January 26th, 2008
02:01 PM ET
9 years ago

Clinton, Obama campaigns play expectations game

WASHINGTON (CNN) - As South Carolina Democrats headed to the polls, the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama each sought to raise the expectations of their rival while lowering their own, in dueling memos circulated to reporters Saturday.

Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson all but declared the New York senator will lose the state, and he said the Democratic race will shift to Florida afterwards - a state where Clinton holds a wide lead but whose primary has been rendered essentially meaningless by party sanctions.

"Regardless of today’s outcome, the race quickly shifts to Florida, where hundreds of thousands of Democrats will turn out to vote on Tuesday," Wolfson wrote. "Despite efforts by the Obama campaign to ignore Floridians, their voices will be heard loud and clear across the country, as the last state to vote before Super Tuesday on February 5th."

Wolfson's comments come a day after the Clinton campaign formally called on her party to seat Florida's delegates at the convention - a privilege the state had lost for holding it's primary contest before February 5, in violation of national party instructions. Obama's campaign quickly criticized the move, trying to "assign meaning to a contest that awards zero delegates and where no campaigning has occurred."

Also on Saturday, Obama's campaign circulated a memo form Joe Erwin, a supporter of the Illinois senator and the former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, that notes Clinton's efforts to win the Southern state.

"The truth is Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign is pulling out all the stops to win in South Carolina," he wrote. "And it includes saying and doing just about anything to win."

The memo went on to note the significant resources the New York senator's campaign has invested in the state, Bill Clinton's fervent campaigning there over the last week, and a recent declaration by a Clinton surrogate that she would win the state.

Responding to Wolfson's contention that the Democratic race will soon shift to Florida, Obama spokesman Bill Burton said, "It should not be surprising given recent events that the Clinton campaign would in one breath say the election is about winning delegates and then tout their success in states that don’t award any delegates in the next breath."

"The DNC has made clear that the winner of the contest in Florida will not receive any delegates, so the next step in this nominating process is February 5th. If the Clinton campaign's southern strength rests on the outcome in a state where they're the only ones competing, that should give Democrats deep pause," he added.

soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. IndependentCA

    Still expecting Obama by at least 10 pts. Edwards in second. Hillary close third. What am I missing?

    January 26, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  2. Spinmaster

    great spin guys.

    Bill Clinton himself hillary wasnt going to win because of the black vote.

    Hillary didnt even spend much time there. SPIN IT OBAMA/CNN -SPIN IT.

    Life according to the OBAMA/CNN spin :

    message to independent voter /psycological warfare:

    ......gee I guess Clinton tried her hardest and LOST .I guess I had better vote for Obama now................

    January 26, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. chevyk

    Come on Obama America is in your Guiding Hands We Need You! HELP US OBAMA!

    January 26, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. margaret - marietta, georgia

    There is no race in Florida and there was no race in Michigan. I think it was a DNC mistake to move the primaries up like they have. It was not fair to discount voters in both locations.

    But it is also unfair to count them now or change the rules now.

    January 26, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  5. One Side Only Please

    If Wolfson ever stopped talking out of both sides of his mouth, I might listen. Now HIllary's going to go behind the back of the DNC and start something in Florida through the AFSCME union leaders. More sleaze.

    President McCain has a nice ring to it? Thanks to both Clintons for making that a distinct possibility.

    January 26, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  6. A in Iowa

    This country is in crisis and NEEDS the help of Barack Obama.

    Obama is a candidate OF THE PEOPLE. He transcends race and party lines. Obama is the PEOPLE'S CANDIDATE. He is America's candidate.

    And with bipartisan support, Obama WILL GET THINGS DONE in Washington. I don't want to elect a President, like Hillary, who will send 4 years fighting with Republicans. Gridlock will not help Americans. But Obama will. He hears us, understands us and most of all, we can trust he will keep it honest and real. He is like JFK and will transform this country to its greatest heights.

    I expect Obama to win because we the people will all vote for him to win.

    January 26, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  7. Amy

    Obama WILL GET THINGS DONE in Washington. I don't want to elect a President, like Hillary, who will send 4 years fighting with Republicans. Talk from Hillary with no results will not help Americans. She is status quo old politics and will only cause alot of fighting and division in Washington. But Obama wants to unite in his politics and will help America get the work done!

    January 26, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  8. Jess

    Anyone who changes the rules midgame is playing dirty. No matter who is ahead or behind, let's urge our favorites to play fair. What good is a win if it is dirty. Isn't about time we moved past that?

    January 26, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  9. Tom Masters

    He debates sooo much better than she does!

    And how dare she call for the rules to be broker!!! OMG

    I'm not sure I can really vote for her in the general election if she wins in this way.

    I don't wanna vote for McCain or Billary.

    She said the Republicans should just quit.

    I think all the candidates should be fired and we should start with fresh ones 🙂

    January 26, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  10. Boogie

    Why has every South Carolina headline pic that is featured by CNN shown ONLY blacks?
    Because...the MEDIA is responsible for this race card issue...because the MEDIA is ramming race down our throats.

    CNN.com is a tabloid.

    January 26, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. Woody

    Haha, Hillary is just trying to shift the focus from her soon to be very embarrasing defeat in South Carolina to a state which means nothing to the democrats. How smart!! God help America.

    January 26, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  12. Beans

    The Clinton's don't like the rules, try to ignore the fact that states have ignored the rules (Michigan and Florida), so they try to change the rules. At what stage in child development does this behavior usually occur? A little at age 2-3 (with tantrums, as we've seen with Willy), and more later in the teen years. Do we want these immature buffoons running our country again?

    January 26, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  13. joe








    January 26, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  14. Khwaty

    What is Obama complaining about this time? He BROKE a PLEDGE not to run an AD campaign in Florida.

    I'm Edwards supporter, already voted for him. I find Obama a very conniving politician blaming Hillary for his OWN doing.

    The American people are not dumb and stupid we can see through Obama.

    Obama is the one who will DO ANYTHING to WIN.

    January 26, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  15. Ano

    " IT'S WORKING"! Read the posts and look at the evidence.
    Some Republican people know how to BAIT, or use the Dems
    to DIVIDE the Demoicrats, then set back and read the evidence.
    They then laugh at US, knowing by the POSTS, when the DIVIDE is
    working. Why DIVIDE? Well It's simple! DIVIDE is the tool you
    use in POLITICS. The inter-net is the ideal venue for that Tool.

    The other tool is MULTIPLY, as in advertisement. Millions of dollars
    are spent daily to say the same thing over and over and over,
    because IT WORKS. "BAIT", An enticement; a temptation,
    for the purpose of selling stuff. designed to attract public attention
    or patronage.

    The Republican people read the news story about any candidate
    looking for statements that can be used as "BAIT" to "DIVIDE".
    Guess who gets the blame for it. "OUR CANDIDATES".
    And who is the one laughing? The one that posted the bait.

    When are we the Dems going to wise-up and do the same to them?

    January 26, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  16. Khwaty


    How come the media is not reporting Obama is running AD CAMPAIGN in Florida after making a PLEDGE like Hillary and my candidate Edwards?


    If he WILLINGLY broke a PLEDGE now, think what else he is going to break if he become a President?

    Fortunately, he will NOT be the nominee of the Democratic Party, the people CAN see who is the REAL OBAMA and its NOT attractive.

    January 26, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  17. Ayo

    If folks wonder why Hillary Clinton has highest number of negative reason, the spin coming from her campaign explained it. Lies upon lies...which one should we believe.

    I have heard enough of this crazy spin coming from the Clinton's campaign. As far as i am concern Florida doesn't count.

    January 26, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  18. The Real Ray

    How slimey are the Clintons?

    Why after the Democratic Party decided not to allow Michigan and Florida to move their primaries up, did client leave her name on the ballot? All other Dems running removed there names with the exception of Hillary. How is this acceptable after she agreed with her party not to campaign in these states due to the rule laid out by her on party?

    Now I truly see that the Clintons are above all rules and can't be trusted to follow their own agreement. How dare Hillary have the audacity to campaign in Florida when she agreed not to? How dare she try to clam a victory in Michigan when she agreed with her party that the votes would not count and of the 3 candidates remaining only her name was on the ballots in Michigan same for Florida. How can everyone else play by the DNC rules but the Clintons.

    Now she wants the delegates to count in Florida eventhough her opponents are not on the ballot (are you serious)!!! I am sick and tired of the double standard that has been afforded to Hillary. Barack would not agree on such and issue, wait until no one else can challange and then try to claim victory with no opposition. She clearly is trying to win the 2 states uncontested. This should be a serious issue in everyone's mind. But if all goes as planned Hillary can sit back and say she won Michigan and Florida even after agreeing to the rules excluding these 2 states due to the states violating the order long established by the party, moving their primaries ahead of other states.

    This is ridiculous and unacceptable...Truly UNAMERICAN!!!
    It reminds me of what we are dealing w/ from W-YA and the rest of the current admistration (there are no rules and if there are rules they don't apply to us).


    January 26, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  19. Clinton

    Games...that is exactly what this candidate is playing...with our COUNTRY!

    January 26, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  20. Jim

    I am fed up with Obama acting as if he is some sort of victim–particularly heinous is his litany against the Clintons. His nastiness sounds as bad or worse than the smear politics from the far right over the last two decades. This kind of smear campaign in which he accuses the Clinton campaign of acting like the swift boat veterans and the like is NOT PRESIDENTIAL! All of you Obama people ought to ask him to stop these outrageous, exaggerated and divisive character attacks. It can only hurt the dem. party and Obama's chances. I, for one, will not vote for him, even if he wins the nomination, if he doesn't quit this stuff.

    January 26, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  21. Jack

    Obama, can not talk about the Clintons. Due, to he and his spouse have a few dirty plates on table. Last year in August his wife started big attachs on Hillary Clinton. Hilliary played cool by not responding. Also, Mr Edwards was involved on same. After Bill started to support his wife then Obama, started to cry the blues. The Clintons, have not said one word about his wife. Folks, lets balance the check book on both side. If he think the Clintons, are playing dirty tricks. What will he do when they bring Karl Rove, out of retirement?

    January 26, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  22. SOS

    Where is the Clinton's integrity? This election is not just about Bill and Hillary scoring a victory–this is about America, American's and the future of this country in the world's eyes. Do we want to show the world this is what we stand in this country-do everything and anything to get what you want? How can anyone trust these people to take over our country? I hope Americans are reading these articles and realizing that winning is nothing if you lose your soul and integrity doing it.

    Please America, just say NO to the Clintons.

    January 26, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. earl illingsworth

    The ultimate warriers from S.C.'s vote will be dueling for Super Tuesday, believe me, and their will be no prisoners taken! Obama desparately needs to reach out to the hispanic vote,( definitely a challenge) in order to marginalize Hillary in New York , New Jersey is fair game. Please take no offense folks, but these "ARK'S are CARPET-BAGGER'S, and conveniently set up shop in a welcomed setting! Now back to Florida where nothing counts(or never has,just kidding)! Both will reach out to the hispanic vote, and give their best. If Obama stays on message, which I suspect he will, Hillary will have her work cut out for her,and that means unleashing ,"Mad Dog", Bill !!! Let's touch the gloves and get it on!!!!

    January 26, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  24. UrbanHillbilly

    The bitter fight with the Clintons will only help Obama come November.

    January 26, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  25. tim

    You failed to mention that Obama is running TV time in Florida .Again its alright for Obama to do anything he wants because he is black but if Clinton or Edwards does anything then the press is right on .And when they defend theirselves then they are playing dirty politics .CNN should be called the FOX annex .They are more like them every day .

    January 26, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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