February 20th, 2008
03:18 PM ET
12 years ago

Blitzer: Don't count Hillary Clinton out

The Clintons have bounced back before

The Clintons have bounced back before

(CNN) - The political momentum is clearly with Barack Obama. He has been impressive. But don’t count Hillary Clinton out yet - she has a formidable political machine and lots of ardent supporters.

Obama has won ten contests in a row - almost all of them by significant margins. But Clinton still has time to come back between now and March 4, when there are major contests in Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island. There is no doubt she is facing an uphill struggle, but it would be premature to say it’s over.

I say that as a reporter who has seen Bill and Hillary Clinton bounce back before. During the 1992 Democratic presidential campaign, he was considered politically dead after the Gennifer Flowers scandal erupted. But he overcame that and became “the comeback kid” in New Hampshire.

Her political viability was undermined dramatically when her disastrous health care initiative collapsed after he became president in 1993.

Some pundits began calling him a lame-duck in 1994 when the Democrats lost their majority in the House and Senate. But he came back to defeat Bob Dole in 1996 and won a second term.

Then, there were all the other scandals during his eight years in the White House, including Whitewater, Travelgate, Monica Lewinsky and impeachment. Some suggested he would have to resign. I was CNN’s Senior White House Correspondent then, and I remember those days vividly.

But Bill Clinton survived and even thrived. His job approval rating during his final year in the White House was in the mid-60s. President Bush’s right now is in the low-30s. And Hillary Clinton sailed to victory over Republican congressman Rick Lazio in 2000 in the New York Senate race - even though she had never really lived in New York, and many accused her of being a carpet-bagger.

In short, I think it’s fair to say she’s in serious political trouble right now. But given the Clintons’ history, it would be a mistake to say her quest for the presidency is over. If she manages to win in Texas and Ohio - and that still is possible - she will go on to Pennsylvania on April 22, and this roller coaster political season will continue.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (410 Responses)
  1. JurisDoctor

    why should CNN apologize for cutting out Hillary's speech. Noone cares what the loser has to say, as the democratic electorate is making obvious by not voting for her.

    February 20, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. chadm

    Wolf – I'm just wondering if you and your colleagues, not just at CNN, but across the network and cable outlets, really think you have any credibility left when it comes to reporting on politics? While you keep talking about momentum and bouncing back and YOUR previous experience in covering elections, the American people are craving substantive coverage of the candidates and their real-world experience, their real policy initiatives, and their real philosophies on governance and the role of government in our everyday lives. I'm curious as to what you feel YOUR role is in the process? Do YOU feel as if you are helping to provide the populous with the information necessary to make such an important decision? Or has your mission, and that of those around you, become finding out who can predict a winner first and why? It seems more and more as if the coverage is some sort of strange Entertainment Tonight for politics, an Inside Edition (Mr. O'Reilly seems familiar...) on government, basking in the rises and falls of the celebrity of the moment – playing gotcha and I told you so while we sit wondering if "the best political team in America" even cares. I, for one, am not interested in why YOU think Senator Clinton, or anyone for that matter, should be counted in or out. Last I checked, you were a reporter, not a columnist, or a pundit, or anything else of the like. We tune in for you to dispense truthful and useful information – otherwise known as FACTS. Please, take a moment to ask yourself if your post above does anything of the sort. I've found it be most unoriginal and most unhelpful in providing anything resembling political insight. Thank you.

    February 20, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  3. Julia

    I think Hillary still has strong chances to win. And i hope she will for a sake of our country.
    We elected last president based on likability and arrogance level.
    Look where we are now.
    Obama is probably a nice guy to hang around and he has charisma, but it doesn't qualify him to run one of the biggest country in the world.
    I think he would be a good VP candidate, it will allow him to learn on the job. It is obvious he will need it.

    Go Hillary!

    February 20, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. Sugar Coated

    I am wondering all these on the OBama train and crying about a
    dynasty are the same ones who put Bush in the White House
    twice? If so you may want to look again.

    February 20, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  5. Concerned Voter

    I agree with Byron G. and Rosalind. Wake up America !! Look at the records and not the speeches. I am tired of political speeches. They are old and not the future.

    Also, whether you like Hillary or not, she is a fighter and will take on McCain. Obama will be eaten alive by the Reps.

    February 20, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  6. GJ-AZ

    Don't know why everyone is thinking "The Clintons" will not win. "The Clintons" have over 35 years of "experience". They know all dirty little secrets in Washington: Who's done what to whom. You don't think they aren't calling in a ton of favors and promising more. This is the old Washington Two Step at it's finest.

    This current state of the race is a made to order field day for the media types; however, in the end "The Clintons" will be back in the White House and life will go on...just as it has for over 35 years.

    February 20, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  7. kathy

    They shouldn't count Hillary Clinton out, she is the most intelligent woman in any office. All I hear from Obama is his excellent speaking tactics which soothe people. Hillary needs to let the people know she is a woman to be president for the first time and state how they always say , "that behind every good man, is a good woman. " But she is the good woman who does not need any one else and stands in the front . She does not have to share her experience and great knowledge now with any one. She has to let them know what a woman can do. A woman like her and most others, can multi-task and when they say they will do something, they do it. They take care of their own and many others and are always a lady in doing so. We don't need another want a be politician with a fraction of experience that she has, as far as Bill Clinton, it is like getting a great support system for her since he has the experience of being president. Who could beat that. McCain doesn't sound very educated in many things including speaking, he only sounds experienced in combat. We don't want war, we want peace. We need what Hillary Clinton can and will do for us. People should not be caught up in the flowery speaking techinque that the other democrat candidate is. We need action now, the country has so many propblems. Please people, get real!!!!! Give her support, we don't have much choice out there. She is the one.

    February 20, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  8. Ron

    Hillary is in REAL trouble due to just really, really , bad strategy. There is a chance she can turn it around but it is less than 20%. Which means it probably isn't going to happen.

    February 20, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  9. carrie

    get over yourselves.hillary speech was cut because she lost and it was boring,the winner had to speak.i wish she would just go back home and knit in a rocking chair,its about time'she keeps talking about solutions,but she hasnt really offered any/she is just a sad loser,who loves power.we have had enough of those clintons

    February 20, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  10. enntee

    regarding the thoughts of the last commenters' i have some thoughts.

    First for 'jimF' – CNN did not cut off Hillary. Obama did not cut off Hillary. Hillary started her speech 45 minutes late. Is it so wrong to cut to the person who just won 10 straight contest in a row, all by 18% or more?

    And for 'Charlotte' – Pompous? Once again, Hillary did not congratulate Obama for his victory in Wisconsin (just as she did not congratulate him after he won the 'Potomac Primaries', Maine, or WA/LA/NE). But even worse, she did not thank her supporters who went out in the ice, snow, in single digit temperatures in Wisconsin to vote for her. She acted like Wisconsin didn't happen because she did not win. She has treated all of her losses like they don't exist. I would argue that's far more pompous.

    I'm tired of hearing that Obama has no substance. He is not going to recite policy details in a stump speech. There is plenty of substance there.

    February 20, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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