February 17th, 2008
12:55 PM ET
13 years ago

Clinton, Schumer differ on convention battle

Hillary Clinton said over the weekend she was 'prepared to go the distance' to the convention.

Hillary Clinton said over the weekend she was 'prepared to go the distance' to the convention.

MILWAUKEE, Wisconsin (CNN) – Democratic insiders worry that the party may emerge mortally wounded if this protracted nomination battle trudges on into the summer.

But Hillary Clinton and one of her top backers, New York’s senior Sen. Chuck Schumer, apparently have different feelings on whether the fight should go all the way to the Democratic convention in late August.

In Kenosha, Wisconsin on Saturday, Clinton said she was “prepared to go the distance” and make a push on the convention floor to seat the barred delegations from Michigan and Florida.

She argued that the party was benefiting from the ongoing delegate chase. It’s “part of the excitement of the American political system,” she told reporters, adding that her husband’s 1992 campaign, which endured into the summer of that year, “was fun.”

“This is a spirited contest that is bringing more people into the Democratic party,” she said. “It’s getting a lot more people interested that might not have been before. I feel good about the way this has shaped up because I have watched this for more years than some of you have, and there is nothing out of the ordinary here.”

But Schumer told NBC’s Tim Russert on Sunday’s edition of Meet the Press that the Clinton and Obama campaigns must avoid an “internecine fight that's so bitter that the other feels that they can't enthusiastically support the winner.”

He called for Clinton and Obama to sit down with the chairman of Democratic National Committee in June, after the final primary contest in Puerto Rico, to hammer out a deal before the convention.

Citing "party unity," Schumer said that on June 7th, "Howard Dean and the two candidates will have to get together if neither candidate has 2025, which is the margin that the rules require to win, and come up with a strategy."

“Each candidate,” he said, “will have to have buy into that strategy to determine who wins because, if the loser and their supporters stalk away, then we will lose the general election.”

Asked about Schumer's comments, Clinton spokesman Mo Elleithee said the campaign hopes the nomination will be decided before the convention, but emphasized that the race will go “as long as it takes.”

“I don’t think anyone is looking forward a convention fight,” he said. “Everyone would like us to be focused.”

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (164 Responses)
  1. Jim Sullivan

    A caucus would be the only fair way to seat the delegates from Michigan and Florida. Everyone that decided not to vote in those primaries made their decision based on the rules of the democratic party, understanding that their votes would not count. I am not voting in Washington today, not because I don't care, but because I know it doesn't matter.

    Hold caucuses in Michigan and Florida. Those that care enough to participate will have their say.

    February 17, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  2. E F G

    I sincerely hope the upcoming primaries make it clear who the Democratic nominee will be. I'm very concerned that the longer this goes on, the more divided the Democratic party will be. And sadly, I see most of the divisiveness originate from the Clinton campaign. Obama went on the offensive today, but when he does, it's largely in reaction to baiting from the Clintons.

    The party, and our nation, cannot afford for the Democrats to lose.

    February 17, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  3. Ray

    When you don't give your name, your comment sucks cuz it could come from the moon. Try to make your comments relivent and not off a candidates propoganda sheet
    The rules were set months ago for Fl and Mi. Whats the problem? Did the candidates sleep when that was delt with and they were not told of the ruling. Act like you know what your doing or talking about and consider the big picture, your country and what it stands for.
    I wish you Yanks luck on this one regardless which side your on, from your friends to the north Canada

    February 17, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  4. aware

    No deals! This is America the land of the free. Take it all the way! Since when is challenge or competition inappropriate for Americans?

    Hillary the HOPE of 08 🙂

    February 17, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  5. Pat from Michigan

    I am from Michigan and you should know that Hillary put herself on the ballot. Obamba and Edwards did not. Obama followed the DNC rules. Hillary did not. The only other option we had to vote was to vote uncommited. This confused many people. I do not think she should take the majority of our delegates when she cheated and came in the back door.

    February 17, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  6. Billary

    Howard Dean is a weak leader of the Democratic party. If anything he should be the one to get fired.
    As far as seating the FL and MI delegates are concerned, the decision not to count the votes was made before the ballot was cast . Changing rules after the fact is simply cheating. DNC must issue an statement just as soon as they possible can and clarify their position on these delegates and close this chapter once and for all.
    And yes if Hillary must give up if she is loses to Barack Obama in the pledged delegate count and vice versa.

    February 17, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  7. WAYNE

    I think that billary is falling on her sword that is her word. They had all agreed on this turm and now backing away form your agreement.I would have hope to have someone of principle being President with all these promises and salution and the first sign of trouble you op to do things that suit ones self. That is what got us in trouble in the first place,you charge bush as someone who mess the country up and now you are heading in the direction,,POLIT

    February 17, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  8. jujub

    Obama is not shunning FL and MI...he wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan because he, along with Hillary, agreed to the Democratic National Party's ruling that the delegates would not be seated.

    Obama is sticking by his agreement...Hillary is not...Clinton politics as usual.

    And for Hillary to criticize Obama for his statement that he would discuss the financing of his campaign WHEN he became the candidate is also laughable. She said she would NOT finance her campaign.

    If you want ethics, vote for Obama. If you want hypocrasy, vote Hillary.

    February 17, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  9. addylu

    It is very telling when Hillary states bitterness is "fun". Time for her to retire.

    February 17, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  10. Mike Pilotti

    POINT 1: The super delegates should have no say in the nomination process. This should not come down to a back room decision.

    POINT 2: The DNC set out rules for the primaries. If the rules were not followed then the consequences must be suffered. You can't change the rules just because you don't like the consequences.

    In both cases, DO NOT complain about the stolen 2000 election if you
    want to not follow established rules and ethics.

    I for one will NOT support any candidate who circumvents the process.
    This will put the Democratic Party in jeopardy for the future.

    February 17, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  11. Ann, Los Angeles

    Tom........you are wrong in your practical theory. Both candidates will do whatever it takes – not just one or the other. Daily there are examples of such behaviour. However, CNN is very bias in their coverage of the campaigns. And I would add just this – we need a leader not a good speaker. I can back this up;

    ya know those votes in Michigan and Florida that everyone is just talking all about??? well, Clinton left her name on the ballot in Michigan as would any seasoned political candidate so an not to disenfrancise the Michigan voters (Obama did campaign when they realized the mistake – as in vote for noncommitted)....

    So then comes Florida and I guess Obama and Edwards learned from Senator Clinton and left their names on the ballot – geez – smart guys! But to claim there was no campaigning is just flat incorrect from Obama. He did his ads on CNN, and other media of which the Floridians were exposed.

    So..........Obama and the rest shunned Michigan and Florida and he wants the voters disenfrancised so he can "win"??? Win what – sounds devisive to me! I suspect Michigan and Florida would turn red in November.

    February 17, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  12. ANNA

    "50 united states not 48 states. Obama shuning FL and MI means Obama loses either way, either in August or November. Not to smart.
    Clinton only chance to win in November.
    Sorry just a fact."

    Dems united..
    .I dont think he is shuning FL and Mi. He is just following the rules that were set. Also I have family in both states that said they did not go vote because it didnt matter. So if they are going to do anything they should just have the primaries in Fl and Mi over.

    Obama 08

    February 17, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  13. Joe

    It is actually amazing to see how the Hillar-ites are supporting a woman who changes the rules constantly to suit herself instead of Democracy. Obviously the woman has no trust in the process of the American vote for her to steal the nomination which I'm sure she is planning to do at the convention because Obama will be nominated by the PEOPLE...not the Billery machine that has been in place since she waved her hand and said, "Vote for me...I'm a woman!" Give me a break Hillar-ites! Use your intelligence for once. See her for what she is and put the person most suited for the job of President and will make this country a positive and productive force in the world...Senator Obama.

    Obama '08

    February 17, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  14. Richard

    Janet said, "This is all a result of poor planning and underestimating one's opponent. If Hillary did not have such an inflated ego and so many "yes" men around her, she may have anticipated a good battle and planned her finances, strategy, and platform a little better..."

    How can we expect someone to manage the greatest nation in the world when they cannot even effectively run a campaign for a party nomination?

    February 17, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
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