January 19th, 2008
04:51 PM ET
10 years ago

Clinton camp worried about voter intimidation

(CNN) - As Nevada Democrats gathered for the state’s caucuses Saturday, Hillary Clinton’s campaign told reporters their supporters were worried about voter intimidation – just hours after former President Bill Clinton said he had personally witnessed voter harassment.

CNN has since projected that Hillary Clinton has won Saturday’s Democratic vote in Nevada.

“We have heard from many people on the ground over the past few days who are concerned about voter intimidation,” spokesman Howard Wolfson said in a conference call with reporters.

Spokeswoman Karen Hicks said many casino workers had thought they could only participate in caucuses at the controversial at-large caucus sites if they supported Barack Obama, and that the Clinton campaign had heard reports of confusion and voter intimidation.

Friday night, Bill Clinton told a Nevada crowd that he and his daughter Chelsea had visited a hotel, and seen a union representative trying to strong-arm Clinton supporters.

“Today when my daughter and I were wandering through the hotel, and all these culinary workers were mobbing us telling us they didn’t care what the union told them to do, they were gonna caucus for Hillary,” he said.

“There was a representative of the organization following along behind us going up to everybody who said that, saying 'if you’re not gonna vote for our guy were gonna give you a schedule tomorrow so you can’t be there.' So, is this the new politics? I haven’t seen anything like that in America in 35 years. So I will say it again – they think they're better than you.”

Wolfson did not directly address the former president’s claims Saturday. “I haven’t talked to the president since he made those comments, but it’s one I’m going to have to speak to him before I comment on that.”

And the Vegas papers haven't found any evidence of the kind of straightforward voter suppression Clinton reports. The Obama campaign has suggested the Clinton campaign file formal complaints if it has evidence.

Culinary Workers Political Director Pilar Weiss told Politico the allegations were “ludicrous.” She said the union is "aware that some workers aren't going to vote our way" and doesn't engage in intimidation.

"We have found it shocking that President Clinton has gotten so engaged in promoting these accusations," she said.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Nevada
soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Eric in Massachusetts

    Bill did not whine about rigging an election. He complained about voter intimidation. When everyone agreed 10 months ago to the "at-large" caucuses, all the unions agreed not to back a candidate. The culinary union broke that commitment. That's why the teachers union was angry about it. Understandable.

    Now, he witnesses outright intimidation and you all say he is whining?

    This is the United States, not the Soviet Union. Geez people. How liberal have you democrats become?

    January 19, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  2. Karen

    I am tired of hearing Sen. Clinton say she has done so much for the underdog in her 35 years of service. Where was this service performed and was it on the coat-tails of her husband?

    January 19, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. James

    Its all about how much money you got not what people want. sound like already been desided how is the next presedent!!?????????????????????

    January 19, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  4. Dave

    Because having a former President belittling a member of the press isn't intimidating. The Clinton's lied to us while he was in the White House, they are lying to us now so make your own conclusion as to how she will run the White House.

    January 19, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  5. Ann, MO

    St. Louis, MO-I completely agree with you, but I think the two go hand in hand. I am a white 57 year old female that was raised in NE by the most racist person that I ever met. Now I should be in the female age group that is voting heavily for Hillary, but, I spent my life raising my kids to believe that the color of one's skin is not important. The people that are older than me I feel are not quiet on that level. I think that the fact that Obama is doing so well with people under 45 shows that race is not important to them, but people over 45 have many closet racists. Although I would truly love to see a woman as President, the fact that Hillary was so willing to play the race card, (and the female card,) in the New Hampshire debate convinced me she is not the woman that we want to elect.

    For anyone that does not think that Hillary played the race card, think about it. The media had been asking about the race issue for several weeks, but it was not indicated at all in any of the polls. Hillary is one of the most experienced politicians in either primary, and the person running her campaign has even written a book about breaking areas down according to very small special interests. This was a debate, so answers are rehearsed by the politicians. The Clinton campaign knew that they had a good portion of the Black community supporting them, and they new that if she wins the nomination, the Black community would continue to support them against the Republicans. They also knew that White Americans as well as Black Americans were supporting Barack Obama in hugh numbers. They had to put a stop to it before his momentum swung too far and she would loose. They know that there are many older white closet racists in this country, so they went for that vote. This is why she was willing to make the statement deminishing the importance of Martin Luther King, Jr.

    I think it will be very interesting to see what she does with the Hispanic vote in the general election if she is forced to speak about the immigration problems in this country. Will she be willing to sacrafice them in order to win, like she was willing to sacrifice the African American vote?

    January 19, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  6. john

    It figures: Bill has to rescue his wife because he knows she can't do it alone.
    So he invents these ridiculous charges of intimidation. Bill, however, will
    do the rescuing at such a high price that it will not be worth it in the end.
    Hillary will beat Obama, but in a way that will cost her the black vote.
    The fact that she won Nevada by getting two-thirds of the Hispanic vote
    - despite the fact that the casino workers union is 60% Hispanic - tells
    it all. Just wait till the Clintons get to California where we'll see even
    more of these anti-Obama tactics. The race card is being played despite
    of the so-called truce. Then see the fur fly!

    January 19, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  7. Scott, Madison, WI

    As has been pointed out numerous times: It looks like a pretty cheap shot crying voter intimidation especially when you end up being the eventual winner!

    H'mm another backfire of the Clintonista strategy? I sure hope so, and I personally hope they get their karmic justice in the long run!

    January 19, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  8. Chrissy

    Why is everyone getting all upset. This is democracy at it's best. Come on, if Obama had won all you people that have been e-mailing ugly things at the Clinton's would have not been sending these ugly e-mails. You all need to give Hillary, Obama and John credit. These people are winner's in my eyes. They are running for the President of the United States of America. We need to give them a big round of applause instead of trying to take away what they have accomplished!!!! Wait until February 5th, that's when it will get exciting. May the best candidate win!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 19, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. Dennis

    The underestimated obama at iowa, and ran a fair election; when the discover that you cant have a fair election with him, that was the end of election for 2008, till this moment no one can tell what happen in NH; only the Clinton knows. Since then all tactics has been utilize , gender, race, fraud etc.

    Knowing that race is a factor here, the introduce it, we all know that a black president in usa is the biggest fairy tale. Obama has enormous courage to embark on this, cos the average black man has not awaken from the 2nd class status from the days of old, they are even scared to vote for him a black man, for no reason other than fear of success, they are talk about MLK, i wonder if they think that he was looking or doing the possible

    January 19, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  10. Tim O.

    Crying Bill Clinton comes to his wifes rescue again. Another broken, disfunctional family trying to fake it again and get to the White House. Loose the caring, loving attitude.

    January 19, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  11. Amy

    If the Clintons were for the people why were they trying to bounce working Americans? Bill needs to go, him angry makes him look like Rush, a FOOL. News to Bill C. we don't trust you and we know you hit the road to shake more tail.

    If they were for people of color and working Americans you wouldn't have tried to undercut their vote!!!!! I hope they don't consider this a victory because its a sham that the Clintons called from the start and a caucus they couldn't control.

    January 19, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  12. Dennis

    Bill Clinton needs to put his name in the ballot box, cos he is the candidate obviously, Hillary experience is Bill; she is ready from day one, cos Bill will tell her what to do, very simple.

    January 19, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  13. Brent

    Hilliary wins?

    Right now, both Senator Obama and Clinton are tied in delegates. In Nevada, Clinton won 13 today and Obama won 12.

    Not the decisive victory that the news media would have us believe. This race will get very ugly and very nasty as it turns to SC. Remember, this is the state that destroyed Senator McCain in 2000. I wouldn't be surprised if the Clinton campaign goes for the jugular in SC.

    January 19, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  14. aware

    Timing is important! Obama's judgment was off. He should have waited!

    The historic nature of a woman becoming President is a monumental step forward for the whole world because of the sheer historical scope of thousands of years of oppression of women throughout the world. It is undeniably far greater than the admittedly unjust and horrific treatment that Blacks have endured.

    Obama's choice to run with only two years in the Senate has divided the Dems. It would have been truer to his ideal of unity to have waited a few more years to run.
    This is not to take away from the first viable 50% African American candidate. It is his arrogant timing that is off! It is inherently divisive.

    Not this time Obama!

    January 19, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  15. Dennis

    Obama should just consider running as an independent, or get into the rigging system and rig his way; my opinion have a joint ticket with Bloomberg and make America proud.

    January 19, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  16. Obama 08

    Sure, Bill, a union rep was trailing the former President and First Daughter (and all of the accompanying media and aids and security) and trying to strong-arm Clinton supporters. Riiiiiiiiight.

    I am so sick of a political dynasty that looks us in the eye and lies to us again and again and again.

    January 19, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  17. Benjamin Armah

    The Clintons are behaving like the US were a gaucho republic. We just witnessed the wife of an ex-president beign voted to succeed her husband in the presidency. Send the Clintons to Argentina!

    January 19, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  18. Marcelo

    I'm dissapointed in the Clinton's blatent attempts to undermine other candidate's campaigns. Have they no shame?

    Can't they just run a clean and fair campaign? Will they do anything to get back into the white house?

    January 19, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  19. Steven

    This election could turn out to be a competition among some great candidates from either side but I fear we'll have to choose between Clinton and Romney. I'm Independent but have been leaning heavily Democratic this election cycle. However, if Clinton gets the nomination I'll likely vote Republican or third party (if one emerges) based solely on feeling that the Clinton's are running a dirty campaign and she is too polarizing.

    January 19, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  20. Daniel

    This wouldn't matter except come next week and for future contest, THE CLINTONS WILL HAVE ONE EXCUSE AFTER ANOTHER. Seriously, come next week, the Clintons will be complaining about something else. Every election thus far, they have complained about something.

    I no longer have respect for him or for her. This is all just silly. Oh and in case anyone missed it, the delegate count is:

    Clinton = 37

    So, the only thing this election is good for is fund raising. See, it gives her supporters hope and they come out of their wallets. Other than that, the delegate count is TIED!

    I am ashamed to have voted for Bill. I won't make the same mistake with his wife. The very wife whom by the way cannot run her campaign without his help. I don't know how anyone expects her to run the country.

    January 19, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  21. Tom Fitzgerald

    Bill Clinton is pathetic. He's a pathological liar. He'll say anything he has to to get his sorry butt back in the White House. It's time to put the Clinton's and the Bush's behind us and let Obama try to pull this country together again. Hillary may be capable of being President but she is stained by her husband just as Al Gore was.
    We need to get on a new path of reconciliation and civility within our own country so we can work together to solve problems. The Clinton's aren't the answer.

    January 19, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  22. @yahoo.com

    Lets cut to the chase here and see if we can talk Conde Rice into running. She is black and a woman what more do we want? She even has an excellant brain.
    ToEric: Clinton SAYS he saw intimidation. That is no indication that he actually saw it. The man has a notorious disregard for the truth. He'd SAY he saw little green men if he thought it would get his nasty wife a vote.

    January 19, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  23. economy

    HILLARY 2008!!!

    Did everybody forget that she is the only one with a REAL plan for the economy? Have any of you check and of the economic indicators recently? Yeah, I thought so.

    OBAMA HAS DONE NOTHING IN HIS RECORD IN ELECTED OFFICE. Hillary has been essential in transforming New York. Obama is just a pretty face with no substance. He is the MTV generation candidate. God help us all if experience and real work means nothing to America.

    We need someone who can push legislation through, and who can make a difference in (1) The economy (2) Energy Policy (3) basic research funding (4) education (5) Healthcare epidemic

    January 19, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  24. anon middle america

    Steve25 January 19, 2008 5:10 pm ET

    Republican Party would love to see Sen. Clinton win Democratic Party Primaries so that they will swift-boat ed her to the maximum.

    ^^^^^^^^^^^Brawhaaahaaaahaaaahaaahaa what else does the GOP machine have left that they haven't already thrown out?! yawn been there done that – what else y'all got.... snooze snore snort = Y'all just sore big baby losers and the GrandOldParty is going down for the count this time. Can't hardly wait for all their pointy little heads to explode in unison 😉

    If poor little Obambi were to win, the Swift Boat Ads would look like Charmin Commercials. He's NEVER won a "truly no holds barred election against the Republicans" because in BOTH the IL State Senate and the US Senate races – his opponents have either had to drop out or been under a cloud of legal suspicion or been last minute substitutes!! He was pushed into running in '04 because of all the media hype and attention. He should have listened to his innerself and not been so impatient. The old adage all good things come to those who wait - except if you're a generation x or y (or having a mid-life crisis meltdown) comes to mind.

    Then Michelle declares that if they don't win this time, they don't have enough commitment to keep trying? Isn't being the President of the United States all about COMMITMENT?? Or are they both so worried that they THEMSELVES will be so easily manipulated and jaded by the system?! Hope is what makes the world go round, but wishes don't make dreams come true. It takes tons of hard work, perservance, dedication and commitment to keep trying until the job is done right... Everyone wants a better brighter tomorrow – some of us are just more focused than others.

    January 19, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  25. Dennis

    Bill will do that, don't worry my friend, wonder who she will cry to if she got elected and be confronted with real issues; USA is a greatest nation on planet earth, needs one with good sense of judgment, cos all what you listed will be done by cabinet ministers, all those are political terms, have anyone you seen any president without advisers on all those issues?

    January 19, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
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