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. Told you so!

    Why are you all suddenly so surprised and disgusted? Hillary has behaved this way for her entire public life. Oh, I understand. Now, she has begun dumping on Democrats!

    March 26, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  2. Clear thinker

    The race is pretty close to 50/50 even with the disenfranchisements. And it would shift in Hillary's favor if ALL the votes for her were counted.

    Obama supporters, you can not suppress the votes in favor of his opponent and then still declare he has a lead.

    Silly newbies.

    March 26, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  3. enlightedMan

    Guys,
    Whoever you support, please close your eyes and think seriously. Ask yourself...what do you want from our president? Honesty, Decency, Straight Talk, Leadership, Working with and for all ...etc. Please do not consider race or gender. Once you have your answer, vote for your candidate. And also vote for the candidate whoever is elected by the primary. We need to unify our party...we need to understand that at the end of the day we are all democrats and we need WH back. It is disturbing reading news that Obama and Hillary supporters will not vote if the other candidate gets nomination. That will be biggest failure for all of us as democrat. After primary..we will all unite for our nominee.

    March 26, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  4. Gail

    If she wins, I will stay home or vote for McCain. At least he seems to be a decent human being.

    March 26, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  5. Carolyn

    It is so obvious to me that Hilary Clinton is doing everything she can to muddy the waters just to get the nomination. Her only hope is do pull down Barak Obama and to what end. What she is doing is truly hurting the democratic party and it just is plain selfish. I think she felt like she had the noimination wrapped up and now she is waking up to the truth that it just is not so. I am willing to bet thaty is Sen Obama had lost 12 primaries in a row the DNC would have insisted that he get out of the race, but no such thing happened with Sen Clinton. I am so fed up with this that I am thinking of voting for Ralph Nader if she gets the nomination. Her entire campaign has been seek and destroy and I mis-spoke (which where I come from we learned early on was called telling a lie).

    March 26, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  6. Peter Paul video

    That how stupid Hillary Clinton thinks people are.

    One moment she wants everyone's vote to count and the other hand

    she doesn't want voters decision doesn't count.

    Pledge delegate are up for grab, that is silly .

    Why border to campaign when all your votes won't be yours?

    I don't understand why Hillary want to change the table or move the

    goal post to her faviour.

    I just think she will hang herself if she didn't win the nomination.

    March 26, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  7. Rob

    seems the only experience necessary for HRC on day 1 would be the skill to lie, twist facts and alter the rules to further her ambition – all of this with a straight face. Is this not the experience of the last 7+ years?
    It truly amazes me that no one gets this especially the hierarchy of the Democrats.

    March 26, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  8. ~ Jan, NJ

    I pray that other superdel's follow in the footsteps of Richardson. And SOON! Before the Democratic party falls completely apart and the nomination goes to the Republican's.

    March 26, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  9. polly h

    If the shoe was on the other foot then obama to your suprise would be saying the thing besides Richardson and that seen to be great for obama see like i say before the us is not ready for a women president whether a clinton or not go Hilliary

    March 26, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  10. Manuel TX

    The rules are the rules.

    Isn't that the endless chant from the Obamabots regarding MI and FL.

    The rules for pledged delegates are clear, and they can vote for whomever they want.

    Since Barry is such a great candidate then he has nothing to worry about. 🙂

    The rules are the rules.

    March 26, 2008 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
  11. Larry. San Diego, Ca

    Obama is finally be exposed. He is going down.

    March 26, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  12. Karl

    If she somehow steals the nomination, then loses in the general election, she will ask the generals and admirals who were photographed with her to stick her in the White House by military force.

    March 26, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  13. Suzanne

    It is time for super delegates to come out for Obama. Clinton was suppose to get the hint with Richardson. It was another opportunity for her to save face and step down from the race. Now we just need the rest to committ for Obama and maybe then she will get it.

    March 26, 2008 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  14. Crocus

    Umm, wouldn't it disenfranchise the voters if the pledged delegates did not abide by the election results? I thought Clinton was against disenfranchising voters.

    March 26, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  15. Jen

    National polls show that democratic voters are changing their minds (toward Hilary at the moment)..why shouldn't the delegates votes reflect that change?

    National polls show that democratic voters are changing their minds (toward Hilary at the moment)..why shouldn't the delegates votes reflect that change?

    March 26, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  16. enomisa

    Super delegates have a responsibility.

    It is not to just mirror the popular vote.

    If that were so, no need to create superdelegates.

    They are there for a situation just like this. A virtual tie- well sort of- count Fl and Mi and no longer a tie. They are there for a scenarion where the democratic base wants one candidate and the indies and republicans swaying toward the other candidate. AND they sway is not large enough to be significant to matter in the general election- again, especially when the votes for Hillary have been suppressed.

    May the best man... or woman win- fair and square, not by cheating voters out of their vote.

    March 26, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  17. Fernando

    Un-freaking-believable! So why do we vote at all, let's just wait until the end and take a general poll and whoever is up is the nominee.
    I don't understand how Hillary still have supporters...These type of comments make me want to puke!

    March 26, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  18. AJ, IL

    I think some Hillary supporters are delusional. Hillary is trying to create new math by saying the superdelegates should look at the primary states won as electoral college votes. Now she is saying that essentially pledged delegates and superdelegates are the same. Anybody can change their votes regardless of primary and caucus results.

    Honestly, Hillary looks like she is willing to destroy the Democratic Party and its nomination process if she is not the Democratic Party choice. I hope the superdelegates are paying close attention to Hillary's campaign. If Obama can win 6 of the 10 remaining voting contests (including North Carolina and Indiana), Obama will have the support of the uncommitted superdelegates as the Puerto Rico voting contest ends on June 3rd.

    March 26, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  19. Jim

    Hillary should get the nomination so it won't unfold this way at the convention but if that's what's best for the party and the nation then so be it.

    March 26, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  20. RK

    I think you're all a bunch of morons. You are so blinded by hatred of the Clinton's you don't even know why you hate them. It doesn't matter what Hillary says or does, it won't be good enough for you. Never mind that Obama parrots all of her ideas, but for you to blame Chelsea for her father's behaviour just proves my opening line.

    March 26, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  21. Ryan

    This really is a horribly cheap move. I find it interesting that Hillary has made such a big issue about disenfranchising voters in November by not counting Michigan and Florida's delegates according to their states voters when she now suggest that ALL pledged delegates do as they please and ignore the votes of those whom they represent. I really never thought I'd see the dems lose this year, but now I'm worried, and it is 99% because Hillary is so afraid to lose. This level of desperation is truly disturbing.

    March 26, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  22. Susan, PA Voter

    Here she goes again!

    First it's the superdelegates, then FL & MI, then the electoral college, and who knows what desparate scheme she will come up with next.

    PEOPLE: After all the proven lies, the deceptive tactics, the lack of transparency, the mistruths, the half-truths, the inflated record of experience, the lawsuits, the this, the that, HOW CAN ANYONE VOTE FOR HER? I can't, and won't.

    Barack: Come to PA and talk some sense into these people!

    March 26, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  23. RuthieM

    This is exactly why Bill Richardson endorsed Obama and why the others have too.

    March 26, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  24. Ryan P.

    This really is a horribly cheap move on Hillary's part. I find it interesting that Hillary has made such a big issue about disenfranchising voters in November by not counting Michigan and Florida's delegates according to their states voters when she now suggest that ALL pledged delegates do as they please and ignore the votes of those whom they represent. I really never thought I'd see the dems lose this year, but now I'm worried, and it is 99% because Hillary is so afraid to lose. This level of desperation is truly disturbing.

    March 26, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  25. Chicago08

    If every time Obama supporters make a stupid comment we give them a dollar, they would be millionaire by now.

    March 26, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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