Clinton Talks of Swaying Obama’s Pledged Delegates

Hillary Clinton’s road to the Democratic nomination looks rough. At this point she would face considerable challenges overtaking Barack Obama in the pledged delegate count, and with the race sharpening in Pennsylvania, she is hearing increasing pressure to bow out.

In what may be another way to argue for her viability, Hillary Clinton hinted that she may go after pledged delegates Barack Obama won from popular votes.

According to Beth Fouhy of the Associated Press, April 3, 2008:

“There is no such thing as a pledged delegate,” Clinton said at a news conference in California, where she has been fundraising.

Both Clinton and Obama planned to address the state convention of the North Dakota Democratic Party Friday, where delegates to this summer’s national convention will be allocated. Obama crushed Clinton in the state’s Feb. 5 presidential caucuses, 61-36 percent.

The former first lady said she was traveling to North Dakota to thank her supporters and delegates – and wooing Obama supporters was fair game. Pledged delegates are “misnomer. The whole point is for delegates, however they are chosen, to really ask themselves who would be the best president and who would be our best nominee against Senator McCain,” Clinton said. “And I think that process goes all the way to the convention.”

While the DNC has no rules requiring pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses to vote for the candidate, the people who serve as pledged delegates are selected by the campaigns who won them and loyalty is a key qualification.

Obama currently leads in the delegate count, 1,634-1,500, according to The Associated Press. Because of the way Democrats apportion delegates, Clinton is not projected to catch Obama even if she has a strong showing in the remaining 10 contests.

A “pledged” delegate is indeed free to vote any way s/he chooses, but the politics behind this are hotly debated. Clinton faced criticism over falling behind in the pledged delegate count because they represented Obama’s lead in the popular vote (not including Florida and Michigan’s votes). Whether she will win over any of Obama’s pledged delegates, or receive public support for this, remains uncertain.