March 5th, 2008
02:10 PM ET
13 years ago

Dems weigh lengthy fight to nomination

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Congressional Democrats settled in Wednesday for an extended fight to the presidential nomination after Tuesday's primaries failed to produce a clear frontrunner, while at least one Democratic leader urged party officials to let the electoral process take its course.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said now is not the time for party officials to wade into the fight over the Democratic presidential nomination.

"I think the electoral process has to work its way," she told reporters. "There are still many voters unheard from yet, and I think that our candidates both have the capacity to inspire, to bring out a big vote that will hold us in good stead in November, and I think that now is not the time for anybody to weigh in."

Many party officials are superdelegates, but Pelosi aides said that the speaker was cautioning party officials against pushing for a quick end to the nomination process rather than warning any who are superdelegates not to commit to a candidate.

Pelosi said she is confident the nominee will be decided before the Democratic convention in August.

She said she was "never among those who believed this would be resolved by now," and argued that the prolonged campaign is good for the party, offering Democrats a chance to "make a clear distinction" about their differences with Republicans on a range of issues.

She pointed to Iraq, noting the Democratic candidates are talking about "responsible redeployment versus a 100-year-war that Senator McCain has spoken about."

She was referring to McCain's comment that even after fighting ends, U.S. troops might remain in Iraq for up to 100 years, just as U.S. troops have remained in South Korea for more than half a century after the fighting there stopped.

House Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel, D-Ill., also hammered McCain on Iraq, saying, "Under President Bush and with John McCain's support, America's economy has been hijacked by Iraq and our investment there."

Democratic senators joined Pelosi in appearing confident the party will unite behind the eventual nominee and being largely unconcerned about the prospects of a lengthy battle.

"I don't think it's a bad thing," said Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., a former candidate who said the race is "far from over."

"At the end of the day we will unite to prevent another Republican from making it in the White House," he said.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., agreed. "Most of us think that (Sen. John) McCain is nothing but a third term for (President) Bush," he said. "That in of itself should unite the party."

Other Senate Democrats said that so long as Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama don't turn too negative against each other, the extended campaign could help whoever wins the nomination.

"We know the (Republican) attack machine is going to go after them in the general election. So to have the strongest candidate battle-tested is a good thing," said Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., a Clinton supporter. "Obviously we don't want the fighting to get too sharp-edged, but so far so good."

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., an Obama supporter, said a lot of people are "wringing their hands" like Hamlet. But he called that "premature."

"Competition is good," he said. "All the media attention, until whatever date this is over, will be about Obama-Clinton and Sen. McCain is standing on the side saying, 'what about me?'"

But one Democratic senator, Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, said she is already concerned the campaign has become too nasty.

"I just think we're going to have to be very careful that these two candidates don't tear each other apart because both are worthy, worthy people and would make excellent presidents," she said. "I was concerned about what we saw in the last week."

Sen. John Tester, D-Mont., said a lengthy fight for the nomination has the potential to divide the party, but he said he is confident Obama and Clinton will be "as professional as possible."

Tester said he has yet to endorse a candidate. He said he will base his decision in part on the popular vote from the June Montana primary, but will also weigh who he thinks has the best chance to beat McCain in the general election.

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., argued Clinton is the best for the general election because she has done so well with Latino voters and has won key big states.

"I don't know how it is possible to win the general election if you cannot win in the Southwest, if you can't win Ohio, places like Florida," he said. "These are the key places to win the electoral vote."

–CNN Congressional Producers Deirdre Walsh, Ted Barrett and Kate Bolduan

(updated 6 p.m. ET with additional reporting)

Filed under: Congress • Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (358 Responses)
  1. Adam Orlando Florida

    We sure will! HILLARY CLINTON 2008!!!!!!!!!!

    March 5, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  2. RVKW

    I think Pelosi is using reverse psychology... I think the more people pressure Hillary to step down the more determined she will be to prove them wrong – GIGANTIC EGO.....If the powers that be appear to encourage this fight she may let her guard down and think about getting out because she has nothing to prove to anyone anymore....

    March 5, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  3. frank Maldnado

    Hillary-Mr. Abama continues to tout his good judgement at will. Counter it with his por judgement on following: Resko, Canadaian fiasco, his Pastor and Minister F, friendship with the avowed (ow proffesso)terrorist, and a wife that has had no pride in America for forty years – if she feels that way so does he.

    He's gotten enough milage out of your Iraq vote. All the above showed very bad usdgement.

    March 5, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  4. Noelle

    Hillary is a cheater. She lies and brings ugly to the party. I want a president who is a uniter not a devider. People all around the world are laughing at us. A democrat attacking a fellow democrate. Giving false levridge to a republican. Hillary is going to make it very hard for another woman in later elections to ever run. She's giving women a bad name.
    Barack Obama is the one
    Barack Obama is the truth
    Barack Obama will "CHANGE" our nation
    Barack Obama will listen to all voices

    March 5, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. Roy

    Americans, you can't suppress the voters from MI and FL. If you do – what kind of democracy is that?

    March 5, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. Sydney, NJ

    '08 P:Hillary and VP:Obama
    '12 P:Hillary and VP:Obama
    '16 P:Obama
    '20 P:Obama

    March 5, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  7. Kab

    Clinton can never win...she has bunch of supporters..and that is not enough to win Republicans..or else Kerry would have won 4 years ago...

    Obama's supporters are dedicated to Obama, not democrat party...

    McCain is going to win..

    Obama should never be Hillary's VP...

    March 5, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  8. JerryZ

    After all that yesterday, she still way behind in the pledge delegates.
    Even if she wins the rest of the elections, she still won't beat him on elected delegates or even states won.
    Will the super delegates vote over the people votes? I don't think so. The ones that are backing Hillary will pay the price if the super delegates override the will of the people.

    March 5, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. Corey, Maryland

    Clinton still has to win like 70/30 or 60/40 in all of the states in order to win the nomination, something she can't do. Obama will get the nomination, Hillary only has one more large state to fall back on, and after that everything will go in Obama's column. It works to his favor, he will get the nomination!!!! Obama will clearly have the most delegates and the super delegates will put him over the top!!

    Obama Richardson 08!!!!!

    March 5, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  10. Angie

    I think it will go all the way to the convention and end up with a split party. There is to much bad blood on either side. I am a Barack supporter but I will never vote for Hillary Clinton. Members in my own family say the same thing. McCain has aready made a step toward bringing his base together and the Dems are still battling it out. I feel that this will cause McCain to win the Presidency.

    March 5, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  11. Barb

    As for those people complaining that Hillary is splitting the party......Did anyone catch a glimpse of Kerry last night? He uses every chance he gets to insult Hillary, and he's not the only Democrat big voice who does so!!! I would suggest that some of these Super delegates Keep a little quieter if they are (as they say) worried about splitting the party!!!

    March 5, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  12. Fred

    For months I have been posting here about Rezkogate and this story is finally getting national attention. I believe the more people look into Obama's real estate transaction with Rezko, the more they will smell a rat. Bottom line: why would Rezko, out of the goodness of his heart, sell that parcel of land to Obama for less than he paid for earlier on the same day! What was the difference, a payoff, a gift? Did Obama report a gift return to the IRS? Bottom line: Obama may talk about a new politics but his recent transaction with Rezko has the smell of corrupt Chicago politics. Obama could not afford his home without the help of Rezko and this transaction. Why would a character like Resko do such a favor? All that Obama says is that it was bone-headed for him to have done this, but won't answer questions about the specifics. Don't drink the Kool-aid, people. This could be a political Jonestown!

    March 5, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  13. Eric

    Hillary will never win the presidency. It was republicans and illegal aliens that gave her the "victories" in TX and OH. Closing the delegate gap by 12 over 2 states the size of TX and OH is hardly a "Big" win. If her bought and paid for Super D's circumvent the will of the electorate, then I will bet any Clinton supporter a box of Cuban cigars that Obama supporters will vote for McCain just to save the integrity of the process. No more Bush. No more Clinton. No more entrenched political parasites stealing elections from CITIZENS.


    March 5, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  14. Chris

    What is Obama doing??? All of these comments about her tax return... All of you guess that 15 years of information is easy to put together... I think most of us have a hard time with just 1 year...

    Very disappointed that Obama is doing this... I am starting to wonder now if he is ready to be president... He seems to be making another rookie mistake attacking Clinton... This will only call into question his lack of experience... Obama is setting himself up to lose support and once again falling into the political trap... so much for being different!!!

    March 5, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |

    CNN and rest of the media is not the king makers they thought they were!
    Haha-he he I loved watching their faces last night say Uh … oh it looks like Hillary is winning by big numbers!! Like we tried to to tell everyone she is the one we want ! She can get the job done******* HELLO MADAM PRESIDENT HILLARY CLINTON *08*

    March 5, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  16. AJ, IL

    We Obama supporters just have to keep chugging along and do our part, volunteer, donate, and call for Obama in the upcoming primaries and caucuses. I believe as long as Obama stays positive and draws good distinctions between him and Hillary, he will be our nominee. As long as Obama has the lead in total pledged delegates and total popular vote, the Demoratic Party leaders (i.e. superdelegates) are hinting that they will come his way after June 6th to push him over the 2025 mark to win the nomination.

    All right HOPE-MONGERS let's get back to work!

    Obama in 08!

    March 5, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  17. EFabian

    These Obama fanaticals are ridiculous. Obama has as much blame in dividing the party than any other candidate in recent memory.

    Last night at the Texas caucuses, many Obamabots were threatening Hillary supporters and many vandalized Hillary slogans/signs on people"s yards. Yup, this is change I can believe in. Yeah right? It's preposterous and his fanatical supporters have more hatred than most Hillary supporters I know. Obama should feel proud.

    March 5, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  18. Dee

    Darth- don't you know Hillary supporters are uneducated...what do they know about MATH???
    let them fly in air.....

    March 5, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  19. Debby Tulsa OK.

    Goodness, Pelosi is terribly blind to reality–no wonder our Congress has been so useless the last couple of years. This race is driving the Obama and Clinton camps as far apart as could be. For support of this conclusion, see ANY of the comments pages on any of these websites to see just how much hatred is being spewed…
    by Carla


    March 5, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  20. Mad in Texas

    Yea Man ! We's great. Yea's we's can do it! Ha, Ha. Obama is nothing but hot air and deceit. He claims to have not voted for the Iraq war. He's right he didn't. He wasn't in the Senate at the time. He was an IL. State Senator. The last time I looked they don't vote in National Senate meetings. Stop backing this crook. HILLARY 08

    March 5, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  21. Sarah

    Yeah and we will choose HILLARY the ONLY one who will bring our country back and beat McCain.

    March 5, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  22. JK

    Why does CNN continually show Michigan and Florida as dark blue states for Clinton; shouldn't they have a different color to designate they are not yet counted in either camp?

    March 5, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  23. Sandy

    To LeAnn

    You said Mathematically, Hilary CAN'T win! And if the super delegates step in and steal the nomination from Obama, I guarantee you…


    Obama can't win Mathematically either. Check it out. And by the way isn't your statement trying to create the fear factor!!!

    March 5, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  24. Grif

    You have only one choice, or forfeit the outcome.

    Just like I said! This time you also must get it right. Or go another 8 yrs! Because if Mccain wins just once. It will be another two terms, before the whole of the USA, will let him go... Democrats, or Doomo-crats....

    Go Hillary! All the way to the wire. Next come the Breeders Cup......

    March 5, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  25. Mr Nelson from Dallas

    obama is the weakest link

    we donto need another john kerry to be the nominee, we need a fighter, we need someone not afraid to speak up and talk back, we need hillary, not mr rogers

    March 5, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
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