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. mary

    Hillary needs to stop her negative campagin against Obama who will be the democratic nominee and bow out gracefully to save her legacy.

    February 20, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  2. Lauren

    So what you're saying, Wolf, is that you want us to believe she still has a chance so we'll watch CNN's debate tomorrow night...

    Come on, Bill Clinton coming back in NH is a lot different than the current situation. It is February 20, and she's trying to stage an epic comeback in TX and OH. The margins she needs are pretty much unattainable.

    We know the media wants to keep the battle alive to keep ratings up, but let's be realistic (as Hillary likes to say).

    February 20, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  3. Tar's End

    I am a Barak supporter, but this is the most negative "positive" piece on Hillary I have ever seen.

    February 20, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  4. Kathy

    but hillary is not bill and it is not the 90's. time for a CHANGE!

    February 20, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  5. June (California Voter)

    I would say wait and see what she does in Ohio before I count her out and Penn. as well.
    But I'm for Obama but voted for Hillary.
    Obama '08

    February 20, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  6. Peter Canada 4 Obama!

    Wolf , she is out already. She has no new plans and everyone is obviously tired of her negative attacks. Her attack makes it worst for her to come back in the race.!!!

    February 20, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  7. SONIA


    When you talk about the comeback kid you need to remember that was Bill not Hillary. Hillary had her chance to comeback last night but she couldn't pull it off.

    February 20, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  8. penelope salerno

    at what point in this campaign are you going to stop slanting all your coverage to obama. do you not feel ashamed of yourself for always finding ways to trash the clintons. will you ever ask obama the hard questions or dig into his life. will you ever question his accomplishments oh wait he does not have any . and what about his drug use? his voting present rather then taking astand his support of the chaney energy bill?
    oh that right you only trash the clintons. so does that make you a talk show host rather then a real reporter?

    February 20, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. Grant

    THANK YOU Wolf for an honest piece. No one should be counting Hillary out just yet. Yes, Obama is doing very well and is ahead – but not by all that much. To say Hillary should give up when the race is relatively close, and with many states to go, is not only premature – but just plain stupid.

    February 20, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  10. nancy sabet

    Great analysis Wolf, as you say, Hillary is a fighter and will come back.

    February 20, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. Will

    Thank you, Wolf Blitzer, for remaining neutral and not joining the bandwagon of Obama supporters. I am a Veteran of OIF III and I will support Hillary first, McCain second. There is no way that I could vote a junior senator who does not have that much experience to the most powerful position in the country. Many people are voting for him so that they can say that during their lifetime, a black man was voted into the white house. He is an ICON to many Americans and that is blinding their judgment. Many people actually look past his iconic figure and realize that America is in trouble and that we need a president who has a plan to fix America. Obama does not have that plan right now, but his supporters seem to not care. Many of his supporters just brag about how they voted for a black man. That is nothing to brag about. Don’t vote for us because you feel like you owe us something, vote for us because you feel like we deserve it. Obama is a political rock star and 80% of the black population feels like he should be president, while approximately 20% feels like he doesn't deserve that kind of position because he hasn't earned it. Are we sell outs? No we are not. We just feel like he would not represent our race well at this time because he lacks the experience that the other two candidates possess.

    February 20, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. Denver

    Hillary would distroy this country!

    February 20, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  13. Joseph

    I was a big supporter of President Clinton and I had a great deal of respect for Hillary and her civil and community service. However, I have great concerns that the Clinton's are too politically savvy. Hillary has seemed to learn the Washington trick of aspirations, taking positions and votes with an eye to their future goals.

    I was very disappointed at the NAFTA treaty, welfare reform, and Marriage Act that President Clinton supported and Hilary said that she would have supported (DOMA).

    Perhaps Sen. Obama has not been in DC long enough to have learned those games, but that is exactly what is so refreshing about him. He seems to be real. For God's sakes he even admits that he smokes.

    I think President Clinton has hurt his reputation in his being an attack dog for his wife's campaign. Hilary is seeming desperate with all of this plagiarism nonsense, and attack on his campaign of hope.

    After 8 years of President Bush, this country needs hope, a real inspirational president who admits his flaws and admits he needs us all to work together to solve the problems of our country. Bill Clinton may have admired JFK, but Obama seems to have learned more from him and embodies his spirit better.

    Bush, Clinton, Bush...Clinton? A string of family presidents is not what the founding fathers had in mind.

    Senator Obama, keep offering us hope, keep challenging us to be better. We need a real leader of our country, a real person, a figure of inspiration. We need a fresh wind to blow through DC and the White House.

    February 20, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  14. Brian

    Wolf, if Clinton wins every single contest through the end of the primary season by 10%, she'll still be behind in pledged delegates by about 60. How can you say she's not done, with that said?

    February 20, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  15. bogie813

    I am a former republican, now and independent, and a Hillary supporter. I too will be voting for McCain if Obama wins the nomination. However, I do not believe that will be the case. My feeling is that she will prevail in Texas, Ohio and RI, and that will carry her to a big victory in PA.

    February 20, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  16. Mark, Delaware

    Ditto, Ditto, Ditto

    February 20, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  17. Mara, NYC

    Thank you, Wolf. It's nice to read an article that's just looking at the race and doesn't seem like the author is absolutely salivating for the Clinton downfall. Even my mother, who is a rabid Republican with no love for the Clintons, said about the media, "Why are they treating her like that?".

    February 20, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  18. Mary

    Hillary Clinton's time is over. She had her moment. She had 8 years in the White House. It's time to turn the page with a man who will honor & elevate the Presidency. Barack Obama will make us proud, each & every one of us. It's time for Hillary Clinton to step aside. Yes we can Hillary. Yes. We. Can. You need to step aside.

    February 20, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  19. AF

    Most of these are examples of Bill Clinton bouncing back. She is not Bill Clinton. She has proven that throughout this campaign.

    February 20, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  20. Christine Smith

    Exuse me, but when did this campaign become Obama vs. Hillary & Bill? Last I checked, Hillary's name was the one on the ballot. Half the commentary in this article is about Bill, who isn't even a candidate this time around. And besides, didn't we see in SC what happens when Bill steps into the process?

    If you want to argue that Hillary shouldn't be counted out yet, then fine...but do it on her merits alone, not those of her husband's.

    February 20, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. ibrahim

    i agree with you Wolf, you cannt count out the clintons. but with Obama leading by more than 150 delegates, i think the contest is for him to loose. lets face it Mrs Clinton may win Ohio and Texas but not with a big margin, and with delegates divided proportionally it will be very difficult to catch up!

    February 20, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  22. Dawn (Nevada)

    I agree with you, however, what is being missed by most pundits is the degree of change that Americans want. Sen. Obama gives the appearance of being capable to take the country in a totally different direction, he offers the hope of that. It seems to be the best "giving the people what they want" candidate offer to date.

    February 20, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  23. Waaaiit a minute

    "I'm not fooled by a cheer leader, we just had one of those for 8 years." Please Elaborate. In what ways can GW Bush can be compared to Barack Obama?

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

    -Wolf, why do you equate Bill with Hillary? That 's unfair to her.

    -I am not counting her out either but I don't know she wins without blowing the party up.

    Obama '08

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

    Stop relying on her husband, stop relying on attacking Obama, stop relying on tactics and go on sincere merit. Then step aside and let Obama take the podium for the democratic party.

    February 20, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17