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. jill

    Wait and See who wins Pennsylvania primary, will be a surprise for many .

    March 12, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  2. DP

    Obama will win in most Democratic states and will be competitive in Repulican states. It does not matter who is the nomainee. It is about the party. Obama can also bring more people together.

    March 12, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  3. jill

    Wait and See who wins Pennsylvania primary, will be a surprise for many including CNN and FOX .

    March 12, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  4. Susan

    Hillary just needs to quit now gracefully and move on into retirement.

    Bye Bye Clintons !!

    March 12, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  5. Thompson

    It doesn't matter, the same people who voted for Clinton will more than likely vote for Obama in the fall. So are you saying core democrats will not for for Obama if Clinton doesn't win the nomination? I highly doubt it... DEMOCRATS will win this election regardless of the spin the Clinton camp puts on Obama's electability. It's not about who at this point, it's the changes that are made after being elected. Who is better positoned to make change????

    March 12, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  6. CaliMale4Hill

    bla bla bla... we know who will lose PA, another good way to make an excuse for the "buyers remorse" all over

    March 12, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  7. interesting

    Huh?

    I am confused Obama. All camps are competiting. The next campaign is Pennsylvania with a delegate rich state of 158. Just relax. You did well. Fight one battle at a time.

    March 12, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. vote

    To be objective, Gore and Kerry would have been president if they did not run their campaign on the big state strategy. Small states do matter because it has led to Bush being president twice. Republicans win elections based on winning small states. The theory of small states being irrelevant is not true. If Gore or Kerry won colorado, nevada or virgina which are swing states this year, Ohio and Florida would not have matter. Second, Clinton stated he did not win the democratic big states and therefore should not be the nominee. Her theory is flawed because those states would vote democratic regardless of the nominee. Those large states such as NY or Nj most of the time vote democratic. The question is not who wins the most big states, but who will win the small swing states. Obama's appeal will help the democrates in capturing those votes because of his unity message as well as his primary wins in some of those small states.

    March 12, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. franklahai

    I thought the road to the White House was through OHIO (and TX as the firewall), what happened here? Just a foolish thought. I guess the OHIO people are now irrelevant!! By June, the PA people will equally be irrelevant; it would be FL or MI. Aren't we tired of using and abusing people for political gains in this nation?

    For Catholics, I urge you not only to contribute money, but to say a decade of the Rosary for the anointment of a decent and God-fearing man, such as Obama, to regain the White House. We are a nation of rules and laws, including our basic moral virtues.

    March 12, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. PA Mom for Obama

    I'm sorry, but the path to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue doesn't just go through Pennsylvania, it goes through every single state in the United States. No one state is any more important then another just as no one vote is any more important than another. I am so tired of Camp Clinton trying to convince Super Delegates that she wins "important states". I'm not very excited by a presidential candidate that wants to just forget about 1/2 of our nation.

    March 12, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. Republicans for Obama

    Oba

    March 12, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  12. Hillary 08 Ohio

    Leave Obama out in the dust, as Hillary she is the TRUE winner anyway!.

    March 12, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. Jackstrider

    Compare and contrast:

    -Clinton originally agreed that MI and FL delegates should not count in the primary. Now she says that they must be heard.
    -Obama agreed that MI and FL delegates should not count in the primary and has stuck to the DNC rules as agreed by all candidates.

    - Clinton says she should be the nominee because she has "won" the bigger states.
    - Do the smaller states not count? Obama has not denigrated any state's value in this campaign. He campaigns hard in states large and small, whatever his chances.

    -Clinton says that Obama wins in states that have traditionally voted Republican while she wins in Democratic strongholds,
    -Obama appeals to voters across groups by party, race and gender.

    -Clinton supporters claim Obama is successful because he is Black, but they are not playing the "race" card.
    -Obama supporters do not make any appeal or argument based on race or gender, either positively for Obama or negatively toward Clinton.

    Which administration do we want to run the Executive Branch?

    March 12, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  14. Jake, California

    Or I should say: its the person that first reaches the 2024 delegates that matters, not whether you won big states or small states!

    March 12, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  15. josephine

    Why haven't you posted any comments to this article? Seems sort of fishy to me that CNN always is favorable to Obama.

    March 12, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. Republicans for Obama

    Perhaps that Republicans that "were whispering" can help you as they did in Texas, Ohio, and Rhode Island. Not!

    March 12, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  17. txpoodoo

    Clinton's fall strategy has been a Gore/Kerry +1; that is win all the states that Kerry/Gore won, but win one more, either Ohio or Fl.

    But let us not forget that if Kerry/Gore would have won at least one of the many of the "smaller" states like they should have (AR, TN to name a couple), Ohio or FL would not even have mattered.

    McCain is going to appeal to a broader range of voters than Bush. Lets not forget that he is a moderate Republican, states that are swing or purple states are going to be in a Republican playbook. The Democrats need to look past what they have done in the past and create new swing states. States that McCain already thinks he has, make him fight for them, make him spend money on them. One thing that Democrats have going for them this year is a bigger coffer. Make McCain spend money that he was not intending to spend. It will hurt him in the swing states.

    I think the Obama campaign realizes this, they are seeing the bigger picture.

    March 12, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  18. JohnLahai

    I thought the road to the White House was through OHIO (and TX as the firewall), what happened here? Just a foolish thought. I guess the OHIO people are now irrelevant!! By June, the PA people will equally be irrelevant; it would be FL or MI. Aren't we tired of using and abusing people for political gains in this nation?

    For Catholics, I urge you not only to contribute money, but to say a decade of the Rosary for the anointment of a decent and God-fearing man, such as Obama, to regain the White House. We are a nation of rules and laws, including our basic moral virtues.

    March 12, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  19. Murray

    I began this campaign being so excited and hopeful for the election this fall. That seems slowly to becoming a dream more than the "dream ticket". It is easy to see why nothing is being done to help the average working person. Our elected government officials are too concerned about power at any cost. I have heard practically nothing about the issues that matter in the last two weeks. Hillary tells non-truths about Obama on the stump in PA about a vote he placed and no news person addresses it. Ferrora can say anything about Obama and she is not reprimanded for it. But please don't let someone call Hillary a monster, that is un-American and the worst thing possible. Here it is, I'm turning off my television and going to let all the lies for what they are worth miss me and my family. I hope it will clean its-self up so I can go to the poles when it comes to NC. By the way Hillary we do matter here and Democrats can win here this fall for the Democratic party.

    March 12, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  20. Cooper

    Pennsylvania hasn't been on the road to the White House since 1996. Both Gore and Kerry won it but lost the election.

    March 12, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  21. Robert

    Obama's supporters are fooling themselves if they think Obama will win the presidency because he keeps winning states that have gone republican in the general elections for the past 30 years. Only the large states matter and Hillary is the only one that can carry them. Obama is trying to jump ahead of himself when he should have waiting 8 years to run. All he is doing is insuring that McCain wins the presidency and that we have 4 more years of failed policies.

    March 12, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  22. JB, Boston

    Don't be fooled by the Clinton machine. EVERY State counts. She is trying to make this a race about CA/NY/PA/FL/MI. The "big" States that they have done well in. So, they claim the other States don't matter due to small populations.???????? Isn't that what the framers were trying to avoid, just a few States completely controlling politics. Hence the Senate, where everyone gets two senators.

    Besides, any dem can win the Blue States of NY/MA. Just because Hillary won there doesn't mean anyother dem would lose!

    March 12, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  23. Ann

    I can not agree any more with David. With Clintons, there are states that matter and some that don't. How pathetic! Sick and tired.......

    March 12, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  24. bond

    Blah blah blah, spin spin spin.

    Scoreboard Obama

    March 12, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  25. IF CLINTON.. THE LONG LIFE DEM WILL VOTE REP.

    That is right., Clinton, only want states that have traditional "dem" voters,.. well i am from VA.. and well we like obama, and we aren't a traditional "dem" state. America is becoming more independent now that bush has destroyed democracy,,,

    March 12, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
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