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. jim g. `

    clinton's rival in my opinion to use and old country term is still wet behind the ears. he does not have the experience to run this country and it will be just like the deserter we are getting rid of. I sincerely hope these other states keep their eyes opened and do not get hood winked

    February 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  2. Anne

    Obama is like Jim Jones, cult leader, liar, snake oil salesman. I will never vote for him.

    February 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  3. Jack

    this is one of the great come-from-behind stories in the history of american politics. look at where barack was two months ago. "arrogance"!?!?! where were those alligations then? hillary blew it. she had every possible advantage and was beaten by a better candidate. plain and simple. you can get behind him or vote for mccain and his 100 year occupation of iraq. you choose....

    February 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  4. Tristain Flowers, TX

    Pulled this of another news site..

    Just in Exclusive, Obama’s administrative cabinet

    President – Obama
    Vice President – Edwards
    Sec of Defense – McCain
    Sec of State – H. Clinton
    NSA Director – Biden
    Dept of Energy – Gore

    This is from an anonymous source pulled from politico.com. Story was to debut but the anonymous source pulled back citing a timing error for release. Source said cabinet was meant to show how Obama will reach out to Republicans, utilize strong resources to combat climate change, and unite the party with fellow Democrats.

    February 20, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Ant

    What was 'so sad for America' was Bush in the white house for 8 YEARS!!! It's ridiculous how people think his 'lack' of experience makes him unfit for the job....

    but NO, instead we'll allow experienced people with 8th grade speech and reading levels to run the nation and we'll continue to accept insurance companies, HMOs, and corporations screw over the people who work for them. There is not shortage of hypocrits in the world, is there?

    February 20, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. Dawn

    LisaMpls February 20th, 2008 2:21 pm ET

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

    Any more arrogant that Hillary and Camp saying this thing would be over by Feb 5th or dismissing states that didn't vote for her as insignificant (states the Dems will need in the general) or even failing to thank folks in WI who came out in sub freezing weather to vote for her? That kind of arrogance?

    February 20, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Andrea

    Mr Advisor, this race is not over yet. A "wide,wide lead"? If it were not for CNN's biased reporting and Oprah, Mr Obama wouldn't be considered.

    Check this out, Senator Clinton has a great deal of experience, and can roll with the punches.

    We don't need a preacher. We need a President that represents ALL Americans.

    Feed your crap to someone that cares.

    This is indeed sad for America.

    February 20, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Blossom

    All this low grade politics!* Aren't we over that yet? When does it stop?

    The advantage, and the reason there are no specific guidelines depicting the number of years' experience is because in America, everyone counts. It's a beautiful thing to see that anyone–ANYONE- in America can achieve success politically or in other arenas which can help shape the world. You, me, everyone. Everyone has a voice with Obama.

    Go Obama!

    February 20, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Dana

    can't wait until Obama's ship sinks

    February 20, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. Ken, Austin TX

    Now this article is definitely going to tick some Clinton supporters off. Just watch, and read all of the negative comments that spew forth.

    February 20, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  11. Gary

    Great Great Obama ! proud of USA ! God Belss you!!
    YES WE CAN!!!!!!!!!!

    February 20, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. Jon

    They call the Clinton campaign's math "lunacy?" I call it "arithmatic."

    But, who knows. I might have a little more EXPERIENCE than Obama's group in the field of mathmatics.

    February 20, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Amber BUzan

    I went to the Hawaii caucus last night at Jefferson School and I watched in horror as Obama has started to segregate people already. Food and water was handed out but only to Obama people. If you were voting for Hillary the food was taken back. A woman said Obama paid for the food. They were allowing people to vote well past closing. If this is an example of our next president, then we are in trouble.

    February 20, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  14. Vic

    American voters - white, black, young old - makes no difference who you are backing for the presidency, the time has come to get really serious. No more rock-star followings, no more using such key words as "inspiring," "change," "All fired up," "Yes we can." Such enunciations are empty and will take us nowhere except a collapse of everything we hold dear and sacred as a country.

    Before it's too late - before we reach the point of no return, we'd better get some straight answers. To Obama, spell out those changes, how do you plan to accomplish them, how do you plan to work with Congress to implement these changes, and how are you going to PAY for them. Tell us about your foreign policy especially in the Middle East after you "end the war and bring the soldiers home,", about exactly what it is that you plan for seniors, for young people,
    What is your specific plans for the homeless servicemen; how do you plan to deal with Isreal, the Palestinians; the North Koreans. We have a RIGHT to know these answers before another vote is cast.

    We deserve all these answers, and unless they are forthcoming, we the voters had better get smart and stop this downward plunge that will surely result unless we get ANSWERS now!!! Only then will we know WHY we should not blindly follow this man with so little experience in affairs of state and its people. A good beginning is to ask yourself what it will be like the day following his election. Where will he start? I, personally, don't have a clue, but hopefully our debate coordinators will ask the above questions so we can get some kind of answer.

    February 20, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. Joshua Helms

    What a great day for America. I only hope the Dems can unite to bring down the republicans. Hillary's arguments are only feeding the Republicans. She is weakening the democrats chances of a presidency greatly.

    February 20, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  16. Jordan, New York

    I don't know if I'd interpret this as arrogance. It's simply a mathematical truth. Clinton needs to win the 9 states in which she's still competitive by about 70% to 30%, a margin she has yet to reach in any state so far. If she does that, she'll only tie Obama in pledged delegates. I think it's both reasonable and appropriate to point this out so that voters begin to cast votes that unite the democratic party instead of prolongue the Clinton death knell.

    February 20, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. Trent

    Obama and his staff have demonstrated arrogance throughout this race. Obama has never congratulated Hilary for her wins nor does he give credit to those who have gone before him. One can see that his campaign is trying to undermine Hilary's strength, which is ruthless. If he wins the nomination, I'm voting for McCain. If he wins the Presidency, America will have the second green and arrogant president in a row.

    February 20, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. jyfranca

    Its fast Obama,she is winning texas,ohio pensylvania,vermont,North carolina ...and she is going to be nomineee

    February 20, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  19. AJ, IL

    Gotta love the Obama campaign! Playing a good psychological game on the Clinton campaign.

    Hillary supporters don't feel sad. Be glad the Democratic party has a presidential candidate that we are excited for and believe in. If you are a former Hillary supporter, come on join the Obama camp. We will need all the help we can get to defeat McCain.

    Obama in 08!

    February 20, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  20. wanda

    Ask Obama why hs paid $300,000 under the appraised value for his home which he bought from the slumlord Resko and that very shortly later Resko's wife bought the adjoining property and sold part to Obama to enlarge his home. I thought he only spent 5 hours doing work for a church which involved Resko. Makes you wonder what other things he has been hiding.

    Also, Glen Beck presented a very informative report on the minister of the church Obama attends. You would find him to be extremely racist .

    Why is the media not airing this info.

    February 20, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. David

    Chang is coming

    Cant stop Obama NOW!!!

    It'll be nice when right wing nuts are not running the country anymore.

    February 20, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. surrogacy2

    If Barack Obama wins the Democratic Party's endorsement, I think you will see a battle royale between the two parties. Let's face it, Obama is empty, copying his policies and part of his speeches from everyone else. Sure he is a great speaker...Hitler was a great speaker and could get the crowd cheering and fainting too! He'll have his 15 minutes of glory at the expense keeping the republicans in the White House. I am so discouraged. It reminds me of the fable "The Emperors New Clothes". We have someone just telling us what we want to hear. When it is all over we'll all be standing naked before the world

    Len Brooks
    Wellington FL

    February 20, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. B from Miami, FL

    "Wide, wide lead"? What???? Say what???

    Is a total (including the Super Duper Delegate numbers) of 70, more or less, that my Hillary is trailing by constitute a "wide, wide lead"? I think the Obama camp needs to redo their math and consult a dictionary of politics and numbers because that is not, by a wide, wide margin, a "wide, wide lead", Mr. David Plouffe.

    Hillary '08

    February 20, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  24. Don't Hate on Obama

    He won 10 straight contests in a row. Hillary and her supporters need to stop dragging this race through the mud. Obama has brought much needed civility to the presidential race. You don't hear him bragging about the impressive amount of money he has raised in one month alone. Clinton is so desperate, she and her followers are going through Obama's speeches with a fine toothed comb. Is this how she plans to win? Oh, wait, "It all about us, the voters, and not the candiates." Right.

    February 20, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  25. bob






    February 20, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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