January 23rd, 2008
02:37 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama campaign registers formal complaint over Nevada

(CNN) - Barack Obama's campaign has filed a formal complaint with the Nevada Democratic Party Wednesday over allegations of irregularities in Saturday’s caucuses in that state – “violations” they blame on Hillary Clinton’s campaign.

“I am writing to request that the Nevada State Democratic Party conduct an inquiry into an apparent and disturbing pattern of incidents reported at precinct locations throughout the state during the January 19 Caucus," the Obama campaign’s general counsel, Bob Bauer, said in a letter to State Party Chairwoman Jill Derby.

The complaint includes material Bauer claims was sent out by the Clinton campaign that includes the line: "It's not illegal unless they tell you so."

"This certainly suggests that, for the Clinton campaign, the operative standard was, simply and only, what it could get away with," Bauer wrote.

In his letter, Bauer says the campaign has received reports of more than 1,600 complaints, including reports of voter obstruction and early door closings, many of which came in through a special hotline set up by the campaign.

He said the Obama camp is not challenging the Nevada outcome, but is requesting an official inquiry into campaign tactics by Clinton supporters in the state.

The Clinton campaign has also complained of alleged voter intimidation by Obama allies during Saturday’s Nevada vote.

“The reality is that the Sen. Obama's allies engaged in intimidation and strong-arm tactics against our supporters at their workplaces and at caucus sites. And they ran outrageous, false and offensive ads against Sen. Clinton,” Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer said in response to Bauer’s complaint.

“Sen. Obama lost and now his campaign is acting out.”

Hillary Clinton won the Nevada caucuses, though Barack Obama captured more delegates.

Obama complaint (pdf)

UPDATE: Clinton campaign counsel Lyn Utrecht sent Derby a letter late Wednesday detailing a long list of allegations against Obama supporters in Nevada, including "systematic corruption" of the state's caucus procedures and "voter suppression and intimidation."

"This letter is not intended as a response to the Obama campaign's letter," wrote Utrecht. "However, in the interest of a complete record" the Clinton campaign "wishes to bring to your attention information we have received evidencing a premeditated and systematic corruption of the party's caucus procedures."

It also states that the Clinton campaign supports an inquiry into events surrounding Saturday's vote.

Clinton letter (pdf)

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
soundoff (491 Responses)
  1. Concerned Citizen

    January 23, 2008 3:57 pm ET



    It is not in my character to be insultive but it will be good to always check your facts before you speak or write. I challenge you to go back to Monday's debate tape and you will find the answer right on the reason for such votes in Illinois. Please be aware that we have learned people reading all these comments as well and not just morons. And may I state categorically that I'm not in any way holding brief for Obama, but it is disheartening when facts are distorted to mislead the uninformed public.

    January 24, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  2. Rob

    How is it that some of you folks are saying that Barack Obama is whining, when he actually took more delegates home than her majesty?

    He is only trying to get the party to recognize the Rove-style tactics HRC is using, and therefore get them to watch for those very tactics on Supertuesday.

    He is wisely trying to raise awareness of her inherent vitriolic and dishonest, and polarizing nature. I hate to stoop to cliche...but a leopard cannot change its spots.

    January 24, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  3. Dee, Houston

    You know, I like both candidates, but they behavior right now is not very becoming. John Edwards actually acts with more dignity. If this pettiness doesn't stop between Obama and Hillary they will lose a lot of supporters. Can we all just get along.

    January 24, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  4. agree with Jason

    I am SO SICK of the bickering- the democrats are setting themselves up to lose the election as any candidate who gets the nomination will be a joke- torn down by their own party...
    Diane Sawyer and George Steponopolis (sp) asked Obama about Tony Rezko Obama can't even look at them when he answered- I live in Chicago and we all know about Rezko here-he is no better than Hillary – his voting record sucks!! And she can't quote him to save her life...and Bill needs to get off the campaign trail- he is turning the whole thing into a joke- a three ring circus...and of course the only winner is the Media- THEY LOVE IT
    HELLO-We need to focus on issues- the economy, the war– not this petty B*LL
    If this keeps up I'll vote Republican-
    Where's Michael Bloomberg?? We need him!

    January 24, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  5. W.D., Silver Spring, MD

    Obama is showing that he truly wants to be commander and chief!!! Fight! Fight! Fight! It is time to turn the page on the Bush’s and the Clinton’s who love this divisive win by any means necessary politics. We finally have someone running for office who is the kind of politician we have been looking for since Robert and John Kennedy. Let’s turn the page to double talk, partisan and moral struggles and elect someone who you can trust! Do we truly want the Clinton’s back to resurrect the fights of the 90’s because believe me the Republicans truly dislike them and their tactics which we can see on display right now!!!

    January 24, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. Belle

    It sounds as though supporters of EACH of the campaigns has gone a little overboard...

    I think that neither Obama or Clinton would support the kind of behavior that has been accused...however, because some folks Hate Clinton, and others Hate Obama, they interfered in the process.

    SHAME on supporters of BOTH CAMPS that try to circumvent the RULES!!!!!!!!

    But I don't blame either Clinton or Obama. After all, they rely on the folks that volunteer to help their campaigns to be HONEST!!!! Too bad the bad apples are creating yet another uproar....

    January 24, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. Amanda

    Obama isn't a sore loser because he didn't lose. He captured more delegates. We just need to make sure that our rights are protected as voters. Because this extends well beyond Nevada. Problems like this could affect the outcomes of many elections to come, and that's just not how a democracy is supposed to work.

    January 24, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  8. marina sakhno

    I think they should have New Hampshire results investigated. The polls have been dead on before and since then in respect of all the races. So, the anomaly does not fit. Yes, you can have rationalizations and explanations, but none are as simple as "voting machines tempering" and as we all know it is the simplest explanation which is usually true.

    January 24, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. Tod

    It's just weird when people feel the need to specify their race when claiming to be an Obama supporter. "I'm a white woman from Alabama and I support Obama!" Who cares? Support your candidate for what they stand for and don't make a point of telling us you're white and supporting a black candidate. It's just so stupid.

    January 24, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. jyfranca

    Clintons blame bush for 2000 irregularities of votes in fla.Funny,Hillary and Bill will do anything to get nomination but in November its their end

    January 24, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. Mari Fernandez, Salt Lake City, UT

    I hope the Clinton campaign are reading these blog entries. Here is what an Independent Utah voter has to say to Sen. Clinton:

    Stop the mudslinging! It WILL be USED against whoever wins the Democratic candidacy! PLEASE stick to the issues, inform the people, BE REAL. STOP attacking Sen. Obama....... YOU ARE TURNING many people OFF!!

    To Sen. Obama, do not sink to their level! Rise above the fray! Be the amazing man you are! Stick to your message of HOPE & CHANGE!

    President Bill Clinton: Stop the attacks against a great young man! Its unbecoming for an ex-president to attack..... it looks and sounds like you & Hillary are desperate!

    January 24, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  12. Impressed

    Thank you CNN. You finally try to be decent and start posting anti-Obama posts.
    It took me a few writing to CNN and others. Maybe not because of me but other people's writing. However, I appreciate you started posting anti-Obama posts.
    Again I appreciate you at least trying to be balanced now.

    January 24, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  13. Suzan

    …now wait a minute!!!! Even if the doors closed at 11:30 (which is absolutely NOT true) are you suggesting ALL Clinton voters unanimously managed to vote before 11:30 and ALL Obama voters slept through he morning and decided to vote between the hours of 11:30 and 12:00? Well you snooze you loose!!!!! don't cry!!

    January 24, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. Raheim W.

    I'm a 26 year old service member stationed in Virginia that plans to vote democrat in the upcoming election. I find it deplorable that the 2 strongest candidates (Senators Clinton and Obama) resemble the character and resolve of 2 year olds in the race to lead the strongest nation on earth. No wonder the international community revere the US so badly. The bickering should stop most ricky tick! The entire world is watching not just what is said but also what is put into action. For the love of my country, one of these candidates has a strong chance of being my next Commander-in-Chief. Grow up for there are bigger issues at stake. In the Democratic Party there should be an agenda that one strengthens the other or we might all find ourselves in the quagmire of another Democratic Senate and Congress led by a Republican President.

    January 24, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  15. aisha

    obama is worst than clintons in dirty politics. he allowed dirty ads in nevada ,he is breaking party rules by doing ads in florida,he running against ads in s,c, too and now he complains about hillary having ads. oprah endorsed him just because of the race.and media is too afraid to say it because if obama loose they may look like if media was resposible for the loss of african american candidate.shame on media,shame on obama

    January 24, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  16. Marc

    Shame on both of these candidates. I understand they need to seperate themselves so as to appeal to voters, but come on. Isn't it more important to prevent another Republican Presidency than split the Democratic Party? On most things, these two agree, and I would prefer either of them over Romney or McCain. But I am seriously losing respect for them because of their constant bickering. Regardless of the content or the justness of their attacks, it's just plain immature. Neither of them is perfect; I don't expect such from them in terms of their voting records, and neither is above reproach for their conduct. It's time they act like leaders, bury the hatchet, and focus on moving this country forward.

    January 24, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  17. Albert

    People have to realize that what the Obama CAMP and Clinton CAMP do isn't necessarily approved by the candidates themselves... This is a battle fought between the campaign workers of Nevada, not the Candidates.

    January 24, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  18. Harry, Michigan

    Bill Clinton is the one who started with the voter tampering (tthe lawsuit), and ALSO the one who accused Obama of suppression. It would be Billo's style to accuse the opponent of something HE is already doing. It muddies up the waters nicely for him. Obama is right for pointing out who is going overboard here.

    January 24, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  19. eleanor owen

    Why does the head of the Democratic Party let the Clintons destroy the party.
    We know Bill lies. Remember looking us straight in the eyes and telling us
    he did not have sex with this woman? They are low-life.

    Barack should announce that he will not engage in any more discussion with
    the Clintons on or off stage. He should continue to deliver his message and
    start healing this nation.

    January 24, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  20. Lori

    to bd – you can't believe that Obama & Clinton intend to keep the promises they made to gain the support of the Hispanic voter. The day they left NV, they had forgotten what they said. Of course, I don't believe the Republicans either.

    January 24, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  21. Sean

    Obama's campaign wants to cry over everything and it's getting to be very old right now. If he wins the nomination and then gets raked over the coals by the GOP, is his campaign going to cry then too?

    I can understand candidates fighting tooth and nail for the nomination for President of the country they love, but enough is enough!

    I support the Democrats through and through, but if Obama wins the nomination, I can honestly say I'd be looking into the GOP representative over him. He's acting like a kid on the playground that lost his swing.

    Politics isn't pretty and it never has been. Toughen up that skin or give it up now. Quit being the child in the race.

    I still say Clinton/Edwards 08!

    January 24, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  22. JenniferS

    I'm happy SOMEONE cares enough to think of the American people. We don't appreciate the feeling that we live in a rigged election, non democratic country. That things are decided before we decide them.

    Thank you Obama! Make Washington HONEST!

    January 24, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. bill in florida

    hooray for Bill for standing up to the race-baiting, scandle mongering, disrepectful,unprofessional, poll spewing, non-journalist at CNN. He was right when he said scandel is all CNN wants to hear. CNN news editors a playing the public like a fiddle in order to sell advertising. The fear the free speech and unfiltered Internet world. It is CNN that is fighting for thier very survival and can see how irreleavant they are becoming. The big paychecks are about to stop for these quasi talking heads with microphones, and they know it.

    January 24, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. Bij- New York

    Wow! I don't understand how people are calling Obama's complaint "whining" He's under attack and he has to defend himself...The American people need to learn a lesson from this campaign...do you really want a president that manipulates the facts just to get people on her side? I strongly suggest you all tune in to CNN and pay attention to the "keeping them honest" segments! Then you'll get a better understanding of the real truth.
    People, Obama is in this alone! Billary (as the name suggest) has her husband who was the former president of the United States! Of course she'll have a more detailed breakdown of her economic strategy (all she has to do is ask her husband how he would've done it!)...we all know politics is not fair but we need to take a good look at the circumstances surrounding both candidates...do the American people really want change or do they just want to go back to the "good old 90's?" I trust Obama- who do you really trust?
    p.s: Obama voted "present" on 140 out of 4,000 cases...and this wasn't even when he was in the U.S senate!!

    January 24, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  25. Eric-Houston, TX

    Hah, reading all these comments reminds me of Casablanca: "I'm shocked, SHOCKED! that politicians will sling mud around! Golly me! Oh my!" How is Obama going to deal with Putin or Iran if he can't deal with Hillary?

    Objectively, all this sounds like an argument in favor of a more orderly process....aren't caucuses rather antiquated, anyway? All it is is basically a bunch of shouting. I hereby propose a 50-state uniformity rule: all primaries, all closed (party registrants only). Also: no more winner-take all. Have a uniform delegate allocation procedure as well....1 delegate per congressional district, plus 2 for each senator. That's it.

    January 24, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
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