February 22nd, 2008
03:15 PM ET
7 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. Ronnie Hill

    I think CNN does a very good job of unbiased reporting on this campaign.

    GO OBAMA!

    February 22, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  2. Casey

    There is huge, and then there is insurmountable. She may be nearer insurmountable. I voted for her, but it's time to circle the wagon around who most the party wants, and make sure we get the white house. The cause is always more important than the individual.

    February 22, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  3. Bob Lee

    Unfortunately, talent test turns into a popularity test. If Hillary losses, it is our country loss.

    February 22, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  4. DeeDee

    Senator Clinton was in command at the debate. Her knowledge of the issues was impressive and at times left Obama stumbling over his answers. She demonstrated that Obama's domestic programs are not well-thought out and that he is naïve and trigger-happy in his approach to delicate international issues and how they affect the US.

    Yes, Obama is a great speaker, and his silver tongue has been successful at drawing in impressionable voters that are locked in a groupie-like daze that distracts them from understanding that Bara k is a rookie. He loves to hear himself talk about change, but he is naive and unrealistic about how or what he is going to do to make change happen.

    A vote for Senator Clinton is a vote for a change that's achievable. Don't count her out.

    February 22, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  5. Beverly

    I watched the debates in Texas and I noticed Hillary was playing up to
    the latino population. But when she mentioned that she admired and
    respected Ann Richards I almost fell off the chair. I distinctly remember watching on the news about a group of Mexicans who were living in Texas on land that was owned by Ann Richards and it was a desert. One guy had to drive 30 miles daily to get water in big barrels to bring back for the people to use for cooking, drinking, and bathing. Plus the shacks the had to live in had no electricity and they were only one room shacks with tin roofs. Ann was confronted about these deplorable living conditions that she had these people living under and her response was they knew what to expect before they moved there. And she felt no remorse for them.
    So, I'm saying have the Latino people forgotten this incident and knowing that Hillary respects this woman, why would any Latino vote for Hillary after that statement.

    February 22, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  6. Diana Quintana

    It is clear that Americans want change. We have already had 4 years of Bush, 8 years of Clinton, and 8 years of Bush. I think the United States Citizens are getting really tired of suffering. McCain doesn't help he may have experience but his experience was with the losing team. It's time for some new players. I think Obama can offer that I am exited for the first time in a long time.

    February 22, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  7. Raymond Ito

    Wolfe,

    Yes, the two remaining Democratic candidates have been very impressive but the script is inching to "The End".
    After 11 staight wins Barack should never begin to gloat that Hillary is out – because she has the potential to swing a devastating upper cut that could send Obama reeling into history. It's not over until we reach "The End" because politics is fully loaded with high-speed drama.

    February 22, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Obama sounds like a preacher not a commander in chief. stay clear of the koolaide

    February 22, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  9. Ohio for Hillary

    Hillary will win!! Go Hillary!!!
    She is tough, USA can be great again!!! Hillary 08!

    February 22, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  10. Shannon McMurphy

    I could just laugh. You are now advocating that the candidates should just "be themselves"??? How are they going to do that? The spin your network puts on each completely negates any effort in that regard.

    You all squeal over Obama like high school girls at a rock concert. And he's ahead??? Go figure. I guess any candiate, as long as he is male, is better than putting a woman in the White House. I guess you old men will get your two cents in while you can.

    The time is long past for letting the candidates be themselves and for CNN to provide an independent, honest portrayal of each.

    Let's hope your country and the rest of the world can live with what you have consciously created.

    February 22, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  11. David

    Yet another biased report.

    Obama didn't even come close to matching Hillary last night.

    And this is one person in Texas that WILL be voting 4 her!

    YOU GO HILLARY!!!!

    February 22, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  12. Brenda

    I feel the media is guiding the views of the American People. The "Best Political team" had only great things to say about Obama,(Whom in my opinion , only answered just as Hillary did with a few details)She said he had his "Best debate ever." She omitted that Hillary had a standing ovation at the end of the debate. I feel that between Oprah and your team, people are being fed what you see and not the facts.

    February 22, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  13. Joeseph

    "Change you can Xerox." This is the "Where's the beef?" of 2008. And it will work as well for Clinton as the original worked for Mondale.

    February 22, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  14. dj

    clinton supporters wine as much as clinton. "its so unfair."

    February 22, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  15. CarlKS

    As a Republican, I am enjoying watching Hillary go down in slow painful manner. Obama scares me a bit with his socialist and faciast views on some issues. However, I think he can break the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton pattern and give our country new hope, and instant likeness around the world.

    February 22, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  16. Obamawillwin

    paying a 100,000 for a pre-caucus party-platters...and she wants to run for commander in chief....

    right!

    February 22, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  17. D

    OBAMA HAD NO REAL SUBSTANCE IN HIS DEBATE LAST NIGHT. HILLARY WON! SHE ROCKS1!

    February 22, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  18. Grif

    I must have watched a different debate from most. To me Obama Looker everywhere but at Hillary for 50% of the time, another 30% he Acted as her Secrary; taking notes, 5% her looked at her. The other 5%
    he doodled

    February 22, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  19. Jim B.

    I was very disappointed with CNN's post debate analysis. It was extremely pro Obama and anti Clinton. I watched the debate in its entirety and felt that Hillary Clinton was the more articulate of the two, clearly poised, confident, and demonstrative of the characteristics required of a commander in chief. Obama often stuttered and stalled to search his thoughts, often looking and sounding confused, and disengaged. By pulling the snipets that made Obama sound clear and concise, along with your analysts that look and sound like they have a puppy dog crush with Obama I am not so sure I will consider CNN my predominant news source going forward. I had no preconceived notion on who the better candidate was before the debate, I am a registered republican, but totally disagree with the rhetoric displayed post debate. Perhaps unbiased analysis should be the course instead of journalists pining to advance their careers by stroking the ego of a potential President of the United States. Focus on journalism, not pursuing a Senior White House Correspondet title for your career.

    February 22, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  20. NinaK

    I would like to ask the Media to reevaluate what they call Hillary's standing ovation at the end of the debate. You people said Hillary recieved a standing ovation. I beg to differ with you. Remember she got booed twice during the debate? Looks like the media got overwhelmed with Hillary's "show" of emotion. SOMEWHERE THE REAL STORY GOT LOST! The people in that arena were NOT applauding and giving Hillary a standing ovation; THEY WERE GIVING THE SOLDIERS SHE TALKED ABOUT THEIR APPLAUSE AND A STANDING OVATION. I don't understand how all of you missed this. Was it a case of not looking beyond the box??

    It would be nice if you would GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE: THOSE SEVERELY INJURED SOLDIERS IN GUERNEYS, THE SOLDIERS WITH MISSING LIMBS STRUGGLING TO WALK, THE SOLDIERS IN THE WHEELCHAIRS. THEY ONES GETTING THE APPLAUSE AND STANDING OVATION FROM THE PEOPLE IN THAT ARENA !!

    Again, how could everybody have missed that???

    February 22, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  21. Gabe Polson, The Woodlands,TX

    If Wolf and the rest of CNN would actually report the news on equal balance it would not be such an uphill battle. However, CNN choses to report on Obama yet refuses to ask him hard questions. It even showed in the debate. Once the debate began to take on issues, John King asked a personal loaded question. Again, CNN's coverage leaves us all dismayed.

    February 22, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  22. California Voter

    OK, now I am ticked. I am constantly being moderated into oblivion. People commenting hours after me have been "let through". At least the censors on the Cafferty file run my comments. I am beginning to think I'll write a letter to the powers that be in CNN and maybe a newspaper or two. This is ridiculous.

    February 22, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  23. ben

    I don't care where you live in America, you will not find a newspaper that is unbiased. Some are republicans,some are for democrats.
    That is why we have a free press. The owners of these news organizations are also Americans and they have the right to lean any way they choose.
    They don' t lie and make up ridiculous things like so many(not all) bloggers do.
    Is CNN biased? I don't really know. But if they are they handle it with velvet gloves, not with a sledge hammer like fox news
    As for Wolf Blitzer He is the best. No anchor out there can compare with him

    February 22, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  24. alice

    I like Jay Leno's comment last night on the Tonight Show, he (Jay) said "Hillary won a new state, the state of denial". My sentiments exactly

    February 22, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  25. TheLeftNut

    The funny thing is, it's really ok to like both Obama and Clinton.

    This divisiveness between the candidates and their followers only serves the republicans.

    Everbody's taking the sports mentality hear and rooting for their team. But it's the same team, the Democratic team.

    February 22, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
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