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Blanchard: Obama Took Himself Out of Contention in Michigan

INSIDE THE RULES AND BYLAWS COMMITTEE MEETING -- Sen. Barack Obama (Ill.) made a voluntary decision to remove his name from the Michigan primary ballot and must now live with the consequences, according to former governor James Blanchard.

Blanchard, who is tasked with representing the views of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) in front of the Rules and Bylaws committee today, argued that Obama was under no duress from any outside body -- either at a federal or a national level -- to pull his name of the ballot.

Obama made his choice just as Clinton decided to remain on the ballot, and, as a result, the votes cast should be entirely recognized in the decision over how to allocate the state's delegates. Such a plan would give Clinton 73 delegates to 55 for Obama.

Blanchard also said that Michigan's primary must find a way to count the state's votes or run the risk of losing the state in the fall. "We need a nominee of 50 states not 48," he said. "Michigan is a critical state."

Worth noting: A new independent poll showed Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) ahead of Obama 44 percent to 40 percent in Michigan. Sen. John Kerry (Mass.) won the state in 2004 with 51 percent.

By Chris Cillizza  |  May 31, 2008; 2:19 PM ET
Categories:  Eye on 2008  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Bonior: Split Michigan 50-50
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Where were Hillary and all her supporters on the DNC last year when the Michigan issue was first addressed? As I recall they all voted to penalize Michigan by not counting the primary and by not seating the Michigan delegation at the Dem convention. Let Michigan solve its own problems! Hillary and your supporters stay out of Michigan politics!

Posted by: Michigan Voter | June 1, 2008 12:43 PM | Report abuse

The DNC should stand on one thing. The law is the law no going back.Clinton can not set up another rule for her self simply becouse she is losing. She has to wait for another eight years.Obama should never, never alloud party officials to push him chosing Clinton as his V.P remember, you can not tell the heart of a man by face construction.Two captain,in one ship ends up in confussion.

Posted by: eric | June 1, 2008 4:41 AM | Report abuse

Clinton has flouted or played loosely with the rules in a desperate effort to win the primary contest! There is good reason to believe that if she ever made it to the White House she would be no better than George Bush in infringing on the rule of law.

Time after time, she has demonstrated a serious character flaw which most Americans find objectionable in a leader - trustworthiness.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2008 8:10 PM | Report abuse

Blancard or whatever his name is called is fraudulent and his argument is baseless.Have they remembered Florida and Michighan all along no?now they are losing its being remembered,shame on you hillary and co.Remember that you signed,hahahahaah.You are a failure and will continue to fail.Its either 50-50 or no count in michighan and florida.When i look into hillary's eye,all i see is lie and deceit,Obama must win the nomination no matter the pranks you, Bill and co are playing,you are in for a failure.


Posted by: Chukwuka | May 31, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse

"Blanchard...argued that Obama was under no duress from any outside pull his name of the ballot. Obama made his choice just as Clinton decided to remain on the ballot, and, as a result, the votes cast should be entirely recognized in the decision over how to allocate the state's delegates."

EXCUSE ME - But the DNC was crystal clear in their statement to the Michigan Democratic Committee. If you vote early, your delegates WILL NOT BE COUNTED.

Michigan CHOSE to hold the election early. Obama didn't make that decision; he just played by the rules and focused his attention to ELECTIONS THAT WOULD BE COUNTED. I guess it shows that he is NAIVE TO BELIEVE CLINTON WOULD PLAY BY THE RULES, TOO.

Now that she is trailing, she wants the vote counted 'in the name of democracy'. What a JOKE. The only thing bigger than her EGO is her sense of ENTITLEMENT. What is worse is how poorly she has handled this defeat. There is nothing worse than a loser than a sore loser.

As for Obama, I'd watch my back. I hope (for his sake) he doesn't consider her for veep. To do so would be to sign his own death certificate. She would stop at nothing to become president. A large number of people who crossed the Clintons are now pushing up daisies -- enough to say its more than coincidence.

Posted by: Win at any cost! | May 31, 2008 7:03 PM | Report abuse

"Obama made his choice just as Clinton decided to remain on the ballot, and, as a result, the votes cast should be entirely recognized in the decision over how to allocate the state's delegates. Such a plan would give Clinton 73 delegates to 55 for Obama."

I guess the same could be said to the Michigan Democratic Committee. They were told that if they held the election as planned, their votes WOULD NOT BE COUNTED.

Michigan was under no duress to hold the election when they did. They knew the penalty was they would be stripped of their delegates -- yet they held the election.

To count ANY votes from Michigan is punishing Obama because he played by the rules. The DNC clearly stated their position - they vote would not be counted. While it is a HUGE disservice to the voters of Michigan, that is something they need to take up with their election committee.

So if you want to use the 'duress' test, then DON'T COUNT THE MICHIGAN VOTE AT ALL.

Playing by the rules is not 'pick and choose' where you can only play by the rules that will do your candidate good (unless you are part of the Clinton camp; as shown by Bill as President and by Hillary today -- they feel they are above the rules).

DISCLAIMER: At the start of the election, I was torn between Clinton and McKean. But I have been very unimpressed by the desprate measures Hillary has gone to in justifying her position. She's been caught in a number of 'exagerations' and 'less than honest' situations. Even the manner in which Florida and Michigan are handled changed. At first, not counting them seemd to be in her favor -- so she was for excluding the vote. Now that it benefits her, she wants them ALL for HER.

As a result of her 'WIN AT ANY COST' mindset (I mean, who really needs the truth???), I will NEVER cast a vote for her.

Posted by: Disbelief | May 31, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

What many are not realizing is that the pledge was not to "participate or campaign." I believe that leaving your name on the ballot is "participating." Why no one is making this argument baffles me.

Also, Hold_That_Tiger is absolutely correct: polls mean nothing until the choice is between TWO candidates, not three.

Posted by: trumandem | May 31, 2008 6:40 PM | Report abuse

I was never an Obama fan at first (I liked Richardson and Edwards) but Hillary has made me one. She expressly told the people of New Hampshire that Michigan would "not count." She NEVER would have won New Hampshire if at the time it voted she had been actively petitioning the DNC to reward states that moved their primaries up to compete with New Hampshire's. For her to now waltz around the country claiming that she deserves ALL the delegates in Michigan and Obama deserves none is breathtakingly hypocritical, opportunistic and wholly unprincipled. And her comparison of the Florida/Michigan primary mess to elections in Zimbabwe makes a mockery of the hundreds of individuals who have lost their lives to that brutal dictatorship. As if that wasn't bad enough, she has the gall to compare herself and her supporters to civil rights marchers in Selma who were bloodied and beaten by police batons. The only silver lining in her insulting and borderline delusional rhetoric is that she has completely destroyed any possibility that she will ever (a) be chosen as Obama's running mate (b) successfully run for president again or (c) be majority leader in the Senate. Here's to Chuck Shumer living to be 120 and Hillary being the junior Senator from New York for the rest of her life.

Posted by: SP | May 31, 2008 6:21 PM | Report abuse

Polls mean diddedly-squat at the moment, and will lack any true meaning until Mrs. Clinton hauls herself and her humongous ego out of the race, until then Johnny Freeride enjoys the luxury of throwing VP fishing shin-digs at one of his 8 or 9 houses, and can make preposterous claims about troops being drawn down to pre-surge levels in Iraq at his leisure. He is also currently free as a bird to shape the Political dialog to play to what he thinks is his strong suit, Foreign Policy (I happen to think that his Foreign Policy sounds like Bush redux), and is able to avoid any talk of his "plan" to fix our failing economy since he knows that his proposals, so imitative of Geo Bush's makes no sense.

I also find it ironic that Blanchard blames Obama for the mess in MI...WTF? He blames the candidate that respected the rules set by the DNC, and Mammouth Ego Clinton may benefit by NOT playing by the rules? What kind of BS is this?

Fortunately Obama has a comfortable lead and can afford to humor Clinton up to a point, and unless Mrs Clinton is willing to explode the party, she will be forced to come to terms with her loss soon, and will hopefully get back to her Day Job where she can do some good.

Posted by: Hold_That_Tiger | May 31, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Obama just cannot man up when it comes to consequences for his own behavior!!!!

MAN UP OBAMA! It is just like that vile Michael Pflegger....another one of your Marxist-based Liberation Theology you and Michelle had one heck of a belly laugh over his vile comments!

Obama sent Pflegger to Iowa to work for him..............these anti-whites are outrageous scum bags....LOW LIFERS!

Clinton OR McCain in November

Posted by: Steve | May 31, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

Aspergirl, your response to my statement doesn't add up. People don't all bother to go vote for elections that don't count. No point in being on a ballot that even Hillary Clinton said wouldn't count. People who didn't vote because they believed it wouldn't count weren't heard, but I guess you don't care about them.

We all thought it wouldn't count. But when CLinton is losing, she wants to change the rules and make it sound so unfair that the voters are disenfranchised. No one knows what the vote would be if the voters thought it would count.

Posted by: In Disbelief | May 31, 2008 4:40 PM | Report abuse

If Blanchard's argument holds, why would Obama get 55 delegates, without his name having appeared?

Posted by: How Come 55 for Obama | May 31, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

Message to increasingly poor and hapless Americans -

1. RULES are for suckers - agreeing to them and then changing them mid-game is the NEW WAY.

2. If you cannot win on merit, whine, backstab, spread rumors / untruths until victory is yours.

3. Threaten to scuttle the ship if you are not made captain. That shows your deep love for the ship.

These edifying precepts (and I could go on) will do wonders for our society and economy. Talk about a LEGACY - without even becoming the president.

Posted by: Orion | May 31, 2008 4:26 PM | Report abuse

"How do you count a contest where everyone was told it wouldn't count?"

The Obama supporters keep saying that the primary was "flawed" because all the candidates weren't on the ballot. But it was Obama's choice to take his name off the ballot when he couldn't campaign in the state. As Blanchard said, it wasn't the primary that was flawed because Obama's name wasn't on the ballot, it was Obama's strategy to take his name off the ballot that was flawed.

The relationship in voting in Primaries is between the voter and the state party. Whatever rules dispute exist between the state party and the national party, has to be worked out between the state party and the national party. It's not the voter's job to insert themselves into the dispute by choosing not to vote because they're counting on the state to not work out the rules dispute with the national party and they're too lazy, disinterested or busy to participate in the election.

If a voter skips the primary, because he or she is counting on the state not working out the rules dispute with the national party, the voter has to own their lack of support for their preference. No one has the right to argue that the vote of their neighbor shouldn't count because the neighbor participated in the state process.

Basically, if the voter skips a primary, because they are expecting the state to not work things out with the national party, he or she opts out of the primary. They can't make the primary not count for everyone in the state who did participate.

Those people who skipped the primary also skipped voting on all the state and local issues that were on the ballot. The most involved and informed voters were the ones who showed anyways. All those people who did vote were the most motivated ones.

You don't void a popular election process on account of the fact that a lot of the most lazy or uninvolved voters skipped it, silencing the votes of the most involved and informed voters.

Obama's supporters are so hypocritical on this point.

Posted by: AsperGirl | May 31, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

As an unabashed Obama supporter, I believe this is the one move he made during the primary season that was a clear misstep. Taking his name off the ballot was a pander to Iowa and New Hampshire (for which NH rewarded him with a slap down, while giving the victory to the woman who ended up not supporting their right to primacy - ironic, eh?) and I agree he should pay the price. Clinton should get her delegates and the undecided people should be truly undecided and up for grabs for any other candidate besides Clinton - since they clearly didn't vote for her. Since he is the other candidate still standing, they should go for him, but he should have to ask for their support rather than assume it.

Posted by: Chuck | May 31, 2008 4:12 PM | Report abuse

As usual for Post coverage of the election, the Fix omits some important info unfavorable to Obama that is particularly relevant to the R&B committee meeting today when he mentions the fact that McCain currently outpolls Obama in Michigan.

Michigan is one of those many critical states where McCain is being Obama but Clinton is beating McCain.

From Gallup:

"Thus far in May, Gallup has found Clinton leading McCain in these states by six percentage points, 49% to 43%. McCain holds the slight edge over Obama in these states, 46% to 43%. Thus, as of today, Clinton is clearly the stronger Democratic candidate in this cluster of states where she beat Obama in the popular vote."


In general, the Washington Post is not covering the story of how, in head to head, state by state polling and projections, Obama is shaping up to lose the general election to McCain whereas Clinton is shaping up to win against McCain. This is the story that Bill Clinton complained this week that the pro-Obama media is ignoring.

For an in-depth review of the statistics about how Obama loses to McCain now, see "The Argument for Nominating Clinton" by Lanny Davis.


Posted by: AsperGirl | May 31, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Steve said: "Clinton OR McCain in November"

You're an idiot. Those two candidates are nothing alike.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

How can you defend this stance? Reward Hillary for keeping her name on the ballot, and then insist that the delegates count for her because Obama had the chance to cheat in the same way, and he didn't. Idiotic argument. A clear sign of desperation.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 31, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Friday, May 30, 2008

When it comes to the economy, 47% of voters trust John McCain more than Barack Obama. Obama is trusted more by 41%. The latest Rasmussen Reports telephone survey also found that, when it comes to the War in Iraq, McCain is trusted more by 49% of voters. Obama is preferred by 37%. McCain has an even larger edge--53% to 31%--on the broader topic of National Security.

Who do you trust more on the economy?
John McCain 47%
Barack Obama 41%
Not Sure 12%

Who do you trust more on national security?
John McCain 53%
Barack Obama 31%
Not Sure 16%

Posted by: The Wiser Voter | May 31, 2008 3:47 PM | Report abuse

The only problem with this tack is that Hillary agreed to the penalty for MI and FL that was meted out by the DNC. She said, "It's clear, this election they're having is not going to count for anything," in January during an interview on New Hampshire Public Radio's call-in program, "The Exchange." (link)

She agreed that any delegates she got would not count, and that was her decision. She could have decided to fight it, but did not.

How is it that her decision is to be ignored but Obama's is not?

Posted by: Noonan | May 31, 2008 3:45 PM | Report abuse

Attn: Ep Thorn

What took you so long to change your mind on Hillary? We've decided many months ago that Obama is a Flawed candidate with a Flawed Strategy and therefore with Flawed Results and BOGUS claim to win the nomination.

HE is FRAUDULENT CANDIDATE with practically different and opposite records of what he represents as a viable and legitimate alternative candidate for this election.

Posted by: The Wiser Voter | May 31, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

How do you count a contest where everyone was told it wouldn't count? Blanchard is twisting things to make it seem like a legitimate election. Candidates took their names off the ballot because it WOULDN"T COUNT! If it were going to count, and candidates took their names off, then they would have to live with that. How would anyone know in advance that when told it wouldn't count that it actually would?

Posted by: In disbelief | May 31, 2008 3:42 PM | Report abuse

What's up in Michigan? The polls say that McShame has a 4% lead over Obama, but McShame said to the voters, "TOUGH" when asked about jobs leaving the state. Whereas Obama made sympathetic utterances when asked about jobs. Voters don't seem to vote for their best interests, just because Obama is black.

Posted by: Roofelstoon | May 31, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse


Because a few algebra folks realize that unless everyone was voting for Chris Dodd, those who voted against Clinton were realistically voting for Obama, despite not being able to write that on the ballot.

Of course, we can eliminate the problem entirely by not seating anyone based on that ridiculous primary, which was exactly what was supposed to happen. Michigan voters, throw your state representatives out and stop whining.

Posted by: Sam P. | May 31, 2008 3:18 PM | Report abuse

Clinton's arguments over MI are so baffling, so hypocritical, so downright asinine that I decided two days ago I will never vote for her again- either for president or for the senate in NY. Anyone that can make such a ridiculous argument seriously needs to be a dictator of a banana republic or a republican strategist.

Posted by: ep thorn | May 31, 2008 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Can somebody tell me how Obama would get 55 delegates from Michigan when his name wasn't on the ballot??????

Posted by: James Ross | May 31, 2008 2:57 PM | Report abuse

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