February 21st, 2008
10:15 AM ET
15 years ago

Superdelegate schmoozed by Chelsea backs Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/21/art.jasonrae.cnn.jpg caption="Superdelegate Jason Rae heard from Bill and Chelsea Clinton, but picked Obama."] (CNN) - A few weeks ago, 21-year-old Wisconsin superdelegate Jason Rae was taken out to breakfast by Chelsea Clinton in the runup to that state’s Democratic primary.

Two days after the vote, the college junior – who will be the youngest superdelegate at this year’s Democratic National Convention - is undecided no longer: he’s backing Barack Obama.

“The Democratic Party is fortunate to have two very talented individuals running for President this election,” said Rae in a statement released by the Obama campaign Thursday. “It is a difficult choice for anyone, but in the end, the choice for me has become clear. I am proudly supporting Senator Barack Obama.”

He cited Obama’s support from an overwhelming majority of young voters as the major reason for his decision.

The Democratic Party’s roughly 800 superdelegates – who can cast their votes for any candidate they choose, regardless of their state’s primary or caucus results – have been at the center of a fierce lobbying effort by the campaigns of both Barack Obama and Chelsea Clinton’s mother, Hillary Clinton.

Rae, a Marquette University history and political science major, talked political strategy and electability over a half-hour breakfast with the former First Daughter a little more than a week before his state’s February 19 primary.

He said then he had also been called by former President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who tried to convince him to vote for Clinton, and by Sen. John Kerry, who urged him to back Obama. He also spoke with Barack Obama's wife, Michelle Obama.

Related video: Watch Jason Rae on Anderson Cooper 360

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (141 Responses)
  1. geirgo

    Wild Bill swamped his wife's campaign – if she had divorced him early on she might be winning. Too bad – her and McCain could have swapped stories about voting for the war while they debated. Now its over so....
    stop whining Clintonites – your day is done!

    February 21, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  2. Ben

    I'm disappointed that superdelegates even exist. The defeat the purpose of having a primary or a caucus. If the promised delegate count is so close that superdelegates decide the final outcome of the presidential nominee then all the voting that has taken place over the past months is for naught.

    February 21, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  3. George

    I agree with Veronica's comments republicans are really smart! That's why I voted for Obama in the primaries and have no intention on voting for him in the general election. Hillary Clinton is a self-serving evil politician that has no business becoming the next president. GO Obama, at least for now . . . Way to go Rae

    February 21, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. Brian

    Well, I'm a Republican and plan to vote for Obama in November, but if Clinton is the nominee, then I think I'll go with McCain. Obama is more electible....and I am proof of that.

    February 21, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. Daniel (Tx)

    Good decision Rae. I am a 67 yr old tired of Congressional "business as usual" politicians.

    February 21, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. Dennis

    The writing on the wall says "A Change Is Coming!" How sweet it will be.

    February 21, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  7. Liz Wetzel

    Frankly, Ive lost faith in this so called american political system. At the end, it is still the game of the rich and elite. And I cant do anything because 80 percent of the population are still britney spears followers who would follow someone just based on entertainment. They dont care if they have become virtual slaves just so they are entertained.

    Oh well... meanwhile the dollar falls, my 68 year old mom is still working for her healthcare...

    February 21, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. Anyone But Clinton

    It's in your best interests to pick Obama over Clinton.
    Many independents are willing to pick Obama over McCain, but will vote McCain over Clinton.

    The Clinton and Bush families have done enough damage to this country for many years. It's time to move on.

    February 21, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  9. Pat C

    I hope people are finally starting to understand that democratic voters are flocking to Obama because he represents the future of a new era something that Hillary can't bring, because she reminds to many people the bitter past among everyone.
    Americans do not want to be reminded of that sensitive time when the Clintons were in the Whitehouse they want to put Hill and Bill behind them and move on to a better situation.
    It will be disastrous to think what can happen if the Clinton would be able to recounquer the Whitehouse,reviving a lot of baggages
    Obama would bring fresh air and give some history to the party and the country just like when Kennedy came in.

    February 21, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  10. Kayce, CT

    The fact the young are bothering to vote is why Obama is winning. For the first time in along time, people feel like they actually can have a say in our "Democracy". I am glad to see so many young people, so excited to vote.

    This is their country too, and the mess that the prior generation has us in now is nothing to be proud of.

    If you do not like the system, then get involved and help change it. Good for Jason for taking a stand and getting involved!

    February 21, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  11. Andrew - nashville TN

    GO OBAMA! This country needs change...not more of the same. Hilary is tough so tough that she's won't get anything done because she's too busy fighting. Leave it for the boxing ring!

    February 21, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Chris, Jacksonville FL

    Will CNN ask Kerry and Kennedy to vote for Hillary with their Superdelegate votes since they are the Senators of a state that went overwhelmingly for Hillary? It seems as though it is expected by the media that those Superdelegates who support Hillary now but represent areas she lost "must, for the sake of fairness and democracy" vote instead for Obama. What about if the roles are reversed? What will CNN and the rest of the media say? Anything is what, as long as it puts the Clintons in a bad light.

    February 21, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. Jason, CA

    To the top 3 comments: You 3 are ridiculous! First off, calling it schmoozed is accurate. Look up the definition if you want. Courting is "falling in love", "schmoozing" is talking intimately with the intention of impressing or manipulating–which is what it is. Would you really be okay with a headline that said: "Superdelegate courted by Chelsea, Bill, Madeline Albright and John Kerry backs Obama"?

    Second, I find it absurd to say that young people are going to ruin the country by getting involved in politics and voting for Obama. The old people in charge clearly aren't doing a good job, and they're screwing up the young people's future. So they should be taking charge and pointing the country in the direction they want to go. Just because you don't agree with them doesn't mean they are ruining the country.

    Third, where to begin Veronica?? If a superdelegate whose district or state went for one candidate, and they voted for the other, that's their prerogative, but it seems they should reflect the will of their constituents. That is true for a superdelegate on either side of this. And to say that Obama is the weaker candidate, that the Republican's will have a field day destroying, is pure BS! Clinton is the one who loses to McCain according to all the polls. Clinton is the one the Republican's have had, and continue to have, a field day bashing. Do we really need to go back to that? The Republicans want Hillary to run, because they know they can unite their fractured party around their common hatred for all things Clinton.

    February 21, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  14. Marc - CA

    Why is this guy who's only been able to vote for 3 years a "Superdelegate"??? I never want to hear another Democrat in a close race claim disenfranchisement after the mess that is this year's primary election.

    February 21, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. Tipperarytom

    Perhaps Mr. Rae will be good enough to: (a) identify one specific accomplishment which can legitimately be attributed to Senator Obama since his election to the United States Senate, (b) explain how Senator Obama proposes to pay for the estimated additional $500 Billion in new and expanded welfare programs he has outlined as a part of his program, (c) outline the detail of how Senator Obama can raise taxes "on the rich" (the top 25% of who currently pay 86% of individual taxes) without drying up the source of capital investment – the crucial platform upon which new jobs and related economic growth are predicated.

    February 21, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  16. SK

    Wow, Hillary supporters... bitter much?

    February 21, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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