February 20th, 2008
03:18 PM ET
10 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. Hillary supporter MA

    Wolf – You, CNN, MSNBC, FOX you name it – are the reason for HRCs demise in this campaign!! We all know it. Now you can't start telling us not to count out HRC. In my opinion, she is done and thanks to you. It's time now for you to tell us who the real Obams is. We know about HRC and McCain. Get down to business now and tell us about your beloved, so called eloquent speech deliverer

    February 20, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  2. tfc

    Charlotte, if you are a Reagan democrat then you are a republican and will vote for McCain anyway regardless of which democrat gets the nomination.

    February 20, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  3. jmj

    I strongly agree with jimf that CNN should appologize on the air to the entire Clinton staff for cutting out in the middle of her speech to listen to Borak Obama who basicly had the same cheer leading speech avery night.

    February 20, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. James

    Charlotte, my Friend..you are stupid...don't expect change with the same old people. Also, stop being ignorant and look at Obama's website–he states his positions

    Obama 08

    February 20, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  5. Paul

    When is the last time a major network talked to the loser of a fight before the winner...hmmmm, NEVER! Winners deserve the mic first; so be it. Good job CNN, FOX, MSNBC for going with the winner!!!!

    February 20, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. Philip, NY

    Dear Mr. Blitzer

    I've been following up with the debates held by CNN.
    However, I have to say this. Every time you moderated, I did not sense that your questioning was "impartial" as it should be.

    **For the upcoming debate, please show us what a true journalism and professionalism stand for. Be objective to both of the candidates, please!

    February 20, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. Ben

    How about an apology from Hillary Clinton for being a sore loser and failing to acknowledge and congratulate Barack Obama? Had she displayed some common courtesy, he and the media might have as well.

    February 20, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. Think Critically

    Clinton started her stump speech an HOUR late. Why should CNN or any other new outlet, for that matter, cater to her campaign's continued disorganization and mismanagement?

    February 20, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  9. Rosalind

    It is interesting to me that the Democrats are so short-sited. Hillary is the present of the party. Obama is the future. They could be in the White House for the next sixteen years if they played their cards right. Obama is not ready. McCain will eat him up and spit him out. McCain will play dirty as the Republicans do and Obama will lose. Then where will the Democrats be......at least Hillary will be able to say "I told you so".

    Rosalind, Ontario, Canada

    February 20, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  10. Bubba

    What I expect is that the popular vote will go to Obama, but more experienced Hillary will have made sure before she announced her candidacy that she had the delegates in her pocket. Then everyone will complain that politicians are crooked and votes don't count, well duh.

    February 20, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  11. Fred

    Wolf, this primary is about Hillary not Bill. He achieved the comebacks not she. I don't think the country wants the comeback of a dynasty.

    February 20, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  12. Janet

    Actually it was reported that Senator Clinton began her speech late. She is to blame. And anyway, he was the HUGE victor of the night. He deserved to be heard more than her and at least Barack Obama thanked the good Wisconsinites for their votes

    February 20, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  13. Suziku

    During one of the debates that Mr. Blitzer moderated, he was rude to Senator Obama, wouldn't allow him to fully complete answers and threw softball questions to Mrs. Clinton! The blogs were disgusted with him, I have been disgusted with Mr. Blitzer since he ran scared and pandered to George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and the rest of the gang! Mr. Blitzer has absolutely zero character and even less guts!

    Whatever he says is generally taken with a grain of salt considering the source!

    February 20, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  14. william

    Obama will lose in November , we all know the Clinton's baggage. What we don't know is what skeletons are in Obama's closet that the Republicans will exploit.

    I'm predicting a John McCain win in November if Obama is the Dem nominee. I won't vote for Obama and I'm a democrat.

    February 20, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. Jethro's dad

    While Wolfe's premise is true, the sentiment makes me wonder just when does one finally decide that a Clinton is finished (politically)? Are they immune to loosing?? What if Barack and Hillary split the March 4th primary delegates? Unlikely, but possible. Barack would maintain his significant margin of pledged delegates, what then? You see my point, there comes a time when the question 'for whom the bell tolls' must be put to them and hopefully answered.

    February 20, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. Independent-Latina-voter, Salt Lake City, UT

    To JimF & Charlotte: Its too bad you both think so poorly of Sen. Obama.
    I believe CNN cut-Hillary off because the winner of Wisconsin was about to speak. However, they usually allow her speech on until she is done. I have watched and listen to her each time.

    Look, Charlotte, Obama is not pompous in my view. Hillary came into this race 'knowing' she would win, she was entitled and it showed. If that is not pompous I don't know what is. The people, especially, us, Independents are voting for Obama, because we want CHANGE. That's why Hillary is losing.

    Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton is NOT change. Please do your homework, set aside your biases and read up on Sen. Obama. Read about what he stands for and what he plans are.

    I can not vote for Hillary, knowing that she VOTED FOR THE WAR; in my eyes she IS just as responsible as Bush for the bloodshed, the debt and the mess we are in.

    Someone in another blog made an excellent point as to why he switched from Hillary to Barrack: they ran out of money and had to loan their campaign money, the blogger says, if Hillary can not run her campaign with fiscal responsibility how can she run a country?

    I am a registered Independent voting for Sen. Obama. I want CHANGE!

    February 20, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  17. Leo

    I agree with Mr. Blitzer. This is not over, but what is she doing now? Hammering the Senator of Texas for not knowing Barack Obama's accomplishments, complaining about how to count the pledged delegates, pushing for Florida and Michigan delegates to be seated ... where are her priorities? How about spending some time providing the people with a standardized message telling us how she will run this country? She can't even run a campaign.

    February 20, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  18. Elsa from Canada

    I too believe that CNN should apologize to Hillary Clinton for the disrespect that was shown to her last night. Yes, Obama did win but delaying his speech until Hillary's was done would have been the appropriate thing to do. You simply cut her off and by doing so you told everyone watching that what she had to say was NOT as important–she was secondary. It's amazing the messages which can be transmitted without saying a word. I have been watching your station for weeks with keen interest. Last night, however, I couldn't believe my eyes and ears. I hope you make this right somehow..

    February 20, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  19. Kay Tuner

    Charlotte. If Obama wins the nomination, you can vote for McCain or stay home. However, it will not change the dynamic of this race. It will not prevent most of the American people to make change in the way Wasington works. With all due respect, I think people should be careful on attacking a US senator and qualify him as pompous. Those are Clinton tactics. The machine may be broken and will be soon out of order. American people don't care.
    Wait for what will happen on March 4th: four other wins states for OBAMA with more than 20 percent lead for each state.

    February 20, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  20. Sue

    If Obama wins the nomination I will not vote. I feel CNN has "given" Obama the nomination and can only seem to find negatives about the Clinton campaign. If the Clinton campaign got half as much positive coverage as Obama I would consider the reporting fair. I am very disapponted in the news coverage and honestly feel the press wrote Hilary off weeks ago!!! Shame on the "unbiased ?" reporting. Hillary is the one for the White House ....never doubt her courage and strength. It would be nice to hear some negative information about Obama on CNN. It is there, they just make the choice not to run it!

    February 20, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  21. M arla

    I,too,was very upset last night at CNN's behavior...Hillary's speech was first interrupted with a split screen of Obama talking right over her, and then,as others have said, we were made to listen to the same speech we've heard too many times. I have watched MANY hours of CNN during these primaries, and it has been blatant from the beginning the criticism and negativity toward the Clinton campaign and the outright promotion of Obama. I hold the media responsible for the promotion of "Bandwagon" ethics along with sexist, shallow thought.

    February 20, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  22. Jaon

    CNN need to be CNN again. Professional and report based on fact not spin. OBAMA is a good speaker, but that is no what American need right now. American need a good experience leader to made the change. Change require hard work and experience. This is too important for American people right now.

    Ask yourself, when you go and apply for a job, every employer asked about your experience and your qualifycation, why would the president of the USA does not need experience?

    I am so disappointed. If OBAMA win, I will vote for republican and cancel CNN.

    February 20, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  23. AMBER

    Absolutely! I'm glad people are opening their eyes. This race is bias (leaning toward Obama). Its not right! Ah...if only the American people could make up their own minds and not be influenced by endorsements and slanted media reports.!!! Currently, and sadly, that is not the case! Obama is pompous, and undoubtedly inexperienced! He will never get my vote. If he gets the nomination, I'll vote republican for the first time ever in the General Election!

    February 20, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  24. Anne

    One of the most appealing things about Obama is that he seems to be saying that in order for this country to pull itself back up as a society that is proud and respected, it has to be willing to get involved and fix it's own problems.
    The 'yes WE can' is an echo of 'what YOU can do for your country'. The last time I heard of America coming together as a real community was during WWII. As a 25 year old white female I think that once in a lifetime is a horrible ratio for seeing true unity, but we should grab the chance when we can. A president needs to inspire people to move their country foreward instead of sitting in the back seat with their eyes closed. The more I hear of Hillary the more she doesn't seem to care what this country, or her supporters think as long as she gets her prize. In that, she is no different from any other career politician.

    February 20, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  25. observant1

    To be honest Wolf, you just gave me another reason why we don't need another Clinton in the White House. This litany of scandals is enough to make me never want to go back to those days.

    She's run a poor campaign. That's just the truth. For all Bill's scandals, it looks like he had a good organization behind him that could stave off the collapse. Clinton's camp is disorganized and her brand of politics has become laughable. She could very well make a comeback; however, I hope that's not the case.

    February 20, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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