Clinton Says Michigan and Florida Should Count

Hillary Clinton

hide captionHillary Clinton applauds at a rally at Temple University in Philadelphia on Tuesday. The state's delegate-rich Democratic presidential primary is April 22.

Jemal Countess/Getty Images

The Obama Interview

Allowing the results of Michigan's Democratic presidential primary to count wouldn't be fair, and do-overs in that state and in Florida wouldn't be realistic, Sen. Barack Obama says in a separate interview on Morning Edition.

Hillary Clinton

hide captionHillary Clinton is introduced at a campaign rally at Temple University in Philadelphia on Tuesday.

Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images

Hillary Clinton says the results of Michigan's Democratic presidential primary should count, even if Barack Obama's name did not appear on the ballot.

"That was his choice," she says in an interview with Steve Inskeep. "There was no rule or requirement that he take his name off the ballot. His supporters ran a very aggressive campaign to try to get people to vote uncommitted."

The states of Florida and Michigan were stripped of their delegates when they defied the rules of the national Democratic Party and moved up the date of their primaries. Clinton remained on the ballot in both states, while Obama stayed on only the Florida ballot.

Neither candidate was supposed to campaign, in accordance with the Democratic National Party's wishes.

Clinton tells Inskeep that the Michigan and Florida pledged delegates should count because both are seen as key battleground states in the general election.

But if the national party does not agree, she says, the states should re-do the primaries.

"If there is to be any difference between my proposal that we count these votes and any other course of action, it should be a complete re-do of the primary and nothing else is fair," she says.

The Role of Race

While race inevitably has emerged as a campaign issue, Clinton says that she wants the Democratic presidential campaign to be about the candidates' records, experience and positions on the issue.

A Clinton fundraiser and supporter, Geraldine Ferraro, told a California newspaper last week that Obama was doing well in the primaries only because people were fascinated by the idea of an African-American candidate. (Ferraro stepped down from her role on the Clinton campaign Wednesday, after this interview was taped.)

Clinton says she rejects Ferraro's comments.

"This is a historic candidacy for both of us. It is an unprecedented experience for Americans," she said.

Shared Ticket with Obama

"People talk to me all the time as I travel around the country about how they wish they didn't have to choose between us," Clinton says. "I think we're just going to proceed through these next contests and see who ends up with the nomination, probably in June that will be resolved. Then, one of us will have the duty and the responsibility of picking a running mate."

Clinton first introduced the idea of a shared ticket on a TV morning show on March 5, following her victories in the Ohio, Texas and Rhode Island primaries. (Obama, however, is expected to win more delegates than Clinton from Texas, since the state has a dual primary-caucus system).

Clinton says she sees herself as the more qualified candidate to take on the presumptive GOP nominee, Arizona Sen. John McCain, who she says will make national security a centerpiece of the general election.

"I believe that I am better positioned based on my experience to go toe-to-toe with Sen. McCain," she says.

Foreign Policy Credentials

On the campaign trail, Clinton has touted her foreign policy experience and told NPR that she has represented the U.S. government in more than 80 countries, including working in Northern Ireland.

She explains that she went there with State Department officials, as a part of the team that included principal negotiators who were under the authority of her husband, former President Bill Clinton.

"I wasn't sitting at the negotiating table, but the role I played was instrumental," she tells Inskeep.

The Role of Superdelegates

"We'll wait and see where the voters go," Clinton says, when asked if she thinks the superdelegates should follow the lead of the popular vote. "I want to see what happens in Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico, Michigan and Florida."

Superdelegates are the roughly 800 free agents of the party, who can support either candidate regardless of the popular vote. About a third of these are members of Congress, who thus far have split evenly between the candidates. Most of the rest are members of the Democratic National Committee, who thus far have favored Clinton.

"With all due respect, we have to look at who can anchor the states we need to win in running against John McCain," she says. "He will be very competitive in states like Florida. We have to ask ourselves as Democrats, 'Who is the person best able to defeat John McCain?'"

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