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. Monique Manna

    Some of you people disgust me – grow up already and stop being childish. Half you guys / gals don't know even know what you are talking about – and I am sure most of you were born in 1993!

    March 26, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  2. Brian


    March 26, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  3. Peter

    National polls show that democratic voters are changing their minds (toward Hilary at the moment)..why shouldn't the delegates votes reflect that change?

    March 26, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  4. Oh! The Irony

    Hillary Clinton disgusts me. FL and MI delegates should follow the percentages of the primaries, but pledged delegates can switch at the convention?

    Let this be understood, Hillary is running for herself, not the United States of America. She should go practice her lying techniques about ducking sniper fire in Bosnia.

    March 26, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  5. Alex Stone

    Can Hillary tell me why we have primaries and why delegates are split by number of votes won in congressional districts? I guess for Hillary "Desperado" Clinton we shouldn't have primaries... just campaign for delegate votes in Denver. "It's the campaign, Stupid!"

    March 26, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  6. thomas

    Lies, entitlement, rule changing...there is no hope with a personallity so flawed and full of contempt...she needs to remember that every "dog" has it day and if she continues, hers will be a very unfortunate one...she is doing and being that which says so loudly bush is/has done...

    March 26, 2008 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  7. actxent

    People you can stop this madness. Not the Super delegates. you the people can stop all this right now. show clinton that it's over and vote her out in this upcoming primary. then we can get on with it for november.

    why would anyone want someone so unfair for a president. she is trying to change all the rules, from FL to MI now with the delegates that the people vote in.

    don't talk about Obama's integrity when you don't have any to show the people. come on America get smart.

    March 26, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  8. FW

    Will the dishonesty ever stop? Hillary's supporters are defending this as well....WOW. I wonder if they teach their own children to lie and cheat??

    As a 63 year old woman, I voted for Hillary. Not anymore!

    McCain for '08

    March 26, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  9. linus

    I'm not sure if this is a wise strategy on her part, because if pledged delegates are up for grabs, then it seems like the convention would be more like a caucus, and everyone seems to acknowledge that caucuses favor Obama.

    March 26, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. pat

    This really bothers me. What is the point of the people voting if the person running can change anything to win. I would really like to know how that is democratic. The DNC better look long and hard at how this primary was set up, to make sure it never happens again. Any more stunts and I too will vot for McSame, just because the RNC right now looks at least organized.

    March 26, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  11. train

    This type of "dirty politics" are the very reason Hillary needs to leave the race. If she cannot win the nomination, she will make sure the democrats have no chance to win in November. The fact that she is willing to do anything necessary to win (lie, cheat, and steal) disgusts me. Time the DNC steps in and ends this by sending the Clintons packing.

    March 26, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  12. Norm

    I know 2 people that voted for Obama that wish they didn't(not a very good job of doing their homework) I wonder how many more are out there? Could be a good thing in the long run.

    March 26, 2008 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  13. NickNas

    Hey HILLARY!
    You can say this everydau for the rest of your life and it will NOT make us forget;



    Donor List

    Ear Marks


    I could go on all day.


    March 26, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  14. Fabian Blache III

    The truly disturbing aspect of this is that Mrs. Clinton vacillates on the issues of what matters and what doesn't and what counts and what doesn't every time she feels she needs to leverage her statistical disadvantage.

    When Obama wins small states she says they don't matter; when he wins big states she says it's the delegate counts that matter; when he wins people from her base they become "the latte drinking crowd" and when he wins blue collar votes it's characterized be her and her camp as minority support.

    This really disgusts me beyond reproach.

    If I were head of the DNC, after witnessing all of these tactics and then hearing her float this position I would do everything in my power to get the delegation to push her out once and for all. In my book she is worthy of a post as DHH Secretary at best. I've truly had enough of her and her clan.

    March 26, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  15. Michael

    I agree with Anon, "they must be cooking something up." I feel they may have some information that they plan to release and are making sure delegates are aware when it happens they can vote for Clinton.

    March 26, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  16. Jane D

    As a voter, I still think that Michigan and Florida should still count, and I think this is one of the reasons why Obama is leading with the delegate count, no wonder why the Obama camp is not pursuing a re-vote. Even if he wins the nomination, I won't consider it a win, because the two states where left out, i just don't think it's fair. Now if there's a re-vote and if he wins both, I will accept his nomination because all states had their say. Thank you.

    March 26, 2008 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. Paul

    Further proof to a long list of things that clearly show the Clintons are not trustworthy. If they steal this nomination it will be the biggest victory for the Republicans in history because so many will stay home.

    Barack has some issues himself, but it isn't close to compared to the baggage and dishonesty Hillary would drag with her into the election.

    She is a NASTY MONSTER and that's the TRUTH!

    March 26, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  18. Dee JAY in miami

    she is a lier

    and she will not get any respect from me...she is not in this race for the people she is in it for herself

    OBAMA 08

    March 26, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  19. Dan

    Let us not disenfranchise the voters of Florida and Michigan but let us try to disenfranchise the voters that voted of Obama. The Democratic Party leadership needs to step in, now, fast.

    March 26, 2008 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  20. James

    Hillary,enough is enough.You are leaving a big mess behind.

    March 26, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  21. steveh212

    I am astounded at how far Sen Clinton has slipped in my eyes since I cast my vote in the NY primary. At that time, I would have been happy with either candidate– not so much anymore. Now, I can see why people have always called her "divisive". If she will lie about "Bosnia" why do I think she will tell the truth as Commander-in-Chief? If she will steal my vote from another candidate, why do I think she'll be any different as President?

    March 26, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  22. R in Illinois

    Enough already Mrs. Clinton. Can't you see you are only separating the Democratic Party and making it easier for McCain in November. Stop being so selfish.

    March 26, 2008 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  23. Sean Collins

    I'm shocked Hillary is being so selfish. I used to really respect her and I'm a true blue democrat, but if Hillary wins the nomination by stealing pledged delegates (or other kinds of cheating) I'm going to stay home in Nov.

    March 26, 2008 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  24. glakegirl

    seriously?! she's got to be kidding!

    on second thought, i shouldn't be surprised at all. this is the same old change-the-rules-in-the middle-of-the-game ploy that she's good at.

    March 26, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |

    This is just a prelude to the fact that the Clintons are working hard to take delegates from the Obama camp, stealing like a thief in the night. The writing is on the wall, just like her trip to Bosnia, she forgot about, how convient.

    Watch this witch at what she does, trying to steal her way to the general elections.

    Won't do her any good, no matter what she does, Obama will win, becasue he will do the same to her!

    March 26, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
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