Clinton asks her delegates to support Obama

Hillary Clinton has been calling delegates pledged to her and asking them to vote for her one-time rival, but hasn't technically "released" them.

Published June 10, 2008 6:57PM (EDT)

In the days after her official concession, Hillary Clinton is still working to bring together those elements of the Democratic Party that were split by the long primary battle. Her latest move is to ask the delegates pledged to her to support Barack Obama at the Democratic convention this August.

Clinton has been holding conference calls in which she's been making this pitch, several outlets report, and a Clinton spokesman confirms. "What she did was reiterate what she said on Saturday. She thanked them for their hard work and their dedication and all that they did for her and celebrated some of the accomplishments of her campaign... And she urged them to get behind Sen. Obama and to work just as hard to elect him president," Mo Elleithee said, according to the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder.

This is not technically the same thing as Clinton releasing her delegates, which she has not done yet.

If you're thinking this means she plans some sort of comeback attempt in August, that's not it -- whether she releases them or not, delegates pledged to Clinton can vote for the candidate of their choice at any time. According to the Clinton camp, she's not releasing the delegates yet because the process of actually choosing some state delegations is not yet final, and if she released her delegates, some of them might not get to go to the convention. (Ambinder speculates on some other reasons this might matter, besides just the delegates missing out on the convention: "[A}n audience full of Clinton delegates ensures that when -- not if, but when -- Clinton speaks at the convention, she'll be cheered. Another argument, I suppose, would be that the delegation ought to reflect the primary results for the sake of the historical record.")

Harold Ickes reportedly spoke at the beginning of one conference call Monday night and cited historical precedence for the decision not to release the delegates just yet -- both Bill Bradley, in 2000, and Howard Dean, in 2004, did the same thing.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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