Clinton says Fla., Mich. results should be honored

March 12, 2008 5:05:18 PM PDT
Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are battling over disputed primaries and caucuses in Florida and Michigan.The only thing the two campaigns agree on is the critical importance of giving the voters of Florida and Michigan a say in the nomination battle because even though some of them cast ballots in January, the Democratic Party negated the results and took away the delegates to penalize the states for holding the primaries too early.

But now, virtually every Democrat in America agrees on the need to enfranchise those voters, probably with a re-vote of some kind, or, as Clinton is suggesting, by simply honoring the January elections.

"If you're a voter from Florida or Michigan, you know that we should count your vote," Clinton said.

Clinton, campaigning at a Latino business conference in Washington D.C. Wednesday morning, says that one way to make sure the voters of Florida and Michigan have a say in the nomination process is for the Democratic National Committee to accept the results of the January primaries, which she won.

"The results of those primaries were fair, and they should be honored," Clinton said.

But in Michigan, she was the only major Democrat who left her name on the ballot after the DNC stripped the states of their delegates for holding primaries too early, forcing some ex-pats from Chicago, who wanted to vote for Obama to reluctantly mark their ballots for "uncommitted."

"I feel robbed. And I'm astonished," said Dani Lane.

"I am furious at it. I can't believe that I can't vote for the person that I want to have," said Sara Bode.

Comments like that explain why Obama., who's in Chicago Wednesday for an endorsement session with retired military leaders, is ridiculing Clinton's suggestion that January's elections in Michigan and Florida be counted.

"We were told that they wouldn't count. Senator Clinton agreed that they wouldn't count, until she thought maybe they should count. I think that the DNC ultimately makes these decisions. That's how the rules work. I know that the Clinton campaign seems to want to make up rules as they go along," Obama said.

"In my view, there are two options - honor the results or hold new primary elections," Clinton said.

The Clinton campaign would like nothing better than to count the January election, which would close the gap with Obama considerably. But that is highly unlikely and, in fact, Florida is on the way to approving a mail-in re-vote, which would have to be approved by the DNC. Michigan's been kicking ideas around. But nothing is definite yet except the reality that this is a mess that has to be cleaned up because nothing would be worse for the party than millions of people in Florida and Michigan furious at the Democratic Party when they vote in November.