March 26th, 2008
09:40 AM ET
14 years ago

More Clinton hints that pledged delegates are up for grabs

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Clinton said again that pledged delegates had no duty to vote based on election results."] (CNN) — For the second time in three days, Hillary Clinton has told reporters that the "pledged" delegates awarded based on vote totals in their state are not bound to abide by election results - an idea that has been floated by her or a campaign surrogate several times this month.

“…As you know so well, Mark, every delegate with very few exceptions is free to make up his or her mind however they choose,” she told Time’s Mark Halperin in an interview published Wednesday. “We talk a lot about so-called pledged delegates, but every delegate is expected to exercise independent judgment.”

The remarks echoed her Monday comments to the editorial board of the Philadelphia Daily News. "And also remember that pledged delegates in most states are not pledged,” she said Monday. “You know there is no requirement that anybody vote for anybody. They're just like superdelegates."

Clinton also made similar comments in a Newsweek interview published two weeks ago.

Earlier this month, Clinton adviser Harold Ickes first raised the prospect that pledged delegates were not legally bound to vote as election results indicate – an idea that has drawn sharp criticism from supporters of rival Barack Obama. "Despite repeated denials, the Clinton campaign has again admitted that they will go to any length to win," Obama spokesman Bill Burton said again Wednesday.

The Clinton campaign has 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.

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

soundoff (309 Responses)
  1. MOLLY

    GO HILLARY !!!
    Obama will never be elected with his radical, anti-American pastor who he will look to for advice and mentor . America will never allow it to happen – nor will the superdelegates – they want to WIN this election. The DNC has caused all these problems starting with FL & MI – votes!
    IF Obama should ever win the nominee, I will be forced to vote Republican – I am NOT loyal to the party but am Loyal to America.

    March 26, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  2. Patrick Era

    Such stupid idea should not even be dignified with any serious response – either from Obama campaign or the DNC. It is a deaf mark of desperation. It is a shame – the Clintons must be living in another planet – it is that simple!!!

    March 26, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |

    Wow! And I thought she could never surprise me. Talk about trying to steal and election.

    March 26, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  4. yolanda Rollins

    Hillary is a liar. Her whole campaign is negative.

    March 26, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  5. Jo-Ann

    Ok obviously a "Hillary bashing" blog"; I'm gone. You all get what you deserve.

    March 26, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  6. phillip monterey, ca

    I am an Obama supporter and I agree that the super delegates should vote according to their conscience and based on who is more electable in November. They should not blindly vote based on who wins most pledged delegates.

    The reason we have Primary elections is to determine electability in November so guess what, Obama is proving that he is electable, which he has done against Ms. Clinton who was the presumptive nominee up until January. Hillary is the one who is unelectable. She couldnt even win the primaries, how can she win the General Elections. Besides she has the highest disapproval rating of any candidate. 45% of the electorate will never vote for HRC. So she only has a 55% electorate to work with. Both Obama and McCain have disapproval ratings of 26% and 27% respectively. Go figure who is more electable.

    Democratic nomination was Hillary's to lose and she has lost it. How can anyone argue that she is more electable in Nov when she screwed up the primaries. It takes strategy and smarts to win elections… different strategies for primaries and general elections. Hillary has failed in the first test, and is now asking us to trust us with a bigger test in November. Obama is a once in a life time candidate who is winning against odds. And those of you who are calling him racist, you really belong in the other party. I am an Obama supporter but will never vote for Clinton, if she is our nominee i know its wrong but the way she carries herself is very distasteful.

    March 26, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. Marcelin

    Talk about overriding-will-of-the-people, do-anything-to-hang-on-to-power and put-oneself-more-than-the-party

    March 26, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  8. Wanda Reed

    It is so obivous how smart Hillary Clinton really is; she is just telling the people how the rules of the Democratic Party work. Most are not even smart enough to get it. This tells me that she would really know how to work "Washington" because she really does get it about everything.

    March 26, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  9. James

    After three months of Hillary's campaign, I will never support her for president. Can you imagine what we would have to deal with each day if she was president.

    March 26, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
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