March 1st, 2008
12:55 PM ET
7 years ago

Clinton supporter rips Texas caucus system

Cisneros made calls on Clinton's behalf from her campaign office in Laredo, Texas last month.
Cisneros made calls on Clinton's behalf from her campaign office in Laredo, Texas last month.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (CNN) – Former HUD secretary and Hillary Clinton supporter Henry Cisneros excoriated Texas’ arcane electoral process as “a great burden on voters” and said that losing the delegate count on Tuesday because of the state caucuses would be “exceedingly unfair.”

Cisneros was speaking to a group of Clinton volunteers who had gathered on Saturday morning at Fox Tech High School to train for Tuesday evening’s state caucuses, which follow a day of primary voting. One-third of the state’s pledged delegates are allocated through the caucuses, while the rest are determined by the day's primary vote.

Clinton herself rallied the troops after Cisneros, formerly a mayor of San Antonio, spoke.

“This is not the ideal way,” he told an audience made up of Clinton volunteers from 20 or so area counties. “Ideally it would just be a straight out vote, and that would determine who gets the delegates, but they created this intricate system in Texas, which frankly is a great burden on voters.”

Cisneros said a scenario in which Clinton wins the primary vote, but loses the evening caucuses, would be “exceedingly unfair” and warned against being “outpowered” by Barack Obama precinct teams, who have overwhelmed their Clinton counterparts in earlier caucus-based contests, outcomes he described as “tragic.”

As volunteers leafed through instructions on recruiting 25-member precinct teams, Cisneros told them, “we cannot throw away our hard work and our win by not being there at the caucuses.”

– CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Texas
soundoff (427 Responses)
  1. Jazz

    On the other hand, winning the popular vote but losing the delegate count in Texas is a reasonable facsimile of winning the popular vote delegate count but losing the Superdelegate count at the convention.
    All's fair Obama fans. No whining at the convention boys and girls.
    Take it to the convention Hill. Turn about is fair-play!!!
    Real Democrats Don't Quit !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 1, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  2. Michele in Dallas

    So, Hillary – was the system in Texas fair two weeks ago when you were ahead by double digits? And now it's not? How can that be?

    March 1, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  3. Jdona

    Oh CNN? Since you do so love to publicize endorsements for Obama, why not publicize this one for Hillary? And then tell me who the military would like to see as Commander in Chief? Fairs fair, and I will put this General up against Arcade Fire, whoever they are, anyday of the week.

    One of our nation’s top military figures, General Shelton served two terms as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Presidents Clinton and George W. Bush formally endorsed Hillary Clinton for President today.

    In announcing his endorsement, General Shelton said, “I’ve been with Senator Clinton when she has been with our military men and women. I know from those experiences that she understands the demands and sacrifice of military life. I am confident she will always put the readiness and well being of our troops first. She is ready to be Commander-in-Chief.”

    General Shelton joins General John Shalikashvili as the SECOND former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to have endorsed Senator Clinton. General Shelton is the fourth flag officer to endorse Senator Clinton this week.

    March 1, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. Matt

    Jed,

    The "criminals" that came up with this system (which is unquestionably complicated). Where Bill Clinton and his advisors about 20 years ago..

    March 1, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  5. Erik

    Rather than complaining about the system so much, team Clinton needs to build a better organization and win the caucus. If they weren't shrewd enough to understand the process ahead of time and what would be necessary to win, it casts a lot of doubt on their preparedness to lead the country. It seems like the Clinton's haven't done their homework.

    March 1, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  6. Doug K in Annapolis

    OH PLEASE- JUST SHUT UP, STOP WHINING &CONCEDE THE RACE FOR THE SAKE OF THE PARTY AND THE COUNTRY!!!!
    THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN SHOULD RIGHTFULLY BE JOINED TO THE "RUDY" STRATEGY FOREVER IN POLITICAL HISTORY FOR ITS
    BONEHEAD PLANNING AND DELUSIONAL EXPECTATIONS. LETS HOPE HILLARY AT LEAST SMELLS THE COFFEEE AFTER HER NEXT ROUND OF LOSSES AND FOLLOWS RUDY AND ENDORDES THE PARTYS NEXT STANDARD BEARER, THE ONE CANDIDATE THAT CAN TRANSFORM NOT ONLY POLITICS BUT AMERICA AND POSSIBLY THE WORLD.

    March 1, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  7. Texans Are Excited about Barack Obama - TAEBO

    I read that Bill clinton won the primary and caucus in this SAME system back in '92. I'm sure that it wasn't a problem back then. What a bunch of hypocrites!

    OBAMA ALL THE WAY BABY!!

    March 1, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  8. TY

    It's starting already. The votes have not even been counted in Texas yet and the Hillary camp is already making excuses for loosing. Her campaign is a disaster. When the pressure is on we can all see how she reacts; with whining, finger pointing and fear mongering. I can't imagine what her presidency would be like. Hillary is a disgrace!

    March 1, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Jesus

    No disrespect to the Clintons but its time we move in a different direction.... Obama is the best Choice right now...

    March 1, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. Mia

    Mrs. Clinton,

    I regret to say that I will not be able to attend your pity party. I have a previous engagement to a certain candidate who overcame more challenges than yours this election year.

    March 1, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  11. Mike in Cleveland

    CNN PLEASE POST

    Tony, Enterprise, Alabama:

    I agree with some of your statements and disagree with others; though respecfully. It isn't just the Democratic Party that is to blame for the primary election mess that we have. I think both parties need to get together and hammer out a standardized primary/caucus voting system; such that no one state decides the momentum every voting cycle. No one should be left out of the primary selection process just because they don't side with one party of the other. I think open-primaries should be mandatory in every state; otherwise you disenfranchise 30% of the people. Oh and fire Howard Dean, are you serious? He has had more success getting Dems elected than Terry McAuliffe.

    We could have won with Hillary, now we will lose with Barack.

    It is this kind of thinking that splits the party and the opposition wins. If everyone of you Hillary supporters don't vote for Obama, then of course he'll lose. So likewise, let's, out of spite for our fellow democrats, vote for the Republican (or not vote at all).

    March 1, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  12. Robert Oakdale, CA.

    I hope I am remembering correctly. But! Didn't Bill Clinton win these same caucases in 1992 and 1996. If I am right. The rules are the same now as then.

    March 1, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  13. Narry

    I was unaware that Cisneros was out? How typical of Hillary supporters to complain when things don't go their way. Pipe up Henry. As a Latino I would never follow your lead. I don't follow crooked politicians!

    March 1, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  14. LB

    I FEEL CERTAIN THAT THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN WOULD NOT BE RAISING THIS ISSUE IF THEY WERE NOT CONCERNED THAT THEY COULD NOT WIN....

    IF IT LOOKED LIKE HILLARY WOULD WIN i AM SURE THAT THEY WOULD BE SATISFIED...

    THEY HAVE KNOWN ABOUT THE SITUATION IN TEXAS FOR A LONG TIME....WHY ARE THEY WAITING UNTIL A FEW DAYS BEFORE THE ELECTION TO RAISE ALL OF THESE ISSUES????

    MORE BAD CAMPAIGN MANAGEMENT BY SENATOR CLINTON AND MORE EVIDENCE THAT SHE IS 'NOT' 'READY' OR THE BEST CANDIDATE TO BE PRESIDENT.

    I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO HAVING THE EXPERIENCED, WISE, INTELLIGENT, AND 'READY' SENATOR BARACK OBAMA AS OUR NEXT PRESIDENT.

    March 1, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  15. RT

    How am I not suprised by this? This is typical Clinton spin. She is such a loser I can't take it anymore. I used to really like the Clintons but they have revealed themselves to be smarmy, say anthing, do anything to win politicians. What a dirty campaign this has been.

    March 1, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  16. Mia

    States are allowed to make their own rules. If Clinton wants to fight this, she'll need to fight the Constitution. Good luck with that.

    March 1, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  17. Bev

    Would Hillary and her supporters be railling against the system in Texas if she were winning? I doubt it. She and her supporters were well aware of the system over a year ago and didn't lodge an y complaints then or the times Bill Clinton ran in the state. No because she thought she would already be the nominee or at the very least she would be a shoe in in the state of Texas. Now that she is haveing to fight for it she is finding fault, justified or not. She is in effect telling the democrats in Texas that they don't know how to run their primaries and caucuses. It is their state and their primaries and caucuses. she should mind her own business. If this is how they want to do it then that is how it should be done. Instead she and her supporters are trying to get the young impressionable students worked up and to do her dirty work for her.

    March 1, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  18. Debbie

    I don't care which Dem candidate people vote for. The bottom line is candidates should follow the rules as laid down BEFORE the primaries. Any concerns should have been addressed BEFORE the first primary in Iowa. Now is not the time to question the validity of the rules. Obama said we were in the SILLY SEASON. Fine. Let's do whatever we can to avoid the UGLY SEASON because it is almost upon us.

    March 1, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  19. Mary

    Everyone knows that the only reason Obama wins these caucuses is because he has alot of ver very young people on board who have alot of time on their hands and can spend 3 hours waiting around a gym, and being influenced by who has the best pizza. They are superficial just like their candidate.

    March 1, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  20. Ted

    He's right. It is unfair. I had ample opportunity to cast an early ballot in the primary (there will be thousands and thousands more voting this way than in the caucus) but I have to work during the caucus. I shouldn't have to choose between my job and democracy, but there you have it.
    A caucus is designed to shut people out and limit participation. the fact that we have both in TX is only going to illuminate this discrepancy further.

    March 1, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  21. Terry, TX

    Always whining, always whining....
    I wouldn't be surprised if she cries again or gets emotional on Monday, the day before the showdown

    March 1, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  22. California Voter

    Today's example of why Senator Clinton is:

    Ready to Lead on Day None.

    March 1, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  23. MD

    OH! Now it's the Texas Caucus system......She needs to change everything to make her nominate and still she will LOSE. This is the reason I would vote for either Obama or McCain - the 2 decent candidates I have seen in quite sometime.....

    EXPERIENCE - I still don't understand how my wife could put my experience as hers in her resume and apply for a job? That's unethical.

    Hillary was a first lady in Arkansas for 8 years and first lady of US for 8 years and how can she include that in her experience?

    March 1, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  24. Cindy in California

    Hillary will never learn, you have to play fair to win, you can't criticize Texas for how they vote. I predict that if she loses Texas she will be gone with the wind, and not look back, just like she did when she lost South Carolina. So disengenious, "They smile in your face......"

    March 1, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. david

    I've been living and voting in Texas for decades and didn't know anything about caucuses and how they account for 1/3 for the delegates. Most people I've talked didn't know either. I think after this year, they should be done away with. Everyone gets to vote one time and that's it.

    March 1, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
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