March 25th, 2008
11:15 AM ET
15 years ago

Clinton: Pledged delegates can switch sides

[cnn-photo-caption image= 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.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (242 Responses)
  1. fred

    Don't you Obama cult followers know that most of Obamas votes came from Republicans crossing over and blacks. In the General Election in November the Republicans are going to vote for Republicans and the Blacks will vote for Obama...Obama could never win the General Election!!!

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

    I am an Obama supporter but also a democrat. I originally thought if Obama did not receive the nomination I would still vote democratic. I just don't know what I will do. Do I vote for someone I distrust(hillary) or someone who sings bomb,bomb,bomb,bomb bomb Iran. At this point I may write in my name.

    March 25, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. Shinons

    Seriously Hillary, what's the lowest you can sink? Next are you going to start robbing orphans and homeless to keep your campaign from going broke? What a sick excuse for a person.

    March 25, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. Mike

    So Now Hillary is so concerned about playing "the rules" that were laid out by the democratic committee but wanted to change "the rules" agreed to regarding Michigan and Florida.

    Why do I get the impression she and her campaign are grasping at straws trying to twist and turn any and all options that are available at this point. It is obvious by math alone she will not be able to get the majority delegates unless she wins the remaining states by over 60% each.

    March 25, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. P Graber

    Too bad the people who already have voted for B.O. around the country can't take their votes back, now that their eyes are WIDE OPEN and they know what he is truly all about. Maybe next time.

    March 25, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. Denise

    She's right. Pledged delegates are not bound to any candidate. They certainly could switch their support to another candidate... but that's not very likely to happen, and she knows it. But can you be upset with her? She's just trying to salvage what life her candidacy still has and present herself as yet able to win the nomination. That's the nature of political contests.

    March 25, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. Mike M. Majmundar

    Is she nuts? When is she gonna give up. She is destroying the Democratic Party. If Democrats lose in November, I will hold Senator Clinton 100% responsible. Just get out and let the Party focus on November. Enough is enough.

    March 25, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. Don from Indiana

    Obama fans! Let he who is without lies cast the first stone.

    * Rezko deal. It was $150,000, no $250,000, no to be found out later when Obama has to appear before a judge in Chicago.

    * I wasn't in the pews to hear the Rev. Wright speak his venum, well yes I did.

    * I never supported NAFTA, except when I speak to Candian Government officials.

    ETC, ETC

    March 25, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. brad

    Now we see why Hillary didn't quit. You think Obama would have told his followers this little info. Shows he is not ready and never was. And by how his campaign was run , he probably shot all his chances of ever becoming a Pres.,. Maybe Kenya is looking ! Go Hillary Go

    March 25, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  10. Eli, Milwaukee

    What the heck is she trying to pull here?!
    I cant believe that we are still forced to deal with her mockery of a campaign. Every month she comes up with a different reason why what ever Barack has a lead in that that isn't really what is needed to win. In my young 34 years have a I ever seen a candidate show such desperate tactics to win on such a grand political stage.

    Please just ship her off to Bosnia somewhere where she can dodge sniper fire again. I am sure somewhere on this planet they would appreciate her style of politics, but it is not needed in the United States of America.

    March 25, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. Ross in MD

    You know, technically, America doesn't have to be a democracy at all. You could lead a coup Hillary, and we can reinstate a monarchy!

    We could morph into ants, and have you as our queen!

    I think you have better chances with those scenarios than actually winning elections.

    March 25, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. Philip, Elkhart IN

    It seems to me that Hillary doesn't care if the Republicans win. In fact, I've been thinking lately that she'll fight Obama to the bitter end so that if she doesn't get the nomination, he'll be weaker in the general election. Then she would have a shot 4 years from now rather than 8. Maybe then she can get the position she's entitled to.

    March 25, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. Paul

    The DNC needs to step up now and tell the Clintons to knock it off. Hillary and Bill are getting out of control. What they are now saying is if they go down they will take everyone they can with them.

    I didn't care for them and their dishonesty from the beginning, but now they have gone into the sewer and are throwing the septic tank at everyone standing in their way.


    March 25, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. Jack Mpls

    She hasn't said anything wrong with stating this and again CNN has a very lousy newsday and there isn't much to report but small news items. Hillary will win and she does get things done.

    March 25, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  15. Mr. T

    Hate the Game not the Player.

    March 25, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. John, Pittsburgh

    Isn't this the same woman who cares so much about the voice of Flordia and Michigan voters

    March 25, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. William

    Obama distinguishes himself at every turn with calm, wisdom, insight and leadership. By any measure, this campaign has revealed him to be a leader of phenomenal talent.

    Hillary. Can you spell the word 'integrity' and use it in a sentence?

    March 25, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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