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. Phil Newton Murphy, Oregon

    Yeah. To heck with the little people and how we actually VOTED.

    For God's sake, when will this anti-democractic demagogue give it up? After she has completely undermined voting rights in the US?

    March 26, 2008 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  2. V. Sheldon

    Hillary Clinton is treading on extremely thin ice here. It is time that she woke up and smelled the coffee. If she thinks that she and her surrogates can play this kind of russian roulette with the powers that be in the Democratic Party, they will be sadly dissapointed. It is self destructive on her part to even raise this issue.

    March 26, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  3. CL OT

    Now she wants to take our votes away. Can you belive this? She will do anything to win.

    March 26, 2008 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  4. Lou

    I do not understand how anyone can support her. What a cheat. She claims she wants Mich and Flor. seated to make sure all voters are heard...then says it's ok to steal the votes from voters who have already pledged for Obama. Slimey!

    March 26, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  5. William

    The Obama campaign might have the media, pundits, and the blogosphere on their side, but us bedrock Democrats have the Clintons, and that's all we need. This great power couple has had to endure so much..the Right wing attacks, impeachment, Ken Starr investigation but they have endured and triumphed. The Clintons have always left their naysayers in the dust. If this is how a party repays their only two term presidential couple since FDR, then i don't want to be a part of it any longer.

    March 26, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. Obama08

    I think that Bill Clinton (as a superdelegate) will secretly vote for Obama...lol

    March 26, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. Mike Miller

    So the delegates can switch their votes at will. This is yet another example of how America is NOT a REAL Democracy, and how our votes don't mean anything. The Will of the People loses out to the Will of the Big-Money Manipulators.

    March 26, 2008 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  8. Shana

    Obama will win the primary and the general election. Don't allow yourself to be fooled by the Clinton propoganda.

    March 26, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  9. lamont anderson pa

    can't anyone see the big picture, hillarys going to have the super delegates and the pledged delegates to switch sides at the national convention.so why vote?it's her way or the highway.

    March 26, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. Allen, Redlands CA

    So you dont' think the delagates really meant their vote for Obama? Are we to suggest that any decisions you could make as President are subject to twist with the political wind? This is total lack of respect for the voters.

    I've come to realize that nothing is beneath Hillary Clinton.

    March 26, 2008 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  11. Ian, Maryland

    Just because it is in accordance with the rules, doesn't mean it's ethical. Remember Hillary, according to the rules in the 1800s, you couldn't vote. It's time for this rule to change.

    March 26, 2008 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  12. Enrique, Chicago

    Hillary somehow believes that she is above the rules. Not only did she enter this race with a sense of entitlement, but she's been running as though she can make and break the rules as she pleases.

    March 26, 2008 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  13. ummu khulthum

    a respected deligate,voter or suppoter will not line behind some one that doesnt have conscince,whos;s not afraid to lie,a habitual lier for that matter,she;s a hipocreate,full of intrigues and events.pls go away no more deligates for the shameless what kind of leadership will some one like upper to the most powerful country on earth?

    March 26, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  14. After further review,Texas

    Yes they have the power to negate your vote and like it.

    March 26, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  15. Texas Voter

    I am surprised Hillary hasn't offered to buy their votes. As far as I know.

    March 26, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  16. cmax

    who is Clinton's pastor - Is she a member of a church? Has anyone heartd that her former pastor was recently indicted ? where is this story?

    March 26, 2008 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  17. Brian

    Wow. Making a campaign strategy out of convincing state level delegates to vote against the primary results...this is going a little beyond the pale, I think. Talk about freaking disenfranchising the voters. I mean good god.

    March 26, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  18. matt in austin

    Her campaign has been calling delegates in Iowa and asking them to change their vote. A family member of mine is a delegate for Obama and he has received calls from the Clinton campaign. He has also received calls from the Obama campaign asking him to remain a delegate.

    He won't switch and told the Clinton campaign their ethics are shady.

    March 26, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  19. Last Minute save

    She is advising correctly. Considering the fact that Obama's radical affiliations have become public knowledge after many of the primaries. This is need to know information.

    March 26, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  20. Mike

    I personally know a lot of ex-obama supporters that would love to take back their primary votes and give them to HIllary.

    March 26, 2008 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  21. Larry

    Go away. PLEASE. Just go away.

    March 26, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  22. maya

    The MEDIA is keeping this going- notice the interview was LAST WEDNESDAY. Gee, why is this coming up now?! Truly Hillary bashing and based on all of the petty comments below-it works. Media strokes the flames and everyone-Obama followers- is engulfed in rudeness and rage...

    March 26, 2008 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  23. Mark in Missouri

    So, tell me, Mrs. Clinton. If you want the voters' voices of Florida, Mighican, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, etc. to be heard, why are you advocating that those voices be overruled with the shouts of a few elite delegates? If we're going to put it in the hands of the "independent judgement" of the delegates to decide this nomination, why the hell are we proceeding with holding primaries and collecting meaningless opinions of the electorate?

    You disgust me.

    March 26, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  24. Yetty

    I just can't stand this lady. It's like Bill Richardson said" They feel like they are entitiled to be in the white house". USA is not England where the Royal Dynast rules. We have what we call a presidental election in USA where we elect not reward our president. Her philosopy is if she can't win, no one else can.

    March 26, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  25. Grant

    The Clintons are fighting to the end Dems.....sorry to say, but there will be likely nothing left of your party....If Howard Dean had any control of this party, she would be severely pressured to step down. If this was any other candidate they would be campaigning for Obama.....And you thought the Kennedy's were powerful, not even sure JFK/RFK could get away with this..........

    March 26, 2008 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
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