March 27th, 2008
12:26 PM ET

Why Michigan won't redo its primary

Much to Hillary Clinton's chagrin, the state of Michigan looks like it will NOT have a re-do primary. The back story of why legislation failed to authorize a new election is quite interesting. 

Two Michigan state senators, who just happen to be co-chairman of the state's Obama campaign, led the effort to convince fellow legislators the plan wouldn't work.

Michigan got penalized for holding its primary too early, and as of now, its delegates don't have a place at the Democratic National Convention.

Hillary Clinton wants a re-do primary in Michigan; her campaign feels she would likely win there. Obama has not backed a re-do, and has said it would be complicated to do. His chairmen in Michigan talked about that "complicated" concept to fellow legislators, and now they have essentially killed the legislation.

Did that happen because of legal issues, overworked election clerks, and proposed private money funding the election? Or did it fail for partisan reasons?

– Gary Tuchman, 360° Correspondent

Programming note: See Gary's report on 360° Friday night at 10p ET.

Filed under: Gary Tuchman • Raw Politics
soundoff (88 Responses)
  1. Otsu

    What I find the most disturbing about the whole discussion around potential Florida and Michigan re-dos is both candidates as well as the states knew the consequences when they changed the dates and no one seemed to have a problem then. Obama and Edwards weren't even on the ballot in Michigan nor did they campaign in either state but Hillary wants to claim that she won overwhelmingly? That is ridiculous considering she knew the state delegates wouldn't be seated. Now that she is losing all of a sudden she wants to insist that the voices of the voters needs to be heard. If the tables were reversed, she would staunchly oppose any discussion about re-dos in either state.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  2. Adrian

    Whether Obama wants this re-do or not is not the issue to me. He was not responsible for Michigan and Florida pushing their primaries forward, and it's perhaps time that the relevant responsible accept that they messed up.

    As to Obama's and Clinton's reactions... of course they're partisan. Hillary had no issues until she found herself behind. Obama says if the party comes up with a workable solution he's game, but who can blame him for resisting with technicalities?

    It's just a shame that it's voters who pay the price in the end.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  3. Angela

    Hey Gary,

    I think it was a stupid idea in the first place to move up the primary but then redo didn't seem like a bad idea after seeing how close both the candidates are in the race.

    Looking forward to your report tonight.
    Thanks for blogging!

    March 27, 2008 at 3:34 pm |
  4. Sue

    I think it is a shame that Obama will not let the people in Florida and Michigan vote, that it is the right of all Americans. Obama needs to step down, after all the hate filled sermons that his preacher gave over 20 years , there is no way he can be elected President. Thanks, Sue

    March 27, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  5. Bob from Rome NY

    Michigan broke the rules to begin with and knew the consequences of their actions. I don't see where they have grounds for a complaint. The people of Michigan have a legimate reason for being angry at their State Government for moving the primary to begin with. Maybe they need to elect officails that will live by the rules. The same goes for Florida.

    Rome NY

    March 27, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  6. Drew - Kentucky

    The state legislature broke the rules, they should have to face the consequences. They knew what they were doing. They disenfranchised all of these people, not the DNC.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  7. Toni C

    How will Obama change Washington if he won't even agree to let the people of Michigan and Florida vote? After he is done with Washington he claims he's going to change the world. What a bunch of bull and people are buying it. He is a junior senator with no experience or accomplishments who supports a bigot.

    I hope that CNN will report the facts and leave out the usual Obama bias.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  8. mary, Dallas, Tx

    Why bother having the rules if they are not going to be followed? What happens when the next state wants to do the same? They knew the rules and chose not to follow them and now they have to pay the price, Blame their elected officials who made the decision, not Obama.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:20 pm |
  9. fran

    So why doesn't put this on their political ticker? Hmm, can't really cause a controversy against their love child Obama. He is not going to win – period.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:18 pm |
  10. NYC

    This will backfire on him come the general election. I though Obama was smarter than this.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  11. rj

    They should have followed the rules in the first place. Clinton loves to turn the tables back onto Obama but this time it's not working. Are Bill and Hillary losing power in Washington?

    Obama needs to look at New York and their messy health reform and what it's really costing.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:07 pm |
  12. DB

    Partisan reasons no doubt. The bigger picture might be why would the DNC committee Leaders create a new rule and not change this to let the votes count and the deletes at the convention? The DNC committee Leaders are on some kind of Power Trip and the party has become a Dictatorship, if it does not allow the votes to count and the delegates at the convention.

    Obama decided to not be on the ballot in Michigan and citizens voted in Michigan and Florida in National Primaries! The VOTES Should Count and the DELEGATES! Unless the DNC committee Leaders intent to change the party to a Dictatorship in which case VOTING will be irrelevant.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  13. Evie

    Cindy this is not an accurate view that you have. Would you consider us a democracy or a dictatorship?
    We have the right to vote and to HAVE A CHOICE. There was no choice.
    Fair is the voters rights in Michigan were thrown under the bus by the violation of party rules by their own people. The Obama Campaign abided by the DNC rules. So if you disagree with the DNC rules then address them not the Obama campaign.
    I had considered initially voting for Billary but too many "bosnia misspokes" , and cowardly beligerent acts to destroy the democratic party by her and her team disgusted me.
    Obama is genuine and has taken the higher road. Oh yes, since she was sleep deprived when Billary misspoke then she obviously cannot stay awake to answer the 3 am call.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  14. Cleo

    Why would you move the primaries up anyway? Stupid idea. I was upset that CA primary got moved up too because it puts a deadline and pressure on new voters and the state. They knew the rules and knew the punishment so why are they whinning about it anyway.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  15. Jay

    It is tragic that we are forced to follow rules. I hate this democratic system... a system that will not allow the monarchy to continue is seriously flawed.

    Hillary Clinton '08
    Jeb Bush '16
    Chelsea Clinton '24
    Jenna Bush '32

    March 27, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  16. Dave in Michigan

    Obama deliberately kept our state from having a vote and a voice in this election and if he is the Democratic nominee, then I'm voting for McCain (especially if Romney's his VP!)

    March 27, 2008 at 2:21 pm |
  17. joanne osinkowski

    Floridan and Michigan did not play by the rules so to bad for them. Geez people lets move on. Why are American politics always so srewed up. It is of any wonder why the U.S. is falling apart. Just get out there and vote for the only candidate that has made only sense in years. Barack Obama.

    Joanne Ontario Canada

    March 27, 2008 at 2:18 pm |
  18. G. Morganroth, IL

    . . .It stands to reason why Michigan voters won't have a primary. Its voters are ignorant enough to think that Senator Obama controls the
    decision and rules, and not the DNC. Try checking with your state
    government, who are the REAL screw ups.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:15 pm |
  19. AQUA

    if they were to redo the primary you'd have a shift in the voting. People wouldn't vote the way they'd voted to begin with and so what if his people talked the state out of having another primary? She was trying to talk them into one. If Hillary had folks in Michigan she'd make things work in her favor. Lets be fair here. I just really wish people would stop trying to make this thing political when we all know what it truly is. America is not nor will we ever be ready for a change.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  20. Debbie, NJ

    I don't think Hillary really wants a redo now. She's turned half of her voters off. They're taking her advice and voting for McCain.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:10 pm |
  21. Patricia

    There is more going on here, I do not believe for one second that the Obama team stopped the Clinton machine from getting what they want.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  22. Mary An Oklahoma Grandmother

    Senator Obama's campaign people simply do not want fair and complete election because they know that he would not win. Senator Clinton had worked out a plan for a revote but Obama would not go along. That just shows how corrupt Obama is. HE WILL DO ANYTHING TO GET ELECTED.
    American voters need to rise up against this immoral and corrupt politician. He has a very radical agenda and should not be believed on any issue.

    March 27, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  23. L

    I live in Michigan, and think this whole thing is a farce.

    I did not see the logic in defying DNC party rules in the first place, and now it has come back to bite everyone involved. They (MI Party Leaders) wanted to draw attention to our state's problems. Instead of doing that, not only do we have the worst economy in the nation, it makes our state look idiotic.

    Who ultimately pays for this gaffe? We, the voters do. I did not even bother to vote in our "primary". It's not really a vote if there is only one candidate to choose from. What's the point?

    However, it's disingenuous of HRC to suddenly care about us voters when her candidacy is in trouble. Why didn't our voices count before? Because she thought the nomination was her birthright, that's why. When she did not feel she needed us, she back the DNC's decision. Now, she needs all the help she can get to try to win over the SuperDelegates, and suddenly were are "disenfranchised" and we WILL be seated, according to her. Oh please.

    Let's just let it go and move on. The party did not care before – they don't care now.

    March 27, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  24. Joseph Kowalski, North Huntingdon, PA

    Probably done for partisan reasons, but no worse than the partisan tricks the Clinton campaign has used.

    Sadly, in politics, the lowest common denominator wins.

    March 27, 2008 at 1:57 pm |

    one thing that puzzles me is that all of this agressivness by obama, but we don't know much about him. how did he get so popular so quick. it seems there is an unseen force operating in this country that the american people do not detect. jesus in the bible tells us more than anything "don't be deceived". i hope our college people understand the issures involved.

    March 27, 2008 at 1:53 pm |
  26. lia,denver

    It is amazing how biased AC is... Now he is suggesting, – oh no, wait a minute! – his reporters are NOT suggesting but ACUSING, that Obama killed the plan for a re-do in Michigan. It does not matter what Obama says, he said he follows the DNC rules, remember? – you are on a mission to manipulate the electorate... What a lame game you are into, AC.. Pathetic, indeed!

    March 27, 2008 at 1:51 pm |
  27. Jessica

    Can't wait to hear the details. The funny thing is everyone says "they" broke the rules, so no redo. Who is "they"??? Are we talking about voters in the state??? It seems like the party is concerned with being fair to both candidates, but no one thinks about the people who's voice is being silenced. With the emotions and passion that we are all filling about this historic election, we should all ask ourselves how we would feel if our votes weren't counted. The party leaders should have foreseen this problem before taking away these delegates.

    I think Obama has missed a good opportunity to back his rhetoric and unite the party. Instead he has shown he is more concerned with his advancement than the voice of the people he pretends to unite.

    And if we're talking about not changing the rules in the middle of the game. The purpose of the Superdelegates was never to vote along with the committed delegates. They were created to decide who was the strongest candidate for the party.

    March 27, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  28. Sandra C

    This is not about redoing the election ,for most of us is, obbey the law that were established before the election.
    Have people forgotten that Gore had to live with the laws that were imposed on him and he had to live with that decision.

    March 27, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  29. Liar_liar_her_pant_suit_is_on_fire

    Mrs. Clinton wants to re-do everything she doesn't like and that doesn't give her the advantage at any cost ... why she even has combat experience now, having with one hand dodged all those snipers, while flying Airforce One with the other hand, in over 90 countries around the globe. What a slap in the face to the men and women and their families who are really in harm's way, over 4,000 of whom have paid with their lives in Iraq alone.

    March 27, 2008 at 1:43 pm |
  30. Ram

    It is a very good lesson to all states & all parties to follow the rules set up & agreed upon by governinig body, in this case DNC. Obama followed the rules & he is benefited. He played smart in Michigan & Florida. Hillary tried to out smart everybody, she lost. Poor baby.

    March 27, 2008 at 1:40 pm |
  31. monika

    How can you count a whole state out of elections is beyond anyone and certainly not democratic....CNN should raise voices for people who don't have voices. That is the power of the media. Not gossiping. (does anyone doubt that if Michigan and Florida are not counted, they will go ahead and vote for Obama in the fall........NO WAY)

    I think the right thing to do would be to put re-vote in the next two weeks and not have any candidate campain in those states. Just have people come out and vote.

    March 27, 2008 at 1:37 pm |
  32. EJ - Ohio

    "Did that happen because of legal issues, overworked election clerks, and proposed private money funding the election? Or did it fail for partisan reasons?"

    incompetency & arrogance

    Polls showed that over 60% of Democrats agreed with a [legitimate] revote for both states. If Michigan & Florida entities could not make it happen they have no one to blame but themselves. I'm tired of hearing about how they were disenfranchised when there was a process that the states did not follow to begin with.

    The voters need to blame the different entities of the MI & FL state governments that did not find a solution.

    March 27, 2008 at 1:31 pm |
  33. Barb, Des Plaines, IL

    This whole redo issue really got on my nerves anyway. Change the rules midway–fahgeddaboud it!
    I'm not sure, though, that Hillary would have won there. The unions have taken some major hits (could mean a NAFTA grudge),the housing market is completely in the tanks, and they're I just moved from MI and had to pay about 20K just to get out from under a house that had lost value

    March 27, 2008 at 1:30 pm |
  34. Jo Ann

    Dear Gary,

    I can’t say I am surprised to hear that the Obama campaign is standing in the way of the Michigan delegates being seated. Funny thing is, that isn’t what Obama told Anderson in his interview on March 19. He acted as if he was in complete agreement that those delegates should be seated and said that “Senator Clinton, I have to say on this, has been completely disingenuous.”

    Obama may not have said that those delegates should not be seat, but his campaign is doing everything they can to prevent that from happening. I wonder if he will claim ignorance of what his campaign is doing or if he will just say that he misspoke to Anderson. This isn’t the first time he has lied to Anderson during an interview and gotten away with it. Based on what I have been seeing on 360 these past few days, I doubt Anderson will be questioning his honesty the way he has been questioning the honesty of Clinton or even McCain.

    I know we, the viewers who want both sides of this story, can count on you to bring us the truth about this issue.

    Jo Ann
    North Royalton, Ohio

    March 27, 2008 at 1:27 pm |
  35. Agatha Kerry

    And the News media says HR Clinton will do anything to win..

    Obama's team is just as dirty....that's politics unfortunately.

    Go Hillary!

    March 27, 2008 at 1:24 pm |
  36. Nick

    Just another favor from DNC to the favorable candidate – Obama.
    I think this is the end of Democratic Party and their agony of electing wrong people to represent them.
    Mr. Gore can you please form a new party, maybe Mr. Bloomberg will join you, and some other smart people that love this beautiful country.
    Anybody but Obama and Hillary...

    March 27, 2008 at 1:24 pm |
  37. donna from colorado

    The only thing Michigan and Florida voters should be punished for is for not raising hell when lawmakers, politicians and state party members starting discussing holding their primaries early. They should still be able to exercise their rights to vote and have their votes count. No one should be able to take that away from them. This is an embarrasing disgrace and I'm ashamed to be a democrat. I won't be for much longer.

    March 27, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
  38. Joe Q. Public

    Let freedom ring!

    March 27, 2008 at 1:19 pm |
  39. Jan from Wood Dale, IL

    It is my understanding that when MI figured out a way to re-do their primary, and the DNC approved them using private funds for the re-do, Obama's campaign attorney stepped in and stopped it. They claim it was "unfair" to have a re-do of a democratic primary with ONLY registered democrats. They insisted that independents and republicans should be able to vote in the democratic primary too.

    So much for democratic party unity!

    March 27, 2008 at 1:17 pm |
  40. Marge

    Perhaps the new guy on the block, Obama, doesn't yet understand that every American has the right for their vote to be counted.

    I heard recently that the DNC is considering a pre-convention meeting of super delegates so they can eliminate the chance of a free-for-all at the convention. Hm-m-m-m-m. Isn't this breaking their rules? If they can break this rule then they can count the votes of Florida and Michigan. Obama was on the Florida ticket so I believe their votes should be counted anyway. Neither campaigned there so this should be fair.

    March 27, 2008 at 1:15 pm |
  41. Susan

    The bottom line is that Michigan & Florida violated the rules of the DNC and held their primary early. Once those unsanctioned primaries were held, any attempts to hold new ones or to count them as legitimate primaries would have been riddled with problems.....both legal and ethical. Furthermore, the rules of the State of Michigan would have prevented citizens from voting in any new Democratic primary if they voted Republican in the original primary after being told the votes in the Democratic primary wouldn't count. That would have knocked out a lot of Independent, Republican, & Democratic voters. Not to mention the Democratic and Independent voters who stayed home. Michigan and Florida just need to play by the rules next time. Had they done it this year, they would have played a major role in deciding the nominee. It was arrogant of Hillary Clinton to think that the DNC was just going to roll over and give her wins in both of those States when nobody was allowed to campaign in them.

    Susan from Kentucky

    March 27, 2008 at 1:11 pm |
  42. Claudia

    The Governors of Michigan and Florida knew the rules from day one and made the decision for early voting and refused to pay for a re-vote. The only way to hold anyone accountable is for these states to either sue their Governors, impeach them, or if they are eligible to run again, don't vote for them. In this case, get mad at the messenger(Governors) not the candidates.

    March 27, 2008 at 1:10 pm |
  43. lou

    Who cares why it happened. It was a stupid idea to try to undo the original rules in the first place. Now we can see that Clinton really doesn't care if the people's votes count....she has come out to say it's ok to go after pledged delegates, even though those were won by people's votes. She's icky.

    March 27, 2008 at 1:06 pm |
  44. Cassie

    I don't know why Hillary just won't just follow the rules that were already in place. She has blamed Obama when she needs to blame the DNC who put the rules in place. She also didn't care about Michigan when she was in NH. Hillary needs to face it she has no arguement for the superdelagates to really vote for when Obama has more plegde delagates and more in the poular vote.

    March 27, 2008 at 1:04 pm |
  45. jimmy velman

    That is DISENFANCHISEMENT of the Michigan voters to say the least. and coming from State Legislators on Obama's Camp speaks
    a lot louder than all the Obama Campaign rhetoric. And of course
    one can only imagine how and when the delegates will be seated and
    how they will be apportioned. The two Legislators who engineered this travesty on justice and righteousness have condemned themselves in the eyes of the voters . They also have condemned
    themselves in the eyes of the most High Sovereign. To Whom much
    is given, much is expected.

    March 27, 2008 at 12:58 pm |
  46. David

    It failed for many reasons. Hillary actually wanted the Michigan votes in the "beauty contest" to count proportionally even though Obama's name was not even on the ballot. Totally unfair and totally unacceptable! If the situation were reversed, she would have laughed at the suggestion. Then after attacking Obama relentlessly saying he was blocking a revote and disenfranchising voters in that State, she created an unfair advantage for herself among the common voter in that State by creating an atmosphere of rage against Obama. He followed the rules set forth by the DNC and she also agreed with the rules at the beginning of the season. She left her name on the ballots of Michigan and Florida for a reason. It was a calculated move to obtain a majority of the vote in those States due to her name recognition alone since no candidates would be campaigning in those States. Then once she was sure she had the majority of the votes, she would work to get those votes counted and delegates awarded to her and seated at the convention. Typical Clinton dirty politics!

    March 27, 2008 at 12:55 pm |
  47. JT

    The idea of not including the voices of thousand of voters do not make any sense.

    There is got to be a way to do it.

    How can we say, go vote, every vote counts.

    I think Obama is the one that does not want to redo the Michigan primary.

    March 27, 2008 at 12:54 pm |
  48. Rose

    PARTISAN!!!! Although, they did not follow the rules, I have to agree with Cindy on this.

    Also, thank you Gary, for only reporting the facts and not weighing in with your personal agenda. It is great to see the media do what we enjoy here at CNN.

    March 27, 2008 at 12:51 pm |
  49. Ram

    All of the above.

    March 27, 2008 at 12:41 pm |
  50. Cindy

    So they finally decided not to redo the primary huh? I am glad! They should have stuck with the rules to begin with!

    It seems like to me that Obama was scared to have this redo and got his people to talk the state out of having another primary since he knew he'd lose and it'd bring her delegate count closer to his. Guess they got their wish on this one!! I bet Hillary will put up a stink about this!!

    Looking forward to Gary's report. He is great btw!! I'd love to see him do WAY more!!

    Cynthia, Covington, Ga.

    March 27, 2008 at 12:39 pm |
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