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. Tim

    GO we really do not need you and if you want to damage the party just becuase your guy did not get the nod, then you were NEVER committed in the first place... LATER

    March 5, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  2. dave

    This race needs to played out to the convention. Without Michigan and Florida being resolved prior to it, it doesn't mean beans. Floridians should not have been punished by the DNC just because the republican governor and republican controlled legislature decided to move up the dates of the primaries. I cry foul!

    Hillary 08

    March 5, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  3. Tommy2

    The bottom line is , Obama can't win the big states ! Which are the most important ones in November.

    March 5, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. Phill Edou

    Hey Anounymous # 1 if u got nothing to say, just shut up. What u are saying is just nonsense. Use ure ure brain before open ure mouth. By the way how the hell they can posted such a stupid comment!!!

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

    What CNN is hiding? You closed the PoliticalTicker comments on the topic "Obama camp: what's Clinton hiding" because you got the opposite comments/opinions from people against Obama statement. Instead people attacking Clinton, they were attacking Obama's records on REZKO and other issues.

    What CNN hiding.

    March 5, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Mike

    I think Pelosi is right, it is only 100 delegates differences not include Michigan and Florida..

    March 5, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  7. cindy, florida

    I was thinking about the "red phone" ad and was wondering if it was red-faced call from Bill saying he won't be home.

    March 5, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  8. Hillary supporter...

    What's Hillary Clinton hiding??
    how about the picture(Clintons with Rezko)??

    March 5, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  9. Haighter

    Hey Nancy! When it gets to crunch time, remember how your constituents here in San Francisco voted, OK? I hope you heard us!

    March 5, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  10. Darth Vadik, CA

    Good Lord,

    and they say Obama folowers are a cult

    have you read some of the things Hillary supporters are writing, scary stuff, seek help people.

    March 5, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. Tired of the Professional Bloggers

    It is amazing the number of times that the same people post messages! Do the professional bloggers have a job or a life? Let's gets real – any of the Dem candidates can win the typical Dem "big" states. They are killing each other right now – and the supporters are just as bad! Some of the comments are very sensible – others are very mean spirited and redundant on multiple posts!

    March 5, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. duale

    obama congaratulates clinton for winning ohio
    when was the last time you saw clinton congatulae obama?.....she is sorry loser and wants to wine and lai her way into the nomination.

    March 5, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. Vig

    Nancy Pelosi has lost credibility as far as I'm concerned. I don't think she knows any more than anybody else.

    March 5, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  14. Tom Wittmann

    I am really surprised that some media qualifies that results of OHIO and Texas as a come back. These states, by their demography, had from the beginning on a large advantage for Hillary and in view of
    the poor performance from Supertuesday on, Hillary hoped that she
    could obtain a huge win there to compensate Obama's advantage

    Factually the huge advantage disppeared in Texas, even without considering th Caucuses she got only 51/49 and in Ohio went back
    from 20% advantage to 55/45.
    And this only because of Obamas campaign failure to respond adequately to her attacks.

    FACT IS THAT she was only able (incl. RI) to better her 153 lag in elected delegates from 153 to 135 (without considerinG Tx Causcuses)


    And we all suspect that when she discloses her tax returns, before Pennsylvania, this will have a devastating effect., not only for her
    nmination and political future, but for the democratic party.

    Regarding to her party: unfortunately, the disastrous campaigning by
    both contenders (as well as the negative adds by Hillary) leave it wide open to McCain attacks, even without making use of such mud slinging opportunities:

    As example: Saying that NAFTA is bad, even if it is a demonstrable fact that it was good for the US economu as a whole. To say it must
    be modified to favor of all States is the same to say that Mexican and Canadian goods cannot win anywhere, but US goods can win in these countries. AFTER SUCH, THESE CANDIDATES ATTACK BUSH FOR DISGRUNTLING FRIENDLY COUNTRIES ?? AND OF COURSE, NEITHER OF THESE COUNTRIES WILL AND SHELL ACCEPT SUCH ABSURDITIES.

    Then, attacking the war in IRAQ only basing on the dumb argument that it cost much money and lives (which is valid for any war) , will
    be easily argued with by stating that in this case the war on Hiltlers
    Germany and Japan was a big mistake. And if the situation continues
    improving, this capaign, including the Bush hating, will backfire.



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

    The super delegates need to protect this election from the mess as a result of Jessie Jackson's delegate porportioning to the losing side. If this was a winner of a state take all allotment, this race would be over. Hillary has won eight of the nine largest states in America. Obama's largest delegate count is Illinois. Let the FL and MI votes, or re-election take place, have the super delegates turn this into a true state by state winner take all election. In November, we vote at the ballot box for the next president. Obama, the king of the caucuses will be exposed in an electoral process. Georgia, Idaho, Utah etc. are already republican states.

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







    March 5, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  17. BR

    I think what will become crystal over the next several days is that, is virtually impossible for Hillary to win by the regular means. This has nothing to do with animus or support for Obama, but rather, everything to do with cold, hard numbers. HRC needed bigger margins last night, which she didn't get.

    On the issue of Florida and Michigan...they broke party rules! We are a nation of laws and rules...why then should states who willfully and knowingly broke them despite being warned, now be allowed to count?

    March 5, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  18. Sarah

    Hey Mandy, grow up, you don't speak for the party you probably have never been part of it, and if you have been. shame on you.

    HILLARY 08!!!!


    March 5, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  19. farah ade

    obama, never mind i am sure that you are going to be our nex
    next president of the united states of america and you know what choose mr. john edwards as a vice president .........thank you

    March 5, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  20. Denis van Dam

    What are we talking about? What are Hillary's big wins? Let's be real. According to the account I saw in Yahoo, after the recounting of the Texas Caucus (where Obama won), Hillary, all together, closed the gap with only 12 delegates (in the 4 States). CNN, I hope that if you are not Hillary biased, you will publish my comment.

    March 5, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. NIC

    Who are these people demanding to see Hillary's taxes?! Who are you people? How about you show everyone your taxes! We have a failed War in Iraq, a falling economy, a huge mortgage/foreclosure mess and what ever other crisis we have (immigration, health care, education) etc etc. WOW, talking about the important issues and the problems that face this country. Looks like these people that blog these ridiculous responses on here have their own personal issues to deal with. Priorities people! My god all ready!

    March 5, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  22. Mike

    posted above

    "Good Lord you Hillary supporters are delussional, she cannot mathematically win this nomination.

    Her total net gain of pledged delegates yesterday was 4 yes FOUR, she may have won Texas but Obama got more delegates out of it, and she is losing in majority of the states left.

    What planet are you living on?

    You know what they say wish in one hand and …….. in the other see which one fills up first."

    If you do the math neither one of them will win with out MI or FL... the delegate count will be very close... not sure why all of you are arguing or mentioning this... One of them will have to quit for the math to work... complete waste of everyone's time... the party needs to do something now if they do not want it to get out of hand...

    March 5, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  23. Caucus wins are illegitimate

    The discrepancy between the caucus results and the primary results in Texas shows how UNFAIR and UNDEMOCRATIC caucuses are. Do you think older voters can go stand a school gymnasium at 8pm at night to go through some arcane delegate selection procedures? NO! Only Obama's younger supporters can do that.

    Just look at Washington State, where Obama got 68% of the caucus vote, but only 51% of the primary vote.

    Obama's caucus wins are illegitimate! If the pledged delegate count is close, I say give it to Hillary, because Obama has more delegates than public opinion says he deserves.

    And we should absolutely let Florida and Michigan re-vote to help settle this mess.

    March 5, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  24. Brian

    Someone needs to teach math to Ms. Pelosi........she appears to be the only one educated who cannot understand that Clinton cannot win this election by the numbers. She can only steal it from the majority of the American voters. Clinton simply does not have the numbers to win. Perhaps Pelosi is hopeful that Clinton can have more time to talk the supers into ignoring the majority of American voters and if this is the case? I hope the people who vote her into office remember that she apparently thinks it's o.k to steal an election and ignore the majority......

    March 5, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. EH

    Hillary Clinton hates freedom!

    March 5, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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