February 20th, 2008
03:15 PM ET
12 years ago

Clinton campaign launches new offensive on delegate counting


Delegates cheer at the 2004 Democratic convention. This year their official role is under heavy scrutiny. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hillary Clinton's campaign launched a new Web site Wednesday designed to convey its argument about how delegates should be counted - the campaign’s latest offensive against Barack Obama's contention that the candidate with the most pledged delegates should win the party's nomination.

The new Web site lists five of the Clinton team’s disputed views on delegates, including the ideas that Florida and Michigan's delegates should be seated at the convention despite party sanctions and that there is a "clear path" for Clinton to finish the race with more delegates than Obama.

The Web site also argues that superdelegates - or what the Clinton campaign is now calling “automatic delegates” - should not look to the primary season vote when deciding which candidate to support, stating, "The fact is: no automatic delegate is required to cast a vote on the basis of anything other than his or her best judgment about who is the most qualified to be president."

According to CNN's latest estimate, Obama has earned 143 more pledged delegates than Clinton. But Clinton currently has the support of 73 more superdelegates – which translates into an overall deficit of 70 delegates.

Speaking with reporters Wednesday morning, Obama campaign manager David Plouffe repeated the campaign's contention that the candidate with the most pledged delegates should win the nomination, and said it is nearly impossible for Clinton to catch up in that count.

“This is a wide, wide lead right now,” he said. “I am amused when the Clinton campaign continues to say, 'Well, it’s essentially a tie.' I mean, that’s just lunacy. We have opened up a big and meaningful pledged delegate lead. They are going to have to win landslides from here on out to erase it.”

Plouffe also said the Clinton campaign keeps "offering alternative theories for why they can win the nomination that have nothing to do with the votes that are happening in these contests.”

Related video: Watch CNN's Abbi Tatton take a look at Clinton's new Web site

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (231 Responses)
  1. Jill Reynolds

    Cheat & Win, Hillary?

    February 20, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    "Plouffe also said the Obama campaign keeps "offering alternative theories for why they can win the nomination that have nothing to do with the votes that are happening in these contests.” "

    Typo: I think 'Obama campaign' on the first line should be 'Clinton Campaign'

    February 20, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  3. Laylah

    "Desparado, when will you come to your senses.." (Linda Rondstadt among others).

    Hillary, give it up and just go home. Bill, go with her if you can and if you still want to. The Clinton days are over. Again.

    February 20, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  4. Megan

    If Clinton attempts and suceeds in overriding the popular vote and pledged delegates with superdelegates or FL & MI to win, the party will be so torn apart McCain will be rejoicing!

    In response to the other post about Clinton accomplishments VS Obama accomplishments, here are three for Obama, I would love to see a HRC supporter post three (that were enacted!) from her:

    1) Lugar-Obama
    2) Coburn-Obama
    3) S.453 (which by the way is an effort to criminalize deceptive election tactics, so I'm pretty sure HRC was nowhere around this one!)

    February 20, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  5. Tony

    Now she wants to go against the voters! The problem are the "superdelegates" that instead a making a stand still support this wreck.

    February 20, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. Katie

    Oh, Clinton, oh Clinton. This unabashed attempt to steal the nomination will surely lose you the election. You have already lost my vote if your power grab works.

    February 20, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  7. Darth Vadik, CA




    February 20, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  8. RuthieM

    She's determined to steal this election and if that happens THERE WILL BE A REVOLUTION!!!

    February 20, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  9. Zach

    just wondering if in the last paragraph if you meant to say "...the Clinton campaign keeps..." if not then Plouffe is insulting his boss

    February 20, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  10. Mary

    Most super delegates hold a political office. Going against the people's vote could cost them their next election!

    February 20, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  11. Seam, Florida

    Clinton is trying so hard to find a way to win. News Alert...........It's not working. She can't beat Obama straight up. She has to take the low road.

    February 20, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. Randy - Denver

    Still trying to count those votes you originally dismissed are you Ms. Clinton? Florida and Michigan's state parties threw away their votes when they decided to break party rules. At that time you AGREED their votes should not count, of course that was also when you thought you would ahve this all wrapped up by super Tuesday. Spin it how you may, tell the superdelegates they do not have to support the will of the people, it all comes down to this, your "ineveitable" campaign is almost over. The voters have seen through your devisive tactics, they have seen through your false tears and empty promises they have found a candidate who inspires hope, who tells them they are worth something, who is trying to Unite America not split them further. One who speaks to the real problems, not to manufactured "beltway' problems. One who actually understands the people. you and your supporters do not get it and will not get it, Mr. Obama has the plans, he has the inspiration and more importantly he ahs the hearts of the voters.

    February 20, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  13. Herman Grace

    Michelle Obama better clarify what she said about being proud to be an American. She's no longer just an individual; she is potentially the First Lady of the United States.

    It seems she is the "weakest" link in the Obama campaign. She said she wouldn't support Hillary if she got the nomination. Michelle Obama may turn out to be a nightmare for Barack Obama. She should learn how to be "politically correct" just as they expected Bill Clinton to be–attacking him as making "racist" remarks when, obviously, they were not intended to be at all.

    Obama is really going to get it from the Republicans. He had better be ready.

    February 20, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  14. Rachel

    Here goes Clinton with her dirty tricks... First of all, the pledged delegates SHOULD determine who the nominee is. It's beyond me how she could say anything other than that, because her new stump speech is all about "giving Americans a voice". I guess that only applies when it's in her favor. As for Michigan and Florida, it cracks me up that she wants to overturn a rule that she agreed to months ago. All those states had to do was wait until Feb 5th to hold their primary. It was written in plain english what the consequences would be if they broke the party's rules. It was a known fact that the two primaries were just beauty contests and I doubt all likely voters even showed up because of that. It's twisted to suggest that those delegates be seated without at least giving the voters another chance to turn out to a primary or caucus that would actually count.
    This is one of the many reasons why I absolutely refuse to vote for this woman, though I fall into her constituencies being a hispanic woman. OBAMA 08!!!

    February 20, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  15. Johnson

    The lead is getting wider and wider every day. If it was any other candidate other than Hillary, Obama would have already been nominated. Just because its Hillary and she refuses to acknowledge that she is losing, she still has a chance? By not admitting the fact that she is losing, she seems to be more and more out of tune with what the public sees. That is Bushlike where everyone but bush sees whats going on yet they refuse to say anything about it or acknowledge it.

    I think Hillary would do better if she just said "I admit that I am now the underdog, however, I will fight on to the end because I believe that I am the stronger candidate." Maybe something as simple as that might help her campaign along..but she is surrounded by yes-men+women who are almost closed off to the publics wants and demands just like Bush.

    February 20, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  16. NC Independent

    The people have spoken....Obama is their choice. Even superdelegates can't save Hillary now.

    March 4, when Obama wins Texas (and probably Ohio), this will all be over.

    For those Hillary supporters who say they won't vote for Barack over McCain...you should stay home on election day....because you will be voting out of spite, which is ridiculous.

    Do you want everyone to be able to get healthcare?
    Do you want the war to end?

    If you answered "yes", then you better not vote for McCain. You may be bitter that Hillary lost...(and yes, its just a matter of time now), but realize Barack and Hillary have the same stance on nearly ever issue....just different methods for delivering those results..

    February 20, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  17. wait a minute

    No rules are absolutely fair.
    Changing rules in the middle of a competition will hurt all sides.
    Dems need to be careful with superdelegates in this election.

    There are no equivalent superdelegates in the Republican party.
    Why does CNN list superdelegates for McCain now?

    February 20, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  18. Janet

    Hillary needs to focus on this primary election and the rules that are currently in place. None of this was an issue before the race when she thought she would handily defeat Brack Obama for the nomination. Now, she is interested in changing the rules to benefit herself. She should really concede at this point

    February 20, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  19. TAA

    Here is something to THINK about, Michelle Obama has never in her over 40 yrs of living in our COUNTRY has never been proud to be an AMERICAN!!! IS THIS THE TYPE OF FIRST LADY WE WANT GOING AROUND THE WORLD REPRESENTING US??? I THINK NOT!!!! Michelle Obama as well as Obama should be ashamed of such a comment. NOW IF THIS WERE BILL CLINTON MAKING SUCH A STATEMENT, THE MEDIA WOULD HAVE NAILED HIM TO THE WALL. WHY DOESN'T MICHELLE GET THE SAME JUST TREATMENT????


    February 20, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  20. Jason - Visalia, CA

    Wow. These Clintons just can't get the hint.

    February 20, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  21. Robert in RI

    3 things that jump out on me about this article and Hillary Clinton's campaign.

    1.) She agreed that Michigan (the state that Obama and Edwards weren't even on the ballot) and Florida who broke DNC rules and got their delgates stripped. Now that she won the two states, grasping for delgates now that she is behind by 143 pledged delegates, which if she didn't win those states she wouldn't be wanting them seated. To allow Florida and Michigan their delgates would only encourage states to break DNC rules set down because obviously they wouldn't be punished.

    2.) Hillary wants the "automatic delegates" to ignore the people because they don't want her in office if the pledged delegates are any indication at the moment. Also the amount of states he's won compared to Hillary is a huge indication of what America wants. She wants them to use their "best judgement" except when there best judgement is to listen to the American People, ironic considering she's pandering for everyone's votes while basically telling the superdelegates that the people's opinions don't matter. Obama has it right when he says that the superdelegates should vote by what the people want.

    3.) The third and final point that arose to me about this article; if Hillary wanted Michigan and Florida to have their delegates so badly, why did she wait all this time until she was behind and losing state after state? If she truly cared, shouldn't she of said something when they got stripped of their delegates originally instead of waiting til she needed them dearly?

    These are only some of the few reasons why I want Obama as the democratic nominee in 08, because if Hillary loses the state I'm in, it will just be another state that she sees as "insignificant."

    February 20, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  22. Brit Denise


    Cheating Clinton!!!

    The DNC with both camps in agreement decided NO DEMOCRATS were campaigning now counting wins here: Thus:

    J.Edwards and B.Obama men of integrity DID NOT CAMPAIGN here



    February 20, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  23. David from NJ

    The say it isn' t over until the Fat Lady sings...we'll I hear Hillary clearing her throat and humming a C sharp...

    February 20, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. Peachy Keen

    This woman is just freaking out now. She and Billy can't stand losing and will try ANYTHING to win. What she is showing us is her true character, which is lacking. This has nothing to do with wanting to help the country or her party. It has everything to do with a power grab.

    I'm so glad it is becoming apparant that the American people don't want the same old thing.

    To see this country this close to electing an African American for President is exhilerating. I never thought I would see it in my lifetime.After the horror of the last seven years of George W Bush, all I can say is, God Bless America. And hopefully, good by Clintons.

    February 20, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  25. JP

    She can't claim delegates in two states where nobody was allowed to campaign. That's against the rules that she herself agreed to.

    If she somehow got the nomination because Florida and Michigan delegates were seated, I am voting for McCain in November. Why? Because I am not voting for a liar and a cheater.

    February 20, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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