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

More Clinton hints that pledged delegates are up for grabs

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/03/26/art.clintonpa.ap.jpg 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. Jyh1920

    Hillary Clinton is a Shyster and a scallywag. You can almost bet she will take down the whole party toe win this nomination!

    March 26, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  2. Rav

    This woman is going to rip this party to peices!!!!!! I may have to vote for Nader!

    March 26, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  3. Sher

    And this is the woman who was so upset because the voices of the people in Florida and Michigan aren't going to be heard. Yet, now she's willing to mute the voices of ALL the people who have voted! What's the point of voting if our votes aren't going to count???

    March 26, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  4. Candi South Carolina

    Hillary you skip all math courses in school. Why do you continue to make a fool of yourself. Why do you think the American People want you as President now? You have demonstrated that you can lie to us, confuse the Democratic Campaign and now try to chang the rules. I am not voting for someone who will go at any length to make the American People feel sorry for you. Your campaign for Solution is on how to sabotage the election to win.

    March 26, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  5. Lori

    Jen-Do you know what Polls are based off of? Research and find out. I don't pay much attention to polls because if there is a time when they don't mean much, it is in this race. Most of the polls end up being wrong, based off of past information or are slanted by the folks running them.

    March 26, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  6. Nick

    If delegates are simply going to change their vote, what's the point in voting at all? Might as well just stay home on Election Day, and let some Gallup poll decide the future of the US.

    What a disaster of a primary process. This whole system needs an overhaul.

    March 26, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  7. ObamaVoter1Million

    All I can say is Hillary and her team are sooooo wrong.

    March 26, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. Bayou Joe

    Obama Idiots, He is the one destroying the Democratic Party, not the Clintons. A two term President and his loyal wife have more guts than anyone of you. They are about America and you reject them. Bill Richardson is the worst of them. An ingrate, whose career was fostered by Bill and he repays them by endorsing the Orator. Good luck Bill you will need it after Obama loses in November.

    March 26, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. manuel figueiredo

    Mrs. Hilary is not a lier. I think she has not moral character.

    March 26, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  10. BVS Maine

    Drop out Hillary, you are misleading the AMerican people and destroying the democratic party by being so self serving. You are so dishonest.

    March 26, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  11. Nancy

    Currently we have a president that feels that electorate matters not one whit. I am appalled that Hillary feels the same. What is the point of taking the time to vote in a primary and then have one of the candidates say our votes are meaningless. I am weary of politicians constantly shifting the rules to suit themselves. If Hillary and McCain are my choices in the fall, I will not vote for the first time in my life. We need change. We need HOPE.

    March 26, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. Dave

    I am an Obama pledged delegate to my Texas county convention. I have received two calls from the Hillary campaign asking for my support.

    March 26, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  13. Obamacan

    National polls show that I will vote for McCain if a known liar is nominated by democrats.

    March 26, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. GL

    Hillary's let them eat cake attitude towards the Democratic party and the voters is disgusting. Gore, Edwards, Biden... At what point are any of you going to man up and put an end to this charade? It's a sad day in this country when Nader becomes the voice of reason.

    March 26, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. Po Win

    Since the outcome of an election is ultimately governed by electoral votes, perhaps, the DNC could consider removing superdelegates and measure the likelihood of each contender by his and her electoral votes, respectively. The deeper ethical issues at hand could then be remedied by removing both super and pleged delegates alike.

    March 26, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. joe

    why are people still conflating primaries with caucuses which are not representative of the general election. Please read my previous comment.

    March 26, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  17. Tangerine

    You want to see a social uproar? That is exactly what will happen if she cheats/steals votes from Obama. Just as Clinton has a lot of zealous supporters, so does Obama. How in the world does she think these people would react if she does what would be percieved as "stealing". How would Clinton supporters react if Obama did the same thing?

    March 26, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  18. Kathi

    If Clinton continues to lie and wins the nomination for it, this life-long Democrat won't stay home and waste my vote–I will vote against her with a Republican vote–my vote will always count!

    March 26, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  19. Super Delegates Would Do Well to Stay Out

    Unless they want to lose the support of the base of the Democratic Party, the so called "super" delegates would do well to stay out of this until the primaries are over. They would also do well to do all they can to include the voters in Florida and MIchigan in the process.

    March 26, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. andrew

    What a desaster for democrats for November. You call yourselves democrats, afraid to say it like it is.
    She is behind if she can pull it off, she should be the nominee, and that's why she is doing the destruction now. She is good at it.

    March 26, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  21. Suzanne

    Something else I've been wondering about: If Hillary 'misspoke' about her expirience of sniper bullets wizzing over her head and running for cover, it must have been an actual experience that happened on a different trip. When was that? I know I would never forget such a tramatic expirience.

    March 26, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  22. darron

    I thought the point of this election cycle was to correct the mistakes made in 2000, not repeat them by telling the Democrats again "you're vote doesn't count"

    March 26, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  23. Arina

    Anything to win, and given the fact that according to a Gallop poll many of her supporters will vote in November for MCCain, rather than Obama, shows that she attracts people just like her: they rather destroy the country than give in.

    March 26, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  24. Mark, Berwyn PA

    People who continue to support Hillary are a joke, and are making the USA the laughingstock of the world community. My goodness people, get a clue! Hilary is trying desperately to steal this election, becuase she feels it is her right to be President. Forget the "will of the people", she just wants to title.
    Go McCain or Obama or Nader. Anyone but Clinton!!!

    March 26, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  25. Marjon

    I cannot believe somebody voting for this cheating woman!
    She has no honest bone in her!

    OBAMA'08!!

    March 26, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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