January 10th, 2008
03:55 PM ET
5 years ago

Blitzer: It's going to get ugly

CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

(CNN) - Jack Cafferty’s best-seller is entitled “It’s Getting Ugly Out There.” I suspect the presidential campaign eventually is going to get very ugly.

The bitter back-and-forth between the various Republican candidates, and the similar nastiness among the Democrats, will be child’s play compared to what is likely to happen after the political dust settles and the two major parties have their respective nominees in place.

Indeed, the two parties’ opposition research is already in high gear preparing for the political struggle for the White House.

Former White House political adviser Karl Rove, writing today on the op-ed page of The Wall Street Journal, seemed to signal this. “Former President Bill Clinton hit a nerve by drawing attention to Mr. Obama’s conflicting statements on Iraq,” Rove writes. “There’s more – and more powerful – material available.” Rove added that Obama “won’t escape criticism on all this easily.”

Drawing distinctions between the presidential candidates is totally appropriate; it’s part of the democratic political process that we cherish. That is what elections are all about – making choices about our leaders.

Having said that, if you think it’s rough out there right now – just wait. No matter who the nominees are, it will get a lot more intense. In recent days, I’ve discussed this with some of the campaigns, and top staffers on both sides assure me they fully understand what’s in store. They insist they’re ready.

- CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (171 Responses)
  1. Wilhemina

    How can an impeached President (Bill Clinton) with a trail of scandals , be in the White House? What about National Security? Why are you wasting votes.

    January 11, 2008 02:02 am at 2:02 am |
  2. Mati

    It shouldn't have to become ugly if Obama received same treatment as all candidates. We wouldn't have to lose 3 exceptional candidates who could impart their wisdom, focus on content and keep a balance in the race. Media should be ashamed for manipulating the images of candidates/campaigns. Many realize the danger now and express their concern for an electorate that may not challenge all candidates on the real issues.

    I recommend an article about Obama and his views about whether or not Dems should continue to 'refight the nineties"


    "I fully agree with Senator Obama that we should be arguing for the policies we advocate and the values from which they derive in a manner that appeals to the broadest possible segment of the public. His own ability to do that is one of our great assets. But I worry when people on my side underestimate the difficulty of our most important work, and I believe that is what Senator Obama does when he dismisses our efforts to fight the right wing in an earlier period because it suggests to me that he does underestimate the difficulty of the job. I think the best way to summarize my concern is that if you tell people that we should not be willing to refight the battles of the nineties - including many very important ones that we are far from having won - and if you tell people to refuse partisanship, you may be inviting people to leave the battlefield to those with whom we have the biggest differences. Racial fairness, reproductive rights for women, an end to discrimination against sexual minorities, universal health care, the right of working men and women to bargain collectively with employers - these battles we waged in the nineties remain essential to our vision today, and I do not understand why we should either be embarrassed about having fought hard for them, ten, fifteen or twenty years ago, or why we should not be determined to keep fighting until we have achieved success."

    January 11, 2008 02:03 am at 2:03 am |
  3. abbigayle


    Obama may be a christian . But he does have family members who are muslim. and that been said. He may have a different political agenda for the middle east and for you.

    January 11, 2008 02:24 am at 2:24 am |
  4. abbigayle

    Jon B

    Why is it so important to defend obama religion? How can you be so absolutely sure he is a christian? His grandmother is from Kenya. And he may have family that is muslim. Does that make a differents to you?

    January 11, 2008 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  5. Jeanie


    Actually this is false. Hillary's democratic chair and others in her campaign sent an email around Obama's teenage drug use which Obama discussed in his autobiography. I believe Hillary's NH demo chair also resigned over the issue.

    I think Obama has been very gracious.He has never mentioned in public that Hillary is running on her husband's experience in office, which includes his impeachment and being sued for sexual harassment.

    For me, the two-fer issue that the Clintons represent is a problem. When people vote for Hillary, they're going to get Bill Clinton (who is forbidden by the Constitution to run for a 3rd term) as her co-president, just we got Hillary as Bill's co-president. I didn't vote for them either term. I am disturbed by a woman that thinks it okay to violate the constitution. The reason Hillary will not release her notes or explain her experience in exhaustive detail is because she would have to admit that she and her husband broke the law. Hillary told us that Bill Clinton would not sit in on National Security Council meetings in a Hillary White House. She said that he would not have a security clearance. However, the truth is as a former president of the United States, he retained his above top secret security clearance when his term ended. All former presidents do. When Hillary Clinton made this statement she was aware that he had a higher security clearance than she does as a senator. First ladies do not have a security clearance. So the question is how did Hillary obtain the strength and experience that she claims to have. if Bill Clinton was incapacitated during his presidency, then power should have passed to Al Gore, the vice president and NOT the First Lady. Based on reports of his behavior on the campaign trail, it's possible that Bill Clinton was incapacitated during his presidency and Hillary stepped in. I think the media needs to vet the experience, and readiness she claims to have for the presidency.

    January 11, 2008 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  6. Paul Williamson

    If you like corruption and "rough and tumble" Chicago politics, you have got to like Obama. He was groomed by Chicago Mayor Daley and his cronies to run for the Senate and eventually President. Obama is as dirty and corrupt as the rest of them, he is hiding it for now, but the Republicans will destroy him in a minute if he is the democratic candidate.(Remember "Swift Boating"? The press, including blitzer, need to do some investigative reporting on this guy who we nothing about....look at his long-term association with Daley, Madigan, Rezko, Blagojevich, Stroger, all of whom were Obama's friends and supporters, and all dirty as can be... do we need that kind of graft and corruption in Washington?Chicago politicians are licking their chops on the possible spoils from their spokesman and figurehead Obama. Look into this, press and CNN, before the Republicans make mincemeat of Hussein Obama in the general election!!The guy is a liar and a charlatan run by the machine from Chicago.

    A disgusted Chicago Democrat

    January 11, 2008 03:54 am at 3:54 am |
  7. ben

    Talk of election being rigged already!

    January 11, 2008 04:00 am at 4:00 am |
  8. Kelly

    If Hillary get nominated, count me voting republican or staying at home and never bother!!

    January 11, 2008 04:01 am at 4:01 am |
  9. Dave

    Why thank you captain obvious for stating the what is bound to happen with an earlier primary and a drawn out presidential race between the two parties. Hopefully the ugliness of it will convince both parties to move the primaries back so that we don't have to put up with crap overload for a year and then some before the elections even take place.

    January 11, 2008 04:03 am at 4:03 am |
  10. Ken

    I think the media is responsible to Obama's second choice in NH!!

    January 11, 2008 04:04 am at 4:04 am |
  11. joseph

    Actually, the media is making it ugly.

    Every networks' reporters are out there trying to out-ugly each other by asking 'tough' questions to candidates, and forcing an answer. The ugliest portion of the sound-bite is taken out of context and thrown at the rival candidate, and the reporters ask, "your opponent is saying that you are so-and-so. What do you have to say to that?"

    More and more, the 24-hour news stations that were created to inform us are running out of material, so they are getting into the news-making business, rather than the reporting business.

    Thank god for PBS.

    Wolf, you're one of the worst. Reporters who have to repeatedly say, "There's more to come" are nothing more than advertisers of their own programming.

    Try some more in-depth coverage. Do some more research.

    Ask some tough questions- if evidence is found that torture was committed, and specifically authorized by the White House, would your administration bring War Crimes Charges against the Bush Administration?

    If lame duck President Bush informs you that he has a strike team ready to launch an attack into Iran on December 15, 2008, what would you do as the President Elect?

    Pakistani President Musharaff has specifically said he will not allow US forces to launch an attack on bin Laden within his country's borders. What will you tell him if your sources inform you that you have a 2 hour window to strike bin Laden?

    The sub-prime meltdown seems like it will have no stop. Are you prepared to take action to save the borrowers, and also the financial markets? Is a bailout similar to the RTC in the early 90s in the works?

    With all the stuff going on in the world, the only thing you have to talk about is how ugly this race is getting?

    January 11, 2008 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  12. abbigayle


    well your name speaks for you? definition of vertigo is dizziness!

    January 11, 2008 05:20 am at 5:20 am |
  13. abbigayle

    What will Bill Clinton do when he becomes first man of the white house? What christmas ornament will he select for the tree? How will he entertain guess? Will he redecorate the game room? Just imagine Bill as your host with the most. LOL. I bet he is already making out a guest list for the first event!

    January 11, 2008 05:40 am at 5:40 am |
  14. Richard, Mckinney, Texas

    everyone knows that the white house belongs to the Clinton's...it is there birthright...

    January 11, 2008 05:43 am at 5:43 am |
  15. abbigayle

    john august olsen

    What beautiful words! But they are just words! Just like the word CHANGE.
    Unless you can back the words up with action they are just words!

    January 11, 2008 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  16. Mark

    They haven't brought out any of the bad stuff against Clinton yet.

    January 11, 2008 06:00 am at 6:00 am |
  17. abbigayle


    Everyone has opinion. And listening helps change others view. Do we all listen? Nooo
    It just takes one individual to spark change. Joe I am listening.

    January 11, 2008 06:10 am at 6:10 am |
  18. abbigayle


    You say you can bring the dirt out on Hillary anytime. But that is just not the way you do things. oh! aren't you playing nice should we give you a cookie ? I say you already tried that. And you found no dirt!

    January 11, 2008 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  19. Independent in IA

    And as long as newscasters, such as Blitzer, continue to feed the fires with half-truths and innuendo, it will get hotter still.

    January 11, 2008 07:04 am at 7:04 am |
  20. independent in america

    John New York, NY January 10, 2008 4:40 pm ET

    It doesn't have to be ugly.

    Not if Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee and Mike Huckabee is the Republican nominee.

    They are two honest, good men who have publicly expressed their genuine respect for one another.

    geez john does this mean that obama doesn't believe in evolution either?! maybe the two of them can sit and wonder where all the ships go that fall off the edges of the earth cuz it's flat....

    do you baby lambs EVEN know what the different party platforms are?? do you honestly think a pro-life and a pro-choice candidate will ever come together in unity?!

    January 11, 2008 07:10 am at 7:10 am |
  21. Dave - Battle Creek

    Obama is a liar and a fraud.
    And this has nothing to do with race. I am so tired of people screaming racist everytime anyone dares say anything against Obama. I dont care what color, sex, sexual orientation or religion a candidate is. He could be a green Muslim for all I care. Obama makes statements he cant back upo on a daily basis. He is an empty suit that can make a good speech and thats it.

    January 11, 2008 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  22. shakti

    Why don't you ask Obama to explain his change theme. Is it to dissolve the poorly rated congress (18% approval rating) and get new players in Washington. THAT WILL BE A CHANGE THAT WILL BENEFIT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE. However he cant do that . So I don't see what change is he proposing or they are just buzz words that resonate with the Americans.

    January 11, 2008 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  23. Shawn

    RE Vertigo's comment, "I think that Obama will have a solid plan for America once he gets the rest of these democrats off of his back."

    Gee that is funny. It seems to me the rest of the candidates in the field have already done their homework and figured out what their plans will be... while they've had to compete with one another all along! What's Obama's excuse? He's got to make his case to the American people that includes more than fanciful writing and some charismatic speeches. The clock is ticking for Obama and his time is almost up. We saw right through to the truth here in New Hampshire. Obama's win in Iowa was a fluke... a bunch of young people who think it will be cool to "break the mold" in electing him president. President Bush's botched comments may serve Obama well: Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me! He sure as heck couldn't pull the wool over our eyes here in New Hampshire. My instinct tells me that the rest of the country will soon follow suit.

    RE Vertigo's comment, "Really, all presidents have aides that write most of them plans anyway. None of them are economic professors or anything."

    Is that so? The current president may be an idiot, but Clinton was an internationally-recognized Rhodes scholar. Hillary is no dolt, either. They are by far two of the most intelligent and brightest politicians in my time (I am in my early 20s).

    January 11, 2008 08:14 am at 8:14 am |
  24. abbigayle


    January 11, 2008 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  25. dmw

    What I find very interesting is that over the last few days I have been hearing how blacks should vote for Obama in South Carolina because he is black. I just saw an interview on CNN this morning about Michelle Obama and how she can sway the black female vote in South Carolina by saying I am like you, so vote for my husband.

    After Obama lost New Hampshire, Roland Martin and other black males in the media took swipes saying that they think racism had something to do with Obama not winning.

    My question: Why is it about race in a bad way when Obama does not do well or the Clintons question his resume; yet, it is good to talk about race when the Obama's and the media see an opportunity to use race to their advantage and to help Obama win in South Carolina?

    Such hypocrisy. By the way, I am a black female and this notion of using race when it is to your advantage and then try to make non-blacks feel guilty if they don't vote for Obama is insanity. This is the oldest trick in the books for blacks because they know they can make a lot of non-blacks feel guilty still about slavery and segregation. I wish the media would call them on it. There will never be true equality until this stops, and the fact that the Obama's are playing the game this way is an insult to me and the notion that Barrack talks about bringing all people together.

    January 11, 2008 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
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