January 28th, 2008
07:04 PM ET
10 years ago

State of the Union audience looking toward next year

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Many of the Democratic members of Congress convening for President Bush's final State of the Union address tonight have already weighed in on his replacement.

Of the Democratic congressional endorsements, Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York leads the remaining candidates competing for their party's nomination with 79 viable endorsements. Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois is in second with 59, and former Sen. John Edwards of North Carolina follows with 16.

Democratic congressional endorsements play an important role in a candidate's ability to secure the party's nomination, beyond any influence they might have with voters. Each Democratic member of Congress gets one vote at the party’s national convention in Denver this August, where the official nominee is elected. These are “superdelegate” votes - independent of their home state's primary or caucus outcomes, which result in the distribution of “pledged” delegates.

To win the nomination, a candidate needs 2,025 of the 4,049 available votes at the convention. There are 286 Democratic members of Congress, including territories. Of those, only 268– about 7 percent of the total convention vote - will have a vote at this year’s convention, because Florida and Michigan have lost their seats due to violations of Democratic Party primary scheduling rules.

Though there is usually a presumptive nominee by each party's conventions at the end of the summer, it’s possible the tight races between the candidates might come down to delegate counts this year.

On the Republican side, John McCain leads with 38 congressional endorsements, though GOP members of Congress do not get to vote at their party's convention this summer.

Some notable endorsements for Sen. Clinton include Sen. Dianne Feinstein and Rep. Tom Lantos, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Both are prominent members of the California congressional delegation, where the New York senator is looking to capture many of the state’s 370 delegates on Super Tuesday, February 5.

Sen. Obama has received the backing of both Massachusetts senators, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry. These two prominent members of the Senate could help Obama secure many of the state’s 93 delegates a week from Tuesday as well.

Former Sen. Edwards, who has pledged to stay in the race until a nominee is selected at the convention, has the support of the majority of his home state of North Carolina's Democratic congressional delegation. He also has the backing of Rep. David Obey of Wisconsin, chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, and Rep. James Oberstar of Minnesota, chairman of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

Next Tuesday, the Democratic candidates will compete for 1,681 pledged delegates across the country, which will help determine the eventual nominee in August.

- CNN's Adam P. Levy
soundoff (85 Responses)
  1. Dan

    Did any of you watch how much the Congress applauded during the St.o.t.Union!!??
    I want to puke.
    Brainwashing at its finest!

    January 29, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  2. joel samuel

    some uniter, obama. first he disses fellow dem clinton, then pres bush. so who does he unite? i'd like to know. fellow voters – dont get seduced by the fine orator that he is. remember one has to govern in actions not prose, nor present votes.

    January 29, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  3. Frank D

    Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton....and things are degenerating badly...is there no other person capable if leading this country? Is America blindfolded?

    January 29, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  4. Washington Democrat

    CNN- Based on several complaints, you don't seem to be posting many people's statements and yet you post Mr John Williams from San Diego,Ca's ridiculous post?!!! Pathetic...

    January 29, 2008 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  5. veronica lynne

    Interesting that Hillary has more congressional endorsements than Obama (79 to his 59), but you'd never know it with the over the top coverage given to the new inexperienced kid on the block–Obama!
    Go Hillary. The nomination will be yours!!

    January 29, 2008 03:33 am at 3:33 am |
  6. Paul C

    I'm just looking forward to being rid of Bush and his gang.
    They have been an unrelenting disaster and we will be paying
    for their blunders for generations.
    We need a Parliamentary form of government so we can have
    a vote of no confidence and get rid of the bums right away.

    January 29, 2008 04:11 am at 4:11 am |
  7. Jgian

    Sure wish we lived in a democracy where each individaul vote counted.

    January 29, 2008 05:27 am at 5:27 am |
  8. dont censor me , bro

    not another count

    January 29, 2008 05:36 am at 5:36 am |
  9. luke

    United??? :

    There is a simple reason that Senator Obama is not standing and not applauding with the Republicans. He doesn't agree. That in no way shows an inability to unite. It does, however, show conviction. He is a diplomat by the way. Not physically reacting to ideas that he cannot verbally rebut makes him nothing less.

    January 29, 2008 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  10. Lee

    You are right Marilyn – CNN does not portray anything related to Hillary in a positive light.

    I have been watching and reading CNN for a long time and just in the past couple days have scooted over to Fox. On Fox, they related positive and negative news on both candidates.

    Hillary deserves some positive coverage as well. They cant even make the headlines read positive and the cafferty files which I enjoy – have turned me off – on yesterdays board there was 2 negative questions about hillary and 2 positive ones about Obama.

    Its sad how the media can skew the results – thats not how it is meant to be.

    I am still voting for Hillary! She is the one with experience to deal with these tricky times.

    January 29, 2008 07:27 am at 7:27 am |
  11. Christina

    I have to agree with a few of the comments on here regarding Obama's ability to "unite." He couldn't even face Hillary to shake her hand. Instead, he turned away. What does that say? He's a "uniter?" Who is he uniting? The Obama supporters? The left of the left wing? I'm still trying to figure out who he is "uniting?"

    January 29, 2008 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  12. Jay

    I don't know where the writer came up with the 480 Democratic members of Congress..... There can't be much more than 280 Democrats in Congress!

    January 29, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  13. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    Beth ....you are most definitely in the dark.

    Nanacy Pelosi...and Dick Cheney both recieved a printed transcript of the President's State of theUnion Address.

    I'm sure she was trying to follow the speech–as both she and Cheney are behind the microphone speakers–they probably have some difficulty hearing–unlike the rest of the audience in the house.

    Ridiculous tirades–from people–who cannot appreciate the diversity and strength of our national values–to overcome minor political disagreements–make me wretch.

    I'll be so happy–when real American values finally evolves within some of the angry and narrow-minded citiziens in both parties of our nation.

    January 29, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  14. Jen, Boston MA

    State of the Union up my as*. No one gave a dam* about what the monkey had to gibberish or what his media servants had for spinning.

    January 29, 2008 08:49 am at 8:49 am |
  15. Saint Paul

    What happened to our Republic? All these so called leaders we should FIRE!! Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton, I cant take it anymore!! This is crazy.

    January 29, 2008 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  16. Jen, Boston MA

    Ted Kennedy is politically secure enough to "go out on the limb" to endorse Obama against the democratic party machine that backs Clinton.

    But mark my word, the machine (which has been in bed with the
    Bush/cheney/rove unholy alliance of theocons, corpocons, and neo-cons) will come out in full force to brand Ted Kennedy as " symbol of male-chauvinistic old boy politics." Yes, NOW is an integral part of that alliance.

    Ted Kennedy's endorsement has provided some of much-wanted political substance for Obama's rhetoric of hope and change.

    Thanks Senator Kennedy, you're the man.

    January 29, 2008 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  17. Allison, NH

    Last nights State of the Union was another annoying BORE!! Out of his 50+ min. speech, he talked about the economy probably 10 min. and the rest was his usual crap on terrorists/Iraq/Iran....I think he might have mentioned the housing market what – once...maybe, twice?

    I'm so glad this was his last big speech to us...too bad he didn't take the opportunity to leave it on a positive note...just more of the same ol' same ol'.

    January 29, 2008 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  18. Rob

    If Obama were a white male at the same age, with the same abilities that won SC by that margin and had gotten endorsed by the Kennedys 2 days later, he would be ahead in the polls by 15%.

    January 29, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  19. Allison, NH

    Beth – you are an idiot. Every person in that room got a copy of the State of the Union address and she was simply reading along with President Bush. If you happened to watch the whole thing, the Bush cronies were having their copies signed by him on his way out of the room. Get a clue.

    January 29, 2008 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  20. Taylor

    Hey CNN, how about giving Clinton some headlines about her leading congressional support. And does the name John Edwards sound familiar to you? Last time I checked he was still in the race.

    January 29, 2008 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  21. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    BETH: What you called a "novel" is the program of the president's speech given to all attendees and that's what Nancy Pelosi was reading as many others. Perhaps this is your first time watching the State of the Union address maybe next time you can have your poem published in the program to give Mrs. Pelosi something worth reading.

    January 29, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  22. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I would have liked if Bush didn't appear to want to laugh at what he was saying. He had a goofy grin on his face during much of the speech. It seemed that Pelosi really wanted to get this over with, but who can really blame her.

    It was clear that there was much in the way of partisan politics going on that night. Bush, who claims to be a conservative, said many things and only part of Congress stood up. I find it absurd that now this president demands that Congress control itself on earmarks and budget pork. Where was this when his friends who claim to be fiscal conservatives when this happened? Oh, that's right... They were the ones putting that kind of thing into the budget which Bush signed.

    January 29, 2008 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  23. Georgene Sloat

    Will somebody out there please discuss what is O'bama's background. What has he done? What would make him a good president?

    January 29, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  24. charlotte

    Watch the TODAY show if you want answers to tough questions. Ted Kennedy and Barack Ophama were on this AM. Hillary was on yesterday. Matt ask the questions we all want answers to. The questions are not sugar coated. Get your news from NBC or MSNBC. The answers are subject to our interpretation. Kennedy was put on the spot about how Ophamas healthcare is different from what he has lobbied for. How he could betray the Clintons who have stood by him in difficult times? Matt asked Ophama about his supporters putting out negative information. His answer was very evasive. Clinton was asked tough questions regarding Bills' actions in her campaign. The News, without pundents telling us what to make of the answers.

    January 29, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  25. charlotte

    The above comment will probably not get posted because it is not recommending CNN for honest questions.

    January 29, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
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