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. Bella

    You are all whinning about this issue . What about the voters from Florida? Have our voices been heard? NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
    Have all of you forgotten about Rev. Wright? How do think Obama is going to win having this problem hanging over his head? He will not win against McCain.

    March 26, 2008 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  2. John

    This argument is totally contradictory to her other one that the voices of the people in Florida and Michigan should be heard.

    I can't decide if the fact that many people still can't see through her and still support this woman makes me laugh or cry.

    March 26, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  3. Steve

    Ummm Hillary...that means that delegates that pledged for YOU can switch over to Obama!!!

    March 26, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  4. Saad

    Of course they are up fro grabs... look at the choices... they are hoping maybe Joe Biden will come back... or hoping to amend our constitution to give Bill another term.... ahhhh...

    What a joke!

    March 26, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  5. fred

    Hillary is right!!!

    Most of those so-called pledged delgates that Obama has are from Republicans crossing over to vote for Obama. He hasn't won any state that is truly Democratic!!! He has only won Republican states!!!

    March 26, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. jim

    John Mac, you have my vote.
    I will rather vote for a republican than a cheater.
    Guess who is the cheater.

    March 26, 2008 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  7. Hanging Chad

    Did Hillary "Misspeak" when she endorsed free elections?
    Democrats are funny!

    March 26, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  8. Nik

    This woman is crazy.

    March 26, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  9. Trev

    So it is ok for Obama to have superdelegates support him when their states do not but not ok for Hillary to do this. Obama will do anything to win.

    March 26, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. ben

    What in the world is this woman thinking? Is she saying,"If I cant win
    by the rules, I will win anyway, because I will have the rules changed!
    I hate hate blogs but I am very tempting to write one against her.

    March 26, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  11. True Independent, MD

    It is clear to me now that Sen. Clinton lies so much and so often that even she, believes her own lies.
    Signs of a Sociopath, really.

    March 26, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  12. Patricia

    When are the woman voting to put 'a woman at any cost' into the WH going to realize this woman is the wrong one... I don't want a liar and thief as my President..... I hope 'her' delegates switch to Obama. That would be the justice she deserves. She lacks morals.

    March 26, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. gmpcnn

    Why is it that CNN (and other majore media) is glossying over CRH's lies and diverting attention back to the Rev. Wright issue. I was always taught that a sign of ture character was to tell the truth.

    You seem to want to hide the fact that she lied and say "so what"! I don't understand.

    March 26, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  14. Fantasy Hour

    Dream on lady, you are a piece of work.

    March 26, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  15. R.M.

    Here we go again... blah...Blah...bLah...bLaH..

    March 26, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  16. Ruslyn Schultz

    I don't understand this, and maybe some of the Hillary supporters can explain it:

    How you can fight tooth and nail to defend the voters of Michigan and Florida, so their voters are not disenfranchised, then weeks later, fight for the pledged delegates that those votes are supposed to represent?

    This just sounds like it's going to get really, really nasty. Al Gore and John Edwards should just endorse Obama, and try to put this all behind the Dem's.

    March 26, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  17. truth be told

    like what most people already know, mrs. clinton and her surrogates will do everything to wrest away the nomination from sen. obama, by hook or by crook. to them, nothing is impossible as long as they get what they want. trustworthy they're not.

    March 26, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  18. Paul Lennon

    You go Hillary!

    Take this all the way to the convention, and fight for it.
    Lets see what all the delagates have to say.
    Lets see who got the best shot.

    Don't let fat cats like Bill Richardson get you down.

    March 26, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  19. Ready for a 3rd Party

    I'm literally disgusted by Senator Clinton.

    For over 20 years I have been a supporter of she and Bill beginning with my days in Hot Springs, AR. I have tried throughout this primary to give her the benefit of the doubt however I am convinced she is just as despicable as the media, the Republicans, the world leaders and the general public believes.

    Although I will not vote for Obama or McCain, I'm moved to withdraw my support for Senator Clinton going forward. I know that doesn't mean much to the people on this board but for me this is heart-breaking.

    Hillary I am very disappointed.

    March 26, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. thomas

    bella get a life...we do not need a liar and thief in our whitehouse

    March 26, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. Gil - California

    Thank you Hillary, you have finally given those poor unfortunate delegates that supported you the chance to rethink their position and switch over to Barack.

    Now, instead of just hinting that, just outright tell your supporters to go over to Barack's side and you can go home with whatever reputation you still have more or less intact.

    March 26, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  22. outraged

    Senator Clinton has gone on record urging that Florida and Michigan voices be heard...that their voices count. And now she's suggesting that the millions of votes in this country during primaries shouldn't actually count. SHE IS A REAL PIECE OF WORK.

    Oh please forgive me, she's not suggesting that. She is only saying that legally they don't have to. Yeah, right.

    March 26, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  23. Sue

    How disgusting is this?

    Hillary, I hope you look back on this in a few years and are ashamed at the way youve been acting.

    Its very childish, and Americans are sick of the old style political games you play.

    March 26, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  24. P, Ostenburg ,PA

    . . . .Good. Now I can cast my vote for Senator Obama.

    March 26, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  25. John

    She may be entirely correct on this issue, but remember, if one of "her" delegates should switch her staff will condemn them for being a Judas. I think she really means that only Obama delegates can switch....were hers to switch it would be overt evidence of bias against her. "Me thinks the lady doth protest too much"

    March 26, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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