Clinton's Caucus Charges

The Clinton campaign held a last-minute "emergency" conference call with reporters Tuesday night, ostensibly to lay the groundwork for a challenge to Texas's caucus results. Clinton's Texas state director, Ace Smith, complained of "a tremendously disturbing pattern emerging here tonight." Among the Clinton campaign's allegations: Obama supporters "locked out" Clinton supporters from caucuses, filled out sign-in sheets before caucuses started, and called in caucus results before the 7 p.m. starting time. Smith, who said that the Texas Democratic Party issued two memos today to remind campaigns of the rules "as a result of the acts of the Obama campaign," challenged a reporter who labeled his assertions "accusations," saying, "These are not accusations. They're documentable incidents."

The call quickly dissolved into a heated war of words between Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson and an Obama campaign lawyer, Bob Bauer, who joined the call surreptitiously. Bauer accused Wolfson of selectively "attacking the caucus process" whenever a caucus doesn't go his way. "It's part of a stream of accusations you've made against the caucus process," Bauer said. He challenged Wolfson's assertion that he has never before complained to reporters of caucus improprieties, noting that "in Nevada you filed a lawsuit." Wolfson shot back, "This is the first phone call we've had … The lawsuit you refer to was not filed by us." When dumbstruck reporters asked Wolfson who had interrupted the call, Wolfson identified Bauer and said he was mounting "a vigorous defense of the indefensible."

Meanwhile, Clinton lawyer Lyn Utrecht alleged that Hillaryland has received hundreds of complaints from supporters, many of whom she said have not been able to get through to a state Democratic Party hotline because it is "jammed." "We've identified witnesses and spoken to them," Utrecht said. "There are numerous locations across the state where Obama supporters have taken over caucuses and locked out Clinton supporters … We have lawyers all across the state observing all of this." Utrecht refused to rule out a lawsuit or promise that Clinton would concede Texas if she loses. "All options are open at this point," she said when asked about the possibility of legal action.

Wolfson added, "There is always a somewhat chaotic quality to caucuses. That is normal. What is happening in Texas today, throughout this evening, is not typical. It is quite extraordinary."