Clinton moves to steal delegates

As Barack Obama turns to concentrate on his general election challenge, his rival Hillary Rodham Clinton is mounting a last ditch campaign to stay relevant in what is left of the Democratic presidential contest.

The former first lady enters this week with an insurgent strategy not only to win over undecided superdelegates but to peel away Obama’s support from those party leaders and elected officials who already have committed to back him for the nomination.

“One thing about superdelegates is that they can change their minds,” she told reporters aboard her campaign plane Sunday night.

Obama displays no signs of worry, pivoting toward his new contest with Republican John McCain and responding to Clinton with a shrug. And some of Clinton’s own backers are saying the time is near for her to fall in behind him.

Obama, campaigning in Mitchell, S.D., confidently predicted Clinton “is going to be a great asset when we go into November.”

“Whatever differences Senator Clinton and I may have, those differences pale in comparison to the other side,” he said.

South Dakota and Montana, which hold primaries on Tuesday, are the last Democratic nominating contests. Obama is favored in both states and he goes into them with 2,069 delegates, 47 away from the number now needed to secure the nomination. Clinton has 1,915.5 delegates.

Obama has made up most of the ground he lost Saturday when the national party’s rules committee agreed to reinstate delegates from Michigan and Florida. The party had initially refused to seat the delegates as punishment for scheduling their contests in violation of party rules.

With 31 delegates at stake Tuesday, Obama could close the gap further and cue undecided superdelegates to come to his side.

But Clinton argues she now leads in the popular vote — a debatable point given that she relies on Michigan and Florida outcomes. None of the candidates campaigned in either state and Obama received no votes in Michigan because he removed his name from the ballot. Clinton also continues to present herself as better able to confront McCain in the fall.

She and her campaign’s national chairman, Terry McAuliffe, both made it clear Sunday night that Obama’s supporters were now fair to pluck with those arguments.

To drive the point home, Clinton invited Virgin Islands superdelegate Kevin Rodriguez, a recent convert, to travel with her to South Dakota where she planned to campaign Monday. Rodriguez had initially supported Clinton, switched to Obama, and recently returned to her camp.

“This has been such an intense process,” she said, “I don’t think there has been a lot of time for reflection. It’s only now that we’re finishing these contests that people are going to actually reflect on who is our stronger candidate.”

Her decision, if prolonged, is not likely to sit well with party leaders and some of her own supporters. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have both called on the contest to end shortly after the final primaries.

Tom Vilsack, the former Iowa governor and a national co-chairman of Clinton’s campaign, said Sunday: “It does appear to be pretty clear that Senator Obama is going to be the nominee. After Tuesday’s contests, she needs to acknowledge that he’s going to be the nominee and quickly get behind him.”

Eager to make amends for avoiding Michigan’s primary and build general election support, Obama on Monday planned to hold a town hall meeting on the economy in Troy, Mich.

Clinton, meanwhile, said she was still contemplating whether to challenge the decision by the Democratic Party’s rules committee to split the Michigan delegates 69-59 in her favor. Each delegate would have a half vote. The agreement granted Obama 55 uncommitted Michigan delegates and four who would have been assigned to Clinton based on the state’s results.

McAuliffe Sunday night called the panel’s judgment “outrageous.”

“People are angry,” he said. “This does not unify our party, this crazy, cockamamie thing they came up with in Michigan.”

Here in South Dakota, Clinton pressed on against the odds.

In a campaign trail reunion usually reserved for election nights, she was to join former President Bill Clinton and their daughter, Chelsea, at her last Monday event in Sioux Falls, S.D.


Associated Press Writer Beth Fouhy in Washington D.C. contributed to this story.


  1. Elmo

    It might be but I’d say it’s unlikely. Look at it this way, the USA signed the UN Charter which is essentially a treaty and when a treaty is approved it’s terms become equivalent to enacted laws. Check out what the World Trade Organization does.

    I’d prefer Kent Mesplay for a Green Candidate. That way we’d have 2 candidates who were born outside of the US to parents who were US citizens at the time.

  2. Klaus Hergeschimmer

    Won’t do it! Won’t vote for the ‘Bribe-Super-Delegates’ Hillary Action Figure (Hillary Action Figure Comes with Bribe money & Fuzzy Math Statistics), nor will I vote for ‘Sir Obama of Camelot'(Knights of the Round Table Suit of Armor Sold Separately).

    [Send $30.00 for Castle Camelot for your Sir Obama action figure -your Dad puts it together]


    Hey Seal! Where Are You, haven’t heard from you in a while.

  3. Ted Remington

    You said:

    (Not unlike some of the Republican judges before they were fired by the now defunct Atty. Gen.)



  4. Ted Remington

    I figured that was what you were driving at. You are, however, misreading that clause:

    “To raise and support armies, but no appropriation of money to that use shall be for a longer term than two years”

    This says that you shall not have an appropriation longer than two years, it says nothing about the armies themselves. And Congress assiduously follows the rule of renewing appropriations, even for long-going projects, every two years.


  5. Manoa

    Actually, the Constitution seems to carry as much weight these days as it usually has. During the Civil War it suffered considerably. Likewise, WWII. On the other hand, it carried enough weight during the early 70s to help get rid of Nixon, but not enough during the 60s to prevent an arguably unconstitutional war. In the end, it carries a lot more weight than none. Which is better than not having a constitution. We will shortly see how it will weather the damage that Bush and Cheney have tried to inflict. Keep in mind, it is the Constitution that specifies when Bush’s term ends and how his successor will be chosen. I imagine if it were really just a piece of paper, Bush and Cheney would have disposed of this impediment to their continued rule long ago, and, of course, Harrier Myers would be on the Supreme Court, and the mid-term elections of 2006 would have been postponed due to a “national emergency.”

  6. Dr.D

    Does it really matter? The Constitution doesn’t seem to carry the weight that it once did(as per G.W.Bushs’G.D.piece of paper remark),Ya know?

  7. Dr.D

    Yeah,Me too.I actually thought that people were ready for a real change(the Ron Paul type).A change that included asking real adult type questions,with the possibility of getting real adult type answers.Silly me.

  8. ekaton

    Maybe I’m voting for the least of three evils, then. I cannot vote to maintain the current “two party system”. The government is irretreivably broken. Got any REAL solutions? I don’t. I’m frustrated and angry.

    — Kent Shaw

  9. JerZGirl

    I also wouldn’t be a bit surprised if some super-delegates whose votes would turn the tide for Clinton began to reveal that they had received implied threats or hints of blackmail. She’ll say she didn’t authorize it, of course; but someone will say they were being pressured in some illegal manner to switch to her side. (Not unlike some of the Republican judges before they were fired by the now defunct Atty. Gen.) There’s just something sinister about her saying that delegates can change their minds – like she’s already planning how to accomplish that.

    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” -Mark Twain

  10. Manoa

    The Constitution makes treaties the law of the United States when they are signed by the President and approved by two thirds vote of the Senate. Art. II sec. 2. This does not subordinate US law to international law, it merely provides a way for the U.S. Government to choose to make a treaty have the force of law in the US. Inasmuch as a 2/3 vote of the Senate is more difficult to achieve than a simple majority of both Houses, there is nothing offensive to US sovereignty in this Constitutional provision. Also Art. I, sec. 8, does not prohibit an army from standing for more than two years. It merely limits Congress’ power to appropriate funds for an Army to two years’ duration at most. As long as they fund in two year increments, they can keep an Army standing continuously. Of course, none of this implies we should elect people to Congress or the White House who will fund armies for more than two years or sign treaties like the UN Charter, but the fault, if any, lies not in any failure to give due respect to the Constitution but in the electorate’s choices.

  11. JerZGirl

    Depends on who you’re behind, by the looks of things. Her people think the committee stole their rightful votes when they compromised on Michigan. Then, of course, there’s the fact that BOTH candidates AGREED to rejecting Michigan and Florida tallies and Obama had the integrity to withdraw his name from Michigan and attempted the same in Florida, but Hellery – no, she left her name there knowing she’d get the votes. And now she’s trying to say she DESERVES THEM!! And deserves 100% of Michigan to boot knowing he had withdrawn his name!! To me, THAT’S theft!!

    I am so disgusted with the wimpishness of the Democratic party. It’s no wonder we can’t impeach a criminal! I am so regretting being affiliated with them, but I only did so in order to support Obama in the primary. That is, if local Democrats allowed my vote to be counted.

    “Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.” -Mark Twain

  12. Dr.D

    Kent,I agree 100% as per your assessment of the U.N. But why would you support an organization(Green Party)that would knowingly supercede the U.S Constitution in order to achieve their goals? Again,just asking.Ed

  13. ekaton

    The constitution, unfortunately in my opinion, does give treaties established between the United States and foreign entities the same weight of law as domestic laws. I’m (obviously) not an attorney or an expert on constitutional law. Your questions would be more appropriately answered by such an individual. As for the UN, in my opinion its outlived its usefulness.

    — Kent Shaw

  14. Dr.D

    Kent,Doesn’t the Green Party advocate compliance with U.N.ecological law? And doesn’t that subordinate our Constitution to International law? Isn’t that treason by the tenets of the U.S.Constitution? I’m not trying to be a smartass,I’m just asking. Ed

  15. Ted Remington

    You said:

    “HOWEVER — the standing military is supposed to exist for TWO YEARS ONLY.”

    Please provide a citation to this assertion.


  16. ekaton

    I’m voting green. I hope they nominate Cynthia McKinney. The founders never imagined a “two party system”. Many of them were against political parties altogether. Loyalty to the party seems to come first. What about loyalty to the country? Political parties and standing armies are the two most dangerous constructs to a republic. The whole military is in fact unconstitutional. The constitution gives the congress the power to raise a military and to raise monetary support for the military. HOWEVER — the standing military is supposed to exist for TWO YEARS ONLY. But as we all know, the constitution is just nothing more than a g*******d piece of paper.

    — Kent Shaw