March 27th, 2008
08:40 AM ET
11 years ago

Clinton backers scold Pelosi on superdelegate comment


Clinton backers are taking aim at Pelosi for saying superdelegates should not overturn the pledged-delegate outcome. (Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Nearly 20 high-profile Hillary Clinton backers strongly criticized Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday over her recent suggestion that Democratic party superdelegates should not overturn the pledged delegate outcome at the party's convention this August.

In a letter to the House Speaker dated Wednesday, the backers said that position is at odds with the party's original intent on what the role of superdelegates should be. (Read full letter [PDF])

"Superdelegates, like all delegates, have an obligation to make an informed, individual decision about whom to support and who would be the party’s strongest nominee," the backers wrote.

"Both campaigns agree that at the end of the primary contests neither will have enough pledged delegates to secure the nomination," they also said. "In that situation, super-delegates must look to not one criterion but to the full panoply of factors that will help them assess who will be the party’s strongest nominee in the general election."

In an ABC interview earlier this month, Pelosi said it was her belief whichever candidate ended the round a primaries with the pledged-delegate lead should be awarded the Democratic nomination by the superdelegates. That argument would benefit 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.

In their letter to Pelosi, the backers 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."

"If the votes of the superdelegates overturn what happened in the elections it would be harmful to the Democratic Party," Pelosi said.

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton called the letter "inappropriate."

“This letter is inappropriate and we hope the Clinton campaign will reject the insinuation contained in it," Burton said. "Regardless of the outcome of the nomination fight, Senator Obama will continue to urge his supporters to assist Speaker Pelosi in her efforts to maintain and build a working majority in the House of Representatives."

Meanwhile Pelosi spokesman Nadeam Elshami told CNN's Deirdre Walsh: "As chair of the convention, [Pelosi] is neutral and her position has remained the same throughout the primary season."

The letter comes one day after Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seemed to suggest Democratic leaders were in the process of working out a deal to ensure the party's nomination fight does not go all the way to the convention.

"Things are being done," Reid told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

(Updated with Obama, Pelosi reaction)

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Nancy Pelosi
soundoff (321 Responses)
  1. A&A

    well said by so many of you...let Pelosi explain Kerry, Kennedy, Napolitano, and Richardson first and then talk about the rest...she is obviously the way have you seen Tracy Ulman take on her on the State of the Union? too funny

    March 26, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  2. Daniel Stevens

    Stop fighting each other...start wining against the republican. 🙂

    March 26, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. carliss

    it doesnt matter who win ill never ever again vote for hillary i would rather run and take cover from the bosnians gun fire

    March 26, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  4. Thank you Pelosi

    Thank you Nancy Pelosi. These power hungry Clintons destroyed the democratic party chasing their own interest in the 90's and now they want to come back and win the nomination at any cost. I am glad Pelosi, Dean and Richardson are standing up to the Clintons. The Clintons are toxic to DNC.

    March 26, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  5. William Boyd

    Although I'm a Democrat and decided from the beginning that I would not vote for the Republican candidate, I now have to admit that if Obama is not the Democratic nominee, I will vote Republican. After what Clinton has said and done, I believe I could trust McCain more then her. Where as I believe Clinton will do and say anything to win, that winning is all that matters to her, and that the country doesn't matter, I believe McCain can be trusted more then her and he does care about the country. I hope that Obama is the nominee. If not then I will not support Clinton.

    March 26, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  6. A former Hillary supporter

    If the superdelegates don't pay attention to how the populace is voting nationwide, then what is the point of all theses primaries and caucuses.
    The country deserves better than more years of the Bush/Clinton ways of doing business.

    Obama 2008

    March 26, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  7. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    For those of you who feel Nancy Pelosi doesn't like Hillary you haven't listened carefully to Hillary's speeches. Whenever Hillary talks about support and change for women and named women of achievement, Hillary has never mentioned Nancy Pelosi. Hillary is a divider and has one self serving agenda, power at any cost. Hillary will take down the Democrat Party as punishment for her loss and she's accomplishing that in favor of John McCain. The DNC has done nothing to warn her and they are not to be trusted.

    March 26, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  8. Tin

    I think Pelosi has a crush on Obama. Poor Pelosi... she tried...

    March 26, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  9. joann

    My thanks to Nancy Pelosi, someone in this country needs to "say it like it is." You are a breath of fresh air!
    Hilary, stand your strong!

    March 26, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  10. willis

    Twenty (20) high profile backers threatening someone?! What are we talking about 20 janitors, 20 garage men, 20 dogs, 20 goats? Don't they have name?

    In any event, who cares what 20 people think - it's the millions of people who voted for Obama who really count!

    Vote your dream team: "Character" and "Integrity"!

    Vote Obama

    March 26, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  11. An American in Canada

    Pelosi's you should concentrate on the congress and do the work that your mandate has alloted you.

    Try to make sure the Bush gang does not bushwack you again.

    Are you feeling lonely all alone in your chamber, you need to get some negative publicity..

    Rules are rules Pelosi or do you not understand that yet? Is that why you are working diligently to make sure the DNC does not disenfranchise Florida and Michigan two large states... That is where your focus should be!!!

    If the rule is the pledged delegates are not bound by the spliting of

    delegates by percentages won in an election then so be it.

    If people complain about over turning voters rights how about all those stupid caucuses where Hillary R. Clinton won the states but the caucuses gave more delegates to Obama GIVE US A BREAK...


    March 26, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  12. Thompson

    If the superdelegates have the final say, why should I vote? Just let them choose the nominee. I would say not, they do not represent my views.... If Obama wins the popular vote and have the most delegates he should be the nominee. However, if the supperdelegates choose Clinton over Obama don't count on my vote. I will vote for Nader...

    March 26, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  13. Just a hunch...

    i think 90% of the pro Hillary posters are paid staffers..... its AMAZING how their "logic" mimicks the current day's "talking points" and "rationale"...

    doesn't sound like much independent thought is coming from them...

    again.. just a hunch....

    March 26, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  14. What?

    Pelosi clearly does not understand the purpose of super delegates.

    I think superdelegates are a poor idea. Why have open primaries and give independents and crossover republicans a say in who the party nominee is, only to create the fine mess we are currently in, and then have superdelegates to bring it all back to the wishes of the party?

    But, we have them, we are stuck with them, and they should be allowed to do the job they were created for. Those are the rules.

    The democratic party is so afraid of alienating the newbies, the independents and the cross over republicans that they are willing to piss of the democratic base. Like Obama, they are somehow convinced that we will forgive and forget just for the sake of the party.

    Sorry... we are more concerned with fairness, honest elections, and counting the votes of the people. The republicans can get away with disenfranchising democrats, but the democratic party can not.

    We will show you that you can not rig an election. We'll suffer for 4 more years under republican rule just to teach you that REALLY important lesson. Don't pre-elect the nominee and don't disenfranchise the democrats to install the nominee you decided we should all want.

    March 26, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  15. angela

    According too Nancy Pelosi's theory most of Obamas backers should then vote for Hillary Clinton inc herself as she is obviously been biased towards Obama for months as Hillary won their states. Nancy Pelosi, Harry Reid and Howard Dean are to blame for the state of the democratic party today, how can you say this is good for the party when you not only want to disenfranchise democratic voters in Fl and Mi but Democratic voters in states yet to vote. superdelegates are meant to look at all the issues before making a decision otherwise there wouldn't be superdelegates.nancy pelosi is feeling threatened by another woman. I look forward to herself, richardson, kennedy, kerry etc going on TV and pledging their support for Hillary Clinton since that is what their states have decided.

    March 26, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  16. Debra

    The super delegates should vote based on the will of the people. You know, the candidate that has the most votes and pledged delegates. You know, his name is Obama, not Clinton. Looks like Hillary is getting scared, the power is slipping away.

    March 26, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  17. enoch needles

    nice of hillary to let her deep pockets contributors do her dirty work. typical clinton tactics and once again why she does not deserve to be president.

    March 26, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  18. Pappu

    What hypocracy! Richardson voted for Obama even though his state went for Hillary. Pelosi should manoever to get back that vote (and while she is at it, do the same about votes by Ted Kennedy and John Kerry), or shut up and let the superdelegates vote their conscience.

    March 26, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  19. Kathleen in Oregon

    Finally – someone is shedding some light on the actual RULES of the nominating process.

    Hillary has every right to stay in this race. It's a long way from over....

    Pelosi's earlier comments were clearly anti-Clinton and un-democratic. I'm glad the old gal is getting called on her B.S.

    March 26, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  20. zina

    With all due respect, Hillary cannot be president because "she deserves it". Voters select the nominee. The majority has selected Obama. Why do you want to over turn the will of the people? Nancy Pelosi's argument is that going against the will of the people will not look good for the democratic party.

    HRC Supporters – Do you think Obama supporters will vote for Hillary if their votes are overturned? Seriously?

    March 26, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  21. Bob

    I will have a big problem if I won most states, have the most pledged delegates, and the most popular votes and do not become the nominee. Where is the fairness in all this? I would not be waiting on someone who owes my hubby a favorite to deliver the nomination for me. The people across this nation have spoken loud and clear!!!

    March 26, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
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