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. Pia

    Oh, really, a great burden on voters? What bull! Henry Cisneros, give it up already! You're worried that Hillary will lose in the caucus, that's all.
    These are the rules that other presidential candidates in the past have had to follow . Now that your gal pal Hillary is losing, you want to change the rules for her benefit! if you try to change these rules with any lawsuit, we will fight back with one of our own!
    We, the people, will not stand for this, we promise you!

    March 1, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  2. JohnS

    I know I have already sadi that, but it was not posted; so can you post it now so that I could stop making the attempt

    March 1, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  3. James of VA

    I think we can all agree any system in which Hiliary Clinton doesn't win must be exceedingly unfair. I mean, what else could it possibly be?

    March 1, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. Valerie

    Texas voters should take heed and put her and her campained out of their misery with out any doubt. Vote for Obama by a landslide.

    March 1, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  5. Joss

    "Now, one of Clinton's laws of politics is this. If one candidate is trying to scare you and the other one is try get you to think, if one candidate is appealing to your fears and the other one is appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope." -Bill Clinton, 2004

    True. Look it up – there is a clip of him saying that on you tube. Funny how things turn out. I guess he will be voting for Obama then?

    March 1, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  6. mike

    Hillary and her people now are making me sick. What's wrong with them? It's the rule, and fair or unfair to each one of you in the process.

    March 1, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  7. California Independent

    The primary/caucus is odd. I understand Democratic voters are tired of all of this, but it is their Democratic party that allows this.

    The states may vote on which system they want, but the DNC has ultimate control as it could effect rules which would forbid candidates to campaign in states that do not hold primaries.

    If you don't like the system, fight for the CHANGE in your state. If you don't like the system, fight for the CHANGE in your party. I'm guessing your willingness to participate in the process only goes as far as electing your own candidate.

    I think caucus systems where supporters of one candidate can get away with bullying the supporters of another candidate are archaic.

    March 1, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  8. TB

    Hilary is sueing Texas if she doesn't win . It's that simple. No need to over complicate things here. She has known about the texas process since her husband ran for president., it hasn't changed.

    March 1, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  9. Fun Times

    This is interesting - complain about the rules before the contest so you can claim being robbed when you lose. This seems to be similar to superdelegates voting with their district. Gosh Hilary is not against that . . . oh wait she does critisize people that do that.

    Can't have it both ways. Hillary reject comments like this please!!

    March 1, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  10. JA Cook

    They may be arcane rules, but they are the rules in place for everyone from the start.

    If you want the rules changed, pursue a change for future elections, but you can't change them in the middle of the process.

    March 1, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  11. dorian123

    would be exceedingly unfair if clinton lost the caucuses? tragic? these are the rules in texas for allocating delegates and everybody will live with the results. these people have no shame and will do anything to get elected. they will try to get michigan and florida delegates seated if they get to the convention.
    but hopefully it will not come to that and clinton will be buried in texas on 3/4/08 and we'll never have to deal with the clintons and their shameless tricks ever again

    March 1, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. Smokey

    Once again Hilliary you have to move the goal posts to win. If your dream team would have done their homework to begin with, you would not be pulling this political stunt in the 12th hour. Why do your numbers constantly plummet when you begin campaigning? It is so apparent that you will do anything to hijack this nomination. First Bill says Texas and Ohio are must win states. Now your camp is saying that Obama needs to win all four? The remaining uncommitted Super delegates will align with the inevitable winner.

    What you are doing now is ruining any chance you might of had for another candidacy at a later date while blowing through millions of your own money. Bill will reign you in because it is his money too.
    This is like watching the Super Bowl all over again, but better because my team will win this time. How will you spin the Texas defeat? Stay Tuned..........

    March 1, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  13. Kevin Miner

    Excuse me, Henry, but I hardly think your "unbiased" analysis is of any value.

    I live in Texas. I participated in early voting and I plan on attending the caucus. The rules are simple. It's called "democracy."

    March 1, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  14. Dick Pittenger

    As usual, Clinton supporters are reflecting their frustration with her lack of organization in caucus situations. When this campaign began, Clinto had her nomination wired. Obama, who was given little chance against the vaunted Clinton machine, out-organized Clinton, which is an example of his ability as an organizer and one able to get things done. Now Clinton wants the rules changed, to protect her inability to get things done, organization-wise.
    Stop the crying, already. Obama didn't set the rules – he just abided by them and utilized them to succeed.

    March 1, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  15. Barb, Austin, TX

    Hillary and Bill must be blind to the signs along the campaign route: DON'T MESS WITH TEXAS!!!

    March 1, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  16. Fred

    These rules have been in place for decades!!! When President Clinton won in Texas we heard no complaints. Sore losers.

    March 1, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  17. Pia

    Are you for real? Yes, it is perfectly legal, other pres. have been elected this way in Texas including your girlfriend Hillary's husband, Bill.
    Here is a suggestion, do a bit of reading before you post innane comments. Also, go out and buy lots of tissue boxes- you're going to need them after tuesday!

    March 1, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  18. Chris

    Clinton knows she is losing. If the polls indicate Obama is winning by 4-6 points, on the real election, he will win by at least 10% . Look at Wisconsin. He won by 15% when in pre election polls he was leading by only 4 %. This is because of cell phone users and college students who largely vote for Obama.

    Time for Hillary to start putting the blame on others. This clearly shows she is losing in Texas.

    Time to prepare your farewell speech. Hillary.

    March 1, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  19. DEMS FOR OBAMA 2008

    Now that Hillary and gang realize a coronation is out of reach, they want to change every single rule that she, Bill and Howard Dean put into place for her walk to the throne. I realize a lot of folks fell off the turnip truck with the election of Bush. Lets not have a repeat with this mad woman at the helm. She is another Bush except she 's got a functional brain that only responds to her self serving advantage.

    March 1, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  20. Mark

    Just another example of the Clinton camp crying foul when things don't go their way.

    Play the game with the existing rules. Don't cry when the other team starts winning.

    Seattle, WA

    March 1, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  21. Kenneth Coles

    This is absolutely ridiculous!! this complaining needs to stop. How about you work hard, Hillary, and win. Complaining accomplishes nothing. Its funny you talk about how you have roots in Texas dating back to 1972. If that is the case, how can you complain about the rules and format unless you are just being politcal once again and trying to have a scape goat if you loose. The rules of the game is to make your case to the voters, motivate them and WIN!! please stop complaining and make the case for yourself and not against the Texas system.

    March 1, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  22. karmachameleon

    Why didn't you criticize that before she was about to lose Texas then? Perhaps last year at some point?
    It's so transparent.
    No one wants her to win anymore.
    And this is why.
    She wants to bend the rules to suit her. Including discounting 25 states as "irrelevent."

    March 1, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  23. micah dell

    Hey Billary: Do you want some cheese with that whine ?

    March 1, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  24. Realist

    If you can't run a successful campaign, you have no business being the President. Hillary has run a very poor campaign that has taken her from the solid front-runner and presumed nominee to an also-ran and complainer. Only Giuliani's campaign was worse, although Hillary's "Texas and Ohio firewall" is starting to look suspiciously like Giuliani's Florida strategy and with similar results . . .

    March 1, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  25. Vivian

    Here we go. Hillary has to start trouble everywhere she goes, so she can prepare everyone for her failure. She knows that she could possibly lose TX, so she feels the need to plant a negative seed in everyone's head about the system. Sure, blame the press, blame the campaign managers, the system, the process, and so on and so forth. That is typical of Hillary when she faces a loss of some kind. Well, I certainly would not want a president in the white house that is a cry baby. Obama has been so presidential through all this back and forth with Hillary. I am looking forward to seeing him TX and continue on with his momentum allthe way to the white house. I am tired of Bushes and Clintons running the world.
    Obama 08

    March 1, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
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