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. Pherr

    The DNC is not dienfranchising the voters of Michigan and Florida. The individual states knew in advance the consequences of moving their primaries up. It is the state parties that disenfranchised the voters. If the rules are not followed in the end, it will be a free for all in the future. If the rules need to be changed for the future, they need to be done after the rules are followed this time around. Shame on the state party heads for causing this problem. As you can see, the race is tight and wherever they were scheduled to primary would have made their votes heard. Also, the two states suffered economic consequences becasue the candidates did not spend the usual campaign cash on media buys etc. No one to blame but state party heads.

    February 17, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. Wendy

    Let the delegates from Michigan and florida be devided equally for fairness to prevail.

    February 17, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. Reg20032

    All you people screaming about how not counting Michigan and Florida is unfair are forgetting that all the candidates, including Hillary, agreed that the delegates from FL or MI would not count as a punishment for the primary date that was chosen. NO ONE BUT HILLARY WAS ON THE BALLOT IN MICHIGAN!!! How can you say that counting those delegates for Hillary is fair now! The best solution would be a "Do Over" for those states! Hillary doesn't want that, though, as she fears she wouldn't fair as well.

    February 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. Crystal in CA

    Florida and Michigan broke the rules in which ALL democratic candidates agreed upon prior to the primaries. They did this not Obama or the DNC. Hillary knew the rules, but decided that her majesty was above them. I think it would be unfair to Obama if they decided to count those votes. The only fair thing would be to redo the primaries. But that would be entirely too expensive. But this situation was clear from the beginning and you Hillary supporters who are trying to back Hillary up on this need to question what you stand for.

    Hillary's "win anyway you can even if it is dishonest" is disgusting.

    Rules are rules. Don't attack Obama on this even if it convenient for you.

    February 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  5. chris

    I live in Canada and have been seeing a lot that goes on, number one i think all votes should be counted. Obama should be saying the same thing about florida and michigan voters. Why would he not back the people of these two states. A true president would back all states. So if he is president I would wonder if he would really be there for all the people in the united states of america. and if it comes to the convention, superdelegates should not switch there votes. If you stick behind obama or clinton then stay on that side. dont backstab the one you voted for. Believe in your candidate. And Obama keeps saying that experience wont matter because he dont have as much. Experience is a key issue. I rather have someone that made mistakes in the past and not playing safe all the time because playing safe will get you into trouble. I would rather one comes out and said, I made many bad decisions but i learned from them instead of coming out and saying I will make mistakes but dont let the voters know of the mistakes he already made in the past. So experience is very important. I think clinton is ready to be presdient. Obama not yet maybe later. I also think clinton will do better on the war then Obama. and go have a debate Obama, thats what we need because I still dont know what change you will bring. Anyone can say change. For the voters go with what you believe in dont jump on the banwagon. Really understand what one is talking about. Some people are just really good at speaking but solving problems is a differnt story.

    February 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  6. Closely Watching

    Schumer speaks wisely when he worries about the party self-destructing if the primaries go all the way to the DNConvention. Florida and Michigan, like it or not, should not have their delegates seated. Those were the rules set forth by the DNCommittee, and ALL of the candidates agreed to that ruling prior to the start of the primaries. No matter who you fellow democrats support or believe will best benefit from their votes being counted, to change that ruling will only further split the party.

    Go back and review the posts we all have left in regard to any story that is about Obama or Clinton. Can you deny that a hatred is growing daily between the Obama and Clinton supporters...to the point where many of US (myself included sad to say) are willing to vote for McCain if our candidate doesn't get the nomination? Here we have history in the making with record turnouts, the first viable woman and African-American candidates to choose from, and a unified hatred of the Bush administration that should all equate to a landslide victory for our party. But sadly, while McCain, Bush, Cheney , Rove and the rest of the GOB (Good Old Boys) laugh up their sleeves at our expense we will, I predict, go down once again as the party who couldn't get its act together.

    February 17, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  7. JohnS

    Easy for any HISTORIAN or strong student of basic civics to reason as follows:

    The Republicans will chew and spit out Hillary within the FIRST month, if she is ever the nominee.

    At that time, Independents like me, will run back to the arms of the Republicans. When will the Dems ever learn??? Or, as the media says, most are just not learned to know the difference!!!

    February 17, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  8. anthony

    I have had it with this ! ANYONE who believe they should count the delegates of Florida and Michigan has no integrity and just plain hypocritical. The DNC said no ! so no one competed ! the delegates did not count ! Now you want to twist it by saying they should have their say after the fact, who ever believes this is SPINELESS and a cheater at heart, that is why I am now angry with HILLARY, NO ONE COMPETED WITH YOU BECAUSE IT DIDN'T COUNT, now you want to try to change the rules because you don't think you can win outright !!! you have just shown what type a person you are, SAME OL POLITICIAN. if you want to include FL and MI device a way so that it can be fair competition,but really, the rules are the rules, they were out before it began and should stay out.

    February 17, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. Louis

    So, one thing is not clear to me: when we hear that there will be 4049 delegates at the democratic convention, so that 2025 are needed to clinch the nomination, does this include the delegates from Michigan and Florida, or not?

    It shouldn't, or else the entire argument is misconstrued. If it does, then either:
    1) these numbers are wrong and the magic number is actually something less than 2025; or
    2) it will be extra hard to reach the magic number (unless the party allows the two faulty states' delegates to vote after all, or they hold another, legal vote).

    So does anyone know the answer?

    February 17, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  10. Basilynne

    Its such a funny thing that the clintons are the ones with all the negative vibes and releasing ads that are so stupid. She says that she is for the working people and for America. why then does she fire her manager when shes loosing- i though we work through things to fix them. Maybe thats how she wants to run th country, fire any advisors and people that dont agree with her. She says shes tough, lady dont confuse being cocky for confidence. Another thing, we she wins, she sticks around to congratulate but when she has lost 8 straight, she doesnt thank the people that attempted to vote for her. Is that someome who is for the american people or the Hillaryan state? Get real lady and be a lady with dignity and not fighting like a pitbull.

    February 17, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. susants

    At least someone from New York is showing some common sense. Schumer wants the nomonations sorted before the convention as his
    job as head of Senate Elections is to get Democrats elected. He does not need a brutal internecine war fueled by the to-the-death junior Senator from New York.

    February 17, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  12. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Obamabots getting all frantic again. I guess you don't realize the delegates make the rules and they can change them anytime. If Obama has the most then why does it matter ? All this garbage about rules and changing them shouldn't affect the leader right? Maybe you're just realizing that Obama is losing? If the delegates vote to seat those delegates that will mean you don't have the Democratic support to win anyway. What's the matter? You don't like voting? Or you only like democracy when it's fixed in your favor? This ain't Chi-town.

    February 17, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  13. Jim

    Obama is change, Billary is old style politics. If Billary continues to run she will become Democrats version of Huckabee, it will show her true self.

    February 17, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  14. Charlie

    Dems Unite, you are completely off base. It was the Democractic National Committee that set the rules - and one of Hillary's principal supporters, Harold Ickes, was one of the committee members who voted last fall to adopt the rule that any delegates elected by Florida and Michigan in violation of party rules would not be seated. Clinton was all in favor of that rule last fall. Now that she is falling behind, she wants to change the rules. Obama did not "shun" Florida and Michigan - he was simply following the agreement made by all candidates that they would not campaign in states that scheduled their primaries in violation of party rules.

    February 17, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  15. Margaret

    Hillary Clinton is clearly panicking. She least expected the race to go this far. She is now running out of steam. She is behaving as if the White House belongs to her.

    February 17, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  16. jrw34

    The Perfect Ticket: Billary/Rove '08

    February 17, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  17. Pat - NY

    Over 40% of the registered Democrats in Florida voted. This was an enormous turnout of voters – I believe it was the highest turnout for a primary in their history. No one told Florida voters not to vote – that's why the primary was conducted and 1.7 million of them voted. I really feel sorry for the few that didn't vote – but I will not be responsible for their stupidity. By the way – Obama was the only candidate that campaigned in Florida (TV ads) – the other candidates followed the rules. Michigan is another story – but even then, Obama and Edwards voluntarily removed their names from the ballot – they didn't have to. I'm sure something will be worked out to everyone's satisfaction – do not let the media hype turn this into another battle ground.

    February 17, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  18. SlapStick, Florida

    If Hillary keeps deceiving the public the way she is doing and playing NASTY politics she will alienate herself. She won't need the help of McCain or Obama.

    February 17, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  19. Pat, NY

    I hope the people of FL and MI don't mind being dismissed by the DNC and Obama. Did they get a vote on this rule, at least? Didn't think so. Tom, you ignorant slu-ug ....
    Ricky, shouting makes you sound even more stupid...
    Can anyone produce the recordings of all these so-called "many times" that Hillary has said she would do anything to win? (Chris Matthews saying it doesn't count.)

    February 17, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  20. sarah

    hey, all the candidates AGREED on the plan re: MI and FL, and ONLY HILLARY subverted the plan and campaigned in those states anyway.

    Whatever it takes, Hillary, whatever it takes - going back on agreements you've made, playing by only the rules that favor you - all's fair in love and war, right?

    WRONG. Why do you think people don't trust you? You care only about Hillary and power. End of story.

    Thank God there's another compelling Democrat in the race, so that we don't have to hold our noses and support you against McCain.

    OBAMA is the one.

    February 17, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  21. Oregon Voter

    Obama was wrong and naive to take his name off the ballot of Michigan, and since he was the only one to run television ads in Florida, he really shouldn't complain about the results. If he had won Florida he would readily ask for them to be seated at the convention. How pathetic. The people of Florida weren't stupid. They made informed decisions and turned out in record numbers, this doesn't mean that Obama supporters simply stayed home, it means that the primary in Florida was not only fair but relevant. The results should stand. Oh, and as far as Michigan is concerned... well, Obama can't complain about running radio ads to tell his supporters to vote "Uncommited" because that means he gets no delegates from Michigan. Stupid mistake on his part, that's all.

    February 17, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  22. Erik

    If Hillary wants the votes to count in Michigan and Florida she should be advocating that both states should hold primaries again with both names on the ballot.

    To claim that the voters will be disenfranchised if the FL & MI delegates are not counted ignores the fact that the voters were already disenfranchised because Edward's and Obama's names were not on the original ballots. At least give those states a choice before arguing that the current result is valid.

    February 17, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  23. June (California Voter)

    I don't believe it will go to the convention.
    I belive it will be decided by June.
    I voted fo Clinton now I'm for Obama.

    February 17, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  24. Sabrina LasVegas, NV

    After reading some of the post, I can't help but wonder if some of the posters are really neo-cons in dems. clothing. The DNC set the rules, so deal with them. Obama, Edwards, Dodd, Richardson and Biden have all complied, why not Clinton? Stop the tricks and let the voters, from the states that actually count, decide.

    GO OBAMA 08!

    February 17, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  25. michelle

    Everyone I have spoke to says if Obama wins – They will vote republican! At least McCain doesn't have some fascination (Fairy tale dream) that he is going to sit down and have a tea party with countries that odviously want to hurt us!

    Maybe if he ever Debates Sen. Hillary – He will tell us all what tea he intends to SERVE!

    February 17, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
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