In a conference call today, Harold Ickes, party operative for 40 years and former White House deputy chief to President Clinton, boldly predicted Hillary Clinton will win the Democratic nomination and do so soon after the last party primary on June 7 in Puerto Rico.
"We're going to win this nomination," Ickes said. "You're not going to see this go to the convention floor."
Ickes predicted Clinton and Illinois Sen. Barack Obama will run "neck-and-neck" in the 18 remaining state and territorial primaries and caucuses and that there will be a "minuscule amount of difference" between the two in pledged delegates and that so-called Super Delegates will determine the outcome and side in larger numbers for Clinton.
Ickes denounced the term Super Delegates and said the Clinton camp henceforth will refer to them as "automatic delegates."
"The Fourth Estate created the term Super Delegate," Ickes said, even though Democrats have used the Super Delegate term widely in the roiling debate of their allegiances and responsibilities in the increasingly competitive and high-stakes battle for Democratic presidential nomination. "They don't have super powers," Ickes said of the Super Delegates. "It's one-person, one-vote. They have no more power than any other delegate. But they do have a sense of what it takes to get elected."
He said Super Delegates must "exercise their best judgment" about who can win the White House.
"They are closely in touch with the issues and ideas of the jurisdiction they represent and they are as much or more in touch than delegates won or recruited by presidential campaigns."
In essence, Ickes argued the party 795 Super Delegates (Connecticut Independent-Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman was stripped of his Super Delegate status recently), were in a better position to assess electability and suitability for the presidency than party regulars who will attend the national convention in late August as pledged delegates won through elections in either primaries or caucuses.
Many top Democrats, among them House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, have said Super Delegates should follow the will of voters expressed through primaries and caucuses and not trump those votes.
Ickes said Super Delegates were created to augment the elections process and those delegates are duty-bound by rule and precedent to weigh all considerations - not just votes taken in primaries or caucuses before rendering a judgment.
Obama currently leads Clinton by 136 in pledged delegates but trails by 95 in Super Delegates, according to calculations given by both campaigns.
"Hillary will end up with more automatic delegates than Obama," Ickes said. The number of elections won by Obama is "irrelevant to the obligations of automatic delegates."
Ickes said he was "too dim of mind" to understand how some might wonder if the Clinton campaign might lure Super Delegates with promises of political favors. "I don't even understand what that is referring to," Ickes said, declining to guarantee the campaign will use no promises of tangible benefits to Super Delegates to win them to Clinton's campaign.
Ickes also quoted top Obama adviser David Axelrod as saying Super Delegates "should vote for what's best for party and country."
Axelrod meant Super Delegates should follow the will of voters expressed through primaries and caucuses, but the Clinton campaign interprets it to mean exercise broader judgment linked to larger political aims - specifically choosing Clinton over Obama as the more battle-hardened Democrat capable of winning in November.
"Deciding who you should support, these are not easy judgments. The question is who can make a good and possibly great president. This is a political process."