February 22nd, 2008
03:15 PM ET
10 years ago

Blitzer: 'Huge challenge' ahead for Clinton

Clinton has one debate left before the critical March 4 contests.

Clinton has one debate left before the critical March 4 contests.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have come a long way in their debating skills since they began their exchanges nearly a year ago.

Those were the days when there were eight Democratic candidates on the stage. I moderated one of their first debates back in June of last year. We met in New Hampshire, and the many candidates were literally fighting for airtime - some of them were angry at me for not giving them enough time.

You remember those days: in addition to Clinton and Obama, there were Dodd, Biden, Richardson, Kucinich, Gravel, and Edwards.

And in those days, Clinton was by far the frontrunner.

Now, things have changed so dramatically. Only two candidates are left standing - and Clinton is no longer the frontrunner.

She has a huge challenge ahead of her in the coming days, having now lost 11 contests in a row. The last was the Democrats Abroad contest – the final tally of votes from Democrats living outside the United States. Obama won decisively.

Bill Clinton says that if his wife wins in Ohio and Texas on March 4, she will be the party’s nominee. That’s a tall order right now, given the gains Obama has been making among some of her most ardent backers, including Latinos and women.

Still, I go back to their debating skills that were evident during the CNN/Univision debate in Austin, Texas, Thursday night. They were both impressive in making their points. They will have one more debate next week before the March 4 contests in Ohio, Texas, Vermont and Rhode Island.

Obama has the momentum right now – but, as we saw last night, there’s still a real fight underway.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. Maurice, MI

    Why can't they both be on the same ticket regardless who gets the nomination?

    February 22, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  2. Chris Giroux

    Hillary has this arrogance in the way she debates, close enough where the audience can imagine her next answer being: How often do I need to remind you that my husband was the president and that I have been fighting for 35 years? What Hillary is not understanding is that the Democrats have been a party looking to change the status quo. We have seen such agents of change in the last half century. Whether Hillary genuinely wants change or is merely trying to undercut Obama's success is a question left to the political scientists. As an Economist by training, I can safely state that Hillary's arrogance is at the point of Diminishing Marginal Utility, where every time she uploads an image of elitehood over the ostensibly more authentic Obama, it has an adverse effect on her poll numbers. This race has proven to be in Obama's favor and plays to his strengths - her best best would have been in 2004, where her cold-hearted leadership might have played well against Bush's comical and warm aloofness.

    February 22, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  3. chechong

    Its funny last night after the Debate I saw a whole bunch of pro-obama blogs. Now when I log on at about 5pm to see whats going on after work I see alot of Pro-Clinton garbage accusing CNN of being bias like FOX news. Ive got a conspiracy for you paranoid Clinton fans, people who go to work support Obama, people who sit at home all day support Clinton and cry about CNN.

    February 22, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  4. Hillary = STATUS QUO

    Hillary can’t even run a sound financial campaign imagine as President?

    HILLARY said “The American people can’t afford all my ideas!!!”

    In the '90s she was given the job to get us Universal Health Care. She wasn't able to get it then. She had 2 terms to do it. If she couldn’t get it done after 2 full terms then doesn’t her Day 1 comment become meaningless???

    February 22, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  5. Wang LI

    I am Chinese, but I like Obama so much...

    Obama 2008 !

    February 22, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  6. mehrnoosh

    for all who attack media for supporting Obama:

    Please watch MSNBC and FOX for 30 minutes and then you will change your idea.

    Obama for president.

    February 22, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  7. Joel

    CNN – Let the business of elections take it's proper shape and not allow pundits and news anchor opinions to sway the process or popular opinion to any one candiate. I cant beleive that the only person who is ACTUALLY SHOWING RESTRAINT – is Lou Dobbs.

    When Hillary is up in points and polls – you smack her down. When shes down in points and still leading in pools....you smack harder.

    It's high time CNN start working to scrutinize Obama's record. Oh wait....he's not done much politically so....thats the ticket! You dont have any substance in his career to focus on. I get it now. It's always the person that rocks the boat and truly creates change (Hillary and her 35 years of work) that allows folks to drill into a candiate. Funny how no one has questioned WHY Obama has such a squeeky clean record. Because he has none!


    February 22, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  8. Rich

    One day, Wolf is anti- Obama, one day, he's anti- Clinton. Wolf is one of the fairest of reporters, and I think it sad that people project their opinions on him, no matter which camp you're in.

    February 22, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  9. Kay

    I now know why I dislike the man. His name. O"bama". As a LSU fan, I HATE anything with the words "bama" in it!!

    Geaux Hillary!!!

    February 22, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  10. John

    It is no longer possible for HRC to win the nomination, and she knows that.

    If I use CNN’s count, she is behind by approximately 140 pledged delegates, with less than 1100 left to allocate (including some already voted for, but unaccounted).

    That means she would need to get more than 56 percent of the rest of the popular vote, or to put it another way, a greater than 12-point lead in the rest of the contests in order to pull even in pledged delegates. That isn’t possible. She also knows that if the super delegates steal the nomination from the first viable black candidate, when he clearly got the popular vote, it will destroy the Democratic Party, as well as her chances in the general election. I believe we would see riots – maybe not as bad as 1968, but real riots.

    Her only chance to become President is to withdraw from this race as soon as she can do it gracefully, and to shoot for 2012 or 2016. That is what she is clearly preparing to do. I’ll be surprised if she’s still in the race by March 6. The next interesting question will be whether she’s the Vice Presidential candidate, and how her supporters would react to that

    February 22, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  11. Tony, Maine

    Hillary will ruin this country. She only has one agenda, power. She really doesn't care about making a difference.

    If she wins the election, maybe she can return the items she stole from the White House when she and Bill left.

    Good Luck Obama, you are my choice.

    February 22, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  12. Judy Lambert

    Hi Wolf–
    I haven't commented before. Actually, this comment is in reference to Gloria Boerger's analysis of the Debate. I'm not a particular fan of Hillary, but I must agree with Obama in this respect, when he calls this the "silly" season.
    What does Gloria think she's doing by trying to determine whether Hillary looked directly at Obama while he was expounding and whether or not this was significant. I've looked at taped portions of the debate after watching the whole thing last night. She looked directly at Obama plenty of the time. At times she looked at the audience, moderators or seemed to be thinking of stuff while he was repeating plenty of the same stuff I've seen him expound about while on the stump.
    Is Gloria having some sort of problem?

    February 22, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  13. AC

    If I believe you are a good candidate for president, normaly I don't care whether you're , black , white, man or woman.
    I don't know why I feel this way, but when I hear Hillary say she'll fight for me. I'm uncomfortable having any woman FIGHT for me. I'll fight for myself, thanks. I wish she'd use another word. She will loose my vote because of this. Am I being sexist?

    February 22, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  14. Citizen Kaye

    To all of you who are complaining about CNN's bias: Wolf Blitzer is being more than generous here.

    "[T]here’s still a real fight underway." I don't think most objective observers would agree. Obama definitely has the "momentum," but more than that: he has leadership (people actually like and respect him and want to work with him, while Clinton is disliked by up to 50% of the country), good judgement (opposed the war from the start, while Clinton voted for the war without even reading the intelligence report–because she thought George Bush deserved the benefit of the doubt!), and "real solutions." If you are still saying Obama is all talk, take the time to go to his website and read his policy positions and proposals.

    Oh, and it certainly didn't help Clinton that it turns out that Clinton's "big moment" last night was a rip-off of lines first spoken by President Clinton and John Edwards (when just moments earlier during the debate she was still harping on Obama for "xerox"ing a few lines form his friend and campaign co-chair, Mr. Patrick). So, Clinton supporters, be grateful. Wolf Blitzer is doing you a favor here.

    February 22, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  15. Lucas, Nashville TN


    It's always the media's fault. HRC's fans sound like Right Wing radio whining about the "liberal media." There is no bias... only jealousy.

    February 22, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  16. Silly thought

    Did anyone else have a problem with the collar on Hillary Clinton's jacket last night? I found it distracting and I really wanted to straighten it. Not a good look. This is the first time I have seen her in a less than perfect outfit...

    February 22, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  17. maureen

    She is the only candidate I could bite my tongue and vote for left in the race.
    I have pretty much dis-engaged after Edwards dropped out.
    But I can't vote for either Obama or McCain, so if Hillary is out then so am I.
    I'd vote for Mickey Mouse before I'd cast a vote for the other 2!
    I'll look to the State Races.

    February 22, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  18. It's all politics

    I don't care for Wolf, but I thought the article was just stating the obvious. No Clinton bashing. She was the frontrunner for a long time. Obama has won 11 straight elections. He has become a better debater than he was before. He is now the frontrunner and he does have momentum. He has been making inroads on her core voters. She does have an uphill climb. Thems the facts folks. How is this bashing Hillary?

    February 22, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  19. Will

    Im telling you, Obama will not be able to carry Texas, Florida, Michigan, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Nevada, Montana, Utah, Arkansas, and more states in the general election. He will definitely lose.

    February 22, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  20. Gregory

    Yeah Jack, just like she's handling her campaign finances. She's running in the red including a $5 million loan to her campaign. She's paid advisors tens of millions of dollars and planned a campaign based on winning by Feb. 5, how short sighted is that. She has no executive experience and it's showing. How many campaign managers, campaign slogans, emotional states has she displayed? You're getting a glimpse of what her presidency would look like and there's no way you can like what you've seen. Hillary is all talk, and contrary to what see says she has no solutions. Everything she talks about pertains to what she "will do", never about what she's done.

    Barack '08

    February 22, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  21. Malachi

    Its HRC's fault really. Her campaign had this air of superiority when this all started becuase she had the lead. It was portrayed as more of a coronation and she didn't honestly think anyone would seriously challenge her. Now after being forced to recognize that Obama could ( and in my opinion will) beat her her campiagn is mad at the media for portraying him as the underdog or highlighting the fact that she continues to lose her lead. She can't have it both ways.

    February 22, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  22. Cephas Manseo

    i support obama coz is young, enthusiastic and carries the hopes of all the minority in usa

    February 22, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  23. Tony

    Hillary is more of the same old Washington politics. And I'm sick and tired of her sexist "pro women" comments. And this experience that she constantly touts, what in the heck has she done for this country? I think you pro-Hillary folks better start looking deeper into her record and the type of things she's been supporting; backed by special interest. Grandma and Grandpa need to go enjoy the fruits of their stolen riches from the American people. Have you all forgotten about the Savings & Loan scandle Bill was involved in with his Arkansas cronies? Yeah, that's where they get their money from.

    February 22, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  24. sam

    its shameful to see such a talented and award winning team at the cnn show so much of bias towards a candidate like obama , who is all talk(sorry words) and no action. What has he done in the past few years as senator ? change is an empty word – has no substance – it can mean anything. wake up cnn before its too late

    February 22, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  25. Lois Lame

    CNN loves Obama, they are bias in their constant praise. On the other hand Hillary can do nothing right, CNN is trying to sway this election toward Obama.

    CNN use to be a good source for news, now, not so much, it's like an expanded version of "Current Affair". The bias must stop and CNN must get back to reporting news and not one sided news. A blind mule would know CNN is pushing Obama.

    February 22, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
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