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. esther

    Dear Wolf to answer your question I am a independent voter, college educated,senior woman and I support Senator Clinton because I believe she is the best candidate to get this country out of the mess we are in. Also why don't you ask Senator Obama why he wouldn't put his hand over his heart in a proper civilian salute to our flag! Oh I am also a air force veteran.

    February 20, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. Tevita

    CNN doesn't have to apologize in this situation, and to believe it does lends an air of entitlement to those who support the Clinton campaign. Her vote to authorize the war and her support of NAFTA (and subsequent "flip flopping" into going against it) should be enough for us as voters to NOT vote for her. And anyone who thinks Obama is pompous and not McCain is incredibly dense and has not done enough homework on McCain. He can be as pompous as they come in terms of his tone and dealings with other. If you're going to not support Obama, at least be more intelligent in your reasons they spouting superficial lines made for lazy thinkers.

    February 20, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. SJM in CA

    Obama's campaign has been just like every other politician's - inflate your own accomplishments, distort your opponents' records, intentionally take statements out of context, promise the moon to people if they'll vote for you, etc. - that isn't change, that's more of the same, which essentially makes Barack Obama a liar and a hypocrite - just like every other politician. He fails his own standard... how ironic is that?

    I voted for one Republican in my life - Thommy Thompson, who was the governor of WI at the time when I lived there. I voted for him because he was moderate and had experience; McCain also matches those criteria. Experience trumps rhetoric, known trumps the unknown. Obama loses on all counts. If Hillary isn't the democratic nominee, I'll be voting for McCain.

    February 20, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  4. Boston guy

    After weeks of waiting I am still waiting to hear what "change" Obama is going to do. I still hope Hillary can make a come back but if she doesn't then we will have another 4 years of bad luck in the White House.

    February 20, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  5. Tim

    JimF, why should CNN apologize? Every other network did the same thing. Seeing the pattern??

    February 20, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  6. MI DEM

    Thanks Wolf, one somewhat positive comment regarding Hillary Clinton..... followed up by dredged up, sick of hearing about it, old news about her husband. Try a positive spin once in a while, you might like it!

    In the meantime, maybe you could spin a little about Michelle Obama, no one seems to want to talk about HER negative attitude regarding "the other candidate" or how she's just now proud of her country..... in the words of Bill Clinton (since you loved to bring him up)..... GIVE ME A BREAK!

    February 20, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  7. CaliPeach

    They gave recognition to the WINNER " OBAMA". If Hillary would have won (once again, sorry Hillary for losing) they would have cut off Obama for the winner. Obama is the winner, therefor people want to hear from the WINNER!!!!

    YES WE CAN!!! OBAMA 08

    February 20, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  8. kathleen, illinois

    To Charlotte,

    Bush, a cheerleader. McCain, a cheerleader. Yes and Yes.
    Obama not.
    I bet you voted for Bush. And now you are going to vote for
    another of Bush cronies.

    February 20, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  9. Letha, Sioux Falls, SD

    CNNs fairness towards the race is questionable. You are always highlighting Senator Obama and downplay Senator Clinton. Your fair and unbiased approach is no longer there. Will you even get around to comparing their senate careers or is it over by your judgment? I'm an Independent voter who will be voting McCain before I vote for Obama. So far he has been a good CHEERLEADER at the rally but has not shown he can even be effective.

    February 20, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  10. Jeremy

    i think you are being a serious offender comparing Obama with Bush..
    you had better apologise on that...Dont worry ..its a bitter pill to swallow!! an afroman on 10 -0 to the biggest US political Dynasty machine. Give it up Give it up.. Go Obama.. Go Obama ..i feel like am fired up 😉 and i know charlotte is too 🙂
    see you in Texas to for the true colours!!!

    February 20, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  11. Jordan - San Marcos TX

    They were cutting away from what should have been a concession speech (instead, another arrogant attempt to ignore yet another one of Obama's blowout victories) to a victory speech. Hillary, as the clear loser, should have scheduled her speech more appropriately.

    February 20, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  12. David

    Scandal after scandal!!! Hopefully the new scandal the Clintons will cook-up with Flo and Mich will be the last! This generation is not moved by the Clinton name. We will chose the leaders of our future and we refuse to be governed by our grandparents and parents misdeeds!!!!!

    February 20, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  13. Mia, Stafford, VA

    Wolf, I miss the days when a journalist didn't offer opinions just facts. The landscape has changed so much that people who used to be thought of as un-biased journalist now serve as pundits. I find it unacceptable personally, and wish you and others who want to hold the title of journalist move away from this type of journalism. If you want to be an entertainer then just do that and get a show like Chris Matthew's Hardball.

    It's a sad day when people are talking more about the journalist/reporter/anchor than they are their subject.

    February 20, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  14. shirley.roybal,surprise,az.


    February 20, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  15. An Agnostic Democrat

    C'mon, Wolf! Your secret enamorment of Hillary Clinton is so apparent, and you have been cowtowing to the Clintons for years now stopping just short of having your nose up their tushes all along.
    Be honest and tell the public how badly you'll miss them being in the daily news with all their sleaze and scandal. I guess you'll have to start reporting the real news along with the other mainstream media.
    It's been so long since any of you have done your jobs, you may need to retrain your journalistic skill set and senses.

    Remember you and your investigative journalist (???) buddies complicitly marching us into the war in Iraq along with the Bush administration before any of you even did your homework. You swallowed that bugled mess along with all the Clinton trash back in the 90s.

    February 20, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  16. Rick

    Thats because Wolf cannot see the light and lives in the same world as Hillary, STATUS QUO

    February 20, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  17. p. vogel

    It has appeared to me the entire political season that CNN has had a hands off stance toward Obama. Even your analysts, who I would expect to give an objective analytical view, frequently voice their personal preference for Obama. I could not believe you reported when Bill Clinton "called out" a heckler that he was basically losing it – that was definitely not newsworthy AND NOT WELL DONE OF YOU. It is very frustrating as a viewer to simply hear one "view". I can get that from FOX. You do influence the public – it is unconcienable that you have used that influence to favor a candidate. I AM A HILLARY SUPPORTER – I CAN DEAL WITH VOTING RESULTS – I CANNOT UNDERSTAND THE NEWS MEDIA'S OBVIOUS BIAS TOWARD ONE CANDIDATE OVER THE OTHER.

    February 20, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  18. Texas4Obama

    CNN your article says it all – BILL AND HILLARY

    We don't want a co-presidency!
    We the people of America want new leadership and a better tomorrow!

    Obama '08

    p.s. I think CNN did well by airing Senator Obama's speech when they did because Clinton had post-poned hers to mess up Obama's schedule!

    February 20, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. Perla

    I Agree with Charlotte. Obama has a way of talking to people and
    inspring them,but can he get the job done once he is in the White House. I know Hillary can because she does have years of experience
    in public service. Being Inspirational is not going to get the job done
    Experience will. Remember, George W. Bush was elected because
    of Moral Values. Look where that got us.

    February 20, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. Debate

    Ok and Wolf is going to moderate the debate tomorrow.....JEESH.....we need someone who is not leaning either way to do it

    February 20, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. JimZ

    To say that you are a "Reagan democrat" shows just how screwed up and uninformed you are. I can see how a man that shatters so many stereotypes might come off to you as a little "pompous".

    Maybe you would be more comfortable if he sagged his pants, and put some cornrows in his head??

    As for "substance".. "stay the course", and the rather old cliche "make the Bush Tax cuts permanent"..now THAT'S substance! What a joke. It's all John Mccain has said. You have heard him mention NOTHING in his campaign about what he will do to move the country in a forward direction.

    So, you go right ahead and vote for McCain, Obama does not need your vote to succeed. We will have plenty of sour-grapes to hand out so that people can suck on.

    February 20, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. Dana

    CNN needs to apologize not only to Senator Clinton but to the American public for this spectacle of an election. CNN if you acted like an objective observer throughout this election there would be no problem. But instead you got caught up in the American Idol Contest of this mess and made a mockery of this election, the office of the presidency and the U.S. You showed your apparent bias in favor of Senator Barack Obama and against Senator Hillary Clinton instead of taking the high road and questioning and criticizing all candidates on the only thing that matters: 1) their experience and voting records 2) their policies and issues and 3) their plans and how they intend on implementing them. It is truely distrubing that a news organization such as your self would stoop as low as the Fox News Network.
    CNN apologize and be fair from now on and please question and critique Senator Obama as much as Senator Clinton. This is the most serious election of our time. It is not a joke or a popularity contest.

    February 20, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  23. Anna

    I am glad to see that there is some objectivity in your article here. I would also agree that this race is not over. Hillary is a survivor. She has had to undergo endless attacks on her character, her campaign, her husband, her daugher, you name it, she's dealt with it and she is still standing. Unlike Senator Obama, who has gotten an unbelievable free ride from the press. They continue to protect him like a baby, and when anyone goes after him, it is considered not a big deal. This is a sad day and age when whe choose inspiration over experience for the highest office in the land. I will be inspired when I see a President walk into that oval office and do the hard work it takes to fix the economy, get our troops home from Iraq, give us universal healthcare, help repair our standing in the world, and get our educational system back on track. Right now, I can't allow myself to be caught up in a wave of hope, because I for one knows that "hope floats." I don't want someone to build my hopes up now and be a failure later. In addition, I would also agree that it was quite rude of CNN and the other networks to cut Sen. Clinton's speech off last evening to give "YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS" extra air time. I am always leary of people who build another person up to be more than what they truly are. In this case, it is the media constantly making this man of little or no substance, out to be a saint. I just hope that the balloon doesn't pop soon. I am sure that the Republicans are definitely going to aid in that effort and regain the White House in November if Obama is our nominee.

    February 20, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  24. California Voter

    I don't see why her quest for the presidency should be over right now. She may not be the frontrunner now, but she has received almost as many votes as Obama. If you included Florida and Michigan she would have more. Obama's on a roll now, no doubt about it but who knows what the future might bring.

    February 20, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. Robin

    Even a Hillary article that's supposed to be positive sounds terribly negative. Is the best that we can say about her the fact that she has overcome failure and scandal before? Honestly, besides an older birth certificate, what does she have over Obama?

    What has SHE accomplished?

    February 20, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
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