February 23rd, 2008
06:44 PM ET
10 years ago

Obama: I'd get different treatment if I lost as much as Clinton

Obama said Saturday there would be more pressure on him to drop out if he had lost as many contests as Clinton.

Obama said Saturday there would be more pressure on him to drop out if he had lost as many contests as Clinton.

(CNN) - Hillary Clinton's campaign says it remains upbeat about the New York senator's White House chances, but rival Barack Obama said Saturday he would likely be treated differently if his campaign had suffered a similar string of losses as her's.

Asked in Ohio by a reporter if he would be treated differently had he lost as many contests as Clinton, Obama said, "Yes."

But Obama said he understands why the treatment is different, saying it would require a knockout blow for Clinton to quit because she's "part of the Democratic network in Washington."

"Look, I'm the challenger, I'm the upstart," he said. "I'm the insurgent - she's, she's the champ. She's part of the Democratic network in Washington and, you know, if you're the title holder then you don't lose it on points. You got to be knocked out."

After essentially tying Obama in the string of states that voted February 5, Clinton has suffered 11 straight losses to the Illinois senator, most recently in the Democrats abroad contest earlier this week.

In a conference call with reporters earlier Saturday, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson denied reports some Clinton backers feel Obama has all but locked up the nomination, and said voters in the March 4 primary contests won't base their vote on his string of victories.

"The mood is upbeat, Sen. Clinton is working hard everyday," he said. "Momentum is a media storyline, but that is not an issue on which voters vote."

UPDATE: An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated Obama said he would quit if he had lost as many contests as Clinton.

- CNN's Alexander Mooney

soundoff (330 Responses)
  1. alan

    So Obama won 11 rounds. Big Deal. A heavy weight championship fight goes 15 rounds, and Hillary could still go the distance.

    February 23, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  2. Obamacan


    This is true and this is what the democratic party expect, otherwise, all of the candidates who ran would still be in the race.

    February 23, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  3. Saad

    "UPDATE: An earlier version of this report incorrectly stated Obama said he would quit if he had lost as many contests as Clinton."

    Then please correct the caption under Obama's photo in this article aswell while you're at it.

    February 23, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  4. chuck

    fix your photo caption....it is still incorrect

    February 23, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  5. dawn

    Why would the press make such an error? Are they really trying to undo the lead by Obama and McCain. I would think a statement like what the media reported earlier was said by Obama (but was not) would seem out of character. Not that I know the guy or anything?

    February 23, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  6. jp/michigan

    You are an opportunist who uses whatever, whomever to get to the political stage you want. Your campaign is a "FAIRY TALE" You remember the one about the" PIPE PIPER " You are leading the American people down an hollow hall to no where. Fill with promises of change and hope. But without the substance and integrity too deliver.

    February 23, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  7. Diamond

    Obama is being very polite and humble. But the fact of the matter is, when the wife of a former DEMOCRATIC president, running for the DEMOCRATIC nomination, loses 11 straight DEMOCRATIC contests and she still stays in the race, it is DENIAL and ARROGANCE. Period!

    A professional like Hillary Clinton should know when it's time to give up – when people have had enough of you. There was once a moment that belonged to Hillary Clinton. That moment was yesterday. But yesterday is gone and this moment belongs to Barack Obama and to us.

    February 23, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  8. wanda

    The issue is the blatant adverse bias demonstrated by the media pundits against Hillary. It was most recently seen during the last debate where Obama was allowed more time to respond to answer questions. In addition, an inordinate number of questions were tossed her way first. That tactic certainly gave him an edge where he could piggy back on her answers.

    He is becoming more and more arrogant. I hope Americans don't repeat the same mistake that gave us GWB.

    February 23, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  9. rhurst

    Its true the media would treat him differently...The headlines would read "BARACK RIGHT BEHIND HILLARY HE COULD WIN EASILY" The media has glorified this one trick pony....and demonized Hillary Clinton...Does CNN really think all of America is asleep and not PAYING ATTENTION ....I have learned so much about who really tries to run America ,,The media Moguls.....

    February 23, 2008 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  10. Twinkle Toes Mulligan

    I think it's so funny he is calling himself an "insurgent".

    In this day of "blowing everything that is said out of proportion", Senator Obama calls himself an insurgent.

    February 23, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  11. Illinois voter

    Barack has gotten more than his share of preferential treatment from the media, but yet he has the nerve to still complain. How arrogant!

    Hillary or McCain in '08

    February 23, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  12. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    He is being treated diffierently by the press, that is why he has won so many races.

    They, the press, do not question his positions on anything. He is allowed to say or do anything, and because the press is so ga ga about him, they let it go by.

    If he somehow holds it together and wins the nomination, the press will turn on him like a piece of red meat thrown into a swamp full of alligators. Playtime will be over then, and not only Barack Obama will lose, but so will Democrats.

    He is too Liberal and his head is too in the clouds to win the general election.

    February 23, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  13. shelby

    I could only imagine the whinning the Clinton camp would do if things were the other way around. Had she won 11 straight she would be doing everything to get Obama out of the race, and debates? The debates would be over and done.

    February 23, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  14. Sam- Hershey, PA

    Thank You so very much for correcting this report. The earlier version painted a poisonous picture that would only be lethal to the Democratic Party...let's leave the bickering to the candidates because at the end of this experience, we know this much is true: Democrats MUST be united in order for a victory in November.

    February 23, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  15. Sue

    That is a ridiculous statement for Obama to make. The media has bent over backwards to try and help him get the nomination. They bash Clinton every chance they get and always give him the benefit of the doubt. Even his supporters know very little about him. They just say "CHANGE, YES WE CAN" and refer you to his web site. What a joke.

    February 23, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  16. Darla from PA

    (The following comment was left in moderation with your "original story," I wonder if you will let it be seen now that you corrected such a blatant misstatement of your earlier article.)

    I do believe Mr. Obama should tread lightly. He may not have stumbled too badly in the TX debate (although I believe he did on his foreign policies, but of course most don't talk about that or give credit to Hillary for her demonstrated greater understanding of such sensitive foreign matters), but between skipping the State of the Black Union in New Orleans (yes their votes were already held, and he won, Hillary lost–but she's still going despite her also hectic schedule and needed focus elsewhere) and statements like this, he may trip himself up yet. By the way, if anybody actually believes that Hillary ever supported this war (his biggest talking point for his electability, although McCain did not support the war initially either), I strongly recommend viewing "Hillary Clinton Iraq War Full Speech 10/10/02" parts 1 and 2 showing on YouTube. I don't believe you can speak out more clearly or knowledgeably against the war than she did here or warn the President more forcefully than she did. And also I feel obliged to note that her speech (especially toward the end of the 1st part and nearly all of the 2nd part), as well as so many subsequent speeches and actual actions, shows her remarkable grasp of foreign policy and military affairs. These are some of the qualities that I believe will prove so critical for our next president, and why I am still glad she's "daring to compete." Besides, everybody knows it's about delegates and not the states themselves (but I guess he does realize that, he gave the superdelegates more than 3 times the amount of money Hillary did after all).

    That being said, I will fully support Barack if he wins the general election–I just have not yet been convinced that he's ready now. Give him another 4 or 8 years (ideally after Hillary has moved our nation forward again), and he should be a formidable foe with far more than inspiration and proposals (that so closely follow hers after all).

    February 23, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  17. Alex

    I noticed there was something wrong with the previous report. For me he is being completely honest. She is the best known candidate, she has (or had) the establishment behind her, and even so he won! I think he is right, if he had lost Wiomyng people would be all over her, saying that a Hillary victory in Texas would be sure.

    February 23, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  18. Support Hilary

    It is not over.

    He know it better than any one.

    February 23, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  19. Geoff in RI

    Right, he would be treated differently – the press would have stop their fawning and treat him like anyone else. Let's face it – if he took the shots that Hillary has taken, he'd be running for cover. As long as it's all adulation, he's good. But if he's even questioned just a little bit, or legitimately challenged by Clinton, then it's the "same old politics of the past" or some other such nonsense. Even in the debates, he's never comfortable talking about issues, glosses over them and returns to the best of his stump speeches.

    In Samuelson's column in Newsweek this week, one journalist noted that so far Obama's been the fashion-plate of the day, but that "fashion week" was now over. Wonder how he's going to take the shots when they inevitably come his way?

    One other thing – if you read his proposals, many of which I agree with, there's nothing new in them. They are part of the democratic congressional platform. That being the case, and given that his legislative record in the Senate won't make anyone forget LBJ, how's he going to reach out and gain consensus when he's in the Oval Office when he hasn't been able to successfully demonstrate that magic touch in the US Senate?

    He's got a lot of explaining to do and it's going to be interesting to see him do it.

    February 23, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  20. Karen

    Ignore Obama's memo and he can't control Hillary!!! See Obama acts like Jim Jones!! Throiw him out of White House for good, his wife is lying to American. Obama's speeches or talks are bullish and lie to American people!

    February 23, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  21. james

    he would have been counted out if he had lost 4 in a row. He gets held to a different standard. I actually heard one pundit say that Obama had the advantage because one third of the vote in Texas is a caucus, and Obama does very well in caucuses. Do you see the spin he put it? The problem with that statement is that if one third of the vote in Texas is a caucus then two thirds is a primary. Who really has the advantage. The Media follows behind hillary salivating for her next sound bite. If she loses every state up until the caucuses in Puerto Rico, the Media still will not count her out. Oh yeah, hillary i dpnt think the voters in all these states that you've lost and have been quoted as saying are "not important" will vote for you if by "hook or crook" you ended up with the nomination. I say that because we are at the point where the only way you could win the nomination is if you stole it,

    February 23, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  22. capris

    The Clintons represent the Washington establishment at its worst, that is why she is still in it. The country does not owe her the presidency, and everyone is just tired of all the clintonesque drama.

    February 23, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  23. Mark

    If you are happy with the successes of the democratic party over the past 8 years, then vote for Hillary.

    February 23, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  24. Forest for the Trees

    I believe every word of the worst article because it sounds just like he has been acting.

    CNN did the Obama camp make you take down that other article?...

    for those who missed it, you finally saw the true Barack Obama in all is arrogant glory.

    Bring Back the TRUTH the people need to know their candidates.

    February 23, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  25. Lee

    Obama gets different treatment cause he is a handsome orator – the media are fawning all over him. It is disgusting.

    He is arrogant and misleading – he does NOT have a plan for universal healthcare. Sending out misleading mailers – he is not a man of change – he is a man playing the cards of race and change and you are all getting duped.

    All white people should watch the State of the Black Union and see what they said – I am sure you young white boys would chnage your vote – if he gets elected – young white boys will be afraid to walk down the street, – Mark my words.

    February 23, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
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