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. Chris, PA

    Wah! Wah! Wah! You Clinton supporters are pathetic you are just angry because Bill and Hillary's dirty Clinton tactics have failed to sway the U.S. population to insanely vote for her, after eight years of scandals from the last Clinton white house, the last thing we need are those two back in the oval office.

    February 21, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  2. Philip

    If nothing else, getting young people invovled is reason enough to elect Obama for President of the United States of America. I too, for the first time in my adult lifetime, am "really" proud of America and Americans.

    I think that all American's, both black and white, understand what that means when coming from someone who has not fully participated in the American dream.

    It would have been impressive if McCain (and his wife) had acknowledged that he understood exactly what Michelle meant (...although a poor choice of words), in this context.

    February 21, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. James, Syracuse New York

    How on earth could someone ever accuse the young vote of ruining the country?

    It is the youth vote that the Democratic party have been trying to capture in the past 5 elections....and now that they are actually voting, you have the nerve to complain?

    We should feel so lucky that a generation of Americans that normally don't get involved, are FINALLY getting involved.

    Thank you Barack Obama for inspiring my generation, the generation before me and the generation after.

    I'm not sure who would make the best president, but I think the nation is willing to take a chance on you!!!

    February 21, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  4. vicki $$$$$$$$

    Mark Queens NY

    So Mark I quess it's better if the deciding vote is from the ' less- educated' who vote for Hillary

    February 21, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  5. Robyn Dean

    I think it's awesome! Rae appears to be supporting the will of the young voters. If there has to be superdelegates (which I'm not all that crazy about), it's good to see at least one be fair in his position.
    I don't know why there are skeptics saying that the Dems are self destructing. Maybe they are just being sore losers, but if anyone is bringing the Dems together it's Obama. He's pulling more and more voters in the direction of his nomination and the people are deciding the democratic candidate thus far. People are using their voices as it should be, and not settling for what some politicians want us to think. It's really a shame that there are some who are not voting on the issues, but sitting, waiting for the other shoe to drop and say 'I told you so...Obama can't win.' Americans are voting and saying he can....and it looks like he will!

    February 21, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  6. just-the-facts

    All I have to say is that whomever makes it to the convention with the most votes should be the nominee. If the superdelegates go against the will of the people, it will be a sad election for the Democrats. They will lose the white house and possibly control of congress through voter retailiation.

    February 21, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  7. Rosnah

    Shame on you Rae. You fall for the young voters candidate.

    If obama gets elected we get what we deserve. obviously, we are not mature enough to seek a president for his credentials and capacity to do the job. more and more this feels like American Idol.

    To have obama running for president is such evidence that we are inmature as a nation.

    February 21, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  8. Scott

    We Democrats should start to mend our fences. I know the upcoming debate will do little to inspire this if it gets nasty, but its up to us if we want to keep the Republicans out.

    February 21, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. Todd from AZ

    I keep thinking what Clinton Supporter James Carville told Obama supporters after Bills tirade in South Carolina "why doesn't everybody stop whining!!!"

    OBAMA '08!!!!

    February 21, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. Emmanuel Quashie

    great choice young man! i admire your your knowledge and visions at such a young age like myself. i also would have choose Senator Barack Obama, not only because he inspires me, but, is time for a change! a real change!! for the clinton's has been serving for quite some time and still yet the country is crying for change so putting them back them wouldn't be change but a repeat ?! now Obama may be fresh and new ,but, it has nothing to do with running a country for i have seen people who haven't have the best of the best in education run a country?! any guesses? moreover, experience is only a word in which was created by society for one to confirm to legitimacy of one's statue. now is the modern industrial society no more of Marxist! Barack Obama is bringing to politics integrity and individual freedom which of course is powerful for the movement not only of America to move forward but for the rest of the world too. Finally i'd like to quote that Barack Obama have change many lives literally since his campaigning across the world including mines and many of my friends and families abroad who was poisoned by venoms of negativity has found there antidote ( Barack Obama). with a guy who can spread such psychological force across the globe within the minds and soul of people to be all that they can be positive i have no Doubt that a man like himself would not be perfect for president. he is the answer for Americans to travel the world and hold there heads up high and be proud to be an "American" again.

    Barack Obama 08.

    February 21, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  11. Holly B

    Good for you young man! I am a middle aged white career woman who supports Obama. It is wonderful to see the young voters engaged and involved. Your choice is right, this country needs a leader and a uniter, not a polarising politician who is so out of touch and arrogant that she can't even run her campaign.

    Good for you to ascertain the difference and represent your "constituancy" of young voters!

    February 21, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  12. Dave

    Don't let the Clinton Machine steamroll you into making a mistake that could cost us. Good job Rae!

    February 21, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  13. Stavy

    Nice choice Rae, I knew you would come around!

    OBAMA 08.

    February 21, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  14. GH

    Well done. Voting the will of the people. My hat's off to you young delegate.
    Obama '08

    February 21, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  15. Deb, IN

    I believe these so called Superdelegates should not be able to commit to either candidate until the convention.

    This country is the laughing stock of the WORLD right now!!!!!!!

    February 21, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  16. OTommo

    Whatever happened to picking the Democratic candidate in the convention? This process of caucuses with delegates and "superdelegates" has got to be about the worst method ever devised to pick a candidate. Now we discover that Hillary wants some of Obama's delegates to vote differently in the convention – to "steal" the votes. Haven't we had enough stealing in elections?

    I think elections in Haiti, Hong Kong and Pakistan are probably better run than in the USA! What a joke!

    February 21, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. james Stew, NJ

    The kid saw something that shook his nerves!! Go Obama!!!

    February 21, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. Luke, Houghton MI

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

    Don't worry... the older generation has put plenty of awful of Presidents into office (ie. The two Bushes, Clinton, Carter). It's our turn.

    Obama, since he actually has an appeal to independents in this country, gives the Democrats a better chance to win than Hillary, who is one of the most polarizing figures in modern politics.

    February 21, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  19. MMM

    It's too bad. Peer pressure... The media has been so bias in it's coverage of Hillary that they are loosing credibility. I can't wait to see the debate tonight! GO HILLARY! I can' wait to see you sworn is the next President of the United States.

    February 21, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  20. Obama mama

    I liked Hillary until she started running for President. If she gets busted 90% of the time saying untrue facts about Obama, then what will she lie about when she gets in office. I can't stand political attack ads or false statements during a debate. 90% of the stuff Obama has said has been true...maybe a little fluffed but for the most of it, truth.

    The last thing we need is yet ANOTHER President who has a problem telling the truth!

    "The young vote is going to ruin this country." Yeah because obviously the rich white older vote has done a lot for the country thus far!

    February 21, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  21. jen anderson

    I am happy to hear that this superdelegate is not supporting the wife of the former impeached president. The new, young democrats are not bound by the hold that the Clintons have on the democratic party. They're not afraid of the "clinton machine."
    The Chelsea attempt to sway this young man's vote was wrong and I'm glad it didn't work.
    Lobbying and influence peddling no longer work. This is what Barack Obama means when he talks about change in Washington. This is why Barack will be the nominee and the next president.
    Quite frankly, I'm surprised that Chelsea went along with trying to influence a superdelegate. Wasn't it her "mom" who ripped President Bush for being "selected" not elected?

    February 21, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  22. me

    IT IS UNFORTUNATE THAT WE HAVE NOT LEARNT OUR LESSON.
    IF WE ARE STILL DECIDING WHO TO VOTE UPTILL NOW, IT IS RATHER TO LATE.

    JOIN THE CHANGE MOVEMENT TO AVERT OLD WHITE HOUSE BUREAUCARACY METHOD OF DOING THINGS.

    LOBBY FOR SUPERDELEGATES WILL NOT CHANGE A THING BECAUSE THIS TIME FOR CHANGE
    GO OBAMA GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 21, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  23. Tim

    It appears this blog has a lot of bullies that try to intimidate this young superdelegate. Jason, stick to your guns and consider the source. Those commentors really show their true color of intolerance of different opinions. Look what kind of people are supporting Hillary, then you know you have made the right decision.

    February 21, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  24. Katherine

    "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 makes perfect sense for a delegate from Wisconsin to support Obama. He made his decision AFTER the Wisconsin primaries, which Obama won, keeping completely in line with his state. Hillary, on the other hand, is stooping as low as courting delegates which have already been pledged to Obama by votes. That IS thwarting the will of the people.

    February 21, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  25. IStillMissRegan

    I don't much care for McCain or Obama but it is nice to see the Clintonista's go down in flames.

    February 21, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
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