January 23rd, 2008
02:37 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama campaign registers formal complaint over Nevada

(CNN) – Barack Obama's campaign has filed a formal complaint with the Nevada Democratic Party Wednesday over allegations of irregularities in Saturday’s caucuses in that state – “violations” they blame on Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

“I am writing to request that the Nevada State Democratic Party conduct an inquiry into an apparent and disturbing pattern of incidents reported at precinct locations throughout the state during the January 19 Caucus," the Obama campaign’s general counsel, Bob Bauer, said in a letter to State Party Chairwoman Jill Derby.

The complaint includes material Bauer claims was sent out by the Clinton campaign that includes the line: "It's not illegal unless they tell you so."

"This certainly suggests that, for the Clinton campaign, the operative standard was, simply and only, what it could get away with," Bauer wrote.

In his letter, Bauer says the campaign has received reports of more than 1,600 complaints, including reports of voter obstruction and early door closings, many of which came in through a special hotline set up by the campaign.

He said the Obama camp is not challenging the Nevada outcome, but is requesting an official inquiry into campaign tactics by Clinton supporters in the state.

The Clinton campaign has also complained of alleged voter intimidation by Obama allies during Saturday’s Nevada vote.

“The reality is that the Sen. Obama's allies engaged in intimidation and strong-arm tactics against our supporters at their workplaces and at caucus sites. And they ran outrageous, false and offensive ads against Sen. Clinton,” Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer said in response to Bauer’s complaint.

“Sen. Obama lost and now his campaign is acting out.”

Hillary Clinton won the Nevada caucuses, though Barack Obama captured more delegates.

Obama complaint (pdf)

UPDATE: Clinton campaign counsel Lyn Utrecht sent Derby a letter late Wednesday detailing a long list of allegations against Obama supporters in Nevada, including "systematic corruption" of the state's caucus procedures and "voter suppression and intimidation."

"This letter is not intended as a response to the Obama campaign's letter," wrote Utrecht. "However, in the interest of a complete record" the Clinton campaign "wishes to bring to your attention information we have received evidencing a premeditated and systematic corruption of the party's caucus procedures."

It also states that the Clinton campaign supports an inquiry into events surrounding Saturday's vote.

Clinton letter (pdf)

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
soundoff (491 Responses)
  1. Ryan

    We can say the Clintons are "going insane".........who is going to stop this?
    This is only benefit the Republican party .
    Can someone in the Democratic party stop all this lies? Enough is enough.

    January 23, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  2. Joey

    very SAD on Obama's part. Hillary 08

    January 23, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. James Brown ( Independent )

    If the Clintons are involved , you can bet that there is illegal activity in the area.

    January 23, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  4. Greg in OH

    Trever,

    It is not whining if it is true. Obama campaign has documentation, where they have the Clinton's actual memos. So he should just ignore someone cheating?

    January 23, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  5. MARY-ANNE

    AS LONG AS THIS COUNRTY WILL GIVE THE CHANCE TO CHEATERS... THERE

    WILL BE NO JUSTICE OR EQUITY IN AMERICA.

    OBAMA FOR JUSTICE AND EQUITY FOR ALL AMERICANS

    OBAMA 08

    January 23, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  6. Robin

    I agree with Joe. I wrote a comment in support of Hillary and it never got posted, then disappeared. More partisan reporting?

    January 23, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. Joe Boston, MA

    Obama get over yourself! You lost in Nevada period. Let's move on. I can't wait for South Carolina to be over so I don't have to hear anymore crap about the race issue.

    If anyone should be upset at this point is Edwards...the white guy! He's been put in the background by the media because of race and gender.

    January 23, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. J-IA

    Dream version of the Clinton response: "If irregularities occurred at any caucus location by any campaign, it is imperative that those be thoroughly investigated, in order to ensure clean and fair elections nationwide. We will, and certainly expect that the Obama campaign also will be glad to cooperate."

    January 23, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  9. Eeeeer!?

    If he'd won Nevada, you can bet your bottom dollar that he wouldn't be making any complaints. In any case what is he whining about? He got more delegates didn't he...? What a cry baby!

    January 23, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  10. Patch

    Actually, I think this is a good thing to investigate. So long as it makes for better caucuses in the future. The letter even states on page #1 that an investigation isn't intended to call for a change in the Nevada results. Hardly a "crybaby" action.

    Upon reading the entire .pdf file, it seems to me that there's a legitimate concern to be reported. It's just unfortunate that it's being done by only one campaign and not by all three leading Democratic campaigns.

    Page #6 is particularly awful. Please, people. We're in the same party after all.

    "Try to exploit the fact that the culinary union supported Obama over Edwards... target Edwards people."

    Disappointing.

    January 23, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  11. lora jensen

    Sen. Clinton won the Nevada Caucus. Sen. Obama did NOT win more delegates. Delegates are not decided until mid April.

    This has been pointed out to you several times and yet you continue to say that Obama won more delegates.

    January 23, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  12. Dale

    If the complaints are true then Obama isn't whining and the folks saying he is are just hypocrites who are willing to look the other way when laws are broken. What we are seeing is a pattern of abuse, lies and divisiveness from the Clinton campaign that will either sink them in this primary or the Democratic party in the general election. All the GOP will have to do is point out how nasty Hillary has been during our primary to raise Hillary's negatives rating a few more points. Add voter suppression to all the other Clinton baggage the GOP will bring up and Hillary is doomed. Especially if McCain is nominated.

    January 23, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  13. Chris

    I just love how everytime one of these stories pops up, the HRC supporters use that "crybaby" attack against Obama. If he can't "handle" the campaign now, how can he handle the presidency? Well, he IS handling the situation by attacking the Clintons and pointing out their dirty tactics. What is he supposed to do– nothing? That makes absolutely no sense. What really gets me is that I'm sure everyone throwing out these Obama attacks on this board are HRC campaign workers in one of her offices repeating the same attack theme. I would like it if CNN traced the comments to an IP address and found out how many of these comments are from campaign offices.

    January 23, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  14. Jason

    #1. Any state that holds a caucus is stupid. Caucuses are stupid, undemocratic, and disenfranchising.

    #2. I'm so sick of Barack Obama. Every election he has lots his supporters blame it on fraud. They say New Hampshire was a fraud, and now Nevada. Get over yourselves, its possible for him to lose.

    #3. Obama is a hypocrite. He rails on Rudy Giuliani for running on 9/11. All Obama is running on is his 2004 convention speech. That's the only thing he includes in his ads are excerpts from that speech. The man is not qualified.

    #4. OBAMA IS NOT KENNEDY. People talked about Kennedy's lack of experience...and he was in Congress for 14 years! That's a lot more than 3 years. And at the age that Kennedy was being a war hero, Obama was doing coke. (oops, I'm gonna get called a racist by obama supporters now because I said that)

    #5. I am a lifelong Democrat. If Obama gets the nomination, I refuse to vote for him.

    January 23, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  15. km

    IF YOU WATCHED CNN IN NEVADA YOU CAN SEE THE OBAMA SUPPORTERS TRYING TO STRONG ARM THE OTHERS IN CEASARS PALACE. ALSO, WHY WANT HE ANSWER QUESTIONS? HE NEVER ANSWERED HILLARY OR JOHN AT THE DEBATE WHY HE VOTED PRESENT SO MANY TIMES.

    January 23, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  16. not a republican

    I don't want to offend people, but if you heard Obama's statement about Reagan and still think he was praising Reagan's policies, you are simply not understanding what he said. Yes, he did say that the Republicans were the "party of ideas." This means that they were the party with an ideology - a conservative ideology very much in opposition to what the Dems stand for, but you cannot deny that the Republican vision in the past couple of decades has been far more unified and influential than that of the Democrats. Historians will tell you that the Reagan presidency WAS far more transformative that that of Carter or Clinton - this is not praise, but a historical fact . Think about it - Reagan so unpopular with liberals precisely because of what they perceive as the negative impact of his presidency. The Black Plague was also transformative; that doesn't mean that to say so is to praise the Black Death!!!

    Please folks, enough with the narrow-minded attacks. Democracy requires an involved, informed citizenry. We all have an obligation to seek the truth about these candidates, and make the most responsible choice. Vote for whomever you think will be the most honest and competent leader. But make that choice based on their records / past performance, not on advertisements. It's propaganda, and you'd be foolish to trust it.

    January 23, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  17. VICTOR @NJ

    OBAMA SUCH A BAD LOOSER.

    SO MUCH FOR THE IMAGE OF A UNIFYING CANDIDATE ACROSS POLITICAL LINES. HE CAN'T EVEN UNIFY HIS OWN CAMPAIGN STAFF AFTER HIS POLITICAL DEFEAT BY A WOMAN.

    BIG TALKER = BIG LOOSER.

    LET'S GET TO THE SUBSTANCE. MR. OBAMA THE AMERICAN PEOPLE NEED CONCRETE SOLUTION OR PROPOSALS TO OUR ECONOMIC, NATIONAL SECURITY & SOCIAL PROBLEMS. ENOUGH OF HOPELESS POLITICAL PROMISES.

    IF YOU CONTINUE CRYING THIS WAY TO EVERY PUNCH YOU RECEIVE, HILLARY CLINTON WILL CONTINUE PROVING TO BE THE THOUGH AND EXPERIENCED CANDIDATE OUR COUNTRY NEEDS

    January 23, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  18. Maxi

    Anne Amore: Your statment can be turned around. If Obama is not clear enough in his statements, they can certainly be misunderstood (on purpose or not) by foreign leaders and we could end up in another foreign policy disaster. Say what you mean, and mean what you say, and above all BE CLEAR, don't expect people to fill in the blanks or guesstimate what you really mean.

    January 23, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. peggy

    come on ,stop this fighting.show me what you will do for my country.

    January 23, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    I absolutely love politics but I think this is getting a bit overdone. Look, one of these two people are going to be the democratic nomination. Its unfortunate that the process has come to this. It is surprising, that the Clinton's for so...many years, complained about how they were being treated by the republican party. It would appear that they've learned the strategy well because it is the same strategy used on Mr. Obama. Secondly, it would behoove Mr. Obama, to send his surrogates out to address the attacks that are being levelled against him by the Clintonian machine. Don't win the battle, Mr. Obama (south carolina) only to lose the war (the presidency). Speak of hope and change, your vision for america and for our party. Speak of health care, the economy, Iraq. You cannot lose when you focus on what matters to all Americans. Thank you for you service to this country and go on with the business of making america better.

    January 23, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  21. Ryan

    This is not just "crybaby" actions on the part of Obama. Read the reports, these allegations are for some pretty despicable things. If these things actually occurred they really do need to be investigated.

    And besides, the post clearly states that Obama is not seeking a review of the result, just the tactics, so he's no sore loser.

    January 23, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  22. Nik T, Houston, TX

    Whine, whine, baby Obama! Call Clyburn and the Mayor of Atlanta to defend him!! This minor-leaguer has no idea how politics work. Whining is not a sign of a good leader! If you don't agree with the attacks, set them straight, don't whine!

    January 23, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  23. Amy

    Don't we already know that Clintons are shameless? The power, not the well fare of people, has always been their ultimate goal. They are fighting for the last chance of salvaging their legacy. They will leave a legacy – the Clintonism, that is, always deny one's own faulty and balme others for worng – in history!

    January 23, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. therealist

    "It's not illegal unless they tell you so." -HRC

    Priceless!!

    January 23, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  25. ring

    Bill wants to go back to the white house by all means. it doesn't matter to him evenif by dirty tools, or the party is divided. i don't see a future for this Counrty what so ever. if Hillary is elected, American will see old fight of 90s with Repub. again.

    January 23, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
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