March 1st, 2008
12:55 PM ET
15 years ago

Clinton supporter rips Texas caucus system

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Cisneros made calls on Clinton's behalf from her campaign office in Laredo, Texas last month."]

SAN ANTONIO, Texas (CNN) – Former HUD secretary and Hillary Clinton supporter Henry Cisneros excoriated Texas’ arcane electoral process as “a great burden on voters” and said that losing the delegate count on Tuesday because of the state caucuses would be “exceedingly unfair.”

Cisneros was speaking to a group of Clinton volunteers who had gathered on Saturday morning at Fox Tech High School to train for Tuesday evening’s state caucuses, which follow a day of primary voting. One-third of the state’s pledged delegates are allocated through the caucuses, while the rest are determined by the day's primary vote.

Clinton herself rallied the troops after Cisneros, formerly a mayor of San Antonio, spoke.

“This is not the ideal way,” he told an audience made up of Clinton volunteers from 20 or so area counties. “Ideally it would just be a straight out vote, and that would determine who gets the delegates, but they created this intricate system in Texas, which frankly is a great burden on voters.”

Cisneros said a scenario in which Clinton wins the primary vote, but loses the evening caucuses, would be “exceedingly unfair” and warned against being “outpowered” by Barack Obama precinct teams, who have overwhelmed their Clinton counterparts in earlier caucus-based contests, outcomes he described as “tragic.”

As volunteers leafed through instructions on recruiting 25-member precinct teams, Cisneros told them, “we cannot throw away our hard work and our win by not being there at the caucuses.”

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Texas
soundoff (427 Responses)
  1. Claire, Austin, TX

    If you don't like the rules, get out of the game. They've been on the books since August of 2007.

    March 1, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  2. jay

    lose gracefully!

    March 1, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  3. Pier Giacalone

    Ughhh! Here we go again with the Clinton campaign "triangulating" against themselves. So, delegates not matching popular votes are bad in Texas but ok nationally?

    It's the series of contradictory strategies like this that have made it so hard to be a Clinton supporter – not her 11 straight losses.

    March 1, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  4. Jed in Texas

    Its about time the criminals here and the system in place be exposed to the light of Truth.

    March 1, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  5. Tony

    The problem is he is doing the wrong bet. No matter what the rules are Hillary is loosing, and the "democratic superdelegates" that are still against the voters will should really think what are they supporting and why. Hillary had plenty of chance, now is time for her to think how to retreat politely and apologize for her negative and often disgusting campaign.

    March 1, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  6. Lynn

    Another Clinton attempt to circumvent the rules in order to win.
    CNN jumped on this story a little late; it's been in the news at MSNBC for a couple of days now. What's also missing is the fact that the Clinton campaign has applied veiled threats of a lawsuit against the Texas Democratic Committee if they don't report the caucus results after the primary results. Why? Because, Obama has an edge with winning caucuses. The delay will allow her to have great press for a few days IF she wins the primary, but a loss in the caucuses could mean a loss in Texas.

    March 1, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  7. erik

    geez, if the clinton camps new strategy is to revert to whining; they have already lost. "hey no fair; obama excites voters more than we dooooo i'mmm tellling!"

    March 1, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  8. christine


    March 1, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. Patrick

    Whine, whine, whine... Why are they complaining about it now, 3 days before the primary? How about instead of whining about it, you actually try to win the caucus? Is HRC's campaign run by 2 year olds?

    March 1, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. Mike in Cleveland

    Sounds like the Hillary Camp may already be making excuses for why they failed, while totally ignoring the fact that the Texas rules (convoluted as they are) have been around for years. I'm not saying Hillary doesn't have a legitimate complaint; however, the rules were decided long ago and so stop trying to change the rules (pending lawsuit) in the middle of the game simply because you're losing.

    March 1, 2008 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  11. Sarah

    Good lord, I don't recall this much complaining from the Clinton camp when she was sucking out all of the air and stealing all of the spot light last year when she was sitting at 40% in the polls while everyone else was at 10%. I don't remember complaints of media bias or misogyny when the Clinton campaign was the inevitable. Only when they're losing do they start to literally cry about it.

    March 1, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  12. John

    Hillary knew and accepted the rules when she announced her run.
    Stop whining woman and get on with the job of campaigning. If by some strange mishap you become President will you still be whining and crying if things don't go your way. For all you ladies who are voting Hillary because she is a woman. Think Back
    Golda Meir Israel total disater for that country's security
    Indira Ghandi another disaster for India created near civil war
    Margaret Thatcher. Did exactly the same as Bush. Tax cuts for the rich Destroyed British manufacturing record house foreclosures banking and credit crashes,created the worst recession since the depression 1929 absolute total disaster for the British economy
    Angella Merckel Germany still there Germany economy in a nose dive.

    March 1, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  13. Chris from Ohio

    I'm sure I will get over my frustration with the Clinton campaign at some point. However, as a Democrat, I have to say her campaign is looking really bad. Let's not get past the point of no return regarding Democratic party unity. She still has my vote if she fairly beats Obama. By fairly...I mean the rules that were in place before the campaigns started.

    March 1, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  14. Ellie

    We all know if the "shoe was on the other foot", the Clinton Campaign would think that the Texas Caucus would be the GREATEST opportunity since "sliced bread"! It is so interesting to hear the comments that are being made by these OLD POLITICIANS that the Clinton Campaign seem to convince to crawl out of their den after years of hibernation to "state the HRC case"!! REALITY CHECK: THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY!! It is not the 20th Century, nor is it the 1990's! Many of us Americans are sick and tired of hearing about the OLD ways of Washington!! And quite frankly WE ARE SICK OF BILLARY!! WE ARE EXCITED ABOUT BARACK OBAMA, AND THE SPIRIT HE HAS BROUGHT TO US!!! I haven't seen these "old worms" crawl out of the woodwork in the Obama Campaign!! IT'S TOO LATE HILLARY - YOUR DANCE IS OVER!! IT'S TIME FOR YOU TO GET OUT OF THIS CAMPAIGN, PACK YOUR BAGS, TAKE BILL WITH YOU AND GO BACK TO NEW YORK WHERE YOU BELONG!!

    March 1, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  15. DJ

    Bill Clinton won the party primary using the same system. It was there before. So, what's the problem now? The guy sounds like a maniac, typical of the cult supporters of Hillary. Everything has to be changed for her. SHE DOESN'T WANT TO SERVE, SHE WANTS TO BE SERVED.

    March 1, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  16. ClintonNever

    Yeah. You are correct Henry Cisneros. Now, lets blame it on the Texas system that has been there and followed for years now and say that the entire state of Texas is also against Hillary Clinton. Say this now itself so that Obama's win on March 4th wouldn't be considered a big deal. Just like his 11 STRAIGHT wins.
    What a bunch of Hippocrates?! Do and say ANYTHING to win.

    CNN – SHAME ON YOU if you don't this comment of mine. Lets make it 1 in 100 of my comments at least.

    March 1, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. Lynn

    CNN, I know that you feel pressure to report only pro-Clinton remarks after that silly stint during the MSNBC debate, but please release my post.

    Another Clinton attempt to circumvent the rules in order to win.
    CNN jumped on this story a little late; it's been in the news at MSNBC for a couple of days now. What's also missing is the fact that the Clinton campaign has applied veiled threats of a lawsuit against the Texas Democratic Committee if they don't report the caucus results after the primary results. Why? Because, Obama has an edge with winning caucuses. The delay will allow her to have great press for a few days IF she wins the primary, but a loss in the caucuses could mean a loss in Texas.

    March 1, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  18. eclecticbrotha

    Cisneros used to be mayor of San Antonio, why doesn't he understand the format that has been in place for 40 years? If Team Hillary really wanted to learn how the primary/caucus in Texas works they should have been paying more attentions to Obama's speeches. Obama opened his very first speech in Texas like a precinct captain; he went through the format of the upcoming primary, told his supporters that early voting started the next day, then laid out the instructions for voting early in the primary then attending caucuses after the polls close. This was a week before Hillary made her "I have grown men crying about it" statement about how frustrating they were. They can also go to his site and find videotaped instructions as well.

    Hillary4UandMe: Ready to whine on Day One.

    March 1, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  19. Charlotte

    I can not understand how this system came to be, sounds like a butterfy ballot type fiasco. Why do the people of Texas get to vote twice, is this legal? Why the need for a caucus plus a ballot? A majority of working people are disinfranchised by a caucus. People can be pressured to vote a certain way, much like the black delegates are being pressured to switch there delegate votes to Obama because of race.

    March 1, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  20. Rom

    This is the rule my friend
    I recall that Bill Clinton won Texas with the same rules!!
    Because that might favor Obama, u want to change it !!!
    Take it easy !!!

    March 1, 2008 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  21. bill pike

    lets see. clinton started this campaign 30 years ago, has the name everyone has heard–which helps obama because of all the scandals-and now it is unfair and set up "by them"??? interesting

    March 1, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  22. John, Las Vegas, NV

    It was UNDER the Clinton political machine that the Texas Democratic primary and caucus system was developed. If Hillary has something to complain about with the system she should take it up with Bill. If Obama was prepared, and she's not, she has no one but her own inept campaign managers to blame. It's not a matter of fairness, it's a matter of preparedness, and clearly she's setting the stage to say that Texas doesn't matter, only Ohio. Sheesh. Look up "Losing Whiner" in the dictionary and you'll find Hillary's picture there.

    March 1, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  23. Ken

    Funny how this was fair and nobody complained about it when Bill Clinton was running for President and won the caucuses in Texas. Guess she (or her campaign) is just going to challenge anyone, or any rule that stands in her way of getting her delegate count up.

    Just like the Michigan and Florida delegates. She agrees to the DNC's edict 6 months earlier. But since she tallied more votes that any of her opponents, now she wants to have those delegates seated. I'll bet you that IF Obama had left his name on the ballot in Michigan and had more votes than she did, she would not be actively trying to get the delegates seated. Is this a fair deal? No – she doesn't play fair, and everyone knows that.

    March 1, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  24. Charles

    I know that this message may not get posted, but Hilliary is always cryign foul. She 1st cried in New Hampshire for sympathy, then it was Nevada. Now with her presidential hopes riding on TX, OH, RI and Vermont, she needs to cry or complain of the process in Texas. She has never done well with caucuses and with Texas being to close she knows that a lose here will end it. I am hoping that come March 4th the people in these 4 states will put an end and let us get ready for the fall elections. Go Obama

    March 1, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    As is the rule now with CNN, this comment is not favorable to Senator Obama; so it will never be posted.

    The Texas Primary/Caucus system is symptomatic of what has been wrong with the Democratic Party system this entire election cycle. What a huge mess we have made of the party. Each state party should be held to a straight primary vote system, proportional division of delegates, and no super delegates. Caucuses and open primaries should be a thing of the past. Howard Dean needs to be fired immediately.

    Independent voters and cross-over Republicans have decided thus far who the nominee will be, and it looks unfortunately like they have chosen Obama.

    Democrats, on the other hand, have chosen Clinton. When are we going to stop letting others select our nominee?

    They have us just where they want us. If Obama is the nominee, he will not win any othe Republican states he won in the primaries. And, he will lose many Democratic states, because he is too Liberal.

    We could have won with Hillary, now we will lose with Barack.

    I am a baby boomer, and have never missed a vote, even when I was stationed overseas. If Barack is the nominee, and McCain is the nominee I will not vote for either.

    Barack is not qualified, and McCain is nuts.

    March 1, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
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