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. Kathy

    I ask this every time a Clinton supporter speaks.......people accuse OBAMA of whining?????

    March 1, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. JOHN


    March 1, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Former Clinton supporter...

    When Hillary gives her concession speech on March 4th, America will finally get the civil political election process we deserve. Can't wait !!!

    March 1, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. Fred

    Clinton has had an excuse for every primary she has lost. Every one. If its not the African American vote its the causus system, if not that its that states like Iowa don't represent the "real" voters. In Wisconsin it was because Illinois is its boarder. She never even thanks her supporters when she loses. I have lost all respect for her. Had Obama lost 11 straight he would be viewed as a Huckabee type.

    March 1, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. Lou

    Gee...we can see the writing on the wall with this one. This is why people hate politics and tune out. You know if Obama wins, she will fight it, even though they both knew (or should have known through doing their research) how the system worked. Just like Florida and Michigan. They both knew the rules, now her camp thinks we should re-think them.

    I like Hillary and respect all she has done. I know she has more political experience...but that is why I support Obama. I just don't think she can win in Nov against any Rupublican. She has a lot of loyal supporters, but I honestly don't think they outnumber the people who really dislike her and her campaign's tactics. The huge numbers we are seeing in turnout for the nominations are in response to the stagnation voters are feeling has strangled our government for too many Bush, Clinton, Bush years. 13,000 people in Austin to hear Obama talk...those numbers will dry up in Nov if we don't have a choice that would result in a real changing of the gaurd in the white house.

    I just don't want another Republican leading us. I'm tired of war and a crappy economy that favors the money makers. I don't know if Obama can pull off all the things he says he will...I don't think either of them really can. But I support him because I KNOW the Republicans can pull off what they readily promise to do...more war, more prosperity for the money makers. I want someone I believe can run against that.

    March 1, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. Stephanie O. from Cincinnati

    Yeah, I heard that too: Hillary is ALREADY preparing her concession speech for Tuesday, March 4th. That's probably the most mature thing she's done all year. I support that. Power to the concession. Concede now so America can win.

    March 1, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  7. Ann Kuminns

    Hey man, when it benefitted Bill it was the right thing?? Give us more intelligence than that!! This shows why the Billaries cannot be trusted. They are always intent on moving the goal posts when they they are behind. You think they would be behind you when push comes to shove?? Hillary will only reward all her lobbyists friends when she gets to the WH. Buyers, beware and be forewarned. She will never be for you the ordinary citizen. Her forked-tongue now is more forked than Cheney's could be. The TX system was set up long ago and everyone who wanted to have a say, DID. Her team has shown how unscrupulous they are and will be in the future. You just cannot trust them, so you must reject them right now before it is too late.

    March 1, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  8. Kelly Anne

    CHEAT & WIN!!!!!

    March 1, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  9. Barry IL

    If it were simply about the election-process problem in Texas, we would expect Senator Clinton's campaign camp to complain abut it much earlier. They have been silent until the poll showed that Senator Obama has crushed her lead in Texas. Now Senator Clinton's camp complain the whole election process in Texas is wrong and should be challenged. Give us a break! Wee where they before? Clinton camp arrived in Texas long time ago. It all sums up, when they see they may lose, Clinton's camp tend to cry foul to change the rule of the game and blame everything except themselves.

    March 1, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  10. Pete

    Wake up America,it is a screwy set up and you don't have to be a politician to realize that. The Obama mania is fading,people are beginning to realize that,it is showing up in the latest polls. I don't care ,i would rather have Hillary or John Mcain answering the phone in the middle of the night than Obama. It is easy to say i opposed this war from the start,when you were not even in the senate to vote!!! Put yourself in the same position,when you have all the intelligence,the President,the joint chiefs,the defense secratary telling you about the threat in Iraq,We are the shining light for human rights in this world,i am sure evry single one of you would have voted to go to war!!!

    March 1, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  11. Independent, Pittsburgh

    Hahaha! Are you kidding me?! The timing of this story truly is impecable. After the string of most recent polls place Hillary a few points behind, all of the sudden the Texas system would be unfair. Perhaps I am missing something, but how would losing the Caucus system be unfair for Hillary? Oh, that's right! Anytime a state who votes for Obama is written off as irrelevant. So naturally, it is unfair to count the votes of those who Caucus as real votes.

    To the Clinton Camp, how can you discount everything that does not favor Hillary? That is the same sort of arrogance and petulance that used during the last seven years of is about time you all grow up and hae a reality check!!!

    March 1, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  12. Paul in MA

    For crying out loud! you Clintonite's are beyond delusional! Support whomever you want but please be realistic here. There is no way, NO WAY, Sen. Clinton can reach the convention with more pledged delegates then Obama at this point. A 150 delegate lead is substantial in the democratic primary system. Clinton would have to win every race from here to June by over 20% in order to turn the tables. This is impossible.

    Many states that are tailor made for Obama are after this Tuesday. Oregon, Montana, West Virginia, Indiana, Mississippi, Wyoming. Hillary has NO CHANCE of winning by a large margin in these states. Not to mention that Obama can loose Texas and Ohio but still pick up more delegates thanks to the Texas caucus and the way the delegates are distributed.

    Now we all know that WHEN Obama goes to the convention with more pledged delegates, more states and most likely more votes (he is leading by 1,000,000 votes without even counting the caucus's that he won by huge margins) the super delegates would be INSANE too give Clinton the nomination.

    If Clinton end's up getting her good friend Mephistopheles to hand her the nomination she would only end up loosing big to McCain. Nothing would energize all the republicans that are vowing to sit this one out more then HRC. Not to mention that all us independents who are turning out in huge numbers for Obama would end up sitting this election out like we have every other election.

    March 1, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  13. Katie

    Notice how Hillary doesn't voice objections to the system until it stops favoring her.

    I have a mental image of her suggesting to Barack that they should flip a coin for the nomination to unite the party. Barack agrees, pulls out a quarter, and tells Hillary to call it in the air. As the quarter spins in the air, Hillary calls, "Heads I win, tails you lose!"

    That's Clinton politics.

    March 1, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  14. mike g

    Hillary's team are making excuses for there loss in texas already !

    March 1, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  15. Alex

    If Hillary was as good as Bill (or Barack) she would have no problem winning the primary & caucuses in Texas! Both of which were won by her husband. Why is she trying to divide the party by atempting to change the rules [in Texas, Florida, Michigan] late in the game? I can only come up with one answer, she's a divisive poor sport. Does anyone else have a better answer? (Please be real, don't spin the question.)

    March 1, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. David C

    So hillary had no problems when she was leading by 20+ points, but now that its close it has become an issue. Stupid lady has lost 11 in a row and is trying to make excuses so she can keep fighting on. This will ruin any chance of her to run 4 or 8 years down the road.
    Obama 08

    March 1, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  17. Carl

    I'm sure if she were winning, she woudln't be complaining. It's kind of funny too since Bill Clinton did so well in Texas when he was running and that was partly due to the system. Every state can do something different.. so hopefully this will make people realize that she is just a big cry baby and needs to realize that the people have spoken and spoken for Obama overall.

    I hope this doen't turn into a Gore / Bush situation where in this case Obama has the popular vote but somehow Hillary gets the delegates.

    March 1, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  18. Sally Worthington of El Paso, TX

    Since Hillary is already the Guiliani of the Democratic party, maybe NOW is the time for her to prepare her concession speech.

    El Paso for change.

    March 1, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  19. Steve Fox

    Ok it's a bit convoluted I must admit. However, rather than complaining about it, threatening to sue over it, wouldn't it be better to have a campaign organization that deals with it. However I suppose if you loose you can say that because of the Texas primacaucus system it doesn't matter.

    March 1, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  20. AJ

    All of Obama's wins have been tragic. But what's more tragic is the stupidity of the democratic electorate. First G.W. Bush and now Obama. When is the stupidity going to end?

    March 1, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  21. Dan Jando

    I think caucuses is general are not right. Votes should be private, and caucuses aren't

    March 1, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. CNN_Moderation_Post_This_One, NY

    Shame on you Hillary !
    Your husband won the primary/caucus in Texas in 1992 and 1996 with the same system!
    Bow out gracefully
    Stop whining as a little girl who doesn't have the biggest part of the cake!
    Why I always got the first question .... ? because you keep saying you're ready on day one !!!, u are ready to answer the red phone in the middle of the night, bla, bla, bla ....
    By the way, why don't you release your tax return???
    What are you hiding ??

    March 1, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  23. Don't Mess with Texas

    I don't understand all the fuss. Hillary, if you lose you will just file a lawsuit anyway. TEXANS will speak in the primary election and the caucus. Why are you not satisfied in just leting their voices be heard? Seems to me that is the Democratic process.

    What gives you the right to label and judge Obama supporters as rude and "'OVERPOWERING"? I have attended 2 large rallies in Dallas and Fort Worth . Even with 2 and 3 hours of waiting in line, I have never seen such polite and patient people.


    TEXAS VOTERS are going to find A SOLUTION other than YOU. I resent your APPOINTING yourself JUDGE AND JURY ON US.

    March 1, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  24. king from toronto

    is this the kind of leadership americans wants from hillary.she's like a spoil child.

    March 1, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  25. Frank

    Did Obama make the rules or does he whine about them ?

    What would Hillzilla do when she has to deal with international affairs – cry and try to change the rules when she is not getting her will ?

    Loo, she says that Obama would be a 'loser' if he would not win all four contest on Tuesday – She had a huge 20+% lead a few weeks ago and she is behind, way behind in delegates. She actually lost 6 superDs and Obama won almost 40. So in Hilly-World he is the 'loser' ?

    Fact, if Obama plays even or even wins in Texas, maybe wins Vermont – then he has done very, very well and Billary would come out of this Super Tuesday with only a few more delegates ... maybe enough to make up the superDs she lost.

    The more I see about the Billary campaign the more I know that I don't want her to be president although she is a woman.

    March 1, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
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