[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/03/25/art.clinton0324.ap.jpg caption="Clinton is facing a delegate gap heading into Pennsylvania’s April 22 primary."] (CNN) — Hillary Clinton has again raised the prospect that "pledged" delegates - those awarded based on election results - might still be considered up for grabs.
"And also remember that pledged delegates in most states are not pledged,” she told the editorial board of the Philadelphia Daily News Monday. “You know there is no requirement that anybody vote for anybody. They're just like superdelegates."
On March 5, Clinton adviser Harold Ickes brought up the fact that pledged delegates are not legally bound to vote for the candidate they're pledged to – an idea that drew sharp criticism from supporters of rival Barack Obama.
The Clinton campaign said that they had not been planning to try to actively convince the Illinois senator's pledged delegates to switch sides, and would not do so in the future – but on a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Ickes defended Clinton’s Monday remarks and repeated his view that pledged delegates were free to switch their allegiance at any time.
“I think what Mrs. Clinton was trying to make clear was that no delegate is required by party rules to vote for the candidate for which they're pledged,” said Ickes. “I mean obviously circumstances can change, and people's minds can change about the viability of a particular candidate and that's permitted now under our rules ever since the 1980 convention.”
He added that although the rules permitted them to campaign pledged delegates to switch sides, they had not engaged in such an effort.
Two weeks ago, Clinton herself told Newsweek that "There are elected delegates, caucus delegates and superdelegates, all for different reasons, and they're all equal in their ability to cast their vote for whomever they choose. Even elected and caucus delegates are not required to stay with whomever they are pledged to."
Barack Obama leads Clinton among all Democratic delegates, 1,622 to 1,485, in the latest CNN count. Among pledged delegates, Obama leads Clinton 1,413 to 1,242.