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. TruthFirst

    maybe he dislikes the Clintons...

    February 21, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  2. Michael "C" in Lorton, Virginia

    If you are going to "influence" a superdelegate, you are going to have to do more than take him out to breakfast.

    February 21, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  3. Adjetey

    Wise choice to vote for Obama!

    February 21, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  4. Independent

    The superdelegate system is a sham. Every person's vote should have equal weight- especially for a 21 year old who has hardly had any party experience. Absolutely ridiculous.

    February 21, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  5. Brandon

    I'm a tad bit confused as to why this 21 year old has such a powerful say when it comes to our Democratic Nominee...

    February 21, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  6. Nobama No way

    CNN – nice headline! You could have used "courted" instead of "schmoozed." Or why not include Kerry's name in the schmoozed headline?

    BIAS BIAS BIAS FOR OBUMMER!!!!

    Hillary Clinton '08

    February 21, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  7. mark - Queens, NY

    I can't believe this kid. The young vote is going to ruin this country.

    February 21, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  8. Veronica

    I guess if Superdelegates back Obama than it's okay. What a double standard! The Superdelegates backing Hillary Clinton are thwarting the will of the people, the those backing Obama are voting their conscience. It's interesting that the "will of the people" includes Independents and Republicans voting in the Democratic primary. Once the weaker Democratic candidate is nominated the Republicans will have a field day with the liberal Senator from Illinois. Republicans are really smart and they will win a presidential election they are supposed to lose. Democrats are self-destructing again.

    February 21, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. sharrell, dc

    I'm glad you followed your heart and mind. Way to to Rae.
    Obama '08

    February 21, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  10. Mary Jo in Illinois

    More evidence that our country's young people are not independent thinkers.

    February 21, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  11. NZ, NJ

    This is why the Democrats are so weak and will lose the election again!!!!!!!!!!! Everyone better start dipping into their 401K now b/c it's a long 4 years of poor economy and long wars.

    February 21, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  12. james

    Its obummer for all you nostalgic clintonites

    February 21, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  13. Elisa

    Congratulations Mr Jason Rae on making your mind up and speaking up for the demographic group you can be considered a respresentative for in your rule as super delegate of the Democratic Party.
    Oh and: Great Choice, too! 🙂

    February 21, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  14. Buffalo for Obama

    There would be nothing better for the Republicans if the "strogner candidate" wins the nomination because nothing brings Republicans out of the wood work like the polarizing Hillary Clinton. Back in the beginning of this, a Republican CNN analyst said that he feared Obama more than Clinton because his rhetoric and call for Washington change might be something the Republicans can't stop. As McCain settles the conservative base, Obama looks better to the independents McCain is deserting. The Republicans will not win if Obama gets the nod, but sure will find a way if Clinton pulls off the miracle.

    Obama '08

    February 21, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  15. Dennis

    Clinton supporters that think Obama is winning just because Republicans are voting for Obama in primaries need to step back and take a deep breath. If that were the case, then shouldn't Clinton be getting all the Democratic votes–which would outweigh the Republican votes? There isn't any logic to this argument. Obama's base is not largely comprised of Republicans. Look at the exit polls. I think in this regard the Clinton supporters are crafting a large Republican conspiracy that simply doesn't exist.

    February 21, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  16. Jaime Garcia

    The superdelegates should carry out the will of their electorate.

    February 21, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    some of the comments on here are not very well thought out....

    No wonder all the "highly educated" people SUPPORT Obama.

    February 21, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  18. cch SAC CA

    Great decision! "RAE" your vote will make a difference in this election. You are a very smart kid who has a dream to become a President of the United States. Doesn't that dream remind you of someone else? Barack Obama, of course. Go RAE !! Go Obama!!

    February 21, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  19. Daniel Hersey

    Hillary seems to think she is supposed to be the next President and Bill is blaming the voters, thinking they should oblige Hillary’s wishes. Hillary demands that the delegates in both Florida and Michigan should count, now she has falling behind Barack Obama.
    Would Hillary fight for the delegates in both Florida and Michigan, if she was the one in Front winning 10 States in a row?
    The answer is no! both Candidates had agreed on not campaigning in both those states. Hillary campaigned in Florida any way. If I can’t trust her word then, then why should I trust her words now?
    If I can’t trust Hillary’s word now, then why I should belief as a President she will make the right decision for the American People.
    Bill seems to think this Country belongs to him and not the people. I have news for Bill, this Country always had and always will belong to We The People. And the majority of us do not want Hillary as President Period.
    It is time for change and change we will have.

    February 21, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  20. austin

    veronica you bring up an excellent point. the contests which will allow republicans to vote on the democratic primary are unfair in my thinking. they now know who their nominee will be, why not vote for the person they would rather have mccain go against or ride the wave of obama to bring down clinton since she is much disliked in the republican party.

    it really is a shame that the system can allow for voters of another party to part take in the nomination process of their opposition. that can ruin the chances people running and tip the favor to their party.

    this goes for both obama and clinton republican supporters who voted in the democratic primaries. STAY WITH YOUR VOTE and don't play a shady game with the democratic nominee.

    February 21, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. Sue

    With all the education this super delegate kid has you would think he would be able to make a smart choice
    It's either Clinton for President or McCain I refuse to put my freedom in the hands of an executive branch amateur

    February 21, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. David

    Veronica, You are highly dellusional!!

    No one tried to change the rules except Hillary. Michigan and Florida dont count according to the "rules"

    Superdelegates are bound by "no one". Nobody tried to change these rules. Obama simply courted superdelegates and told them they should think about who won the Majority of delegates, the majority of states and the popular vote.

    Ohhh That would mean Obama. Because he won in all categories. And you, for the ill informed Hillary doo doo's. Add Michigan and Florida to the popular vote and Obama still has the lead. Enough said already. Bye Hillary! lol

    February 21, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. Cee Dubya

    Lambs to the slaughter. Obama says that Social Security should stay just the way it is..... it's broke... who's going to end up paying for it.... YOUNG VOTERS!

    WAKE UP!!! Just because someone pays you a compliment is no reason to vote for them. Methinks we need an age limit on superdelegates.

    February 21, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. JD

    He's from Wisconsin. Obama won Wisconsin. He's not "thwarting the will of the people," he supporting it.

    February 21, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  25. Puzzled

    In a recent televised MSNBC show, a texan state senator was asked about Obama's credentials and accomplishments in senate and he could not name even one after being asked for 10 mins.

    Wake up America, HE HAS DONE NOTHING. ALL PROMISES. IF HE GOES TO BCOME THE NOMINEE, ALL OF A HUGE ASIAN COMMUNITY VOTES GO TO MCCAIN.

    Hillary, Go Girl. 2008

    February 21, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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