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. josh

    This may seem like more bickering but the truth is that this bickering is helping both Obama's and Clinton's campaigns. It is giving them free press coverage. This is politics people!! It's vying for power!!! What do all of you expect? For Clinton and Obama to have a tea party! They are OPPONENTS, they are not on the same team right now. I think we should all be happy with the democrats we have to choose from. They are so much better than Gore and Kerry! I am glad Obama and Clinton are sharpening their claws on each other so that when one of them wins those claws will be razor sharp to tear up McCain or Romney!!!

    January 24, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  2. Tizzy

    A Clinton, a would be President cried or shed tears to survive NH, another Clinton, a former President tells a news reporter ' Shame'.
    It is both Shameful and worth Crying for that for the woman Hillary – After being First Lady for 12 years at Little Rock and another 8 years in the White House with so many scandals in tow and for the man Bill – After being Governor for 12 years at Little Rock and another 8 years as President of the United States with so many scandals in tow that this couple still want the limelight SELFISHLY just to squander the best chance the Democrats have to regain the White House after 8 years.
    We elected Bill Clinton president at 46. Obama is 46. When we backed Clinton in 1992 we had faith that he will perform, we did not consider his experience or age. American Democrats should give to Obama, who is coincidentally 46 like Bill was then,the same support . Bill's wife should not be a cog in the wheel of the Democratic Party's progress. Bill should give back to American Democrats and Blacks since he revels in being addressed as 'the first Black President' the support they have given him over time. Obama is a good candidate thats why Hillary cried and Bill a statesman shouted Shame on you to a Press man.

    January 24, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  3. sick of the bickering 08

    Okay, honestley, you HRC supporters should really stop using the term ,"Cry, Crybaby, whiner" when refering to Obamba. Point in fact. He has not dropped one fake tear on National tv that was HRC. Its funny to how everyone forgets that. Please open your eyes and realize that she did not try to seem so "likeable" or "human" until someone told her that , according to recent polls taken, she is not as likeable as other candidates. Really, now the tears come two days later. Also remember she said " For me this is not about politics, this is personal" HRC and her camp have certainly done all they can to prove how "personal" this election is.

    If she were a true leader she would:
    A) not have her former presidental spouse running camp for her in SC, she would instead have the respect for the SC voters to be there herself
    B) have taken any concerns about the NV turnout to the NVDP herself and not let her husband do the talking and make the false alegations to the media without using the proper channels like Barack did.
    C) would not be party to this 3rd grade playground he said she said stuff.

    My hopes are that Barack can get back to discussing the issues. By continuing to address these issues that are of no consequence to us regular voters, it reminds us of why we were so turned off to politics and the State of our Union to begin with. I personally dont want to go back to a place where I am uniterested or turned off to the process now that my eyes have been opened during Baracks early campain policies.

    Barack and Michelle,
    Please dont give into this race card media blitz that has been created by the HRC camp and inflamed by the media. You have to rise above it if you want to hold onto your supporters.

    January 24, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  4. Outside Comments

    I have been watching all of these comments from both the candidates and supporters. I have a couple of comments / questions:

    1) People are complaining about Clinton yet from my point of view, the US economy did it's best under Clinton. The Republicans seem to have been focused on one of two things when they were in power, war and widening the budget deficit.
    2) I keep seeing slogens saying "Obama for change". What change? I have not seen Obama say anything about what he wants to change.
    3) The democrats should be trying to pick someone that they believe can win the election. That should be their primary focus.
    4) How much say does that candidate have at then end of the day and how much is from the party. In my opinion, the majority of the policy decisions would be heavily influenced by the party.

    January 24, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. Frank, San Diego

    More whining from Obama. He lost my support with his thinly veiled threat to withhold his support if Clinton is the eventual nominee. Now I'm voting for either Clinton or Edwards, depending on who matches up best against the likely Republican in the last poll before the primary.

    January 24, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  6. truth

    I agree with Joe that whatever I wrote, it never got posted. CNN is one sided with Obama. I start watching MSNBC now.

    I agree with Demfan 100%. The media treats Obama like a saint, never dare to make any slightly negative comments or investigation about him. What is media afraid of ???

    Obama is not Dr. Martin Luther King but he definitely tries to get a free ride on Dr. Martin Luther King. By the way, Obama did move his family into a 1.6 million dollar home in a wealthy neighborhood while Rezko's wife bought an adjacent piece of property on the same day. Go figure.

    January 24, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  7. noel

    I agree with J.J. Hillary can't even keep Bill interested in her. I feel this campaign is the only attention Hillary has gotten from Bill in a long time. She is a disgrace to our nation. All she's done is ride her husbands coat tail all these years.

    Obama is our man

    January 24, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  8. FC

    The Democratic Party should intervene in this debacle between the Clintons and Obama. It is nauseating.

    January 24, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  9. Brendan

    Obama is just upset that he lost. Pathetic actually!!!

    January 24, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. Why dont You and see

    I live in Illinois Obama has not done any thing to improve the State all he has done so far is write a book take trips to find his roots and vote present his aids do that for him same with the commities. Plus he's part of this states corrupt politions. Look at Blago free spending of $$$ he dosnt have and they both ran at the same time. Vote for Obama is like voting your self in the poor house. He will spend and not care where it comes from. Rasie your TAX's too and support Illegals getting in free.

    January 24, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  11. Peter Waters

    Sore loser! You lost Nevada! Get over it!

    HILLARY won fair and square! I was there... some (not all) of the Obama supporters were mean, pushy, rude!

    I actually was a Obama fan until I got there. I switched over to Hillary.

    HILLARY 2008!

    January 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  12. Robert

    Mr. Obama, please stop with your tantrums! Believe it or not , the Clintons are not the bad guys. Make your case for President or shutup!

    January 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  13. JD

    No women is ILLEGAL mean illegal can vote me,
    If Billary becomes president she'll replace our justice dept with LA RAZA and sell everything own by goverment to china or anybody else that will pay her a salesman's commission. mre welfare for illegal

    January 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. Peter

    The Clintons are fraudsters & LIARS they'll do whateva they can to WIN,,, but i bet you.. no more Clinton Dynasty can survive the Republican Dogs.
    Obama is a guy that wants to clean the politics, American politics is no longer a pace setter, very soon american will be compared with Zimbabwe-Africa.
    Lets stop the Clintons now or Loose to Republicans.

    Obama 08

    January 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. Mike

    To those of you saying that Obama is "whining" and is a "sore loser," take a closer look at the results and who received more delegates. Obama won NEVADA, Hillary won LAS VEGAS. I am confident the truth will prevail in this matter and Obama will win the nomination.

    January 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  16. Annie, CA

    I think most of the media is basically Republican...someone recently wrote along these lines that Labels like “black,” “female,” “Christian” or “Mormon” are simplistic ways to order people into certain sectors. At worst it makes it much easier for powerful entities to oppress smaller groups.

    There is no better way for the media to create dissention than to report only on Obama being Black and how the black people of North Carolina are voting 8-1 down racial lines. Or that "x" percentage of women are voting for Clinton.

    Wake up everyone – the media is manipulating what the disection of the citizens of the US. Vote for who you think will be the best President and who can get things done. Please don't vote if the only reason to vote is for gender or color.

    And as for sickofbickering'08 – I would ask you to watch the last debate again. It was Senator Obama who started the mud slinging (he is no saint) and the only problem I really had with Senator Clinton is that she did not start her comments with "well I am certainly surprised by your accusation considering your campaign speech of yesterday indicated that you wanted to have a clean race and not have this bickering – but with that said...." Senator Obama really debates with one 10 word sentence to the question and two paragraphs to sling falsehoods. Not a good technique to anyone who knows anything about debating. He would be difficult to debate since he accepts no responsibilities (ie – voting 'present' over 100 times – and one of those was for his own written bil? duh!) He is hoping the rest of the people do not see his technique.

    Perhaps CNN could do a special on the 'art of debating'....

    January 24, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  17. Annie, CA

    One last thing..........I sure hope I am not one of the 15 million people that Senator Obama's proposed medical plan will exclude. I hope you aren't either! He hasn't said who that will be....I think we should all know.

    If anyone is seriously considering Obama to be their candidate – perhaps they can answer what sector or sectors of these United States Senator Obama is excluding from his proposed medical care plan.


    January 24, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  18. BobW Rochester, NY

    "I think Obama and his campaign should move on. They lost Nevada, fair and square. Continuing to dwell on it, will promote the image of a sore loser"

    Actually they won the campaign there by at least 2 delegates. Like Bush, Hillary won the popular vote.

    January 24, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. Brendan D, Niles, IL

    To all those blaming Obama for hurting the Democratic Party:

    Hillary Clinton's campaign chairman is Terry McAuliffe, who was the DNC Chairman from 2001-2005. Under his "leadership," the Democrats were not once able to capture Congress or the White House. He oversaw the selling-out of the Democratic Party to the neo-conservative sect of the Republican Party. Terry McAuliffe was a drag to the party. Now, he's running Mrs. Clinton's campaign. Out of curiosity, why would Hillary pick this man, who oversaw the darkest days for Democrats since the "Reagan Revolution," as her campaign chairman? And who would hurt the party more - Obama by challenging the patriarchy of the party, or Hillary by giving a job to a complete hack?

    January 24, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  20. Dave

    Best thing that could happen for the Republican party – Our Country and next President John McCain Thanks you both

    January 24, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. Kesh

    wow. could this be anymore annoying? Do they not realize that when they do stuff like this or fight on tv (the SC debate) it's a major turn off? Stop complaining folks and run a campaign. Don't be a sore loser. Don't win off of false terms either.

    January 24, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  22. Disgusted

    Is this really what American politics has become? Do either of these children in adult costumes deserve to run a country full of Americans when they cannot even be civil with each other? To be quiet honest neither of these candidates deserve to be in the White House due to their smear campaign tactics agaisnt one another. Lets put someone in office who sticks to the issues and the task at hand rather than a person that is going to focus on the shortcomings of someone else.

    January 24, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. Annie, CA

    Disturbed – I think it is admirable that President Clinton is campaigning for Senator Clinton – just as I think it is admirable that Elizabeth Edwards is campaigning for Former Senator Edwards. I would bet none of them think of it as 'heavy lifting' . Just because Senator Obama's wife doesn't seem to be campaigning much apparently is their choice.

    Devisive is the name of the game and that is what the media is creating by their slanted coverage.

    January 24, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  24. Jorge Villa

    Hispanic arent Voting for Obama!!! Stop crying. Reason Hillary won was because Richardson stepped out of the Races, in which his votes went right to Hillary.

    Stop crying Obama! I'm from Wisconsin and I wont vote for you even thought his campaign is strong in the Midwest. Hes just a sweet talker has done nothing for illinois. Only reason he wont Iowa is because his campaign is strong in the midwest. That was NOT a surprise. Obama had many Democrats from the Midwest help him Campaign during his senate Race in illinois. He'll be strong in Wisconsin, Iowa, illinois, Indiana, and if had his name in the Michigan ballot he would of done well.

    January 24, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  25. john



    January 24, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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