May 29th, 2008
06:55 PM ET

Obama played hardball in first Chicago campaign

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/05/29/art.obama2.jpg]
Program note: Watch for Drew Griffin's report on Thursday's AC360° at 10p ET

Drew Griffin and Kathleen Johnston
CNN's Special Investigations Unit

(CNN) - When the Democratic National Committee meets Saturday on the thorny issue of seating the Florida and Michigan delegations at its August convention, party officials will have to fashion a solution that satisfies supporters of Sen. Hillary Clinton and presidential nominee front-runner Sen. Barack Obama.

It may take a Solomon-like decision to appease both candidates.

Clinton has argued that the primary results of two of the nation's largest states should count because, otherwise, millions of voters are being disenfranchised. Obama has said he is willing to work out some compromise.


soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Arcadio De Jesus

    I was going to vote for Obama in November, but after reading the story, about how he won his first elecions in Chicago, I changed My mind, I wil not vote for a person, that does such things. I used to live in Chicago from 1966 to 1973, and I know, how dirty man politicians can be in that City, and I am sure, thet he must won, with the help, of some of thoes lowyers of the city of Chicago, that maybe his friends, the politicians of the city of chicago, are no so good, I know how bad they can be, when thay want to win, they will do anything, no matter how bad, to win. In Chicago, for a woman to bit a man in an election, is a very hard thing to do.

    May 30, 2008 at 3:13 pm |
  2. ginger

    Ok, before all the HATER'S get excited, I saw the story news story, and it was CLEALY STATED that Obama did not break the rules. Therefore, he didn't cheat or steal from anyone. And if it wasn't true why didn't his opponents challenge it? Too me, that would be pretty simple. Perhaps Sen. Obama had knowledge that his opponents played dirty by not following the rules.

    May 30, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  3. Tom in L.A.

    Jeesh –

    With all the news going on in the world today – in the campaign,the war, the administration etc. etc. why two back-to-back stories about fairly random "episodes" in Barack Obama's life?

    A years old story about an old campaign in which he did nothing wrong?
    And yet another lame pastor story which has next to nothing to do with the Senator?

    I don't blame you guys on camera, but who digs up this stuff and why?


    May 30, 2008 at 2:02 am |
  4. Lalene Leav, Long Beach, California

    this is what you call the politics of hope and change.

    its funny how the BO supporters are trying to spin this. you all know what he did was wrong and yet you push your morals aside because you all can't grasp the fact that you actually dont know BO afterall.

    May 30, 2008 at 1:56 am |
  5. tricia

    It's about time this story comes out.

    Anderson this is just the tip of the iceburg.

    Voters need to know what kind of change Obama really means

    May 30, 2008 at 1:18 am |
  6. Juanita

    He is definitely Presidential material. I have now finally made up my mind. Barack Obama is tough and savy enough for job.

    May 30, 2008 at 12:56 am |
  7. ANGIE

    is that all you have on him he played bythe rules oh my gosh let me go support hillary and her madness not cmon people this is nothing compared to what hillary is presently doing what hillary is doing is worse wanting to count mi and obamas name not even on the ballot now thats dirty i cant wait until i dont have to see or hear her anymore go obama 08

    May 30, 2008 at 12:17 am |
  8. Lory

    This is a silly story. Who in their right mind would not contest signatures if they thought their opponent hadn't fully met all the requirements? Since when is demanding that your opponent play by the rules "dirty politics"?

    So, if you're playing in a tournament against a strong team and they break a rule that would disqualify them, you would just let them slide?! What utter nonsense. Lots of people here are full of hot air.

    May 30, 2008 at 12:17 am |
  9. Carolyn

    When are you going to run a story on Paul vs. Clinton?

    Or has this current primary told us everything we need to know about "Clinton-Style Politics"?

    May 30, 2008 at 12:10 am |
  10. Kathy in California

    Another typical Obama story! Not illegal, but he had to send in a team of lawyers to make the challange. One wonders how ethical were they? The evidence is now gone. He has been selling the country snake oil on one thing after another, and because he can give a great speach, people have fallen for it. He has been desperate to win since before the CA. Primary. NOw we will be stuck with either him or McCain. Some people may not like Clinton either because she is a woman or is a tough woman, but she is an extremely hard worker and would be best for the country. Wake up delegates!

    May 30, 2008 at 12:09 am |
  11. dottie

    Right on!!!!!!!!....HILLARY Clinton for President : the stronger candidates. in 2008.Obama is the front runner, but that doesn't mean that he's the right person for President. Only God knows.
    l hope he's does the right thing by putting his ego's aside and compromise with the clinton's and put hillary on the ticket.

    lf he doesn't , he will not win this fall,he will fall just like the
    word f-a-l-l. God dont like ugly.
    According to cnn: good investigating :Obama is a crook and a
    sexist. he cheated by playing every trick& trade in the book to beat Alice Palmer out with his cheap action and plan,
    Obama; here a statement for you.
    1.cunning &deception- a cunning action or plan that is intended to
    cheat or deceive.
    2.special skill- a special effective or ingenious knack, skill or technique.
    3. According to the Chicago tribune,Ms Palmer were swindle by Obama deception.
    4. Do we need a person like this to become President of the U.S?
    there it's is folk.

    May 30, 2008 at 12:09 am |
  12. Ellen

    Yes, please report just how Hillary won her senate seat in New York. That's a real eye opener! Hillary can't accept that this nobody from nowhere could have beaten her quietly and silently everyday. Hillary had name recognition, financial backing. Ever since 1992, the Clintons have run the Democratic Party! Hillary has a problem with lying to us and with lying to herself!!! The core element that any person should look for in a prospective employee any employee includes but not limited to the President of the United States is integrity founded upon a strong moral compass. Without integrity, any amount of so called "experience" means nothing.

    May 30, 2008 at 12:02 am |
  13. Spencer King

    Loved the story !! it was like watching THE UNTOUCHABLES.. The Chicago way...LOL. But let's look a little closer, We keep hearing how weak OBAMA is...ROFL Perhaps this will dispel some of those who say he is a weakling. Al Gore lost the Presidency in the courts.... Perhaps OBAMA is just what we need to get a fair shake. He is a rules expert.... Something we see Sen, Clinton keep trying to bend (unsuccessfully). Anderson as a New Yorker you know the unique fact that City politics on the big screen is often far more colorful than the National level. Chicago politics is tough just like NYC. I am a golfer people cheat all the time, be it taking a mulligan off the first tee or a "give me " putt, That is not Golf it is something like golf played with golf equipment on a golf course... See the difference?

    Yep I am from Chicago, in fact I worked for Axelrod on a few campaigns, now I live in Arizona but as Sean Connery said:" Are you prepared to do what you need to do? There is the Chicago way..." Good for OBAMA he is not going to be a patsy

    May 29, 2008 at 11:58 pm |
  14. Marian O'Brien Paul

    The point of this story is that Obama, the guy who claims to be uncontaminated by Washington's politics, is in fact contaminated by Chicago dynasty politics. The guy, Obama, who claims to be the champion of "change we can believe in" is either two-faced, contrary to the image of the "good guy" he wants voters to believe in, or the "change we can believe in" is transplanting Chicago politics to DC. Sounds like the old "bait and switch" device, if you ask me.

    Moreover, Anderson, you ask if Fr. Pfleger's fiasco really matters. Why wouldn't it? What is it about Obama that inspires those kinds of displays in supposed religious icons? I am appalled at the performance of both Pfleger and Wright, maybe more so by Pfleger.
    It's easy enough for Obama to back off and say he is sorry if Hillary or anyone else is offended, but these guys reallly don't speak for him. Maybe not, but he sure influenced them. I hope that isn't the effect he'll have on the rest of America!!

    May 29, 2008 at 11:56 pm |
  15. Tamara

    I don't understand why you people are attacking Obama for playing by the rules, this new pastor, etc....what about Hillary and Bill? They have done more illegal things than most in Washington and it seems like they are getting to "skate"......Have you all forgotten that he was impeached???? What about Travelgate, Whitewater, the list goes all the way back to Arkansas.....

    May 29, 2008 at 11:55 pm |
  16. Joey

    The media spin machine. Spin the story to make your point. Every looser can be a victim. Rules are rules, they have nothing to do with Obama. Why doesn't the media report Bush breaking rules, laws and morals? Sheesh!

    May 29, 2008 at 11:54 pm |
  17. Enrique Dussan

    I think it is pathetic that this information is being presented to us just now. Let us hope is not too late and those delegates make up their mind and choose Hillary,

    I personally think the Democratic party is in trouble should Hillary loose. So why doesn't she go independen? I am sure Millions of us will follow her. Maybe it is time for a New Democratic Party, It is worth trying, I am sure all the millions of voters will go with her. Let the disturbed Republicans continue to follow Obama, they have no much choince anyway!


    May 29, 2008 at 11:50 pm |
  18. J. Hurley

    As Mary Frances Berry said " we just dont know enough about this man."

    May 29, 2008 at 11:49 pm |

    Finally one real and truthful report - up to now we had to listen to how CNN was able to put down on every ocasion senator Clinton - I always wondered who paid for all the misleading reports - is it Oprah with her money behind the game... it is about America... you really should report the truth and just the truth about Obama - from the beginning I was sure he is not the great man, young woman and college students run for but a well calculated messy politician who used very well his mix race against all those whites who always stood up for human dignity based on honesty and tolerance. Shame on you Obama -
    CNN it is not yet too late to air all the Obama dirty laundry because soon will be out anyway but done by others if you are not doing it...

    May 29, 2008 at 11:46 pm |
  20. J. Hurley

    Are we sure that Obama was not involved with Dean, Polossi and the Senate majority leader with respect to the rules that affect the Florida and Michigan voters.

    After what I heard today about his slinky politics in Illinois, he is just what I thought he was all along.

    He's a cat of a different breed !

    & a hypocrite!

    May 29, 2008 at 11:45 pm |
  21. Roz

    This story confirms what my intuition has been telling me about Obama. His campaign is brilliantly messaging him as the great change agent while trying to convince voters that Clinton is "politics as usual." This story clearly indicates that, contrary to his campaign rhetoric, Obama is little more than a hard core politician. He has 10 years in elected office and an unremarkable record to show for it. He wasn't a change agent in Illinois, so why in the world should we believe that he can bring about change at the national level?
    It looks like he will get the nomination over a much more substantive and capable candidate - and Democrats will regret this outcome in November when another Republican is elected President.
    Hopefully Clinton will rest up a bit, return to the Senate where she is highly effective, and hit the campaign trail again in four years. She's got my vote in 2008 and 2012.

    May 29, 2008 at 11:43 pm |
  22. Tammy From New York

    This is no more than another stunt of Hillary Clinton's desperation of winning the nomination. Why doesn't the media let her supporters know exactly who Hillary Clinton is and that she has a open court case in California for fraud in the Peter Paul Case. I think that would be a much interesting story than how well Obama plays by the rules.

    May 29, 2008 at 11:40 pm |
  23. Linda NC

    There are some bitter women in this country. We all want to see a female as President, but this is not Hillary's time. I hope she has not ruined it for another woman. Please look at what you are saying. If you vote for McCain, then you were never a Democrat. And what did you, Anderson, wish to do with this story? Everything done was legal;petitions should have legal names, residences, and signatures. Hillary would have checked every petition, too. Everyone seeing this knows that. Ofcourse, the story just stirred up doubt and that's what CNN meant to do! I really am sorry that people have become so upset that they just say anything and accuse others of dirt when there is none.

    May 29, 2008 at 11:37 pm |
  24. Judy Pennslyvania

    I noticed your bent each day is less objective in your coverage of Obama. You seem to always favor the Billary clan who's always busting everybody's chops about how much of a "fighter " she is...When Obama is portrayed as a "fighter" albeit one who plays by the rules, the Clinton "drag the party down types" all of a sudden become a bunch of whiney boo boos...too caught up in the throws of leftover and outdated pundits like Mary Frances Berry to realize that at this point a vote for McCain is a vote against their own interests. Grow up and unify. Stop being sore losers!!

    May 29, 2008 at 11:35 pm |
  25. Mitch

    To Hillary Clinton supporters who are crying foul about Florida and Michigan, where was your value for votes and justice when senator Clinton stated clearly that both states should be punished and their votes should not be counted, saying that she has left her name on the ballots so the Republicans would not use this in their propaganda.
    Now, when she lost, all of you are defending both states.
    The delegates should be seated, but with a penalty, otherwise every state in the future will violate the rules with impunity.

    May 29, 2008 at 11:34 pm |
  26. Judy, Somerville, MA

    I've been a Chicagoan since I came to America in 1977. It is comforting to watch your investigation on how Obama rose to politics since 1996 using a lawfirm and his Harvard credentials to kickout old democratic politicians serving in the South Side. I hope his followers especially the young voters will have a better sense of whom they support in the name of CHANGE! I also read articles in Chicago papers on how Michelle demanded 2-3 times her salary at Univ. of Chicago since her husband was elected US Senator then become a presidential candidate. I'm sure Michelle will do everything in her power to make sure Hilary will never be visible in "their Whitehouse" if America will really embrace the CHANGE messages which seems to be a joke.

    May 29, 2008 at 11:33 pm |
  27. Belle

    For the Obama supporters accusing Clinton of EVERYTHING negative about Obama.

    Wouldn't it be fair to say if Obama had NOT done what he is accused of doing...there wouldn't be a story, would there?

    Obama must take responsibility for his own actions...a vote for Obama is really a vote for another Bush in the White House. A man that can never stand criticism of any kind, has his own agenda no one else knows about, and is so inexperienced our country will most likely be bankrupt in 4 years.

    May 29, 2008 at 11:26 pm |
  28. ambromfo

    Why are people so hateful; even to their own detriment? This is not a game; you will reap what you vote for? Obama has not done anything that would cause the hateful comments that some have made against him; and yet they (with a clear conscious) talk about him. Wow! We all should stop and take a step back and realize what we're facing with every vote cast.

    May 29, 2008 at 11:25 pm |
  29. Kathleen


    FYI – It is customary for nominating petitions to be checked by election officials to be sure that the signatures meet the lawful requirements that are pre-printed on the petitions. Signatures are checked to see that they exactly match the voter registration cards (some require printing the name and then the signature), that the person is still alive, that the person lives in the district covered by the petition.

    The person passing the petition must also correctly sign and date the petition before handing it in. If there are any discrepencies, the signature is voided.

    A candidate needs a certain number of legal signatures to be placed on the ballot. Officials responsible for the ballot must be sure that all signatures are legal and that the candidate meets the required number.

    EVERY candidate's petitions are checked this way; otherwise anyone could make up names and signatures to get put on the ballot.
    Before you throw a story out, maybe the source should be vetted. Check with the board of elections in Chicago and find out what the procedure is. If the man's petitions (signatures) were thrown out, they didn't meet the lawful criteria.

    May 29, 2008 at 11:25 pm |
  30. Patt

    Sounds like the spokes person's for Obama once worked for Bush/Rove. Tell the press this is not a story and the press goes away.
    Another four years of that same old, same old is what We the People are getting. Who'd a thunk it! Thought there was going to be change. So disappointing. So very disappointing.

    May 29, 2008 at 11:18 pm |
  31. Belle

    I am so very sick of the Paul v. Clinton case....this is a man who has sued Pres. Clinton 4 or 5 times! While he hid out in South America avoided Federal Charges...Paul is indicted for stock speculation in his own company....running up the price...borrowing money, then never repaying loans. Then blaming Clinton for his company's demise. Why? Because Clinton told a friend NOT to invest his 5 Million in Paul"s company....looks like sage advice to me...

    I also am bothered CNN took so long to air this story. The real questions are why the Media SAT on so many negative stories about Obama for a year?

    For you Obama supporters that don't see ANYTHING wrong with the way Obama campaigns...well...a lot of murders get set free because of technicalities and rules...and here Obama is again....perhaps getting the Democratic Nomination based on rules.

    Part II of the Obama's rise would be his US Senate Seat...he originally had 4 competitors...yet in the end he was again, the ONLY candidate on the ballot.

    There is the letter of the law, and the spirit of the law. His standard responses to ANYTHING that questions him: That is a divisive question, it is a hit job, I don't recall, I don't remember, I'll get back to you, and never answers the question.

    Sometimes it is not about who is ahead, it is sometimes about who the man or woman is. I hear Obama talk about ethics, and about being on the high road...but his actions speak way louder than his speeches...and his actions scare the hell out of me.

    May 29, 2008 at 11:16 pm |
  32. Tammy From New York

    Obama played by the rules, i hope they are going to do a truthfull story about how hillary clinton won her seat in the senate or about her Peter Paul case she has to testify in November. I think this would be a better story.

    May 29, 2008 at 11:15 pm |
  33. Tom

    I just had to point one statement out from your show today:

    Your guest said something to the effect that, according to a cnn poll, 95% of your viewers think Scot M is more credible than the WH. He then proceeded to state as fact that Scott M is therefore credible.

    That's just actuarially restarted. One, it's a bias sample population, and two, you can't deduct credibility from opinions. Could you deduct that someone is honest, just because lots of people think they're honest? No, because you either are honest or you aren't honest.

    Just because people think someone is credible, doesn't mean their creditable, it just means a large number of your viewers are willing to believe Scott's allegations.

    Statistics get twisted in the news more than people care to believe. Sometimes they're just wrong.

    Check the reels around 04-27-2006, 04:40 PM. I believe the wolf was on.

    The poll posted was:

    American's Greatest Concern:
    45% – Gas @ $3 per gallon
    33% – Iran building a nuke
    26% – Illegal Immigration
    23% – Civil disorder in Iraq

    Ha. This is great news for Iran, now.

    May 29, 2008 at 11:10 pm |
  34. Cameron Johnson

    This reminds me of the McCain non-story from the NYT earlier this year. Sounds good, but, there's really not much substance to it. This wasn't Obama's finest moment, but it sounds like it was just good politics. His signatures were likely examined, and he stayed on the ballot, which means he followed the rules. If anything, this explains why he's run such an effective campaign, - He knows the rules of the game and he wins because of them, rather than complain about the fact that he should have gotten away with it...

    May 29, 2008 at 11:09 pm |
  35. Diane, CA

    I can tell all of you Barack Obama better watch his back around the Clintons and he better feed them with a long handle spoon. I'm sure they have something to do with anything that is being brought up. I have never seen two people who want something so bad that they will do anything to get it. Makes me wonder why they are doing any and everything to become the nominee. Who do they owe some favors to? After all of her remarks I would not have her as my VP.

    May 29, 2008 at 11:07 pm |
  36. Loretta from California

    If you don't know Senator Obama do like everyone else, read!!!!!
    He has written two books, and there is enough information out there to keep you informed.

    May 29, 2008 at 11:07 pm |
  37. Dana H. Bay Area CA

    That was sooooo funny to learn how Obama outplayed his opponents just like he did Hillary. He played by the rules and took them out before they even had a chance to compete. It would have been nice to see him do that kind of hardball with Hillary but then people would have said he was being to hard on her.... like they are doing now. He sealed the deal for me. I could tell just by how he talks about McCain that he is a person ready to play hard ball and I'm looking forward to November when he takes McCain down. I really can't wait till their first Debate. I will most likely record that one. McCain is pretty much laying in his grave and just doesn't know it yet while Obama is getting the shovel in hand. If Obama does go to Iraq, I can just see him asking the questions that nobody will want to answer and then blasting McCain on his stupidity. Thank GOD these primaries are almost over. It's time for the main event!

    Go Obama 08!!

    May 29, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  38. Brad, NC

    This is some of the same issues Scott McClellan was talking about!
    The media gets caught up in the hype of the moment and rides the wave. This issue with Obama should have come out long ago. It really talks to his political style. Same old, Same old!

    It just goes to show you... "Change for the sake of change is no change at all!"

    May 29, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  39. theresa

    Once again, it just shows Senator Obama is 'EXTREMELY BRILLANT AND INTELLIGENT. Unlike some of the folks on this blog who have no clue what is really going on the world. Someone posted Ayers and Rezko personal friends of Obama, "are they joking or smoking", Rezko was an investor he bought his home from, and Ayers was someone he sat on a board with once, come on folks get real!

    And also this latest thing about the Father making racists remarks about Hillary Clinton, how in the He- is that Senator Obama's problem; some folks think he should answer for everybody and every word that comes out of everybody's mouth, PPPLLLEEAAAASSSE we have gas at $4 a gallon, a senseless war, economy in shambles and we are trying to make Senator Obama responsible for everything everybody says!

    Obama 2008!!

    May 29, 2008 at 11:03 pm |
  40. Kevin

    I would hope that Barack would eliminate the competition before the election if within the rules. Especially if they couldn't follow simple requirements on petition signatures in a town where checking them is common practice.

    It's not that the man is perfect, who is? But I am becoming more convinced of his genuine approach to politics if this is the best you can dig up on him.

    May 29, 2008 at 11:02 pm |
  41. Catherine

    Isn't there real news that needs to be covered.

    This story is trying to make something out of nothing. Don't you want someone in a public office who can follow the rules? If they don't pay attention to the details and go by the rules, would you really want them handling your affairs?

    Quit spinning and just report the news. I think this is very poor reporting.

    May 29, 2008 at 11:01 pm |
  42. Michael

    Ok, Obama stuck to the rules (I thought that is why rules exist?), he i tough (contrary to pansy image the Clintons are trying to stick on him)...So what?

    I am still confused as to the point of this story (or, rather, the non-story).

    Also, does this make all of Hillary's questionable actions (and, there are plenty) okay since we know about them? And, what about the conflicts in McCain's ranks?

    May 29, 2008 at 11:00 pm |
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