Is Clinton Going After Pledged Delegates?

The Politico has a potentially controversial story by Roger Simon which leaves me wondering where the story is. The title certainly caught my attention: Clinton Targets Pledged Delegates. The logic here is that Clinton’s strategy of going after super delegates is running into trouble with all the talk of how it would split the party if the super delegates go against the will of the delegates won by the candidates in caucuses and primaries. The next step would be to get pledged delegates to change their support so that the super delegates would not be voting contrary to the pledged delegates.

This is theoretically possible as there is nothing which legally prevents a delegate from changing their vote. Even if legal, this would be as potentially divisive as Clinton’s strategy of going after the super delegates.

If this is true, it would be yet another serious problem which would harm the credibility of the Clinton campaign. However, after reading beyond the head line, I’m not certain there really is a story here at all.

The article has a couple of quotes from the Clinton campaign, but I would really like to see the full context of any interviews to determine if this is really their plan or if spokes people simply responded to some leading questions. Early in the article, the author states:

This strategy was confirmed to me by a high-ranking Clinton official on Monday. And I am not talking about superdelegates, those 795 party big shots who are not pledged to anybody. I am talking about getting pledged delegates to switch sides.

I would like to see more detail on the line that “the strategy was confirmed to me.” The quotes in the remainder of the story are not strong enough to be considered confirmation. Later there is the comment:

“I swear it is not happening now, but as we get closer to the convention, if it is a stalemate, everybody will be going after everybody’s delegates,” a senior Clinton official told me Monday afternoon. “All the rules will be going out the window.”

This certainly doesn’t show that this is happening now, and it is unclear as to whether this is a reflection of future plans. Later in the story:

Clinton spokesman Phil Singer told me Monday he assumes the Obama campaign is going after delegates pledged to Clinton, though a senior Obama aide told me he knew of no such strategy.

Towards the end there is yet another unclear statement:

If, however, after the April 22 Pennsylvania primary the pledged delegate count looks very close, the Clinton official said, “[both] sides will start working all delegates.”

These could be taken as predictions as opposed to confirmation of any such plan and are insufficient to support Simon’s earlier statement that this strategy was confirmed. Without further evidence we might have to wait and see whether there is any validity to this charge.

Political Punch received the following response from the Obama campaign to these charges:

“As it becomes increasingly clear that Senator Clinton may not be able to secure the nomination by winning the support of actual voters, the Clinton campaign has once again floated a strategy that would essentially say that the preference of Democratic voters is a mere obstacle to their win-at-all-costs strategy,” said Obama campaign manager David Plouffe. “First, they said they’ll try to seat the non-existent delegates in Florida and Michigan, something that neutral party leaders have roundly criticized. Then, they suggested that superdelegates should consider subverting the will of the voters and the pledged delegates, which has also been strongly objected to.

“Their new strategy will be to convince delegates that were pledged by actual Democratic voters to switch sides. In their own words, ‘all the rules will be going out the window.’ Voters are already rejecting the Clinton campaign’s say-or-do-anything-to-win tactics, and this is the latest example that it’s time to turn the page on this type of politics that could severely harm our party’s chances to win the general election.”

It would certainly be bad for the Clinton campaign if these charges are true, but that remains to be seen.

Cross posted at The Carpetbagger Report

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1 Comment

  1. 1
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