ABC News' Teddy Davis, Sarah Amos, and Talal Al-Khatib Report: On a Thursday conference call monitored by ABC News, former President Bill Clinton downplayed the importance of caucuses and argued that his wife, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., would capture the Democratic presidential nomination by outperforming Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., in primary states.
"Right now, among all the primary states, believe it or not, Hillary's only 16 votes behind in pledged delegates," said Bill Clinton, "and she's gonna wind up with the lead in the popular vote in the primary states. She's gonna wind up with the lead in the delegates [from primary states]."
"It's the caucuses that have been killing us," he added.
Bill Clinton's decision to flatly predict Thursday that his wife will finish ahead of Obama in the pledged delegates and popular vote which come strictly from primary states comes as his wife's advisers concede that the former first lady will not be able to catch Obama in the total number of pledged delegates. Obama's campaign has used his seemingly insurmountable pledged delegate lead to make the case to the party leaders and elected officials who will ultimately decide the Democratic Party's nominee that to back Clinton would amount to overturning the will of the voters who participated in the 2008 Democratic nominating contests.
The former president made his comments while speaking by conference call with Sen. Clinton's precinct delegates in Texas. He was urging them to turn out on Saturday when Texas Democrats hold state senate and county conventions in approximately 279 locations around the state.
Saturday's conventions are the second step in the Texas Democratic Party's process of selecting delegates to the Democratic National Convention.
The roughly 88,000 Texans who were chosen as either Clinton or Obama delegates at the precinct convention level will be winnowed down to just over 7,000 Clinton or Obama delegates who will get to attend the Texas Democratic Party's state convention, the third step in the process, which will be held June 6 - 7 in Austin.
Although Clinton won the March 4th Texas primary, Obama emerged ahead of the former first lady in the Texas caucuses based on a partial tally of precinct convention results compiled by the Texas Democratic Party.
According to an ABC News estimate of the Texas caucuses, Obama earned 33 delegates to Clinton's 24 with 10 still left to be allocated based on the presidential preferences stated in the next steps of the process.
The Texas Democratic Party will not declare a winner of the Texas caucuses until June 7, the second day of its state convention, since the state's Obama and Clinton delegates are free to change their minds prior to the state party convention.
By contacting the caucus chairs in approximately 279 locations around the state, the Associated Press expects to be able to project a winner of the Texas caucuses by Saturday evening.
"We can still win this thing," said Bill Clinton, referring to his wife's bid to be the Democratic Party's presidential nominee. "She's running great in Pennsylvania, great in West Virginia, great in Kentucky, and she's got a real chance now to win Indiana."