March 27th, 2008
08:00 PM ET
11 years ago

Clinton backers don't sway Pelosi

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Pelosi is sticking to her superdelegate argument."](CNN) - A recent letter from several Hillary Clinton fundraisers to Nancy Pelosi seeking she step back from her contention that superdelegates should support the pledged-delegate leader appears to have had little effect on the House Speaker.

Pelosi spokesman Brendan Daly said late Wednesday the California Democrat stands by her argument that the party's superdelegates would do damage if they go against the will of voters and hand the nomination to the candidate who finished second among those delegates awarded from the round of caucuses and primaries.

"The speaker believes it would do great harm to the Democratic Party if superdelegates are perceived to overturn the will of the voters," Daly said. "This has been her position throughout this primary season, regardless of who was ahead at any particular point in delegates or votes.”

The statement comes a day after nearly 20 high-profile Clinton fundraisers strongly criticized Pelosi for that position, arguing instead that the superdelegates "have an obligation to make an informed, individual decision about whom to support and who would be the party’s strongest nominee."

The fundraisers, who reminded Pelosi in the letter they have been strong contributors to the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, also urged the House Speaker to "clarify your position on super-delegates and reflect in your comments a more open view to the optional independent actions of each of the delegates at the National Convention in August."

"Speaker Pelosi is confident that superdelegates will choose between Sens. Clinton or Obama — our two strong candidates — before the convention in August," Daly also said. "That choice will be based on many considerations, including respecting the decisions of millions of Americans who have voted in primaries and participated in caucuses."

Pelosi first expressed her stance in an ABC News interview earlier this month - one that benefits Barack Obama, whose current pledged delegate lead of 171 is virtually insurmountable given the party's proportional delegation allocations, even if Clinton were to win each of the remaining 10 primary contests.

An Obama spokesman called the Clinton fundraiser's letter "inappropriate."

Meanwhile, CNN's Ted Barrett reports some Democrats on the Hill are privately complaining the letter was a bad idea.

One senior aide, whose boss actually supports Clinton, said there are “grumblings that pressuring Pelosi was a stupid thing to do,” largely because it appears the donors were “bullying” the speaker.

Another top aide, who works for a senator who is neutral in the race, predicted, “if the misguided effort hasn’t already blown up in their face, mark my words it will. For the life of me how they think they can win this argument with the Speaker is beyond me.”

(Updates with Capitol Hill Democrats' reaction)

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (115 Responses)
  1. Jonathan, FL

    Did we hear a threat in there???


    3 Cheers for Pelosi!!!

    Integrity '08

    March 27, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. sacto joe

    Maybe this will convince the Clintons that their "in your face" approach won't work. But I doubt it.

    March 27, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  3. Bayou Joe

    I hope you stay the course when Hillary has the majority of the votes. 10 States have not held primaries. Hillary will win them all. You are the worst speaker of house this country has had in centuries. No leadership, no vision, just politics as usual. Tell your colleages to do something worthwhile instead of holding worthless hearings on whether atheletes used drugs.

    March 27, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  4. Len, Colorado

    Speaker Pelosi is correct. I beleive that in this country the majority rules.
    FL and MI new the rules. They decided not to abide by them. And please remember Obama was not on one of the ballots and over two million people did not vote because they new their vote would not count.

    March 27, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  5. HH



    March 27, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  6. Cliff

    Nancy Pelosi, who appears to speak out of both sides of our mouth, on practically every issue, the superdelegate debate included, amazes me that she is the Speaker of the House. She radiates the appearance of an "up tight" person, completely out of her league. Apparently, she feels most comfortable when traveling abroad and sticking her nose in matters for which she has no knowledge or business. Pelosi, apparently is representative of the entire Congress whom the public perceives as worthy of low approval ratings.

    March 27, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  7. Charles Hardeman

    please can the cnn moderators/obamacists approve my comments for once thank you.

    (i know its truthful and accurate criticism but sometimes you have to let it go cnn... you are SUPPOSED to be fair, after all.)

    i mean... are you sure you really want another SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE

    first time i warned you about that you didnt take me too seriously. try again this time.

    March 27, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  8. DarrylT

    Lostfigs you seemed to have missed the point. Nancy's position is that "uncommitted" super-delegates should support the candidate that is ahead in: 1. Pledged (won) delegates, 2. Popular votes, and 3. Most states won.

    Now that is NOT Hillary Clinton.

    So, Richardson and Kennedy have done the right thing.

    Did you miss that?

    March 27, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  9. amy o

    Pelosi's argument is that the superdelegates shouldn't go against the POPULAR vote and delegate count in the end. It has nothing to do with who won which states-it's about pledged delegates and popular vote. Obama is ahead in both and should receive the nomination based on that. Pelosi's point is that superdelegates should not overturn the NATIONAL results of the people's vote. Please understand what you're talking about before you comment.

    March 27, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  10. Darth Vadik, CA

    Why dont Hillary and Bill form their own third party?

    The Clinton Do as We Say Not as You Think or Your Political Career is Over Party.

    March 27, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  11. kathleen

    I think that Pelosi is a good woman and Senator and that she has
    a tough job. Many criticized Polisi for not standing up to Bush and
    the Republicans. I do not fault Polisi. Who can stand up to a man
    who is so self-rightious to push for a war that was not warranted?

    I want our troops home. I want them remembered for their bravery.
    They are standing up and doing everything that America has asked
    them to do.

    Nancy Polosi will win this one with Hillary. She is like Richardson
    that has the courage to be an advocate for the voter. Hillary contended
    that Richardson "owed her". No, Richardson owed America the
    truth and he knew it. Nothing is owed to the Clinton's who "gave"
    jobs to people. We gave Bill Clinton a job to do and we don't want
    anything else from them two.Bill and Hillary would not have been able
    to give jobs to people if we had not voted for him for President.

    HERE THAT CARVILLE? You not only owe Richardson an apology
    but you owe the American People an apology, likewise.And fast.
    People will never forget the "Judas" remark you made about Richardson. Everybody, including Richardson has a RIGHT TO VOTE.


    From a Retired Professional White Woman for Obama from Day 1.
    FOX NEWS WILL NOT CHANGE MY MIND!!!! Here that Hannity???

    March 27, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  12. Jessie

    Why shouldn't the super delegates support whoever wins the popular vote instead of supporting the delegates? Wouldn't that be following the "will of the people"? Since Hillary is currently leading in the popular vote, I'm guessing it's because Peloski wants to swing the election

    March 27, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  13. Jen

    she is jealous of Hillary Clinton because she has failed in her responsibilities as speaker.




    March 27, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  14. Doug, Florida

    Clinton supporters are so senseless. Their arguements make no sense.

    As a Democrat, I vote for the winner – Barack or Hillary.

    Go DNC 08

    March 27, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  15. BILL jENE


    March 27, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  16. Bob, Lyons Oregon

    Good for you Nancy P. Don't let the Clinton big money backers, tell you what to say and do. Its obvious the people are talking through Obama, with his money backers being the american people, not those pac's and lobbiyests that Clinton has that are trying to steal the election.

    March 27, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  17. Charles Hardeman



    March 27, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  18. Erin State College, PA

    Livin a thug life doesn't get you into the White House...twice.....the Clintons are living a thug life and they are a huge POWER TRIP that needs to end now.

    OBAMA 2008

    March 27, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  19. tim

    AMYO AND DARRYIT..... hold your condescension and respond to my post. It seems you guys do not get it. Pelosi is advocating that her position and that the superdelegates position should be the most democratic possible position, and follow the will of the people. To ignore MI and FL, and to ignore the rest of the contests is NOT DEMOCRATIC. IT IS NOT FOLLOWING THE WILL OF THE PEOPLE. THEY ARE BEING HYPOCRITES. HILLARY CAN AND WILL TAKE THE POPULAR VOTE.

    HILLARY 08

    March 27, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  20. Darth Vadik, CA


    Some of your people's logic amazes me, where did you go to school, George W Bush University and majored in basketweaving?

    March 27, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  21. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I believe what Pelosi is talking about is the fact that there have been more of everything so far going towards Obama. If the superdelegates make a clear move to Clinton over Obama, there could be a great backlash. If that backlash does happen, then it could mean that McCain is the next president no matter how well the Democrat nominee campaigns.

    March 27, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  22. I used to be a Democrat

    The Democrat Party has become such a joke. Pathetic.

    March 27, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  23. KM

    How quickly we forget how damaging and hurtful it was when the nation realized that the president is not elected by majority vote but instead by electorial vote. This was the case with Al Gore in case you don't remember. The american people feel disenfranchised when they think that their vote didn't mean anything and they went against the will of the majority of americans.

    I guess if it worked once, it can work again.

    March 27, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  24. oliver

    Nancy is right on!

    She made this same arguments in early Feb. when Clinton was ahead and then there were no complaints.

    Nancy is right!

    March 27, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  25. BIG JOHN Lancaster

    One other thing. I thank political opportunist, turncoat, and general Benedict Arnold, Bill Richardson for further muddying the waters. There is no doubt that he sees personal political opportunity in supporting Obama instead of his old "friends" the Clintons. He obviously has not learned that NO ONE likes a turncoat, they cannot be trusted. He may think he will get an offer from Obama if he is the nominee but my guess is that he may grow old waiting for that phone call! No one wants an opportunist or traitor on the payroll cause you just can't trust em, BILL!!!!

    March 27, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
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