February 17th, 2008
12:55 PM ET
6 years ago

Clinton, Schumer differ on convention battle

Hillary Clinton said over the weekend she was 'prepared to go the distance' to the convention.
Hillary Clinton said over the weekend she was 'prepared to go the distance' to the convention.

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (CNN) – Democratic insiders worry that the party may emerge mortally wounded if this protracted nomination battle trudges on into the summer.

But Hillary Clinton and one of her top backers, New York’s senior Sen. Chuck Schumer, apparently have different feelings on whether the fight should go all the way to the Democratic convention in late August.

In Kenosha, Wisconsin on Saturday, Clinton said she was “prepared to go the distance” and make a push on the convention floor to seat the barred delegations from Michigan and Florida.

She argued that the party was benefiting from the ongoing delegate chase. It’s “part of the excitement of the American political system,” she told reporters, adding that her husband’s 1992 campaign, which endured into the summer of that year, “was fun.”

“This is a spirited contest that is bringing more people into the Democratic party,” she said. “It’s getting a lot more people interested that might not have been before. I feel good about the way this has shaped up because I have watched this for more years than some of you have, and there is nothing out of the ordinary here.”

But Schumer told NBC’s Tim Russert on Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press that the Clinton and Obama campaigns must avoid an “internecine fight that's so bitter that the other feels that they can't enthusiastically support the winner.”

He called for Clinton and Obama to sit down with the chairman of Democratic National Committee in June, after the final primary contest in Puerto Rico, to hammer out a deal before the convention.

Citing "party unity," Schumer said that on June 7th, "Howard Dean and the two candidates will have to get together if neither candidate has 2025, which is the margin that the rules require to win, and come up with a strategy."

“Each candidate,” he said, “will have to have buy into that strategy to determine who wins because, if the loser and their supporters stalk away, then we will lose the general election.”

Asked about Schumer's comments, Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said the campaign hopes the nomination will be decided before the convention, but emphasized that the race will go “as long as it takes.”

“I don’t think anyone is looking forward a convention fight,” he said. “Everyone would like us to be focused.”

– CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (164 Responses)
  1. Ted in Chicago

    Kris – I do not like the one day idea as it does not allow for much close campaigning in states – the town halls and coffee shops – but I have not great answers etither

    This front loaded with superdelegats was a solution to past problems and created its own

    February 17, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  2. Brian

    "is the DNC going to leave millions of voters from Michigan and Florida forbidden to express their votes because it is more convenient for Obama? is this a democratic attitude? If they voted, their votes should count!!!! it is impossible to say that tose 2 states do n ot exist!!!!"

    Where were you and Hillary a year ago when the rule was made that they would not count???? Play by the rules.

    February 17, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  3. Simon

    Hilary should be graceful accepting defeat. It will go a long way uniting the party thus kicking out Bush and his co-travellers out of the White house! Obama 08!

    February 17, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  4. SlapStick, Florida

    I hear Schumer and I agree that Clinton and Obama should avoid all of this rhetoric. However, he must not have noticed the latest article:

    "Top Clinton Adviser Says Superdelegates Will Decide Election, Obama’s Victories ‘Irrelevant’

    This is arrogant on behalf of Hill Bill and their campaign. Who are they paying off in advance. There will be so many favors owed if she reaches the White House, she will not have time to focus on this country and the American people.

    February 17, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. Ted in Chicago

    TOM – re Superdelegates

    I think you said – obstain round one then vote per voters next time

    NO SIR: The Superdelegates are intended to provide a solution in case of a stalemate between 3 or more candidates !! If as here there are only 2, they should abstain in the first round and at a final round support the winner of the first. AS SIMPLE AS THAT.

    IF THAT IS WHAT THEY DO – AND THAT IS WHAT THEY ARE SUPPOSED TO DO – WHY HAVE THEM? WHY GO THROUGH ALL THE TROUBLE OF SUPERDELEGATES – TO NEUTER TO THEM TO HARD AND FAST RULES THAT MAKE THEM minor non delegates?

    Get rid fo them – cool
    Keep them – cool – but then use them as intended – as a mediation group or thinking group or yes elite best thinking wise man or woman group

    February 17, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  6. SlapStick, Florida

    Hillary is taking such extreme measures all of the sake of winning. They have said it numberous of times that they will do anything. She is forceful regarding mandatory healthcare and forceful in her attempts to make Obama have debates. Hmmm can anyone say DICTATORSHIP!!

    February 17, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  7. Jack

    Vote for the person with the best ideas, not the best speechwriter.

    Why is Obama reluctant to openly discuss his ideas?

    It seems like he's trying to ride the Obama Fever that has swept the country, *hoping* that people will get distracted by his great-sounding speeches long enough so they don't really focus on asking him about his specific plans on the issues.

    It's not enough to say that you want to unite people and get everyone to come together. You have to show how you're going to do this.

    February 17, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. Tom Wittmann

    CHARLOTTE and other with similar opinion:

    CNN is certainly not biased against Hillary because if so, they would take apart the Clintons because of her declarations confessing she
    will try to get the nomination by procedures which could be called
    RIGGING !!

    TOM

    February 17, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  9. Uthea Romero

    This is so true, I have been watching CNN and they are always re-tooling the efforts to show a win win for Obama. Hillary voted 75% of the time, where were Obama and McCain? She walks the talk, talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words, Hillary does both quite well. Obama research her work and introduces them as his but takes a little off thinking he will not be caught.

    February 17, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  10. Uthea Romero

    This is so true, I have been watching CNN and they are always re-tooling the efforts to show a win win for Obama. Hillary voted 75% of the time, where were Obama and McCain? She walks the talk, talk is cheap and actions speak louder than words, Hillary does both quite well. Obama research her work and introduces them as his but takes a little off thinking he will not be caught.

    February 17, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. Linda

    If it doesn't benefit obama, then just forget it. All candidates did not campaign in Michigan or Florida and Hillary still won. Now we have our "I can walk on water Obama" saying this is not not right. The people of Florida and Michigan voted and she won. But if your not for Obama your vote should not count. He is so sweet he is starting to give everyone a tooth ache.

    February 17, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. Frank

    You know what .... from where I stand I see the party already broken. I know so may Democrats, me included, who will never vote for Hillary Clinton. If we just would have the 'regular selection' of 'politicians for sale' I may not have cared – but this time is different. This time we have a candidate that is a once-in-a-generation leader.

    If Billary smears her way into the nomination you will see pitch forks and torches in the street. I would be in favor of organizing demonstrations against Hillary Clinton if she would the nominee – I think that is a realistic scenario !

    And besides ... McCain is not the worst Republican the Republicans could have picked (Think Guiliani). So if we select Billary, I will be glad to vote for the Republicans for the first time ever.

    February 17, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Indiana Bob

    The last time voters were disenfranchised in Florida, it was by the Bush republicans. So I guess Obama is no better than Bush if he disenfranchises voters. I keep hearing that the vote shouldn't count because the candidates didn't campaign there (even though Obama did run TV ads there). So what's the problem? That put both candidates on equal footing and over 800,000 voted for Hillary Clinton – even though they thought there votes may not count. That is a lot of voters to disenfranchise. Obama supporters are using the same arguements that Bush used in 2000. Those arguements are just as undemocratic now as they were then. Hang the chads! Let's count all of the votes this time!

    February 17, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. Nick, Austin, TX

    I think it is really funny how everyone thinks CNN is biased against their candidate. I feel like I can't even watch CNN half the time because they are so, in my opinion, pro-Clinton but apparently there are Clinton supporters who feel the exact reverse.

    It is interesting in a sort of depressing way.

    February 17, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  15. Nancy

    As a Michigan resident, I'd like to point out that there are many of us who DO NOT want our delegates seated. Why? Because Obama and Edwards chose not to even be on the ballot after the DNC punished Michigan for moving up the primary. How can that be considered a real primary vote? Our choice was Hilary or "uncommitted". Lots of people didn't vote or voted Republican. If a primary were held with Hilary and Obama on the ballot, I dare say that Obama would likely win.

    You can't change the rules in the middle of the game, Hilary, just because you want to win.

    February 17, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. VP

    Jack,

    Take look at the "issues" in barackobama.com

    You will come to know if he has details or not.

    February 17, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  17. Charlotte

    I agree with Kris, this system sucks. Why can't we have one primary election, like the general election. No caucuses, just a little booth. Why do Iowa and New Hampshire get all the attention every year. At the very least rotate among the states if not a single primary.

    February 17, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  18. Sarah

    Clintons, please just go away!!!!

    February 17, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    SDs are supposed to vote as they think will benefit the Democratic party the most.

    Senator Barack Obama believes that the best idea is for SDs to vote with their constituencies.

    Hillary believes that the SDs shold vote for who they think will do the best job. What she fails to realize is that so many of the superdelegates believe that Barack Obama will do a better job and that they are not willing to be bought off by her money and phony promises. She would be in for a big surprise once all of the votes are in. I bet she thought most if not all of the superdelegates would have pledged support for her by Super Tuesday LOL!

    February 17, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. Graciano

    Party Unity is what chairman of Democratic National Committee should focus on, this could be the year that democrats award general election to Republicans without any fight except fighting each other right out of White House.

    Thank you Mr. Clinton for a wonderful 8 years now let's move on with new ideas and new administration for a change.

    The greatest country in the world needs a new face lift.

    February 17, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  21. lifelongdem

    i've supported the democratic party since before i could vote and in all my years i have never seen a standoff like this one! personally i think that hillery should stick it out all the way to the convention because i belive that she has the guts and the backbone to actually stand up to the hardline political bozo's in washington that are currently screwing up our country and that includs kerry and kennedy! i would like nothing better than to see a clinton/obama ticket but if it ends up the other way around i'll be forced to vote for mccaine and that doesn't come easy for me but thats how strongly i feel hillery is our only choice!

    February 17, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  22. Felly

    Hillary is pathetic and polarizing. She will be bad for our country.

    February 17, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  23. marge

    Bernard Mizrahi February 17th, 2008 1:57 pm ET

    is the DNC going to leave millions of voters from Michigan and Florida forbidden to express their votes because it is more convenient for Obama? is this a democratic attitude? If they voted, their votes should count!!!! it is impossible to say that tose 2 states do n ot exist!!!!

    ummm NO Bernard....try to keep up! The DNC stripped those states of delegates because they violated party rules. This decision was made before the first ballot was cast in the primary. And the 3 candidates agreed with this decision.
    The intelligent question to ask is...Does Hillary now want to "change" the rules because it's to her advantage? She had no problem with these states being stipped of their delegates until she won in both of them.
    Things that make you go hmmm!

    February 17, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  24. Nate

    If Obama is the nominee, then prepare yourselves for another 4 years of a Republican White House. He will never win.

    February 17, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  25. Ted, Florida

    If the Clinton's are so sure the people of Florida want her then let the DNC let the candidates run a proper race in Florida and let us vote or hold Caucuses..

    What happened to florida was wrong...

    February 17, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
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