Clinton Seeks to Flip Pledged Delegates?

| Tue Feb. 19, 2008 10:35 AM EST

Politico's Roger Simon is reporting that the Clinton campaign will try to get pledged delegates that Obama has won in primaries and caucuses to abandon their commitment to Obama and vote for Clinton at the convention. This is primarily done, one suspects, by promising delegates tons of goodies in the upcoming administration.

On its face, this seems like an insane idea. People are already freaked about the possibility of superdelegates reversing a narrow pledged delegate lead, and thus taking the Democratic nomination out of the hands of the people and putting it in the hands of party insiders. The anger and resentment at Clinton would be far greater if she promised a few unscrupulous delegates some sweet Clinton Administration jobs and subverted the decisions of the people. This win-at-all-costs strategy is self-defeating, because it would undermine the Democratic Party's excitement about their nominee in the general election.

But how much credibility can we assign to the report? Simon cites a single, unnamed source. The only quote from that source is this:

"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."

That doesn't necessarily mean there will be a coordinated strategy to pursue pledged delegates. Maybe Simon was told more but didn't think he needed to include additional quotes. I wish he had. We'll see how the Clinton campaign's responds.

But will going after pledged delegates even matter? Let's say the pledged delegate count is within a couple hundred (or less!) going into the convention, and Clinton gets a couple to flip. Let's go so far as to say she gets a couple dozen to flip. Isn't the difference between herself and Obama still within that "superdelegate buffer" that ensures the margin of victory of the 795 superdelegates by one of the two candidates will determine the nomination?

Update: Clinton campaign issues a strong denial.