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. Shawna

    I would hope the upcoming voters would use common sense and put this primary to rest. Any other candidate would have been asked to step aside...where is dean, where are gore, and the other superdelegates...Bill Clinton himself should be telling her it's over. This has got to be pulling at straws.

    March 26, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  2. Deborah

    Hillary you are so over!

    March 26, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. Aaron

    clear thinker...your entire argument is based on a fallacy. The race isn't 50/50. Obama is ahead, hence the delegate count and the popular vote count and the states won count.

    but you support Hillary and can bend the truth to make your argument look better. Like is like huh?

    March 26, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. Ed

    It bothers me to see that Palosi, Dean and Gore are just sitting back letting this lady tear up the Democratic Party. I mean with all the lies, the changing of positions, refusal to release taxes and now trying to get committed delegates to change sides, this has to be the worse politician that I have ever seen. The mere fact that she fabricated a lie about her Bosnia visit is enough for me not to vote for her let alone all of the new things that we are founding out now. Ex. Lies about NAFTA, lies about bringing peace to Kosovo, Vote for Iraq war and now trying to pull troops and the planted questions early in the WH race.

    March 26, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. Cammi317

    If this was party vs. party, this kind of tactic would be somewhat stomachable, but this is just SAD. At this rate, the Democratic party will be condemned. I understand that she is upset that Bill Richardson jumped ship (of his own accord), so she is trying to encourage others to sway her way. The problem is, at the end of the day because of all of the devisiveness the party is going to split in a way that no Democrat could ever win the election. I caution BOTH sides to be careful at this stage of the game. It can do no good for the Democratic party.

    March 26, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. stephen

    Obama Get on the phone and get some of her delegates!

    March 26, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  7. sozzi


    Obama sure doesn't need Hillary.
    Thanks, but no thanks.

    March 26, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  8. dlr

    Bottom Line.......She will destroy the Democratic Party.....I hope that she is happy......

    March 26, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  9. Roger B from Portland, OR

    So...after campaigning so much for the voices of Florida and Michagan to be heard (also note that she ignored Michigan until Florida said it couldn't vote, then she was on a plane and over in MI faster than a rat leaving a ship) now she is saying the voices of the voters DON'T matter?

    Which is it? The people or the delegates?

    March 26, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  10. Chris Crew

    It sounds like Clinton and her people are happily saying that we don't live in a democracy... She is saying that our votes don't matter and that the "pledged delegates" can do whatever they want despite the outcomes of the elections.

    This rule needs to be changed. Who decided that the people should not elect our candidates? And why is Hillary championing this line of thinking?

    Apparently, Clinton is no longer concealing her dislike for the democratic process and is hoping that she can reshape the rules of our elections in a way that disenfranchises the majority in order to cement the groundwork for her rule.

    She has no chance of winning at this point with the power of the people. She has already lost that race! He only hope now is to try to get party insiders to overturn the will of the people.

    ALL YOU CLINTON SUPPORTERS OUT THERE - Do you like Democracy or Clinton more? Should we do away with the primary elections and just let party insiders choose our candidates like they did a century ago? Its about time for Clinton's supporters to have a reality check and get behind democracy before their favorite candidate of the moment.

    Obama has won the popular vote, has more delegates, and has won almost twice as many states. I he is not the nominee, it will be a stain on our Democracy!

    March 26, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  11. Deborah

    Hillary is cooking up more lies. She is readying herself to cheat!!!!!

    March 26, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. Brandon

    How anyone can defend Hillary on this amazes me. Obviously to her anyone that votes against her doesn't have the right to have that vote counted. Stating that an election where her name is the only one on the ballot is "fair" combined with her trying to overturn the will of those who already voted makes me question her commitment to democracy. The arrogant and self-entitiled woman doesn't care about democracy, the democratic party, or the United States of America. She only cares about getting back to the White House. How anyone supports this is beyond me.

    March 26, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  13. Gerald F.

    I believe people are missing the point Senator Clinton is making about the delegates freedom of choice. Basically I read her words as telling everyone not only is it up to them but she herself is NOT controlling their thinking mind and won't. I don't think she is cooking up anything. (Neither is Senator Obama by taking a vacation for that matter).
    Some of the remarks here seem to read more like exerts from some old murder mystery with lists of suspicions being tossed out a the drop of a hat.

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

    Hill desperation is a disease and it's seriously catching up with you. Humbly bow out of the race and let Obama unite the DNC party and carry you and your little supporters along else you will be shamed out of the race and the effect will be you losing the little political clout you've got for life. Changing the rules to suit you will not help matters.

    March 26, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  15. KJ, CA

    It is absoutely disgusting that she keeps advocating this. I understand that she is doing this because it is the only way she can win the nomination. But, to tell pledged delegates that they should not support the candidate who was the choice of the voters that they are representing is beyong wrong!

    Mrs. Clinton it is time to stop, it is time to withdrawal and let Senator Obama get on with the business of getting a Democrat into the White House. These kind of tactics are unthinkable to me and how anyone can support you after you advocating this I just don't understand.

    March 26, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  16. Robert Cox LA

    I do not know what Hill has in mind, but I am sure she will try in some way to steal the nomination at the convention. If this is the case, I hope my party will remember Florida in 2000 and how loudly they cried out for justice. If the DNC allows Hill to hijack the nomination they are just as underhanded as the GOP. In closing, no more Clintons and the Bushes they hide in.

    March 26, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  17. Linda

    Obama supporters all claim to think he has the ability to unite, inspire, be the peacemaker, etc. But the tone of hate that comes out of his supporters when talking about Clinton make me think otherwise. I think Obama is very inspirational. It's his fellow citizens(!)....that scare me.

    You all know running for office is competetive by nature, right? I wouldn't quit such a close race until the very end!

    March 26, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  18. Brandon

    I guess i wasted my time when i stood in line to go vote. Good thing I live in a primary state. I would have wasted a couple hours in that case. Why is Hillary so against democracy and fair play?

    March 26, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  19. Veronica

    Since not candidate will reach the magic number, the Democratic candidate will be determined by (1) super delegates or (2) pledged delegates switching to the other candidate. Therefore, there will be lots of changes occurring at the convention if there is not a clear winner beforehand. It is my understanding that some delegates have already started moving (ie. super delegates and Edwards pledged delegates). So what did Hillary say that is not correct?

    March 26, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  20. KMB

    Wow, I am so tired of unscrupulous politicians. Why even have a primary vote. Maybe the DNC should just nominate a candidate for us. I mean if we are going to keep changing the rules to accomplish the means for a single person then why bother to have the people vote anyways. Isn't Hillary the one that wants the peoples voices heard, then when they are heard and delegates are awarded proportionally she wants the delegates to change what the people wanted – priceless!

    March 26, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  21. BrianTR

    Man Clinton has really lost it.

    March 26, 2008 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  22. GoHillary

    Go Hillary! Obama and his spirtual advisor have no chance in the general election. He will lose every big state that matters. Go Hillary!

    March 26, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  23. DM

    Hillary's made a statement after the 2000 election that the popular vote should be the deciding decision. Now since it's her foot shoved in the white house door once more, and she isn't getting ahead in the popular vote or the delegate count, she wants to say the delgates and superdelegates should decide not based on popular vote. If that doesn't go her way, she and her supporter Senator Bayh wants to use the electoral college even when that was what she was so upset about in the 2000 election that got Bush in office. It's sad that it's not even astonishing to Americans anymore that she is two-headed. Oh what a tangled web she weaves!

    March 26, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  24. ajay

    hillary, pl get going... ur only goal now is to ensure dems dont get to white house. disgusting...

    March 26, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  25. Katie

    To those who think Hillary should "win-at-all-costs": You live in America, which is technically a REPRESENTATIVE Republic. If you want to live in a country where leaders are entitled to their posts, I suggest you move to one of the many countries in the world that operate that way, Saudi Arabia, perhaps.

    Also, some of you suggest that some people, knowing what they know now, would not vote for Obama. Can you imagine that some people in Ohio that voted for Hillary wish they could change their votes to Obama now that her NAFTA-promoting schedules have been released? It goes both ways.

    Hillary can't maintain any semblance of ethics or integrity and get the nomination. I usually vote republican, and I'll cross over in a general election for Obama because I believe that he will revive American's interest in our political system. I'd like to see a bright light shined upon our politial system to see the "cockroaches" scurry. There is no circumstance in which I would cross over to vote for Hillary.

    March 26, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
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