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. oscar

    Hillary is beggining to loose...
    It is time to accept it...

    February 20, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  2. Steve

    As usual, when the rules don't fit into the Clinton's plans, they like to change the rules. Bill was head of the DNC for years before he became president, then president, then even more influential in the party afterward. He was instrumental in designing the rules as they are now and now he wants to change them to favor Hillary.

    February 20, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  3. Brian

    Oh dear, Hillary has gone off the deep end.

    February 20, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  4. Yes be Fair!!!

    Go Hilary.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. The voices of 600,000 Michigan primary voters and 1.75 million Florida primary voters should be heard. The People of FL and MI should not be ignored. It is very important in this race

    February 20, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  5. DrFill

    She AGREED to not count those states.
    She signed documents, it was not a pledge.
    Her reneging is just another reason to send her packin'

    February 20, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  6. Patrick

    Even if Florida and Michigan were seated, that still wouldn't be enough for Hillary to win or even close the delegate gap. Her campaign is over, it's finished, it's all over but the crying. There's a lesson to be learned here Senator Clinton: Don't underestimate the importance of small states.

    Also, what two-faced tactics to agree to Michigan and Florida being stripped of their delegates and then supporting their return only when it benefits you. Sorry Michigan/Florida but anyone who falls for that deserves what they get.

    February 20, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  7. George from Minneapolis

    She will go to any lenghts to win. Obama was right when he said she would say anything and do anything to get elected.

    The longer she is in the race, the more desperate she appears and the more the american people are turned off by her.

    Why doesn't she see that ???

    February 20, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  8. Stephen

    Hillary needs to quit, if the tables were turned everyone would be asking Obama to get out. The national press corps would have long abandoned Obama. Hillary thinks she's special. She is not. She is losing, She cannot catch up and most people expect her to try cheap dirty tricks. This is exactly why we don't need the Clinton's 8 more years. (Then Jeb for 8 more). Americans are waking up to her Bilderburg tactics. (Wikipedia-The group's secrecy and its connections to power elites has provided fodder for many who believe that the group is part of a conspiracy to create a New World Order.)
    Remember, Bill and Bush 41 always running around globetrotting. Bush 41 always proclaiming 1000 points of light and new world order. Bill raming NAFTA down our thorats. If we elect Hillary we will never be free!

    February 20, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  9. Mark in Wichita

    This is just getting sad. She is doing nothing but hurting the Democratic party at this point. If she thinks that she has a reasonable and significant shot at the nomination still, she is either deluded or simply doesn't care that she is simply attacking reality. Either way, that's good reason to not let her be president.

    February 20, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  10. King

    I am sorry, but why didn't HRC and especially the people of Florida and Michigan go after the elected officials who wanted the primaries sooner. Those are the people who should be held responsible this situation. Wouldn't they have like Super Tuesdaay rather than having their votes not counted. GO after Sen. Nelson and the Gov of MI.

    February 20, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. CPrescott

    I remain thunderstruck at the way the Obama camp successfully embraces rules which operate to their benefit (disenfranchisement of Florida) and discard rules which do not (rights of non-pledged delegates to vote as they choose). The Democratic party nomination rules allows non-pledged delegates to vote according to their will. Team Obama has not complained about such rules until recently and has craftily placed an incendiary spin on the matter, shrieking that the will of the people should not be undone by 'rules'. Then why let the 'rules' undo the will of Florida's voters? Obama was present on the ballot in Florida. He lost. The claim that the contest was unfair because he couldn't advertise is hollow and absurd. Today's technology allows for countless resources by which thinking voters can and do hear the candidates. To trot out the 'rules' in this instance violates the fist-raising For the People politics which is handily exploited by the Obama campaign when and as they choose.
    Shame on the press for their giddy celebrity worship. Shame on all you bandwagon Obama zealots who cling religiously to your idol when common sense dictates this character is merely the most calculating of all politicians.

    February 20, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  12. JoAnne Allen

    In regard to Obama's backer boching interview question, that in itself was awkward, but Hillary's comments just add to the distain that voters now have for her. She is entering political suicide when looking for flaws in someone who is adored by so many. It certainly does not help her cause. She is now a looser and doesn't know how to handle it. Backing out gracefully is just not in her make-up and speaking of make-up, someone help her, please!

    February 20, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  13. Gerald

    This style of politics just isn't going to work, were all smarter then all these petity tactics the Clinton campaign is trying to pull off. A win is a win, and a strong candidate is a strong candidate no matter how much you try to spin it otherwise. Unfortunately this is exactly whats wrong with Washington right now, and we as Americans are in the end the biggest losers in all of this. Please keep it clean, fair, and positive Hillary!

    February 20, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. The Commentator

    More desperation from the Clinton Campaign. Now, she's trying to change the rules regarding seating Michigan and Florida delegates, after she agreed with those rules. Talk about flip-flopping. Do we, as a nation, really want a President who will change the rules to suit his/her agenda? Haven't we had eight years of this crap from Bush?

    February 20, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. Obama support in Iowa

    The people are speaking in a loud and clear voice and NO ONE can override the will of the people without serious consequences. If Hillary would concede that fact and step down, she would be an icon and role model we all would admire and support from now on. If she continues on the path she's on she will lose the respect and admiration of the majority of democrats.

    February 20, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. Stonenchizel

    It sure is funny how Clintons machine keeps moving back the goal post, it just makes me think she will do the exact same thing with the war in Iraq, since she has not been able to give a definitive answer to when she will have the troops out. It kinda makes me sad to she her stoop to such republican style of campaigning, sorry Hillary but you are just a little to negative for me.

    February 20, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  17. Steve

    Aren't there rules already in place? If so then I'd expect both candidates to follow the rules. Presidential candidates should demonstrate adherence to the fundamental and essential principle of the rule of law. Whether in regard to party rules or the law of the land the principle is the same and should be a demonstrable character trait of any Presidential candidate. If it is not then that candidate does not deserve the office. In my eyes this is a test of both of them.

    February 20, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  18. semajh

    Hillary needs to give it up, and cnn needs to stop promoting her agenda. For all the talk of the media treating her unfairly, if Obama had got avalanched in 10 straight contest the media would have been written him off. What's fair is fair. The media needs to stop making excuses for Hillary. Here it is a day after Hillary got blown out again and i cant even find two positive articles about Obama. I am a white male but i must say that if Obama was not black and he had won like he is winning, the media would have declared him the democratic nominee by now.

    February 20, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  19. Our future president

    Great job, Obama! Obama stole something from McCain during his speech in Houston last night. He showed a bracelet worn by a soldier who got killed in Iraq. Obama claimed that it's given to him by the soldier's mom.. How touching?!
    It's funny. I remember clearly that few days ago, McCain was showing a bracelet he's wearing during a speech and said that it was given to him by a deceased soldier's mom and said how proud he was to the soldiers who died for our country..
    Obama did it again, borrowed something from other people speech again!! He is so good at borrowing from other people. How inspiring!!

    February 20, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  20. JT

    So this is what Hillary would want for the American people???

    She would want the superdelegates to IGNORE the popular vote in order for her to win AGAINST the majority of american peoples' decisions.

    She once had my vote.. she lost that. Then she at least had my respect, but she's losing that quickly as well. This is pathetic.

    February 20, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  21. Dave, Atlanta, GA

    Clinton doesn't get it. This is the bottom line. She can argue about what's right al she wants, but if she fails to get a majority of pledged delegates, and only gets the nomination because of the superdelegate vote, she will almost certainly lose the general election. You do not want over 40 percent of democratic voters feeling the election was stolen from them. You do not want black voters to feel that there was a conspiracy within the upper reaches of the democratic party to steal the nomination from Obama. And unfortunately, that is how it will play. If Clinton wants the nomination she will have to do well it Ohio and Texas and at least come close to Obama in pledged delegates. It may be messed up, but it's political reality.

    February 20, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  22. MB

    Good point JS...too much bashing on her end and not focusing on the issues...huge turnoff....

    February 20, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. An Agnostic Democrat

    Desperate people do desperate things. Please take the time to readjust the queen's tinfoil crown; it's been tilting more and more, state by state, delegate by delegate, vote by vote and she's looking more pathetic by the moment.

    February 20, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. linda

    Actually its the media that wants the coronation during the primaries. We do have an election for president in november. People need to settle down a bit and reflect. This is about the next leader of the free world and the most poerful Militay. Wake Up.

    February 20, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. jc

    Hillary Clinton should bow out gracefully now while she still has credibility and the respect of faithful Democrats. The longer she campaigns, the worse she looks to voters and her own supporters.

    February 20, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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