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. Ohio Voter

    I'm very turned off by the fact that Clinton and her supporters repeatedly attack the internal processes of the Democratic party, months *after* those rules were agreed upon. And Clinton's supporters were the insiders who wrote the rules and made the decisions regarding Nevada at-large caucuses, Michigan delegates, Florida delegates, and now the Texas system. It is so extraordinarily transparent that Clinton began challenging these rules only after she started to lose. This gives me real concerns about her ability to lead the country in a fair way–or to interract with foreign leaders in any type of consistent, fair way.

    I really hope this contest ends Tuesday, before Clinton damages the Democratic party any further.

    March 1, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  2. Jason

    I love the increasingly whiny tone of the Clinton campaign. She doesn't like anything that favors an opponent, but will allow super delegates to overturn the will of the voters and seat delegates from states from which they all agreed they wouldn't accept support. Is Hillary polarizing? Well, I used to think that having any Democrat in the white house would be great. Not so sure anymore. BTW Democrats: A Hillary nomination only serves to motivate the republican base, give McCain the independents and ensure that the Dems will not have a significant majority in either house. Turnout impacts those races too....Obama is Mr. Turnout.

    March 1, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. Texas Momma

    If Hillary had spent her time and money on her own campaign she might be able to relax now and not feel the need to criticize everything. Instead, she spent her time and money criticizing, analyzing, and slamming her opponents' campaigns. Is this what experience is all about? Give me inexperience any day over this kind of leadership!

    Obama 08

    March 1, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  4. Joan

    I agree with Cisneros. The Texas system primary/caucus system is bizarre. Most people in Texas do not know they can vote twice: once, either early or the day of the primary, then, a second time at the caucus after the polls close! Why 2 votes? That seems unconstitutional. Hispanic friends said the system is to confuse Hispanics that are not familiar to the Texas system. I always that it was 'one man/woman, one vote'...most of the people at the caucus will be students who have nothing to do but wait in line; others have a job and are working during the caucus hours. To think the college students may decide the vote in Texas is scaring to say the least.

    March 1, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  5. rose, texas

    alot of people who vote for obama r going 2 which they had gotten out town, when his @ the white house & can't deliver everything he promise. i don't understand why so many rude people out there don't like hillary, because of what bill did , how many of u'l out there know if u'r husbands have cheated on u'l. how can anybody believe what obama says once he wins his not even going to think about all does people that voted him in. look who he has backing him up kennedy, didn't he have an affair also. if obama wins we r going 2 b in the same boat we're in now. just sit back a watch

    March 1, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  6. Roxanne

    I heard someone from the TX DNC on the news yesterday stating that Texas has voted like this for 40 years! Why change now? It wasn't a concern several weeks ago when Billary had a commanding lead in the polls. Once again, try and change the rules to the game to your advantage...just like you did by taking the pledge NOT to count the delegates in FL & MI or the NV caucus rules. Get a life and bow out gracefully because you will NEVER live in the White House again!

    March 1, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. Deborah

    Well, I guess this is the story all the Obamanation folks were waiting for all day, The nastiness, bigotry, gender slander, of y'all is sure depressing to me. Most of the other stories today the comments were respectful (yes even from Senator Obama's supporters), First of all, if any of you read the article about the African American voters in Ohio being pressured by the African American Obama supporters to support Senator Obama and being called an "Uncle Tom" if they supported Senator Clinton, you would understand what makes the caucus system contrary to the democratic process. It is much more difficult to "go against the flow" when your vote is public and the democratic process is based on voting in PRIVATE. Because Senator Obama is an "inspirational" candidate, his supporters are more fervrent, making them by nature more activist and often downright nasty to the supporters of other candidates, making it much harder for any of the other candidates from Iowa to now to win in a caucus situation. Under the Texas system, Senator Clinton could win the primary vote by 57%-43% and still lose the caucus vote, and thereby lose the state because some of her supporters may be "pressured" into switching in the caucus situation. If that were to happen, should the superdelegates vote according to the PRIVATE primary results or according to the PUBLIC caucus vote?

    March 1, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  8. Sara in Houston

    Wow. I was on the fence up until a few days ago, and this one pretty much takes the cake. Really – a presidential nomination is on the line, and the Clinton camp is WHINING??? And bashing my state? Yes – that's the way to get the votes of the proud people in the state of Texas. If this is what decades of experience have imparted on Clinton, I don't want any part of it.

    March 1, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. Look Byond

    I hope Latinos in Texas knows that Hilary will not give them amnesty.
    She has clearly tell the Latino community, how her position is towards them.
    Hope The Latino community will open up their EYES.

    And for Ohio, You know most of your jobs are already out to the seas.
    Well, it's your choice now.The ball is on yoiur own court.
    Let's see how you going to throw it.

    Hope Ohio will open up their EYES too!

    March 1, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  10. go away hillary

    i am tired of hillary's whining and arguing. the facts are that the people want barack, now go away!

    March 1, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. Kim, Sacramento, CA

    They have been doing the "Texas two -step" in Texas since 1988... Don't know why it was okay when Bill was running but not okay for Hillary? Oh yea – it is because her political future rests on whether or not she can run away with both Texas and Ohio on Tuesday.

    Hillary – Play fair or get out of the game. Listen to the voters and stop showing the "I'll do and say anything to get elected" mentality. If you haven't noticed lately people aren't real happy with it.

    March 1, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  12. Lourdes

    They voiced NO CONCERNS over the rules when they were ahead. More of the same "let's try to change the rules only when they aren't favoring us" manipulation by the Clinton campaign. Hopefully Texas sees through this.

    March 1, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  13. jeremy

    the good people of texas haven't even gone to the polls yet and HRC is already game planning a law suit.

    i don't know if i have ever seen a candidate so desperate.

    March 1, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  14. Bill

    If Hillary and Bill were so evil and corrupt do you think they would have let Hillary get in this position. I don't think so and it proves that all these lies about the Clinton's are just that. Hillary has ran a good campaign, I believe she is now doing better. The only problem Hillary has had is a media that wants to see her lose and people who are looking for yet another President who will promise you change but not be able to deliver. Hillary Clinton is probably the most qualified person for this job in 50 years, yes more so than Bill. She is ready to lead and deserved better treatment in this election. I have never witnessed a public so fooled by propganda speeches and not demand more answers from their candidate.

    There has been no coverage on the Obama's family connection to Treehouse, or other questionable dealings. Obama is allowed to be a smoothe talker and attack his opponet, but we don't here about it on the news. Obama has let the celebrity go to his head, appearing more and more arrogant and smug, but no one talks about it. His supporters have spewed vile and hatred toward Clinton, but we don't hear about it. Yet, we hear all the time about Hillary. She cries( not), she is desperate(not), she is...fill in the blank.

    If Obama get the nomination, trust me, the media lovefest will turn. We know about Hillary. There is a lot out there about Obama just waiting to be used. This election is too important to be used for ratings by the big 3. Ever wonder why they gloat so much about the debates. Ratings. I am surprised Simon,Paula, and Randy have not been invited to judge the debates...

    C'mon CNN. Post my comment for a change.

    March 1, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  15. B. Smart

    Let's not alter the rules, only when its a benefit for a particular candidate,
    and especially if the rules were the same in the beginning. I am also tired of people touting their race or ethnicity in posts and media, as if thats been making a difference in this election. You don't have to look
    very hard to see that his voters are ALL races, and the prejudice and slick race baiting
    isn't going to work here. And if it makes the unenlightened "feel" better,
    Obama's mother is of European dissent.

    Obama 08.

    March 1, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  16. Bee


    Make sure you put out the flaming cross you obviously burn in your back and front yard. You are obviously a RACIST.

    March 1, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |

    Not Good to criticize Texans!!!! Cisnero should be smarter than that.
    Not Good for Hillary to criticize Texas. That is an insult to Texas.
    Does Hillary think she is going to lose Texas. Sounds like she
    is jumping the gun on this one.


    March 1, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  18. K.Celina from IL!!!!

    GO !!!!!!! HILLARY !!!!!!
    YOU ARE SMART LADY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    WE NEED YOU to clean up after second Bush !!!!! and WE need YOU
    to solve many problems, related to daily living issues.
    HILLARY is the best Candidate !!!!!!!!!
    HILLARY 2008 !!!!!!!!!!!

    March 1, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  19. aware

    I caucused in Hawaii. There was no organization at all – just a big box to put your tiny slip of paper with your little check mark in. It was crowded and confusing and totally eliminated the elderly. There was no discussion – just fill in your slip, drop it in the box and leave.

    It sounds like the two tier system in Texas is even worse.

    Hillary the HOPE of 08 or McCain 08 🙂

    Barack doesn't stand a chance in the general. It is all about who will be the best president, and that is defiitely not Barack.

    March 1, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  20. Micheal of McMinnville

    Weren't these same election guidelines in place when Bill ran for president? I don't recall his campaign handlers complaining. It seems to me that Hillary should've known this and had the leadership to prepare her "machine" for Texas. Oh, I forgot, she didn't prepare at all for the rest of the nation beyond Super Tuesday!

    March 1, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. midora

    Ok, I think I've got this now. Any state Hillary doesn't think she will win has an unfair system. Any state HIllary doesn't win is not important–too small to warrant her notice. Oh, and let's not forget that caucauses don't count because only "activists" vote in them. I'm so glad I've got this figured out now.

    CNN, please publish my comment although it is not pro-HIllary.

    March 1, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  22. NewCitizen

    When this rules worked for Bill Clinton they did not complain.

    Hillary is angry at everybody. Voters, her husband, her campaign people, rules, states that voted for Obama.

    She thought she was going to be coronated with democratic party nominee. Her campaign's arrogance is getting what she deserves

    March 1, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  23. Shannon in Galesburg, IL

    Oh, those gosh darn caucuses! It's just not fair! When I grow up I'm gonna get rid of all of them!
    The commitment of Obama's supporters runs deeper than showing up at a polling place for five minutes. They're willing to fight to get their candidate into the Oval Office. And Senator Clinton's campaign has yet to figure out how to combat that.
    If you know the rules going into the game, you can't start complaining just because someone else can play the game a little better.

    March 1, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  24. Jay

    Why Hillary is hiding her tax returns? If she wants to be honest and open with the american people. If she is hiding things now I cannot imagine what she will hide after being the President.

    March 1, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  25. The Force

    Real Christians know what this guy is about – Obama. Fake ones don't have the discerning eye.
    The only way this country came to be the greatest country in the world with all the resources and wealth is by God blessing this nation. If we continue to ignore God's laws and warnings, we're doomed. Just wait. Huckabee is the best candidate to lead us on the right track. McCain would be second. Obama, Clinton = the wrong path for this nation.

    March 1, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
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