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. Mike

    This is just anohter example of CNN's inability to report stories in thier entierty. If you see the interview you will see it very differently from the lame report above

    February 17, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. Annamica, OH

    Funny, if Obama had to fight all the way to the convention...the Obama fans would all be supporting him!

    February 17, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  3. marge

    "It's not enough to say that you want to unite people and get everyone to come together. You have to show how you're going to do this".

    Well ((Jack))) it's a fact Hillary CAN NOT unite the country. She can't keep her own campaign staff united. But then her "selling" point is NOT to UNITE but rather to FIGHT!

    February 17, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    Leave the superdelegates only, for what's going to come out about Obama between now and the convention will sink whatever chance he has a being the nominee.

    February 17, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  5. David

    I think this will all be mute come March 5th.

    It's ugly though, watching Hillary go down like this. I hope she comes to her senses soon and saves herself further embaressment.

    We can't have elders or wise men/women choosing our candidate again. That's what got us GWB.

    February 17, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  6. James Mo

    Hillary Clinton = George Bush.

    If you do not like the rules and laws, you just ignore them or break them.

    A vote for Hillary is a vote for 4 more years of the same thing.

    February 17, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. PWilliams

    Obama can't have it both ways. He says "follow the rules" – well then he knows the rules include votes by the super-delegates. As far as who is really ahead, if they are tied, I say count the number of VOTERS in total - whoever has the most wins!

    February 17, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  8. Joe

    At one time this Nation was rich in power, this days and after 8 years we can not travel to Europe, because our dollar is almost 50% value. Under Mr. Clinton this Nation was RICH, now we are poor, you people (the voters) look and see what is going on with the market. Mr. Bush and the Republican party had being the problem of all of this. You people can go and vote for Obama, or McCain or Clinton, Democrats or Republicans, and for some stupidity forgot that this Nation belongs to us. We the people are the only ones that pay taxes , we need that they work for US, and if that does not work WE should get fired. We pay thier salaries, many of them just want to be there for 4 years (we pay salaries and living until they die). JFK "...... if what you can do for your Country"

    February 17, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. Charlotte

    Tom, why is it every time Obama loses it's rigged? What are his plans for NAFTA? How can he just say we will pull all troops out of Iraq by such and such a date? What are his plans to fix this ecomony? How is a Health- care plan that cost almost as much Hillarys, yet leaves out millions of people better? What are his plans to deal with the problems in his homeland?

    February 17, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  10. bk

    I am from Florida and this has nothing to do with Clinton or Obama. The PEOPLE of Florida did nothing wrong. No one asked us if we wanted to move up the primary. We did not listen to the DNC because we have the right to vote and our vote to be counted just like everyone else in this country. If anyone denies this they are not an American. You should all be outraged to think that anyone has the right to say we are not going to count your vote. The same goes for MI. They removed their own names no one asked them to and no one told them to. EVERYONES VOTE SHOULD COUNT!

    February 17, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  11. marge

    'Why is Obama reluctant to openly discuss his ideas'?

    One more thing ((Jack)))...why is Hillary refusing to disclose her income tax retrun?????

    On a new note....How is she going to explain away her support of NAFTA???? Probably the same way she has tried to explain away her vote for the war.

    February 17, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  12. Dems unite

    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.

    February 17, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  13. Drew Rocker

    Pure and simple, Hillary is threattening to take the Democratic Party down with her if it looks like she'll lose the popular vote. Surely it's the superdelegates' job to prevent that from happening.

    February 17, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  14. Stephen

    Obama is not afraid to discuss ideas. He has his ideas and plans on his website. He has participated in 18 debates and two more before March 4th. If you can't find his policies it's not because he doesn't present them, it's because you want to believe that he has no substance and refuse to go look for them.

    February 17, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. marge

    "Dems unite February 17th, 2008 3:14 pm ET

    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".

    Fact is Obama nor Edwards shunned any state.
    Newsflash.....The DNC made the decision and the candidates agreed.....
    Calling your statement "Fact" wasn't too smart either.

    February 17, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. An Agnostic Democrat

    Hillary (and Bill) have the combined destructive power of ego to desecrate the Democratic party at great cost to America. But when have either of them been more interested in the good of the country over their own self-promotion, advancement or political ambition? When it comes to corruption, distortion and lying, this political couple makes it an even race across the board between the current administration and themselves!

    February 17, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  17. Shenehneh from Chappaqua

    If Obama is not in the general, I'm voting for McCain. Hillary is just WAYYYYYYY TOO SNEAKY for my taste. And that is all I have to say about that right there! With love, Shenehneh from Chappaqua

    February 17, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  18. marge

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

    Not true! The Clintons want a convention fight.....how else will they win the nomination? That's their real fire wall!!! LOL!LOL!

    February 17, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  19. Jordan

    Let's be serious. It's not DNC fault what happened. The governments of each state, Michigan and Florida, knew what the consequences were if the moved up their primary dates. They are in the wrong and the citizens of each state should be upset with them, not the DNC. Secondly, Hillary wasn'y so concerned with the voters' rights in MI and FL until she won those "elections". Now she's actively wants the delegates seated. She is undermining her own party's decision and they should take note. The delegates should not be seated in each state because they broke the rules and neither candidate was allowed to campaign there.

    February 17, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  20. Tom Wittmann


    I would agree with you that the superdelegates should disappear. But
    as they are still there, this is academic for now.

    But I do not agree they shall be mediators between a clear winner with the elected delegates and the looser, unless you refer to motivate
    the voters of the loosers to support the winner at the General election!
    Except tha latter, there i nothing to mediate !

    I re-direct you attention to my former statement:

    ""The Superdelegates are" (better said were) "intended to provide a solution in case of a stalemate between 3 or more candidates'""

    Do we agree ??


    February 17, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  21. John

    For all the people who thought she was for NAFTA then please see the anti clinton book by Bernstien that actually discusses she was against it.

    Just like Obama said he was standing behind Kerry and Edwards when he made comments in support of the war. Hillary was doing the sane thing when she did not come out against NAFTA.

    Obama supporters you cannot have it both ways. Either it is ok for both candidates to make comments so not to differ from the individual that is President or running for President or it is not acceptable for both.

    You cannot have it both ways. Stop drinking the punch

    February 17, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |

    The Clintons knew what would happen before the two states broek the rules, they are out of luck, the DNC stuck to there guns, despite what you think or the Clintons think, no delegates. Move on Obama!

    February 17, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  23. Charlotte

    Same old politics,with the same players, Ted Kennedy, John Kerry. How old is the Kenndy politics? I am JFK (old) MLK (old) What's new with Obama? A black man running for President, now that is new.

    February 17, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. pcs/ North Carolina

    Jack February 17th, 2008 2:24 pm ET

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

    Why is Obama reluctant to openly discuss his ideas?

    Jack, I value your opinion, but they have already debated 18 times, and 2 more are scheduled. Do you think much will change after 18 debates ? Hillary can' run her campaign !! How is she going to run our country ? She fired the highest ranking Hispanic American from her campaign a few days ago and she is running out of money. She is asking for more debates, because it is free air time

    February 17, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. maggie

    Right, Charlotte. I noticed the way those percentages were stated, too. A lot of under-educated people out there...(and there are many )....will think that Hillary missed more just by the way it was stated.
    I, too, wondered why they didn't say, "Hillary missed 25% of the time"...or "Hillary voted 75% of the time." C'mon CNN! Let's be fair.

    February 17, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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