January 7th, 2008
09:41 AM ET
10 years ago

Republicans worried about Obama

Kucinich is encouraging his supporters to make their second choice Obama.

Will Obama appeal to many Republican voters?

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hillary Clinton isn't the only one worried about Barack Obama's post-Iowa momentum. A former top Republican official tells CNN Obama could win a significant portion of the Republican vote in a general election, if he becomes the Democratic nominee.

The leading Republican strategist, who requested anonymity because this person advises a number of Republican presidential candidates, told CNN "I think Barack Obama is a potential Robert Kennedy or Reagan figure." And "in terms of raw political horsepower, he is the most electable of any of the Democrats and potentially more electable than Bill Clinton. If he ran the right campaign he could appeal to a substantial number of Republicans and Independents."

This person insists an Obama nomination isn't a done deal. "He could make a mistake. His people could get overconfident. He needs to continue to push his theme even as she continues to hit him on different issues."

In the days since he won the caucuses, the New York senator's campaign has hit Obama on a number of issues, including his decision to hire a former lobbyist to manage his New Hampshire campaign, and his past position on the Patriot Act. Former President Bill Clinton compared Obama's early position on the Iraq war to President Bush's, and national reporters were summoned to an urgent conference call because some callers on the 'Do Not Call' registry had received robo-calls from Obama's campaign that Clinton's staff alleges did not fully comply with election law.

Yet Obama now holds a 10-point edge over Clinton in the new CNN/WMUR poll of New Hampshire primary voters released last night, and an even larger advantage in some other surveys.

This top Republican explains that Obama "is incredibly nice, he's likable. People want to like him. He's the personification of bringing people together. He's the personification of unity. People like that and it works."

He says Senator Clinton "lacks a gut level connection" with voters. "I'd rather run [a Republican] against her because she turns out our base. He [Obama] doesn't have the baggage she has and he appeals to Republicans and Independents in this post-partisan way."

- CNN's Jessica Yellin

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (297 Responses)
  1. Jay Graham, Dallas, TX

    Its a republican plot. John Mccain can easily beat Obama and the swift boaters in Texas are just waiting for his nomination.

    January 7, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  2. Eric, from THE Republic of Texas

    Hey, I hear he gave a speech once... so apparantly that makes him qualified to be president.

    January 7, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  3. Jimmy, Iowa

    I caucussed for Barrack Obama in Iowa, just to latter catch my son smoking a jiont. During my reaction and punishment he argued back that it was ok to smoke Pot because Obama did and he is going to be President and will legalize it. So how do I argue with this. The only choice I have is to try to get Obama to explain to my child and the children around the United States that he used his past exsperence as a vote getter. A political stunt that could create a loss of life for some child with an overdose of drugs. America, Barrack made a very large mistake at the expense of our children he DOES NOT NEED TO BE PRESIDENT> THAT WOULD SEND THE WRONG MESSAGE TO OUR YOUTH. I can not take back my vote, but can do every thing I can to get this message out. I have changed my position to John Edwards, until I watched the debate. Now I will Support SENATOR CLINTON FOR PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES> Barrack go lead Kenya. You have as much tie there as you have her

    January 7, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  4. Christian, Tampa FL

    They should be VERY worried.

    January 7, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  5. Rafi, NY NY

    Jimmy, you can't overdose on marijuana. This is sort of beside the point, but marijuana really is no more harmful than alcohol.

    To answer your question, though, tell your son exactly what Obama said about his past: That it was a stupid decision and a mistake. Obama is not for legalizing pot; he's said in fact that the only reason he got where he is today is because he GAVE UP the stuff.

    January 7, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  6. jen

    I am a white,republican, christian, upper middle class mother of 5, ( one an adopted daughter from Africa). I am inspired by Obama's speeches, he has charisma that none of the other s (republican or democrat) have, and when Im listening/watching him its like listening/watching MLK. I only wish he were more conservative as far as abortion and economics. I wonder if ther is substance behind the words? If he gets the nomination, I dont think any of the republicans have a chance. He's no john Kerry! Im not sure that its wise to vote based on the feelings you get from listening to him. Im not sure what I'll do on election day......

    January 7, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  7. bobby

    Jimmy that is about as bogus as you can get...obviously you dont know how to raise your children and the rest of us dont care that you dont...oh by the way jimmy your state already voted so you can sit down and shut us...ignorance isnt allowed on this site ok...

    January 7, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  8. Alvis, Mullens, WV

    I like Obama. I really do. He has a lot of charisma.

    Unfortunately, charisma is inadequate. His biggest flaw, for me, is his tendency toward after-the-fact politics. Almost all of what we know about his positions on critical issues comes from him watching as others have made missteps and then griping loudly about it afterwards. He has no substantial record of standing up to anyone when it actually mattered.

    Example: when Clinton passed her vote in the Senate to label an Iranian group a terrorist organization, Obama criticized her for it, saying he would have voted against the measure if he had bothered to show up for the vote (he was to busy campaigning in New Hampshire at the time).

    Even when I disagree with a candidate on some issues, I'd rather have someone who ACTS than someone who complains about it later.

    January 7, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  9. Lee

    Hmmm.... Let me see if CNN will censure me and decline my post again. LOL

    A "cross between JFK and MLK"? Oh, PUHLEEEZE, give me a break!

    Far from burying my head in the sand, I'm old enough to remember both of them and to borrow from Dick Cheney and paraphase, Obama is no JFK or MLK!!

    My goodness – Martin Luther King had his own dream and wrote his own speeches about it! He had the fire and spirit to be the revolutionary he was in his life. That is why anyone who possibly can do so attempts to tie themselves to his star decades later. The string that would tie Barack Obama to said star would be a fragile one at best.

    John F. Kennedy designed the original facade of Camelot, but in the decades since anyone who can read understands that it wasn't what it appeared to our country. We did not have to read about the indiscretions or the backroom deals cut by his father to secure his position as our president. This is not to diminish the greatness that surrounded JFK, it is merely the reality of the situation without the benefit of revisionist history.

    The young people in this world today missed out on a powerful era in America's history and grapple to find their own equivalent. That is understandable. Please don't denegrate the legacies of their work for the American people by attaching their name to every flavor of the month before they have even begun to prove whether they are worthy.

    January 7, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  10. aware

    Obama "lacks a gut level connection" with me. He is becoming more arrogant and Bushian with each rise in his poll numbers. His lackadaisical grin is so reminiscent of the Bush smirk. Bush also floats above it all as he proclaims his "my way or the highway" rule.

    Republicans and all Americans need to worry. Some movements are dangerous!

    January 7, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  11. Steven

    Jimmy in Iowa, Sorry to hear about your son. Stop it now before it leads to something else. I do have to say blaming this on Obama is a cop-out! Not one word has been uttered or written to indicate he will legalize marijuana! You asked how you argue with your son because of his "Obama did it" arguement.. FOR ME, the answer it simple, you don't argue, you are the father! Your son was involved in an illegal activity and really needs to understand the consquences, the very least are health issues. I wish you and your family the best!

    January 7, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  12. N/A

    Hello, Ron none of those Presidents: Lincoln, Washington,..... were trying or had to fix a country like ours on the 21st century!!! They did not need the experience required now.

    January 7, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  13. Chris

    Barack Obama will win NH with 37%

    Hillary will be probably second but maybe third

    Obama 08 lets change washington, lets get the people involved!

    January 7, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  14. Tommy

    Please peoplef don't pick the highest office in the country on feelings. Feelings will not do anything for this country. Experience is need and a track record. Obama has neither.

    January 7, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  15. Laurie Dufner

    I watched the Debate last night and was disgusted by Hillary's behavior. She was so busy trying to lash out at her competition, that she made herself look like a complete idiot. She keeps claiming that she has all this experiance...........when?
    only experiance I've seen her have was trying to clean up and make excuses for her husbands mistakes while he was supposed to be running our country.
    I thought that both Barrak Obama and John Edwards were very forth coming with their views and not offensive at all, even though Hillary acted like a 5 year old.
    I don't really think any of the Republicans running for office are suitable canadates.
    I don't think it's wise to elect Huckabee, a jesus freak, cause then all the bible bangers and Red necks will go nuts, and racial wars will start up, and more corruption. Mc Cain would love to continue the war until ALL of our sons and daughters ( but not his) are killed over oil and halibutan. Romney seems sneaky like George Bush, And I would be afraid to leave Guliani alone in the same room as my 14 year old daughter. i think the wisest decicion is either Obama as President and Edwards as Vice, or vice versa.
    In the mean time can we please IMPEACH Currious George, and Dick the prick??
    Shouldn't after all they've done be charged as war criminals, not war heros?

    January 7, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  16. Jkelly

    I am really disappointed in people as a whole in reading these comments It sounds like two second graders talking about something, No one has anything to say positive about any one they dont like ,it is all dirt each one of the people running talk about the ones they are running against and some people have the nerve to say this one or that one is throwing dirt when they all are, I dont believe that any one of them can do what they say as president unless they have the help of the congress who ever they might be. What ever happen to be kind and considerate. Some of the ones running have done some good things, dont that count for something.

    January 7, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  17. Dom

    The Republicans should be scared. Their nomination of Bush gave us 9,000 Americans killed by terrorists,Iraq,no Osama,$100 a barrel oil, gas up 100%,5 record deficits,trade deficits,record foreclosures,a stock market that is up 4% a year,health care up 100%. America is worried about another Republican in the White House

    January 7, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  18. Stella

    Remember that experience makes the diference

    January 7, 2008 10:53 pm at 10:53 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    what we really need now is someone with a business background who can stop america's economic freefall, not a televangelist playing the role of politician . where is mike bloomberg when we need him?

    January 8, 2008 12:06 am at 12:06 am |
  20. John

    I would love to know how Obama can be considered a unifier, when he would belong to a church that is not about uniting anyone. Your only as good as the company you keep.

    "A congregation with a non-negotiable COMMITMENT TO AFRICA."

    Where is the commitment to the U.S.?

    By the way, just because your a Republician does not mean your a racist. Hence you forget, Lincoln was a Republician. The only color Republicians like is green and we just want to keep the green we make.

    January 8, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  21. BSB

    Lee writes "...borrow from Dick Cheney and paraphase, Obama is no JFK". Mr Cheney may have used the phrase but the put-down was originated by Sen. Lloyd Bentsen, in a 1988 VP debate against Dan Quayle. Mr Quayle answered charges of inexperience by saying that he had about as much experience in Congress as Kennedy had had before becoming President. And then Bentsen sprung his trap. "Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy: I knew Jack Kennedy; Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you're no Jack Kennedy." An unforgettable moment. Someone said it was like a troublesome fly buzzing round an old frog, which sits impassive until the fly gets too close, then zap! goes the tongue, and the fly is gone.

    January 8, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  22. A. Republican

    Hello, my name is A. Republican.

    Democrats: Please continue to support Obama. My friends and I will continue to vote for him in the primaries to ensure he gets the nod from the Dems.

    He will be the easiest to beat in the general election... wait til the gloves come off, then they will rip Obama apart. I appreciate your help on the path to electing Republican leadership once again.


    January 8, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
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