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. Steve Miles

    It is time for the declared superdelegates to simply issue the following statement.

    "I will continue to support (Hillary/Obama) as long the party rules on the Michigan and Florida delegations are honored.

    In the event that the rules are changed to seat the currently named Michigan or Florida delegations, I will shift my position to "uncommitted" and will vote on the basis of the interests of the party and its prospects in the 2008 presidential election."

    This statement would defuse the doomsday tactic of trying to load the convention outcome with irregular Michigan and Florida delegates.

    February 17, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. 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 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  3. paolo in oregon

    Somewhere the ghost of George Orwell is supremely pleased, perhaps even gleeful. The Clinton Camp has managed to somehow equate the positive enthusiasm of Obama supporters with the negative images of a cult.

    This is a disgusting embrace of Rovian Politics by someone who should know better.

    Apparently HRC and her accomplices are moving to be the ideological equivalent of Sirhan Sirhan.

    February 17, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  4. andrew

    The longer it drags out the more time Obama has to come up with the details we all need to make a real choice.

    February 17, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  5. Right is wrong, San Jose, CA

    Everbody, we should all contact DNC and Howard Dean to express our feeling about MI and FL. Urge him to act now. More we wait, more divided the party will be!

    No matter what, not counting the VOTERS in these two states is wrong and unfair and undemocratic. Two states did not follow the rules. But voters did follow their states' rule. Why voters should be punished and be taken away their right for not doing anything wrong?!! They are just like us busy to survice small people, may not even political and may not even konw what has happened behind the scene. Imaging how discouaging this can be if votes not counted to elect the president. If so, will they still be enthusiastic to build the party? Will they even bother to go vote in general election? More than 2.6 million people combined in FL and MI did vote!

    February 17, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  6. kgdexter

    Florida is one thing, but how in the world can they possibly include Michigan when no one but Hillary appeared on the ballot? How many people just stayed home that day because they knew there was no possibility of voteing for their candidate of choice?

    February 17, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  7. Anna, SW Missouri

    There is no way this is going to go into June, or the National Convention, or is there going to be a fight to seat the FL and MI delegates. No matter what the Super Delegates or candidates parties are saying right now, the DNC and Super Delegates will demand behind closed doors to the Candidates that whom ever is behind after Texas and Ohio, will step aside. The only way for either candidate to save face, and unite the party is to do just that. They all know that anything else will create a civil war within the party and McCain will win the Presidency. They know that if that happens, they will not only lose the Presidency, but may very well lose the Senate and House. It just is too important to end this debate now.

    February 17, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  8. Pete ,Illinois

    You Hillbilly apologists seem to be the uninformed ones...your accusations are nothing but the regurjitated sayings of a desparate woman. Obama HAS outlined his proposals, or did you happen to get up and walk away from your TV when he spoke?...AS for CNN and this mornings numbers....They said the numbers reflected Votes CAST on Legislation during the Campaign....McCain had the most and Hillbilly had tthe least. If the facts are unfavorable to your canidiate, quit whinning and try very hard to show her in a Positive light....that's right...you can't.
    As for the Fla and Mich. folks...why does she want them now , when back in Sept. she VERY CLEARLY stated they would'nt count because they broke the rules.....she didn't take her name off the ballot in Mich, when every other candidate did....playing fair?...it aint in the hillbilly nature....reminds me of the movie title with John Cusak.....SAY ANYTHING...and will do anything without shame...to win

    February 17, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  9. Oscar

    To you Dems Unite,
    What about all the States Hillary and her campaign has shunned or say don't count because she lost? Too many to list . DNC made the rules. Deal with it.

    February 17, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  10. Jazz

    Chuck and the other superdelegates should buy some intestinal forti-tude. The role of the superdelegates is to protect the interests of the party faithful who carry the party into the future. A large percentage of Obama voters are crossover republicans and republican leaning inde-pendents whose mission is to stop Hillary. They boast of their hatred and their "Stop the B_tch" campaign. Over 100,000 of them voted this way in the South Carolina primary. Get the picture? Superdelegates should consider the preference of the party faithfuls who were there
    for them during the Reagen-Bush years.
    The race should go on because neither candidate has the necessary delegate count to win the nomination at this time. Politics change over
    night. There are a lot of people yet to vote. There is no such thing as a "sure thing".

    February 17, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. David

    I have no problem with FL and MI getting counting ... but first there needs to be an election there where both candidates are on the ballot and where campaigning is allowed.

    Many people didn't even bother to vote because they knew it wouldn't count.

    Is there anyone opposed to this kind of solution?

    February 17, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. Jen, Gainesville

    In this country, we respect rules and laws. It is ok to change the rules before a game, but it is never ok to change the rules AFTER a game. You do not want to punish decent people who respect the rules.

    February 17, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. Democrat who lost respect for Hillary Clinton

    To Dems unite.

    Obama never shunned the MI and FL electorate. Like any rational thinking voter, he said he would be willing to do a re-vote, where both he and Clinton are on equal footing and can campaign there.

    Accepting the MI and FL votes as they are would be a gross insult to the democratic process. First of all, his name wasn't even on the MI ballot. Secondly, unlike Clinton who had 100% name recognition, Obama was a relative unknown in those states.

    Why is Clinton fighting a re-vote? It is self-evident that CLINTON is trying to manipulate the system and CHANGE THE RULES THAT SHE HERSELF HAD INITIALLY ACCEPTED.

    February 17, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  14. Hawaii My Island Home

    Right on Charlotte. Unfortunately I think it fell on deaf Obamite ears.

    Its kind of like those questions "isn't it true..." IT is meant to totally deceive because people only hear 3/4 = 75%.

    You nailed it 😉

    February 17, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. Rebecca - CA

    I think Sen. Schumer's suggestion will be falling on deaf ears when it comes to Sen. Clinton. Everyone is aware of her intense desire to win the presidency...she has carefully strategized her career towards this end. Does anyone really think that the "good of the country" or "party unity" will be motive enough for this "fighter" to concede??? She and her husband are used to "winning." If it comes down to who wins, the American people or the Clinton machine, I do not have confidence that she will be woman enough to make the better choice.

    February 17, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  16. Dem in Chicago

    Just stop with accusations that CNN is biased toward Obama. How ridiculous! CNN is not biased toward Obama or anyone else. All these accusation of bias are tired and small-minded.

    February 17, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  17. JC

    The idea of superdelegates, to me, means some Dems are deemed not intelligent enough to choose the party nominee.

    If DNC set the rules last year barring MI and FL from conventions, which was agreed by all candidates, it will be worse to change the rule in the middle of the race. How can this be fun? Presidential campaign is serious business about the people. Hillary should be honest with herself at least once.

    February 17, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. Vince

    What a bunch of uninformed losers on this page!

    February 17, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. CE, Wisconsin, USA

    Why all the negative campaining in Wisconsin?

    February 17, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  20. Mac Ibrahim

    I strongly believe that the DNC must take rsponsibility of its decision to disfranchise Mitch. an Flor. A new primary election in the two states should be held before it is too late. No more cocuses as some suggests. If it will costs 20 milions or more, the DNC have the resources to cover, and they still have pay for their mistake. I also suggest that Howard Dean should step aside. He made terreble decisions this election. Millions have been difrancised in states where cocuses have been held. Open cocuses and primeries allowed the republicans to vote and choose the democratic nominee they wanted to run against their candidate.

    February 17, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  21. Dave

    All candidates NAMES were on the ballot in Florida. None of them campaigned there. Also just to clarify something regarding Florida;
    1) Hillary did not go to Florida to hold a victory rally until after all the polls closed which is within the rules of the party.

    2) Concerning Michigan, Obama and Edwards had the opportunity to leave their names on the ballot but chose to remove them. This was their misfortune and poor political judgement.

    February 17, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  22. andy

    Obama should be very careful when turning his back on michigan and florida, in few months he will really need their votes. It is hard to say you votes don't count in february and vote for me in november.

    February 17, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  23. Peter

    I am a republican who has been talking to some Hillary democrats. I have heard the same comments. That if Hillary loses they will not support Obama in November but will crossover and vote for McCain. Democrats be careful what you wish for.There may be a backlash in the general election were every vote counts even Florida were Hillary got over 1 million votes in the so called "no count" primary.

    February 17, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. Barbara

    I voted in the Florida election for Hillary, not really knowing what the DNC had recommended.

    I think there are a lot of voters in Florida didn't even know about the DNC plan. Her name was on the ballot to vote for, and we voted for Hillery.

    Our votes should be a part of this primary.

    This is supposed to be America where every indiviual vote must be counted.

    February 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  25. Danielle, OH


    If you dont win then we will just vote for McCain.

    February 17, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
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