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. LMJ

    Since OBAMA & CLINTON are two leading Democrats in your race for PRESIDENT I have been a fan nightly to see the BEST CANIDATE WIN. Being a Canadian of Aboriginal, Black & Irish descendents I like what I hear when OBAMA speaks about all RACES be TREATED EQUALLY. I wish him & his family well & SUCCESS IN HIS QUEST FOR THE WHITE HOUSE.........


    March 27, 2008 at 11:35 pm |
  2. TY

    I earned the right to vote when I became a citizen of the United States. While I realize that this was a primary and not the general election, every vote should count regardless. At the end of the day, Americans, regardless of race, gender or creed should feel the time they took away from work and families to vote should mean somthing to the DNC.

    I do not understand why the Obama camp is blocking the re-votes? If he is the superior candiate, why is he so afraid?

    March 27, 2008 at 11:30 pm |
  3. babs-Michigan

    I teach 2nd grade, and as I have explained to my students...

    Is it fair or right to take cuts in line?
    Well, Michigan and Florida took cuts. They have to deal with the consequences. (That also included my MI vote)

    My question is this...
    Why is there such a push for a do-over in Michigan and Florida? Don't the other 48 states that followed the rules (and waited their turns in line) even matter?

    Also, HRC keeps blaming BO for the screw-ups. If we're "keeping them honest", didn't the BO camp agree to have caucus' (AND would agree to a fair plan that the DNC came up with)? Didn't HRC initially agree to abide by the DNC decision to not count Michigan and Florida?

    March 27, 2008 at 11:29 pm |
  4. Tye

    I can understand the frustration for the people in Florida because it was the Republican party that violated the rules set forth by the DNC. However, I do think it would not be fair to the Obama campaign because once people found out the votes wasn't going to count they stayed home. The Michigan situation is different because it was the Democratic party that broke the rules. People has to understand that there are reasons why rules, policies and procedures are implemented. You just can't break or bend rules in order to benefit in getting a competitive advantage when you're losing.

    March 27, 2008 at 11:24 pm |
  5. deb in az

    by the way what she said is true about the pleged delegates....a rule made by the dnc......the dnc made the rules and they have to abide by them.......just like not letting fl and mi vote........and for the gentleman in mi you might want to start with replacing your mayor....your vote for mccain will only make your economy worse there.......but good luck to you and mccain.......everyone does have the right to vote people...you get to be born , pay taxes, vote and die.........

    March 27, 2008 at 11:19 pm |
  6. nely emiliani

    I agreed with this dision, Hillary believe that Brack Obama is dum or what? that she can manipulate the delagate of Michigan (all for her and none for Obama? )ha,ha,ha. I will like to know why is it that no more report of her going to the Canadian Embasy and promising that she will not change NAFTA, that THAT WAS only politics, Can you find out who were the first ones to go to the Canadians or Barack Obama was set up by the Canadian, for him to loose Ohio? I will like to know if she whend before the lection in Ohio or after? PLEASE I WANT TO HEAR IT IN THE NEWS, it only came ones and no more????
    remember : THE DEVIL WARE PRADA!
    Thanks Nely

    March 27, 2008 at 11:16 pm |
  7. Tracy Schenk

    I am sorry for the people in Michigan and Florida (messing it up again – Jeb Bush's state...coincidence?) Anyway, I was in Florida during the 1st primary election but what is done is done let's not spend the taxpayer's money on another primary as the money could be used for other things....don't you think?

    March 27, 2008 at 10:41 pm |
  8. Robin

    awe c'mon!.....this isn't even close to being ethical?.....lol
    politics, ZOWEEEE......i think this deserves legs?

    March 27, 2008 at 10:32 pm |
  9. Rachel

    Even my four-year-old understands that there are consequences to his actions. Michigan leaders knew what would happen if they moved up the primary, and they did it anyway. They're in time-out and need to accept it.

    And I live in Michigan.

    March 27, 2008 at 10:28 pm |
  10. Mr. J

    Mr. Obama would never want a revote it's not in his best interest. If you look at how he got to where he is you will see he can only win using crooked people crooked politics and unfair tatics. Thats just who he is.

    March 27, 2008 at 10:24 pm |
  11. Bobby B

    Both candidates knew full well the consequences of holding the early primaries.

    Unfortunately for Hillary, she now needs those delegates. At first she said that Michigan would'nt matter, wow- what a bite in the backside huh?

    Rules are Rules.

    Can't change the rules in mid-game Hillary.

    It is now time for Hillary to step aside along with her ego, and let Obama do the job that Americans so desperately need right now!

    Obama/ Edwards '08

    March 27, 2008 at 10:20 pm |
  12. Christine

    People this is not grade school election! Obama needs to drop out or be forced out because he is not for the people if he refuses to allow a re-vote in FL and MI.

    You can not have a candidate if people are not heard!

    March 27, 2008 at 9:32 pm |
  13. Larry

    Ok Idiots Can anyone of you explain why hillary said the votes won't count and she was fine with that she said they broke the rules and we have to stick to them. Her Words and obamas and Edwards What about edwards he could have took MI and FL and this would be a totally different race Stupid Clinton Backers Are you that Stupid OBEY the Freakin Rules She said it was ok why change now Why just answer that question. Honestly Obama didn't make them vote early Obama did make up the rules but he followed them Honestly Clinton Backers Do you really want a president that doesn't follow the rules Like Bush We have to change this country Hillary is the same McCain is the same Obama is the only one that is different dont you see that

    March 27, 2008 at 9:27 pm |
  14. Phil of Guadalupe, Ca.

    With this backroom politicking, Obama may have won the nomination, yet he has lost the general election.

    His once clean image is all but dirty. I do not care what Obama's handlers will say, every person has the right to vote, and how dare the Obama camp say they are for full participation if they are going to vote, let them vote, maybe he can wrap up the nomination with just pledged delegates. Just a thought.

    March 27, 2008 at 9:23 pm |
  15. Jerry M.

    When the DNC announced the removal of delegates and all of the candidates removed their names from the Mich ballot except Sen. Clinton, the stench of coniving began to waft to my nostrils. The only thing that corrupts more absolutely than power is the lust for power and Sen. Clinton's campaign demonstrates this on a daily basis.

    Mr. Dean, you made rules, no matter the level of shew-like squeals, stick to the rules that you established.

    March 27, 2008 at 9:09 pm |
  16. Elle

    Did the democratic party knock on hundreds of thousands voters homes ,prior to the election,to ask if it was ok that the early vote will not be counted ?
    We know the answer.It was the party and a politically motivated decision that the people surely did not get to vote on.
    Unless the people voted that it is ok to move the day up and thus have no say and delegates ,I say gove these people their constitutional rights back !

    March 27, 2008 at 8:54 pm |
  17. Ruby Coria, LA., CA.

    Gary, I still can't belive Fl. & Michigan are not going to vote! I know Obama will take 'Carol Rove's ' advice and at the end he(Obama) will give a church speech and say " let the skys open and let the delegates vote I am your hero!, and you could call me Sr. Obama" that's how it's going to go down, and CNN will praise him.

    March 27, 2008 at 8:20 pm |
  18. Lliz

    Those who believe Obama is fair, following the rules, and is interested in doing right by Michigan and Florida should check their thinking and the facts again.

    Obama chose to remove his name from the ballot , then at the time of the election in Michigan, Obama's supporters called for Obama backers to vote "uncommitted" and give Obama a chance to compete for those delegates in Denver. They did this through radio advertising, formed a new group called Detroiters for Uncommitted Voters (supporters of Obama) and campaigned door to door and on the phone. (Washington Post, 1/9/08, 1/14/08) (Detroit News, 1/10/08, 1/15/08) (Economist, 1/14/08)(AP, 1/10/08).

    Obama's television advertising were seen in Florida even though all democratic candidates agreed not to advertise in Florida or Michigan.

    Obama doesn't want a revote, because he would lose, again, in both Florida and Michigan. Otherwise he would be rushing to get a re-vote.
    He wants Hillary to get out of the race because he knows she will, at the least, close the gap in the delegate count. He wants to and is doing everything he can to shut voters up.

    Who's being conniving and manipulative?

    Sure, Hillary wants Florida and Michigan's vote to count, shouldn't we all? Why not a re-vote? Why not continue the election process and let the remainder states vote?

    March 27, 2008 at 8:04 pm |
  19. joanne osinkowski

    As a Canadian am I missing something here. All of the comments I have read lead me to believe that Americans think that it is Obama's fault that Florida and Michigan wont hold a re-vote. My word people Obama is the only one here who is playing by the rules what is it that you do not grasp or comprehend. Perhaps it is more clear when someone from the outside is looking in. I don't know how you can even stomach the Clintons after Bill literally lied to the American people on National television. Hillary has adopted his dirty habits and tricks.

    March 27, 2008 at 7:14 pm |
  20. Annie Kate

    The actual voters themselves didn't schedule their primary too early – that was done for them by the state, but now the voters don't get a say. I would be upset if I lived there and would want a chance to vote in the primary.

    So after weeks of saying he wasn't blocking a re-do it is an Obama person who stops the re-do effort Where's the truth in this one? Its too bad the Obama campaign didn't want a re-do; they might have actually won at this point; HRC was taking a risk to ask for a re-do for the people. There were no guarantees she would win.

    Seems like both Democratic candidates know how to play the old time politics.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    March 27, 2008 at 7:11 pm |
  21. Yolanda

    No, Obama doesn't want a re-vote. Would you??? The most frustrating thing about this is that Clinton didn't say anything about the WISHES of the FL and MI voters until she fell behind. As long as she was ahead, she didn't have anything to say about FL and MI not counting. If she was really in favor of them, she would have been saying that it wasn't right when the punishment was first proposed. She shouldn't have supported it from the very beginning, since she feels so passionately about it now.

    The Democratic Party looks foolish. They set a punishment and call FL and MI's bluff and now they don't know how to stick with their punishment. It should have been perfectly clear of the results of the punishment when the rules were first put in place. The voters in MI and FL knew when they went to the polls that their vote wasn't legal under the DNC rules. Is isn't fair for the voters that had no control over the decisions that their state leaders took, but, life isn't always fair.

    One of our biggest problems that we face today is that RULES aren't RULES. We expect our children to obey the laws and follow the rules; but, our leaders are on TV debating disregarding the punishment after the rules were violated. This is a prime example of "Do as I say, not as I do". Clinton needs to stop flamming the fires on this one. If she were still ahead, this would be a non issue.

    I used to like the Clintons, but, I don't like the way HRC constantly reshapes the rules to fit her desires.

    March 27, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  22. andy

    why dont you people hear the truth ! Its not Clinton who will say stick it in your ear ! it will be the voters who will from MI and Fl
    who will tell all of us in the democratic party to go fly a kite and you know what we will , because McCain will be the one saying thank you to them ! Stop with the remarks and lets try to find out how to help them stay with the DNC party !!! my god you sound so inmature

    March 27, 2008 at 5:55 pm |
  23. Michael (No race, No part affiliation)

    If there should be a re-do, it should be open for all who would register to participate in order for it to be fair. Moreover, it should be financed in a neutral way not a way that will make people feel indebted to vote to a particular group. If anyone listened to Obama, he said that he will follow DNC decision. I think that some Clinton supporters are being interlectually dishonest by blaming those who followed DNC rules for the problems DEmocrats have with Michigan and Florida.
    Also why is it that intelligent people are supporting blatant lies and doing everything to justify "misspoken" reason .? If you have ever been close to a war front, then you understand that sniper fire is not a thing one can misspeak about. Everyday is for the thief and one day for the owner. When you are cut with your pant down you can allways fool yourself to say that this is the Emperor's latest fashion!

    March 27, 2008 at 5:22 pm |
  24. JLR

    I don't know Obuma, this looks like politics as usual, just plain dirty.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:21 pm |
  25. kathy in ohio

    this just goes to show you hillary is more experienced. she said last night firmly the delegates WILL be seated. Ha ha she found a loop hole go hillary. Obama has been bambozzeled and this is not going to be the onlly time he just hasnt learned enough yet wait to the rep get a hold of him. Thats why we need President Hillary Clinton. Speaches dont always get you out of hot water.

    March 27, 2008 at 5:08 pm |
  26. Susan


    Legal Reasons: Every citizen would not be able to participate in the
    re-do. The re-do would be a nightmare to execute and would always have a cloud of suspicion hanging over it. I just think it would be downright unfair to all the citizens in MI.


    March 27, 2008 at 4:56 pm |
  27. barry

    no obama does not have a problem with a football anology and a good fight but he will not let the people of FL and MI vote... wake up voters....

    March 27, 2008 at 4:49 pm |
  28. barry

    can america afford to continue to be this stupid......last time we elected a president we voted for him because he would be a great guy to have a beer with.....think solutions not bs....is senator obama tested and proven....what has he really deliveried.....wake up america or your going to end up with John McCain and alot of $ and time in a war that will drain the economy....

    March 27, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  29. greg

    I can not believe people, the vote in Fl. and Mi. should stand If Obama was not smart enough to keep his name on the ballot in Mi. I am sure I do not want someone that dumb in the office of president, we already have Bush do we want someone like him in office again and I am not talking about McCain.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  30. Tammy

    Let me preface this by saying I'm a Republican and could care less who ends up with the nomination at this point. I look at this delegate debacle strictly from a citizens' rights issue. What sucks for America, not just the voters of Michigan and Florida, is that apparently a person's vote, an inalienable sacred right given to us in our CONSTITUTION, a right and honor thousands have died for over the years, obviously means zilch to these states, to the DNC, to the candidates (except when it matters to help them win), and to anyone who just doesn't get how inherently wrong this is. If it's o.k. to say a person's vote doesn't matter, what is next? I am afraid to find out actually. Thank you Mr. Tuchman for honestly reporting this.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:46 pm |
  31. Willie

    @Angela March 27th, 2008 3:34 pm ET

    Hey Gary,

    I think it was a stupid idea in the first place to move up the primary...

    Ok, do you also think that it was a stupid idea that Puerto Rico moved up its primary so that it would be a Primary instead of a Caucus? That benefits Clinton so I guess it would be a bad idea for you. By the way, the will of the people is not made in Caucuses, its made in Primaries. Looks like the will of the People are on Clintons side.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  32. James from CA

    I think the question the Dems need to ask, Are they willing to lose Both MI and FL to the reps. Both States are crucial swing states and both states could end voting for McCain if the Dem don't count their votes in the primary. Is following the rules important? Yes. but i think it is more important to win in Nov then any moral victory in Mar.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:39 pm |
  33. Willie

    "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."

    That ia really messed up!?!

    March 27, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  34. barry

    everyone with an iq above 90 knows that Obama does not want a revote in FL and MI... he will not carry either state putting an end to his campaign....

    March 27, 2008 at 4:35 pm |
  35. jacey

    Hillary Clinton has recently been reminding all pledged delegates that by the rules, they can turn against the popular votes of their state. Then she says that all votes including Michigan and Florida (most likely in her favor) should be heard. This is consistent only in the fact that Hillary is trying to win. Why wouldn't she? But this should never have been turned into smears against Obama.

    The fault lies with the state governments- period.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:18 pm |
  36. Pat M.

    This is Obama's doing. I think he intentionally took his name off the original ballot, just as insurance in case it became a close race-then he could say that the votes shouldn't count because his name wasn't on the ballot. It will be a disgrace if the Dem. party doesn't override this and figure out a fair way to include the voters-and a new primary is the only fair way. The media attacks Senator Clinton daily on her tactics but Obama is as bad as her , if not worse,he is just more cowardly in his approach.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  37. Sabrina in Los Angeles

    There are a few things to consider:

    1. Why reward people who went against the rules?
    2. Who is going to pay for it to be redone this late?
    3. What about those who voted for her because she was the only Dem on the ticket or those who voted Rep because the Dem they wanted wasn't there?

    They need to know that the rules have to be followed, otherwise, why have rules at all or a civilized society?

    Just thinking.

    March 27, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  38. s_charles

    That's it? Thats the backgrounder? It's all Obama's fault?
    What about the actual issues raised by more than just the Obama surrogate?
    Like the complicated scheme that if you voted you can't vote again?
    Or the many legislature that were very uncomfortable to discover that those willing to bank roll a new vote were all Clinton supporters and donors, except for 2?
    What about the battle between two major Unions?
    I am sure Obama's camp had a voice, as they should, but to pretend that this is a 'backgrounder' the present this is disingenuous.

    March 27, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
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