First Read is an analysis of the day's political news, from the NBC News political unit. First Read is updated throughout the day, so check back often.

Chuck Todd, NBC Political Director

Mark Murray, NBC Deputy Political Director

Domenico Montanaro, NBC Political Researcher

Can McCain get Romney's delegates?

Posted: Thursday, February 14, 2008 2:38 PM by Domenico Montanaro
Filed Under: , ,

From NBC's Domenico Montanaro
Whether Romney's 282 delegates can be given to McCain depends on each state's rules on "releasing" delegates, per the RNC. 

Language to watch for during Romney's endorsement is if he says he is "releasing" his delegates "to McCain." That, or some variation, may be enough in some states where he won BOUND delegates.

Caucus states' rules are less restrictive and several of these states' delegates are completely unbound and may be able to go to whomever they so choose.

Here are the primary state delegates Romney has won: Ark. (1), Calif. (6), Ga. (3), Ill. (3), Mass. (22), Mich. (23), N.H. (4), Tenn. (8) and Utah (36).

Caucus state delegates won: Alaska (12), Colo. (43), Iowa (7), Maine (18), Minn. (38), Mont. (25), Nev. (17), N.D. (8), Wyo. (8).

Of these, all of the primary delegates are pledged. But, of the caucuses, the following are not bound: Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Nevada and Wyoming.

*** UPDATE *** Highlighting how complicated this all can be, the Massachusetts Republican Party, said once Romney says his delegates can be released, then they are no longer bound to him, BUT they aren't sure if they would be legally bound to McCain -- if Romney so urges -- or if they can vote their conscience. They are checking.

*** UPDATE 2 *** For perspective, NBC News' Election Unit reminds us that in many states, the actual delegates -- the actual people who will sit at the convention and vote -- have not been elected yet. Even in a state where Romney won pledged delegates, unless they are actually elected already, the next phase could elect delegates who are McCain, Huckabee or uncommitted or something else. And in many states, it's not likely that a candidate who releases his delegates could "bind" them to another candidate.


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wow, if Romney can give his delegates to McCain, that may just be the small boost he needs to get ahead of Huckabee!!!

So does that mean that Romney could "give" 151 delegates to John McCain and that the other 136 could choose McCain or Huckabee (or Paul)?

Either way, that puts McCain a whole lot closer to the "magic" number.  Huckabee must be peeved.  If McCain wins at all on March 4, Huck is out.
Did Giuliani release his ONE delegate??
If he gives away his delegates, does he still get that speech at the Convention everyone knows he wants?
Sounds like "ole Mitt' wouldn't mind being Vice President.  Nothing like sucking-up.
Romney the "true conservative" is now backing McCain? This is evidence that this evaluation of character and motive was correct...

With equal hilarity and alarm, I read the following story... http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23163724/

The Evangelical, chicken hawk, police state, wiretapping, Bible thumpers (Mike Huckabee and George Bush crowd) will balk at the Constitution Party’s adherence to a non-interventionist foreign policy (as advocated by Ron Paul). They are mistakenly convinced militancy against other nations – along with morbid obesity, a love of NASCAR, and proud ignorance – is conservative.

They ought to form their own party instead of hijacking and ruining the Constitution Party.

The Constitution Party has already slammed Mike Huckabee and given tacit endorsement of Ron Paul.

Unfortunately, the ignorance of the voting public is thorough; they don't know what it means to be a full-spectrum conservative... http://truthalert.net/Green%20Libertarian%20Nationalism.htm#_Toc183353724

By Paul Kane
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 14, 2008; Page A01

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton helped secure more than $340 million worth of home-state projects in last year's spending bills, placing her among the top 10 Senate recipients of what are commonly known as earmarks, according to a new study by a nonpartisan budget watchdog group.
Wow!  That would be pretty big of Romney to release his delegates to McCain. After watching these guys show their dislike for each other, it means that they have come to the conclusion that winning the White House is more important.  Good for them!
I doubt Mitt "gave" anything to gasbag mccain-probably sold it to the highest bidder, trying to re-coup some of the millions he spent on his campaign.
The small push he needs to get in front of Huckabee?  He has at least 600 more delegates than Huckabee!  It's mathmatically impossible, especially if Romney releases his delegates solely to McCain, for Huckabee to win the nomination!
Republicans will still lose the White house! Doesn't matter if McCain or Huckabee who runs. Dems are back!
I think the people should be the ones to pick in whom they like better McCain or Huckabee.
Mike Huckabee is too honest for the common person that is why the liberal crowd doesn't like him, they are afraid of His GOD. I are rebellious of GOD and like the murdering of unborn babies and the sinful life style the live better than moral living.
Nicole, sc was being sarcastic- notice the :p

We all know McCain is dominating the race.  
I hope that McCain gets all of them.We need to get behind McCain & Hopefully,He'll pick Romney,Thompson or Colan Powell For VP.Huckabee needs to drop out & Let the party become united.I like huck but,Its over.Go McCain!!!
Sue- the people ARE choosing who they like better.  That's why Huck is still in third in delegates.  And delegates are supposed to represent the will of the people.

It's possible to be moral and against killing unborn babies and still not like Huck.  Millions of people are.

Huck is NOT honest.  research his history and you'll see that.
Well I guess the people Texas better not vote since Romney gave it all to mCCain,We would at least like to a say in the election. It seems like they have already picked the presedent.  Well I guess I can always Vote Democrats.  Thanks Jimmy
Romney is smart to help unite the party.  WE NEED ROMNEY FOR VP! check out www.unitethegop.comm
Mitt Romney is showing his true colors. He cares more about himself and his personal ambition than he does this country. I will never vote for McCain/Romney ticket.
Sue, Lizemores, WV - stop drinking the Kool-Aid and try to get behind someone that has half a brain next time.  Huckabee is clueless in just about every way except telling jokes and playing bass.  This has NOTHING to do with his GOD.  End of story.
Romney again changing his position on something. How shocking. I am glad for McCain, this means he can now concentrate solely on the Dems( while Huckebee goes down to the Carribean).
How appropriate,
Romney endorses McCain,
One political whore supporting another.
Don’t worry folks, it’s only our country being sucked down the toilet.
Heck, We all have more than enough money to support a never ending war.
We all have more than enough money to support countries other than our own.
We all lack the intelligence to make our own decisions so we’ll let the media do it for us.
Sorry boys, and girls, I’m out of money. The country is out of money. Too many people have had their hands in the cookie jar, and there isn’t so much as a crumb left.
McCain was one of those with his hands in there. Now Romney is rewarding him.
I think the people that voted for Romney should have the right to rescind that vote and choose some one else. You’ve let the media tell you who to vote for now Mitt is selling your vote to McCain. I would be pretty mad if I was you. Demand to choose another.
Raise your voices and protest his choice. It wasn’t my choice to support McCain. I’m not going to start now by default.
The best thing that could happen is for McCain to pick Romney as VP, then it might be a ticket worth voting for.  The economy is not in good shape and Romney is what America needs to pull this out.
You should do more research before writing. The Michigan Republican party has released all Romney delegates as uncommitted. They are not Romney's to give to anyone. See http://www.migop.org/default.asp.
The difference between Obama and a dog -

after awhile the dog stops whining!!!
All along people have been accusing Mike Huckabee of wanting to be John McCain's running mate. But Mike Huckabee keeps fighting because he believes he is the right person for the job and actually does care about the country. Mitt Romney is the one they should have been accusing.
We are still praying for you Mike Huckabee, you are truly the best candidate and we are asking that you continue to run for the rest of us who truly care about where America is going in the future
TJM, Atlanta, GA - WRONG again!!! Huckabee has been kissing McCain's backside from day ONE!  That's why he came across as wanting the VP slot.  Huckabee is a joke - I wouldn't trust him to mow my lawn let alone run the country. For the last time, Huckabee is unelectable and a moron - don't take it as an assault on your beliefs.  Next time get behind someone who people could actually vote for.
You guys at MSNBC need to BRING BACK DAVID SHUSTER! Allowing yourself to get bullied by a Presidential candidate is part of what got this country in the mess it is in now.

We should be DEFENDING free speech, including that which her royal high-ness Hillary Clinton doesn't agree with.

SHAME ON MSNBC for caving in on some small thing like that! Taking away a mans paycheck??? SHAME on Hillary for being so vindictive!
Mike Huckabee represents Christian leadership, but our country is so immoral our future appears bleak. Without Christ in our lives and I mean  everyone, we are doomed nation and planet.
I like Mitt Romney.  I am not a republican but he was by far my fave choice if I dislike my option for a Democratic candidate.  

Too bad he dropped out.  I strongly feel like he was way better than Huckabee and could actually work with a congress.  Huckabee never could in Arkansas that is for sure.
All this fighting is useless.  What difference is there between McCain, Romney, and Huckabee?  Or even Clinton and Obama, for that matter?  Their voting records are remarkably similar, which is very telling.  This country's economy is tanking because we are waging an unconstitutional war, and this country is rejecting the one guy who has actually voted in EVERY instance to prevent the disaster.  Ron Paul is trying to let people keep the money that they earn, and instead they say, "No thanks, we'd rather spend it on a war that has no end in sight.  In fact, let's start more wars and spend more money!"  I don't get it.  But then, not many people make the connection between our interference overseas and the fact that those countries don't want our "help."  They don't see that we'd be safer minding our own business and protecting our own borders.  They don't remember that it was not our weapons that destroyed the U.S.S.R. but the collapse of their economy due to the fact that all their resources and money went into building an empire.  Guess we'll just have to learn that lesson for ourselves.

Go ahead with your useless bickering--I'm still voting for Ron Paul.
Judicialwatch.com has Huckabee listed as one of the top ten most corrupt politicans for 2007. They also have Obama and Hillary listed. Nice Trifecta of candidated for president. Huckabee needs a dental plan more than he needs to be our president.
It is very interesting. This malevolant manoeuvre should legitimate Huckabee to go after McCain, I mean really go after. Come on, Huck, give them a run for there money!
I would vote democrat before I would support a McCain/Romney Ticket.
Darel, Huckabee IS someone people can vote for. That's why over half the country would have had him for first or second choice. And not to worry; if McCain ultimately gets in, you will have plenty of people to mow your lawn.
It really doesn't matter if Romney gives McCain his delegates or not. Either way which ever "top" republican which receives the parties bid will lose to the democrats. The thing about that is McCain should be a democrat anyway so what difference does it make? I don't know why everyone is so scared to see that Ron Paul is the only one offering America what it needs right now! He can put us on the path of restoring our great country by helping us stop this excess spending and printing of new money! We are going down America and all you that have excluded Ron Paul this whole last year are the people to blame! God bless America and please have pity on us!
Sue...  I are rebellious of GOD?

Now I know how WV. got it's reputation.
Woulldn't it be wonderful if we could all just study the candidates, choose the person we feel is most qualified and vote our conscience without spewing hateful, hurtful, epithets at the persons we don't choose to vote for.  I don't think these people, not any of them, are "liars, cheats, crooks, etc. etc....
In all fairness, no delegates should be just given to anyone - these delegates should need to be earned.  I live in MN and I favor Huckabee - if I wanted McCain's democrat ideas, I would be a democrat.  Huckabee is what this country truly needs.  The 'Fair Tax' is the best hope for the country.  Middle class citizens should not be carrying the debt in this country.  I simply cannot afford to keep forking my money over to a government that only cares about the very rich or the poor.  If the democrats get control, we all need to just bend over and let them have our wallets because all they want to do is spend - and it never benefits the middle class citizens.  We need Huckabee to fight for our rights.  And really, what is wrong with having decent morals and believing in God.  God is a part of American culture...just as He should be.  Without a belief in God, where would we be?
Well, personally I'm shocked, I know mitt cant commit his delagates once released, but for once even if again its about Romney and his future presidental hopes. I think its still a good thing. Hickabee needs to get the hint whether you like him or not its over. get on the boat or leave the republician that the majority has voted for. GO MCCAIN.
I agree with you TJM in Atlanta.  Just like John Kerry Mitt Romney has flip flopped again! He will say and do ANYTHING to get in the Whitehouse. I knew he had something up his sleeve! He only cares for himself, not our country.
Ron Paul 2008, Only person who would bring real change
It appears to me that conservatives were splitting their votes between Huckabee & Romney, only because they were united in voting AGAINST McCain. McCain is only getting 1/4-1/3 of Conservative Republican votes. It is a slap in the face to those conservatives who distrust McCain for Romney to now endorse McCain, or release his delegates to McCain. Many conservatives say they would rather sit out the election than vote for McCain, who has an "open borders" advocate as his Hispanic outreach director (per Michelle Malkin), and who started a non profit organization that was funded by George Soros: see Dr. Jerome Corsi piece in www.Onenewsnow.com.
Though I think McCain still wins, this notion is as absurd as the DNC Super-delegate Conspiracy.  This sets the notion that an actual presidential contender could "higher" a false contender in order to run two campaigns and win a primary election.  Furthermore, I believe in this case, if Romney had not been running a large majority of the voting public could have easily swayed toward the more conservative, Huckabee.  Glad to see our Conservative Party is still ran "By the PEOPLE," not just one person.  Romney should now be considered a "Super-Super Delegate"
Darel you need to read your Bible.This is our country and it was founded by christ like people. God has everything to do with this election.
If Romney can give his delegates to McCain, can he give them to Huckabee????
Darel from Greenville SC said.....

"Huckabee has been kissing McCain's backside from day ONE!  That's why he came across as wanting the VP slot.  Huckabee is a joke - I wouldn't trust him to mow my lawn let alone run the country. For the last time, Huckabee is unelectable and a moron - don't take it as an assault on your beliefs.  Next time get behind someone who people could actually vote for."


Mike Huckabee came out of nowhere with ideas and a platform that he can actually back up with a record. He's had a great campaign and achieved what he has having only spent 9 MILLION dollars....and that means a very respectable number of your fellow Americans, especially in YOUR neck of the woods, agreed with his ideas. He did pretty much sweep the South, right?

Mike Huckabee is still running on his beliefs and his ideas....win or lose....VP or not....very unusual and refreshing for a presidential candidate.

The race is pretty much over for sure, and McCain is winning fair and square....but your comment referring to Mike Huckabee as a moron when he's held in high regard by just about every other GOP candidate and has been credited with a brilliant campaign shows us that your understanding of the facts is profoundly idiotic.

He will get his most wanted speech at the convention allright. It is the McCain people that controll the convention and what happens there. Romney's speech in support of McCain can only help Johnny Mac.
Dr. Dave referred to Mitt Romney and John McCain as "political whores", considering the way Hillary has wooed super delegates I would consider her a politcal whore too.
Dr. Dave is correct; the media is out of control.  This election is too important to have the biased media dictate their unqualified opinions (and just that) to us because they "sound good" or that they tell listener what they want to hear.  Wouldn't it be nice to find a place where the unbiased information can be found on each candidate (please Lord)?


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