February 20th, 2008
03:20 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama adviser: Our campaign has a 'wide, wide lead'

 The Obama campaign says it is nearly impossible for Clinton to catch up in pledged delegates.
The Obama campaign says it is nearly impossible for Clinton to catch up in pledged delegates.

(CNN) – Hillary Clinton's campaign said Wednesday morning that Barack Obama is the Democratic presidential frontrunner – and the Illinois senator’s campaign said the race was just about over.

The morning after Obama won his 10th straight victory over Clinton, his campaign manager David Plouffe told reporters that the New York senator would need to win massive, double-digit victories in upcoming contests to even begin to erase her current delegate deficit.

He added that his campaign's most conservative estimate for the critical March 4 contests would still leave Obama with a lead of about 150 pledged delegates. (See CNN's latest delegate estimate here)

Clinton, Plouffe said on a morning conference call, would have to win three out of every four remaining pledged delegates to begin to be competitive in that area.

“This is a wide, wide lead right now…I am amused when the Clinton campaign continues to say: Well, it’s essentially a tie. I mean that’s just lunacy,” said Plouffe. “We have opened up a big and meaningful pledged delegate lead. They are going to have to win landslides from here on out to erase it.”

Related: Clinton campaign launches new offensive on delegate counting

He said the campaign expected the negative tone of the race to increase in the coming weeks, and he accused the Clinton campaign of attempting to “rewrite the rules” because of their current disadvantage in pledged delegates, which are distributed according to vote totals.

Clinton senior adviser Harold Ickes told reporters Wednesday that he believes the New York senator trails Obama by at least 75 delegates.

Regardless of the results in the remaining primary season contests – including March 4 votes in Ohio and Texas that her campaign had called “critical” – Ickes emphasized in a morning conference call that both Obama and Clinton would need “a number of automatic delegates” to claim the Democratic nomination.

In recent weeks, Ickes and other Clinton advisers have begun using the term ‘automatic delegates’ to refer to individuals commonly known as ‘superdelegates’ – elected officials and other party leaders who are free to cast their ballot for any candidate they wish, regardless of the election result in their state, and can change their pick at any time up until the final vote.

Most superdelegates have yet to state publicly which candidate they plan to support. Since Obama and Clinton will both need to claim a majority of this group to become the party’s nominee, said Ickes, the Illinois senator’s campaign should not continue to say that the pledged delegate leader should automatically win the nomination.

Clinton currently leads Obama among this group, although Obama leads in both pledged delegates and in the overall delegate count.

But, Ickes added, "We think Mr. Obama is the frontrunner."

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
soundoff (290 Responses)
  1. Matt

    OK, Plouffe and CNN and the rest of the media who has favored Obama going back to Iowa...if he is in fact the frontrunner now, will you stop referring to him as an underdog? You cannot have it both ways.

    February 20, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  2. Jill Reynolds

    The Clinton Machine is doomed ....

    February 20, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Here in Britain

    Does it really matter?

    McCain will wipe the floor with him come November.

    February 20, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  4. Long-term Memory

    A "wide, wide lead" is what McCain has over Huckabee.

    February 20, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  5. Grif

    Obama say's! The US is for sale to the highest bid, 'come all'!
    he says and bring you children too...

    I am the Pied Piper, and we're all heading for my sea of dreams...

    way down deap on the ocean floor

    February 20, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  6. playitagainsam

    listen...... i hear the fat lady singing

    February 20, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. marge

    Unbelievable!!!! The Clintons have figured out a way to "steal" the nomination without winning the pledged delegates!!!!!

    February 20, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  8. Jason Garcia

    Mr. Plouffe might want to step away from the hubris buffet. If I recall, a candidate wins when they have 2,025 delegates, not when they have just a 150 delegate lead.

    February 20, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  9. W Johnson

    you know that your campain is in trouble when you are "pouncing" on what a Obama supporter says. When will Hellery realize that she is old news. She is a living walking breathing example of the old guard... totally tied to and funded by the special interest groups. So sad... So sad

    February 20, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  10. LisaMpls

    Glad to see so much continued arrogance coming out of the Obama camp - getting a little too comfortable.

    February 20, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. Alecki

    Maybe if CNN wasn't campaigning for you you wouldn't.

    Thank God we DONT have Universal Health care.

    I year in the senate and he's going to run the Presidential office.

    This is so sad for America.`

    February 20, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  12. Jim

    Clinton, won New Mexico.

    February 20, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  13. Stacy

    I agree. Sen. Obama has a significant lead. Also, CNN needs to report the difference between the pledged delegates and not the figure that includes the superdelegates. Superdelegates can change their minds at ANY TIME. Further, Sen. Clinton needs to stop making silly arguments because quite frankly, I can't list one accomplishment of hers. Why? Because all I hear in the news is "Clinton's behind," "Clinton accuses Obama of plagarism," "Clinton talks about a Obama backer's inability to name one Obama accomplishment," etc. All while she adds nothing to her resume. Give me a break.

    Bring your boxing gloves to Texas...

    Obama '08

    February 20, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  14. Alecki

    Now CNN start bashing him like the Clinton's and McCain will win

    The media is destroying this election process.

    February 20, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  15. Tara

    I support Obama.. but I wish the campaign would not count their chickens before they hatched.... Stay humble folks.... Hillary has enough errogance for everybody.

    February 20, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. epb

    This is not a monarchy, I have been in this coutry for the last 16 years and its been Bush – Clinton – Bush. This is not healthy politics, there needs to be a change. After this what? Jed then Chelsea, America can do better.

    February 20, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  17. Republican for Obama

    the people have spoken.

    Obama 08 :)

    February 20, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. Adam

    Beware of an Underdog Clinton!

    Hillary 08!!!!!!!

    February 20, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. isaac

    which one is causing distraction from the real issues
    whose the one planting questions for college student to ask
    whose the one who doesnt want to reveal their tax return to the public
    whose the one whose now saying barak doesnt got any quota "experience" to show on his record
    obviously her definition of experience means that anything he did before isnt worthy of acknowlegment
    she obviously challenging again change vs experience

    February 20, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Alecki

    McCain is talking expeience and the war against terrorism. He is already attacking Michelle.

    He was sitting by watching the Clintons get butchered by the media now he'll do his job attacking Obama but the experience he has as a senator and in the battlefield will only make Obama weaker.

    Thank you Obama supporters for voting for a rock star instead of a winner.

    The republicans will go into office. This was the plan dummies.

    February 20, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  21. AM

    Nobody cares that Obama's wife said in a speech : This is the first time in my adult life that I have ever been proud of my country. ??

    That's a pretty un cool thing to say...seems like the media would care about this?

    February 20, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. kathleen, illinois

    Congratulations to Obama for his win in Wisconson and
    his win in Hawaii. The numbers of voters can be credited
    to Obama. Many came out to vote for the first time in years,
    because they love Obama. The voters in Wisconsin should
    be commended for weathering the 5 degree temperatures
    the snow up past their front doors. You Winsconsin voters
    have the American spirit. And Hawaii, thank you for voting.
    This is the first time I have ever "really" been excited about
    a presidency in years since "JFK".

    February 20, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. Our future president

    Great job, Obama! Obama stole something from McCain during his speech in Houston last night. He showed a bracelet worn by a soldier who got killed in Iraq. Obama claimed that it's given to him by the soldier's mom.. How touching?!
    It's funny. I remember clearly that few days ago, McCain was showing a bracelet he's wearing during a speech and said that it was given to him by a deceased soldier's mom and said how proud he was to the soldiers who died for our country..
    Obama did it again, borrowed something from other people speech again!! He is so good at borrowing from other people. How inspiring!!

    February 20, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  24. isaac

    which one is causing distraction from the real issues
    whose the one planting questions for college student to ask
    whose the one who doesnt want to reveal their tax return to the public
    whose the one whose now saying barak doesnt got any quota "experience" to show on his record
    obviously her definition of experience means that anything he did before isnt worthy of acknowlegment
    she obviously hasnt rembered change vs experience

    February 20, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. Brian

    It would be virtually impossible for Clinton to take the lead without the superdelegates overthrowing the popular vote. Even Ohio, Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan couldn't give her the lead right now unless she wins by 20% or more, which just isn't going to happen. Sorry Hilly, say goodbye.

    February 20, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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