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. elaine

    ALECKI GET YOUR FACTS STRAIGHT. HE HAS BEEN A SENATOR LONGER THAN ONE YEAR. HE HAS MORE EXPERIENCE THAN BILL CLINTON DID....OTHER THAN SENATOR OF NEW YORK JUST WHAT EXPERIENCE DOES HILLIARY HAVE....REMEMBER EIGHT YEARS IN THE WHITE HOUSE...WHITE HOUSE PASTRY CHEF WAS THERE THAT LONG TOO. HILLIARY COULDN'T GET HER HEALTH CARE PLAN PUSHED THROUGH LAST TIME AND SHE WON'T THIS TIME...SHE DOES HAVE VERY GOOD EXPERIENCE IN TAKING MONEY FROM SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS WHICH RUNS THIS COUNTRY...THE PEOPLE WANTS THE GOVENMENT TO BE RETURNED TO THE PEOPLE AND KICK OUT ALL THAT WASHINGTON GARBAGE...THAT INCLUDES HILLIARY...OPEN UP YOUR TAX RECORDS HILLIARY...WHAT ARE YOU HIDING

    February 20, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. Laughing

    So many people well maybe not alot of people but people that keep commenting with diffrent e-mails lash out at Obama. If you look at the polls from Wisconsin, you would see that over 50% of the people that voted for Clinton wouldn't mind Obama as president where just about 35% that voted for Obama would like Clnton as president.

    Cnn should be talking more about that then anything else.

    Actually CNN should also bring up the fact that Obama has his tax records out while Clinton refuses to do so, she must have somthing to hide.

    You might hate CNN but they could be hurting her Campaign so much worse.
    Blame Bill Clinton for having everything change after South Carolina, then blame CNN....sad..just sad...

    February 20, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. William Sabin

    My suggestion is that Hillary should stop "yelling" into the microphone and lower her voice to a more normal level. Other candidates get the job done in this manner. Her approach is counterproductive. A better sound engineer could be very helpful to her campaign.

    February 20, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  4. The J Guy

    Hillary: 'Its essentially a tie"

    Don't tell me she's gonna pull a Huckabee: "I ain't letting go...You can't make me..."
    Now that's 'Hillaryous...

    This is where we see how far the Clinton camp will go to try and turn this around...sad!

    February 20, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. James

    It is true that a 20pt defeat in both Ohio and TX will leave Obama with 40-50 pledged delegates advantage. The only hope she's got is to go to the convention and have the pledged delegates lead overturned by the super delegates. This is when the DNC should come in and talk some sense to the Clintons. TELL US HOW YOU ARE GOING TO WIN THE PLEDGED DELEGATES BECAUSE WE DO NOT WANT THE SUPER TO DECIDE THIS.

    I voted for Hillary but I do not want her to destroy the party. I urge OH and TX to end this if she wont. This will hurt our party! SELFISH!!!! Do what Mitt Romney did. Mathematically Mitt Romney was in it. Realistically, HIGHLY UNLIKELY. Same situation we have here. Mathematically possible for her to go to convention and create a fight. Highly unlikely she will win this!

    February 20, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  6. Janice

    OBAMA ALL THE WAY! WE WANT AND NEED INTEGRITY, NO DIRTY POLITIKING! ALSO NO SCHOOL AGED ACTING LIKE/HAVING HISSY FITS/TEMPER TANTRUMS LIKE THE OTHER DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE HAS ON A DAILY BASIS.
    OBAMA ALL THE WAY FOR THIS WHITE 51 YR OLD USA BORN AMERICAN TOO.

    WE NEED CHANGE, SORRY HILLARY, BUT OBAMA IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN UNITE THE FRONT TO GET THINGS TO HAPPEN. HAVE A NICE LIFE HILLARY!

    February 20, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  7. Chitown

    Hang on, Hillary supporters, in your chiding of Obama and his campaign about being arrogant. Was it not she and her camp that boldly proclaimed her the frontrunner about a year ago and didn't take any other Democratic candidate seriously? No one (candidate or her/his staff) is immune of arrogance.

    February 20, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  8. Bryan the white male

    Yea and we have over 100 years of total experiance on capital hill and look where it got us (in the toilet). I think we should all just shut our mouths on this experiance thing and see how far this kid Obama can go. there will be plenty of time to judge him in the future.

    February 20, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  9. gt

    what obama arrogance?

    This is coming from Clinton's senior advisor.

    February 20, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  10. Ann

    Its over the Clinton campaign.. They have to win by 40 points for the rest of contest..

    What's great is the America is rejecting the politics of yesterday and the politics of division.. It's time for a change.. Where Democrats Republicans and Indy's work together..

    God Bless America..

    February 20, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  11. MD

    Obama should not underestimate the Clintons ability to steal this election from him.

    February 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  12. Jackie

    When the American people realize what a dishonest person Obama is they'll change their mind. He copied John Edwards agent for change, he copied Hillary 's economic policy, he lied about his mother being a single parent unless you no longer consider a step-father as being part of your family and he was so poor he had to suck it up and go to two private schools as a young boy, one a Catholic shool in the neighborhood and the other a Muslim school in Jakarta. I know when his parents divorced at age 2, his father went on to get his PHD at Harvard but than his white mother married another man from Indonesia who was a chemist at a major oil company. Talk about fairy tales check his record when he was in the Illinois Senate.

    February 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. erindavis

    It is not arrogance, it is a well deserved pat on the back. Many have doubted him and look how far he has come.

    I for one welcome the fresh look into politics.

    February 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  14. Bret

    Some of the greatest presidents in US history have had the same level of experience as Mr. Obama (or less), so can we please put this argument to bed? Sometimes, experience is overrated, and precisely what we do not need.

    February 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  15. Tom

    “I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together”

    The face of America can no longer be painted as black, or white, or yellow, or brown.

    Our aspirations are becoming one.

    We want a leader who is us and us who is them.

    We want to be president.

    We are Barack. Barack is us.

    February 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  16. Kit

    Obama is the sacrificial lamb for the Republicans. Of course they want him as the nominee, so they can trounce him. He and his wife have said so many things that amount to ZERO as far as progress. It's all lip service, no plans or solutions. Anyone can say they going to do things. He's all talk no action. He has solidified a group of emerging children who are swayed by any internet BS they see. At least if we have Hillary we have a fighting chance against McCain. If Obama is the only choice, give me McCain. This is a great plan by the Republicans. And union endorsements, RIGHT, the same people who bargain away your healthcare and wages while collecting a fee for you to be a member. This is organized crime at its best.

    February 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  17. Not Given

    Hillary's Campaign is starting to sound "Republican". First the excuses , then the "no big deals", then negatives, and now the total disconnect from reality.

    And for you Republicans that are so bored with McCain that you have comment on everything the demos do, GET A LIFE, the rest of us just skip over you drool

    February 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  18. Ernie

    Obama will be great. CNN is not leaning one way or the other.
    Hillary fans are going to have to get used to the fact that Obama IS our guy.

    February 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. Toby

    Yes, it's too bad we can't get more experienced experts like Dick Cheney and Donal Rumsfeld running Washington. That's been going great.

    February 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. U.S. Army Vet.

    Hillary Clinton has been hanging around the Capitol for years now and she has not accomplished anything of substantive value in her career, outside of voting for and supporting NAFTA, voting to authorize the Iraq War, voting for the Leave No Child Behind Act (Bill called it a trian wreck). I do not think I need to go on.

    Being first lady of Arkansas and the US are not official political offices any kind. She tried and failed with healthcare, fought for power against Al Gore during Bills terms in the Whitehouse, and moved to New York as a carpet bagger.

    The only political position that Hillary Clinton held is her current position of Senator. That's it and nothing more. The majority of her adult life was spent on helping Bill win political office. Check the true records.

    In fact, when it comes to experience, Sen. Obama has more years of legislative experience than Hillary Clinton. Sen. Obama was a Illinois State legislator before becoming a U.S. Senator.

    Finally, according to the U.S. Constitution, all U.S. citizens born in the U.S.A are eligible to become president of the U.S. It is your right as a citizen of this great country. One must be 35 yrs of age and be a U.S. citizen by birth.

    There are no other requirements by law. Anything else is extraneous at best. Therefore, please educate yourself before you make ignorant and visionless comments.

    February 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. Joseph

    Obama is plateauing now. He will sink in Ohio and Texas. McCain is now attacking him. The copied speeches scandal is still out there.
    I want to see him win in Ohio, or Texas or Pennsylvania - then I will beleive in his candidacy.

    February 20, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  22. Craig, Wa.

    Oh Contrare" Mon' Frer"

    What is sad for America is doing the same thing and expecting different results.....also the definition of insanity

    Change is the antidote.

    February 20, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  23. robert

    Arrogance? That's called basic math!

    February 20, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  24. Daryl, MWC, OK

    Since this campaign began, Hillary Clinton has gone out her way to talk about her 35 years of experience and public service. But I am confused, because the only public office she has ever held is her current senate seat. Before that, what policy position or public office did she hold? None! If she was truly as experienced as she claims to be, she would never have abdicated her legislative responsibility and gave George W the authorization to go to war against a nation that did not attack us. If that is experience then god help us. Experience without good judgement is just as bad as no experience at all. Worse even because it shows a lack of insight and forethought.

    February 20, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  25. Jessica Price, California

    Obama should be put one the scrutity now. Let people know who he is and what he has done for the country not just all the words.

    February 20, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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