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. Ron

    HILLARY and FERARRO 08 FIGHTERS FOR AMERICA YES WE CAN!
    REAL SOLUTIONS FOR REAL AMERICANS

    March 12, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  2. Dwayne

    Clinton's Campaign continuously attempts to define the nomination process by their own criteria’s, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they are behind both in Pledge Delegates and the popular vote. Now it’s another attempt to define the fight for the nomination based on who wins the state of Pennsylvania. For the Clinton Campaign wherever she stands to be victorious becomes the nomination defining state, this is just too absurd. Were they not given the same rulebook as the Obama Campaign?

    March 12, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  3. Ga Mike

    The most populous states that Clinton is touting as victories are going to be states that Dems win anyway. Give me a break, this whole thing is a fairy tale. There is some truth to what the Obama camp is saying about the old strategies in Washington. 50 + 1 leads to the same gridlock that exists in Washington right now, a country and 2-party system divided by red/blue states and republican/democrat. This is exactly what Obama is trying to change. He has gone on record to say that one way to reach across the aisle is to consider Republicans as members of his cabinet.

    March 12, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  4. carlo

    How is it that Clinton gets to tell us which states are the Key states? I thought that the race was for the President of the United States, you know, that country with FIFTY states! I'm starting to wonder if the media is afraid of Hillary. I know Obama's problem-poor thing-he's a gentleman. Doesn't he know that you can't treat Hillary like a lady?

    March 12, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  5. Ron, Las Vegas

    People forget there is a difference between a primary election and a general election. Just because you lose a primary election ia state does not mean you lose the general election there. This whole thing about winning big states is one big falsehood. Many of those will go to whomever the democratic nominee is. By stating all the states she has lost as not important, Hillary has set herself up for defeat. No one likes to be told that their state does not count or is not important. Remember they are running for president of the US, not just some of the big states.

    March 12, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  6. D.Kimbro OHIO

    I am truly interested to see what will happen if Clinton doesnt win in Pa. I guess she is shooting for another piric victory like the one in Texas. How can you continue to count that states as a win when you came away with less delegates. She will not get the type of margin needed to solidify anything.

    March 12, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  7. Sameer

    More Obama stays in the race, more he is exposed. All those people who voted for him in the Super Tuesday, half of them will not vote now for him if the voting were to happen today. He has been exposed, he is not that goody goody as he sounded at the beginning, as a matter of fact he is very arrogant and devisive person. He is the reason the party is now so divided.

    As Tom Brokaw said in an interview with the Canadian news channel, he is flying 35,000 ft above, it is time now he comes down to earth and face the reality. He can't go on to win the general election just by winning over 90% of black votes. Lets accept the fact, most of the states he won are red states and irrelevant in the general election because these states will go to the Republicans anyway.

    Clinton is a fighter, througout this campaign she has been fighting tough against all odds and still standing hard on ground. Do we think Obama can handle the pressure she has been? I admire her for what she has done for the country, what has Obama done so far except criticizing Bill Clinton's legacy and talking empty talks? Bill Clinton was the best president we had in the recent history and Obama will never ever be able to reach his legacy.

    March 12, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  8. bakersfield

    why don't you let my posts thru
    Can someone explain how caucus’s are a reflection of the peoples vote
    Example
    Texas
    Popular vote Clinton 51% caucus 44%
    Popular vote obama 47% caucus 56%
    Plus only 41% of the precincs have been reported the others might have somehow come up missing
    So tell me if I’m wrong but this tells me that caucus are not the will of the people of the state, it is the will of the few that are able to show up.
    me and other voters in california are voting for experience and i guantee i will vote for mccain if hillary is not the nominee

    March 12, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  9. Realistic

    Hillary is winning the states that ANY Democratic candidate would win anyhow, but she has no chance outside of those states.

    By contrast, Obama will take not only the blue states but a lot of the red ones as well.

    Hopefully, the Democratic leadership understands this and will be euthanizing the sad but lingering remains of the Clinton campaign soon.

    March 12, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. ken

    It is absolutely insane to think that Obama can't win the Democratic "big" states if he faces McCain in the general election. They are Democratic states ! He will carry those states if Clinton is not in the picture. Are American's that stupid to buy into Clinton's weak argument? I cannot be the only smart American here. Read carefully..... Except for Texas (Which Obama won as a whole) THE DEMOCRATIC BIG STATES WILL STAY SIMPLY THAT> DEMOCRATIC ! REGARDLESS WHO IS THE NOMINEE. Weak argument. Anyone who has half a brain would understand that. You want to know the big difference between American's and the rest of the world ? Americans love to be told what to think. That's why they buy into every B.S that is pumped out my the Media. Sorry CNN.

    March 12, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  11. champ

    Why should the Clinton'S' campaign set the agenda and the media continue to buy into it? It's like getting to an Olympic and dictating what race should the race commissions deem important. OR, It’s like a football match, where the goal poles keep moving and moving. Hilary, you’ll be surprised we will win you on your own field!

    March 12, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  12. Jennifer C.

    With Obama in the general election this will not be an ordinary party line Democrat/Republican election. My 68 year old Republican father, who has never voted Democratic, admires McCain but can't stop talking about Obama's vision for America. My 66 year old Democratic mother voted for Obama saying, "he is the only one speaking the truth". I am a 41 year old , Republican, mother of two, former Catholic school teacher who hopes our country sees the gift in Obama. He has integrity and courage and speaks frankly about our universal concerns. We have a real leader in our midst and maybe we have forgotten what one looks like.

    March 12, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  13. Joan

    As if Pennsylvania, Michigan, Florida and Ohio are not battleground states.
    If they continue to show resistance to revotes in Michigan and Florida be sure to lose in the GE.

    March 12, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  14. JamesD

    Clinton spokesman asks how Obama can win the general election if he can't win PA? A better question should be, how can Hillary win the general election if she can't win the most primary delegates?

    March 12, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  15. Candi

    If the people of Pennsylvania is so studpid that they will let Hillary dictate how to cast their vote for her then you all are studpid. Hillary don't care about you people, don't you get it by now. People of any states to follow should not let that monster get on stage with her old fashion sense of direction and say vote for me because of my experience, foreign policy or whatever. Hillary is a fraud and there is something she left in the White House she can't find that is damaging to her and Bill and she needs to get back in there to remove it. Okay let her get back there and you people will be down the tube. You think she threw the kitchen sink at Obama she will stones to the American People, because you put her were she wanted to be but not because she like you but because she like herself.

    March 12, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  16. California Independent

    Obama thinks Clinton should beat him in red state North Carolina that is 21% AA? Could someone please get him to shut up.

    So far, Clinton has won 163 Democratic delegates to Obama's 82 for the GE. The number of Clinton supporters who refuse to vote for Obama exceed the Obama supporters who won't vote for Clinton. 24% of Clinton supporters like McCain. Obama is susceptible to McCain in 3 democratic states.

    They can spin all they want. Statistically they are the weakest candidate.

    Oh yeah, good line.... North Carolina is more indicative of the GE result that Pennsylvania. NC has 3 GE delegates to PN's 21. Nice math Obama.

    March 12, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  17. Darren P

    Why do I get the feeling that if Hillary wins, she will claim ala Bush to be the President of the states that voted for her? I realize the importance of the big states, but it seems that she is willing to cast down all the other states just because they don't support her.

    March 12, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  18. MM

    Obama is only "winning" "red" states...and the race only counts Democrats...Republicans are 98% white (the other half of the race). In November he will need to win "blue" states (which he can't) and he'll have to win over 50% of whites...which looks very unlikely. He should have given serious thought to negotiating a VP slot to get more recognition, then run after Hillary's 2 terms. The Dems have screwed up this perfect scenario that would have given them time, and both branches (Congress and Executive) of government to reverse the Reagan/Bushes era. They don't have to move to the middle if they figure it out!

    March 12, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. Trev

    Clinton won't compete in battlegrounds? Florida, Michigan, Ohio, PA, NJ? Obama will give it his best shot in Idaho though.

    Look, it is true that Obama is stronger in WA, WI, VA and Maybe OR. The. Those states are important (Hillary never said they were not). However, if you asked me which states I would like to win, it would be the ones with more electors in the general. By not wanting to count Florida and Michigan, Obama is effectively waiving the white flag in those states. No thanks!

    Hillary 08

    March 12, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  20. Nevada for Obama

    Obama is running a 50 state presidential campaign and rightly believes that every state counts. Clinton runs a hit and run cherry pick campaign which is a loosing strategy. Obama has put the red states in play for the first time in many years. He has won 15 out of the last 17 contests, and yes including Texas!.

    Pensylvania is just another state like every other state, and Obama will do well there. Clinton is on the run, and kept drawing fire wall after fire wall. Pensylvania is the new fire wall. After pensylvania, her next fire wall is Puerorico. What a shame!!.

    March 12, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  21. horace from The Golden State

    isn't it so nice to hear from the clinton campaign that all the voters in all the states that obama has won will be irrelevant in the general election. i'm sure that all those millions of voters who voted for obama will be happy to hear how the clinton campaign regards them.............meaningless! nice spin hillary. good judgement NOT.

    March 12, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  22. Nevada for Obama

    Obama is running a 50 state presidential campaign and rightly believes that every state counts. Clinton runs a hit and run cherry pick campaign which is a loosing strategy. Obama has put the red states in play for the first time in many years. He has won 15 out of the last 17 contests, and yes including Texas!.

    Pensylvania is just another state like every other state, and Obama will do well there. Clinton is on the run, and kept drawing fire wall after fire wall. Pensylvania is the new fire wall. After pensylvania, her next fire wall is Puerorico. What a shame!!.

    CNN POST MY COMMENT FOR A CHANGE!!!!!!

    March 12, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  23. Chris In California

    Jack – I think you are biased in favor of Barack Obama. Can you even come up with ONE sincere and honest probing question regarding Barack Obama. Your support for Barack Obama is obvious. I think your tactics are tabloid, not true journalism by any legitimate standard.

    Having said that, I think Hillary Clinton will be our next President and I think she has all of the experience, skill, and dedication to this country to do the job well.

    March 12, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  24. George from Minneapolis

    The big states that Hillary has won will vote for ANY DEMOCRAT in the general election. Barney could run as a democrat and he would win Cal, Ny, Nj etc.

    So, Hillary saying she "won the big states" does not matter in the general election because a democrat is going to win them no matter who it is.

    Can Hillary say that she can win some of the states that Obama won in the general election or be competitive? NO. Democrats best chance in the general election is with Obama. That is obvious for us intelligent people. Who happen to be voting for Obama in droves. Coincedence ???

    March 12, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  25. Ken

    The same way Senator Clinton neglects the small states she lost in primaries and caucuses, the same way the small states will neglect her if she becomes the nominee. Large states are not the only states that make up America, it's all of them.

    Her inconsideration of votes in the states she lost and recent polarized tatics could come back to hunt her if she's not carefull.

    March 12, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10