Clinton Supports Michigan Revote Proposal

Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., greets supporters as she participates in the Pittsburgh St. Patrick's Day Parade in Pittsburgh, Saturday, March 15, 2008. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster
Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton Saturday said she supported a plan being developed by Michigan Democrats to hold a new primary in June.

"It needs to get resolved and hopefully Michigan by the end of this week will have done that," Clinton told reporters on her campaign plane between stops in Pennsylvania. "I think they are moving in an appropriate direction to have a revote."

Under the plan being finalized by several Democratic members of Congress and other party leaders in Michigan, the state would hold a new primary in early June - most likely on June 3 - that would allow its delegates to be seated at the party's national convention this summer in Denver. The state Legislature is expected to take up the matter next week.

The Democratic National Committee punished Michigan and Florida for moving up their primaries before Feb. 5, stripping them of all their delegates. The two states have been struggling to come up with alternative plans, but Michigan appears closer to resolving the matter.

Clinton won the Michigan primary on Jan. 15 and has said she would like those results to stand. But Obama removed his name from the ballot after the DNC stripped the state of delegates for moving up its primary and did not campaign there.

Clinton also won Florida's primary on Jan. 29, where both candidates names were on the ballot but neither campaigned in the state at the request of the DNC.

"I feel really strongly about it," Clinton said. "The 2.5 million people (in Michigan and Florida) who voted deserve to be counted. If it were my preference, we'd count their votes but if not, then they should have the opportunity to have a full-fledged primary waged for them and revote."

Obama currently leads Clinton among overall delegates, 1603 to 1497, and his campaign has been openly skeptical of Clinton's eagerness to seat the delegations from the two disputed states. Spokesman Tommy Vietor Saturday said the campaign was open to a "fair and practical" resolution of the conflict.

"Hillary Clinton said in October the Michigan primary would not 'count for anything.' Now she is trying to change the rules and claim the votes of the primary she said didn't count should be counted," Vietor said. "We will evaluate the details of any new proposed election carefully as well as any efforts to come to a fair seating of the delegates from Michigan."

Also Saturday, the former first lady said her primary wins in big states like Ohio showed she would be a stronger candidate in the general election against Republican John McCain. Clinton has won just 17 contests compared to 29 for Obama, but her campaign has said many of the states Obama won would not be competitive for Democrats in November.

"I don't think anyone doubts that a Democrat has to have a number of the big states anchored in order to put together the electoral votes needed to win," Clinton said. "I think it is significant that I won Ohio, that I won Florida, I've won the big states that serve as anchors on the electoral map. And I also think it's significant because those states represents a much broader cross section of the voters we're going to need to win in the fall."

Clinton refused to comment on new information about Obama's relationship with Antoin Rezko, a former political patron on trial for felony fraud charges. In interviews with two Chicago newspapers published Saturday, the Illinois senator disclosed he had accepted $250,000 in campaign donations from Rezko - about $100,000 more than had previously been disclosed.

But on a conference call with reporters, Clinton senior strategist Mark Penn said the new information pointed to a "troubling pattern" of obfuscation.

"We're finding out on Rezko, much of what he said turns out to be just words as we learn more and more information," Penn said.

Obama "has talked about the politics of hope, but he has throughout this campaign launched a series of personal attacks on Senator Clinton, calling her disingenuous," Penn said. "We think now the real question before us is to Senator Obama, is, 'Will you make full disclosure of all this information related to the Rezko matter? Will you put to rest all these troubling questions?"'