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. joe

    Clinton strategy = if they are winning, the rules are good. if they are losing, the rules are bad. This is indicative of their integrity or rather lack of it.

    March 1, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  2. Henry Hardcawber

    New Wolfson criteria for victory: Obama must win all contests by at least 111% for him to 'meet expectations'.

    March 1, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  3. Barbara,Jenkinsburg GA

    You are incorrect the Black delegates are not being pressured to support Barack because he is black. They are getting pressured because he won in their districts over whelmingly. The feeling is the voters should choose not party big shots. Why were the super delegates choosing side before the race began anyway? I understand this system was put in place to guarantee them a say in what would benefit the party best, but the will of the people should have some part in that. This makes the Democrat party look foolish. The leaders picked who they like based on previous relationships and straight out bribes. Hillary looks stupid crying about rules that were in place before the race began and she was well aware of. Being a person of action and not just talk her whole life why didn’t she or Bill address this bad system they were in the white house. Why because it benefited them then now it’s a problem. Just the person to answer the phone at 3am, Ready day one?

    March 1, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  4. Mark

    Bill Clinton's biggest fear is that Hillary wins.
    For all eternity, he becomes a footnote in history as an impeached president who was caught getting oral sex from an intern in the oval office.
    She is elevated to god like status as the first woman president. No matter how bad a president she would be, there would be no end to the statues, airports and buildings named after her, roads, etc
    Think about it. Everywhere he goes in the future, there's her name on something. Well, you fly to Hillary Rodham Clinton airport, Take HRC highway to HRC govenment building with Hillary statue out front. Next to HRC stadium.. etc..
    That's why she is losing and will lose. Bill is making appearances to win but doesn't really want it to happen.

    March 1, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  5. canada 4 Hillary!!!!!

    Obama supporters, did you know some of Hillary`s african american superdelegates are being threatened by your candidate Obama... threatened on the phone and on email.. that if they dont switch their votes to Obama something will happen???.. no wonder why Obama dont want to use his middle name... dangerous.!!!!!

    March 1, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. Paul, NY. NY

    NOW the Clinton campaign complains about the Texas rules?
    When she was way ahead in the polls in Texas... she was pushing the caucus rules.
    Hillary is such a hypocrite.
    She deserves to lose just based on that along.

    March 1, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. Rob,NC

    Perhaps the Clinton strategy is to flood the news media with stories no matter how good or bad so that they can make her name heard and seen more than Obama, figuring that the more people hear Clinton than Obama that somehow people will subconciously go in and vote for Clinton like a Pavlovian dog.

    Probably not really the case and a stupid idea, but then again, so is Clinton's entire campaign.

    Go obama.

    March 1, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. Kelly Anne

    Check your local paper and or any paper for that matter:

    EVERY SINGLE DAY the front page has a story like "Clinton camp says Obama is weak on terror" or "Clinton slams Obama over health care"

    Why is this news, as opposed to one-sided propaganda?

    I think the press has been unfairly co-opted by Clintons team, so much so that no one notices that the front page is dominated by the Clinton Machine's spin:

    Somali photo
    Health care
    Reagan quote
    on and on ...
    all topics that Clinton's camp created and spun for their advantage.

    The press has totally been in the Clinton team's pocket this whole race.

    Last year, they bought into the inevitability narrative.

    This year, they been putting Clinton's daily barrage of talking points in their headlines almost verbatim.

    "Clinton say Obama .... " is the typical daily headline on the NyTimes. It's remarkable she has totally coopted the newscycle and yet still is losing, and still complains about "unfairness"!!!

    March 1, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. Austin, Texas

    Obama no ties with lobbyists? Obama potray's Lobbyists as these evil people warping congress with their money. Obama doesn't take their money, but they still tell him what to do. Below, a snippet.

    Daniel Shapiro, who advises Sen. Obama on foreign policy issues, is registered to lobby on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute and other corporate clients. Broderick Johnson, a friend and informal political adviser, heads up the lobbying arm in Washington of the Bryan Cave LLP law firm, where he represents Verizon and Shell Oil, among other clients.

    Apparently, Daniel Shapiro needs to read up on Iraq. Al-Quada is in Iraq. It doesn't matter when or how they got there, the fact is, they are there. Obama needs to stop referring to the past, and focus on the present and future. Big oil companies will continue to run america. Proof is above.

    March 1, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. Independent Voter in Fort Worth Tx

    Hillary, since you are the solutions person, go find a SOLUTION to your own flawed campaign strategy. You need to stay out of Texas' Voting System and stop your threats of lawsuits.

    I, for one, don't appreiciate your speculating that TEXAS Obama supporters will be rude or "OVERPOWERING".

    You sure don't need to insult the TEXAS VOTERS BEFORE THEIR BALLOTS ARE CAST. Not smart Hillary...not smart at all.

    Please DO NOT appoint yourself to be JUDGE AND JURY OVER US OR OUR VOTING SYSTEM

    March 1, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  11. Former Obama supporter!!!!

    When Obama started, he was O.K., BUT !!!!!!!!
    Findings news on Rezko link !!!!!, not beeing active in Congress !!!!!!
    First generation (father from Kenya), named Barak, Hussain Obama, not exactly American beckround, the name just not acceptable for President, made me to sweatch to HILLARY !!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    She has a strong plan to CHANGE the Country, the economy, health care, education and more !!!!!!!!!!
    Vote for HILLARY !!!!!!

    March 1, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  12. Waahhhh


    Voting is unfair.


    March 1, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. king from toronto

    if you people claims experience is so important,then everyone should vote mc to stop being silly.and vote for who is uniting the country as we speak.obama 08.

    March 1, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. Corey, Maryland

    Clinton always likes to blame the state, or the type of voters, or the voting system when she loses. Well Hillary I have news for you, the reason you keep losing is because people want Obama more than you. So stop dividing this party, just shut up and withdraw and maybe you can run in 2016, but i still wont vote for you then!!!

    Obama Richardson 08!!!!!

    March 1, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. Politra

    Media is afraid after debate complain! Clinton is everywhere!

    March 1, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. Steve in Albuquerque, NM

    The rules are strange, but they are fair. If people can't get up off their butts to caucus, then their candidate doesn't deserve to win, period.

    March 1, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. Thomas

    More Clinton whining. Was this system unfair when Bill took Texas in the primary? I suppose what would be fair is to count Michigan and Florida. I cannot believe the Clinton supporters do not see them for who they really are.

    March 1, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. Pauline

    Regardless of who becomes the Democratic nominee, the entire system needs to be overhauled. Before this most voters thought democracy was straightforward, we have come to find out that this is a system that can be gamed by both sides to achieve the results they want. The only ones who lose are the voters.

    In 2012 or 2016, their should be a system where each state has a straight vote and caucuses should be replaced with vote by mail if it is a matter of greater expense for the states.

    The GE in 2012 should also be overhauled stating that whoever wins the popular vote wins the election. That would mean abolishing the electoral college, and I doubt that this would happen.

    This system was designed to have one person win after two weeks of campaigning. It was not designed for the situation that now exists. The party is split down the middle. It is impossible for anyone to win the nomination outright at this stage, therefore it will create bitter feelings no matter what.

    The Republicans have a great chance of winning the GE because of an inherently flawed Democratic primary system. It would better if there were a winner take all system.

    March 1, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. Gino

    we loss the 2000 election and maybe the 2004 because serious irregularities in the elections process,lets make sure this time is a fear game.I am tired to hear bias comments in regards to Mrs Clinton,there are bigs bias because of race and gender ,lets elect the best candidate,We can not elect another empty suit ,is dangerous >I am not willing to take risk this time is Hillary lose I will be very proud to vote for McCain ,I want a qualified candidate. Do not hate Hillary because "she is an intelligent woman who cares for America.

    March 1, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. sivananthi

    I DON^T GET THIS....

    March 1, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. Mr Din

    Hey JOHN, next time you need to press Caps Lock key off.
    We need to know that neither Barack nor Hillary claimed the winner yet. Even after after March 4 or Aprin 22, none of those two candiates will be able to claim as winner. Front runner dont mean much unless end of primary election. So stop quack quack like a duck...
    You dedcide and go out and vote...

    March 1, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. AGAIN???



    March 1, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  23. Jdona

    Oh, lets see who is complaining about the arcane rules in Texas if Hillary wins both the primary and the caucus. For you information, half or over half of the citizens in Texas themselves don't understand the rules of the system. Most of the citizens didn't know if they voted in the primary they also had to caucus until we explained it to them on all the phone calls we made to Texas. When your own citizens don't understand the rules, there is an issue here. And where did the rumor that Hillary was suing Texas start? From the Obama camp, or CNN? She has denied that is the case, so why don't you people stop your fear mongering? And while we are on the subject of legality, when is Obama going to address the now confirmed sources re: his phone call to Canadian diplomats telling them to ignore his rhetoric on the NAFTA agreement, and that it was just a political statement to appease the voters of Ohio? Why all the silence on that issue now, CNN??? Just so you know who the source was, it was Obama's senior economic adviser - Austan Goolsbee - and the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago. So what does the great Obama REALLY think of NAFTA? Well, CNN, I dare you to post this, and I dare you to follow up on this story and give it the BIG Headlines like you always give to Hillary when she does something you don't like!

    March 1, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  24. Independent for Obama


    It's the 4th quarter.

    2:00 minute warning.

    Hillary is losing.

    She calls time-out.

    And asks the referees to change the rules of the game!



    March 1, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. bernice

    whine , whine whineeeeeeeeeeee!!

    March 1, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
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