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. chloe pickering

    thank you wolf blitzer for recognizing that hillary clinton is far from "done". this obama thing is spinning out of control every day. are these people sheep ? does anyone care about the real issues ? yes we can ? no you cant, but hillary can. hey, that wouldnt make a bad slogan for hillary ! and i would like to say that i am highly offended when people say that only middle-aged women are in hillarys camp. what does that mean ? must mean that all the baby boomers and their mothers, sisters and husbands are all camping out there. and lastly, i would like to say, no thanks obama, you are not jack and bobby kennedy. those two men belong to my generation, and hillarys.

    February 20, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  2. D S

    I am a 36 year old african american female. I believe that all of Obama's momentum is coming mainly from the media. Everything good that happens for him, the media hypes it up and everything that goes wrong, even the comment made by his wife, the media plays it down. Obama is not only all talk and no action, but he is copying other speeches and hasn't said anything to convince me that he is ready to be President. I understand that he received permission to repeat those words and I feel that he should consider becoming a motivational speaker instead of running this country. He hasn't done anything while he was in the Senate over the years. What are these people voting for?? Looks?? Feel good, up and down my spine speeches??? There is no doubt in my mind that Clinton is right for this job and I'll tell you why. When her husband was in office, I was a young single mother going through a very nasty divorce. I was struggling, but I was able to find a decent job because the economy was so good at the time. The economy was good when the Clinton's was in office and when they left this country was in a surplus. Mrs. Clinton was by her husband's side working and helping our country, especially young mothers like me. She knows what to do in certain situations. She has the experience people, she was there!! I was able to go back to college and receive my degree because she was and still is my role model. I like her plan for our country that she has outlined for the economy and especially the one that will help me because I am a Social Service worker who would like my student loans forgiven. I don't want to sound selfish but we should all ask ourselves the question, "How is this candidate agenda benefiting me and my family"? I refuse to vote for Obama because he is not going to do anything for this country but give his feel good speeches.

    February 20, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  3. jenkins

    Michelle Obama's comment was totally outrageous. That's the worst scandal since the beginning of the campaign.

    February 20, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  4. Meiji

    I haven't made up my mind for whom I'm going to vote but I agree with jimF about Hilary's speech last night on CNN. CNN is my favorite news chanel but very disappointed when CNN cut off her speech to go for Obama.

    February 20, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  5. Michele

    I agree, audacious ... mean , pompous. Substance yes ! go for Hillary !!!

    February 20, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  6. ME

    Yeah i will vote Hillary. We need someone with experience. He gives a good speech but does not mean he is prepared to lead a country. Will Also vote republican in he wins democratic nomination. This is not the time to take a chance on our economy. We need qualified person as comander and chief. That is not OBAMA.

    February 20, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  7. Brenda Jody

    I am so VERY SICK at how the liberal media of CNN and MSNBC have attacked the Clintons and raised Obama to a heavenly/halo status. CNN and MSNBC have been ruthless in their attack on Hillary Clinton but yet seem to find no flaws in their "Wonder Boy" Obama.
    From past history, we know the great success story of the experienced Hillary Clinton as well as that of her husband whose successful presidency gave us probably the best economic times in history. What do we really know about Obama? Perhaps the nation should be made cognizant of his affiliation with a well known American Communist mentor and of his anti-white religious affiliated church. Or should America simply vote for him simply because of his borrowed speeches, his sex and his race? Is this any reason to place one in the highest office in the land?

    SHAME ON YOU CNN AND MSNBC for your attacks on the Clintons!

    February 20, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  8. cat8myhome

    So tell me Texan for Obama, why should Clinton
    'bow out' before Texas? Are you afraid she'll win in Texas?
    As someone already pointed out here, a candidate wins when they have 2,025 delegates, not when they have just a 150 delegate lead.
    Mr. Obama is starting to appear a little arrogant to me now, that is not the way to win friends and influence people.

    February 20, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  9. jeff oklahoma

    Why is Obama always reminding me of the man we have had in office the last 8 years? Let's count the ways:
    * Preaching unification, bi-partisan politics even though he will push a liberal agenda... such as Bush did with a conservative agenda... which will alienate the right and end in the usual partisan politics... at least Clinton is realistic in knowing that it will take fights to get the job done in Washington
    * Bush had relatively minimal national and international political experience and Obama... much the same... this in a time of great national peril with a forthcoming economic crisis, Iraq, Iran, Pakistan, Sotuh Korea... need I list more?
    * Bush was a wild and crazy guy with his alcoholism and "not denied" dabbling with drugs... Obama, an admitted, habitual pot smoker and recreational user (see junkie) of cocaine... once a junkie, always a junkie as the 12-steppers say.
    * Both seem to speak of their religion in a sense.. yet... both seem to dabble in the religion of hate... Obama's church provided the Reverend Louis Farrakhan an award of greatness though he is one of the single most bigoted men in america... Bush lied and led us into a mess in Iraq

    Clinton will still win this nomination as the worm is starting to turn on Obama as his little lies begin to get more air time. The only thing greater than the rise in politics is the fall... mark my words!

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

    The biased reporting between these two is so unfair, it's like a nightmare.


    February 20, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  11. enomisa

    It is not possible for Obama to have a wide, wide lead. The two candidates are so close that the lead could never be considered wide, but just eeking out.
    Furthermore even wirh the lead, Obama will fall far short of the required delegate count.
    Having a nominee who fails to gain the minimum delegates needed, will not sit well with many members of the democratic party.
    If this is how the nomination is won, more democrats will LEAVE the party, after years of faithful participation, than Obama can hope to inspire to his campaign.
    OBAMA, make no mistake about it, democrats WILL defect from the party.
    We believe that democrats should select the nominee for the democratic party- we will not stand for republicans, and independents selecting our nominee for us.

    February 20, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  12. Byron Goodgame

    It seems very strange to me that Obama is attacking Hillary Clinton on her policies since her policies are in line with the current Democratic Party and his own. I'm especially confused when he calls those policies the same old policies that haven't accomplished anything. At best he's saying that the Democratic Party is a failed Party, which doesn't seem to make sense to me since last time I checked the Republicans have been in the white house.

    February 20, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  13. circuswors

    Does anyone have a problem with the fact that Obama refuses to acknowledge that racism exits, refuses to stand with African Americans, and then turns around and speaks like Martin Luther KIng, invokes his "I have a dream?" He also denigrated the politics of the 60's and 70's and praised Regan for putting an end to it. He outright betrays MLK's work on civil rights!

    February 20, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  14. CarrieW

    CNN has shown over and over again that they want Obama. It's all about what sells the "news". Clinton has the experience and more importantly, the ABILITY, to get us out of the mess 7 years of Bush has gotten us into. That's not what sells news though and Obama will continue to get the publicity because he's flashy. I myself can barely stand to watch CNN anymore because of the obvious one-sided reporting they have resorted to.

    As far as Obama thinking this is a done deal....think again. It just proves how truely inexperienced the guy is.

    February 20, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  15. Kevin Michael

    Well you truly seem fair and balanced Jim and Charlotte. You berate CNN for doing what every cable network did. You ignored Hillary continuing pattern of not only not acknowledging her opponents victories but also failing to acknowledge her supporters. To call Obama a cheerleader, you have to ignore the incredible campaign he has run. Up against Hillary who is better known, better financed and with the Clinton Machine behind her, he organized a campaign that built a better ground game, spent more wisely, raised more money without lobbyist funds and has progressively eroding her support in every demographic group. To call Obama a cheerleader without substance, you have to ignore the legislation he's written and sponsored during his short time in the US Senate. If Obama is truly a man without substance, it seems strange that his biggest supporters across all demographics are the most educated Americans. They see a man with proven accomplishments with a message they can believe in. America is ready for change. America is ready to believe. Obama has reminded us that we can have something different. We can overcome the fear and division of the past. We can and are coming together for something new and sorely needed in the county. Some like you will ignore the urgent need for change and vote for McCain and the fear and Bush policies of the past. The rest will support Obama in becoming the next President of the USA. America is no longer ready to vote fear. America is ready for hope. America is ready for change. America is ready for Obama to lead us to the fulfillment our dreams. Yes we can.

    February 20, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  16. Colton

    If I were in Obama's team I would not allow Blitzer to be a moderator in the next debate.He seems he is concerned for her .

    February 20, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  17. jenkins

    Hey Tom-

    That's about all Obama has on his resume is an ivy-league school. Where's the beef?

    February 20, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  18. AL

    CNN is doing a good job! They showed Clinton's speech AFTER Obama because he WON the night. Hillary will need to win Texas and Ohio to still be in it. It's possible that after such a long drawn out fight that IF she won it wouldn't be by much..and too win..she may do things that make her not all that well liked by all Democrats. Nobody has mentioned May 6th Indiana and North Carolina. They are in one day both close to Chicago and have a large black population, possibly making them pro-Obama..and with as many delegates as Pennsylvania on April 22nd. Twenty years of only two families in the White House is far too long. I agree completely with a woman President some day, perhaps quite soon...just preferably not this one.

    February 20, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. Alice

    Sounds like a "willfull suspension of disbelief".

    February 20, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  20. Ben

    The reason they cut to Sen. Barack Obama's speech was primarily due to the fact that Hillary Clinton was behind schedule and gave her speech an hour later than she had orginally intended to. Don't go blaming Obama over a move that was keenly made by the Clinton camp to make it appear like it was Barack's fault. If she loses Ohio and Texas, I would hope she would bow out gracefully, rather than fight the political uphill battle to win the parties nomination.

    February 20, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  21. Peter

    Firstly, I think Hillary has no shot against McCain, and Obama has a very real shot. That being said, under normal circumstances I would vote for McCain over Hillary in the general election. But, these are not ordinary circumstances. After 8 years of the Bush disaster, we simply need a Democrat in the White House. Obama is the only one that has a real shot against McCain.

    February 20, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  22. Concerned

    They cut from Senator Clinton's speech last night because she LOST. Not only did she lose last night's contests, she once again did not congratulate her opponent–something even John McCain is still doing. Cutting to Obama wasn't bias, it was journalism. There's no apology necessary, jimF.

    February 20, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  23. peter s brosig

    she is loosing the only reason she became New York seator in the first place. Secondly Bill will leave after she looses ,about time !!!

    February 20, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  24. RealityCheck

    And, if elected, the Prince of Inspiration would still have to go to work in the political cesspool known as Washington, D.C. He would have to butt heads with John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and the rest of the Mental Defective League. "Inspiration" is great when you're preaching to the choir. It fires up the volunteers. In closed door negotiations it just tends to piss people off.

    My point is, think long and hard about who is actually best suited to navigate the slime. In the end, with or without comparisons to JFK, MLK or the second coming of Christ, deals are still going to need to get done. That's never going to "change."

    February 20, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  25. PJW

    WHAT do you people see in Hillary Clinton?? She speaks in a monotone with a deadpan expression and buggy eyes. She has nothing like the poise her husband ha(d). She bought a Senate seat in a state she had no history of residency in. The biggest job she was given as First Lady FAILED miserably (healthcare reform), and her Travelgate fiasco revealed she has no people skills. Claiming "experience" because sitting in the Senate has made her bum two years numb-er than her opponent's is nonsense.

    What kind of following would this person have had she not been married to the most popular prez since Kennedy? The only rationale I can figure is that her adoring hordes are actually trying to resurrect the feel-good days of the 90's. They failed to do so by backing Gore in 2000, and this 2008 attempt won't succeed either.

    When she finally realizes she's fallen way short of election, she'll drop the sham marriage to her increasingly irrelevant husband and quickly fade into obscurity.

    February 20, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
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