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. Nakae

    Well Hillary sounds like you have a brilliant plan for success:

    1. Lose elections
    2. Mismanage campaign till it goes broke
    3. Cry
    4. Delegates feel bad – hand you nomination

    And you already have the first 3 steps done!

    March 26, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  2. Kay-Arizona

    Is Hillary not allowed to talk about the rules pertaining to delegates? Give it a break. Hillary sneezes and she is accused of trying to infect all the obama supporters. Thats how stupid this whole thing has gotten.

    March 26, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  3. Dilip Samuels

    Hillary Clinton should tell us atea with a few old ladies in Ireland brokered peace ...ha!

    March 26, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  4. GO HILL!

    Please go to today's GALLUP POLL for info on which candidate needs who in the Fall.....28% of Hillary's supporters will VOTE McCAIN in the Fall....Obama has a huge problem, on top of his other electibility problems...

    March 26, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. Joy

    She is right.

    My uncle is a pledged delegate. After hear Obama's speech about race, he decided to switch his vote to Hillary. He said the reason is Obama's 20 years tie with that anti-America church makes Obama not qulified to be any public official. Also, instead of addressing the public the questionable relationship between him and his pastor, he enlarged the question to race and try to make Americans agree with him. If he admits his mistake and last 20 years was a mistake, my uncle would keep his vote, but Obama didn't.

    Finally, voting for Obama for president is liking rolling a dice. It's dangerous for America. Too many red flags.

    March 26, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  6. mike in georgia

    To Spirit of American and any other HRC supporters...wake up to reality. HRC will never win in November. She has 48 – 51% of American voters saying they will NEVER vote for her. And, this was BEFORE the darling of the independents, John McCain, became the nominee. No red state will turn blue with HRC and some blue states may turn red, like PA, MI, WI, and MN. Look at the electoral map from 2000 and 2004 with an objective eye and you will agree.

    March 26, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  7. fred

    Should have read....Richardson is going against the vote of the people of his state!!!!

    March 26, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. April in Texas

    Please Hillary stop destroying the party with the attitude If I cant win the nomination I will destroy the party instead. IF ANY DELEGATES CHANGE IT WILL BE YOURS TO OBAMA. Your childish behavior is unbecoming and I will be pissed if the nomination goes to you when Obama is clearly in the lead with pldged delegates popular vote and more states won even those states you say dont count.

    Obama 08
    Austin Texas

    March 26, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  9. tim from Ravenna, OH

    Of course the Obama campaign is complaining. What don't they complain about? The fact is that what she is saying is the truth. What if, say the leading candidate is indicted of a serious crime just weeks before the convention? Are we to believe for a second that the pledge delegates are bound in some way to stay with that indicted candidate? The very fact that Obama and his campaign is so thin skinned shows me that this man is no where near ready to accept the responsibilities of our countries highest office. He keeps saying that he plays by the rules, but rejects any rule that doesn't benefit him in some way. Where is the new kind of politician that will bring change? He is doing exactly what she is doing, anything to win.

    March 26, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  10. Sharon

    Please go look at todays Gallup Poll for who needs who in the fall...OBAMA HAS A HUGE PROBLEM.....

    March 26, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  11. joe

    Her point is that this is the rule of the game. Deal with it.

    Caucauses are not going to be used in the general election, and they are not representative of the general election (unlike primaries) but yet they are counted for democratic nominations. This rule benefits Obama because the people that vote for him can sit at caucauses half a day (in some cases a whole day). What about people that vote ahead of time, older people, people that have to work???? How is this representative of the general election? This caucus "advantage" is going to be moot in the general election.

    Superdelegates John Kerry, Bill Richardson and Ted Kennedy's states all went to Hillary yet they are back Obama against their constituents. So no superdelegates don't have to vote the way their constituent votes. Period. I have yet to hear a formidable argument against this point.

    Instead of just listening to speeches, Obama supporters, why don't you think before reacting like irrational children? This is the rule of the game, which like it or not, is the way it is unless the rules are changed mid way. If Obama wins with these rules. That's great I will support him because I am a democrat and want the war to end, etc. (I also don't understand people that say if Hillary or Obama won, they would vote McCain... this makes no sense people! If you are voting on this logic, please stay at home)

    March 26, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  12. scott

    Wow its amazing how well these bots follow there great leaders advise of hope and change. and that so called great speech many must not of really heard it . The change wasnt for many of your dypers.
    Obama must be so proud of what the Union he has created

    March 26, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  13. joyce price

    So, at 3:01 am – "I made a mistake, I'm only human" as the world is blown up. I can't see how any woman could have supported the bombing, maiming and destruction of thousands of families – "it takes a village"

    March 26, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  14. Dennis

    I don't want to hear Hillary Clinton talk about making every vote count anymore. She doesn't respect the primary system. Out of one side of her mouth, she wants revotes in Michigan and Florida–seemingly because she believes she can get more pledged delegates out of those states. Then, out of the other side of her mouth, she is telling the pledged delegates they don't have to vote for the candidate they were elected to select at the convention. She can't have it both ways. Either the primary votes mean something, or they don't.

    March 26, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  15. Let's be clear

    Suppress the Clinton votes and still SHE has 50% of the votes.

    Then let's pretend that Obama is winning- with just 50% of the votes- and none of his voters disenfranchised.

    Then let's pretend IF he gets the nomination that he won it, rather than stole it.

    Then all of us lifelong democrats who have been disenfranchised or watched our fellow democrats be disenfranchised by our own party and the DNC, lets all vote for Obama ANYway- just out of party loyalty.

    Even though we don't think he is the best candidate and even though we recoil at rigged elections.

    March 26, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  16. OMG

    Its funny that all the attacks on here are against Clinton. ITS THE DEMOCRATIC PARTY that set up this ridiculous system, so why don't you spew the hate in their direction and get rid of the superdelegate mess altogether. The Democratic Party somehow feels that people in its own party aren't smart enough to vote for the "right" candidate. I find it hilarious though that everyone says that the superdelegates must vote how the people vote, but Bill Richardson (NM went to Clinton) is okay in pledging his support to Obama...

    It doesn't matter either way, the Democratic Party is ripping itself apart so it makes no difference whether you support Clinton or Obama. John McCain is going to be the next President. The Democrats could very well destroy themselves completely this year, unless they get their act together. I don't see it happening.

    If the Democrats do survive this mess, you can probably guarantee they won't see the White House for another 20 years or so.

    March 26, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  17. brian gilbert

    Well, here we go. The voters have taken the time to respond to the candidates by voting in primarys and caucuses. The results have been counted, and delagates awarded by the percentages of the vote.Now Hillary Clinton states that the citizens of AMERICA are full of it and there are better people out there that should change there fellow citizens votes, just forget that the people have spoken, and vote her in as the nominee. Get Real if we as citizens, cant have our vote counted then why even get involved. I am livid

    March 26, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  18. Steve


    Why should anyone vote for Hillary? Tell me!!!

    March 26, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. lol

    Hillary will get the nomination, because barack can't carry big states, against her let alone mccain. The DNC recognizes this, and they know with him on the ticket they will lose the white house.

    March 26, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. D L Williamson

    I cannot support a clinton, nothing but smoke,mirrors,lies & BS AND trying to redefine the dictionary, misspoke=lie.

    March 26, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. E Popp

    Early delegates will have had several more months to examine the candidates. They should make up their minds on the convention floor.

    March 26, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  22. diane

    She claims her years in the White House qualify her to run the country. Well I do believe the White House gardener, chef, maid all have been there longer so they are just as if not more qualified.

    March 26, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  23. msm

    How much stupider can this woman gets? So ok Hillary if the pledge delegates are not bound to their candidate, I guess all the pledge delegates for you should just switch to Obama so he'll have enough delegates for the nomination and end this madness that you've started. You're not thinking of it that way ah! I forget, you've been fighting so dirty and nasty for so long it's making you senseless!! Give it up Billary you're fighting a losing battle, the clinton regime has come to an end. TALK ABOUT THE AUDACITY OF HOPELESSNESS!!!!!!

    March 26, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  24. Tommy, TX

    Get out now!!! PLEASE. Take Bill and Chelsea and just go home to NY. PLEASE!!!

    March 26, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  25. Delegates

    CNN – I guess my conment on Delegates made to much sense so you took it out. I don't know who is worse the DNC or CNN.

    March 26, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
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