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. Wayne, Greenville TX

    It's Hillary's entire campaign that's starting to get offensive. Which is why more and more of us Democrats are switching to Obama's camp.

    February 20, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  2. Erik

    and they get more desperate

    February 20, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  3. Tom, Y-town, OH

    It should be up to the Democratic Party of what to do with the delegate count in Michigan and Florida as well as how the superdelegates should be directed to place their votes.....after all, it is their party and if they want to run it as a dictatorship, well then let them. Unfortunately, the Clintons think they ARE the party. If the Clinton's get their way, Barack out to drop out of the race and run as an independent.........wouldn't that be interesting?

    February 20, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  4. Frank, San Diego

    This is only going to matter if Clinton can reverse the pro-Obama trend. If she ends up where she is now, down 70 delegates even counting the superdelegates, she has no claim to the nomination. And given the proportional distribution of delegates, she would have to win double-digit victories in the remaining states to make up her current deficit.

    She should turn all of her attention, and all her resources, to attacking John McCain. It might not improve her situation enough, but it would help more than going negative against Obama (who Democrats have already decided they like).

    And even if she falls short, she would have done millions of dollars worth of damage to the Republicans. The party would probably thank her with a Senate leadership position.

    February 20, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  5. Sue Abraham from Illinois

    Before talking about deligates. We need to know who is real Obama. There is a story allover the enternet about a lawsuit filed in Minnesuta against Obama and his campaign by a plantiff named Larry Sinclair. What is going on. Why you CNN ignore this huge media incident. Are you waiting until he gets the nomination, then you will bring it up. Do your job and tell us what is the story.

    February 20, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  6. Amayel's Notes

    There is no need to make websites about it. Going against popular vote, especially seeing how Obama has been able to rally new voters will just make the democratic nominee loose the November vote.

    Look at the big picture: allienate millions of voters and loose in November, coz I sure will not be voting in the general election if my primary vote is just wiped out by 800 people, as knowledgeable as they are supposed to be. Had HRC won more delegates, this wouldn't be an issue.

    Put up a fight instead!

    February 20, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  7. Erik

    Hillary wants to change the rules in her favor. Where was this argument when she was up huge in polls back in 07? This is pathetic

    February 20, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  8. Lisa

    Hillary Rodman Clinton, I am so tired and sick of your hypocrisy. Please be realistic. Do you think calling in favors and GOING against the DNC's sanction against seating Michigan and Florida will be met with roses and poses?? You are trying to tarnish everything good about the DNC party with cheating (seating MI and FL).

    Not only that you are SUPPRESSING the will of the people if you bribe and call in favors from super delegates.You are going against everything sane and rational. Do you want to cause a civil war! RULE are RULES! Those two states disqualified themselves. Mr. Obama's name wasnt on Michigan's ballot! How in all that is right and democratic will you want to seat Michigan?

    I am sorry, but HRC is getting really desperate and deluded at this point. This is not change Hillary. Dirty politicking wont work in this century. Someday, anybody, please talk some decency into this woman.

    February 20, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. Mary

    To argue that superdelegates should not look to the primary when making their decision is ridiculous. Many superdelegates are elected officials who will consider the will of their constituents when it comes time to give their support to a candidate, or possibly face a primary battle their own next time around.

    February 20, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  10. M Ryan

    I think that it was absolutely disgraceful that you insulted senator clinton last night by cutting her off for obama. This is a first that that a politiicain goes on while the other is speaking,,and you only reinforced his ego mania by doing so........

    February 20, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  11. MKL

    When is the media going to start asking Obama the tough questions instead of treating him with kidd-gloves? No one wants these questions to appear to be "racial", but the republicans will have a field day with him. Has anyone questioned him over religion and what his minister speaks about? Everyone was all over Romney.....
    What is up???

    February 20, 2008 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  12. no whining, please

    Oh, for pity's sake! First HRC agrees to the DNC rules; then she campaigns anyway; now she wants to count those delegates as hers. How mean-spirited.

    So far as the SDs are concerned–if they don't reflect the views of their constituency, they will not only hurt the party and country but also lose their elected positions. Name me one politician who would be so stupid as to do this!

    February 20, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. Ali

    Hey, how come my pro Hillary comments always gets censored? I mean the pro-obomo tone on your channel is pretty obvious but blatantly censoring somebody for their views is down right shameless.

    Hillary 08

    February 20, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  14. Florida and Michgan MD

    People from Florida and Michigan should be heard. The people from Florida and Michigan have selected their candidate. We should not ignore their vote. The delegates should be seated from both those places. Democractic leader should see this happen. If Hilary is not nominated we will not for anyone this Nov.

    February 20, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  15. Tim Valentine

    Wouldn't it be cool if politians did the same thing as they do in sports. We have the NCAA Tournament Championship & the losers end up going to the NIC Tournament Championship (Nothing against any team that went to either tournament). Why don't we have Hillary Clinton & Mike Huckabee play in the political equivalent of the NIC Tournament, then Barack Obama and John McCain play in the political equivalent of the NCAA Tournament. Perhaps, Clinton & Huckabee will have another opportunity to win something.

    Love you all. Seriously.

    February 20, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  16. England Endorses OBAMA

    HRC agreed to punish Florida and Michigan and now she wants them counted .She voted for a war and never read the handout. Now she blames Busha nd not take fall for her vote. HRC supporters, you see the wishy washy tactics? Obama is not a saint but he stands for a bright and graceful America to come. Americans its time to believe and build your country back to the the best you can be.

    February 20, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  17. Bill, St. Paul, MN

    If Sen Clinton continues this fight and takes FL, MI and super delegates to the floor of the convention to fight, we all lose. If after TX and OH the status quo remains unchanged, it needs to end. If it does not, then we will have to understand she is not a worred about November like all of in the trenches are, and that the party, and the problems Bush has created are secondary to her campaign.

    February 20, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  18. TomTx.

    Get the fork ready...she is almost done!!!

    Go home Hillary. And, take Bill with you. The sooner the better for the democratic party and the american people.

    February 20, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  19. gary

    How do you debate someone that uses the logic of "Change"?

    Here's a clue. Obama won't change anything. If he were President, from a power point of view, his powers would be clear, they are defined in the Constitution and in law. From a "changing the tone in Washington" point of view, he's the most liberal politician in Washington, he'll get immediate criticism from even the moderates in his own party. Concerning foreign policy, he'll be laughed at by other world leaders for how naive he is. From a domestic policy point of view, he's promised everyone everything. With that as his starting point, he's sure to disappoint many, many people. If elected, his political honeymoon would last about 2 days.

    Obama has been put on such a high pedestal, he has no chance to meet peoples expectations. Obama could easily make Jimmy Carter's presidency look good.

    February 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  20. GoWiscoGo

    You might be able to pay some lip service to seating the Florida Delegates, but there is no way you can seat the Michigan Delegates. Senator Clinton said herself prior to Iowa, that she did not see any reason to be on the Michigan ballot.

    The system is the system, but unless Howard Dean steps up and becomes the leader of the party we all hoped he would be in 2004, you are looking at the end of the DNC. There is no way that the millions of Obama supporters (who are new to the political process) are going to transfer to Senator Clinton. The Democratic Party is going to lose millions of potential supporters over loyality to the first family of the DNC. This is so much bigger than two individuals. An entire generation of voters are at stake.

    It is time now for the DNC to solve this problem so that they can bring Florida and Michigan back into the fold, and not risk a messy 4 months that will ultimately result in another loss of the White House and likely a loss of the House of Reps as well.

    Dean needs to straw poll the Supers right now, and let the to candidates know the results.

    February 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  21. RPL, FWB FL

    It seems the more Ms. Clinton pushes the issue of the superdelegates and the seating of Florida and Michigan delegates that she's sounding more and more strident and shrill. Rather than honest campaigning and admitting that her campaign has hit a wall, she's now saying that delegates should ignore the will of the people. Tactics like that only turn off more potential voters, and if she is the nominee, will alienate much of the independent voters who would prefer a serious change in attitude and perspective.

    February 20, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  22. gwen

    To me Clinton is a VERY SORE LOSER WHICH MAY COST HER THE RACE I AM SURPRIZED AT HOW PETTY AND UNPROFESSIONAL SHE BECOMES EACH TIME she fears that she is losing the raise. She is very uninspiring right now.

    And to change the way votes are counted because you are losing sounds like a lession she should have learned in grammer school I really wish she had a spine.

    February 20, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  23. Claudia

    The votes of the people of Florida and Michigan SHOULD count regardless of who wins the nomination. They voted. They did nothing wrong. It was the Democratic Parties of those states that decided to go ahead with primaries early NOT the poor citizens who had no say in the matter.

    February 20, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. Democrat

    Yes. Delegates should be seated from FL and Michigan. Otherwise it is not fair to people of Florida and Michigan. Leaders should act quickly on this matter.

    February 20, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. Kelly in Southern Cal

    I think that the Clinton campaign should accept that their reactive strategies are putting the nail in the coffin. The negative campaigning that they are doing really disappoints me as a longtime Clinton supporter. They are characterizing themselves as political insiders who would rather sling mud than be proactive about what matters most.

    I'm not stupid, and I feel patronized by the junk that's being put out there inferring that, because Obama allegedly plagarized, or because his wife wasn't extra proud of her country at all times that she is less patriotic, and as such, one can only conclude that Clinton is the better candidate. I can make up my own mind, thank you very much. The message that I am instead receiving is that this is a desperate campaign that will do anything to win.

    I also do not respect their attempt at manipulating the role of super-delegates and will leave this party if the super-delegates pander themselves to the will of the Clinton machine.

    I am beginning to understand the term Clinton fatigue, and honestly don't think I can support this candidate.

    February 20, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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