WASHINGTON (AP) -- Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton won't catch Sen. Barack Obama in pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses, but she's recently said those delegates aren't really bound to Obama.
True, but she omits a key safeguard against delegate switches: The people who serve as pledged delegates are selected by the campaigns who won them and loyalty is a key qualification.
Clinton, in an interview Monday with the editorial board of the Philadelphia Daily News, said pledged delegates are no different from superdelegates, the party and elected officials who can support whomever they choose at the convention, regardless of the outcome of the primaries.
"Pledged delegates in most states are not pledged," Clinton told the board, according the newspaper's Web site. "You know, there is no requirement that anybody vote for anybody. They're just like superdelegates."
Obama and Clinton are locked in a historic fight for the Democratic nomination. Obama is all but guaranteed to finish the primaries in June with more pledged delegates, but neither candidate will be able to claim the nomination without support from superdelegates.
Obama argues that superdelegates should not overturn the vote in the primaries and caucuses, while Clinton says they should use independent judgment.
The Obama campaign circulated the Daily News article among reporters. It suggested that Clinton was laying out a strategy to "upend the will of Democratic voters."
Denying that, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said Clinton has no intention of trying to get Obama's pledged delegates to switch.
THE FACTS: The Democratic National Committee has no rules requiring pledged delegates won in primaries and caucuses to vote for the candidates who won them. However, there are safeguards to help ensure that pledged delegates don't switch sides.
When people are selected in each state to serve as pledged delegates, they must be approved by the campaigns in advance. The campaigns, presumably, would only approve delegates they could trust to support them at the convention.
Obama leads the overall race for the nomination with 1,620 delegates. Clinton has 1,499, according to the latest tally by The Associated Press.
Pledged delegates: Obama, 1,406; Clinton, 1,249.
Superdelegates: Obama, 214; Clinton, 250.
By Stephen Ohlemacher