February 9th, 2008
02:43 PM ET
14 years ago

Clinton defends role of superdelegates

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/09/art.hrcorono.ap.jpg caption="Sen. Clinton campaigned in Orono, Maine Saturday."]
ORONO, Maine (CNN) – Senator Hillary Clinton took issue Saturday with the notion put forward by the Obama campaign that party superdelegates should vote the way of their states and districts.

“Superdelegates are by design supposed to exercise independent judgment, that is the way the system works,” she told reporters after a town hall in Orono, Maine. “If Sen. Obama and his campaign continue to push this position which is really contrary to what the definition of a super delegate has historically been then I look forward to receiving the support of Sen. Kennedy and Sen. Kerry.”

Obama picked up the highly publicized endorsements of both Massachusetts senators only to lose the state to Clinton in last Tuesday’s primary.

Clinton said she thought super delegates often had the unique position of having “first-hand knowledge of the candidates” and “if people want to go after delegates in places that I’ve won who are supporting somebody else, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander.”

There seems to be a growing consensus that if the contests play out as expected, both Clinton and Obama will essentially be tied in pledged delegates at the end of the primary season – leaving it to super delegates to decide the race.

Clinton said “anything can happen in politics” and said she could envision a scenario where conventional wisdom is turned on its ear and either her or Obama comes out a winner – “you all covered me in New Hampshire you know anything can happen in a campaign.”

According to the most recent CNN count, Hillary Clinton has the support of 223 superdelegates, and Barack Obama has the support of 131.

In recent days, the Clinton campaign has sought to portray Obama as running “an establishment race” given his hefty war chest and string of high profile backers.

“He [Obama] has increasingly relied on big endorsements and celebrities to sort of attach himself to to get the kind of validation that comes from that sort of endorsement,” Clinton said. “He has increasingly, in my view, really tailored his positions so that they are more establishment oriented, like giving up on universal health care.”

The New York senator will spend most of Saturday in Maine where voters will head out tomorrow to caucus. She ends her day in Richmond at that state’s Democratic party Jefferson Jackson dinner.

–CNN Senior Political Producer Sasha Johnson

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • superdelegates
soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Independent for OBAMA

    “Superdelegates are by design supposed to exercise independent judgment, that is the way the system works,” Clinton said.

    Riiiiiiiight! Which is why Bill and Chelsea are constantly on the phone BEGGING all these superdelegates to endorse them!

    Of course they're not endorsing Obama yet. they're terrified of the Clinton Machinery in case they win the nomination. God knows what they'll do to these people shoud they vote against them.

    Wake up people and smell the corruption! How can you support someone that accepts money from federal lobbyists?

    February 10, 2008 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
  2. JohnB

    Hillary Clinton is not even able to take care of her campaign, how do you expect her to run the White House? When she speaks on CNN, she sounds like a BAD infomercial! Wake up America! VOTE FOR OBAMA '08!

    February 11, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  3. Derrek

    It would be interesting if she were behind on superdelgates, would she be using Obama's logic then? This seems to be just like the press being your friend until you're behind then the press is unfair.

    February 11, 2008 08:50 am at 8:50 am |