February 20th, 2008
03:20 PM ET
6 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. carol

    I think Obama is trying to steal the election along with his supporters. How about Fl., Hillary is still ahead because we will have our voices heard. To you Obama supporters you never have to worry about Hillarys supporters ever supporting Obama. We vote for someone that has a brain and that would not be Obama. Don't tell us we are going to cut are nose off to spite our face, don't think so, McCain would be a far better choice than Obama rather we stay in Iraq forever. Got it. He don't even have a clue into how to even start the process of bringing our troops home. You don't go into office one day and say oh we are going to bring home our troops tommorrow. Stupid, it will take someone with a brain to do that and that would not be Obama. Democrats For McCain.
    Hillary or McCain

    February 20, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  2. brice

    if hillary is ready to do the work on day one and has all this experience, then why wasn't she ready to campaign. if she can't handle the primaries then she won't be able to handle the white house.

    February 20, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  3. elyce

    Hillary is qualified. to be president........Obama is qualified to round up cheerleaders.

    I lived the JFK era.......and Obama is nothing like him! JFK could not only speak but he had EXPERIENCE.

    February 20, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  4. rick

    If all Democrats keep fighting like this, we will never win the white house. If you look at CNN 'spolls, democrats will love to have any of the two candidates nominated. Stop the nonsence, we have two great candidates! Stop also talking about Bill Clinton, we had a good eight years (meaning the economy).

    February 20, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  5. Colo

    Vic I agree with you 100 %
    I hope we get some answers to your questiones before its too late.

    Obama is even strating to prepare his voters last night : "it will take a while before we get there" nah... really !!

    February 20, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  6. Rob Ceres

    Hillary Clinton is in a State of Denial.

    February 20, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. Texas Loves Obama

    Two more weeks Clinton is done. Obama will take Texas and maybe even Ohio.

    February 20, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. billoc

    Overcome your fear people, a new day and a new political paradigm might very well be at hand and I would expect that educated, well informed Americans of both parties would welcome that.

    February 20, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  9. Pure Democrat

    If Obama gets the democratic nomination, then I'll clearly go vote Republican!
    How much worse can it get?!

    February 20, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  10. John Hay

    As an Australian, I appear to be more aware of what is really happening in American Politics than many in the US media. Though it pains me to make this comment, I must say CNN, your organisation is are a poor excuse for a member of the fourth estate!

    The Clinton bias you display is thinly disguised. I do not disagree with the right of people to have an alternative view, however the media needs to be trusted to deliver the facts in their reporting.

    America and indeed the world, needs and deserves to have a decent and qualified candidate take charge in the White House. Only one person qualifies. Barack Obama.

    He wil be the next President of the United States, regardless of your efforts to the contrary. CNN, take a good look at the way you behave. Change! It's the way of the future.
    John Hay
    Founder of the Australian Federation of Employers 1986
    Former National Chairman – Australian Free Enterprise Foundation 1987

    February 20, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  11. Ito, Yokosuka Japan

    HRC: Ready on Day One, Ready only for Day One, Forgot about day two and no exit strategy.

    Sounds like the current president, no?

    February 20, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  12. Jenny

    Experience ? Cheney and Rumsfeld - need I say more ?

    February 20, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. Charlotte

    It is beginning to look more and more like were going to have a republican in office again. If Obama is the winner of the primary, we will lose in November. The Obama-bots will no doubt blame the Hillary supporters. Obama won't have all those Obamakins in November. That just goes to show how green he really is.

    February 20, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. Charles

    The Clintons will do anything to win. There position is simple. Win at all costs and anyone that you hurt in the process you give them something after the win to try to repair the damage. If the superdelegates overturn the will of the people the party will split and a lot of voters will not turn out and that means the republican will win.

    February 20, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. Jan, Knoxville, TN

    I don't know why people are so upset about what Michelle Obama said.

    Thanks to Bush/Cheney, because of our nosing around in the business of other countries for the last 8 years, maybe we need to realize we haven't been the shining star we used to be in the world.

    It's time for peace in our day and I believe Obama will bring it about. That is why he has my vote.

    A McCain presidency would be a disaster!

    February 20, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. Honestlady

    @MD....who said "Obama should not underestimate the Clintons ability to steal this election from him."

    And Clinton should never have underestimated Obama's ability to steal the election from her or she would not be in this desperate situation right now where her campaign almost went completely broke because they thought they were going to have it in the bag by Super-Tuesday thus having to beg for debates and having to bash Obama on any and every little ridiculous thing that they can think of.

    February 20, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  17. Hello Dems

    No win situation for the Junior Senator

    February 20, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  18. Pia

    CNN,
    You make me laugh! You are in denial just as much as Hillary Clinton is. You have the pres. national polls here at 44% for Hillary and 42% for Obama. Most presidentail national polls have him at 52% to her 37%. Keep on dreaming CNN, your gal is finished and when she shows up in Texas, can we say toast?

    Also, in your article today about the Teamster's Union endorsement of Obama, you state that Obama has a struggle against Clinton and a union endorsement will help him. Lol, she's the one struggling!
    In conclusion, no matter how you spin it to make it look as if Hillary is not finished, the brutal reality is, she lost the chance for the nomination, period. Perhaps, only a miracle can save her now.

    February 20, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. Jenny

    I hope after the March 4th elections, Ms. Pelosi and perhaps Gore and a few other party leaders take them someplace and explain reality to them. If they don't win in those states by 65% there is absolutely no way they can ever catch up. And they have to win everything from here on out by 65%. It's not gonna happen.

    The longer this goes on, the less likely either wins. McCain has 6 months to get ready for the Nov election . If they wait till after the conventon the winner will have 2 months.

    February 20, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. Linda

    First, a reminder:

    Obama supporters, talk about our candidate. (And we know there's plenty to talk about.) We don't need to be negative. Let the others do that.

    Second, a fact check:

    –Obama has spent three full years in the Senate, after his eight years in the Illinois legislature.

    –Obama first talked about the dead soldier's bracelet in his speech in Madison, WI last Tuesday (2/12). Could it be that McCain is imitating him?

    February 20, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  21. Lenny

    New young voters will crush those fear tatic old heads Repulicans. The Republicans are talking about EXPERIENCE. Where is it, it has been eight years and the country is a bad shape.Every speech that is given by Macain you see a bunch of OLD HEADS trying to influence voters, PLEASE!

    February 20, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  22. Keith Cornelius

    Obama camp needs to calm themselves down and stop trying to talk themselves to a victory that will not happen. Obama's own supporter could not mention one accomplishment he had in the senate. The truth is FINALLY starting to filter through and the people will start to see how empty his talk really is...... GO HILLARY !!!!

    Keith Cornelius a FORMER REPUBLICAN !!!!

    February 20, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    OBAMA spent three times more in Wisconsin and Washington did Clinton. The best candidtae your money can buy. So much for the "peoples" choice.
    Kennedy & Kerry plus the Media Elite who have been singing his praises while not asking him the hard questions (sounds just like what happened on IRAQ w/ Bush) will own him.
    Obama supporters be careful what you wish for!

    February 20, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  24. marilyn

    I think Obama is making big..big leadway... he has shown his has leadership.. good basic common sense.. and is very able to lead the USA...... in the past our leaders has shown us nothing but greed and bad judgment... we need a new change

    February 20, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  25. rabblerouser

    If the numbers were reversed, with the Sainted Obama behind Clinton, his camp – and the media – would be calling it a tie.

    February 20, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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