February 16th, 2008
05:22 PM ET
13 years ago

Clinton adviser: The race will be over in June

(CNN) - One of Hillary Clinton’s senior advisers said Saturday on a conference call with reporters that the New York senator would have the nomination “nail(ed) down” after primary season voting ends in June, when Puerto Rico weighs in.

“At or about, certainly shortly after, the seventh of June, Hillary’s going to nail down this nomination. She’s going to have a majority of the delegates,” Harold Ickes said, thanks to a combination of pledged delegates awarded through primary and caucus votes, and superdelegates – Democratic elected officials and party leaders who are free to choose any candidate they wish. Ickes is himself a superdelegate.

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe immediately responded to Ickes, saying in a statement the Clinton campaign was “attempting to have superdelegates overturn the will of the Democratic voters, or change the rules they agreed to at the 11th hour in order to seat non-existent delegates from Florida and Michigan.

“The Clinton campaign should focus on winning pledged delegates as a result of elections, not these say-or-do-anything-to-win tactics that could undermine Democrats’ ability to win the general election,” said Plouffe.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told a Bloomberg interviewer Friday that voter preferences and primary results should play a part in how superdelegates made their decision. DNC Chair Howard Dean later sent a memo to Talking Points Memo in which he said that “their role is to exercise their best judgment” of what is best for the party, but did not mention the pledged delegate result as a critical deciding factor.

Ickes – a Democratic National Committee member and Bill Clinton’s former White House deputy chief of staff - told reporters that neither of the Democratic White House hopefuls is close to winning the nomination, and that Obama was trying to prematurely call the primary season to a close.

“I understand Sen. Obama wants to rush to judgment on this deal and cut this thing down. You know, he’d like to be nominated right now. But there are a lot of delegates yet to be selected,” he said, pointing out that 18 states and territories have yet to vote this primary season.

Ickes voted last year to penalize Michigan and Florida - who moved their primary votes up in violation of party instructions - to seat their delegation at the party’s nominating convention this summer. On Saturday, he said both states’ delegations should be seated, and the results of those contests should stand. Hillary Clinton won the primaries in Florida and in Michigan, where she was the only major Democratic candidate to appear on the ballot.

He also said the Clinton campaign should have paid more attention to caucus states, where Obama has done very well this year - an observation that has been made by other Clinton staffers in recent calls.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (333 Responses)
  1. Jon Cruz

    Hey Ickes, hey Obama: you're in a double bind, and I'm sick and tired of this double bind not being mentioned in the mainstream media.

    If superdelegates are so bad, then that means, I guess, that you want to change the rules so voices can be heard.

    But you, Obama, and the talking heads in the media keep saying that Senator Clinton is "whining" about the rules when she wants to seat delegates that represent the voices of the people of Florida and Michigan.

    I guess hypocrisy is the new kind of politics Obama is peddling. How pathetic.

    February 16, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  2. John

    1968 Redux, here we come!

    February 16, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  3. Adam, Plano, TX

    LOL! shes got so much ground to make up, its not impossible, but highly improbable. she has to win texas, ohio, and pennsylvania with OVER 60% just to stay viable. she's down almost 200,000 actual votes, and the picture is not getting any prettier for her.

    February 16, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  4. Jordan

    After Obama wins Texas, Clinton can pack her bags and head back to NY, it will be over.

    February 16, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. Elizabeth

    Ugh, I'm so ready for this to be over. If either candidate loses big by the end of March I hope that they bow out and let us focus on November. Geeze.

    February 16, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. DropOutGravel

    Hillary has a New Slogan Everyone
    "Yes we Will"
    I couldnt help but LMAO when She repeated the slogan about 10 times but her cheerleaders did not catch on.

    February 16, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  7. whatnow

    As a clinton supporter, I find in very distasteful that they are starting this kind of rhetoric. It isn't fair to sit people from Michigan and Florida. If she was the only one on the ballot Edwards and Obama didn't really count. This isn't fair. They should stay focus on the race and the rules they agreed to at the beginning. Why does the clinton camp keep causing such confusion? I almost wish I hadn't cast my vote for her now.

    February 16, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  8. KHAL

    Changing the "rules" to keep the Dynasty Going!!!....Hmm. Say anything do anything politics.....as usual.The Emperor has no "sense"...if they think they can fool the whole US...bait and switch...I thought they "outlawed" that kind of advertisment.

    February 16, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. Jim

    "Hillary Clinton won the primaries in both Florida and Michigan, where she was the only major Democratic candidate to appear on the ballot."

    I believe this quote properly sums up CNN's bias. They phrase things in just such a way....to make Hillary look bad. All candidates were on the Florida ballot. CNN is pandering to the majority of Americans who only tune into the news every now and then.

    February 16, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  10. awg

    Life long active Democrat here. Worked on national campaigns and been a funraiser for the party and candidates.
    I will absolutely quit the Democratic Party and actively work for McCain if Clinton wins the nomination the way her campaign has acted and intends to grab the nomination. Totally undemocratic and pathetic. I am talking to more Democrats who are saying the same thing. If Clinton manages to wrestle the nomination away form Obama using these kinds of tactics, they will not vote for her regardless of whether Obama is also on the ticket. That will not make a difference. Many say they too will quit the party.

    February 16, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  11. Truth hurts

    Mr. Ickes,

    unless your candidate wants to cause irreparable damage to the democratic party, the race will be over somewhere in March or April after Senator Clinton fails to impressively win Ohio and Texas.

    Obama/Edwards 08

    February 16, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  12. Dr. Darla Wilshire

    Didn't the Hillary campaign say it would be all over by Super Tuesday? Wishful thinking on this new call, perhaps? And why do the Clinton people keep stealing Obama's phrases? Don't they have any of their own? (Yes we will vs. Yes we can). Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, you know. GO OBAMA!

    February 16, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  13. AJ, IL

    You are stating the obvious about Hillary not talking caucus states seriously and dismissing the results from them. This is amazing. This Ickes guy voted to penalize Florida and Michigan Democratic delegates last year but now wants to go against his pledge. Enough is enough!

    Obama in 08!

    February 16, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  14. JB Honolulu Hawai

    To not alllow the people of Michigan and Florida have a say in the nomination would be crazy. These are two crucial states when it comes to the election. It is the fault of the people of Michigan and Florida that their officials put them in this position? If Florida and Michigan votes had been allowed to count earlier, would the momentum swong for Obama like it did? Clinton is leading if you count these two states. Especially with regard to Florida – since each candidate was on an even playing field, the votes should stand as counted.

    Let all the people decide – Clinton '08, Yes we will!!!!

    February 16, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  15. crockett in houston

    We are tired of slash and burn politics

    I will vote for Obama on March 4th – if my vote is overturned by Bill Clinton in Denver at the convention, I will stay home for the general election.

    February 16, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. gamle mand

    If you want another 4 years or more of a trash government, go ahead and vote Clinton - if that happens, I have a hunch we will end up with another Republican administration with good old John McCain at the helm - better him, though than Hillary

    February 16, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  17. Dias

    I just heard Senator Clinton in Ohio. It is so pathetic that she does not have the creativity to think about her own slogan. Now she is saying "yes we will". It is very sad and indignifying that she will use any means necessary to achieve her own political ambitions. And since when being the wife of an ex president qualify as "experience" ?And even if it did qualify we the american people know where the so called "experience" has led us.
    Let's move forward and not backwords. I am so tired of the Bush and attempted Clinton dynasty.
    OBAMA 08

    February 16, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. Christopher

    Plouffe says... “[Clinton is] attempting to have superdelegates overturn the will of the Democratic voters..."

    Got news for you, Plouffe. The superdelegates were not designed, nor are they obligated or even supposed to bend to the will of the people. They are of sound mind and should do what they think is best for the country. Superdelegates who hemm and haw depending on which way the political winds blow shouldn't be superdelegates in the first place.

    So, Plouffe, it seems like you're trying to re-write the definition of superdelegate, or at minimum, change their role in this nominating process.

    February 16, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. Jen

    Would someone PLEASE tell me how it looks good for Clinton's camp to want to seat the delegates from MI and FL now? I know Obama's camp is getting criticism for wanting superdelegates to stand by their voters, but this is much, much worse to me...I mean, Obama wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan! Both candidates need to play by the rules. If the Dems want to hold primaries (again) in MI and FL (and if I were a voter there, I would hope they would,) then fine. Otherwise, it's a shame, but the party in those states should have followed the rules.

    February 16, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  20. Mike Rivers

    Just the Clinton campaign doing anything to take away from Obama's momentum. She's not winning now so apparently they have to go on with her notion of inheriting the presidency.

    February 16, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  21. Jack

    Vote for the person with the best ideas, not the best speechwriter.

    Obama has become more of a rock star than a U.S. President.

    Where are his specific plans and ideas that will help him come through on all the promises he's making?

    How will he unite everybody and get people to work together on controversial issues when both sides have completely opposing views, like stem-cell research and global warming? He'll have to take a stand, upsetting one side.

    But his 130 votes of Present in the Illinois state senate seemed to show that he'd rather not take a stand at the risk of upsetting some people. That doesn't show backbone.

    Is that the type of President we're looking for?

    How will the Bush mess be reversed without a President who's reluctant to take a side?

    February 16, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. gbolahan

    For Obama to succeed, he has to ignore Bill Clinton's legacy of desecrating the oval office with scandal after scandal.

    February 16, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. Ennis, LA

    If she loses to Obama, she can always go the Third Party route.

    The More the Merrier.

    February 16, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  24. Chris Austin TX

    The Florida / Michigan delegates should be seated. Those are voters too. It's a little undemocratic to say (o, we're going to look over your privledge to vote in this country). If Obama wins this nomination, people would look at it (He only won because Florida/Michigan were penalized. This wouldn't look good. But, if they were seated, and he still won. Then he could say that he had the support of all 50 states, instead of just 48. Just as Obama wants, the voters should choose the Democratic nominee, not the DNC. Seat the delegates.

    February 16, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  25. Gary

    I think Ickes backtracking on the seating of Florida/Michigan delegates is a sign of desperation. All the candidates agreed to abide with the DNC's decision to penalize the states for moving up their primaries. The blame for this mess goes to Florida's and Michigan's refusal to hold their primaries as directed by DNC. The DNC should be making this decision as the primaries are used to determine a NATIONAL Presidential nominee. What i liked about the GOP's handling of this issue is the penalty they imposed. They agreed to reduce the respective states penalty to 1/2 their original allotment of delegates. This alowed for the continuance of a meaningful primary as well as the ability for the candidates to campaign and yet penalize and seat some of those states delegates. The Dems have a major dilemma on their hands. It is hard to have some group disenfranchised with their redress. The primaries have essentially boiled down to the superdelegates. Which is another dilemma for the Dems. To date the superdelegates who have supported one of the candidates have not reflected the same desire or will of the people, as reflected by their pledged delegates process. YIKES!!! This disconnect will be a major source of problems for the Dems. What should be the criteria for the superdelegates. Most states won ? Most popular vote ? Most pledged delegates ? Whom they see as beating the GOP at the general election ? Whom would make the best Presidential candidate ? Other ? All of the above ? YIKES !!! What is equally disturbing is that some 800 superdelegates make up almost 20 % of the total delegates. YIKES !!! I like the idea of having a small group of Dem elder statespersons like Gore make the ultimate decision as opposed to this debaucle with 800 superdelegates. I dont think this current scenario was considered when the Dems instituted superdelegates in the early 80's. Florida and Michigan are a cluster (insert word here) and the superdelegates is proving to be undemocratic to their constituents they NEED...should we say it again ..another cluster **** makes one want to form a new party or go ' Independent '

    February 16, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
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