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. LG Berra

    Hi Wolf. Listen to your broadcasts everynight and your coverage. Noticed something recently that is similar to MSNBC. In addition to the usual suspects that you are using as political analysts I notice that you have a number of authors especially those that have written about the Clintons but also you have Jeffrey Toobin and MSNBC has Dan Abrams. Both now are vocal and play a role as analysts. Abrams has his own show. They are and were I thought both legal analysts for their respective cable news companies. Is there a reason for this elevation. I do enjoy them both however.

    February 22, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  2. Rosalie

    Just wondering, since Hilary has been making such an issue about "words matter" and "your words should be your own", why isn't there any mention of the fact that her touching closing statement in last nights debate was taken nearly word for word from John Edwards?

    February 22, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  3. Gary

    Hey ching chonk. I have my own construction business ,Iam a Viet nam Vet , and a Nashville recording artist. Tell me you have more punk. You fit the hopes and dreams of Obama. Do you turn your back on the American Flag too. The media ,and CNN is slamming Hillary constantly. You wouldnt know ,because you are one of thosae guys that dont want a woman president. Obama has no track record ,and couldnt come near any accomplishments she already has done for this country. Your age shows your stupidity. You sound like a college boy that mommy and daddy paid your way.I worked for everything I got.Dont cut people down until you know them.

    February 22, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  4. D


    February 22, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  5. Charlene

    cnn this is the 3rd time i posted this you want post it becasue you and the media are all for obama.......

    If the people took the time to vote: it should count. same may have taken off from work to make sure they could vote. so i say the should count. If they wont let them count its because they are scard it may put clinton ahead on obama. and they dont want that. . let the votes count.

    February 22, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  6. Kaltsulas

    I watched the debate and came to the conclusion that since Hillary answered the policy questions first, all Obama did was say "ditto"
    and add a few lines of his own. What a shame he didn't have to go first ,
    it would have been more revealing.

    February 22, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |

    The argument that the media made Obama is untrue.

    Political organizing is the how, where, why, and reason for the successful sale of the Jr. Senator from IL.

    Anyone in business knows that you have to work efficiently, convince people, loosen their guard, laugh a little, chit chat, and then create a beautiful picture, "If you do what I say good things will follow."

    Obama found a million people to donate to him through the internet. They are both clients and a salesforce. This was done without the explicit promotion of main stream media. In fact, main stream media can create conditions, but a salesperson has to close.

    HRC didn't sell HRC, She said things like "When I'm President" in a way that didn't sell her brand. She got involved in fine point arguments on policy that distracted her from selling.

    When she started smiling, Obama already had an army, and he had personally created a specific pitch for them, gave them well managed responsibilities, and ran a tight ship.

    There are many wars throughout history, such as the Sino-Russian war at the turn of the 19th century, where a strong well managed army ripped to shreds a presumptive victor.

    February 22, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  8. Georgia

    If Obama wins, I'll just write in Hillary's name. Are you with me?

    February 22, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  9. Bill Jay

    We have a choice, but does it matter? I say it does not matter.
    We get an old white man, a black man or a white women.
    Sounds like a lottery to me. This country is to entrenched
    in deep emotionally charged turnoil. I think we need a good old mexican to run for President. A vietman women for vice Prez.
    Sounds good to me.

    February 22, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  10. Sam

    CNN = Clinton News Network for now.
    Here we have the good Senator who talked about not using some one's speach using her hisband's and Senator Edward's speech at the same time. Winning is not every thing. Exceptional and gifted leaders energize and bring people to participate in our democratic system of goverment.
    As it pertians to Dr. Rice she has the gift of understnading not to be interested to run as a vice president on the republican ticket.
    She has served her country with distinction and I wish her the best.

    February 22, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  11. Kevin Zelko

    America sees that Hillary isn't electable compared to McCain. HRC's strenghts over Obama are weaknesses next to McCains(experience and military). The polls show this as well with Clinton losing to McCain in all polls but one, whereas Obama wins them all.

    Obama will pull the alienated Christian Right Repubs away from McCain, as well as pull independts and republicans. Hillary will scare all these off with her baggage and the genuine hatred conservatives have for her.

    Maybe she would take the VP, as she isn't electable at this time.

    February 22, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  12. don adams

    Who cares about about how much of a challenge Hill has who cares she's a jerk,, and is OLD politics

    February 22, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  13. JB

    The huge challenge ahead will be for the American people to look back a few years down the road and try to figure out why they voted for Obama, if he becomes the next president. I am dumbfounded why everyone thinks this guy is the best candidate. Almost the same "why did" people fall for GW in 2000. And again in 2004. And some of the media, CNN with it's global reach, appears to be propagating the entire process. The future of America is at stake here.

    February 22, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  14. Paul in MA

    Hillary is going the way of the dinosaur. She has been since South Carolina. So many people are saying that the Media is on Obama's side when in reality they are giving Hillary more slack then she deserves just because she's a Clinton and "you can never count them out!" But no, seriously, you can count her out now.

    She has to win Texas and Ohio by a HUGE margin in order to become competitive in pledged delegates. Anyone who has been watching this since December knows that Barack will win big in Texas with the delegates and split Ohio 50/50 at the least. That will leave him with 200 more pledged delegates then Clinton and the only way she could get 2025 is if she gets Obama's pledged delegates to back her and that would literally destroy the democratic party.

    February 22, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  15. M.Gangwar

    I have noticed that Senator Barack Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton have similar policies and though there are some difference, they repeated many times last night that they were similar. I think this is coming down to who is more appealing to the American people... my vote is Senator Barack Obama... how could you not want someone like that?

    Obama 08'

    February 22, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  16. Laughing at silly thought!

    On a lighter note, that was a strange outfit that Hillary chose! The way that collar looked on her suit, I thought she borrowed it from Michael Jackson's closet.

    February 22, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  17. Brian

    Barack has done a great job and will win the nomination.

    February 22, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    Hillary should bow out gracefully. She can run a country the way she could run a family. She had a lot of time to achieve what she wants to achieve now. But she failed. What makes her think she can do it now? We are broke this time around. She didn't do anything, other than keeping herself in power and become rich while doing so.. Besides she is part of the Washington crowd which is responsible for the sorry state our nation is in. She might be good at promoting herself but that is not enough to make us look good in the eyes of the world. It will not bring back the respect we lost everywhere. Why can she just sit back and be a mentor by supporting someone younger than herself, i.e. help them with her "experience".....if needed.

    February 22, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  19. Antonio Rodriguez

    Obama is such a good debater that at times Ms. Clinton seems unable to find the exact words to counteract Obama's arguments. This was evident in Ms. Clinton's face when she tried to concealed it with smiles but in obvious distress. It's sad at times to see a great lady like Ms. Clinton to undergo such a difficult time but I must say her campaign staff is to blame. I guess some highly paid advisor is suggesting the attack mode (Bill?), when the best moment in the debate was at the end when she showed gentle manners. Everybody applauded, bravo! Nonetheless, Obama will win.

    When Hillary was the frontrunner, I dont know if I am alone when I thought that the media were downplaying Obama...now the reverse is implied. I guess the media is also making its move across the chess board. And guess what everyone, check mate! The media always wins.

    February 22, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  20. Diana Attie-Seeman

    Obama? There's no "there" there!

    February 22, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  21. tonya

    does anyone think that at the end of the texas debate last night she should of brought up in so many words that she has been threw alot and we know what she means and even try to compare no matter how small or big it affected her to the suffering this country and and the people who live in it has indured ? we dont care hillary stick to the issues and if anything it doesnt sit well with people think hillary think!!!!!

    February 22, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  22. EZ

    I think it is unfair for everyone to beating on Hilliary especially the press. Never forget, those who are supporting Obama are voting for hope. Hope those not put food on the table, gas in the car, nor send your kids to clollege. . Be careful of what you ask for.

    February 22, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  23. becky


    February 22, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  24. Barb

    have any of you obama fans checked out anything about his cousin
    "RAILA ODINGA" that ran for president of kenya on the promise of
    "CHANGE" and when he lost caused all the unrest and killings there.
    this is his first cousin, check it out!!!! did you know he has a older half
    brother that still lives in kenya? i didn't even know he had a half sister
    until the primary in hawaii. i just don't feel the media is telling us enough about our possible future president.
    and he say's he had it rough growing up "IN HAWAII" OH PLEASE!
    i don't think he knows what rough is!!!

    February 22, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  25. gwen

    Well if she is such a whiz with economics why is her campaign severely overspent?

    Looking like a lot of paid Hillary supporters here. Oh BTY if CNN is biased, it is toward Hillary.

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