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. Not sleeping at the switch

    Hillarys own supporters PROVE she is a completely incompetent leader. She herself SAID THREE TIMES YES that Obama can beat McCain but read in this thread alone how many of her followers practice the same refusal to listen to ANYONE above their own NEEDS and AMBITIONS!

    Didn't we just go through 7 1/2 years of that??

    May 27, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. tim

    with respect for the rights of the voters, and in regard to the rules laid forth by the DNC, I believe that the third option, to seat 50% of delegates, is an option that they should accept for Florida. as for Michigan, considering Obama was not on the ballot, they could seat 25% unless the state, not the people but the actual delegates/senetors/whatever, somwhow funded a re-election, then they have 50% seated. to me, this seems like a perfectly reasonable course of action.

    if we did something like this at the beginning, it might have even prevented the issue from exploding like it has today.

    May 27, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. Steve

    "Please move the goal posts.
    And if that doesn't help Hillary, please write her into the General Election ballot if she does not win the Dem nomination. I know I don't want John McCain to be the next president, and I am positive Obama does not have the chops to do the job right.
    Go Hillary! Make a touchdown!"


    And if she still doesn't win, tell McCain the wrong date for the inauguration and have Hillary show up instead and move right in. I have never seen such sucking up to a candidate who is losing but won't admit defeat. All I hear is about how she is getting no respect, yet from where I sit, they are making up opportunities to overcome having run a poor campaign and being highly disliked by many.

    You can bet that no matter which of the 3 "movements" are agreed upon, it won't be fair to poor Hillary and she will go on the offensive. Oprion four would work however – give her ALL the Michigan votes and 50% of Florida, then have all the superdelegat4es go back to "undeclared" and pick again based on her "electability" argument.. And again until she has the requisites number to win. That's the only fair thing in her mind. Why have primaries?

    May 27, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. Deb, IN

    If Hillary is not nominee then the Democrats should just concede to John McCain right now and save their money for 2012! Because they don't have a chance in hell with Obama.

    May 27, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. Kiah

    More than likely they will, but when you're dealing with childish behavior you have to APPEASE those who refuse to reason. So they'll likely get MI & FL delegates seated to show HRC she STILL can't win, then they let them whine over popular vote and figure out another way to pacify the "experienced ones" and hopefully after that they'll go away...

    May 27, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  6. Tired of all the flap!

    Wolf, the goalposts could be moved this weekend, of course, giving Barack Obama or near the number he needs to finish this race. My question is would Hillary Clinton been so dedicated and disobeying the rules if she was the front-runner? I don't think so, this race would have been over. I do not believe that the law of the land does not count but it seems that the U.S. has changed its policy. The DNC knows that Barack Obama has won this race and if he does not get the nomination, a WHOLE lot of people won't be voting for Hillary Clinton.

    May 27, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  7. D-CA

    Math is Math.

    The problem is that Clinton and the media have pushed and pushed and have made the process negative as far as I'm concerned. Each have incited furror that will result in Sen. Obama as the nominee to be blackmailed into have Clinton as a running mate. Each will forgive Sen. Obama only going against the message of hope that he's been preaching and encouraging people to turn the page on Washington, while yet condemning him.

    May 27, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  8. Lindsay

    If they move the goal posts they are just going to give Clinton more reasons to stay in a fight that she can't win. If she somehow wins the nomination over Obama, there will be a giant crack down the middle of the Democratic party that will be incredibly hard to repair. Hillary needs to focus on stepping down with a little dignity. She needs to think of someone other than herself...

    "A wise man fights to win, but he is twice a fool who has no plan for possible defeat."
    -Louis L'Amour

    May 27, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  9. weary of people in denial

    Regardless of whether the goal post is moved to 2010 or 2026, Sen. Clinton will not gain enough DELEGATES to beat out Sen. Obama. Since, she will not have enough DELEGATES, her campaign is now crying that she leads in the Popular Votes. I guess they want to include Florida and Michigan, but eliminate the Caucasuses.

    May 27, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. Tony

    If they move the goal post, neither one will win. It is just that simple. Moving the post will make it impossible for either candidate to reach it. If this happens the one candidate who is nearest to it will be the nominee.

    May 27, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  11. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Obama wants to talk to the leaders of Iran, Cuba, North Korea and Hamas, and solve all our problems with diplomacy. So how about a demo of diplomatic skills by sitting down withand talking to Hillary and working out FL and MI? If he can't solve this problem in his own party, he hasn't got a prayer to solve the issues with our enemies.

    May 27, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. great

    If we are serious about winning in November count the votes, if the DNC wants to loose the Whitehouse just continue this path of destruction...I am so tired of the Obama supporters claiming “THE RULES”

    Obama knew upfront he had no chance in Florida and Michigan and he has tried everything to prevent these two states from counting… It’s just fine by me and many others. He does not want my vote and he will not get it. NO Whitehouse Barrack….

    By winning the candidacy is such a disgraceful way will guarantee a sure loose in November.

    May 27, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Scott

    I am an Obama supporter, and despite the rule precedent Florida and Michigan violated, feel those citizens SHOULD have their votes counted. That being said, there should be a REVOTE, so that all citizens who did not vote because they thought their vote would not count, can also be heard.

    Then, let the chips fall where they may. Both candidates should accept the result and move on, and back the other against the McCain.

    Hillary and Obama supporters alike cry for fairness…let’s be fair and let FL and MI voices be FULLY heard.

    Democracy should rule.

    It is SAD seeing the posts here from either side saying they will not vote, or vote for McCain before supporting the other Democratic candidate. Shame on you all.

    I ABSOLUTELY will vote for Hillary should she get the nomination (despite my reservations), before I can in good conscience vote for more war, environmental blindness, and tax breaks for the rich.

    Dems 08

    May 27, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  14. Chi4Obama

    If the DNC arbitrarily decides to "move the goal posts" in Clinton's favor; and she ends up as the Democratic nominee.....This will set a horrible precedent for future elections. Evidently, rules must not matter unless they work in the Clintons' favor. Trust me, if she somehow ends up as the nominee, there will be ARMAGEDON within the Democractic party. ARMAGEDON...

    May 27, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  15. Carl

    Honestly, who cares at this point. We all know who the nominee will be. The fact that the Republican representatives of MI and FL moved up the primaries and the DNC acted correctly, won't affect anything in the long run aside from angry citizens, though they are angry at the wrong people.

    The sooner this is settled the better or else McCain will be sitting in the White house before anyone realizes it.

    May 27, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. Kelvin

    Why are the delegates being divided between Hillary and Obama, they agreed to the rules! This is obviously not fair to the other candidates that also agreed with the rules (Edwards, Richardson,...) If they are going to change the rules once more then they should be divided among all the candidates that ran in 2008!!!

    Obama 08'

    May 27, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  17. Cesar Chavez - si se puede

    Wolf – No scenerio is elegant. The only ethical thing to do is split 50/50 or 50/50 at half voting strength. Hillary AND Bill need to come out of this saying whatever they want about changing the rules in the future, but ACCEPTING the ruling and begin the process of unifying the Party. There is a HUGE difference between what has transpired here and what happened to Gore v. Bush. If she continues to conflate the two, it will reflect on the direction of her ultimate legacy to the Democratic Party.

    May 27, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. TKD

    It would be appalling for the DNC to change the rules after the game has been played. And if a change in rules were to change the outcome of the presidential nomination, it would be a disaster of gigantic proportions. FL and MI should be allowed to attend the convention - but not via any formula that validates the results of the non-compliant primary for the purposes of determining the presidential nominee.

    May 27, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  19. Wen

    Wolf Blitzer have you become disillusioned also? How can you ask such a question? Are you working for Hillarious fantasy camp? Be really ready for a rude shock!

    No way! No way!! No way!!!

    Hillary is planning what to do next, and you are here asking a funny question. She likes drinking beer and taking shots of the hot stuff, and getting attention. That's really why she is still in the race. But she knows it is over. You mean you believe what she says.

    I didn't know you can be that dumb!!! Wake up Wolf!!!

    May 27, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  20. Robert in Toronto,ON

    Even if the DNC moves the goal posts, the superdelegates will be ready to side with Obama and end the tarnished legacy of the Clintons.

    May 27, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  21. Charles

    The problem the rules committee has is if you don't punish Mi & Fl. in some form what will you do when other states want to change there primary dates. What do you do when West Virginia decides they want to part of Super Tuesday. I think the best solution is seat the entire delegation but split the delegates 50/50.

    May 27, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  22. Steve

    You're really stirring the pot, Wolf! I love it. However, the question should be how far will the goalposts be moved? Seating half the delegates is the obvious compromise I believe the DNC will make and 2118 will be the new number of required delegates. However, we don't know for sure. If the DNC shuts out Florida and Michigan completely the issue may end up in the Supreme Court. If the DNC seats 100 % of the delegates we may see legal action by the Obama campaign. Either way, the Democratic Party has a serious problem. I think this one's going to the convention floor.

    What say you?

    May 27, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  23. PK

    Ann is right.
    cherrystrawberry is what a typical obamaite is all about, calls names, call anyone not supporting obama a racist. The most hysterical thing is all the outpouring of love for my senior senator, who held the nastiest floor fight I've ever seen against Carter in 1980. Damaged the party and the nominee, helped the reagan landslide, wouldn't give up till the bitter end.
    and no, i am not a hillary supporter, never voted for her, but might write her in if she is not the nominee and/or runs as an independant. Why would I support Obama? Listened to Wright for 20 years, only when his ministers comments were exposed to the light of day did he reject them, best of buddies up to then. Voted "present" in IL leg when anything of import came up. Real leadership there. Reads a nice speech, just another empty suit.

    May 27, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  24. boered1

    A SIMPLE solution is this
    You want the votes to count from those who cheated in Fl and MI fine I say let them count but I think limiting the delegates to only half is the wrong answer. I think you REMOVE ALL SUPERDELEGATES from these two states. these people are supposedly the leaders and they screwed this up why should they get a vote that counts when they dienfrancised half the voters who followed the rules! Now give each of the cheating states say 5 delegates each. The split the delegates based on the average delegates recieved by each candidate AT THE TIME WHEN THE VOTES SHOULD HAVE BEEN HELD. Now ythe votes count, as they would have during the primary, and the total effect on the outcome of the delegates will be negligible. The delegaatres are seated albeit less thgan would ahve been if the citizens that are all up in arms NOW had BOTHERED to do something when they ahd a chance. and best of all I can stop hearing from the Clinton News Network how the Democratic party has somehow disenfrancised the voters who did not follow the rules!

    May 27, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  25. cb

    Everyone keeps talking about "playing by the rules" as if this is a sports contest or something. They talk about "punishing Florida and Michigan" as if they are sports teams who tried to cheat.

    This is about the voters in these states, the "goal(post)" being to put forth the candidate that most voters and superdelegates want.

    The problem is we are now stuck in a situation we can't get out of. It's simplistic to say "just stick with the rules" as if that makes the problem go away. Yes it's a problem to change the rules now, and yes it's a problem to stick with them as well. As usual, the Democrats (and I am one) are a well-meaning but disorganized lot.

    May 27, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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