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. Milt Schaeffer

    I would advise Hillary to run an ad of that Illinois State Senator being interviewed by Chris Matthews.
    Milt, Florida

    February 20, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. sharon

    What was that.......eclipsing Hillary when Mr. BO started his same old same old last night? I heard him and it scares me. Who is going to pay for all his dreams and promises? You and me!!!

    February 20, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. missi

    I agree with both of the above. Personally I would have jumped all over Michelle not being a proud american.

    If Hillary doesn't get the nomanation then McCain might as well call the movers, he'll be in the next president.

    I could never support someone that is sooo under qualified and has such a lack of patriotism. Im ten yrs younger than Michelle and I can't count all the reasons I am proud to an american.

    February 20, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  4. OBAMA 08

    That would be a huge mistake.She and Bill will do anything for a vote,
    as we have see.

    February 20, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. D.

    He'll do just fine as long as the political DNC establishment gain some discpline rally behind him. He not need to speak as much and the whole party will become his surrogates. Better yet "our cadidates."

    we have his pick of the best minds in the party, unless the continue to fight, but i doubt. You win the nomination with inspiration.

    I just hope that Hillary does not drag this out, and become an ally of McCain.

    She knows that they are coming, and she needs to stop feeding the republicans talking points. It is really an up hill battle from here, and I am absolutey sure that the party insiders, we soon become frustrated with her, although admired, dogged persistance. It is know longer appropriate.

    The way each has ran there campaign is a sign of whos capable and who can get things done. This guy has managed to bet the odds and pull the support of the some extraordinary people. That is a clear reflection of the his "capabilities" not experience. Kobi Bryant was not expeirence but more capable. It's not about experience it's about capbility. Hillary is incapable of being presidential.

    She mismanaged a campaign and she blamed it on the other guys playing foul

    We need to get behind this guy because it going to be rough. He has shown that we have a bunch of people that want to vote for what the party represents. Now lets go ahead seal the deal and buckle down for the big dance. Its time to rally around Obama and let the stewing begin. He will make a fine Democrate I am sure.

    February 20, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. Claudia

    Obama is an "uniter"...Gee, where have we heard that before?! BUSH, that's where. And he left this country a mess because he was all talk and no action and so is Obama. I really believe if Obama gets the nomination, Clinton supporters will not vote at all.

    February 20, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. sharon

    What was that.......eclipsing Hillary when Mr. BO started his same old same old last night? I heard him and it scares me. Who is going to pay for all his dreams and promises? You and me!!!

    February 20, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. ceetip

    This is what I think:

    1. Remember when the media asked. ”Who would you rather have a beer with? George Bush or John Kerry?” Americans overwhelmingly answered George Bush, and then they voted for him. LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY.

    2. Experience is important. George Bush and Jimmy Carter had very little. LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY.

    3. Joe Klein says “Obama’s flights of rhetoric are the stuff of legend. But Clinton simply knows more. NOW THINK WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN TO OUR COUNTRY.

    4. Joe Klein says “Obama’s comments are not only maddeningly vague but also disingenuous: the campaign is entirely about Obama and his ability to inspire” I can’t eat inspiration and neither can anyone else. NOW THINK WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN TO OUR COUNTRY.

    5. NBC has virtually endorsed the Obama campaign. Shades of 2000 and 2004. LOOK WHAT HAPPENED TO OUR COUNTRY.


    7. GROW UP AMERICA! Think with your heads and not with your hearts. Don’t vote for a person just because they make you feel good. Stop the all consuming desire for change and start focusing on the issues. Our economy is sinking fast and it needs an expert to fix it. JUST THINK WHAT MIGHT HAPPEN TO OUR COUNTRY.

    8. Let’s make change in the best possible way we can. Vote for someone with some credentials. Someone who is known for reaching across the aisle. Not someone who just HOPES he can. THEN YOU WILL SEE WHAT WONDERFUL THINGS WILL HAPPEN TO OUR COUNTRY.

    February 20, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. Karin

    I agree. I think CNN is bias towards Obama and McCain. In the November election, they'll be bias towards McCain.

    February 20, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. Cameron

    Please, somebody teach Wolf Blitzer how to do 3rd grade math...are you that naive? Or are you just trying to shore up some audience for CNN's next debate?

    Hillary's self-centered leadership style (i.e., you need me to fight those bad Republicans for you!) and her vast experience in negative campaigning have obviously failed.

    For the first time in my life I am excited about our country's future and there is John McBush and Hillary trying to convince me not to get my hopes up and leave it to them to plot along.

    February 20, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. BSC

    May I please say ... thank you.
    This must be the most positive thing CNN (The Blitz) has said about Clinton. She does have the ability to rebound from this. She can still pull this out. Obama and Clinton are so well liked and supported is the reason we (dems) are in this situation.
    The only thing better for America would be
    Obama / Clinton
    Clinton / Obama
    Support the Super Ticket for November

    February 20, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. KC voter

    I never have counted her out. How about making the playing field even and the media quit dicing every move she makes. How about making a big deal about Barack now backing out of the commitment to take public financing. Sounds like the same Washington Politics to me. He will say whatever it takes to get elected. Or how his wife has never been proud to be an American. I'm a Democrat but have never stopped being proud to be an American, even during the last 7 years. Sounds like the same of polotics to me. He has not experience and I'm sorry but our country will be making a mistake if he becomes the nominee. Remember the 90s? If you do, vote for Hillary.

    February 20, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. Donna B.

    I agree, I will also vote for McGain if Obama gets the nomination.

    February 20, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. SBAMA

    CNN cut away becuase Obama was live and Clinton was taped.

    Charlotte, we just had McCain for 8 years. Bush is not a cheer leader, leader and Bush should never be in the same thought!

    February 20, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. Ken Phillips, Jersey City, NJ

    "I AM IN IT TO WIN IT" – – Ahhh, those were the good old days – –

    February 20, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. JC, Hot Springs, Arkansas

    I agree with Charlotte 100%.

    February 20, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Yola

    Jimf is right – CNN has been horrible with Hillary, you can see it in their faces – all of them are bias

    February 20, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  18. Bayou Joe

    A word from the swamps. This cajun knows a dead fish when he sees one. Hillary smells of dead fish. Obama has too much momentum to stop him. However it doesn't matter come November.
    The Demos have built a solid wall between the Black and White community that Bob The Builder can't fix it. The Republicans will chew him up and spit him out like chewing tabaco at the local bar.

    February 20, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. George from Minneapolis

    Hillary's speech was cut short because THE WINNER was speaking. If Hillary wants to get coverage instead of Obama she should win a contest.

    If its today, March 4th or beyond, Hillary is done. The American people have spoken. There is nothing that Hillary can do to be anyone other than who she is. The people have rejected her campaign and there are no tricks that she can pull to reverse her inevitable loss.

    February 20, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Democracy

    I think that Blitzer is right about not counting them out yet. They know the system rather well and love _love power, so they will do whatever it takes to stay in power. Having said that however, the past was a different story and this time people have choices and want change in power, and in politics,change the status quo. While she will continue to use her negative and divisive politics including saying thatFL and MI (conveniently ) should count, and that she is ahead, and that the majority is with her, (when the polls, the voters, the counts, and numbers show totally a different picture, one has to be cautious of such people. People used to having power, and people who feel entitled to the Presidency of this country by right of birth alone, will not let it go off easily. So I say, lets keep voting, and lets keep people talking, they will not give up power that easy, this is not just power, it is personal ego power for both Bill and Hillary.

    February 20, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  21. Jonathan in Chicago

    Wolf, most of what you write refers to her husband - not Senator Clinton. But more importantly, this tendency belies a deeper struggle that challenges all Americans. If Senator Clinton were not herself, would we be as hesitant to 'count her out'? I think not. Were this any other candidate - facing a ten win deficit - the candidate would have the political sense and the good grace to declare a victory and exit the field.

    But this is not any candidate. This is Hillary Clinton, wife of President William Jefferson Clinton, Former First Lady, Senator from the Great State of New York, and the inevitable Democratic Nominee.

    After ten wins, most by significant margins, and fourteen further wins, and each of these by considerable margins for the most part - more states won, more pledged delegates, more popular votes - the message from the electorate seems to be fairly consistent.

    But, Clinton is Clinton. And she was the 'inevitable' nominee. We have all had great expectations, and these expectations have been sorely disappointed and slow to fade. The truth of the elections may tell a different tale, but for now, we seem to be unwilling to surrender the illusion of a Clinton nomination just yet.

    February 20, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. bonnie

    Wolf Blitzer....who would have guessed...still one of those old has beens wanting the Clinton Regime to continue, it's good press for sure, but get real Wolf, the American Public is finally finally speaking up and in the end, do you really want the Clinton's back in office?I simply cannot believe that people want the same lying, back biting, deceitful, coverup couple back in business.....why not try to not show your favoratism so much ...oh by the way, I will not be watching you or your station anymore, I would prefer FAIR reporting, not BIASED reporting...your slip is showing

    February 20, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. ne,pa

    I'm glad CNN and others stepped on Clinton's speech (with Obama's) after they realized it was not a concession speech or a thank you to the people in Wisconsin who stood in below zero temps to vote for her. His camp outsmarted hers.

    Clinton and McCain represent corrupt Washington. It's time for fresh new blood...Go Obama!

    February 20, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Carl

    I can't wait to see tomorrow's debate. It will certainly prove who's in the solutions business and who's in the distractions business. Perhaps, after this debate, Obama will be able to win over some Reagan democrats because he's certainly won over some Hillary democrats.

    February 20, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. MaryJo Bruce Surprise, Ariz

    Never say its over till the Senator from New York says its over. CNN does need to appolize. Your are rude, crude and socially unacceptable. But, that is they way Americans are going. Screw everyone no matter who it hurts.

    February 20, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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