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. Gideon

    Mark Cary, NC January 23, 2008 3:21 pm ET

    "What a sore loser. This is pathetic. He lost. Move on!"

    "...Barack Obama captured more delegates."

    Guess that depends on what your definition of "lost" is...

    January 23, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  2. Joanne from Florida

    As I have mentioned to several friends and people that I work with, the media seems to be choosing what they report and what they don't report. The media has a bigger soapbox then any ex-President or current Politician could ever have because they have the choice to report on something negative that is happening or report on something good. If they didn't report on what was going on in another state or another country I would never know about it.

    More often then not I see them reporting on the negative, which only adds fuel to the fire and keeps the fued going. Everyone needs to grow up and start thinking about the future of this country. No one is innocent in this race because everyone has done something that is questionable. What every citizen must do is research. Research each candidates website, both Republicans and Democrats, and VOTE YOUR CONSCIENCE!!

    January 23, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. The Voice of Reason

    Wow, these posts are amazing. If this is how the American people are going to react to mudslinging and trash talking, then I'm awfully depressed about the general election this November. Before it's all said and done, you guys might actually elect Giuiiani or worse... Lou Dobbs. Vote with the issues people, quit acting like children.

    January 23, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  4. Ant in Texas

    Well, caring about the people now? That a new one for BILLARY!!! Maybe he should find the truth from all the lies he has told the state of South Carolina. Maybe his wife should be in South Carolina instead of the Super Tuesday states because she has written off South Carolina as a defeat. And what will BILLARY spin in the South Carolina loss, "It was the press that cost BILLARY that primary" Will Hillary ever present her views? Will Hillary ever stand for anything? Will Hillary ever show up for a vote in the Senate? NO, but BILLARY will!!!

    I hope Obama can get back on message, about changing this country, uniting the people and moving us forward and away from the dark days of Bush, Clinton, Bush…ashame that I had to include BILLARY in there, but he is sad. Race and gender has been played by BILLARY to drive a wedge between South Carolina, the South and America…They play the gender card, they play the race card and hope America will fall for it. Is Carl Rove now Clinton's brain?

    If the people focus on issues and substance, the BILLARY will not win!!! No who is frustrated? Now who looks inexperienced? And he is the former President, my God!!! If BILLARY can not take the heat, get out the kitchen!!! Their inexperience is showing!!! Just because you know your way around the White House, it doesn't count as experience.

    These times require real leadership – from Day 1!!!

    Obama 08

    January 23, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. Bill

    Time to cast the two spoiled brats aside and embrace John Edwards !

    We can still save this thing.

    Vote Edwards '08

    January 23, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. jrm


    Obama is maintaining his cool under extreme rival pressure taking on both Mr. and Mrs. Clinton, distorting facts, makes Obama look far superior I guess his back ground and experience, in his political and personal life has prepared him to deal with tuff situations and the better choice as a leader for the democratic party.

    Mrs Clinton bouts about her record and experience that shows, as she has demonstrated it load and clear in all the TV debates.

    The scary part is that she is so good that she seem to be fooling a lot of people
    which might be the majority, what a pity.

    I think she means well but, How can the people trust a person that distorts facts at any cost to a job. She can counter explain all she wants I see her true colors.

    I finely do definitely favor Obama


    January 23, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  7. sunnyday

    BO stop complaining, you won Iowa did she ask for an investigation, grow up and tell us how you will mend this country. Oh give me a break; they talked about her voice crackled like it was a mortal sin and all he does is whine, whine, and whine. What a baby! It's so amazing to me how sexiest CNN is, quite disappointing!

    January 23, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  8. Ayo

    Go for it Barack ...

    January 23, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. Mike

    Well, it sounds way too much like Hillary herself (or one of her campaign people) sat down and wrote that last comment, right "Taylor" ... the ol "he did it too" defense... wink, wink. I'm still waiting for someone to make a spotlight with what they have done themselves, something they are proud of in order to get ahead, not just move the spotlight of negativity onto someone else in order to keep the focus out of thier closet... after all no one expects perfection, just trust... this is no plug for Hillary, Obama, or any one else, just me being fed up I guess

    January 23, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  10. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    More campaign covorting–it seems the tit for tat will go on forever.

    He's adopting the Clinton's 4-D strategy: deception, divisiveness, diversion, derisiveness........

    John Edwards–still holding true to party ideals–still on message-still standing as a role model and shining example of just how a President should handle himself.

    January 23, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. shar

    Does Obama need a tissue? Stop whining and blaming fraud for your loses...suck it up and move on. Who wants a president that is going to whine about someone not playing fair in "his playground"

    This is big time... do we want a president who can't rise above a lose and focus on the issues at hand and quit blaming Hilliary & Bill??

    I hope American's are thinking long and hard before they make a decision at the voting booth.

    January 23, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. Jay

    Km , did Hillary vote for the war in Iraq? Even though she did not read the NIR.

    January 23, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. Sam









    January 23, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. Pat Huntington NY

    This is it. It's official...I'm voting for a write-in candidate...Mickey Mouse!

    January 23, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. agrees with "NAR"

    thanks, not a republican.

    In senator obama's own words in Marshalltown, Iowa, on 27 December '07, and in many other places:

    "What is needed in Washington is not more heat. We need more light."

    By "turning up the heat" with negative attack ads such as the new radio ad, the Clinton campaign is, thankfully for Obama's campaign, making Obama's point.

    As for the formal complaint, this is hardly "whining." Illegal activities at voting sites should themselves be suppressed lest our democratic process be compromised. If there is evidence of anything illegal, the campaign should be called on it. You know that Senator Clinton would waste no time in filing a similar complaint, should there be evidence.


    January 23, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. Vote4Hillary

    Jason, you're the man!

    I'll add in my peace. Obama should be president, just not in this election. He's too green. Hillary brings experience and a former president as a confidant and advisor. It's a unique pairing of strong individuals that can lead not only with nice speeches, but proven action.

    Obama's present votes don't bother me, there bickering is fair game, how they raise their funds is their business – Hillary is simply more fitting this go around if we are to have a democratic president.

    PS: A vote for Edwards is a waste of time. Making a statement by voting for him will only be seen as a vote against Hillary. So, that said. If he's your first and she's your second, good God people just vote for her. If you like Obama, vote for the guy – but do so knowing you're doing so based on a nice speech from a nice guy.

    January 23, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. Kevin

    I am from Nevada and I was at the caucus and this is how Hillary had her supporters cheat at the location which I was at:

    They showed up early and when they saw other supporters they told them the wrong time and the wrong rooms to go to. When I confronted them they specifically said "there are no rules to a caucus we can do whatever we want".

    After the second count (the one that acutally counts), Obama supporters would leave since the count was over. Once they left the Hillary supporters would demand a recount, so that Hillary could win.

    Hillary is simply power hungry and will do anything to be president. She could care less about the American people. Even if she does get nominated, 60% of the country hates her and would vote for anyone but her. But I guess this shows the intelligence of the Democratic Party, nominate someone who will unite the Republican Party and all Independent Americans, and lose an election that should be impossible for them to lose.

    January 23, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  18. James charlotte nc

    Yea Obama's a crybaby...right. Clinton supporters, do you realize that right after Clinton lost 7.5 of her votes in Nashua, NH's recount, the recount was suddenly stopped because of 'funds' today? I don't believe that and I say to Obama to keep fighting to get the truth out!

    January 23, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. I was there

    This is an important investigation. I was in NV as a volunteer and saw exactly what has been alleged. I have given my statement already, and it was an experience I'll probably never be able to accurately describe in full, but please read over the quotes given by the Obama campaign. They are all true and not stretched at all.

    This should be a much bigger news story than it is. CNN, dig a little bit, talk to the voters, you'll find a consistent story. People were turned away at 11:30 if they were Obama supporters, while Hillary supporters were still being registered. We had to fight to get the doors open again until 12. Additionally, caucus cards were improperly distributed as the claims that were reported suggest.

    This was Nevada's first time having this kind of voting and the Clinton campaign knew exactly how to get away with these dirty tricks. They even struck back first, before the causes were over accusing the Obama camp of such tactics.

    CNN... PLEASE, PLEASE, report on this.

    January 23, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. my comment

    Is Obama unable to face a loss? He thinks he has to win all the time? How mature it is? If he loses, he flips and does ridiculous things. Hillary faced her loss with dignity, and learned from it. He cannot. What a leader he would be, not in my life, please, no.

    yes to Hillary!

    January 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  21. Richard from Detroit

    So what does Obama want to create a "" Republicrat Party "".HE IS NOT A GOOD CANDIDATE FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES PERIOD!!!!!!Maybe for that country in Africa that had the election fraud , and theres a civil war happening now, whats that place called, Oh ! Yah!! KENYA!!!!He is the same like Hillary, Heckel and Jeckel, Twiddle Dee and Twiddle Dum.Romneys are next President, not 100% what I would like but the best of the lot.

    January 23, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. Smart Democrat

    I am no Johnny come lately on the block, I've watched this thing from the VERY beginning. I've always told myself, I could certainly vote for obama and lose no sleep over it, but have always felt Hillary is simply smarter and more capable. But now, Obama started this entire nasty streak by mischaracterizing Bill's "fairy tale" remark as well as Hillary's remarks about him seemingly being all talk and no action. He wrapped the two remarks up together, signed the race card, and sent it out!

    He started this nonsense, and Hillary will END it. He is playing with the big dogs now and wants to still be perceived as the victim of dirty politics when he STARTED THE WHOLE THING!

    She is criticizing his voting record and his public record. HRC has not said a single thing about Obama that is untrue.

    Clinton/Vilsack 08!!!!

    January 23, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. D.

    Gore didn't fight back and he lose. Kerry didn't fight back and he lose. Not fighting back is a losing strategy.

    Can you believe it, Bill Clinton is actually saying "we" now, when his references Hillary.

    Clinton / Bush 08 yeah.

    January 23, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. Maria, Houston

    To all of you who refer to "a cry-baby whining" :

    It was HILLARY CLINTON WHO CRIED because she was loosing!!!! We've all seen it on the national TV over and over, however, the second part of her sentence when she seamlessly went from crying to negative was not played enough. And no one plays "victims" better than Clintons. Except, that dog&pony show is getting too old and we've seen it too many times. So shut up, you half-wits and be glad that someone is willing to stand up to them!

    January 23, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  25. Stephy, Groton Connecticut

    News flash people: Obama has more delegates!!!!
    Does anyone know the french diction: "Rira bien qui rira le dernier"? When Obama was giving is "defeat" speech, that it what was going through his mind. He was the Real winner in Nevada.
    If he has evident why not go for it for the sake of the voters?

    January 23, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
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