Forget the superdelegates

Hillary Clinton's campaign is reportedly targeting some of Barack Obama's pledged delegates in an effort to get them to switch sides.

Published February 19, 2008 3:11PM (EST)

Recently, media attention and campaign battles have focused on the superdelegates up for grabs in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination. (Superdelegates are certain current and former Democratic elected officials, Democratic National Committee members and certain others who may vote for whatever candidate they wish, with no relation to any primary or caucus results.) Given the closeness of the campaign, it has seemed like superdelegates could hold the key to victory.

Now, though, it appears that the campaigns won't just be fighting over superdelegates if the race comes down to the convention. Hillary Clinton's campaign, at least, will be making a play for Barack Obama's pledged delegates, according to the Politico's Roger Simon.

The term "pledged delegate" is something of a misnomer. Really, the pledged delegates are like electors in the Electoral College -- it would be nice if they voted for the candidate they're pledged to, but they're not under any obligation to do so.

Simon quotes "a senior Clinton official" as saying, "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 ... All the rules will be going out the window." Simon also says Clinton spokesman Phil Singer believes the Obama campaign will do the same thing, but one Obama "senior aide" told Simon he was unaware of plans to do so.

Update: Clinton's campaign is denying Simon's report. TPM Election Central has this statement from Clinton spokesman Singer:

We have not, are not and will not pursue the pledged delegates of Barack Obama. It's now time for the Obama campaign to be clear about their intentions.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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