May 31st, 2008
03:15 PM ET
12 years ago

Crowd growing rowdy as Michigan presents case

The DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting was heated at times.

The DNC's Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting was heated at times.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Representatives for the Clinton and Obama campaigns squared off over the Michigan delegate dilemma Saturday in front of an increasingly rowdy crowd on hand for the Rules and Bylaws Committee meeting.

David Bonior laid out the Obama campaign's view: Michigan delegates should be counted - but only in a way that doesn't count. The Illinois senator's campaign has called for delegates to be divided evenly with half going to him and half to Hillary Clinton, who won the unsanctioned January 15 contest.

"Due to all these circumstances, the unfortunate reality is that this primary that happened on January 15 was not anything that came close to a normal primary election, and cannot allocate delegates in a normal fashion as a result," the former Michigan congressman said.

"This does not mean that Michigan should be not represented at the national convention - it does mean that the delegates should be split evenly between the two remaining candidates, out of simple fairness," said Bonior, who pointed to Clinton's statement in a fall 2007 interview that the vote in Michigan would not count.

Both candidates might be nearly in agreement on a Florida compromise but remain far apart on the Michigan contest. Former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard presented the Clinton campaign's view: the RBC may have treated the Michigan primary as if it would not count but nobody else had, including the media and the state's voters.

Delegates, Blanchard said, should be divided based on the result of that vote.

The fact that Obama's name did not appear on the Michigan ballot did not make the primary less legitimate, Blanchard argued.

"It doesn't make the election flawed. In my opinion, they had a flawed strategy," he said.

Several RBC members, including Donna Brazile, asked how the Michigan contest could be viewed as legitimate when many voters stayed home because they did not believe the primary counted, and no provision was made for counting write-in ballots any way other than "uncommitted."

"My momma taught me to play by the rules and respect those rules," said Brazile, who also serves as a CNN political analyst. "My mother taught me - and I'm sure your mother taught you - that when you decide to change the rules - middle of the game, end of the game - that is referred to as cheating."

Blanchard replied: "Hillary Clinton did play by the rules. She even went along with the pledge not to campaign there," and she - and her supporters - should not be penalized by any agreement that would diminish the value of her vote in any way.

With Washington under a tornado watch, a storm seemed to gather in the ballroom where the committee was meeting, too, as a crowd that won't be allowed to comment on the day's proceedings increasingly weighed in with cheers and boos after five hours of uninterrupted dialogue.

Filed under: DNC • Michigan
soundoff (18 Responses)
  1. Winner


    May 31, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. Georgia

    55% of the voters cast their vote for Hillary. She should get no less than that. There is nothing arbitrary about that number. Just because voters cast votes for uncommitted , it means just that – they were uncommitted. Many of those Uncommitted voters could be Hillary supportes at this point. Much has been brought to light about Obama since then. Obama opposed a revote – therefore he should get nothing.

    May 31, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  3. Change Express , Kissimmee, FL

    WOW !

    Obama 08'/12' ( The true caandidate that believes in fairness)

    May 31, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. The Truth

    Unless there is a revote that includes all legitimate candidates on the ballot, seating Michigan delegates for anyone would be a sham. The only fair thing is to abide by the original rules which stipulated that Michigans votes would not count if they did not follow DNC guidelines for holding elections. All the candidates aggreed to this at the beginning of the process.

    As for Florida the same should apply. And Its not clear that the Clintons' fund raising trip to Florida the evening before their primary was not a veiled campaign trip.

    As I see it Mrs. Clinton cannot accuse anyone as being unfair to her. It appears she is playing the role of a sore loser.

    May 31, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  5. John, OH

    I'm behind the 69-59 plan at this point.

    May 31, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. James

    "the RBC may have treated the Michigan primary as if it would not count but nobody else had, including the media and the state's voters." That's their fault for not paying attention to the rules.

    May 31, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. Simone

    I truly wish the DNC would throw this out. The rules were broken, so hang it up. This waste of time is because of Clinton wanting the nomination. There is no way to settle this. PLEASE END THIS MESS.

    May 31, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  8. George James

    Punishment for following the rules?The argument putforth by the Clinton supporters cannot make sense to any sane person.

    May 31, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  9. enomisa

    You all screwed Hillary Clinton and you will pay the price in Nov.

    May 31, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  10. K.L. Sullivan


    May 31, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  11. lifelongs for Hill

    DNC, go ahead trash Clinton some more and advantage Obama some more. Install Obama as the nominee. Then lose the lifelong Dems in Nov.

    May 31, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  12. Dave in Maryland

    Rules are rules. Play it fair and no cheating. DNC keep it legitimate and stick to your rules. It is what it is!

    May 31, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  13. Brian

    If Clinton supporters say not giving them delegates is disenfranchising the voters they seem to have no problems with giving Obama zero delegates in Michigan!

    May 31, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  14. Willy

    This is going to be good. After all the whining the democrats did in 2000 about counting all votes they are going to show their true colors and disenfranchise voters again and like they do every election but this time they can’t use the old play book blame it on a "Vast right-wing conspiracy". Go ahead make my day!

    May 31, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  15. Linda

    Donna Brazile is correct. It will never be fair. Ignoring the rules will cause more problems in the future.

    May 31, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  16. Ken in Western NY

    Hillary Clinton doesn't play by the rules. If she did, she would not be insisting that Michigan's delegates get seated at the Democratic National Convention in August. She was the only major candidate who didn't remove her name from the ballot. Why didn't she remove her name like Obama and Edwards did? Because she doesn't play be the rules. She keeps moving those goalposts. And as far as Florida goes, many of the voters didn't bother to go out an vote in the primary because they didn't believe that their vote was going to count for anything. So to say she won 50% of the vote in Florida is basically stupid. It wasn't a fair primary. They really should do a re-vote, if you ask me.

    May 31, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  17. John

    It's really beyond belief that Hilary Clinton not only seeks to gain delegates by breaking the rules, but also to deprive Barack Obama of delegates for playing by them. I'm sorry that I used to like her.

    May 31, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  18. ForBetterWorld

    DNC, make sure this won't repeat in the history !! DNC just favoring one candidate by allowing this drama ... Why can't other super deligates speak about playing by the rules .. now everyone can raise some issue to have rules changed in their favor ...

    May 31, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |