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. clear thinker

    If Americans hate Hillary and don't want her to run- then why is the race at 50/50?

    Count the disenfranchised voters of Florida and Michigan and Hillary would have far more than 50%.

    Even with the newbies, independents and crossover republicans on his side, Obama can command only 50% of the vote.

    Even with Oprah, the media bias, the Kennedys, Kerry, the Shrivers, the democratic party elite, Dean and the DNC ALL pushing to install his as the party nominee, Obama can't rally more than 50% support.

    If all those things were stacked in Hillary's favor instead- she'd be way out in front. As ist is, She is holding her own against all the odds- including disenfranchising her electorate and the democratic base.

    No nominee can win by disenfranchising the democratic base- the lifelong party faithful- the people essential to a NOV win.

    March 26, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  2. Karen, TN

    This is the number one reason people should run away screaming from Hillary Clinton. She is suggesting the end of our democratic process – she is suggesting the removal of the voice of the people. She is suggesting that somehow the people in power know better than the everyday people, which I might add is in direct opposition to what she stands and claims to be a major part of her platform – standing up for everyday people. There is no truth in her!

    March 26, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  3. Steve

    This isn't really surprising. After all, I've been hearing numerous stories from Obama delegates in Texas about receiving robo-calls from the Hillary campaign, asking them for their support at the upcoming conventions. I heard plenty of the same stuff out of Nevada a few weeks back.

    Hillary and her campaign have been absolutely disgusting. She's running a Republican-style campaign and she seemingly has little concern that she's potentially ruining the Democrats' chances in November and potentially burning the party to the ground if she manages to pull off a win via shady means.

    March 26, 2008 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  4. Tamika

    wonder what they did with the stuff they stole from Whitehouse when they left?

    March 26, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  5. mnoel

    Hillary cares about no one !! she is on her own agenda and will not stop!! she lies with such confidence which is very scary. My mother always says a liar is worst than a thief!!

    Enough is Enough Hillary !!!

    March 26, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  6. Christine Atlanta, Ga.

    Per usual, the Obama fanatics are ready to viciously attack Hillary and her supporters. If you saw the Gallup poll today about the 37% of Clinton's supporters who will vote for McCain, you would realize your Boy has a problem. The Super delegates have to carefully think out their chose. The Rev. Wright Problem is not going to go away, the Rebublicans will see to it that it stays in the public's mind all the time.

    March 26, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  7. Marc in DeKalb, IL

    Hillary wants EVERY vote to count (if you believe her Florida and Michigan rhetoric) ... but ONLY if that vote is for her.

    We're looking at someone who is TELLING YOU how to vote and is deliberately trying to undermine the democratic system of her own party.

    We're looking at someone who would become a MONARCH if she thought she manage it!

    All hail Queen Clinton!

    March 26, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  8. Helene

    The latest spin of Lady Macbeth ! Steal Obama's pledged delegates. I have to say that the lady is not running out of ideas, besides running under snipper fire in Bosnia.

    March 26, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  9. Alan

    Both campaigns are well-aware of DNC rules. Each campaign will try to use the rules to maximum benefit. I don't think there is a problem with that. The problem is perception. No campaign wants to appear to ignore voter wishes. As evidenced by the responses here and in media blogs, the appearance of disregarding the individual voter can really backfire. I am quite sure the Clinton campaign isn't happy they have to go down this road, but they must feel they have no other choice. To me, the Clinton campaign is giving the impression of desperation. It seems that they are floating trial balloon after trial balloon to see if they can get anything to stick. In my opinion they are trying to play out the clock in the hopes that Obama's campaign will make a blunder. Unfortunately, playing out the clock helps the Republicans. I don't think it fair to criticize Clinton for playing hard, as long as it is within the rules. I do think the Clinton campaign needs to start considering the impact of their strategy on the party's future.

    March 26, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  10. Strictly Business

    Hillary is truely a fighter and she doesn't mind hitting below the belt. Some woman can handle power, but I believe that Hillary is a woman that will abuse power. As long as things are going her way she is as sweet as pie, very diplomatic and very presidential. But when she is pressured she reveals her ugly side and she acts without thinking. It's not just that you win the race that counts, but it's how you win the race. The presidential race for Hillary is not about her love for this country, like she stated with her eyes full of tears, this is personal.

    March 26, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  11. maya

    And the MEDIA keeps this going too! Of ALL of the stories to cover- comparing McCain and Hillary's economic speeches and policies, comparing records- ANY thing…they keep this going-from an interview LAST WEDNESDAY-to keep people posting petty rude blogs as will surely follow…

    March 26, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  12. Sean

    I've had enough of this talk from the Clinton campaign. First she complains that if Florida and Michigan don't get revotes, that it disenfranchises those voters. I happen to agree with this, since it wasn't the citizens' choice to move their primaries, but rather the legislatures'. Now she says that the "pledged" delegates can switch allegiances. As a voter in a state that has already had a primary, I'd feel pretty disenfranchised myself if the delegate I helped chose decided on their own to switch to the other candidate. I don't care if the party rules allow this or not; the voters spoke, and the delegates should listen.

    Hillary, it's time to go away. Maybe in a few years, it will be your turn. But for now, quit trying to come up with all of these different ways that you can try to steal this election. This is exactly why I'm not one of your supporters. It's more of the same Washington politics. Not this year, not this time. It's time to change the tone of the political system in this country.

    March 26, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  13. John D.

    This feud began more than a year ago on the very topic of Clinton dishonesty, in the form of David Geffen's comment. "All politicians lie, but the ease in which the Clintons do it is esspecially troubling." Why is it that CNN can't speak the word "lie". Why are you instead using much euphemisms like "misspoke", "exagerated", "mistakenly" or "misrembered"? All the while, you minimizing the importance of the story compared to Rev. Wright. Why not just give that hack, Lanny Davis an anchor slot?

    March 26, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. speaking out

    Clinton is only indicating the facts. Delegates can switch their allegiance, particularly if circumstances arise that would cause them to do so – ie, revelations about one of the candidates that changes the delegate's perception of their suitability for the presidency or their electability.
    When Clinton brings up facts that support her prospects in the campaign, she is hastily criticized and called all kinds of names. When Obama takes actions that support his prospects – such as his opposition to any revotes in Michigan or Florida because they would not be favorable to his candidacy – nobody says anything.

    March 26, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  15. Robert

    What's the point of setting or having "rules?" The Dems in Florida and Michigan broke their own rules when they changed the dates for their primaries....but since things haven't gone Hillary's way during this campaign the rules everyone agreed on should be broken.

    As I understand it, the delegates are pledged to represent the wishes of the voters in their state by standing up for the candidate the voters picked through their votes. Once again, since things haven't been going Hillary's way it's okay to change the rules so that they might favor her.

    What a great example our "leaders" set. It's no wonder our children use the exact same reasons and excuses on us. Hey look – a red light! That means everyone else has to stop, not me.....

    March 26, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  16. Matthew

    To all those saying she's not following the rules, actually take a look at the rules. Pledged delegates are not bound in any way from making an independentally informed judgement.

    And to thoseObama supporters who think she's being undemocratic, let's talk about those revites in Michigan and Florida. Oh wait, they didn't happen because the Obama dragged its feet and whined rather than giving the people of those two states a voice in the process.

    March 26, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  17. kristine

    Go Hillary texas loves you...obama can't even wear our flag..he lies....speeches don't get get you anywhere.....he through his own grandmother under the bus stating typical white girl...that was so rude....he needs to get while he can...

    March 26, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  18. Orlando

    Hillary is like the ref from the NBA. Gamble on the game which you are calling, disqualify their best player and hope you don't get caught in the end. He got caught and Hillary will get caught. I thought she was like the Giants but it seems like she is like the Patroits of 08. Cheat to win and win to continue on cheating.

    You go Hillary. NOW go home.

    March 26, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. Lonny, Seattle

    I dont get it.
    If thats the case then doesnt it disenfranchise the voter in said state if the delegate flips?
    Whats the point of voting if it doesnt matter and they can change to whomever they choose?
    Doesnt she support counting all the votes like when she talks about MI and FL?
    Seems pretty hypocritical to me.

    March 26, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. Flem

    Clear Thinker asks: "If Americans hate Hillary and don't want her to run- then why is the race at 50/50?"

    This is primarily due to Hillary cashing in on the DUMB VOTE. Anybody with half a brain and can remember at least 2 months of this primary's history knows well that this Woman is saying anything and everything to get elected. Exaggerations, out-and-out lies, misinformation, spin...you name it.

    Please "Clear Thinker", open up your eyes and see this woman for the swindler she is.

    March 26, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  21. Mary

    Why don't we just not bother having a goddam election at all!...This woman needs to stop bending all the rules...I can't be the only one totally fed up with her tactics...I used to support her but all have left for her is contempt...I'm tired of the LIES (no, not misstatements), the sheer desperation, the party being ripped apart and the mud that she throws around every day...I just want this woman to get off my tv, internet, newspaper and anywhere else that shows her sorry face.

    March 26, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. MELMARIE

    I'm not surprised by Her remarks, Hillary has no loyalty and flip flops every second so it's no wonder she would expect everyone to do the same.

    Obama '08

    March 26, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  23. Ray

    Then what's the need for primaries and caucuses? Just place the delegates in a room and that them choose on their own.

    I guess the Clinton campaign thinks representative democracy is overrated.

    March 26, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  24. Rick in Florida

    Playing the gender card, the race card, the victim card, exaggerating, lying, distorting, mudslinging, crying....and now STEALING. When is Howard Dean and the DNC going to stop rolling over for Hillary and put an end to the Clinton's arrogance and selfishness??

    March 26, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  25. Jason Diamond

    The superdelegates should be ashamed of themselves. You can end this nonsense right now, vote Obama as your canditate and start planning for the general election. You are as much responsible for every nail Miss Clinton drives in the coffin of your own party. Why are they so scared of her. The superdelegates really are like cheap workers.

    March 26, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13