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. Ted in Pittsburgh

    Is there not a limit to how low you will go, Hillary?

    March 26, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  2. Donnie J

    Just as pledged delegates have no duty to follow election results, Hillary has no duty to destroy the Democratic party. She has nevertheless made it her quest.

    How could anything good possibly come out of the will of THE PEOPLE being thwarted by any delegates (pledged or "super")? Does anyone remember the 2000 general election and where it got us?

    And yes, as an Obama supporter, I acknowledge that Ted Kennedy should cast his superdelegate vote for Hillary to reflect his state's election results . . .

    March 26, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  3. South Beach

    If Senator Richardson, a Superdelegate endorsed Obama despite the fact that he previously said Superdelegates need to vote the way their state votes - in Richardson's case (New Mexico) for Hillary, then the Delegates are up for grabs. Richardson started it.

    March 26, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  4. Ed

    I don't understand all of this big talk about how Obama can't carry the big states. If you look at the total number of votes between the large states and compare those to the votes that McCain got in the same states then you will see that Obama got more votes compared to McCain and if you add at least 30% of Billary's votes to that I don't see why he can't win. In California Billary got 2,608,184 votes and Obama 2,186,662. In the same state McCain got 1, 238,988 votes so alone Obama has more votes than McCain and if he can pull 30% of Billary's vote than "Yes He Can" win large states and win them handedly.

    March 26, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  5. Daniel Stevens

    Ya know I've been one of those independent voters supporting the heck out of Obama. I am reminded why I am not a member of the party. Holy buckets what a mess this is becoming!! No wonder we can't get a good person to run for president.

    March 26, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  6. Santiago

    Richardson is a good example of super delegates making their own decision. His state, New Mexico, voted for Hillary but he supported Obama. Not too long ago he was talking about super delegates going with the vote of the district. Well, what about him going with the vote of his state.

    Hillary is correct. Super delegates need to vote base on what they see which is Hillary winning in November or Obama been destroyed politically by the the Republican Party and loosing the election.

    March 26, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  7. Funny

    Youngsters don't get upset, Obama has Richardson ....delegate whose state supported Clinton, so by rights he should be on her side, Kennedy, Kerry, are a couple others same thing. So please know what you are talking before posting, Obama's camp has and was already doing this, even if its .000001% win the elected officials should vote the will of the people whom they represent. If they don't then could you ever trust the people you've elected to vote what you thinks there is a double standard here, and of course its ok with the Obama youngsters. I am an Indie and have no party affiliation but the more I will never vot for Obama.

    March 26, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  8. Johannes

    why have prelimaries at all then?

    does she want to build up her future on brken promises?

    I'm sure Obama does not want that!

    March 26, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  9. ben

    The party leadership needs to put a leash on this lady. She will do anything, even destroy the party, to win. She is doing it already; the divisiveness she is creating is only helping McCain.

    Maybe that is her point – to hurt Obama so he loses, and so she can run again in 2012.


    March 26, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  10. J Radway

    Oh Hillary, Hillary
    If we make you Queen for a day
    Will you pleeease go away?!

    March 26, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  11. David S

    Hey HRC, if you don't think my vote counted in the primary......than don't count on my vote in the general election. I will stay home in Nov. if she steals this nomination.

    March 26, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. Carl from Pa

    Ha. This, to me, is slightly funny. Hillary has, for the past few weeks, been trying to get the "voices' of Florida and Michigan to vote, however, from this comment it is clear, she does not care about the voters at all but rather the delegates. It is this sort of politics that discust the american people.

    March 26, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. Teresa

    Hillary's character continues to scream-"win at all costs"

    Such lying, such arrogance!

    March 26, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  14. Ed K.

    After the Reverend Wright thing most voters would like to have their vote back. Looks like we need a do over in every state or it would be nice if Obama just dropped out. The Democratic party knows Obama can't win the general election but they will be afraid to nominate Hillary because the Black community would riot and burn the country. Looks like 4 more years of Bush rule.

    March 26, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. enomisa

    Hillary is right.
    Thems the rules.
    You all go on and on about playing by the rules.

    Disenfranchise the democratic voters in FL and MI, and we will force the party to do their job and play by ALL the rules- not just those that favor Obama.

    March 26, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  16. Mohammad, LA CA

    It's over. Democrats will lose the election. Look at how you guys hate Obama so much, or those who hate Clinton so much, you fail to see that the ultimate winner will be John Mccain, whom nobody hates.

    Pathetic to the highest degree...good job democrats...

    March 26, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  17. Jack Robertson

    Hillary is like the proverbial spoiled playground brat. If she can't win the game by the rules, she'll try to change them or she'll pout and cry. With the race heating up by the day and the pressure mounting on Mrs. Clinton to face the music of her impending defeat, one must wonder when the public will be treated to another theatrical performance of crocodile tears. Go cry yourself a river, Hillary! It's over.

    March 26, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  18. Darth Vadik, CA

    Dream on Hillary, you want to come down to reality now or are you still dodging sniper fire?

    March 26, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  19. Kazeem, Texas

    Hillary is killing me!

    March 26, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  20. rrr

    Ive been saying for awhile now that Barack should just sit back and let this woman cook her own goose. I really cannot believe what I am reading here..Up until now I've been pretty civil with my comments, but the time has come to state the truth..HILLARY YOU ARE PATHETIC!

    March 26, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  21. Aaron

    Ohhh now it's the race is "pretty close" and not 50/50 like you said before. I guess you misspoke? Taking after your candidate quite a bit there...

    And actually you are wrong again...Go look at the % Hillary won FL and MI by and how many delegates she would get and how many Obama would get. It would swing closer to 50/50, BUT Obama would still lead in pledged delegates, popular vote, and state count.

    Did you even do that math or are you just spouting off at the mouth?

    March 26, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  22. enomisa

    Hillary knows math.

    She is aware millions of her votes have been thrown away- so the math is not representative of the true will of the democrats.

    March 26, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  23. Brendan

    What's the point of having primaries if the delegates can vote for whoever they want regardless? Why even campaign at this point? Why not just take Gallup polls of delegates and superdelegates and tell us who will be the nominee?

    March 26, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  24. David

    Yeah, to the leader of the vote count which is Obama. She has got to be tired, I know if I "lie" that much it is such a drain on my thinking. Yeah, it is very interesting to see how far this woman will go to win, a no-win situation. Seems to me she shares radical views with Malcolm Xs' "By Any Means, Necessary" philosophy...

    March 26, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  25. Florida and Michigan

    Richardson is not the last word in this campaign! Florida and Michigan are having their votes taken away – now that is stealing.

    Hillary has no reason to "go away" – Obama is not the candidate of choice of all the people. This is going to play out whether anyone likes it or not – as it should be. I

    March 26, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
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