February 17th, 2008
12:55 PM ET
12 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. Jahlisa

    It is completely RIDICULOUS to think that hillary would expect Michigan and Florida to have their delegates seated at the convention simply because it favors her. Those states went about their primary scheduling in the wrong way! Whose fault is it that some idiot running their state decided to push their dates up??? If politicians cared about rules and weren't so concerned with flipping issues to work better for them we would have a much better government. But unfortunately that has never been the case. It would be a terrible injustice and lead to a flat out CIVIL WAR in the Democratic party should hillary get her way. Rules are rules and they knew what the rule was before they made that dumb decision!

    February 17, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  2. Osama_Obama2008

    What a dirty trick....Republican wants Obama win for Democrat... So the race to White House will be much easier for them.... Media companies give Obama free rides because most of media are owned by Republicans. Obama's supported from Republican because they can kick Obama's butts much easier than fighting with Halary…. At the end no way Obama will win for president….. wake up American…

    Your brothers are proud of you, Obama…You make us gain respect with entire world….
    Your bros,
    Osama-Obama 2008

    February 17, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  3. Grif

    Keep the smile on your face: Hillary... You will need it for the next:

    Four Years – Plus!

    February 17, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  4. Richard

    Rules are made to be broken, that, unfortunately is a rule of life.

    That being said, the question I ask myself is: Can the Obama delegates support Clinton or the Clinton delgates support Obama.

    Well, if the Obama supporters feel like the superdelegates stole the nomination from Obama...then hell no

    I don't think the democrats can win this. The Clintons are going to fight and get down and dirty and it will turn off the electorate.

    Can you say President Mccain

    February 17, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  5. Steve

    FL and MI were warned in advance that if they moved their primaries up, their delegations would be deleted. They did it anyway. They bought this on themselves, they have NOT been disenfranchised. And Hillary agreed to it previously!

    Now that the race is closer than she expected, she is flip-flopping.

    The Clintons are dirty politicians who will do and say anything to win. They have no morals. These are the people you want in the White House, again?

    February 17, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  6. Debra

    Could it be that the Obama babies' belief in his non-stop jabberwocky is wavering? It seems they want to cry wee-wee in the hopes of ending the promaries before all of the states have had the chance to vote. Let everyone vote, then let them cry wee-wee all the way to the convention.

    February 17, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  7. Tim - Texan

    An AC Anderson & Cooper Challenge – (By the way, thanks for hosting the delicate subjects on race, gender and politics.)

    I would like to see you examine the effects of the press coverage on the Democratic race for over the past month and a half. Surely the newscasters would have to admit they openly supported Obama (often with STARry eyes) not only by their words and actions but also their bold headlines. Discussions and headlines about Hillary were often caustic, negative, jeering, and half true. (This happened on CNN as well as the other major networks. I have read enough comments to know that many others have felt the say way.) Some of us believe this media hype has directly influenced voters preferences. Personally, I believe we are reaping what you have sown and I do NOT like it!

    In an election, the press has a responsibility to present information and ideas about each candidate's strengths and weaknesses. This media tool is powerful and should not be taken lightly. Who knows how this election might be shaping up today if the media had not given Obama favorable coverage for so long while giving Hillary negative coverage?

    February 17, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  8. Philip, NY

    CNN stands for Clinton Nomination Network!
    Who else would ask " which do you like more pearls or diamonds?" in a presidential debate and at the last debate CNN allowed Hillary to freely adverstise.

    **You need a medical help if you think CNN is for Obama. LOL

    February 17, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  9. Anthony

    The same Obama supporters saying Michigan and Florida shouldn't be counted because "those are the rules" are the same ones saying that Clinton would be "rigging" the nomination if she operated by THE RULES to secure the nomination at the convention. You can't have it both ways. Both candidates knew the rules before running, whether or not we believe them to be unfair is irrelevant. If that's the general conclusion, then we need to change them before the next election, but we shouldn't equate following the rules to "rigging," Tom.

    The only fair way to settle the Mich/FL debacle is to hold new primaries in those states....not caucuses because that would be changing the rules...those states operate on primaries, but should require a do-over so that both names can be on the ballots and both can campaign in those states.


    February 17, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  10. Alice

    I personally feel totally betrayed by the DNC – I live in Florida, and my vote was stolen once before; but I wasn't surprised at that point, because what else can you expect from the Republicans? Also, Jeb Bush just happened to be Governor of Florida at the time, and we all know how the Bushes stick together (Daddy DID help Jr. during Viet Nam and his DUI, and we are currently in Iraq because Jr. was ticked off that Saddam wanted to kill Sr.)

    But for MY OWN PARTY TO STEAL MY VOTE????????????

    I have news for you, DNC – maybe my vote for Hillary didn't count, but if Barack gates the nod, my vote AGAINST the Democratic Party in November (the first Republican vote I'll ever cast) WILL!

    I'll vote Republican just to get even!

    February 17, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  11. mel

    Harold Ickes and The Clinton campaign are still pushing for delegates from Florida and Michigan to be counted at the convention cheaters cheaters.Harold Ickes said some 1.7 million Democrats voted in Florida and their voices should be heard, what about the voters who didn't vote because of the rules he himself voted for. He knows if there is a do over she may not win. Grow up Ickes your looking like a 3rd grader.

    Top Clinton Adviser Says Superdelegates Will be the ones that will decide the election and that Obama’s victories shouldn't even count. That's not hepling matters. If Obama has more votes and they don't give it to him. I will with many others stage a protest vote, knowing that McCain will only have 4yrs and Obama can come back and take it all.

    February 17, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. Roger

    This is to Ricky. Hillary did not run in 2004 because she had pledged to the citizens of New York that she would not run until after her first term as their Senator. And if Barack Obama want's to change the rules concerning Superdelegates to help him win then why can't Hillary counter that with FL & MI. Anyway this will all be mute when Hillary wraps up the nomination anyway in June.

    February 17, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    How can we seat delegates from Michigan who were given a ballot without one of the 2 candidates name on it? Barack wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan. Hillary doesn't want Michigan's voice heard, she wants her uncontested delegates. If Michigan's voice is to be heard, then give them a choice. if you give the people one choice and then call that an election... well, that is how Saddam Hussein won elections, that is not democracy.

    February 17, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. marge

    ((Charlotte))) is CNN responsible for the voters supporting Obama?
    Stop the whinning.....This nomination was practically "given" to Hillary from day 1.....No one expected these primary's to be competitive.
    Now she's BEHIND with a uphill fight to win 3 states by LARGE margins, just to stay in the race.
    The problem Hillary has been around for 20+ years,maybe based on their knowledge of her, she has more negatives than Obama!

    February 17, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  15. Kerrie

    As a Democrat that will vote for which ever candidate is eventually chosen, I would think that this is a good time for Obama to walk the walk and do what he has been talking about. Allow the votes from MI and FL to count. If they had record turnouts, everyone voted that was going to anyway. Do these Americans not matter to him. If he wants to change the bureaucracy of government, show us. Show that he is more concerned about hope for all and doing what is right and not caring about if it might give him less delegates. It will go to DNC anyway. If he fights this, he is just as bad and superficial as all the other politicians and there will be no change.

    February 17, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Bill Clinton all but destroyed the Democratic Party during his presidency, now Hillary is attempting to do the same by seating delegates from Florida and Michigan. Hillary should be dropped from the democratic ticket because she disregarded the rules of the DNC. Why isn't the DNC pushing for this, are they so afraid to challenge her on this or are they just going to let her make the rules for the DNC. If Hillary succeeds over what the DNC rules are, then count me out of the democratic party. It's not about Obama or Hillary winning, for me it's about integrity and honesty.

    February 17, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  17. John Goodrow

    I have watched this constant battle between the Clinton and Obama supporters for a while. I think that both candidates have merit. The danger that they both face is that if this becomes a messy battle at the convention, then the supporters of the losing side will sit out the general election, thereby ensuring the victory of McCain

    February 17, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  18. monica

    CNN You are censoring my comments again!!!!

    February 17, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  19. bfcalifornia

    Who in the Democratic Party decided to disenfranchise Florida and Michigan voters? Was it party people who are also likely to be super-delegates? How can you logically support not letting the superdelegate thing just play out but also not support letting the vote of the people in Florida and maybe Michigan count? We either allow non-democratic practices or we don't. Maybe I'm just too logical for politics.

    February 17, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  20. Garnett

    Why are the Clintons changing the rule to win. They all agreed that the delegates in the Florida and Michigan primaries would not be counted but now that she finds herself behind she wants them counted and I agree with her. After politics is a dity business!

    Billary 08.

    February 17, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. marge

    "pd February 17th, 2008 2:12 pm ET

    Absolutely right Charlotte!! I caught the same thing. It is absolutely ridiculous. Hey, CNN, if you want to do something really novel, start scrolling these posts on the bottom of your screen, so all the viewers can see that we are calling you out on it everytime".

    What does "your" calling out CNN do to change anything???
    Fact is Hillary is behind! Fact is she is ready and willing to "steal" the nomination if she has to. Fact is she thinks she's above following the rules set forth by the DNC..
    Calling out the media,is stupid! It's YOUR candidates willingness to "win at any cost" mentality that's ridiculous!

    February 17, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. Pamela Robinson

    Hey Wisconsin and Hawaii Voters.....listen to what i have to say.......As a man, I am stunned by the lack of support you ladies have for one another. This election has got to be one the most important elections in American History and if I were a female who had to “put up with” everything that MEN have dished out to you, I would vote for the first chance I got at putting a female in the Oval office. You ladies finally got the opportunity to have a female elected into the oval office and yet you do not support one another. It amazes me.

    February 17, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    In Florida all candiadtes were on the ballot, no candidate went into Florida to campaign and only Obama had ads that were seen on Florida TV or Cable.
    The voters went to the polls and had the opportunity to vote for any of the candidates their selection should stand.

    February 17, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  24. s.positive

    She will NEVER and I mean NEVER be norminated. Case closed.

    February 17, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  25. Herb K

    Why is the Democratic Party always self destructive. In 2000 they selected Lieberman for vice-president. He looked like a woos in the debate with Cheney. In 2004 they selected John Edwards for vice-president. He couldn't win his own state and if he ran for re-election to the senate he would have been trounced. Now there is a possibility to nominate a novice who beat Alan Keyes for the senate by 30 points. I could beat Alan Keyes by 40 points. You have in Hillary Clinton a brilliant candidate who would make an outstanding president. Men are intimidated by strong women. I am one male who is not. Democrats don't screw it up again. The Republican attack machine is in full mode ready to pounce. Your countries future well-being is at stake.

    February 17, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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