May 27th, 2008
01:13 PM ET
12 years ago

Blitzer: Could the DNC move the goalposts this weekend?

Blitzer: Could the magic number shift this weekend?

Blitzer: Could the magic number shift this weekend?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - The Democratic National Committee’s Rules Committee meets in Washington on Saturday and may decide to move the goalposts.

At issue: what to do about those Michigan and Florida pledged and super delegates. Right now, they don’t count in the presidential selection process because those two states moved up their primaries against DNC rules.

The current goalposts, as a result, stands at 2,026 – the number of delegates needed to clinch the presidential nomination. Without Michigan and Florida, there would be a total of 4,050 delegates at the Denver convention representing the other 48 states, the U.S. territories, and Americans living abroad.

The DNC Rules Committee could decide to reverse itself and seat the Michigan and Florida delegations despite their primary violations. That would move the goalposts to 2,210 – the new number of delegates needed to clinch the nomination. If the committee did that, there would be a total of 4,418 delegates at the convention.

There is a third option that is being discussed right now: the so-called Republican option. It would seat the Florida and Michigan delegates at the convention, but only at half-strength. This proposal would punish both states but still seat half of their delegates – as the Republicans did. That, in turn, would move the goalposts to 2,118 – the number needed under this scenario to clinch the nomination. Under this third option, there would be 4,234 delegates at the convention.

In other words, we could see the goalposts move this weekend. But here’s the question – would moving these goalposts really make much of a difference in the nominating process given Barack Obama’s current lead over Hillary Clinton and the party’s proportionate distribution of delegates under all the scenarios?

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (272 Responses)
  1. David of Southern California

    Moving the goalpost would NOT really make much of a difference in the nominating process given Senator Obama’s current lead over Senator Clinton. What it would really say it that we have RULES and RULES are made to be broken because our hands were forced or because we were too weak to enforce them. Next time let us learn from this... there need to be a better arrangement or Spacing of Primary Day of Elections – perhaps we should vote by region (every other month starting in the Northeast and ending in the West then in the next Presidential Primary the Regional Elections goes from Western States towards the East, etc...) That way it won't be drawn out and each State would know when they are going to vote.. No More Make 'em or Break 'em Primary States but a fare balanceed election...

    May 27, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. Le Troubadour

    Leave it up to Wolf to come up with the most ridiculous ideas. Did Hillary promise you the press secretary position?

    May 27, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. Gabriel

    The goal posts will move because without Florida and Michigan as blue states in November; we will be swearing in John McCain as the next president of the United States.

    I say "fight on Hillary" and if Obama supporters don't like it then I'll happily vote for McCain in the general election. One way or another, the Democratic nominee will need all Democrats in their corner especially with an Independent candidate like Ralph Nader taking some votes from the eventual nominee.

    May 27, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  4. wonder

    this is one of the closest races I've ever witnessed and people keep jumping to conclusions. Let it finish out. The superdelgates will determine who will be the nominee, neither can do it on delegates alone. Funny how in the beginning, Obama's team said that the supers shouldn't say how the race goes, but now that they've pressured enough of them to vote early, it's adifferent story. All supers should wait until the last ballot is cast before they vote. And it should go to the convention, THAT IS WHAT IT IS SUPPOSE TO BE FOR. I'M VOTING FOR EXPERIENCE, NOT PARTY.

    May 27, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. Raj, Toronto

    Hillary is moving the posts, they will enforce the rules by

    reducing the delegates in half
    giving half the vote based on the results and the other half on polls or equal amounts
    giving Hillary a slight victory

    any of these changes still equal Obama wins

    even if you go by her standards

    May 27, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. Don in Florida

    It would give Hillary a slight advantage from both primaries, but not the result she wants such as counting them as voted which would be unfair to Obama who played by the rules. After this is done Clinton should not complain when Obama crosses that threshold and wins the nomination. I would also like to ask that Obama Nation please be graceful winners because we will need Clinton Nation on our side to beat McCain Nation. Let's not let fake Republican bloggers try to divide us. Look what happened with 8 years of Republican rule. We can't afford that to happen again.

    May 27, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. tj

    The DNC better move the goal post if they want to win the general election in Nov. FL and MI vote better count or those vote will go to McCain.

    May 27, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. Cali Dem

    Rules are rules. Florida and Michigan knew perfectly they did not follow the rules and their votes would not be counted. You can't change the rules, even the Clinton trick-manipulators.

    May 27, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  9. Concerned


    You are such a whinner-just like the campaign you're supporting. Give it up DARLING

    May 27, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. MD

    Whatever they do, it's difficult to imagine them creating a situation where these states would be the deciding factor in the election, with the results as tainted as they are.

    With that in mind, you have to think that the only way Obama will not be the candidate is if the superdelegates choose Clinton over him. That's possible, but doesn't seem to be in the cards.

    May 27, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. sheepl

    Wow i read CLINTON supporters and am glad they dont go to the grade school i work at ..the children there know math ,,have more common sense..There problem is they feal shes intitled to the position .. But guess what we live in a democracy ,not in cuba ..where your logic belongs.. The state i live in wa. when you state she has the popular vote leaves out my state and the other caucus states ..Guess what we had a caucus and a popular vote... your worried every VOTE WILL COUNT ,,BUTTTTTTTTT mine and several others ,,but florida and michigan yes every vote there will count ,,you claim you want fairness when all you really want is what fits into YOUR AGENDA ..PLEASE explain to me why MY vote shouldnt count and my states vote shouldnt count???I f what you say is true ..Why in the nam,e of politics can people lie and its ok ..Everytime CLINTON says i have the popular vote its a lie..right now my vote COUNTS ,its a lie when you say otherwise..

    May 27, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  12. JD

    This disgusts me. If they actually change the rules that were agreed upon BEFORE the primaries were done in Michigan and Florida, I will, on principle, NOT vote Democrat.

    I want to see Michigan and Florida seated just as much as the next guy, but I also want the DNC to abide by its own rules.

    May 27, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  13. Ben

    No! this is why the supreme court would not accept Gore's idea of a new recount in FL in 2000. Regardless of the result, you can not chnage the rules while the game is being played. Seat the Florida and Mchigan delegates, but do not let them count in the race AS AGREED TO BY ALL PARTICIPANTS before the race started.

    Anyone who has played sports or even played a board game knows that sometimes unexpected things happen: there is a bad call by the ref or some unique situaion arises. However you NEVER chnages the rules during the game. LIfe is not perfect; human beings are not perfect; human institutions also are not perfect. Change the rules for next time but DO NOT allow the Clintons to change the rules to suit them.....not even if it has to go to the Supreme court again. Obama should understand this is his FIRST test of determination.

    May 27, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  14. Kate

    and that's when the civil war begun ....

    May 27, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  15. Canadian not far from the usa border

    It is getting very scary to live close to a country where the democratic system is so fragile and where the non respect of the rules can happen at any time and even endorsed by people running for the presidential... and you want to restore the moral authority in the world? please people, try to work at becoming a better example before talking about moral authority in the world!!!

    May 27, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  16. Tony

    Because Obama’s name was not on the MI ballot it was an unfair election. Either you re-hold an election in MI with his name on the ballot or it remains unfair indefinitely. I think if his name were on the ballot the results would have been different. Perhaps he would have won the state. As for FL, his name was on the ballot and even though they did not campaign there it was still fair. The people still had two real choices. So with that the delegates should be awarded as they stand in FL. 55% for Clinton and 45% for Obama. But in MI we must get a revote, or it will never be fair.

    May 27, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  17. Bill

    The poor democratic party is riddled with holes from the Clintons. They're like a modern day, politically based Bonnie and Clyde. It may never be the same now that the Clintons have ruined it for all of us.

    May 27, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. Jim, Illinois

    Hillary is being cheated! Remember we only care about the big states like Florida and NY. Caucus states don't matter or the Clinton's would have campaigned harder in those states. We don't need to count those deligates and we don't care about the popular votes in those states either becuase that would make Hillary look worse in the popular vote scheme 🙂

    May 27, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  19. s

    Seat them all and split them 50/50, that would be fair, but I am sure Clinton will complain. Just another cover up right?

    May 27, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  20. Xavier, St. Louis, MO


    The DNC should leave the goalpost/rules as is. You don't wait unit the fourth quarter with a minutes left on the clock to change the rules. You play the game with the rules agreed to, before the game starts.

    Hillary and her faithful Clintonites created this fiasco, because she has lost. If she was so concerned about people having "the right to veto", she should have stated this before this race started and not agreed to the rules. Howard Dean needs to man-up and tell Hillary "NO, we are going to follow the rules we agree to before the race stated!"

    What the use of having rules if you are not going to follow them?

    May 27, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  21. Joe

    DNC, you will lose all credibility if you change the rules just because it doesn't benefit a sore loser.

    It would be like a team that missed the playoffs by one win demand to have the pre-season games they want count in their favor.

    True democrats will rejoice everywhere when Hillary is finally out of the race.

    May 27, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  22. brad

    Absolutely disturbing. Yes, I am for Obama. But would easily just be for Clinton should she have been ahead. (McCain is too much on the other side of the policy for my taste). FL and MI had their warning. They been given plenty of time to get back in line but went ahead and did it anyway. Don't blame Obama, Dean. Blame your state's party. They goofed. Don't even blame Clinton. Blame her however, for breaking the rules and creating this current division. If somehow she would to get the nomination. Yes, I would still vote for her but but in a very somber mood. It would spell disaster for all those new people who got involved. The people you say never would. Here is the chance to celebrate that by letting Obama go on to the general. Could be the best thing that ever happened.

    May 27, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. Charlotte

    Let Hillary get what she wants, and let all the superdelegates support Obama. Justice served. Everyone goes home happy. NOT! Hillary blames the DNC for conspiracy and creates a riot in the democratic party. That's is what she wants anyway . the ex-republican.

    May 27, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. Realistic

    It won't matter, the Democratic Party leaders and superdelegates are determined to make Obama the next loser for the Presidential race. I think the November election will be the worst Democratic loss to date.

    The primary process is seriously flawed with candidates winning more delegates despite having won the popular vote. This added to the ridiculous caucus elections has made the weaker, less qualified candidate our next Democratic candidate.

    The Democrats, as usual, are snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.

    May 27, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  25. Tracie

    Allowing Michigan and Florida votes to count is totally unfair. If they are allowed to be counted then why have rules at all? They knew the consequences and went ahead anyway. Hillary Clinton going on and on about them counting is really getting on my nerves. Obama wasn't even on the ticket in Michigan! If it were the other way around she would be the first to protest those votes. I read a story a few weeks ago that said to the effect if Hillary Clinton got out of the race early she would not be paid back for her personal contributions to her campaign. I think that has something to do with her still running. Being new to the millionaire scene, $11 million would hurt them tremendously. (Remember when they were begging for help with lawyer fees in the White House?)

    May 27, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
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