(CNN) - Former President Bill Clinton said that Democrats were more likely to lose in November if his wife Hillary Clinton is not the party’s presidential nominee, and suggested some people were trying to “cover this up” and “push and pressure and bully” superdelegates to make up their minds prematurely.
"I can’t believe it. It is just frantic the way they are trying to push and pressure and bully all these superdelegates to come out,” he said at a South Dakota campaign stop Sunday, in remarks first reported by ABC News. “'Oh, this is so terrible: The people they want her. Oh, this is so terrible: She is winning the general election, and he is not. Oh my goodness, we have to cover this up.'"
The former president added that his wife had not been given the respect she deserved as a legitimate presidential candidate. "She is winning the general election today and he is not, according to all the evidence,” he said. “And I have never seen anything like it. I have never seen a candidate treated so disrespectfully just for running.”
“Her only position was, ‘Look, if I lose I'll be a good team player. We will all try to win - but let's let everybody vote, and count every vote,’" he said.
The former president suggested that if the New York senator ended the primary season with an edge in the popular vote, it would be a significant development. "If you vote for her and she does well in Montana and she does well in Puerto Rico, when this is over she will be ahead in the popular vote,” said Clinton.
“And they're trying to get her to cry uncle before the Democratic Party has to decide what to do in Florida and Michigan” – which the party would need to do “unless we want to lose the election. "
The current requirement to claim the Democratic presidential nomination is 2,026 delegates, a formula that does not take into account delegates from Florida and Michigan, whose contests were not sanctioned by the party – although if those votes were to be counted as cast, Hillary Clinton would still currently trail rival Barack Obama in the overall delegate count.
The former president said Sunday that the media had unfairly attacked his wife since the Iowa caucuses, repeating an often-used charge that press coverage had made him feel as though he were living in a “fun house.”
"If you notice, there hasn't been a lot of publicity on these polls I just told you about,” he said. “It is the first time you've heard it? Why do you think that is? Why do you think? Don't you think if the polls were the reverse and he was winning the Electoral College against Senator McCain and Hillary was losing it, it would be blasted on every television station?”
He added, “You would know it wouldn't you? It wouldn't be a little secret. And there is another Electoral College poll that I saw yesterday had her over 300 electoral votes…. She will win the general election if you nominate her. They're just trying to make sure you don't."