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. robert

    But what about the numbers? They show a mathematical improbability, right? According to CNN.

    February 20, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  2. deanne

    Under the guise of "Don't count her out" you take the opportunity to bash the Clintons. You take that space on this page to re-hash every negative, taudry thing you could think of to put in your article. You are one of the few I have counted on to remain unbiased but now, you disappoint me. How nasty and phoney you are. I have lost respect.

    February 20, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  3. David, Idaho

    You guys would not be making this type of commentary if it was flipped in her favor.
    McCain is treating him like the nominee, she is refusing to recognize his wins.
    If he didn't act like the front runner, you would criticise him for being disingenuous.
    Bush wasn't a Cheerleader... he wasn't a leader and all he didn't even seem to understand the issues.
    Barack Obama knows the intricacies of this battle, Just Like Sen. Clinton and Sen. McCain. The only difference is he believes the world can be better. After so many years of the same old, same old... why shouldn't we try... If he's wrong, he knows how the game is currently played and can work in that environment. But if he's right, we might actually see progress and become the true leader of the free world again. But hey, its easier to nay say than try for anything better, RIGHT?

    February 20, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. Sean

    We are long past the days of objective journalism I'm afraid. CNN is the most balanced of the big cable news three. MSNBC and FoxNews are consistenly biased.

    You're seeing a more favorable treatment of Obama than Clinton on CNN because he is winning. They cut to his speech last night because he won the primary. No one likes a loser. You can blame Obama for cutting into Hillary's speech but that courtesy is contingent on her actually conceding defeat. She was just giving her stump speech so why should be cede the prime time spot to her?

    February 20, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  5. Mike

    I'm a Canadian but I'm wishing and praying that Hilliary Clinton wins over Obama. and Really hope she gets to be the next President of the U.S.A. . Mike hustad Burnaby British Columbia, Canada.

    February 20, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  6. Lynn

    Hillary has all of the media including CNN against her. The media hype Obama at every opportunity. The win in Wisconsin was probably crossover and ineligible vote. When all is said and done, Hillary will still be the best qualified, most intelligent and best choice for leader of our country. Where is the sanity when we need it the most?

    February 20, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. Ram

    I am a true democrat who voted for Bill, Gore and Kerry. But, if Obama wins, I am sure to vote for Mccain , eventhough I hate republicans who were responsible to kill 3000plus us heroes, just to improve Bush's rating and continuing to have power. I can bet Mccain will pick Liberman or Rice depending on Clinton or Obama, which will take away the democratic swing. Superdelegates and Democrats, if you want to win the election team up Clinton and Obama, that will make certain that Democrats can hold the post till 2024.

    February 20, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  8. William Alexander


    Hillary is not Bill! Why are you conflating the two different experiences?
    And why don't you and the the other "pundits" scrutinize her alleged "35 years of experience"? What happened to critical thinking?

    February 20, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  9. carol

    Thank You Wolf, you seem to be the only one with a brain at cnn. You are about the only one that don't run there big fat mouth all the time about either candidate. But the Media needs to quit giving Obama a free ride. Democrat for McCain, if Obama is on the ticket. I think you all need to do some polling on how many Hillary supporters will get behind Obama, I bet not many. He will be a loser

    February 20, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  10. Jean999

    I would like to understand why CNN, MSNBC and Fox all gave Senator Obama something around 50 minutes of prime time uninterrupted commercial free time for his speech last night. The same courtesy was not extended to Senators Clinton or McCain. In fact all three cable networks cut over to Senator Obama from Senator Clinton to listen to Senator Obama thank everyone present. I find the lack of fair and balanced coverage on the cable networks frightening.

    February 20, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  11. Amy

    If the shoe was on the other foot, she would have done the same thing. At the beginning, the campaigns was very cordial to one another; but the minute she fell behind, she began attacking the Obama Campaign. Sen. Obama has run a well organized campaign and; so she should concentrate on her own situation and stop making excuses for her failure. She thought this was going to be an easy contest, so this is a wake up call for her. No more hiding behind Bill. I guess she's still trying to find her voice.

    February 20, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  12. Ryan

    Barak Obama has the nation's ear right now and people are listening. Mr. Obama is continuing to keep voters interested. He has brought a level of excitement to these primaries that will end up carrying over to Nevember.

    February 20, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  13. Patricia

    Obama is the Pied Piper. Hillary should listen to McCain's attacks on Obama. He is making her case for her.

    February 20, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  14. Ric

    Let Obama have the nomination. Then watch John Mc Cain go after Obama, and his traitor wife.( I've always been proud of America!! )

    February 20, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  15. Jennifer

    I will vote for McCain if Obama is the Democratic candidate....he is arrogant and condescending. Senator Clinton is a worthy candidate and he treats her like yesterday's trash....who the heck is this guy? Where did he come from and what on earth can he bring to the Presidency – how does he think he will bring about change when he can't get along with the Republicans? He is making an enemy of Hillary Clinton....I can't imagine those two working together. I agree with Wolf – she can bounce back, although it will be tough. He is promising people jobs that he can't possibly deliver. He is promising to pull out of Iraq, when the bloodbath will be so horrible if we do so....unbelievable stuff.

    February 20, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  16. Adam, Denver, CO

    It doesn't take an experienced politician to be President. All it takes is an inspirational, intelligent person with the ability to use common sense. Someone that can heal the rifts Bush has created between us and the rest of the world. Hillary is not a mode for change and the good people of this country are realizing that. We are hungry for change. GO OBAMA!

    February 20, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  17. Lynn in St. Louis

    I was furious when CNN cut off Hillary's speech to go toBarack"s, but I did listen (and take notes) of his speech. It was a FREE 49 minute political rally designed to boost his vote count in Texas and Ohio.

    However, trying to be fair, I actually took notes and found that Barack's message is that "all things are possible if you are ready for change" and for Texas, "this is our moment, this is our time, we will win in Texas, we will win the nomination and we will win the general election."

    And, he did try to cover what he would do as President which is improve education, pay teachers more, cut taxes for those making 70,000 or less, get cars to have better fuel efficiency, bring Republicans to our side, close Guantanomo, reduce family's health care insurance premiums more than $2500/year, and meet with our enemies, because "Yes I can."

    I am NOT making any of these things up (if you want to see my notes, I'm happy to provide them).

    AND, "All these things are possible if you are ready for change."

    Thank you Wolf for not doing the "kaddish" over Hillary's campaign. It's not over until it's over (from Yogi Berra). Yes the momentum is on Barack's side, but until one of the candidates gets to the magic number NO ONE IS YET THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE.

    The democrats should remember "beware what you wish for because you might get it."


    February 20, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. Terry

    Obama won 10 in a row by wide margin ... but still he is not even close to be nominated, the delegate difference is 70, it is 3% of 2,200. Don't forget Clinton got stripped off two states. The race is still very even. The most populated states all went to Clinton. Having more doesn't mean better. I live in Iowa, the population of the largest town is merely 200K people. That can't represent what the whole country. In fact, Republicans always win more states in November, but that didn't stop Bill Clinton to be the president. If Clinton win big in Texas and lose Ohio, she is still in it.

    February 20, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. LisaMpls

    I appreciate this post, Wolf, even if it does remind everyone of all of the scandals. The important thing is that Hillary has lived through it all. No court has ever found her guilty of any wrongdoing. She has lived to help millions of Americans. And she will continue to work for all Americans...hopefully as our 44th President.

    February 20, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  20. Ellie Nesbitt

    I am a 70yr old democrat and the way the media is treating Hillary is unbelievable. I hope the "MEDIA" doesn't elect our president like the supreme court did in 2000. If Obama gets the nomination I for one will not vote for him.

    February 20, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  21. cynthia werner

    I agree with both of the blogs above. First, I think that Hillary and Bill have been given unfair press during this entire Presidential campaign. I've yet to see anything negative about Barack, only praise and swoons. How come CNN commentators haven't delved into his political record? What were the bills that Barack voted "present" on or what is his involvement with Tony Renzo (not sure of the spelling)? Many of us have questions but are getting none of the answers because you guys are too slanted to see the forest for the sake of the trees. Get off your duff and supply us with something that shows Barack should be entrusted with the highest job in the world.

    February 20, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  22. Matt, Chico, CA

    Who cares what Wolf Blitzer thinks?

    February 20, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  23. Deanna Stevens

    Hillary's recent losses have taken their toll. I firmly believe in the Clinton's 'bouceback ability'. Obama would be a patent disaster in the White House. He doesn't realise that that's where he has to stop 'talking' and start 'doing'! Hillary was born for this job. She's a deeply experienced POLITICIAN, and that's what's needed. Period.

    February 20, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  24. leslie

    I agree as well. He's sounding more and more like a Baptist preacher giving his speeches. I don't want a "preacher" in the White House. A preacher is only a messenger. I want God.

    May Hillary be with us.

    February 20, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  25. TM

    I think that Hillary would easily be the frontrunner now if the DNC hadn't decided to strip Michigan and Florida of its delegates. Not only would she have more delegates, but the psychology of the race would have taken a different turn. The Republican legislature voted to move up Florida's primary, so why did the DNC punish Florida voters, and what's more, what right did it have to do that??? I voted on January 14th, the first day of the two-week early voting period here, and I am sad to say that my vote was disregarded by the party I have been loyal to my entire adult life. I could never vote for Obama, because he has said Florida votes should not count and that Florida was a "beauty" contest. Of course, CNN called it a beauty contest, too. Obama does not want the superdelegates to decide either because that would take away the people's choice. What about the people of Florida and MIchigan? Obama is full of bolony. I see him as arrogrant and self serving, and although I respect his wife's education, her comment yesterday about not being proud of America before now was one of a separatist. Very frightening for a potential first lady.

    February 20, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
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