TEXT OF MEMO from Obama for America
Campaign Manager David Plouffe to Superdelegates, May 7, 2008
There are only six contests remaining in the Democratic primary
calendar and only 217 pledged delegates left to be awarded. Only 7
percent of the pledged delegates remain on the table. There are 260
remaining undeclared superdelegates, for a total of 477 delegates left
to be awarded.
With North Carolina and Indiana complete,
Barack Obama only needs 172 total delegates to capture the Democratic
nomination. This is only 36% of the total remaining delegates.
Senator Clinton needs 326 delegates to reach the Democratic nomination,
which represents a startling 68% of the remaining delegates.
the Clinton path to the nomination getting even narrower, we expect new
and wildly creative scenarios to emerge in the coming days. While those
scenarios may be entertaining, they are not legitimate and will not be
considered legitimate by this campaign or its millions of supporters,
volunteers, and donors.
We believe it is exceedingly unlikely
Senator Clinton will overtake our lead in the popular vote and in fact
lost ground on that measure last night. However, the popular vote is a
deeply flawed and illegitimate metric for deciding the nominee – since
each campaign based their strategy on the acquisition of delegates.
More importantly, the rules of the nomination are predicated on
delegates, not popular vote.
Just as the Presidential election
in November will be decided by the electoral college, not popular vote,
the Democratic nomination is decided by delegates.
believed the popular vote was somehow the key measurement, we
have campaigned much more intensively in our home state of Illinois and
in all the other populous states, in the pursuit of larger raw vote
totals. But it is not the key measurement. We played by the rules, set
by you, the DNC members, and campaigned as hard as we could, in as many
places as we could, to acquire delegates. Essentially, the popular vote
is not much better as a metric than basing the nominee on which
candidate raised more money, has more volunteers, contacted more
voters, or is taller.
The Clinton campaign was very clear
about their own strategy until the numbers become too ominous for them.
They were like a broken record , repeating ad nauseum that this
nomination race is about delegates. Now, the word delegate has
disappeared from their vocabulary, in an attempt to change the rules
and create an alternative reality.
We want to be clear – we
believe that the winner of a majority of pledged delegates will and
should be the nominee of our party. And we estimate that after the
Oregon and Kentucky primaries on May 20, we will have won a majority of
the overall pledged delegates According to a recent news report,
even their most optimistic estimates the Clinton Campaign expects to
trail by more than 100 pledged delegates and will then ask the
superdelegates to overturn the will of the voters.
course superdelegates are free to and have been utilizing their own
criteria for deciding who our nominee should be. Many are deciding on
the basis of electability, a favorite Clinton refrain. And if you look
at the numbers, during a period where the Clinton campaign has been
making an increasingly strident pitch on electability, it is clear
their argument is failing miserably with superdelegates.
February 5, the Obama campaign has netted 107 superdelegates, and the
Clinton campaign only 21. Since the Pennsylvania primary, much of it
during the challenging Rev. Wright period, we have netted 24 and the
Clinton campaign 17.
At some point – we would argue that time
is now – this ceases to be a theoretical exercise about how
superdelegates view electability. The reality of the preferences in the
last several weeks offer a clear guide of how strongly superdelegates
feel Senator Obama will perform in November, both in building a winning
campaign for the presidency as well as providing the best electoral
climate across the country for all Democratic candidates.
is important to note that Senator Obama leads Senator Clinton in
superdelegate endorsements among Governors, United States Senators and
members of the House of Representatives. These elected officials all
have a keen sense for who our strongest nominee will be in November.
It is only among DNC members where Senator Clinton holds a lead, which
has been rapidly dwindling.
we head into the final days of the campaign, we just wanted to be clear
with you as a party leader, who will be instrumental in making the
final decision of who our nominee will be, how we view the race at this
Senator Obama, our campaign and our supporters believe
pledged delegates is the most legitimate metric for determining how
this race has unfolded. It is simply the ratification of the DNC rules
– your rules – which we built this campaign and our strategy around.