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. Matt

    People, this was at a rally for Clinton volunteers. The campain staff simply wanted to express to the volunteers that they have to work hard and which problems they might face in Texas. I didn't hear anything about them wanting to change the system in this article.

    March 1, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. PhilT

    The politics of yesterday.

    When others don't play by their rules, they are being bad and picking on them.

    When they are losing the game, the rules are wrong an need to be changed.

    Is this how she will work with other countries?

    Not the person I want to represent us in the world community.

    Bedford, NH

    March 1, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. v.ananthan


    March 1, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. Lynn:Enough already

    What a candidate: criticizes her fellow running mate, criticizes all the rules of her party that don't go her way, criticizes the small states, and selectively criticizes the policies of her husband's years in office at the same time as claiming these years as part of her experience. At the same time she is dividing her own party and will conyinue to do so by hanging on to the bitter end hoping she can scam her way into the nomination.

    It was Bill Clinton who less than a week ago who was telling Texas voters they could vote twice.

    The world is watching and taking note of the character of this woman. How can she be trusted to play by international rules and be trusted by American allies that she won't do the same things if by some unlucky turn of events she becomes president!!

    Obama 08

    March 1, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. Austin

    Oh quit the whining already. This is the way it's done in Texas. Can't handle it? Then drop out and let us focus on McCain! How is it unfair that the Clinton campaign didn't do research on this ahead of time? Or did they think it'd all be over by Super Tuesday?

    It's hardly a great burden if people are truly willing to go the distance to vote in the primary AND caucus.

    March 1, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. Brandy, NJ

    This is was not in place when Clinton or even Bush previous won. This is a new system that has not been used before in a presidential campagin.

    WHO WANTS TO VOTE TWICE? Don't most of us have jobs, families and lives .... the elderly will not go out and vote a second time in a caucus fashion ... nor will the blue color workers who work on various shifts ... this is the reason why clinton has done poorly in the other caucuses. People want to go ... push a button .. take 10 minutes out of their day ... they don't want to go to someone's home or other venue to argue with other people over whom to vote for.

    The only people that are going to come out twice are the fanatics – the far left ... which of course is what Obama is.

    Hillary meets the country in the middle.

    March 1, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Hillary must be losing it, Cisneros is a crook and that's why he was fired as Secretary of HUD. Cisneros job at HUD was to oversee funding for housing for the poor and he "mismanaged" the funds. Cisneros wasn't helping the poor he was helping himself. I hope voters don't listen to this man, he has no credibility, he would have sunk HUD if the feds hadn't fired him.

    March 1, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  8. join Senator Rockefeller on March 4th

    Before Hillary gives her concession speech on March 4th, I wonder if she too will endorse OBAMA or will pride get in the way ?

    March 1, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. Maria Christine V from Dallas TX

    And again if obama gets nominated, then we cannot wait for his concession speech when he loses to McCain in November!

    you honestly think the hillary supporters will back up obama and his obamabots? They will cross over to McCain any day!

    March 1, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. Captain

    Not again Hillary...... Do we really want someone to be President who cries about the rules everytime they don't suit her? This is the way the game has been played for years. Hillary, we are NOT going the change rules THAT YOU AGREED TO earlier. First, you complained in Nevada when you did not like the rules. Then, you complained in Florida when you did not like the rules, now you're doing it again. All of these rules, you and your staff should have known or already known. You really need to drop out after March 4.

    Your team is incompentent for not seeing this coming and "crying" (in your own words) trying to understand them, while Obama's team had people on the ground in Texas explaining the rules. Your team screwed up the delegate strategy on Super Tuesday and caused Obama to walk away with more pledged delegates. Your Team ran out of money and did not tell you until it was too late. You have surrounded yourself by incompetent people while Obama has surrounded himself by smart people. I wonder who I want to be president...

    March 1, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  11. Fred

    Hey one needs your vote. If you think Hill is the only answer to America's problems then stay home. If this system was such a problem you and others should have addressed this years ago. Not just before the vote. I guess these rules were not a problem when polls showed Hill 20pts up in Texas. What makes

    March 1, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  12. TomD

    dont be DUPED into the Majic Wand Waver.

    He is an empty suit with a turban for a hat.

    Make your vote count. Hope and a dollar buys you a cup of coffee!

    Actions speak louder than WORDS.

    Get out and vote!!!

    March 1, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. Linda in Fort Myers, FL

    Why is Hillary waiting until Tuesday to give her concession speech? Why wait so long to do that ?

    March 1, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. Dee

    Has she already lost in Texas? Why is she bashing?

    March 1, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  15. JK

    Henry dont you have more money to steal from Countrywide when you were on the board of directors you were taking in $360,000 dollars a year while thousands of Americans were losing there homes. Also its funny Mark Penn was lobbying for Countrywide and he was taking in $250,000 thousand dollars. Great group of people to be involed with. And this person wants to be President of the United States. I would not trust her to run the local animal shelter.

    March 1, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. Bob

    Claire, Lynn, Christine,

    Rezko is coming and Obama's shady dealings are going to blow him out of the water. You will all be jumping ship like the rats you are.

    March 1, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. The women of Rhode Island

    Hillbilly: Fire Maggie Williams and her Karl Rovian tactics. Then, fire yourself. It didn't work for you. When all else fails, try honesty.

    March 1, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. aaron, minneapolis mn

    She knew the rules going into the game, and here she is again complaining when the rules don't help her. We didn't hear any complaints from her camp when she was the frontrunner. What is she going to do in the white house if countries like Iran and North Korea don't play by her rules? Cry and complain more I suppose. But then again she won't even talk with them. Same policy as the Bush administration if you didn't know.

    March 1, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  19. Laurence "Keeping it real"

    Charlotte, you and many others sound a bit on the prejudice side? While I may have to accept the fact that you support a common crook (stealing stuff out of the W.H. when she and former president Clinton left. Shortly after they were told by the Justice Department to return all of the items). Any way, this primary process has been in place for over 40 years in Texas. Every president and potential president had to go through the same thing. Hillary Clinton is no exception. She contrary to yours and others views is not special. "What's good for the goose is good for gander." She will lose and by much more than people care to except. For her and Henry Cisneros to complain now proves that she doesn't belong. She needs to take the advice of so many who know so well what has been happening and what is about to happen and drop out gracefully so she isn't run off in disgrace.

    March 1, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. WISDOM

    The Texas Primary and Caucus System is not created to help Mr. Obama. Mr. Clinton won the Texas with the same system and never complained. Mrs. Clinton's staffs and supporters who had chance to disagree to this rule earlier last year, never raised their voice because they never anticipated Mr. Obama would be their threat. Same situation for the Michigan and Florida case. All candidates agreed to DNC rules then, now she wants to change the rule just because the outcome is not favoring her. Come on! Why is this thing matter now? Grow up...

    Those of you Die Hard Hillary supporters! Can you change the rules during the game? I hope you people don't teach your kids that way.

    Fairness is not the word just for you Hillary! I'll applaud to your concession on Tuesday night! Good luck on keeping your NY senate seat!

    March 1, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. bill in houston

    Mrs Clinton needs to show some grace and tact in these last few days of her campaign.

    She has done fantastic public service for this country but if she keeps up the whining, smearing, Karl Rove tactics in her last few days this is what we will all remember her for.

    John McCain raised only 13million in Feb, but Clinton is running his ads for him with her 35million

    March 1, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. tom from NC

    Quite right to point out that the expected results from a primary will not match the expected results of a caucus. Of course, that -is- the system that the Democrats in Texas chose.

    The statements of how dire it might be in Texas may be intended for the HIllary campaigners that might be tempted to take it easy Tuesday.

    If I were a Hillary supporter in Texas, I'd just make sure I went to the caucus, and got up on the tables, and made the speeches.

    Go Hillary! She can more easily beat McCain, and will be an experienced president with good values.

    March 1, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. Henry Hardcawber

    If you can't win a caucus how can you run a country, my dear?

    March 1, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. Tim

    I have to say, the rules are the same for Obama, so he faces the same challenges. it seems they find it unfair simply because they are not as good at it. Can you imagine such a thing in any other competition? "But we shouldn't have to put the ball in the net- our players don't have as good aim and we haven't practiced enough."

    March 1, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  25. Ana

    If you actually read the article what Cisneros is saying is that it wold tragic if Clinton won the primary and lost the caucus, since primaries are how people will vote in November not caucus, and some democratic voters that will feel disenfranchise by the caucus process might vote for McCain come November.

    Also, she is just trying to get people motivated into showing up at caucus on Tuesday to represent their candidate.

    March 1, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
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