Dems acting like GOP toward Florida, Michigan – Bill Clinton

May 20, 2008

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky – Democrats are acting more like Republicans by not counting the results of the Florida and Michigan primaries and by not seating those states’ party delegates, former President Bill Clinton said on Tuesday.cafe.jpg

“The Republicans are supposed to be the people that don’t count votes in Florida, not Democrats,” said Clinton, campaigning with his wife Sen. Hillary Clinton at Lynn’s Paradise Cafe, where she chatted with voters and he held an impromptu news conference.

The January votes in Michigan and Florida were deemed invalid by the national Democratic Party because both states moved their election dates forward in defiance of party rules.

“The Democrats said, ‘We’re going to decapitate them, smudge them, step on them, act like they never existed, act like they never voted,’” the former president said. “It’s very strange that the Democrats would be more authoritarian and more hostile to the voters.

Many Democrats, like Clinton apparently, believe the 2000 election recount in Florida unfairly favored the Republican Party. The dispute was resolved by the Supreme Court, giving Republican George W. Bush the victory and Democrat Al Gore the loss.

Hillary Clinton won Michigan’s Jan. 15 primary, which did not include Obama’s name on the ballot. She also won Florida and  is seeking to have the votes counted and the more than 350 delegates reinstated. The party’s rules committee meets next week in an effort to resolve the dispute.

Republicans were less harsh toward states that moved their contests early and stripped them of just half their delegates.

“Do the right and decent thing by Florida and Michigan. Don’t let the Republicans look more enlightened than us, which they do today. It’s unbelievable. I  never thought I’d see that,” Bill Clinton said.

Click here for more Reuters 2008 campaign coverage.

Photo: Reuters/John Sommers II (Hillary and Bill Clinton campaigning in Louisville)

39 comments

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Sadly, rules were set and rules were not followed. When is enough enough and when do party rules actually mean anything? The states should have followed party rules. However, there are TONS of innocent people effected by this that had no say in what happened with the rules. If they really want to count the votes, then rerun the elections and allow the candidates to fairly represent themselves.HOWEVER, if the shoe was on the other foot, Bill Clinton would not give a single care about those votes.

Posted by Randy | Report as abusive

EXACTLY! … why wasn’t there a revote in FL and MI when there was time to do so? The reason was Barack Obama. He took his name off of the Michigan ballot and then he was the one who wouldn’t consent to a revote even when it was being paid for. So OBAMA is the one who is as responsible for the voters in those two states from being included in these 50 UNITED STATES of AMERICA. How in the world can he now ask for their votes in the general election. He doesn’t have a chance! He will reap the consequences of his inactions. That’s a lesson one should’ve learned in adolescence. Obama’s appeal is too narrow, and he’s not attracting the types of voters it will take to win against John McCain. Sad to see what this man’s arrogance has done to this country. Obama – a BIG mistake!

Posted by jon | Report as abusive

Randy–Couldn’t agree with you more. The Clinton campaign wanted the MI and FL elections rerun, and suggested funding by the Clinton and Obama campaigns to support it (since the national democratic party and the state said they wouldn’t pay for it). Obama didn’t want these votes counted, and so refused. This is one of the most embarrassing examples of a candidate stealing an election in the history of the country–Since its BOTH FL and MI involved this time, I would argue that its much worse than Bush’s theft of the White House from Al Gore in 2000. Sad thing is, he’s stealing the nomination and can’t win the election. Polls show that, if its Obama v. McCain in the general election, Obama won’t even win Massachusetts, which hasn’t failed to go for a democrat since the earlier part of the last century. Its going to be a humiliating year for the democrats unless Hillary is the nominee, which now seems unlikely.

Posted by Kelly | Report as abusive

Historically only the communist countries fixed elections and now the USA seems to be doing it. The USA use to be known for holding honest elections by counting every vote.

Posted by Carl | Report as abusive

Rules is rules, by God. Party officials in a state step over the line and every voter in that state should have their vote trashed, by God. After all, why didn’t the people rise up and cry, “Rules is rules, by God!” March with pitchforks on the party officials’ committee meetings! Force the correct timetable! Serves them right, by God!

Posted by Bill | Report as abusive

These Clinton folks are still grasping for straws at the mercy of the already weak and timid Democratic Party who has sat around meek and timid to stop this non-sense. First the rules were placed and rules were rules and they knew the penalty. Interestingly Republicans had a lot of input in these date changes. Hillary said nothing then against disinfranchisement until she got more in debt, saw her inevitability was a dream and not reality and saw superdelegates seeing she was doing the party no favor. I used to have some respect for this woman but she has lost it all with many with her tactics. Race card, Sex card, Florida/Michigan card. This woman has NO LIMITS!!!

Posted by Thomas Kelton | Report as abusive

I agree with Mr. Clinton! This is an incredible situation – a democracy like the United States not counting the votes of millions of people – because of the bickering of party bosses. Mr. Obama, if he really wanted the nation’s support and not just that of the Democratic elite, would bend over backwards to make sure that everyone’s vote counts. Unfortunately, Mr. Obama is afraid to face Mrs. Clinton – in debates, in states like West Virginia and Kentucky where he barely appeared, and in Michigan and Florida. Ducking the vote is likely to backfire for Obama… as will the effort to push Hillary out of the race.Obama’s attempt in last night’s speech to appease Hillary supporters was offensive and condescending. Do the Dems really expect that we will support him, and that Hillary will shrink back and take a supportive position as VP to a would-be president whom she clearly outmatches in every way? One who is afraid to face her for votes in Michigan and Florida?

Posted by Julie | Report as abusive

After early contests did not award their candidate with an easy nomination, members of the Clinton campaign like Mr. Carville devoted a great deal of time and effort engaged in televised dramatics and hollering about holding “re-votes” in Michigan and Florida, while failing to prepare and offer detailed proposals satisfactory to both the Clinton and Obama campaigns, the states in question, and the DNC regarding how such repeat primaries would be financed, conducted, and certified within the time available.Blaming the Obama campaign for their own shortcomings is irrational, foolish, and reflects poorly on Senator Clinton. Doing so now is yet another convenient but graceless and counterproductive strategy for deflecting attention away from their own failure to perform.

Posted by Jack | Report as abusive

Carl I think your comment shows extreme ignorance. Since the beginning of time elections have been stuffed, fixed as such. It’s just the way things go. Politics is all about “doing what it takes”. Even the Greeks knew the dangers of democracy in the wrong hands, or in human hands alone. Nonetheless, I TOTALLY DISAGREE with Jon & Kelly. You either care way too much about Obama & feel he blew it or you’re flatout fat Republicans with the Democratic mask on. Obama has much more to provide for the greater good the US than either Clinton or McCain. The situations in the FL & MI primaries are sad, in that Obama couldn’t rack himself up even more delegate votes. In the longrun, I don’t think this will be of huge effect because people want change change in this country, 3 to 1

Posted by David | Report as abusive

I love out-of-staters commenting on Michigan. From someone who lives here, let me just correct some of the spin. (1) It was pro-Clinton “superdelegates” who moved the primary up against the rules, hoping to attract attention and be kingmaker. (2) It was those same pro-Clinton superdelegates who blocked holding Michigan caucuses which the DNC encouraged to resolve the dispute. (4) A large number of democrats in Michigan crossed over and voted in the Republican primary to try to prevent a McCain win, and because they didn’t want to vote for Hillary. It was the Clinton camp that would only accept a primary where those democrats were disenfranchised. (4) It was the COUNTY CLERKS in Michigan who killed the idea of a re-do primary, because they didn’t have the equipment or staff to manage another election on short notice on top of the Michigan schools elections which occur in early May. (5) All ballots that wrote-in Obama in the Michigan primary were disqualified. Still, 40% of those voting voted “uncommitted” which was really a vote for “anybody but Clinton. Guess what? The Clinton camp is now claiming HALF of those “uncommitted” delegates. I was a Clinton supporter, but I am so sick of the Clintons’ creative accounting, spin, and Republican-style manipulate the process/ignore the rules/do whatever it takes to get what you want. Michigan’s superdelegates who made this mess should NOT be allowed to vote. For the rest, either the state should be split 50-50 or the delegates should be seated as non-voting observers. Anything else really does disenfranchise a lot of Michigan Democrats.

Posted by Bob | Report as abusive

With CLEAR DEFEAT in sight, the Clinton Campaign spear-headed by Old Bill is desperate to change the rules to save their face and ego. You can imagine starting the race expecting a coronation and ending $30 million in debt and behind in all aspects of the election!This explains why they will DO ANYTHING including damaging the party in an effort to try overturn the rules in their favor as well disregard with such contempt THE 49 STATES which followed the rules as set.However, regardless of what they do, IT IS TOO LATE. The only thing they can do is to either continue damaging the party and further tarnish their historical records or follow the rules.What will not happen is expecting an easy way to a coronation. IT IS TOO LATE AND WILL NOT HAPPEN. They can continue dreaming about it, but IT WILL NOT HAPPEN.

Posted by Julius | Report as abusive

Bill’s comments are just another way to change the rules, move the goalposts, do anything to win. It is sad to see, and disappointing to see his actions as a life long Democrat that voted for him both times. There is no mandate that Hillary should be the nominee. The Democratic Party is larger than the Clintons.

Posted by Curt | Report as abusive

Well well well….we have got ourselves a mess indeed BUT it could have been fixed had Obama allowed it. It is Obama who is afraid to let the voices be heard because then he would not be in the lead. It’s all about winning for Obama, and nothing else. He didn’t even bother to show up in Kentucky. He’s a coward. And I certainly don’t want a coward for President. GO HILLARY….let the will of the people WIN!

Posted by Adrienne | Report as abusive

Reuters is the “News Services” that openly announced Chavez as the winner in Venezuela’s constitution referendum for several hours when the reality and it was officially informed that he lost.Give me a break!

Posted by Guaicaipuro | Report as abusive

Well, share the 350 delegates for Florida and Michigan equally between Clinton and Obama. Bill, will you buy this ideas!

[...] and there’s a clear winner. And what a nudnick her husband is! Only an insufferable blowhard would say the following about the Florida and Michigan [...]

AMERICA: Hillary and Bill thinks you guys are IDIOTS. They will break, bend, and eradicate rules for their benefit. Those are horrible signs.

Posted by reni | Report as abusive

The voice of the people have already voted. They don’t want Hillary. Even if they split the florida votes, he will still have a lead over 150, and if michigan is revoted, he will win michigan. What’s the point. Its not like she is going to get all the votes from michigan and florida. this is stupid. I agree, Hillary thinks you guys are idiots.

Posted by JACKEI | Report as abusive

Obama has turned out to be one of the most divisive political figures since Nixon.The candidate who said he has this great talent for unifying people, a talent that shows up nowhere in his past, has created more divisiveness in the Democratic party than any figure in history.But the issue that has caused one of the most serious divisions is the one that Obama himself has created over race.In CNN last night reporter said, that Obama comes here in Iowa, but very different from when he started here; he has managed to crush the huge Democratic Party machine, the Clintons..well it says it all, I wonder what the Republicans thinking of it..bravo BHO!!

Posted by Nancy Sabet | Report as abusive

Adriene – THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE HAS WON! WAKE UP!!!!49 STATES that followed the rules and didnt try to cut into the line have decided with such great honor!Long Live all Democrats! Let’s take on McCain – Bush!

Posted by Julius | Report as abusive

Every vote counts, lets remain Free

Posted by Roberta Luciano | Report as abusive

One last time for you peeps :Seven states moved up their primaries and only these two are being punished. Ask yourself why and look at the states and you have your answer. Seven states moved up their primaries.. WOW and only these two states are being punished. WOW .Stated it twice to let it sink in.

Posted by AC-n-NC | Report as abusive

I agree with Randy’s post completely.The idea that Michigan should be counted when Obama’s name did not appear on the ballot is ridiculous. Bill and Hilary are not worried about the voters, they are worried about themselves. Hence why they waited until after Obama won Super Tuesday to try fowl.If Bill and Hillary wanted the voters opinions to matter, they would have suggested an idea such as Randy’s. They would not have opted for the counting of primary votes where the results were sckewed. They also would not be trying to persuade Superdelegates to change their votes after Obama was in the lead.

Posted by Bridger | Report as abusive

As an Obama supporter, I hope Hillary stays in the race even though she cannot win. It will prove to everyone that she cannot admit defeat and does not like to lose graciously. Even if we did a revote of Florida and Michigan, she wouldn’t be able to come out on top except maybe in the popular vote, a vote that means absolutely nothing. Let Hillary keep on putting herself into debt, that’s fine with me! People should realize that if she cannot run her campaign, what makes her the ideal candidate for running the country? Fact is that if her last name was not Clinton, Obama would have locked this nomination up months ago.

Posted by JosephB | Report as abusive

@ AC-n-NC:In August of 2006, the Democratic National Committee adopted a proposal by its Rules and Bylaws Committee that only four states: Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina would be permitted to hold primaries or caucuses before February 5, 2008.[1]. In the spring of 2007, the Florida legislature passed by overwhelming majorities House Bill 537[2] which moved the date of the state’s primary to January 29th, a week before the earliest permitted date[3].Wikipedia is your friend. There’s your answer. No more whining. Hopefully this clear’s it up for you. And it was not 7 states. Only 6 states voted before 1/29

Posted by JosephB | Report as abusive

The MSM, and Obamo-cultists wanted Clinton to Drop out after Iowa. Her tenacity is attracting more supporters and making an issue of unfairness and elitism in the party and Hillary is coming out a hero. For a “loser” she is still attracting 60%+ of two major states in two weeks…sounds like you are the loser now and in Nov.McCain in 2008Clinton in 2012

Posted by Scott D | Report as abusive

Obama’s our next prez. This is our country now!!!! Be Black or go Back!!!

Posted by Malik | Report as abusive

Even thou Mi and Fl made a mistake moving their primarys ahead for whatever reason, they still constitute 2.5 million people- their votes need to count.Their votes should count, in Mi where Obama told his supporters to vote uncommitted, he should be given a percentage equal to what he had in other states he campaigned in at that time. There were other candidates- Richardson and Edwards that removed their names as well, so the @40% that voted uncommitted would be divided and BO would get about around $146k. Everyone was on the Fl ticket, so their votes and delegates should stay as they are.Now if there were other states that moved their primarys and only Mi and Fl were penilized, and I have heard that many places-then I would say this is just another way to control the outcome of the primarys.Even If Both sides are the problem, the people of these states deserve their vote and their delegates. I believe the only way to really determine the will of the people is to have revotes.These states and their votes must count. What is OB afraid of that he blocks a new vote from going forward. I did see an AA man from Mi (a obama supporter) who lead the fight to stop a revote along with the Republicans in their state. He laughed about it- this kind of reaction is typical of the Obama camp.

Posted by MK5112 | Report as abusive

After seeing Michelle Obama on the Good Morning America show, I believe that the Obama running for president is really Michelle Obama. She TOLD Barrack that the children WILL BE getting a dog and that Barrack will be walking the dog.Who’s in charge in that family? I think Hillary is running against Michelle and Barack is a figurehead. I also know that the person writing the speeches for Barack Obama is the SAME person who wrote the speeches for JFK.It seems to me the Kennedy’s are trying to stay in control of the party and the election.I’m for the REAL person who holds their own.

Posted by Maxine | Report as abusive

All of you blaming Obama should get the facts right. Obama never objected to re-votes in Florida and Michigan. The Clintons want the rules to bend their way. Simple.I used to admire Bill a lot but now I THINK HE IS ONLY A POWER HUNGRY POLITICIAN LIKE THE OTHERS. Not only that, he is being divisive by his antics. How can he blame the fiasco in Florida and Michigan on his party or the wife’s opponent? If the wife were to play by the rules, she should have taken her name off the ballots in both states as did the rest of the candidates. How does one claim victory in a boxing arena if her opponents hands are tied. Yes her opponents hands were tied by the by-laws of the party. Claiming victory is down right cheating.

Posted by Martin | Report as abusive

Julius screamed:=============================== ===========THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE HAS WON! WAKE UP!!!!49 STATES that followed the rules=================================== =======Didn’t you mean 57 states? lolololHarvard grad? That’s what happens when Affirmative Action gives kids a free ride into college; and now a free ride to the POTUS. Nubs without even a geography clue that even a inner city 3rd grader would’ve known!–Obama Math:===============A famous mathematical physicst von Neumann said “If you allow me four free parameters I can build a mathematical model that describes exactly everything that an elephant can do. If you allow me a fifth free parameter, the model I build will forecast that the elephant will fly.”

The only way to solve this problem…An Obama~Clinton~Fusion~Ticket!We political junkies here…may be enthralled with all this hoop-la. But the average working American out there…is not following as closely.They see a primary that looks to be nearly split down the middle!The most productive and progressive action…would be to marry the two.A Heaven made DREAM TICKET for the Democratic Party….A black Man and a Women…what an honorable achievement!Even republicans are saying how much they’re attacked to Obama’s sophisticated/modern style and constantly the GOP have commented how they respect and admire Clinton’s spunk.Andrew Sullivan proposed it…it’s absolutely a Win-Win!http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol  /comment/columnists/andrew_sullivan/art icle3866584.ece

Posted by Suga | Report as abusive

Please, no Obama-Clinton ticket. That is not a dream I want to be a part of nor is it a dream I even want to have! As far as Mr. 57 states goes, so what if he said 57 states. Maybe he went to several states twice?

Posted by JosephB | Report as abusive

Obama removed his name from the michigan ballot as a political move, to give him a better standing in Iowa. He kept his name on the florida ballot and even ran tv ads. It doesn’t matter who you back. the only logical thing to do is to count those votes, not doing so is completely democratic and unfair to the millions who voted.

Posted by diana | Report as abusive

This Michigan and Florida thing is truly unfortunate, but rules are rules. I am sure Senator Obama would prefer no questions, but why should Senator Clinton think it fair or just to accept the votes of one state, or either state for that matter, where the opponent did not have the opportunity to compete as he was following the rules? Sounds like a Bush thing [Remember Florida]. Split the delegates and let the party win against the Bush surrogate.

Posted by Mark | Report as abusive

Here is a lead-in in the NY Times:”As Obama Heads to Florida, Many of Its Jews Have DoubtsBy JODI KANTORJewish voters are vital to Barack Obama’s hopes, but among many older Jews, he has become a conduit for anxiety about Israel, Iran, anti-Semitism and race.”Is Reporter Kantor correct, and if so why is such a tiny constituency so “vital” to Obama…or to any other U.S. politician for that matter?

Posted by Ariel Rivera | Report as abusive

It is obvious that the Republican system of executing primaries is far less complicated than the Democrat’s election debacle that we are all witnessing. The voters of Florida and Michigan did not choose to have their primary dates moved up, their law-makers did. It is unfair to penalize voters for decisions that were beyond their control. The DNC should have never allowed it in the first place given how important these two states will be in November. Sen. Clinton would be winning if she were running under the Republican system. The appropriation of delegates in this primary have led to an inflated portrayal of Obama’s political strength. He won three more delegates for winning the Utah caucus by 13,000 votes than Clinton did for winning the Pennsylvania primary by 200,000 votes. There is certainly something wrong with this system.Ms. Wulfhorst wrote in an another article that the results of Oregon and Kentucky were “mixed” for Sen. Clinton. I do not think that a 35 point victory in Kentucky for Clinton, a person who virtually everyone agrees will most likely not be the nominee, is a mixed signal. The race in Oregon was also closer than many had predicted. It is a clear sign that Obama has a huge hole in the Democratic electorate that has proven to be an integral constituency for swing-state victories. It will certainly lead to hardship for the Democratic Party come November.

Posted by Rsay | Report as abusive

It was Clinton and their minions, Ickes and Harrim, and 10 others that were put on the committte by the clintons that made the rules when she was the ‘annointed one’…NOT OBAMA.This crap of blaming anyone but herself for where she is at is too tiresome..she is a proven liar and thief…she changes her positions to suit the audience and her accent. She mismanaged her campaign and fortunes to such an extent that she is $20million in debt and the small venders are still being stiffed. She is trying to blackmail Obama for the VP or a Supreme but I pray he knows not to get too close to that piece of garbage with major baggage.

Posted by Docb | Report as abusive

I find Clinton’s attemps to squeeze every drop of political milaeage out of her campaign repulsive and annoying.She is the LEAST qualified and the most unsuitable candidate.She disqualified herself when she revealed her true nature.I am very afraid of what this person is capable of – especially when 20 of her and her husband’s detractors/dirt diggers have all been found mysteriously dead.I would like to ask her questions, like the author of this article:http://www.nationalledger.com/cg i-bin/artman/exec/view.cgi?archive=9&num =11563

Posted by The Truth Is... | Report as abusive

These rules were set by the DNC far in advance. Florida and Michigan understood these rules, the candidates understood these rules, and the voters understood these rules.1) Hillary Clinton disobeyed the DNC rules by campaigning in these states even though she was forbidden to do so.2) Obama was not on the ballot in Michigan.3) Many registered Democrats in both Florida and Michigan did not participate in these primaries because the rules explicitly stated that the VOTES WOULD NOT COUNT. The newspapers, TV news channels and the DNC all advertised for months in advance that these votes would not count.Why is this so called ‘solution’ even being considered? It is unfair, it is changing the rules after the fact, and it is based on the premise that the current primary results in FL and MI are valid results (which clearly are not valid results given the three points above.)There are only two “fair” solutions to this dilemma …A) hold another primary in each state (a secondary primary if you will), with the amended rulesB) stick with the original rules and the FL / MI primaries will not be counted.We have all learned this lesson since first grade. You don’t get to change the rules after the game has been played.If Hillary Clinton feels that she is above the rules now, what sort of precedent does that set if she was elected President? Scary thought.