February 17th, 2008
12:55 PM ET
12 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. reality check

    The DNC blew this one from the very beginning. Last year when they put the rules in place and opted not to have a 'winner take all' approach in the primaries, disenfrachising voters by the tens of thousands with those infamous caucuses and when they imposed their very un-democratic punishment on Michigan and Florida. They have only themselves to blame for their stupidity. I'm sure the republicans are going to be laughing all the way to the convention.

    February 17, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  2. Nathen

    I think Hilary's comments that her husband's presidential election bid in 1992 was fun is totally unwarranted. Presidential elections are not supposed to be fun, they are supposed to be about serious issues and politics. There is nothing "fun" about being the President of the United States. It is a job that needs to be taken seriously. The consequences of the actions of the President of the United States have far-reaching effects.

    Obama in '08

    February 17, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  3. Carrie

    If Hillary fights up to the convention, the democrats will lose, again.

    Obama 08!.

    February 17, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  4. Bernard Mizrahi

    is the DNC going to leave millions of voters from Michigan and Florida forbidden to express their votes because it is more convenient for Obama? is this a democratic attitude? If they voted, their votes should count!!!! it is impossible to say that tose 2 states do n ot exist!!!!

    February 17, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  5. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    Senator Schummer is absolutely right in stating there has never been such excitement in a pre-nomination process. I hope that he and other super delegates understand who is responsible for the excitement and hope that is causing this wonderful experience in America.

    It is Barack Obama all the way. Had Hillary been the only prominent candidate, the majority of democrats wouldn't have taken part.

    Clinton is a smart woman and one who has been attributes, but she is not the leader America is looking for at this time.

    February 17, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. Christian Sveum

    On This Week In Politics Sunday, Bill Press said seat the FL and MI delegates because so many came out to vote anyway, so they wouldn't be disenfranchised. But what about those who wanted to vote for Obama, but stayed home because they were told that their vote wouldn't count anyway?

    February 17, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  7. Walt, Belton,TX

    We need a mature, intelligent, and stable leadership in the White House. That automically excludes Hillary and slick Willie!

    February 17, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  8. Karen, Jersey City

    Chuck knew what he was backing with he selected Hillary. I got news for you Chuck, during your re-election bid expect the good people of NY to say NO!

    Backing the Clintons means one is willing to back corruption and that's not what the good people of NY needs.

    Obama is right on the issues and in principle. Now you got this person calling herself an experience person of 35 years representing what YOU support in words and deeds....

    Chuck, you got a mess on your hands. If you really think she's wrong on this position then TURN THE PAGE and support Obama!

    February 17, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  9. Sam

    Same old Clintonian politics. It's all about the Clinton dynasty. Their race is neither about the democratic party nor about the American people. The race is about personal ambition. For her, if she losses the nomination it does not matter if her supporters stay at home or vote for McCain instead in the general election. She will do or say anything to get elected. Her politics of convenience is what will keep the Republicans in the White House for the next 8 years.

    February 17, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  10. Collin

    It's the difference between helping the party and walking away gracefully and being self-centered enough to continue the fight.

    February 17, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. JohnS

    The sissies are now crying, "men do not attack women." Well, well, well- what can I say. Maybe Hillary does not truly represent the "women's movement." In short, she should not be challenging Obama to debates or speaking evil of such an honest man. You simply cannot destroy the character of an honest man. Bill can never be an Obama!!

    February 17, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. O8

    Billary, there are rules that were made by the DNC and all candidates (yes you included, you are not above the DNC, the people and the law).. which you must follow. the two states are out..........and you did not say a word when you thought none was running against you, now suddenly those count, and you will go out all the way.........your campaign has gone beyond what is all the way. I for one am tired of the Clinton's same old same old. I know many citizens voters, will vote McCAin if you steal the Democratic election _ the people have spoken we want change, we want hope, we want real people, we want a democracy not a dynasty and the same old same.

    February 17, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. Charlotte

    Don't worry Obama-bots CNNwill watch out for him.
    Ex::CNN is so bias to Obama, I was just watching and they were talking about voting records. John McCain has been absent 60% of the time, Obama 40%, then they said Hillary only voted 3/4 of the time. Shoukdn't it have been only missed 25% of the votes. Why did they say it different for her?

    February 17, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  14. kenneth sylvester

    CNN style of journalism is taking a new low on biased reporting.

    February 17, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. Janet

    Heard about this situation this morning. 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. Now she appears disorganized and running out of steam. The American Presdiency is not guaranteed to any one.

    February 17, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. Tom Wittmann

    Mr. Schummer:

    You say:
    ""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"

    THIS IS, I FEAR THAT INTENTIONALLY, NOT CLEAR !!! Do you mean thet 2025 plus the declared intebtions of Superdelegates ??

    NO SIR: The Superdelegates are intended to provide a solution in case of a stalemate between 3 or more candidates !! If as here there are only 2, they should abstain in the first round and at a final round support the winner of the first. AS SIMPLE AS THAT.

    And further, the superdelegates cannot support a PRIMARY ELECTION RIGGING BY ALLOWING TO SEAT THE DELEGATES FROM MICHIGAN AN D FLORIDA. If such would happen in a Third World country or in the deceased Soviet Union, I can only imagine your
    smug comments as well the of you Senate colleagues !!

    And you should say clearly that between other, you do not support
    the CLINTONS outrageous intention to argue::

    1) Lets seat ALL THE DELEGATES and not disenfranchise the voters
    from Michigan and Florida

    2) Lets subsequently DISENFRANCHISE ALL THE VOTERS by letting
    the old guard politicians between the superdelegates SHIFT THE
    DELEGATE DELEGATE VOTES TO US (the Clintons) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


    February 17, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  17. pd

    Once again, CNN is taking an interview out of context. Watch the overall interview to make a judgment on this so-called difference.

    February 17, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  18. Amy, Ohio

    Schumer's answers were all smoke and mirrors. The only correct answer was to say rules are rules,and one can't chance them...instead he hemmed an hawed about how it's too early to make any decisions regarding superdelegates or Michigan and Florida.

    The Clinton campain had no problems with the rules in December.

    February 17, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  19. pd

    Absolutely right Charlotte!! I caught the same thing. It is absolutely ridiculous. Hey, CNN, if you want to do something really novel, start scrolling these posts on the bottom of your screen, so all the viewers can see that we are calling you out on it everytime.

    February 17, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  20. Kris, PA

    Our democratic system is broken people. It needs to be overhauled completely to avoid all this nonsense in the future. Why don't we start debating about that fact? I say throw out the caucus system, which makes no sense and truly disenfranchises any number of elderly and hard-working voters, then set a single date to hold primaries nationwide. Get it all over and done with, no more dragging it out ofver moths and months so that we end up in these situations with dem vs dem and the outlook for the party as a whole looking quite bleak at this moment.

    February 17, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. Gregor

    Hillary Clinton is alienating the nation. As a former Clinton-supporter I can only say this: She seems to be the opposite of a statesman. Her dirty campaign will split the democratic party. Her unability to face a defeat and to admit mistakes is more than disappointing. We need unity and not division among the democrats, who ever will be the nominee.

    February 17, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. Citizen Kaye

    It's sad and very telling that Clinton would pursue her own "fun" at the expense of the good of the Party. Well, if that happens, the Democrats may very well not recover in time to beat McCain in November. But, as long as she had "fun"...

    February 17, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  23. Sue

    The DNC has nobody to blame but themselves. When Republicans were faced with the exact same situation with Michigan and Florida, they chose to REDUCE the number of delegates from those states, a fair and equitable solution. The Democrats decided to go for the nuclear option and ELIMINATE the delegates from those states. They can't win the general election without those two states, so a solution must be found.

    The media is helping to create all this animosity between Clinton's and Obama's supporters. It makes you wonder if their motive is to put another Republican in the White House.

    GO HILLARY 2008

    February 17, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  24. mychoice

    When the DNC decided to not count the Michigan and Florida delegates they also reduced the number of delegatges required to secure the nomination from 2250 to 2025. If Hillary wants to add the delegates back to the count they need to be added to both sides of the equation. Of course she just wants to add them to apply toward the number that was established without them. Adding them to her acquiring 2025 delegates would be more of the Clinton method of twisting the facts, cheating and lying. Oh but wait! We are talking about Hillary Clinton, what else could one expect? Politics as usual. I have to believe that we the American people are not as STUPID as Hillary thinks we are and wants to believe. If she turns out to be right I will find a new country to call home, but not before voting for McCain.

    February 17, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  25. Belle

    To Ricky:

    The REASON Hillary did NOT run in 2004 is because she Promised the Voters of New York State she would NOT run for President during her FIRST TERM as a Senator. She KEPT her promise.

    Obama Promised the Voters of Illinois State he would NOT run for President during his FIRST TERM as a Senator. He BROKE his promise.

    The real question is: If Obama is willing to break his word less than a year AFTER becoming a state Senator. How many Promises is he willing to break to the American People after elected?

    February 17, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
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