March 12th, 2008
01:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama camp: Clinton won't compete in battlegrounds

The Obama campaign says Clinton can't compete in key states.
The Obama campaign says Clinton can't compete in key states.

(CNN) - Barack Obama’s presidential campaign manager said Wednesday Hillary Clinton’s campaign had “waved the white flag” in what he said was a potential fall battleground state.

The Clinton campaign responded that Obama’s team was looking to divert focus from the upcoming Pennsylvania primary, where the New York senator has held a significant advantage in most recent polls.

They have pointed out that many of the states that Obama has won by large margins during the primary process are not states the Democratic Party is likely to carry this fall, with senior adviser Harold Ickes telling the New York Times Wednesday that Obama’s victories there would be “virtually irrelevant to the general election.”

On a conference call with reporters, Plouffe did look to lower expectations in Pennsylvania. “We do not view this as a race now solely about the state of Pennsylvania,” he said, adding that the Clinton campaign was “the prohibitive favorite. They should win by a healthy margin given where they start.

“We’ll campaign hard there, we’ll try and get as many votes and delegates as we can, but our campaign will not be defined by Pennsylvania.”

He added that that the Clinton campaign’s contention that a Democrat could not win a fall bout in North Carolina – a state where Obama is expected to do well when primary voters head to the polls in May – “speaks to their weakness in the general election.

“We think we can win the state of North Carolina. Clinton has already waved the white flag... North Carolina will be a central battleground if Obama is our nominee," said Plouffe. The campaign also released an assessment of Obama’s general election chances in some of the biggest states.

Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer immediately responded: “The path to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue goes through Pennsylvania. So if Barack Obama can’t win there, how will he win the general election?”

– CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (241 Responses)
  1. Liz in TN

    Hillary carries the biggest states with the most clout which are crucial in the fall campaign.

    Go Hillary!

    March 12, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  2. I TOO HAVE EXPERIENCE

    “The path to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue goes through Pennsylvania. So if Barack Obama can’t win there, how will he win the general election?”

    What a patheticly weak come back by Clinton's thugs.

    Obama '08

    March 12, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. For Obama

    First Plouffe states the following:

    “We’ll campaign hard there, we’ll try and get as many votes and delegates as we can, but our campaign will not be defined by Pennsylvania.”

    And then Clinton adviser Singer states the opposite:

    “The path to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue goes through Pennsylvania. So if Barack Obama can’t win there, how will he win the general election?” So which is Hillary people??? Oh I think I know... which ever statement works best for her this week and next???

    Double talk from Hillayr once again!!!!!!

    March 12, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  4. Jags

    I love how the democrats started out so "supportive" of one another initially to try and show that they were above what the republicans were doing to one another in ads.. then as soon as Hillary and Obama got into a tight spot, true colors showed! The battle continues, the nation gets bitter as they are torn and in the end McCain gets the presidency cause the two sectors cant stand one another enough to enter the same voting booth. bravo

    March 12, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  5. Jbecks

    Hillary is Hurting her party and country over her and her unloyal husband's own selfish greed.

    March 12, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  6. sascha

    Oh my God, what are you talking about?? Democrats at its best. Focus on the issues, that's what Americans expect from the next President!!

    March 12, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  7. Richard

    Obama and his supporter are always crying about something.They should focus more on issues. As a Democrat I will never vote for arrogance. He has divided the party.

    Go Hillary 2008!

    March 12, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  8. Cindy

    I think Clinton is ignoring states that she cannot win... neither the primary nor the general. Obama on the other hand, has the ability to take these states in both the primary and the general, because he appeals to both Democrats and Republicans.

    The path to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave goes through "all" states, not just through Pennsylvania.

    March 12, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  9. J Norman

    In the most recent analysis I saw done by Ramussen comparing McCain-Clinton vs McCain-Obama in the 17 swing states, Obama’s numbers were better than Clinton’s in 13 of those states.

    In the most recent analysis I saw done by SuveryUSA looking at electorial votes, Obama was +88 vs McCain while Clinton was +27 or so.

    In both cases, Obama was the stronger candidate than Clinton vs McCain.

    What is also often overlooked is that those surveys were done before Obama had campaigned in all of the states – which nearly always improves his numbers. I think those results are likely to get stronger for Obama as the primaries get completed.

    As usual, I think the Clinton campaign is blowing some pretty desperate smoke.

    March 12, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  10. Mark, VA

    Nice try Obama, but I ain't buying it. In fact I am buying less and less from you as the days go by.

    March 12, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  11. Go Hillary!

    Are you kidding me? Mr.Obama?

    You are just a loser who fears to face final results!

    2008 Hillary

    March 12, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  12. Bob Stephens

    Sounds like she is following the Giuliani Method of losing

    March 12, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  13. Arden

    From what I have seen and listened to for the past 2 years anything can happen in an election. No one should take anything for granted. This election has become so mean spirited. If it continues the Democratic Party will fall and we will loose another election to someone that should not be elected.

    March 12, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  14. S. Edwards

    Yes, finally. There are actually other states in this country besides the ones that Hillary Clinton believes to be important. Believe it or not, some of those other states will also be important in fall 2008. Just because Hillary is putting all of her eggs in PA, like she did in TX and Ohio, doesn't mean those are the only states left to vote that count. Oh, and PS--TX gave Obama more delegates, so I guess it isn't that important anymore either.

    March 12, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  15. Ryan

    I don't understand why Obama's win of the Texas caucases, which led him to win the most delegates in Texas, has not been a bigger story. Clinton had suggested she NEEDED to win in Texas just to stay in the race, and now she in fact lost in Texas. No doubt she will continue, but it seems strange that this story is lumped quietly under Obama's Mississippi win. Shouldn't this be discussed more widely as a major win for Obama? The media attention has shifted markedly in past weeks, in favor of Hillary Clinton, after her complaints of a biased media. Now things are starting to appear very biased in the opposite direction. Perhaps there is no unbiased media, but it seems that something strange has been happening.

    March 12, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  16. kmarcus122

    As I live in NC, am a precinct vice-chair and a country delegate, we WILL do everything within our power to turn NC blue...from the ground level, we're turning purple already!!!

    As for the Clinton campaign, how hard do you expect us to fight with comments like that? Good lord!!

    March 12, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  17. James

    hey Phil Singer, last time I checked many presidents have been elected without winning Pennsylvania. As a PA resident, I know this fact. Additionally, just because someone wins the state in a primary is no reflection on the end result in a general election. It can be taken as a sign, but not an absolute. The only thing that is clear is a party nominee usually can count on at least 75% of the voter turnout in a state his or her party received in the primary process.

    Obama will probably win PA in a General Election. Hillary will not.

    March 12, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  18. johndimmy

    I thought the path to the Wite House was through OHIO, what happened? Just a foolish thought!

    March 12, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  19. Chris McClum

    All those Hillary supporters in those big states will rally around Barack when he becomes the nominee.

    It makes no sense to claim that winning the democratic primary in Pennsylvania means that the choice by delegates and raw vote count from the rest of the country somehow becomes irrelevant.

    Democrats will rally behind Barrack when he becomes our candidate.

    March 12, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  20. Jake, California

    The Clinton camp is full of dumb tactics.. Why do they want Obama to measure his campaign success by Pennsylvania? Of course the people of PA are important to the Obama camp but we cannot use them )or any one state )as a deal maker or breaker like Hillary did with Texas and Ohio(both of which she didn't win anyways, Obama got the most delegates out of TX)

    It is the person that first reaches the 2024 delegates at the end that matters..not how much you get from one particular state..
    If she wins PA with 158 delegates(which i doubt), we'll come close to sharing the delegates 50-50 as usual and we'll trash her in NC(115 delegates at stake) and get more of the delegates here!

    The Hillary people aren't smart at all...sorry to say!

    March 12, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  21. Florida Voter

    Hillary is like the girlfriend that won't go away after you break-up. Can I get a restraining order for the benefit of the State of Florida????

    Let us not forget people, as Hillary so eloquently pointed out, pledged delegates do not have to vote according to their pledge. They are under no obligation to vote 'as pledged' and can change their minds at the convention. So, Super-Delegates and Pledge Delegates are still in play.

    Thanks for the reminder Hillary … any plans to pursue this strategy now that you’ve pointed it out?

    March 12, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  22. Sean McM

    Obama, the only flag we fly is red, whit and blue. Since you voted against an ammendment to ban burning our flag I don't expect you to understand that.

    Take your liberal socialism back to Chicago.

    March 12, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  23. Debby

    Obama won't win these so called battleground red states in Nov. The reason he is winning the south now is because of the black vote. When the Republicans come out to vote for McCain in the south it will be in droves and bye bye Obama if he is the nom. If Obama can't win any of the electoral states now, then he will never have a chance of winning an Presidential election.

    March 12, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  24. Obama Guy

    Oh stop with this Big state madness..come the general election all these blue states will rally behind obama who does this women think she is..I mean the nerve...she's running on borrowed time the super delegates are already starting to speak and they aren't speaking to highly on clinton and her tactics...she will never see the nomination barring some brokered back room deal which would all but seal her fate come Nov Obama has almost a 200 point lead on her now...they will not just hand this election to her based on her "winning a couple big states"...those same states will stand behind Obama.

    March 12, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  25. Chris

    Wake up America! No matter what Clinton does she cannot win the delegate count. I dare ONE out there person to make the argument that Florida and Michigan should count. They broke the rules and now they want back in the game. If you get kicked out of a basketball game, you hit the locker room and move on.

    Again, I dare anyone to make an actual argument for this.

    March 12, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
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