February 29th, 2008
03:59 PM ET
7 years ago

Blitzer: Can Obama withstand GOP assault?

 Obama would face a tough general election race.
Obama would face a tough general election race.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama doesn't even have the Democratic nomination, and yet questions are already swirling over whether he could withstand the fierce assault he certainly would face from the Republicans in a general election. Whatever criticism he confronted during the Democratic primaries would likely be child’s play compared to what’s coming up.

That fear was reinforced by the front-page story in The New York Times entitled “For Obama, Taste of What a Long Battle Holds.” Adam Nagourney writes that Republican “opposition research” is gearing up for a battle against Obama. The suggestion is that they will use material from Obama’s past that Hillary Clinton and the other Democratic candidates avoided.

“Some cases are simple let’s-go-to-the-video moments, like Mr. Obama’s statements that he would support giving drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens or would support raising taxes to shore up Social Security, lines of attack that Republicans are already employing,” Nagourney writes. Other material could be more explosive.

“He regularly goes out there and says he’s the person who can beat John McCain,” chief Clinton strategist Mark Penn is quoted as saying. “But the truth is, if he is ever in a general election, a lot of positions he took in 2003 and 2004 will come back to haunt him in a big way and a lot of the vetting that didn’t happen will happen. The independent and Republican support that he has had will evaporate really quickly.”

Clinton's camp is convinced that she could withstand a Republican assault in a general election campaign better than Obama. They have often pointed out that she has a lot more experience in this area – given the battles she’s faced over the years. Her supporters are especially anxious right now that voters in Texas and Ohio appreciate what could be in store for Obama before making up their minds. And that’s the case for the Superdelegates as well.

– Wolf Blitzer


Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. Michael, Cleveland

    No he can't. As for Hillary – please tell me WHY should she rush to release her tax return (which isn't even ready yet)? Because Obama wants it? It is not required by law and he didn't release his.

    February 29, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  2. donika shena bako

    Good evening Mr.Blitzer! With all the respect , thank you for the fair job you are doing. Only you are the dream team coverage this primeries.I dont know very well to speak and write but I know how to love America and people who respect and love America too!!

    February 29, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  3. akaDoug

    Obama will have no problem with McCain, show those 2 together and the country will have a clear picture... Past vs. Future!

    Better match-up than McCain vs. Shrillary. Past vs. Past on that one. Maybe those two could have a debate about who has the more shady past or who is the most corrupt or who has the most violent temper!

    Obama will capture the Obama-cians and the Independents that are sick of the way Bush has lead this country into the gutter!

    Obama = better judgement on day one!

    February 29, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  4. Brent

    Some of you are so misguided. If you think a person with so little experience can be the leader of the free world, think again. Obama has no chance in beating the GOP and one can never tell what he stands for.

    Obama comes acorss as 'iffy' at best and if thats what we're going to get on foreign policy, the little respect and standing we have in the world after the eight year Bush fiasco is egg on our faces.

    I'm not the biggest fan of Hillary either but I do believe she can indeed run this country around.

    February 29, 2008 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  5. Patrick

    As a Democrat living in an overwhelmingly Republican Conservative Right Wing state...I laugh in Hillary Clinton's and Mark Penn's face if they think they've experienced even 1/10 of 1% of the Republican arsenal. Republicans have been building an army of negative Clinton talking-points since 2000. Hillary Clinton is DESPISED by the Republicans, disliked by Independents, and increasingly losing the good graces of nearly half of the Democrats.

    This notion that Hillary Clinton has already withstood the Republican Attack Machine is absolutely ridiculous. When did this happen? In her Senate campaign for ... NEW YORK? Anyone who believes this is easily fooled.

    February 29, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  6. Cindy

    Obama's a breath of fresh air. McCain and the RNC have already started denouncing some of the offensive fringes in their party.

    Clinton raises the attacks, Obama breaks them down. I don't see them stopping completely, but I do think there will be less of it than normal.

    I hope Obama and McCain can figure out an agreement to end the Swift Boat type campaigns.

    February 29, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  7. Jude

    Lets stay focus on the issues...why shoudl Obama be scared of "the big bad republicans"...hahahaha...remember what Obama said...we should only fear...fear itself. Bring it on...you big bad republicans...Its David versus Goliath...and yes...David (Obama) will win again...hahaha..."Yes We Can"!!! Obama 08!

    February 29, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  8. MCNEIL

    A BIG NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. VOTE HILARY ............

    February 29, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  9. Jazz

    Political correctness is not the republican machine's forte!!
    Karl Rove has already spoken of being able to make mince meat of his liberal positions.

    February 29, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  10. alfa2

    Obama has already proven that he can withstand HRC attacks. McCain is too old to be our president. As many experts have written America does not need experience what it needs is proper judgment to made decisions. HRC does not have one. Even all media praising HRC as a great candidate due to her negative campaigning she is losing. HRC spin machine is one of the worst I have seen in recent times. It is worse that Karl Rove and company. We have long way to go for November election and Obama will do very well against this old straight talk spining express who has no courage to say it was a mistake to go to war with Iraq.

    February 29, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  11. Ovitshio Branco

    : You know what would be a good idea – producing a program once a month entitled – “American History Night”. Keith Olbermann would be ideal as host.

    People in this country haven’t a clue. Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill Cunningham, Ann Coulter, Wolf Blitzer and their ilk. What’s dangerous is the following they have. From what I read on these threads, I can’t believe how ignorant people are in this country. What happened?

    Last night, Sean Hannity reminded me of the Judge in Berlin in 1944 when he tore into defendants who were accused of trying to kill Hitler. They never had a chance to answer the accusations.

    Sean Hannity, just what is your problem? Barack Obama has distanced himself from Louis Farrakhan. Your guest told you that 15 times last night. Weren’t you listening? No, of course not.

    Let’s be clear here – Louis Farrakhan is not running for president. Barack Obama’s church leader is not running for president.

    Your bigotry and hatred is showing Sean. It was on full display last night. Congratulations.

    February 29, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  12. LadyLeo

    Since the GOP political background is just as dirty and foul as Hillarys,
    Yes He can.
    He and all his supporters. Go Obama.

    February 29, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  13. eddie, New York City.

    The Politics of doubts. When both Clinton and Obama announced their candidacy - Clinton was at 40+ and Obama was 17+. After a year of campaign - Obama is now at 48+ and Clinton Gaining only one point, giving her 41+. It's sad when I hear some of Clinton supporter saying they will vote McCain if Obama wins the Nomination. I wonder if they ask them self why? are they voting the issues facing the nation and where the candidates stands? or are they simply voting the person?

    Obama successfully stood against the Clinton Machine when people doubted that he could. Now is the GOP, see what happens when he secures the nominations. You gotta love Obama! But what do I do? I'm a 65 yrs. Old republican turn independent in the Blogging room.

    February 29, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  14. tc

    First we have to see who gets the nomination! If it is Obama, I think he will do just fine. People should be ready for a change instead of politics as usually. Just because you have been doing things the same wrong way for years doesn't mean your way the best way!

    February 29, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  15. Wilfrid Florestant

    As long as Hillary cannot release her financial records, she is not worthy of any nomination; we should not trust her with that type of shady behavior.

    February 29, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  16. beckstone

    Clinton's negatives poll higher then her supporters. She couldn't win an uncontested election.

    February 29, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  17. dorrett

    Wolfe, you are missing the point. Anybody the Dems put up to run against the GOP will win. What makes you think that the GOP will not do worse to Clinton than what they would do to Obama? I am sure if the Clintons had anything to sink Obama candidacy, they would have used it. The Dems must fight and the media must ensure that the GOP smear machine do not twist Obama’s record to create the GOP identity of Obama to the voters. Dems, do not forget the Swift boat tactics and stop the bickering and unite to take back your country.

    February 29, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  18. kab

    What kind of stupid question is it..it is tough for Obama to beat Hillary coz both of them have similar policies...it will be easier for him to beat McCain..

    February 29, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  19. eddie, New York City.

    The Politics of doubts. When both Clinton and Obama announced their candidacy — Clinton was at 40+ and Obama was 17+. After a year of campaign — Obama is now at 48+ and Clinton Gaining only one point, giving her 41+. It's sad when I hear some of Clinton supporter saying they will vote McCain if Obama wins the Nomination. I wonder if they ask them self why? are they voting the issues facing the nation and where the candidates stands? or are they simply voting the person?

    Obama successfully stood against the Clinton Machine when people doubted that he could. Now is the GOP, see what happens when he secures the nominations. You gotta love Obama! But what do I know? I'm a 65 yrs. Old republican turn independent in the Blogging room.

    February 29, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  20. Zeena

    It is NOT about Obama...it is about me....I am the one who is paying for Gas and food...And it is all because of GOP's stupid decision to go to Iraq..

    YES- I AM READY TO BEAT GOP...

    Go Obama...i am with you...

    February 29, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  21. Renee

    He shouldn't worry about the GOP the problems are right in his own party. A bunch of selfish white racist that would vote for McCain if Hillary doesn't win. I don't think Hillary will be to blame for what her supporters do to the democratic party. They are more to blame for turning the rest of us against hillary with their racist comments about Obama you all are only about self and are deliberately out to destroy the democratic party if Hillary wins you all expect the rest of us to ignore your racist feelings and comments and support her anyway. I may not support Hillary but I sure as hell do not want to see an end to the democratic party. So go right ahead and cast your vote for McCain and make yourselfs feel good and to hell with the democratic party since your minds are made up not to support your party's candidate. I have voted every presidental election for people I did not want to vote for but they had one thing going for them they represented my party not someone else's

    February 29, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  22. Dave UK

    Get real! Obama brings a new look to America in many ways. It will take a long time for Clinton to abandon the First Lady mentality to being a President. The evidence is there we all hear this in her speeches.

    February 29, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  23. Grif

    I'll send to you. The Song Hillary should use But as usual, the comment will disapear as soon as it;s submitted.

    Song!! They Gave me Mountain By Elvis!!!

    February 29, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  24. earl illingsworth

    Clinton's absolutely the correct candidate to nominate,Mr.(Fluff) Obama wouldn't stand a chance against the Hammer,Rove(Six months to create Strategy ),Newt, Rupert and that ultra conservative Novak who'll surely come out of retirement. But ,Hillary is a different fish to fry? Even if you can get the bait , you'll never gaf her Mr. Mattews! I'm for the right side of experience, and that's Hillary!!! Dare you guys to Post?

    February 29, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  25. Isaac

    This is a fair article, and while I fear these rising questions are already too late, I hope they are not. Barack Obama will be torn to shreds in the General Election. It surprises me that so few people see this.

    February 29, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
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