admire your tenacity and unlike may Obama supporters I think you should continue your race. You have made my candidate a better competitor. the Clinton brand is essential to the democratic party. However there comes a time when the race must come to an end and that is not the time when the rules should be re written.
    Already many of your supporters are preparing to gift this election to John mcain in what they term as an act of solidarity among women. How giving the race to another man over a democratic man proves that point escapes me this is fact.
    Remember we are all emotional right now but in 2 or three years we will be dealing with the end result of that anger. Senator please see this and act now. Bring the party together like you keep promising you will. because as you said words are just words.

    May 21, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  20. NO-BAMA

    Thank you Senator Clinton

    I'm just so ASHAMED of the Democratic Party.

    I am considering leaving the party...

    ...I mean, we might as well be Republicans....What kind of ridiculous system gives ,MORE delegates to the person with LESS votes (i.e. Nevada, etc.)


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

    I just wanna know why she agreed to it in the first place, if she givesa "care" about it now?
    She needs it that's all.

    May 21, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. modellsx

    Never let it be said that Hillary '08 has let the truth get in the way of a good story.

    You lost! Get over it!

    May 21, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. KK

    This is really ridiculous! Hillary has got to stop and think about what she is saying and what she is doing to the party. Moving up the primary dates was ILLEGAL; thus the votes are "fruit of the poisonous tree." You cannot have it both ways. Because Hillary agreed that the votes were ILLEGAL (i.e. she signed the pledge and did not campaign, thereby indicating her agreement regarding same) she cannot, by way of default, interject a wayward approach intot he rules and attempt tp sabotage the Democratic process. Sorry Hill...this is unethical and beneath the Democratic party..

    May 21, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. MJAMES

    All Hillary wants at this point is to make sure she damages Obama as much as possible so he will lose and she can run in 2012. It's not that hard to figure out so WHERE ARE THE SUPER DELEGATES??? END THIS NONSENSE AND SUPPORT OBAMA!

    May 21, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. Not 4 Clinton ANYMORE!

    "We believe that the popular vote is the truest expression of your will", she says NOW, but didn't give a flying fig about them 4 months ago when she admitted that their votes didn't matter, since she signed the agreement to punish the states for breaking party rules!

    What about ALL of the voters in the "obedient", rule abiding 48 states?

    Furthermore, should she be allowed to cheat & steal the Dem. nomination, is the MSM going to START asking her why she can't win the Black voters who put Bubba in the WH TWICE? Or, How can she "balance the budget" when she ran her own campaign so deep in the hole? Or, Is SHE going to repair the racial, wage-economic, & gender wedges that SHE created just so she could STEAL the nomination from the Candidate who legitimately bested her in popular votes, states won, pledged delelgates, SUPER delelgates, with a VASTLY broader demographic voter base? OR, Why did she forgive John McCain for insulting her Daughter so badly in 1998? Or, Why is she giving Karl Rove so much credit in her campaign speeches?

    Hold Hillary Clinton accountable for her actions, CNN!!! Stop pushing her onto the "voters" as YOUR candidate for president OR vice president! Start reporting ALL of the facts to inform the public as to the TRUTH, CNN!!! You really need to tame down your bias toward Clinton and contributing to her sabotaging the Democratic Party, Barack Obama, & 100s of MILLIONS of us who need legitimate CHANGE in our lives!!!

    May 21, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8