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. Corey

    If by campaign you mean lie to the American people, because that is exactly what bill is doing. The American public often times does not delve into the issues and will believe what is said about a candidate. So Bill makes up negative things to make Obama look bad. It is called swift-boating. If anyone has a sketchy background it is bill himself, I don't understand how people can fully trust a man whose own presidency was full of social debaucheries. And for your information Hillary won the popular vote, but Obama recieved more delegates.

    January 24, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  2. Evan

    He's not being a sore loser. Obama's just questioning the voting practices, not the results. Besides, he didn't really lose in Nevada, anyway. He lost the popular vote, but split the delegates.

    AND the Clinton campaign supports the move, so I don't see the big deal. It's not like Kusinich (or however you spell his name) asking for a recount in NH.

    January 24, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  3. Dan G

    The general dishonesty and ruthlessness of the Clintons brings back all of the memories of their tenure in the White House in the 90s. I'd rather an honest man I disagree with than a dishonest one who says anything to get and stay elected.

    January 24, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  4. seattle

    Wow. I'm not sure what's worse–the Clinton campaign's dirty politics which they're using against Obama, or the line "if you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen." I'm sorry to be blunt, but Clinton supporters need to shut up with that line. The "heat" does not have to be all out mud-flinging like Hillary clearly wants it to be. Honestly I think some of these Clinton supporters don't even care about what she's doing to Obama or where she stands on the issues; they will go with anything that will let them win. So maybe start making your own voter choices, and for Gods sake, why don't you Clinton supporters just get out of the kitchen–your food tastes like crap anyways.

    January 24, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  5. Nicole

    After all this he-said-she-said crap, if Hillary is the nominee and running against McCain, chalk up a vote for McCain from me (God it hurts to say that!). If I was Obama, I'd stand up for myself too. In the last debate she insinuated that the guy was against rights for sexually abused children, against restrictions on lending companies that prey on low income families, and defended a "slum lord". Give me a break. She's disgusting.

    Billary is using the exact same tactics as Bush – say the lie over and over and enough people will believe. SO SAD that someone I used to look up to so much, has chosen such a low route. I guess that's just politics...

    January 24, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  6. MrBrownstone

    They should just throw out all the delegates in Nevada. As crooked as the casinos are, what would you expect from Unions of Nevada?

    January 24, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  7. Sandra, Arizona

    The Clintons are liars, cheats, and dirty "Republican acting" scroudrals. I am so sick of the lies they have been saying about Obama. Everyone, please read the article that Newsweek wrote about the Clintons lies. They actually conducted an investigation that concluded that Obama did vote for an increase in minimum wage, and they were disappointed that the Clintons could lie about what Obama said about Reagan. I will not vote for Clinton. I will probably not vote or vote Independant. Clintons are going to ruin what Obama is so desperately trying build in America.

    January 24, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  8. Jim, OR

    The only thing more disturbing than the alleged violations of Nevada election law is the attitude of the Clinton supporters who respond with remarks like "sore loser" (of course, he actually won more delegates!), "pantywaist" and "whiner". We are talking about attempts to deprive people of their right to participate in the electoral process, which despite who you support, should be sacred in this country. However, the response from the Hillary fans is completely consistent with their overall strategy of attempting to marginalize Obama now that he appears to threaten the nomination that Clinton thought was hers for the asking. The Clinton campaign tosses something out (like a subtle race card) and then attacks Obama when his campaign responds. I understand if the true Clinton believers think that lies are permissible and an accepted part of a campaign but you would think that trampling on the rights of people to vote in a party caucus would cause at least some of them to question the kind of people they are supporting. If it wasn't clear before, we now know what Hillary meant when she bragged about being able to handle the Republicans and that is her belief (and Karl Rove's) that anything is acceptable if you win. (And if you get caught, just deny it.)

    January 24, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  9. JBBaker

    It is very ironic how Clinton won came in first in NH when she came in third in Iowa. Jumped up above Edwards who was second and came in first in Nevada. Something in the milk is not clean.

    Obama was leading in both NH or Nevada before their primaries, something has been done underhanded by the Clinton Campaign. I believe what you do in the dark will come to the light and what is hidden will be revealed.

    I understand that Nevada casino workers are mostly Latino, you know the Clintons are a flip flop. It was the blacks that helped put them in the 90's and the Africian American has found them out and now they are running to the Latinos.

    The polls show her leading in some areas, but by the time the General Election comes those who she thought was voting her will not.

    Obama will bring the bipartisan to the country, just what we need. He is the President of the Hour and it is time for CHANGE.

    Sam Cook sang a CHANGE IS COMING!

    Obama is the right one for president

    January 24, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  10. Med

    Saying the african american community will mobilise against hillary if she is nominated is equivalent to blackmail of the democratic party by frustrated loosers. We should refuse to vote for someone just because he is a 'brother'. Lets go beyound the race issue and look at the people behind the rhetoric!

    January 24, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  11. Virginia San Francisco, California

    Give it up Senator Obama.
    Hey I thought he said he comes from Chicago area where things are "rough"
    so stop this "blaming game" and please move on. He now shows me how weak he REALLY is because if he can't handle the fact the Bill Clinton is speaking for his wife and what she represents...stop complaining and winding. Now he and his campaign decide to put in complaint against another candidate. What happen to we ALL one? What happen to the united topic or was he just putting out words that sound good. "ACTION SPEAKS FOR ITSELF.

    Growing up in the barrio I've had more than 2 folks attack me verbally though I am not winding about it I stand up against.


    January 24, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  12. PCM 01

    This is to supposed to be the light house of democracy in the world. We have sent soldiers to fight for the concept of freedom , justice and dignity accross the oceans.
    To read some of the comments about the Democratic process is sad and humiliating...so much effort , tears and blood for this?
    This country is ready to change to a new generation of politicians. We do not need bad politics. Bad politics is about distorting, lieing and manipulating the facts to feed egomaniac behaviours.
    Mr. & Mrs Clinton you behaviour is not conveying a sincere affection for your party, neither your love for the U.S.A. Your turbid past and experiences, your present megalomaniac behaviour are hurting the political aspirations of the Democratic Party.

    Mr. Clinton it is time for the Democratic party to access some of their emergency funds and buy you a ticket for a trip until December 2008.

    Mrs. Clinton, I believe that this country is ready for a female president, but you are not it. You are like a desperate wife trying to accomplish something behind her egomaniac husband. How can you ask the support of a person that have cheated, lied about it and is making a donkey of himself by taking naps in front of TV cameras, perhaps dreaming about past deceptions?.It is not very liberating behaviour for yoursel or for the women of this country. It is not good for the people of the U.S.A.

    Mr. Clinton, do not forget to send us a postcard

    January 24, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  13. Micahel Guinn, Ventura, CA

    Someone has to put his words into action- and the Obama campaign has. We want CHANGE from the under-handed politics of the beltway.
    I have noticed that the HRC supporters on here are more hateful than she is- until I see some of this stop-I will continue to fight for CHANGE! Obama 08!
    PS- This division is just what the Republicans need to re-take the White House! Shame on you President Clinton.

    January 24, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  14. Dan from MN

    So many people speak of inexperience in government as a bad thing. We've had nearly 100% experienced politicians for the last 100 years. Where has that gotten us lately. Doesn't real change and a new outlook come from new blood. Please let's vote the lifetime politicians out of office. Every congressman and senator that started in office as less than a millionaire is now many times a millionaire. Something is broken here.

    January 24, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  15. Democratsin09

    I am glad that Obama is standing up for himself and calling the Clintons out on their crap. I have watched every single debate and Obama has addressed every single question and slur thrown to him. I appreciate people wanting to vote for whom they think is the better candidate, but to say that Obama is not addressing questions or not standing up for anything is ABSURD! Some people need to stop being so simple minded.

    And as far as whining goes, you people on this blog is the only whining that I hear.

    Get a life already!

    January 24, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  16. sherry

    when will cnn report the news and stop embellishing and telling us what they think who cares we as the Amercian people deserve the news not as cnn sees it. They used to report the news now they spill. Please stop

    January 24, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  17. Wake Up!!!

    I am completely ashamed of the democrates in my party. If Obama was not in this election they would be begging to be nursed by Hillary and there would be very ittle decent into her being nominated. As an black-american I am also ashamed at most attitudes and behaviors toward Clinton. It was stay home and wait to see if Obama is electable first. Find out he is and now we have Hillary playing the captin to amistad. I heard a guest speaker on a Chicago talk show basicaly claim any black that doesn't vote black is in violation of Dr. Kings dream...What!!!! To vote black for the sake of being black is in violation of kings dream. Now don't get me wrong if Obama wins the noination that is exactly what I'll do, but it will still be because it does more good than harm and is the lesser of two evils...democrats and republicans. I truely believe that it must be republicrats in desguise claiming to vote repub or not at all if Hillary gets it. What democrate in their right mind even if the nominee was Kucinich (probably mispelled) would vote or not vote to allow in Bush's Republican successor. Don't complain when gas is $5 and cost for in-state tuition is $50 grand a year and the only schools us black can get in are our own because of cost and our legacy points (race and location), all ready erased, are no longer cosidered. Edwards is the only one who I have heard yet that has a real solution to our problems lessing the gap of povety for all people. If I new my vote wouldn't be wasted he would have it.

    January 24, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  18. sherry

    He did not show up to vote in the senate often in his short time there, missed 130 votes out of 153! bashes ALL the other 72 senators who voted for the war based on the intelligence they were provided by OUR PRESIDENT, but he will not answer any reporter on how we would voted at the time. But his record after fact shows he supports the war, voted twice in 2006 against bringing America's troops back home. He votes for war appropriations giving our money to Halliburton and Blackwater. His latest bit of posturing S 433 allows the Bush Administration to suspend any troop withdrawal!!!!Which if not suspended, still keeps the troops in Iraq for a long time to come? Obama when faced with tough choices always gave in to pressure from the Bush administration or corporate lobbyists. Such as Obama voted for Bush's energy bill, sending more than $13 billion in subsidies and tax breaks to oil, coal, and nuclear companies. Obama voted with Republicans to allow credit card companies to raise inter

    January 24, 2008 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  19. William

    You don't have to take the Obama camp's word for it .... Bill and Hillary have frankly distorted - misquoted - misrepresented - and essentially lied in their statements.

    This is EXACTLY what we have all wanted to get away from - from the Republicans.

    And the other night, when Hillary flamed on about how she would never quit, never leave 15 (17?) million American's without heath insurrance .... b.s.

    when she HAD the chance - in 1993 - she folded like a wet napkin - and NEVER came back for a second swing at the ball.

    Talk is cheap. You guys had your chance and 8 years is enough.

    If HRC gets the nomination, for the first time since 1968 - I won't vote.

    January 24, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  20. Rose

    Sour grapes. Hillary won and Obama is whining. If you can't take what comes with a race for the Whitehouse from your own party, what is going to happen when the Republican swiftboaters come at you. If your not tough, you lose. Hillary is the most experienced and she didn't ask for an investigation in Iowa. She accepted her loss. Get over it. SC will give you the state. Now you will be 2 for 2.

    January 24, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  21. Zephyr Logan

    Clinton will win if she RIGS IT!!!!


    January 24, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  22. joe

    It is tit for tat war, frankly it is petty from both sides. Obama should stop whining about negative attack when he is not pulling any punches with his negative, untruthfull
    attack on Clinton either.

    For those losers who worship Obama as a cult of personality, threat to vote for McCain if Obama loses the nomination, grow up! If these idiots want another xenophobic, incompetent GOP like McCain, or an other 4 years where 47 mil americans do not health care coverage, go ahead vote McCain, you loser.

    Clinton and Obama supporter.

    January 24, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  23. Nicholas

    The Clinton attack machine has made me ashamed. While I support Obama I only came to this conclusion while watching them attack at every chance they have gotten, first when Obama said that he would meet with foreign leaders up to now how they are launching there first official attack ads on Obama's comments on Raegen. Impllying that he supported every bad decishion that the GOP has come up with while this simply isn't true. Many people Democrats and Republicans alike are looking for a new vision of America, something that the whole nation can get behind, a vision that does not play to the extremes of either base but embraces all the ideals of America and what we can be, and what we want to be. This is the change that Obama wants to bring about, hillary does not even see that, she thinks that Obama's message of change is something that he would be the first black president, his real message of change is that he will be the first president in some time that works for all of America, for those that give him there votes and for those that do not, this is the only way that we can make real things happen that make this a better world for us all. The greatest amount of happiness for the greatest amount of people, that is how a president should guide a nation to peace and prosperity.

    Obama is our greatest hope for Peace and happiness in America, please stand with me, join all Americans behind a common goal, that is the only way that we are going to take on challenges like Climate Change, and Health Care, we have a real chance join us and change the world.

    Obama 08

    January 24, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  24. joe

    First of obama is the one that started the attacks first. When Hillary was way ahead of him he started a negative attacks against her. Now that he is loosing he files a complaint in Nevada. The people have chosen in Nevada. Just get over it. This is the guy that tells the people choose on their own. Know he is loosing he wants to change is their minds. This guy has no experience at all and just talks a lot.


    January 24, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  25. honest voter

    To the comment from DoM I think the clintons won some of the Latinos
    votes through intimidation !!!

    January 24, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
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