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. Geri

    I was at the Iowa caucus and I also saw first hand how the Obama camp acted. There was one person in particular who was ready to punch anyone that tried to talk to someone about going to another camp when their candidate didn't come up with the necessary 15%. He was not particular whether it was male or female, young or old. I'm tired of listening to Obama whine and his loud mouth wife is no different than any one else's spouse. The one thing I thought was humeous coming out of her mouth was that they had just gotten out od debt. Who is she trying to kid. Her salary alone would help stamp out hunger in some communities. Lets get the whiners in the back ground.

    January 24, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  2. Leon

    People say they want a President who is going to stand up for their rights, that will represent them, make everything better, blah, blah, blah...

    Obama's campaign receives all these complaints and they voice the concerns by writting this letter. Now you have people calling Obama a bad loser and cry baby...for what? For voicing the concerns of American Citizens? What was he suppose to do?

    I don't get it!

    January 24, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  3. terrondt

    take losing like a man barack. SORE LOSERMAN!!!!!

    January 24, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  4. Plus

    Maria, Houston is really twisting the facts into another fairytale.

    Senator Clinton was not "crying" at all, and she certainy never would have "cried" because she lost. She showed human emotion because of YOUR loss. BO is not ready for this job...any thinking person knows that fact. He has less expereince than the floppy-earred guy we have in there now.

    Clinton 2008

    January 24, 2008 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  5. Sumitra Deb

    "WOW! Hillary is outdoing even Karl "Dr. Evil" Rove these days. What won't this woman stoop to in order to win?? Any shred of decency that was left has apparently escaped the Clinton family. Is Hillary going to be saying "I did not have sexual relations with that woman" in 3 years? Or perhaps "what is the meaning of "is"?""

    I voted two times for the "he' Clinton. I wish, I can take them back.

    January 24, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  6. Nick

    Clintons lied and cheated in NH, as well. They deceived leading Democrats there about Obama's record on abortion, getting them to sign onto an attack piece.

    These are nasty, power-hungry people that will do anything to get back to the White House (so they can sell access again).

    Understand this: a President Hilary will get next to nothing done, because she'll face so much opposition and has so little genuine political knack for uniting people. The country is more bitterly divided now that it was during Bill's presidency; the right has even less to lose now by obstructing; she is alienating the Democrats and independents she'll need to push any agenda.

    Hers would be an even more impotent and divisive presidency that W's 2nd term.

    January 24, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  7. chris m

    When the Republicans disenfranchised the black voters in Florida and it cost Al Gore the Presidency, the NAACP had to fight it because they know what voter suppression is. It is not whining. It is real. It must be stomped on everywhere it shows its head. Whoever does it. From Hillary to Diebold, from Bush to corrupt counters of hanging chads.

    It is foolhardy to call it whining. I guess you would have found that the disenfranchised voters under Jim Crow were whining. Remember, the Bush administration thought the NAACP were whining. Until the investigation found that it was true.

    January 24, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  8. Tom H.

    I voted in the Nevada Caucus. I saw neither dirty tricks, nor abuse by either side. I did see grown men acting like complete idiots, and trying to out fact each other. I believe that Obama is showing that he is indeed a sore runner up.

    January 24, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  9. democrat

    I am a democrat and I like bill clinton.
    But if Hillary wins I am voting republican.
    I am disgusted by her behavior.

    January 24, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  10. Marge


    January 24, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  11. Holly, Chicago


    Sorry to interrupt your....train (wreck) of thought(s) here, but in case you have NOT noticed we live in America, where last time I checked we were still a democracy. Democracy guarantees freedom of speech, but maybe being a Obama supporter you really don't have a sold fundamental understanding of the democratic process because you are just part of the ground swell that has come out of the closet to jump on any candidate's bandwagon that can make rhetoric sound presidential. BTW, it's referred to as "mudslinging", not mud flinging.

    Furthermore, you have the audacity to talk about Clinton supporters NOT knowing where Sen. Clinton stands on the issues? OMG, we have known all along where Sen. Clinton stands because she took a stand months ago & substantiated what the issues are that she represents in this election, something Obama has not done until recently. That is what Sen. Clinton brings to the dance, something with substance.

    It's no surprise that when Sen. Clinton has commented on any issue Obama supporters have jumped all over her saying that she is a whiner. Sen Obama does it and he is really NOT whining, he is just retaliating...right?

    I hope the Obama supporters TiVo'd the debate this past week, maybe you can play it back and see WHO really started the mudslinging instead of coming out ready to discuss the issues of this election. In case you have not been paying close attention, the Obama campaign has resorted to the same tactics that every political race has ever succumbed to because the Obama camp is no better or any different than any other candidate's camp. They capitalize on every sound bite & spin it just like every political camp does. Did you really think he was different?

    Yes, the kitchen is heating up and I am glad that I am supporting a candidate that can actually cook up something substantial for our country that is real.

    Hillary 08! NObama

    January 24, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  12. HOTATL

    I do not feel Obama is being a sore loser at all. If the Clintons feel they can win on experience and their own merit, then do so. However the Dirty politicis and distorting of informtion regarding Obama is not right. This goes to show she has been in Washington too long – and that's why we need change.

    Obama 2008 our next President.

    January 24, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  13. amf

    Lets face it, the Clintons have always been liars and tried to deceive the American people.


    January 24, 2008 10:02 pm at 10:02 pm |
  14. chel

    This is not about Obama losing...it's about making sure his campaign nips the clinton tactics in the bud as they move onto other states. It's a signal letting us know what's up and what to watch out for...and what they won't put up with in the future.

    January 24, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  15. nathan

    I am not an american. But if Iam, I would preferClinton. Clinton seems to be average, but obama is worse. He would defenitely fumble in foreign policies. Dear Democrats, for the sake of your country & all the other countries in the world, dont elect obama!

    January 24, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  16. stokes

    I heard the same things had happen at the Iowa Causes, i feel the Clintons need to stop twisting Obama's words they sound like some kids playing these stupid games they need to get down to the issue's, because everytime they say they qoute Obama its never the full story and its always said wrong to sound worse, if they have such a lead then why are they campaigning like their losing. they are all just some straight Liar's, it was never hard for Bill to do that before

    January 24, 2008 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  17. Ann

    WOW! The differences between the candidates and their supports are crystal clear. I'm so glad I'm an Obama supporter. We need our country to focus on issues. Obama didn't make a public accusation – he filed a legitimate complaint which was followed by a Clinton attempt to deny by accusation.
    The Clinton hostility (both of them) and misrepresentations are signs of how they would run the country. They're skilled, but not in the tactics I'd be proud to see used in the Oval Office. I'd like to trust the next President and be proud of our country.

    January 24, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  18. marge

    "I hope the Obama supporters TiVo'd the debate this past week, maybe you can play it back and see WHO really started the mudslinging instead of coming out ready to discuss the issues of this election. In case you have not been paying close attention, the Obama campaign has resorted to the same tactics that every political race has ever succumbed to because the Obama camp is no better or any different than any other candidate's camp. They capitalize on every sound bite & spin it just like every political camp does. Did you really think he was different"?

    I agree Obama was defensive,however was that without reason? For weeks Bill and Hillary BOTH have made inaccurate statements regarding Obama's record. they have continually mis-quoted his statements. Their supporters chave made snide and rude remarks . What did you think??? The man was going to continue NOT to fight back????? When you play in the same arena with 'The Clintons" ,you had better adopt their "tactics" or be eaten alive....
    Obama is not a sore loser...the problem is "The Clintons", never expected to be in this position...Hillary nor Bill expected this type of competition,and especially not from the Obama campaign. LOL!LOL! Obama and his supporters have every reason to 'hold their heads high' win or lose...because the "truth" of this matter is Obama is giving "The Clintons" a run for their money....LOL!LOL!
    Holly posted:

    "Did you really think he was different"?

    Oh he IS different!

    January 24, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  19. TN mom


    January 24, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  20. TN mom


    January 24, 2008 10:33 pm at 10:33 pm |
  21. Bert

    Get real. How likely is it that a Union Worker would threaten an Employee like that in front of Bill Clinton??? GET REAL. There seems to be a pattern, whatever Clintons SAY is happening to THEM...is what THEY will do next to the Opponent. Very calculating people. Scary.

    January 24, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  22. kristy

    I find irony in all of this. 8 years ago the people who praised the clintons, are now bashing them....... Why? I have heard all the reasons. Where is the sudden discontent coming from? We know republicans dislike hill and bill.
    We democrats Have one goal to take back the presidency. I wish Hillary and Obama could remember that. We the voters should as well. If you are true dems save the mud-slinging for the republicans. The dems should be pursuing a victory regardless of the winner.

    January 24, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  23. Naomi

    I read both the Obama letter, which seems to have been sent out first, and the Clinton letter. The Clinton letter merely mirrors the Obama letter. It seems that the Clinton's were given a copy of the Obama letter then simply copied issues of complaint. I dont know, it seems rather fishy. I hate to think of Hillary conducting her camp in an unethical fashion but I have seen the light. She has disappointed me.

    My vote is without doubt going to Barack Obama as well as the vote of my friends and family.

    Let's Barack the vote!!!!


    January 24, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  24. chilstring

    Bill and Hillary Clinton have become as divisive to the Democratic party as Gerorge Bush and Dick Cheney have been to our country. Accusing Barack Obama of espousing Republican philosophies and praising Ronald Regan was stupid and irresponsible.

    Lets hope for either a Obama/Clinton or Clinton/Obama ticket with John Edwards taking the place of Attorney General

    January 24, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  25. Fred

    he is a sore loser
    if hillary would have done this the media would have given her heck
    but since he is black they cant say anything cause obama would accuse them of being raciest

    January 24, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
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