February 20th, 2008
03:20 PM ET
10 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. Bubba

    Yes, this is so sad for America, we had a complete moron with years of experience who got in the white house, with his CEO side kick, and they have done SO much for this country and put us in such a great position. Yes how terrible it would be to have a leader whom we would respect, admire, and is intelligent. What are we thinking??

    February 20, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  2. Seth

    Check your facts, please. Barach Obama has been a U.S. Senate member for over 3 years now.

    And please don't call Mr. Obama arrogant. He and his campaign are just responding to the slew of negative ads from Clinton that have become commonplace in the Democratic race these days.

    It's pretty clear to most people which candidate wants to make real changes and help everyone (hint: Obama) and which candidate feels she is destined, or that it is "her turn", to be President (I don't think I need to give any hints on this one).

    February 20, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  3. Corey, Maryland

    Works for me!!!

    Obama Richardson 08!!!!

    February 20, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. Taylor

    Although I had been an Edwards supporter since 2004, I liked both Obama and Clinton. But the last month I've really started to dislike Obama. He's so arrogant I can't stand it. I think I'll be voting McCain in November.

    February 20, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. England Endorses OBAMA

    Life is determined with the choices we make, Americans are choosing a bright future and we all need to rally around this great movemnet to change the way the world sees us. I love the Clintons but they are making themselves look bad in the eyes of the world and America. We should rally around Obama and leave out negativeness. We have had too much scratches and scrapes. Cmon America. Bring in the Independents, Republicans and lets change this Country for the Future. Clinton and Obama 08

    February 20, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. Red

    Oh, but it was perfectly okay for the Clinton camp to proclaim that she was the frontrunner, back when she was? Perfectly okay for HRC to claim her husband's presidential experiences as her own? Get a grip, people, and stop looking for the antichrist in every single statement.

    Oh, and you wish you had Universal Heath Care. The Oregon Health Plan was the blueprint for this, and I had it back in the early nineties. It was great, and covered my entire pregnancy. I paid 10 bucks an office visit. Doesn't get much better than that. I have my own coverage now, and no longer need that type of service, but millions of Americans do. So speak for yourself, okay?

    February 20, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. Dems Divided

    I guarantee that should the unthinkable happen, within two years of his presidency you will be hard pressed to find anyone who will admit to having voted for him and those that do, will do so with a large amount of shame.

    Unfortunately, by then it will be too late. The kool aid will all be drunk and we will all be paying the price.......

    February 20, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  8. Pointing out the truth - not negative!

    Texas – Ohio – Pennsylvania and all the remaining states:

    Senator Obama is willing to disenfranchise millions of voters (Michigan and Florida) for his own political gain! Otherwise, Senator Clinton would be ahead

    Senator Obama is proposing millions be left uninsured under his proposal and saying that Senator Clintons will garnish wages...read hers for yourself – get informed. He is misrepresenting her proposed policy!!!!

    Senator Obama has personalities like Oprah stomping for him with comments like 'he is one of us' thereby creating a devisive Democratic Party.

    Senator Obama does not represent the policies of the Democratic Party!

    And for those who think Senator Obama did a great Economic speech………may I please refer you to Senator Clintons Economic package proposals of August 2007 and December 2007 – eeeccckkksss and 'opps, he did it again'………

    took the stuff right from Senator Clinton! Playing 'follow the leader' again……..Senator Clinton is the leader!

    Anyone who does not believe me – go read it for yourselfs! Get informed – not just one sided! One sided always means that everyone has actually missed the other side. One sided means that no one has any basis to compare. One sided means that the choice to remain one sided is just plain dumb! Get smart...vote smart...vote on issues not hollow words!

    February 20, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  9. Jordan

    Hillary would just lose to McCain anyway. More than half the country hates her anyway, so what is the point of even nominating someone who would just lose? Government healthcare is EXTREMELY unpopular to the Republican camp, and believe it or not, they are still about half the country.

    Thankfully we finally have someone who will work with both sides to make this country better instead of tearing it apart. If Hillary gets nominated I move to Canada.

    Obama 08!

    February 20, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  10. Educated Voter


    Arrogance is not stating FACT.
    Arrogance is being way down on pledged delegates AND the overall popular vote, and staying in the race with little to no chance to win.
    Arrogance is having someone in your own campaign..two actually..start to say maybe it's over and Hillary should protect her good name instead of going negative, and then ignoring them and continuing to try and find a way to cheat to win (FL & MI).

    February 20, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  11. Barbara-California

    Maybe sad to the above writers, but the fact another Union just endorsed Obama for President really closes the door on Clinton this morning.
    sI for one, a Republican Woman, who has always held the party line in my vote, will have a tough decision to make if the two candidates are McCain and Obama in November this year.

    One party is for continued strong relationships throughout the world, the other candidate gives hope for future for more "user friendly" relationships with countrys we need to have as North American allys in these troubled times.

    Which way to vote will more then likely be a hard decision of most voters in November, no matter to which political party one belongs.

    February 20, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  12. Kirk

    Obama is TY....TI....TL.

    Too Young.... Too inexperienced... TOO LIBERAL.

    If obama win this nomination then I say go McCain

    February 20, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  13. EJ

    I'd rather see a campaign go confident than go completely negative, like Clinton's.

    And what's truly sad for America is what we'd be getting from McCain - four more years of the same. That would be disastrous. Makes sense he starts attacking Obama. He would love to face Hillary, as she would help him unite conservatives.

    Obama '08

    February 20, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  14. AW

    To the above posters, Obama has more elected experience then Clinton, get off your hight horses. Being the wife of a president doesn't make you a good leader. Hillary's biggest accomplishment before joining the Senate was running a Universal Healthcare proposal into the ground while the Dems controlled Congress. Her lack of ability to compromise ruined any hopes of Health Care for the last 15 years. Her lack of ability to compromise and reach accross the aisle is what's dooming ruining her in this election

    February 20, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  15. Dave Colorado

    It ain't over till the fat lady sings......

    I remember when Tom Brady and the Patriots were saying the same thing.

    Confidence is important. Wait till the Republicans get a hold of Obama.

    Saint Obama no more.

    February 20, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  16. Annis Whitlock

    In my opinion if the one to be nominated to run for President for both parties is being pretty much picked by these state primaries then why isn't is that all states must have the primaries to choose. As far as I knkow kn Kentucky we don't have a vote in what is going on right now and I think this is a very important time. Each citizen should a say in who they want picked to run for President not just some states.

    February 20, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  17. Paul T

    It's unfortunate that so many people take such a negative approach to life when things don't go "their way". They would be better off learning how to accept reality. And this would also be best for our country.

    February 20, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  18. Josh

    Mrs. Clinton?!?.....Err Um.......It is the heartland calling......

    It appears you are being handed your hat!

    February 20, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. Christopher

    What is it with Senator McCain addressing a handful of senior supporters in hotel ballrooms.

    What does he think this is? A bingo tournament!

    Let him know that it's going to take much more than tough talking to capture the presidency.

    February 20, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Emagine that. Two woman crying over fat butt buck tooth Hillary.
    You know the candidate with the froven helmet looking hair.

    You know the candidate, the one that charges the seceret service $10,000.00 a month to stay in their guest house and protect them from us big bad americans.
    Oh that's right, the mortugage payment on their $5 Millon dollar estate is $10,00.00 a month and Tax Payers are paying for it in FULL.

    You two snivelers were so busy crying and complaining you forgot to mention that. Or the fact the Hillary stole the Abraham Lincoln China from the white house when they were last there and the secret service had to retrieve it from her, it belongs to the people not to her.

    Oh you did not mention Hillary and Bill Clinton are members of the BUILDERBERG GROUP.

    These wo woman are typical dumb american woamn who want nothing but a woman president because they are man haters. They know exactly nothing about the candidate and have NEVER looked up her voting record.

    They must be BLOND.......................

    February 20, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  21. Theresa

    No wonder Obama has such a lead with the most watched News Channel clearly in your camp. Shame on you CNN for showing such a slant in Obama's favor.
    Hang in there Clinton camp... you do have the Solutions...I hope folks in Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania see that before it's too late.

    February 20, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  22. Will from DC

    Well he has a major stand in this election – Not falling into the hands of the washington lobbyists. This is a very brave stand. Could you expect any other person not to take any money from the insiders and run such a huge campaign? People are tired of tried and tested philosophies. Just because you have liived long enough in washington does not mean you have the best judgement and would solve all problems. The thing we need to do is ' TRY'. Not because we want to but beacuse we HAVE to. This is our only option to go back to the days of a glorious America.

    February 20, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  23. MD

    if you haven't all ready TJ, TX posted a link to a great Newsweek article, in the previous 'news' story- it's a good read for EVERYONE.

    Thanks TJ

    February 20, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  24. Courtney S.


    February 20, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  25. CW

    This wouldn't be news if Florida and Michigan had not moved their primary dates. If Clinton had all the pledged delegates from those two states, she'd be in the lead still.

    "CHANGE" has been the cry of every new candidate since the first elections in this country. Show me something new Obama, show me something that I can believe in.

    February 20, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
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