Hillary Wants to Ignore Delegate Math

Amanda Carpenter
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Posted: Mar 05, 2008 11:35 AM
Hillary Wants to Ignore Delegate Math

After breaking an 11-state primary losing streak to Barack Obama for the Democratic nomination for President, Hillary Clinton argued that her campaign should continue although it may be impossible for her to surpass Obama in the number of pledged delegates needed to get the nomination.

Currently, Obama has 1,477 pledged delegates. Clinton has 1,391. To clinch the Democratic nomination for President, one of them needs to secure 2,025 delegates—a bar some news outlets say is insurmountable for Clinton.

Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter has stated in a widely circulated piece Tuesday: "No matter how you cut it, Obama will almost certainly end the primaries with a pledged-delegate lead, courtesy of all those landslides in February. Hillary would then have to convince the uncommitted super delegates to reverse the will of the people. Even coming off a big Hillary winning streak, few if any super delegates will be inclined to do so. For politicians to upend what the voters have decided might be a tad, well, suicidal.”

Obama similarly said in his concession speech to Clinton Tuesday evening, “No matter what happens we have nearly the same delegate lead as this morning and we are on our way to the nomination.”

But Clinton brushed off questions about delegate math in post-primary television interviews Wednesday morning. Instead, she praised the wisdom of the party’s superdelegates who would decide the nominee in the event of a brokered convention and made pitches to seat delegates from Michigan and Florida who had been stripped by the Democratic National Committee for moving up their primary dates.

She told NBC’s Meredith Viera, “We have pledged delegates and we have superdelegates…People are superdelegates for a purpose. They are to exercise independent judgment.”

The prospect of superdelegates deciding the Democratic nominee has alarms some longtime Democratic leaders. Superdelegate Donna Brazile, who managed Al Gore’s 2000 presidential campaign, said should she would give up her position in the party if the Democratic primary comes to that.

She believes, like many of Obama’s supporters do, the superdelegates should “reflect the will of the people” instead of exercising independent judgment as the Clinton campaign argues.

In her interview on NBC Clinton also said, “I think Florida and Michigan should count… I have long said they should not be the victims of the unfortunate consequences of some of these rule changes that the people of Florida, for example, had nothing to do with.”

Clinton and Obama did not actively campaign in Florida, but Clinton won the state’s Democratic primary. Clinton was the only Democratic nominee on the ballot in Michigan, which she won as well although she was awarded no delegates from either state.

According to the 13-point memo released by senior Clinton campaign officials Harold Ickes and Mark Penn Wednesday morning, her camp is also contenting her Ohio victory is a pleasing barometer for the general election and that Clinton “is the best positioned candidate to carry the core battleground states to a general election victory.”

Obama, however, affirmed he was on a path to secure the nomination in a dueling interview on NBC with David Gregory. “We won twice as many states as Senator Clinton,” Obama said. “We have more of the popular vote, we’ve won more primaries and caucuses.”

“Keep in mind what is happening here,” he cautioned. “We have won decisively in a whole number of states and Senator Clinton and her campaign have tended to cherry pick which states they think are important