The Associated Press raised eyebrows late this afternoon when it reported that Hillary Clinton has “reached the number of delegates needed to clinch the Democratic nomination for president.” This coming one day ahead of the latest Super Tuesday, whose big fish is California. Not so fast, Clinton said in reaction:
But the news org just doubled down — to borrow a tiring phrase from this campaign season — and released a statement attributed to U.S. Political Editor David Scott explaining its conclusion:
It takes 2,383 delegates to win the nomination of the Democratic Party, and our count finds that Hillary Clinton has reached that number. Most are pledged delegates won in a primary or caucus. Some are superdelegates, who have unequivocally told AP they will vote for her next month at the party’s convention.
Clinton is now the “presumptive nominee,” because according to our count, she now has enough delegates backing her candidacy to win the nomination.
AP will not call her the “nominee” until she reaches that milestone in Philadelphia next month, when the party’s delegates formally cast their vote at the convention.
NBC News followed suit later and also is calling Clinton the “presumptive nominee” of the Democratic Party. Soon afterward, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said in a phone interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow: “Right now, as Hillary said tonight, we are very focused on the millions of people that will be going to the polls tomorrow. We have a lot of work to get done until all the votes are counted [and] all the delegated are allocated, and that’s what we’re really focused on right now.”
Maddow pressed, asking, “Does that mean that you also reject this declaration by the AP and NBC News?”
Mook let out a nervous chuckle and said, “Look, it’s very exciting news, but Hillary made a pledge at the beginning of this campaign that she’s gonna fight for every single vote, fight for every single delegate. I think the proof is in the results. Hillary leads right now by more than 3 million popular votes, she has a lead of almost 300 pledged delegates, she’s won more states, and we want to continue to build on that lead going into these final contests. … Noses to the grindstone, and we’re going to keep working until the polls close tomorrow.”
No social media or old-media response yet from Bernie Sanders or Donald Trump, but Sanders is speaking later tonight in San Francisco — and Trump’s Twitter finger is always on standby.
Clinton, meanwhile, is in Los Angeles tonight for an event at the Greek Theatre, where she’s likely to at least address the AP’s call. Earlier she followed her initial reaction tweet with two more — and then retweeted one from a close associate who knows a thing or two about winning elections: