March 10th, 2008
01:12 PM ET
10 years ago

Blitzer: How superdelegates are making up their minds

Candidates suggest the race will continue beyond March 4th.

Candidates suggest the race will continue beyond March 4th.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - It’s now clear that neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama will have enough elected or pledged delegates to guarantee the presidential nomination.

Even if you add Michigan and Florida makeover primaries to the equation, neither is going to reach the magic number required for the Democratic nomination - which would increase with the addition of both states - with strictly pledged delegates. They will require superdelegates to put them over the top.

Undecided superdelegates will have to make a critical decision. Even decided superdelegates are in play – they are, of course, also allowed to change their minds. We have seen some high-profile switches in recent weeks. They, too, could be in play.

How should the superdelegates make their decision? What factors should they consider?

Some will naturally tend to go along with the candidate who has won the most pledged delegates. Right now, that looks like Obama.

Others will go with the candidate who has won the most popular votes across the country. Right now, that’s Obama but it could become Clinton after all the upcoming ballots are counted, especially if there are makeover contests in Florida and Michigan.

Some superdelegates will be inclined to support the candidate that carried his or her congressional district or state.

Yet other super delegates will look to the specific states that the two candidates have won and ask which candidate has the best chance of beating Republican John McCain in the fall. Clinton’s advisers point out that she has won the biggest states with the most Electoral College votes, including New York and California. That, they say, would bode well for her against McCain.

I have spoken with several undecided superdelegates in recent days, and most of them tell me they will eventually pick the candidate they believe has the best chance of beating McCain and helping other Democrats increase their majorities in the House and Senate.

What do you think? Do you agree with them?

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: superdelegates • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (188 Responses)
  1. Eliza

    I don't think it is worth the money to hold another primary unless it comes down to a tie-breaker or a final decision for a democratic candidate to run against McCain.

    In which I desperately hope it is Clinton!! She is a fighter and knows her stuff! She has courage, knowledge, and alla round experience that no one can ever gain unless they have been throuhg what she has!!!

    HILLARY has my VOTE!!

    March 10, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  2. A disenchanted Democrat

    The Democratic Part can dip as much into their Kool-Aid and write up all sorts of crazy rules. I could care less.

    Caucuses are undemocratic. Primaries should be along the general election lines. Winner takes all the electoral college votes. So primaries should do the same. It does NOT matter if you win by ONE vote or ONE MILLION. You should get all the delegates and super delegates from that state. In fact super delegates should be disbanded.

    This meaningless democratic squabble is costing this country a great amount of productivity. Look at me, I am typing this message instead of doing something meaningful.

    Toss a coin. Winner is the president and the loser is the VP. Then go imprison Karl Rove, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush, Condi and Powell – in that order.

    March 10, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. DD, New York

    I started out in the beginning of this democratic presidential nominee campaing VERY VERY ENTHUSIASTIC, and was 100% a Hillary-backer. Quite frankly, now I am SO BURNED OUT and lost my interest, hope or whatever you want to call it. Who or what do I blame for that? Well, this whole darn campagning season started way way way too early, for one.; the fiasco over Florida and Michigan and possible disenfranchisement of the voters (although that is now being worked on) is next; somebody will probably be declared the democratic nominee before all of our states has voted is another; I mean really, what happens to those voters who have not had a chance to vote in any type of primary, caucus before a nominee is declared. I know I would be pissed and probably not end up voting in the general election because I never had a chance to vote in a primary/caucus. The campaigning started way too early, is going on way too long and needs a complete overhall. Like, lets have all of our state primaries occur in a single block of time, like every state votes during a specific 7-10 period of time, with the final results coming in the next 5-7 days later. And these superdelegates to me look like snot-nosed kids! (However, that may be I am soon to be 49 and probably am having a mid-life crisis where everyone younger than me is a snot-nosed kid!). Lets just get this done.

    March 10, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  4. therealist

    The Clintonians have the supers in the bag. Half of them are old running buddies with their fortunes tied to Billary. No way their going to vote for Obama.

    Sorry Obama, it's a power thing, not a race thing..

    March 10, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  5. Debra

    I think that if Hillary is not on the ticket- Obama may have a tough time winning the election in the larger states. I also think that due to all the hateful comments from Obama folk, that Hillary supporters might not necessarily come out to vote if she is not on the ticket. We don't want to disinfrancise the young voters- but what about the regular Democratic voters who have been voting for years. Don't we matter in this too? Hillary has won among traditionally Democratic voters. Obama is ahead because of republicans and independents voting for him -and they may not continue their support against an independent or republican candidate. Is it a chance we really want to take? We would be foolish to risk everything on a candidate who has not taken any of the larger states and who is only on top now due to republican and independent voters.

    March 10, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Neal

    Using CNN's numbers all Obama has to do to clinch it is take 53% or the remaining elected delegates and only 45% of the uncommitted super delegates and he is in. This does not count Mich. or Fla.

    March 10, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. Kevin M

    The superdelegates will be forced to give the nomination to either candidate who has the pledged delegates and the popular vote. If neither candidate has both, it up for grabs. Stealing the nomination from Obama or Clinton if they lead in pledged delegates and the popular vote, will unquestionably hand McCain the presidency and severely damage the Democrat Party for years to come.

    March 10, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. Gary

    The super delegates need to go with the candidate who has the most pledged delegates. If they don't, then I will never vote for a Democrat again. Why vote, if ultimately it doesnt count because a well connected politician can wheel and deal behind the scenes in order to steal an election?

    March 10, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. MickyD10

    Should Obama go into the convention with a lead in States and delegates won, and the supers give the monimnation to Hillary we all, every voter in my family (9), will vote Rep. in the general election. In doing so we may indeed be thowing ourselves on the sword, But we feel that is the ONLY way to send a strong message to the Democratic Party that we simply will not accept that type of backhanded politics.

    March 10, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. Clintonstrong

    HIllary Clinton will win the nomination..She has won too many of the largely democratic base voters..

    Meanwhile, obama has won largely republican states that won't vote for him in the general..Electibility..

    Superdelegates must back Clinton. Thank you!

    Hillary 08

    March 10, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. Karin


    March 10, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. joan freeney Tampa Fl

    with all this talk about doing what the people want. What about what the people here in FL want? We voted and even though our votes didn't count we still came out in some of the largest numbers our state has seen. That says we want HILLARY!!!

    March 10, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  13. Texas4Obama

    Senator Obama has won the TWO BIGGEST states:
    Alaska and Texas – look at a map! 😉

    When is the media going to STOP saying that Billary won Texas – Senator OBAMA WON TEXAS. Texas is a two step process – primary and caucaus – Senator Obama won the MOST DELEGATES!

    March 10, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. Jay

    Hillary Clinton wins blue states that are going to be blue anyways regardless of the Democrat nominee (and if Clinton supporters vote for McCain just to spite Obama, they don't deserve a Democrat in the White House anyways), while Obama puts purple and red states like Virginia, Colorado, Nevada, and even North Dakota in play.

    March 10, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  15. BF

    If we go with "will of the people" and define it as the people who bothered to go out to a caucus or primary, then Clinton has a narrow lead in that popular vote (.1 percent), that's counting the people in Michigan and Florida who bothered to go out and vote.
    What is your definition of "will of the people"? If you want to ignore Florida and Michigan because of "rules" then aren't you supporting party honchos who blew this royally by trying to punish Florida and Michigan in the first place? They're not exactly "the people" as I think of that term.

    In 2000 Democrats fumed that Gore won the popular vote but lost in the Electoral count (in the end). So, is popular vote more or less democratic than a delegate, or representative, vote? What have you done lately to change the Electoral College method of finalizing the next president and switching it to the popular vote?

    I don't have the "true answers," it just seems a big mess right now. But there's been alot of these messes in American elections. Let's live with it, deal with, and embrace it as what true democracy can look like sometimes.

    March 10, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Mintlee

    Question? Is Hillary and Bill using the blacks? Why would they even suggest that to Mr. Obama? No respect. Are they desperate?

    March 10, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  17. Ted

    Wolf, you and CNN really are biased in favor of Clinton. I used to rely on CNN, but now have switched to MSNBC for unbiased reporting. Jessica Yellin is a disgrace and you are rapidly becoming her.

    March 10, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  18. Farah

    The democratic party is busy in their own fight. Right now we should be working to unify the party. It seems as if there is no choice, they Must run together to make the party strong again. United we stand. The problems is no one fights for the #2 spot. The super delegates need to decide which one has the better chance overall, to be number 1. Once that is done the other better humble themseves for the #2 spot or its, hello President Mcain

    March 10, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. Ed_in_AZ

    Eliot Spitzer is a superdelegate committed to Hillary. I rest my case.

    March 10, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. CNN

    CNN and Wolf and Obama are pretending not Knowing what "Super delegate" means. Or they do know but they want to change what it means.

    Anything should change before the game.

    Why did not you cry to change it before the election?

    If just select the simple lead in the vote, then why bother having the concept?

    March 10, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. aware

    Aloha Wolf,

    The superdelegates and other delegates should vote for the candidate who will be the best president. This is the candidate with strength, perseverence, experience and the capability to resolve issues.

    The general won't be won by a candidate who may maintain a close lead in the primary because of a 90% plus black vote. The racial fallout would create a very distracting backlash!

    The nominee should be the candidate who has won the large states needed by Democrats in the general.

    The numbers may be close at the moment but the qualifications for the job are extremely far apart. The world is watching, and Hillary is doing well abroad.

    Hillary the HOPE of 08 and the smart choice! Yes, we will! 🙂

    March 10, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. Ed_in_AZ

    Eliot Spitzer is a superdelegate committed to Hillary. Remind you of the 90s again? I rest my case.

    Obama '08

    March 10, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Anand

    I dont live in The US but as many of us around the world we keep a close eye on American politics as these outcomes affect us in the wider world as it does America and Americans. From the outside looking in it seems to me that the super delegates should be true to your constitution and the values that your country is built on, and that is to step up and endorse the will of the people. Whichever candidate at the end of this process has gotten the majority of votes from the American public should also be the choice of the super delegates. To not do that would be to deny the very constitution that your country was founded on which simply at it's core is the preservation of the right of the people's will to be truly and honestly reflected.

    March 10, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. barb

    social networking sites are claiming wolf blitzer has become hillary clinton's biggest fan........thousands are emailing each other telling them to boycott the situation room until wolf blitzer becomes less pro-clinton. personally i will tape the show so i can watch jack cafferty...i won't miss his segment. WOLF BLITZER STOP THE PRO HILLARY stands and get fair.

    March 10, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. RuthieM

    Obama needs to flat come out and say being First Lady for 8 years does not qualify you to be president nor does it qualify you to have presidential experience. That SNL skit also need to be reversed considering Hillary has taken all of Obama's campaign ideas and slogans and tried to make them her own. I've said repeatedly that if Hillary ever got in the white house she would have a secret red phone and call Barack for ideas and answers.

    March 10, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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