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. bonnie

    Hillary is a public person and wants to run our country, well she needs to stop lieing and she should have taught her daughter not to be rude in public and she has a man that cheats wow what a family, wake up america is this what you want to run our country . I THINK NOT

    March 26, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  2. clouse

    I guess only big dem states really matter. Funny how every other state doesn't matter. She won CA while john edwards was on the ballot. She didn't fully win TX she won by 100k votes but lost the caucus. But out of the 42 states she has only won 14 states. So I guess she should be President?

    Oh yeah...take the delegates away from the other states and tell them to switch...even if you lost all those states....Good luck

    March 26, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  3. Kay Wills

    I have to say, the Press, to some extent is not helping. They don't give Sen. Obama, the obvious front-runner, the coverage deserving of someone in that position.
    Why is it HRC's lies and obvious distortion of her experience isn't more publicized?

    March 26, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  4. Gerard, Tampa

    Whats sad is that people are not seeing her as she really is,

    " I will win at any cost!!"

    March 26, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  5. Joan

    I was taught that the delagates had to vote their state voted winner, for the first go round. If there has to be another round at the convention (i.e. no winner) they could do whatever they wanted. What the heck are Super-delagates and where did these come from? Why would THEIR vote weigh more than a delegate? Our country was founded on EQUAL rights, and the will of the people. The last elections have been NOT at all what the PEOPLE voted.

    March 26, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |

    I she wins the nomination, I do not care how.
    She will never be PRESIDENT.
    McSame will win for sure.

    March 26, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  7. Cynthia St. Louis

    Please, PLEASE, Superdelegates, stop this craziness NOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 26, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  8. Jamie in Florida

    Oh put a sock in it Bella–find me a candidate that can eloquently explain race and support a minister who is not mainstream without falling into his political views. Barack Obama is the bravest man in the United States–and very deserving of the nomination indeed. McCain was endorsed by Bush, possibly the biggest hit to his campaign ha, and Clinton is a manipulative patho. You decide who you would vote for.

    March 26, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  9. Blayze Kohime

    Hinting that she will win the nomination with super delegates and not popular vote does not do her credit.

    March 26, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  10. enomisa

    If this had been a fair, rather than a rigged primary, Hillary would have already won.

    How can anyone consider Obama ahead when the votes in Florida and Michigan are not allowed to count? They would switch the scenario entirely. Just because you don't count the votes doesn't mean that they don't exist.

    Spew rules are rules all you want, but those people want Hillary. NOT counting them, gives Obama the nomination. That is not the same as him winning the nomination. Millions of people who want to say NO to Obama and YES to Clinton are being silenced.

    Winning by suppressing the votes of you opponent is NOT winning- even if you get help in doing so from the corrupt actions of the DNC.

    March 26, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  11. Carrie in Colorado

    She is absolutely making an effort to change delegates minds. I was an Obama delegate to my county convention and oddly I received a mailer from Clinton two days prior. I have never visited her site or received any other material from her until that day. It's her shady tactics that confirm she is the same old power hungry Washington politician.

    March 26, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  12. David

    So much for the people's voices being heard.

    March 26, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  13. fred

    Ruslyn, do you recall that Richardson is going with the people of his state!!!!

    What's good for the goose is good for the gander!!!

    GO Hillary!!!

    March 26, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  14. Alex

    Wow. I never thought I'd hear a politician come out and announce that "Your votes don't matter." For all her talk about "disenfranchisement" of Florida and Michigan wouldn't this be a greater offense? Wake up people. Hillary would rather have McCain win this November than Obama so she can run against him in 2012. This isn't about the future of the country for her, it's about ego and legacy. But then again, what's new with the Clintons??

    March 26, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  15. ajks

    She will try anything to get what she wants. Her supporter, Carville, said the other day that not letting the Michigan and Florida delegates be seated is like leaving three minutes out of a forty minute ballgame. He doesn't seem to worry about starting a ballgame and changing the rules thirty-seven minutes into the game. She is the same way. She wants to change the rules as she goes along to get the Presidential nomination. Hopefully Americans can see her for what she is.

    March 26, 2008 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  16. Deborah

    Hillary is desperate!!!!!

    America is Pro-Change

    Go Home Hillary Liar Clinton!!!

    OBAMA is the Man!!!!

    OBAMA 2008!!

    March 26, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  17. William - Fox Chapel

    Hillary has lost appeal in Piitsbugh where I live. People are fed up with her negativity and hypotheticals about how the DNC rules work. She may just get a surprise in Pennsylvania and not one she expects. Then it will be clear that she is a loser and one who relies on casting doubts to gain votes. This is backfiring and the primary is still 4 weeks away.

    March 26, 2008 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  18. Andrew

    Why do Dems even hold primaries/caucuses if the delegates can do whatever they want? It seems like voters don't even count.

    March 26, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  19. An Agnostic Democrat

    Can't have it both ways, Hilldog. Either delegates vote with the constituency as you've "always said" (Hillary code for I'm lying) or they are free agents. You represent the worst in the human race much less the race for the White House. Cheatin', lyin', manipulatin', back-stabbin', opportunistic fraud.

    March 26, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  20. Rick

    Clinton has just pointed out the rules. Why all the negative comments about it? Democrats decided these rules. The total delegate counts would be quite different if it were a winner take all system like the Republican primaries. Frankly once Edwards bowed out I paid more attention to both Clinton and Obama. Niether inspires much confidence in me.

    March 26, 2008 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  21. Tamika

    Not worried. The DNC knows that with all her past and present scandals subject to be aired by Republicans..they know Obama would have a better shot at the General.. Think about it.. do you know how much stuff the Obama camp is holding back just so they wont give Ammo to Reps?Does anyone even realize how many scandals and gates they've been in? your homework

    March 26, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  22. Tim

    Here's the thing. Pledged delegates are elected to represent their district.While it's not outside the rules to switch sides, an elected delegate who wants to do so should do the right and responsible thing and contact all the people in the district to make sure they have changed their minds and want to change their votes as well. Otherwise, why vote at all? Pledged delegates represent others. Whether they are pledged to Obama or to Hillary, they have a responsibility to those they represent.

    March 26, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  23. JennyM

    The absolute nightmare in this whole thing is the DNC by their do nothing policy is electing McCain.

    I say just shut down the primaries, don't even bother with the NOV election and have the swearing in ceremony for McCain .

    DNC == The Party of Apathy Who eat their own young

    March 26, 2008 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  24. charlotte

    Some people are so dumb, yet think they are educated people. The delegates can support whomever they choose, there job is to attempt to insure the open primarys are not controled by cross over voters who will cross back in November. Hillary is no fool, she must be getting encouragement from alot of them to continue to fight on. Remember, Obama has yet to win an all important state. That is not to infer those states don't count, it is a matter of politics. Some states always vote for a republican in the general election. It is a long time pattern, thus they are called red states in the general scheme of things. How many blue states has Obama won? The law of average says, if he is the nominee he will not be the president. The superdelegates want to win in November, as much as we want our specific candidate to be the nominee. Think of the overall picture and you will know why she is still in the race.

    March 26, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  25. steve

    Hilary is so stupid,now she's saying that the people voted for obama will go toward her?People are going to see that and go away from her

    March 26, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
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