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. April Garlow

    Clinton is right , and the Democratic Party is responsible for this mess. I have known this for years. The party needs to do away with the delegates and caucuses,and change to an all Democrat primary, where one vote means one vote, just like the general election. But the delegates don't want to give up thier power to manipulate the results. So neither Clinton or Obama are hurting the Democratic Party. It has shot itself in the foot once again.

    March 26, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  2. JUDAS

    . . . .Thief.

    March 26, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  3. Tommy

    How can Obama stand beside Gov Richardson and take his support
    (vote) when Hillary won his state ( same for Kennedy and Kerry).
    Then say super delegates should vote they way their states did???

    March 26, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  4. Tex

    Hillary's campaign is in melt down mold.

    March 26, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  5. L.F.

    Dorian Gray / HIllary Clinton has a concealed portrait somewhere. Hillary again rears her ugly demeanor and reveals her true self. Ambition at the cost of all honor, ethics and fair play. The victims will be America and our real democracy.

    March 26, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  6. David Bobkowski

    Does anyone else recall how Ms. Clinton reacted in the 2000 general election when Mr.Bush lost the popular vote but won the electoral vote? She was absolutly adamant that this was a grave injustice, contrary to democratic ideals. She even suggested a total revamp of our electoral system. My, how her tune has changed for the 2008 primaries!

    March 26, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. Mike, Kalamazoo, MI

    What happened to her "democratic" appeals to count every vote in Florida and Michigan? And saying that she is staying in the race because voters in the remaining contests deserve to have their voices heard? I guess that is just when it benefits her - when it benefits Obama, it is up to the delegates whether or not they want to abide by the voters wishes.

    March 26, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. Sean

    What happened to the Hillary who was supposedly so concerned with the will of the people, and who was so concerned about the disenfranchisement of Michigan and Florida voters?

    Just more evidence that Hillary's only real concern is Hillary. The will of the people only matters to her when it benefits her campaign. Just like when we hear quotes from before the Michigan and Florida primaries where HIllary says their votes don't matter....but after it's established that their votes could help her, they matter oh so much! How can anyone still support this lying, divisive, self-serving politician?

    March 26, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  9. Remocrat

    What part of "Obama is not electable" don't you people understand.

    Hillary at least has a chance.

    March 26, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  10. Red October

    wow, are you serious

    March 26, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  11. Randolpho

    to hillary: give me a break, sister. If you lose, take it honorably – you know, like a man.

    March 26, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. Tommy

    How can Obama stand beside Gov Richardson and take his support
    (vote) when Hillary won his state ( same for Kennedy and Kerry).
    Then say super delegates should vote the way their states did???

    March 26, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  13. Brendan

    Did everyone forget that some of those pledge delegates went to people who have now dropped out of the race? Those delegates ARE up for grabs.

    March 26, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  14. Karen

    Of course, her argument cuts both ways. As her delegates see her more and more down in the gutter, they will select Obama who remains on the high road. People tend to want to go with the winner and not the whining loser.

    March 26, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. Char

    Keep going Hillary! We know you are saving the party from being stuck with a no win ticket. It is no where near over and against all odds, I do see us having the very first women president in 2008. Hang in there and fight hard! Hillary 2008.

    March 26, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  16. Rob,NC

    I agree the so called pledge delegates should not change sides; however, we talk about the super delegates voting for the canidate with the largest popular vote. Why did John Kerry, Ted Kennedy and Bill Richardson not follow the will of the peope from their sates?

    March 26, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. Bella from Florida

    Maybe the pollsters should start conducting polls again in Florida and
    Michigan to see who the real winner is. Our votes were not counted ,but if they were who would be ahead in the delegate count? i believe it would be Hillary.The Obama campaign has opposed to a re-vote in both states what is he afraid of.? I think all the voters from Florida should demand a re-vote What are we waiting for?.

    March 26, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. Vjk

    This is becoming dirty politics. Democratic party needs to reevaluate their agenda. I also hope that Gore stays out of this war.

    March 26, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  19. Jim H.

    There she goes again. If she can win by playing by the rules, then she tries to change the rules. The arogant, win at any cost attitude has got to stop or you might as well get used to President McCain.

    March 26, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  20. Alex H

    The reason they aren't legally bound to that candidate is in case, like with John Edwards, their candidate drops out of the race, they can still be effective in the convention and not be a useless seat.

    The rule is NOT supposed to be used to steal delegates away from their currently running candidate!


    March 26, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  21. clinton muehlenbrock

    Why would you vote for someone who wants pledged delegates to overturn the vote of american's? It makes no sense to me and Hillary supporters should be ashamed when they donate money to that campaign.

    March 26, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. Marv...

    Lie, steal and cheat. Wow. She is the idea candidate. What she is saying, not only will Florida and Michigan not count, but the expressed will of the other 48 states don't count either.

    Anybody, but Hillary Clinton.

    March 26, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  23. Disappointed

    Can you say desperate! She will disenfranchise the voters if she tries to steal the delegates. For a woman who tried to illegally make Florida and Michigan’s voter voices heard, she really is trying to take the voter’s votes away now in order to win. I am completely disgusted with Hillary Clinton

    March 26, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  24. Frank in Missouri

    Superdelegates: Get her out before the party implodes !!

    March 26, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  25. Ravi

    It is disingenius of Hillary Clinton to make such a dramatic case against Barack Obama for disenfranchising voters in Florida and Michigan if she intends to disenfranchise the will of the entire country!

    March 26, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
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