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. David

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

    Yes Sir, that is how how all my choices are made.... Forget policies.... All my friends are doing it!

    February 21, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. Adam


    Good to see the youth of America are actually using their heads.

    Obama '08

    February 21, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. Joseph

    Again this shows that people are so superficial in the United States as to be fooled by someone who happens to be giving a great "job Interview" but has no real experience and a safe voting record because he is too afraid of making enemies. He is not tested and everyone knows it. He will cause this nation to be more vunerable than it has ever been. I do not want an Obama-Nation.

    February 21, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  4. g Anton, Tlanlnepantla, Estado de Mexico, Mexico

    There's so much hype that it's unbelivable. There are three possible (likely) outcomes (in my estimation, in decreasing order of probability):

    1: Hillary loses in Texas and/or Ohio by ten points or more, in which case Obama will be the Democratic candidate.

    2: Hillary wins in Texas AND Ohio by five points or more, in which case she is likely to be the Democatic presidential candidate.

    3. Neither '1.' or '2', in which case Al Gore will be the likely candidate after a long and bitter convention meltdown.

    So why don't we all wait a week or so to see what happens in Ohio and Texas, and give our emotions a rest?

    February 21, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  5. Puddytat

    WELL my goodness , you didn't expect him to be UN-biased did you ????

    I think this DELEGATE control is unfair to begin with . What's the matter , don't trust the people to make the decision of YOUR choice ?
    And you call it an election . As long as the people never learn the difference between an electin and an appointment ... I guess there is no harm done

    "It is lucky for leaders that the people do not think"

    February 21, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. Greg

    Yeah, Mark, how dare someone take power away from the AARP and rightwing Christian voting blocs. Obviously the kid isn't entitled to make his own decision and should just do what his parents say, right?

    Honestly, the "young vote" is what the country needs. Letting the "old people" handle it has lead to an unwinnable war, a horrible recession, a housing crisis, and ....

    February 21, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Kathy

    I hate this kid. I am a strong Obama supporter, but this is the least Democratic thing I have ever seen and it leaves a bad taste in my stomach. The multiple interviews he has given to Anderson Cooper flaunting his access to politicians is the fakest, sleaziest, worst possible kind of politics. It's absolutely disgusting that our future leaders have to pander and send their relatives out to woo this one, otherwise unimportant person, when there are plenty of underrepresented groups in America who are being ignored.

    Regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination this year, I hope he becomes the poster child for for equal and fair voting rights. I do plan on voting for Obama if he gets the nomination, but this makes it difficult. Shame on the Democrats for creating this system!

    February 21, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Kevin

    Clinton Fans – Don't blame the media for your candidate's shortcomings, Hillary is losing because she ran a poor campaign, the "Clinton baggage effect" and the fact that she is not Bill Clinton. Momentum comes and goes, remember Hillarys press last summer?

    February 21, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Michael

    I can tell you right now, Hill is going to lose both Texas and Ohio.
    You can feel the landslide. This country has had enough of the
    Clinton's and their crooked ways. Fortunately we have a good
    alternative choice. GoBama!

    February 21, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. Bob

    I believe the 21 year old Jason Rae refers to himself as a superduperdelegate. You would be wise to do the same.

    February 21, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. Jason

    The young vote is the future of this country. It's time we start thinking of our futures rather than cleaning up our parents mistakes. We have an obligation to lay the foundation for what we want he country to be in 20,30, even 40 years from now. The baby boomers had their chance.

    February 21, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  12. UL

    "The young vote is going to ruin this country."

    Since voters in past elections have been disproportionately older, and young people have not really participated, by Mark's logic OLDER VOTERS bear the bulk of the responsibility for the terrible leaders we have currently.

    In other words: The previous LACK of "the young vote" ALREADY HAS ruined this country.

    We're the ones that will have to clean up after the mess and bear the social, financial, and environmental debts that the baby boom generation is leaving us. Which is why we're not voting for another baby boomer.

    February 21, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. Ross

    Good Lord people get off this "Hillary is like the Second Coming" stuff! She has about as much integrity as Shrub. Way to go Rae! Vote your conscience! Vote for change!

    February 21, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  14. mary

    Way to go!

    Go Obama!

    February 21, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. Obama for prez

    How can some one say the young vote is going to ruin this country.. mark – Queens, NY- Weren't you young oneday.. its like America forgot that they were once 18.. or 21. Give me a break
    no young or old vote will ruin the country.......... get Real. not and narccisst..

    February 21, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  16. Linda

    Jason – Glad that you chose Obama! He is the one!

    February 21, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  17. Zubair, CA

    "Chelsea Clinton’s mother, Hillary Clinton."
    Are you serious? I think she has achieved enough in the last 30 odd years to be recognized by her own name. And i am not even a Hillary spporter.

    February 21, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  18. mike, Chicago

    You made the right choice after Obama clobbered Hillary in WI!!!!
    Obama 08'!!!!!!!!!!!!

    "stick a fork in her!!!!"

    February 21, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  19. Kristie

    This raises a better question...why does a 21 year old junior in college have more of a say in the election than the rest of us? I'd be curious to understand how and why this guy was chosen for a superdelegate position.

    February 21, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  20. Pete

    Chelsea has made it a long-time practice of snobbishly snubbing the press, under the guise of protective parents (look, her 16th b-day was a long time ago, ok?). Persistent dismissiveness. That's my take on it, at least. I'm not sure I've ever seen her speak. How ridiculous is that?
    So, boo hoo. If you condescended to talk to the public, people might open up a bit more to your message.

    February 21, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. chris s

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

    So, because the other kids are, you are too?? Sounds like a great reason to do anything...(he said sarcastically)

    February 21, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  22. Jon

    It is the young people of this country that are going to have to clean up this mess that the current group of poiticians are leaving them. I think that they should have a say in how an dwho can best clean it up.

    February 21, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  23. david

    All old people love kids. without kids their life is meanigless. hey i love my kids. dont you love your kids? why kids should vote for McCain grandpa? we dont need a presidnet who needs a standby ambulance in white house. you never know what happens to old people? they are at twilight of their life.
    young for OBAMA 08

    February 21, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  24. Zubair, CA

    Schmoozed? Is this still CNN or an April 1st edition of a college news paper?

    February 21, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  25. Paleobiology

    Veronica, the problem that Obama supporters and many others have with superdelgates is when they vote AGAINST the popular vote. In this case, the young man is from Wisconsin and more specifically goes to school in Milwaukee, boeth of which went very, very strongly for Obama. He cites, in fact, the popular will of his geographic (Wisconsin) and demographic (young people) in making his decision.

    It would only be hypocritical if we insisted that a superdelgate from an that Clinton won vote, instead, for Obama.

    February 21, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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