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. Robbie

    It is important the Candidates stay on track. Communicate what they would do regarding right in their own backyard for example the Poor, Healthcare. Job Loss. We are tired of the bashing it means nothing to the American People. Pleae no Crying Tonight. When speaking about foreign policy will you cry in front of the enemy?

    Remember the Poor right here in the United States of America!

    Columbus, Ohio

    February 26, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  2. Gary O'Korn

    Hillary is "mystified" by the popularity of Obama and how she feels that the public and media is blind to the fact the their is no substance and very little experience.

    Isn't this the same charisma duping that Bill Clinton brought to the table and allowed him to reach the Presidency?

    What goes around, comes around!!!

    February 26, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. Jared

    Solid analysis.

    February 26, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  4. NickNas


    Hillary Clinton is acting like a 6 year old child. If she can't play she is going to take her ball and go home and leave us all on the field with nothing to do.

    Its ok though we will get by just fine!

    February 26, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. joze46

    The Republicans were given political ammunition to make a race based politics out of this campaign by Obama in two ways that are obvious to me.

    But first to say, they don’t have to even to stretch anything Clinton said. For in my opinion Clinton is a risk to debate race based ideals. The media is currently trying to labor the ideal about Clinton and the “ Fairly Tail “ stuff played out in the South Carolina speeches as race slander. All that is totally weak, to extremely reaching for blame directed at the Democrats.

    Obama opened the skin game in his joke about being a distant cousin to Cheney. Everyone knows Obama’s mother is white and his father is black. Sheesh a mixed blood being a distant cousin to the Vice President ? And poking fun that it is not really the best to be connected to a guy that is not too cool. Sheesh. Come on that is as race biased as you can get.

    Worse, Obama did his own race bating, if you read Obama’s book called the “Audacity of Hope” at the end of the first chapter Obama can be quoted as saying in a story about what he imagines what white southern men say to their son’s as Niger this and Niger that, to me is very extraordinary. Again, Obama, Imagines, mind you he describes that he, Obama; himself imagines these conversations take place. What else does Obama imagine ?

    Hell, I feel guilty saying the word Niger in public because it might offend somebody, but, here, Obama in nationally published book openly does it with out shame and in imagination. Incredible. If the Republicans don’t call Obama on that stuff I will be surprised. The only thing left is to line up Obama with that Rezko scandal and actually the Republicans would likely tie in all those Democratic supporters that line up behind Obama, and the list is growing. Rove is waiting for the kill.

    February 26, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. Jeremy

    "But it’s not easy to do this without turning off the Democratic base is not easy."


    February 26, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. Di

    And who are you voting for Wolf????

    AMEN hms!!!

    February 26, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  8. sick of Obama.

    Sick of Obama and Media. period!!!

    February 26, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  9. sherrie50

    I have looked at CNN for years for balanced reporting and fairness, but after the Network's behavior toward HC, I will not patronize the News channel anymore. This network has literally destroyed HC with negative reporting and comments. I feel sad about the network's behavior. No more high standards , what a shame.

    February 26, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  10. dan

    No more Clinton and no more Bush. No more scandals. Barack is the candidate to support.

    February 26, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  11. EL NNINO

    the truth is, whatever cheap tricks or poor acting she tries to set forth, Senator Obama is the better candidate.

    Just compare their respective senate records: in less years in the senate than Senator Clinton, Senator Obama has many more accomplishments

    February 26, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  12. Alma

    Wolf, you and CNN are swaying public opinion toward Obama. Stop tooting your own horn and get back to real journalism. I used to be an avid CNN watcher, but now I'm turned off. I see no difference between CNN and Fox news. Both like to spin it for a particular candidate. Both use bias in your journalism. You are not true journalist rather a pawn for CNN and its directors who obviously favor Obama and its mania following.

    February 26, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  13. marvin c. custer

    its beyond me how after 16 yrs. of rep. ,of worst times the country evre was in since the great depression and treachery by both regan and george sr. leaving big defficets and unemployment....then one of if not the greatest president we vere had gave us a surpluss of money, job, and the country and federal reserve was rich. then the worst man we have had for president took office and in one year that was gone.. we have the largest deficet ever and printing money we cant back up..no jobes and the federal reserveis broke ... we go after a man that attack the us. bin ladin but we go to sadam instead because he has the oil... they find sadam in a hole in the middle of nowhere why cant we find binny...and mama bush family is almost all oil people and so are the bushes.. how can you vote repubican...(please forgive my spellig and punctuation).. go hillery.. and im independent male sovenist..we are as close to sociallism as you can get ... this president tells the supreme court what to do and everyonelse what ever happend to for the peopl by the people.. as far as immigrants teddy roseevelt said it best ..i beleave it was 1906...look it up ... thats the way it is.. at hear the truth show..lol thank you ill stop now but i could go on.....

    February 26, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  14. MR. B.

    America Is Ready
    Obama 08

    February 26, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  15. sam

    by the way wolf – have you got a middle name??

    February 26, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  16. JB Cali

    She and her supporters are getting so desperate it isn't even funny. It pains me to see them play the old GOP card of unfair "media".

    February 26, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  17. mark


    Her tone has changed in recent days: – "I am honoured to be here with Barack Obama. I am absolutely honoured. And you know, whatever happens, we're going to be fine." - During CNN debate on Feb. 21 in Austin, Tex. – "Shame on you, Barack Obama." - Feb. 23 in Cincinnati, reacting to an Obama campaign pamphlet Clinton said misrepresented her trade policy. – "Now I could stand up here and say, 'Let's just get everybody together. Let's get unified. The sky will open. The lights will come down. Celestial choirs will be singing and everyone will know we should do the right thing and the world will be perfect.' " - Feb. 24, mocking Obama's campaign rhetoric. – "The American people don't need to guess whether I understand the issues, or whether I need a foreign policy instruction manual to guide me through a crisis." - Feb. 25, belittling Obama's national security credentials.

    My question is: Which Hillary do we believe in?

    February 26, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  18. Wilhemina

    Wolf, I know you stand-up for Hillary, but have you not noticed her personality changes? and her statements?
    There are reports of Hillary's paranoia episodes while being First Lady (this situation is understandable); however, as she has had to lie for the past sixteen years. I think we are seeing the effects of living under protection (outburst, religious, clowning around, and than back to outburst again, she has a cycle. We in the medical field are shocked to be observing her running for such a high position, her behavior on national t.v. is inappropriate. I believe that is why she could never connect with the average working Jane or Joe. The many faces of Hillary is unsettling. Who is she?

    February 26, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  19. Bruce

    Does Sen. Clinton count her travels as First Lady as foreign policy exprience? She states that she has been to many countries and met their leaders. Rosalyn Carter had a good relationship with Mrs. Gorbachev, but that did not make her a good candidate for Secretary of State. People keep insisting that Senator Clinton has a huge advantage in experience, which she says goes back 35 years. She is 60. So I guess what I am hearing is that she is the oldest of the two candidates. If experience was the magic ingredient, we would be deciding between Joe Biden and Bill Richardson.

    February 26, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  20. bcapraro

    "But it’s not easy to do this without turning off the Democratic base is not easy."

    I know it's only the interweb, but how's about a little editing?

    February 26, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  21. william

    Obama might make a good president but the first lady is a disgrace to the country and to all the lives that have died for it why don't you report how proud there are of it and there families

    February 26, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  22. Hilda Holcomb


    February 26, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  23. king from toronto

    hillary is not treated like this because she's a woman.she's treated like this because she's a "CLINTON"!.obama 08

    February 26, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  24. Obama is the truth

    It is over for Hilary…once she either losses TX or Ohio or both this is her swan song…she is done..without here crushing Obama in land slide victories…its over…if you crunch the numbers of delagates…she won't win its almost to the point of being impossible…she really did this to herself…she came in thinking this she was destined to be the democratic nom and had no compettion tell Obama blew it up in her face…

    February 26, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  25. Hilda Holcomb

    OBAMA HAS HAD THE PUSH OF THE MEDIA......... IT IS OBVIOUS ........and disgusting......It is not right.....


    CHARM GETS US NOWHERE............

    February 26, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
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