February 13th, 2008
12:10 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama, McCain camps say opponents can't catch them

 The Obama campaign said Wednesday it's nearly impossible now for Clinton to finish with more pledged delegates.
The Obama campaign said Wednesday it's nearly impossible now for Clinton to finish with more pledged delegates.

(CNN) – As the all-important delegate chase continues, the campaigns of presidential frontrunners Barack Obama and John McCain argued Wednesday that it was now just about mathematically impossible, or already so, for rivals Hillary Clinton and Mike Huckabee to capture their parties’ presidential nominations.

On a Wednesday morning conference call with reporters, Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, said that the Illinois senator’s own sweep of Tuesday’s Potomac primaries had made it “next to impossible” for Clinton to capture the Democratic nomination.

The most recent CNN count of Democratic delegates puts Obama ahead of the New York senator, 1,215 to 1,190, a gap of just 25 delegates. That includes both pledged delegates who are distributed proportionately according to election results in their state, and unpledged superdelegates who have made their presidential preference known. Superdelegates are free to cast their vote without regard for the primary or caucus results in their home states.

This cycle, the party’s nominee will need to capture 2,025 delegates. The campaigns of both Clinton and Obama have said that, whatever the upcoming results, both are planning to stay in the race through the national convention, when delegates cast their votes.

But the upcoming primary calendar, said Plouffe, offers Clinton little chance to recover the lead. “The only way she could do it is by winning every contest by 25 to 30 points. You amass delegates by winning by big margins,” he said.

He said that scenario was unlikely, since Obama had won 14 states and the District of Columbia by more than 20 points, while Clinton had won just two states by similar margins. And polling in the upcoming, delegate-rich contests of Ohio and Texas – which the Clinton campaign has said are “critical” – show a far narrower race in both states.

If she does not regain a lead in pledged delegates, she would need to capture an overwhelming majority of superdelegates in order to become the Democratic nominee. Plouffe argued that is unlikely, since superdelegates have begun to say publicly they are reluctant to overrule the results of the pledged delegate count coming into the party’s August convention.

The Clinton campaign has said that the leader in pledged delegates will not necessarily be the party’s nominee, as superdelegate votes have equal weight in the Democratic nominating process. The campaign has also said they will fight to seat delegations from Michigan and Florida, which were stripped of their voting privileges for violating party rules in scheduling their presidential primaries.

Clinton was the only major Democratic candidate to appear on the ballot in Michigan, and she won the votes in both states. On Tuesday, NAACP Chairman Julian Bond also called for the Florida and Michigan delegations to be seated at the Democratic convention.

In a campaign memo sent to reporters, McCain Campaign Manager Rick Davis said the Arizona senator’s wins in Tuesday’s Potomac primaries in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. had put the presidential nomination out of reach for Huckabee, saying that the former Arkansas governor needed more delegates than the number up for grabs in the remaining GOP contests.

Davis said there are only 774 delegates available in remaining votes. According to the latest CNN count, Mike Huckabee has 217 delegates – leaving him 974 votes short of the party’s requirement of 1,191. McCain currently has 812, leaving him just 379 delegates short of the mark.

McCain, the likely Republican nominee, won all three contests Tuesday night – but dealt with another uncomfortably close race, as conservatives flocked to Huckabee in Virginia. The senator has struggled to win over his party’s conservative base for much of his presidential run.

Huckabee has said he is committed to staying in the race at least until one of the candidates actually reaches the required mark of 1,191.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (355 Responses)
  1. Mark - Las Vegas

    Obama – You're a loser.

    February 13, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. Johnson

    There was no direct quote in this entire article. I would like to know where Obama's campaign has said that. They should not be looking forward to the nomination and i do not believe that they are looking past the states that are coming up in the next few weeks. I would like to see proof that Obama's campaign had actually stated that fact before things get out of hand in the comments.

    February 13, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  3. Kevin,FL

    Hillary Clinton will still get the nomination! dont underestimate her!

    February 13, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  4. Pia,NJ

    Even if Florida and Michigan are counted in, Obama keeps the lead.
    Hillary is toast, maybe even Texas toast, lol!
    Go Obama!

    February 13, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  5. Damian

    Obama's people are such chumps.

    David Plouffe suddenly thinks that with a 25 delegate lead that Obama is now the presumptive nominee! Funny he wasn't saying that about Hillary all time she lead (until yesterday) by a larger margin! LOL!

    I would advise Mr. Plouffe not to count Mr. Obama's eggs before they've hatched, cause Hillary is still in a position to run off with the basket.

    February 13, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  6. empire

    The Democratic National Committee created rules for the nomination process. All the Democratic candidates promised to abide by those rules- including Hillary Clinton.

    When Mrs. Clinton agreed to the Democratic party rules, she must have been lying, because now she doesn't want to follow those rules.

    If superdelegates go against the wishes of actual voters, the Democrats will lose in November.

    February 13, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  7. June for Hillary

    One of the pundits on MSNBC finally told the truth last night. He said every time he asked Obama's supporters to name one of Obama's accomplishment in the past that earned their support, those people just said "ugh,.." couldn't name a thing!That should tell you what kind of supporters Obama has. So sad. I am scared for the future of our country. Eight years of Bush is bad enough, we cannot afford to gamble for another four years. Please be practical and come to your senses and vote for Hillary who has solid plans, policies and goals to bring our country forward!!

    February 13, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  8. rabblerouser

    Well, after the media has indulged in a relentless smear campaign against Hillary Clinton, is it any wonder that their sanctioned candidate is now winning?

    Yesterday I heard Michelle Obama was being compared to Jackie Kennedy because she wears pearls and has a similar hair cut. Do people really fall for this, I ask myself? Apparently they do. If we can't really vote for a candidate based on the issues and if we are so stupid to allow ourselves to be manipulated by the media, then we deserve all the misery we get.

    February 13, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. Ron, TX

    All of the people asking what Barack Obama is going to change? Open your eyes! He's -already- changed the game! You have record breaking fundraising happening all over the place, Republicans and independents swooning over a democrat, young people -actually- voting, people -actually- realizing that Washington doesn't have to be a big sessepool... he's got Hillary scared to death of going negative and he's got her fundraisers walking on eggshells.

    Wanna know what he's going to change? Start listening to what he says! Your lack of education on the subject is growing tired. Nobody likes a broken record, especially when it's a bad track.

    Ethics reform, iraq, governmental transparency, energy reform, health care, foreign policy, diplomacy, etc etc the list goes on and on. You Clintonites harp that he's all talk, and then turn around and criticize his ideas in the very next sentence. Grow up.

    February 13, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  10. JohnS

    Ofcourse, I want my "boss" to make me and my coworkers "feel good and hopeful." I do not care about someone's wealth of experience, I want someone who
    1. believes in me
    2. makes me "feel" good
    3. makes me feel hopeful
    4. brings all (or most) coworkers together to GET things done, and
    5. has good "moral judgment"
    6. challenges me to be the BEST that I could be

    that person, for now, is Obama!

    Experience is NOT enough to make me go back home, after work, to my family!!!!

    February 13, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  11. Joseph

    If Obama continues to sweep for the remainder of February, Hillary Clinton should do what is best for the party and the nation and respectfully bow out of the race.

    Ohio and Texas will not be enough for her to recapture the delegate lead or more importantly the popular vote.

    I think she should bow out today, but when has she ever done anything that's in the best interest of the American people?

    February 13, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  12. Cent Cal

    Don't get cocky David Plouffe – you should continue to be running as the underdog. Whoever wins is going to need to pull the other side in else into supporting their nominee. Being cocky won't help bring in Clinton supporters. Women won't like that. Plus it is not over yet.

    February 13, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  13. miss

    I get so tired of people saying that Obama doesn't have experience. What president has experience when he becomes president? Duh!!

    February 13, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  14. blkjazz

    Julian Bond was right in 1968. He is wrong in 2008.

    Hillary Clinton should do the right thing and quit now. If she really cares about the party and the future of this country, then she should embrace the movement for fundemental change. Barack Obama is a once in a lifetime kind of guy. He is the one we need now. Omaba is clearly the best educated and brightest of any of the contenders. He is living proof of the American Dream. We can do this.

    Yes We Can

    February 13, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  15. Howard Hewlett Des Moines IA

    I love Obama and I hope he wins but, I am worried about those comments. It is that sense of arrogence that is killing Cliton. I don't want to see it infect him too.

    February 13, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  16. Get America Back On Track

    Let's not get too ahead of ourselves, here......there are still states in America that have yet to vote, and this sort of talk would be a terrible INSULT to them, like the action of disenfranchising their vote.........it is all of egotistical to call the race when there are so many voters yet to have their voices heard; this is akin to recent-years past media coverages that have called political races at mid-day in some states, when voters had not even had a chance to go vote at the polls.

    I'll bet this blog does not even get posted, because it says the truth.

    February 13, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  17. Texas Latinos for Obama

    It is worth noting that the Hillary camp has told the press that they don't believe they can catch Obama in the pledged delegates, but they want to be within 30 point at the end of this race. The people has decided! Obama has the most states, the most delegates and the most votes.

    Obama 08'

    February 13, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  18. HRC4me

    He is ahead by 25 delegates! What is he talking about?! Maybe some of the superdelegates that she has supporting her are also considering her lead in Florida where all of the names were on the ballot and she won readily! They may not be able to have pledged delegates to speak for them, but that is no reason why the superdelegates cannot take their vote into consideration!!!! Wake up America what the Obama camp is saying is not true.

    February 13, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. Sara

    Obamas true arrogance showing through again.....

    February 13, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. Annamica, OH

    Talk about jumping the gun. The man is only 25 delegates ahead of Clinton. He's starting to sound more like McCain saying Huckabee doesn't stand a chance, except McCain's statement makes a lot more sense.

    February 13, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  21. Kat Williams

    Good God! This egomaniac MUST be stopped. Come on people wake up. Do not let your voice be swept away by this wave of rhetoric!! Stand up for the best candidate-Hillary.

    February 13, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  22. Rob

    Its over for Hilary..once the Convention gets here and Obama still leads...the democratic party will put perssure on Hilary to drop out of the race so they can get ready for the general election between Obama and McCain and her ego will be put to the side to unite the party as they go after the white house...she put ll her eggs in big states and it failed...if Obama steals Ohio or Texas that will be the end of her run for president..

    Obama 08

    February 13, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  23. Carressa, Florida

    CNN your title is very deceptive to the reader who may not have watched the whole speech at the end. I watched it and Obama never said those words about not being able to be caught. What him and his camp are saying is that they have not ruled out Hillary because they know that she has been around for a while. Please report what is actually said and not your interpretations. You have done this with Hillary as well and it is just not fair to any of the candidates when you do that.

    February 13, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  24. lsd saint

    Regardless of the eventual winner. lets get behind the nominee and support her/him.

    Both are excellent leaders and will serve us well.

    February 13, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  25. Michael

    Maybe you should start using you sermons to state actual policies and facts. I was going to vote for you, but I took the time in the last couple of days to find out what you were all about.

    I cannot get over some of the false statements you stated against Senator Clinton at your stump speeches. I visited your website and hers and read everything you stated which was false to her record.

    Maybe it would be a good idea to run on your record and not make false comments about the other candidate to boost your numbers.

    February 13, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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