February 26th, 2008
03:58 PM ET
10 years ago

Blitzer: Clinton has a fine line to walk

 Clinton has a tough task in tonight's debate.

Clinton has a tough task in tonight's debate.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - There’s one week to go before the voters speak in Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island - and a lot can happen in one week. The undecided Democratic voters still have plenty of time to study the candidates and the issues before making up their minds. And those who have made up their minds are certainly capable of changing their opinions. This will be an exciting week for all of us.

One thing I have noticed over these past several weeks is that Democrats across the country are truly energized by this campaign. They are turning out to vote in huge numbers. I suspect this will be the case in the four upcoming states.

Clinton’s supporters are passionate; so are Barack Obama’s supporters. These Democrats are also itching to start the general campaign, presumably against John McCain.

That helps explain why Hillary Clinton’s strategy in trying to win the March 4 contests is so complicated. After 11 losses in a row, she is trying to catch up. In the process, she has to walk a fine line.

A lot of Democrats say they are turned off by her tough rhetoric, especially in comparing Obama’s inexperience in foreign policy to George W. Bush’s inexperience when he took office more than seven years ago. I have heard from several of her own long-time supporters over the past 24 hours that they don’t like her slamming him and effectively providing McCain with ammunition should Obama capture the party’s nomination - they don’t want her words thrown back at Obama by McCain and his team during the general election.

Clinton is understandably trying to differentiate herself from Obama, looking to highlight differences that are important to Democratic voters out there. That is, of course, what all candidates try to do during elections. But it’s not easy to do this without turning off the Democratic base is not easy.

- CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (217 Responses)
  1. Peace

    Hillary the harder she works, the worse she does.

    February 26, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  2. Randy - Denver

    I LIKE the idea of her throwing everything she can at Mr. Obama, she is going to lose and she knows it, it is best to get it out there early so he will know what type of things the republicans are likely to do. I want to make a small note here, I said Republicans NOT Mr. McCain, I feel Mr. McCain would run a fairly civilized campaing but the other republican operatives out there (including their MSM, Rush "Drugs" Limbaugh, and the 527 cronies) will continue to live in the Rove era, after all the democratic party is not called the progressive (open to change) party and the republicans the conservative (tried and tested) party for nothing. (Hmm maybe I see Ms. Clinton's mistake now, she was running for the wrong party!)

    I also want to point out that comparing Mr. Obama to Mr. Bush is really a plus after all most Americans CLAIM to disagree with Mr. Bush's policies but look how many he has been able topush through, I guess being a good orator is more important than being smart if you want your policies acted on.... and since Mr. Obama's and Ms. Clinton's policies are so similar well I will let you figure that out...

    February 26, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  3. Marsha


    February 26, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  4. Patty


    February 26, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. LYoung

    Well, Obama has certainly taken plenty of opportunities to slam Clinton - but this is somehow OKAY? You (the media) have made him so "untouchable" and so revered that people are likening him to JESUS! This is scray stuff - but, Wolf, please stay on the bandwagon no matter where it goes. If the shoe were on the other foot, would you be saying, in essence, Obama step aside? Obama don't rattle the Democratic party base? I doubt it. After all, he's a man and she's a woman and while the race card has been played at every turn - gender bias seems to be very much accepted by CNN and the rest of the media. Why isn't anyone calling him on his nasty attack ads and misleading direct mail campaigns? He says he's a uniter - but he sure doesn't mind slinging mud and certainly isn't worried about what's best for the Democratic party! He's only worried about HIMSELF - the same thing everyone says about Senator Clinton. He is even more self-absorbed, aloof and cocky than his opponent could ever be!

    February 26, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. myrbailey

    Your boneheaded remarks are intended to hurt Clinton's candidacy. Hopefully the voters will make their own minds up and not let your totallybiased reporting sway them. CNN should be ashamed of all thenegative reporting on Clinton. I wish someone would sue you for your sexist reporting.

    February 26, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. Charlene


    February 26, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  8. jersen paulsen


    February 26, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. bill

    I’m sorry for Hillary – with comments like this, she is digging her own grave.
    Likeability is obviously a huge factor for voters. Why does she think her husband was elected?
    Obama is strong on issues, honest, and he is running a very well organized, fair campaign. The fact that on top of that he is likeable and attractive simply adds to his appeal.

    February 26, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. Emily Coletta

    Was anybody watching the McCain town hall meeting live on CNN just a second ago, when McCain called children with autism "cursed?" 0_o

    Look, by the time we get to the general election, the Democratic nominee is going to wipe the FLOOR with this guy. I'm happy that Hillary and Obama are fighting tooth and nail for every vote–the real election is going on right now during the primary. The general election is going to be a yawn-fest.

    February 26, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. Joe

    I think for her to hold back because some people dont like that she will point things out John McCain can use presumes that he wasnt going to use those arguments against him anyway, if anything it helps him by getting those criticisms out early so they are less effective later. Further for her not to point out the issues that are important and are relevant to selecting a leader would be more harmful to the party, we would nominate a candidate that cant win.


    Williamsburg, Va.

    February 26, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. dave

    Dear Hillary,

    If the hole is deep and you are in it, try not dig deeper...

    February 26, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  13. Tony

    She had plenty of chance to prove herself, especially having all the advantages one can think of. After so many contests I don't see why she should be treated differently and be given another chance, especially so late in the nomination process and especially with her negative type of campaigning. I think it's not fair, I would even say not democratic, that the superdelegates are still pushing her more and more obviously against the voters' will. And the most recycled reason for them pushing her is personal loyalty to Bill. I would say this is disgusting and is raising red flags for the "Democratic" party!

    February 26, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  14. Edward R Busch

    Your comments about Sen. Clinton's "attacks" on Sen. Obama would be true no matter who was running against Obama. That's how campaigns are run. More importantly, your series of programs each weekday have contributed to the bias alleged against the media with respect to Sen. Clinton. Unfortunatley you are responsible for that loose cannon Jack Cafferty whose questions are invariably preceded by rhetorical comments almost seeking a given answer, always negative to Sen. Clinton. Why don't you sit back and replay Cafferty's remarks throughout the programs and see if indeed CNN is no different from Fox. I view you to be responsible for the people who appear substantially only your airings.

    February 26, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  15. Bonnie

    What is this high school? If he can't take the heat from her, how is he going to take the heat from McCain. He'll shrivel up like a marshmallow and melt away and McCain will claim the White House. If she were a man these comments wouldn't even be made. She'd be respected instead of ridiculed. Double standard if you ask me. I'm an independent and haven't decided yet, but from what I can gather so far, we have 2 men and 1 woman running for President. Men have messed up this country for years and perhaps it's just time to CHANGE genders. It can't get worse if you ask me.

    February 26, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  16. steve

    Clinton has changed her message (the only change she represents) quite a lot, but was has not changed is her “she anything to get elected” message.

    February 26, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. DeVone

    Senator Clinton she has become a bad taste in my mouth.
    I could understand her bad mouth if she could back her words
    but it seems Senator Obama makes her eat her words.
    if she had proved herself and not totaly disrespect the blacks and
    poor of America along with her husband and she knows this
    thats is why she regreats her husbands words she told The
    Black Cocus but she did not ask forgiveness for herself
    God bless her for trying she has a chance but I hope for the
    sake of this country she lose becouse if she winn the moment
    something donot go her way we are in trouble and for you
    who just donot like Senator Obama I wonder why
    you say him and his wife is racist so you are saying he do not
    like his mother. you all walk that thin line with Hillary Clinton.

    February 26, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  18. Grif

    In Texan Boots! She can do it. It's still a long hike to the White House.

    For Borack too.

    February 26, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. N

    Wolf, did you not see SNL with Tina Fey? They absoutely hit it on the nail. There is extreme favortism in the media. What about other polls that show Hillary ahead in Texas and Ohio. Some other pollls show Clinton leading.
    As far as experience-–Obama seems like a nice person but he has not talked about how he would implement changes.
    When President Bill Clinton was elected, he answered many questions as to how he would help the economy succeed.
    Hillary 's voters are united and will support Hillary because she has great solutions.

    February 26, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. pato

    The only thing due Hillary is ticket back to New York. If God Forbid she wins the whole thing, I'm going to Canada and giving up my citizenship.

    I didn't run there during Vietnam, I went into the service, but if this happens and Billary gets into the Whit House I will not live in a county of idots.

    February 26, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  21. Karen M. Jenkins

    Wolf, has it occured to you that Senators Dodd, Kennedy and Kerry lend their support to O'Bama as opposed to Hillary for selfish reasons? He will be much more pliable than Hillary Clinton who has experience in tough matters. All failed presidential candidates, the above Senators believe O'Bama will rely on their help in decision making. Do you think they have considered... he may be much like Geo. W., not taking advice from anyone who does not agree with him? He believes his own hype now and is high on the unwarranted praise. I doubt he even listens to Oprah now! With every O'Bama vote this situation gets more frightening.

    Please, give these thoughts some air time!

    Karen M. Jenkins
    Maryville, Tennessee

    February 26, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  22. CL Relf Deltona Florida

    I hope she says something other than 35 years of experience!

    February 26, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  23. Mischelle from Illinois

    As one of your earlier blogs stated "Don't count her out just yet". And as I just blogged to Cafferty (but I doubt it wil get read on the air) in response to his question "What does Hillary have to do (in tonight's debate) to slow down Obamas momentum?" – One could have phrased the question slanted differently – "What does Obama need to do tonight to FINALLY win a BIG state?" Because if in the end, (which is when we should ALL wait to judge the winner) what is really most important is the total number delegates and not just bragging rights to 'winning a bunch of smaller/irrelevent states.'

    My theory on why so many Americans haven't voted in the past is that they hae felt that their vote didn't matter. States that would hold early primaries have, in the past, picked the candidate and the rest of the country must back that person whether that is who thier own state would have chosen or not. So Wolf, let the rest of the states hold their primaries before you in the media declare a Winner. I think you will be very, very suprised when Richardson backs Hillary and that gives her the boost that she needs to carry Ohio and Texas.

    February 26, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  24. perry

    Bush started the Iraq war and Hillary supported it…at the same time Obama stuck his neck out in speaking against it. That is the most fundamental reference I need to see who’s more like George Bush

    February 26, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  25. rob

    columbus ohio-it ia important the candidates stick to the facts. Sen Clinton & Obama should cease the mudslinging. Talk about what you will do for the poor. Pleas Senator Clinton No Crying. You cannot speak International peace and break out in a cry

    February 26, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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