May 24th, 2008
12:05 AM ET
14 years ago

Clinton: Democratic nomination process needs to change

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Clinton has been citing Karl Rove’s analysis as a basis for her argument."]BRANDON, South Dakota (CNN) - In the face of Barack Obama’s insurmountable lead among pledged delegates, Hillary Clinton on Friday again declared victory in the popular vote and suggested the current nominating process fails to represent the true will of American voters.

“We’re going to have to change the system by which we pick the nominees, I believe, and we are with the system we have now,” Clinton said, responding to a supporter here who lamented the role of superdelegates in selecting the party’s nominee. “And I’m a big believer in one person one vote, and I believe in as much democracy as possible.”

Clinton told the supporter that “superdelegates will play a big role” in choosing the nominee, but said she would prefer a primary-only system in which nominating contests would be bundled together.

“I think that’s an issue for debate in the future because I believe we should have primaries everywhere, and everybody, as many people as possible should be encouraged to vote,” she said. “We ought to group them so that nobody is at the tail end, so everybody has a chance to participate. But that’s all for the future.”

Despite her apparent dig against superdelegates, Clinton and her campaign have routinely argued that those party elites should be able to exercise their independent judgment in choosing a nominee, regardless of vote totals or pledged delegate counts.

Clinton also entered into a lengthy fulmination on the question of electability, arguing that she can “put together the electoral map” to defeat John McCain and citing a sampling of Karl Rove’s electoral maps and polling data, obtained by ABC News earlier this week, that showed her performing better than Obama in key states.

“Ask anybody who is supporting my opponent to please tell you how he gets to the 270 electoral votes that we must have to win,” she said. “Every independent analysis that I have seen, some of them done by no friends of Democrats as well as objective news channels, show that I defeat John McCain in key states like Florida, like Ohio, and my opponent does not. Show that I have won states totaling 300 electoral votes. My opponent has won states totaling about 217 electoral votes.”

On her chances in South Dakota, Clinton said she is “racing against the wind here” because Obama has “a lot of the institutional support, a lot of the political establishment” in the state.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (271 Responses)
  1. Samuel T. Horton

    Hillary is right . Caucus's are a joke . This 'distribution' of delegates system is also stupid. They should just mimic the general election .

    They shoud do away with super delegates completely , but the elected delegates can change their mind if the candidate becomes unelectable .

    May 24, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  2. Von Bismark VIENNA

    This woman has become so desparate of late that inconsistence makes her sound like a hollow gong being hit by a one year old baby.


    By her own words the Dem's nomination process has to change-
    because she is drawing. Of course in the future not in the middle of the game.Her husband and chief campaigner was elected with the same rules in place but never complained.

    She nowhere near NY 2000 again.

    May 24, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  3. Ray Kooms

    Clinton math is as bad as Bush math .

    May 24, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  4. NinaK

    Hiliary Clinton needs to stop bashing Senator Obama!! There is no way on God's green earth she can overtake his leads, no matter how much she and her lynching gang twist and spin the numbers. It seems her campaign is all about Florida, Michigan, and how she is in the lead and bashing the frontrunner. It is time for Hilliary to accept the fact that Senator Obama needs only about 56 delegates to win the nomination while she needs 246. She sure is bashing the Democratic Partty too, the rules are unfair, if they used "the winner takes all delegates rule like the Republicans, I'd be the nominee", she does not like caucus states, she thinks they don't count and that they are Democratic, they called the small primary states not important and they did not matter. That woman has shown her incompetence, divisiveness, and destructive characteristics and proven beyond a shadow of a doubt she is not fit to lead our country. Unfortunately, she lives in a world of IFs and cannot see reality.

    May 24, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  5. Bett


    May 24, 2008 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  6. OMG

    Does she still here? Again?
    She does not have any respect even for herself.

    May 24, 2008 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  7. FT

    Mrs Clinton never suggested a change in the democratic nomination process until she realized that she lost control of the process. We all know that Math is a big problem in this country. Mrs clinton needs some help in Math. Someone out there can help her!!!

    May 24, 2008 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  8. no, not her please

    i think they should only count that big wait, the swing states, no wait the racist states, no wait, only the states that vote for her.....let's not count any states that break the rules unless we need them to make our case. lets change the rules several times during the race and put importance on whatever statistic will give me the edge. my head is spinning with the desperation she's been evidencing. i think we're really sending a great example to the young girls for which she holds herself as a role model. lets tell them that it's okay to change the rules whenever you want as long as they rule changes benefit you. that's a great message to send.

    May 24, 2008 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  9. LL

    Victory in the popular vote ?
    Liar! Cheater!

    May 24, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  10. Dwight

    Please super delagates, Get this monster out of the race, She has not only lost it, but now she is openly talking some of the darkest rhetoric that one can imagine.

    May 24, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  11. kelley James

    This woman is pathetic. She seem to imply and hope that some one might kill Obama so that she can be the President. Every thing she say has no ethics. I wonder what this blabber mouth will say to the world if she is the president. Is she going through some sort of depression.

    May 24, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  12. scott C

    Nobody has EVER complained about caucuses.

    Not even when her husband WON them, nor before the process started this year.

    She lost them, THAT is why she thinks they are unfair.

    Learn to lose gracefully.

    She is in the middle of some kind of breakdown...

    She isn't even funny anymore, this is sad and it needs to stop.

    This RFK thing is going to destroy her.

    May 24, 2008 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  13. JRC

    "WAAAH! I'm losing so let's change the rules!"

    Grow up! Sometimes LIFE doesn't always give you what you want.

    After tonight's "apology" I wouldn't vote for her for dog catcher.

    May 24, 2008 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  14. Frank, MO

    Yes, right ... establish the "Make the Clintons win" rule – or just make them royal.

    May 24, 2008 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  15. A.M.

    She keeps changing her story line as she pleases; definitely a sign of "DESPARATION". In fact she can't fathom that she is not and she can not be, and she will not the nominee.

    My oh my! A Clinton lose the nomination, too much for her.

    Houston, Texas

    May 24, 2008 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  16. Lisa, Ohio

    I would agree Hillary. We need to go to a system more like the Republicans, without caucuses, without giving smaller states more power than they would have in the GE, and without allowing candidates to drop out before everyone gets to vote. Also, I believe that New Hampshire, SC, and Iowa's votes should not count more then mine bc my state votes later. They got to choose btw like 6 candidates and by the time I got to vote it was only btw 2. The republican nomination was already decided by the time i got to vote so ohio republicans had no voice in the nominee. That sucks!

    Hang in there Hillary...TAKE IT TO THE CONVENTION!!!
    WE ARE BEHInD YOU 100%

    May 24, 2008 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  17. Ito, Yokosuka Japan

    Hillary Clinton has always thought highly of herself.

    May 24, 2008 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  18. reader-of-many-sources

    Would she be arguing that the nomination process needs to change if she were ahead in delegate count?

    May 24, 2008 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  19. unite the dems

    will the SUPERDELEGATES please put an end to this nonsense. I beg you. I know you are waiting for a graceful exit by Hillary, but it looks abundantly clear that actions do not indicate she is headed in that direction. Instead of UNITING the democratic party, in just one week she has 1. cried sexism 2. trashed the nominating process and finally 3. is claiming that Obama is not electable.

    How can she in 2-4 weeks time completely do a 180 and start supporting Obama? All of this while her crazy husband pushes her for the VP slot...

    Again, please SUPERDELEGATES, put an end to this madness. People are itching to start taking shots at mccain and you guys are impeding that. STOP worrying about your own political motives and come out to support OBAMA and UNITE our beloved party.

    (CNN, please post this. People need to hear this)

    May 24, 2008 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  20. Digy

    One word. Pathetic. She agreed to the DNC rules at the beginning. She has found no cause to complain against the rules until now when she has realized she's losing the race.

    May 24, 2008 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  21. Th3rdpwr

    Wait! Wait! Let me see if I've got this straight. When the election process began, she had no problems with the way candidates were nominated, the role of superdelegates, or caucuses; NOW SHE DOES! Bill Clinton had no issues with this process, nor Al Gore and John Kerry. So far, the superdelegates haven't gone against the will of the people to change the outcome. This nominating procedure is the most democratic of any other national process; lesser known candidates are given the opportunity to go up against more well known/powerful rivals and have a fighting chance. Bravo! Obama played a better game than Hilary, and has been consistent in following the rules. By every current criteria (delegates, superdelegates, popular vote, number of states), he leads. The people seem to be speaking loud and clear. Obama has, clearly, earned the right to fight and succeed, or fail, in the general election. At most this process may need some tweaking; a more reasonable penalty for states that violate the rules; less importance applied to the Iowa caucus; fewer superdelegates; but, this current process has given the Democratic party a shot in the arm and the most exciting primary in over 50 years!

    May 24, 2008 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  22. ek

    so let me get this straight... when she was leading amongst superdelegates, she thought they were a good thing and that they had every right to exercise their best that she is losing ... well it's a a different story. This is so typical of her whole campaign ...she changes her position based upon what she feels will help her win... She needs to do the right thing and leave this race with what little (IF ANY) dignity she has left...

    May 24, 2008 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  23. Mark C

    So she thinks there should be as much democracy as possible. Unless, of course, she's the one losing, in which case superdelegates should take matters into their own hands. Right.

    May 24, 2008 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  24. Lisa, Ohio

    I really like your idea Patty...

    "All states voting on the same date; one person, one vote. The candidate who gets the majority of the popular vote would win the party nomination."

    The only bad thing is that the candidates wont be vetted as well going into the competition. It should be like this or as much like the GE as possible.

    May 24, 2008 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
  25. Garrett

    " A vote is like a rifle; its usefulness depends on the character of the user."
    the great man/ president that so eloquently spoke those words was theodore rosevelt and oh how ture they ring today. it has been absurd yet quite amusing watching the farse that is the '08 race for the democrate nominee. thus far both canidates have shown an uncanny ability to back track statements almost as fast as the words leave their mouths. makes you wonder if they will actually stand by all promises and declarations they have made thus far.
    but lets go back to the electoral process. when you cut through all the legal jargon and red tape what it boils down to is only a select few of "super," peoples vote really truely count. why is that? who are these people? is that what the founding fathers invisioned when they wrote constitution?
    well to answer one of these viable questions; most of the "super delegates," are senators and congress men/ women, and other party affiliated politicians. now that bring us back to the quote at the begining of this rant; what make you think these "super delegates," have your best interest in mind? they are simpling following the heard. the pack is safe. they hope they are choosing the right canidate so their job is safe. like any one of us that has had a fear of getting fired(and im sure all of us have at one point or another) the super delegates are hoping for re-election or even better an invitation to the grow-ups table at thanksgiving.
    the system is flawed. your voice is not being heard. (sigh)for once i agree with Hillary Clinton. But what would she be saying if she had th lions share of "super delegates?"

    May 24, 2008 01:33 am at 1:33 am |
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