March 19th, 2008
03:55 PM ET
7 years ago

Blitzer: Experience versus change

The experience v. change argument still rages.
The experience v. change argument still rages.

(CNN) - Experience versus change. That has been a constant refrain we’ve heard out on the campaign trail. Which is more important in this presidential election campaign?

Barack Obama beats Hillary Clinton and John McCain in our latest CNN-Opinion Research Corporation Poll when it comes who voters feel is the candidate best able to effect change. The American public, the poll shows, believes he can better change our political culture. In the same poll, however, he loses when it comes to experience. For one thing, both Clinton and McCain have been figures on the national political stage for far longer.

Obama is willing to address the issue directly – and in the process take a swipe at both McCain and Clinton.

“It is time to have a debate with John McCain about the future of our national security,” Obama said Wednesday. “And the way to win that debate is not to compete with John McCain over who has more experience in Washington because that’s a contest he will win. The way to win a debate with John McCain is not to talk, act and vote like him on national security because then we all lose.”

Obama’s surrogates have made the constant point in recent weeks and months that having a great deal of Washington experience is not always useful. Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld, they point out, had decades of Washington experience – going back to the 1960’s – which they say did not necessarily help them make better decisions during this Bush administration.

If Obama gets the Democratic presidential nomination and faces John McCain, you can expect to be hearing a lot more about change versus experience.

– Wolf Blitzer


Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (354 Responses)
  1. Dan, Columbia MD

    Americans can't afford Obama or Clinton.

    I guess we're stuck with McCain.

    March 19, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  2. Mark

    The CHANGE Obama has brought to this RACE – is who is going to vote for him in the remainder of the primaries and if he gets the nomination – he has CHANGED who and how many of those voters there are going to be.

    I voted for him in my primary before I knew of the anti white preaching he listened too every sunday.

    Myself a young white man and my family no longer support him and will not vote for him.

    Hillary is both change and experience with not a racist bone in her body. She is alot of things but one thing is for sure – she is FOR ALL THE PEOPLE.
    That is change I now contribute my money too – I had not given any to campaign and now I have over 2000 more I can give and I plan to do just that.

    March 19, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  3. prakash chand

    EXPERIENCE!!!

    HOW CAN YOU CHANGE WITHOUT EXPERIENCE.

    March 19, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  4. kay

    I have noticed recently a dramatic increase in negative comments about Barack Obama , both subtle and pointed. At the same time, a marked increase in air time for and about Hillary. It seems that she is all you cover for speeches and we always get to hear her while Obama is lucky to get a quote in – usually followed by a negative comment. Please try to be more fair. Thank you.

    March 19, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  5. La Petite Sorciere

    Oh yes to add to her experience, she can be around the White House while her husband has sex with an intern.............
    so she can claim to be the victim and also be an experienced person on the experience of her cheating husband....
    shame on the clintons...............

    March 19, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  6. Craig Jones

    McCain has never been president of the United States so he is not more experienced than neither candidate.War heros are war heros. What happens if we are not at war?What does McCain do then? Sing! or maybe tapdance like George "Sammy Davis" Jr. Bush across the White House porch.

    Change is refreshing.

    March 19, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  7. Carole in Canada

    Change!

    Oh I get it!!! Instead of having a church going president, you could elect Barack Obama and have a "God Dam America" rally every Sunday morning. You can even hold it in the Oval Office!!!
    That would be change right?
    Can you please explain how Rev Wrights hatred of America is any different from the hatred we hear from Osama Bin Laden on his terrorism promoting videotapes

    Discusted 08

    March 19, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  8. EveryoneVotes!

    Change vs Experience...

    Hillary vs John is the better choice! The best choice for our country. Both are vetted. It is un-American that we currently lack 2 states out of 50 and we are the USA. Two states without a voice? The democratic party is so above themselves. We the people, for the people, by the people! Every vote should count...I love this country too much to watch this happen.

    CNN, let's not get ahead of ourselves, Hillary is not out yet!

    March 19, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  9. Bayou Joe

    Obama may be a better debater, but McCain is the better man.
    Actions speak louder than words. Even Hillary is a better alternative than Barak. Americans have seen through your smoke and mirrors.
    The real Obama has finally appeared on the scene. Obama is toast.

    March 19, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  10. KEB, San Diego

    If what we needed from a President was experience, we'd be best off to hire the oldest, wisest person still coherent enough to make decisions. But our US President gets to have these great little things called "advisors" who help enable him/her to make descisions they may not have experience with.

    Besides, look at the current administration: they have more experience collectively than any other administration in history, and where have they taken us? Into war, debt, and a poverty that grows daily. I'll take change, thank you.

    Ratgurl
    San Diego, CA

    March 19, 2008 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  11. Tired of empty words

    We all know now that Obama is all talk. 'Change' is but a word, and Obama has failed miserably at fleshing out exactly what would 'change'.

    Big hat, no cattle.

    March 19, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  12. Geri

    CNN is so in love with Obama that its sickening. He could do anything he wanted & your "CNN POLL" would find him on top just like you made an angel out of him over his pastors remarks and lied about it.

    March 19, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  13. Independent-Latina-voter, Salt Lake City, UT

    That's right, CHANGE beats EXPERIENCE. However, I am very concerned that the "powers-that-be" and systematically destroying Sen. Obama. I heard that ABC is reporting that the Clinton campaign urged the media to look into Wright's sermons. I knew I had smelled a fish!

    Its disheartening that a good man, who has made a mistake (AS WE ALL DO) by not leaving that church, is being crucified in the media.

    There are NO perfect politicians, people, even the RNC has some preachers supporting them that spew hate from their pulpits BUT Bush and McCain have never had to apologize for those hate-mongers.

    If Sen. Obama survives this and other attacks, that are surely coming, it will be a miracle! Who wants to enter into politics when you are sure to be destroyed?

    I am supporting Obama because he represents change. We need to change the politics of destruction!

    March 19, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  14. Dan

    It has nothing to do with change anymore, it's only about power for Obama, After hearing his pastor who sounds like Hitler giving a hate speeches no wonder he was against the war. The inteligence was fixed but if you beleive your cia whom we think of the best in the world, you would have been worried for your allies in the region. I don't think mr Wright is very keene on defending allies like Israel or Kuwait

    March 19, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  15. Charlene PORTSMOUTH,VA

    OBAMA IS A LIAR, I WILL VOTE FOR MCCAIN OVER OBAMA, ATLEAST WITH MCCAIN I KNOW WHAT I WILL BE GETTING.. OBAMA STARTING TO LOOK MORE LIKE A FAKE PROPHET!!!!

    March 19, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  16. jen in cali

    Anyone who gets into the White House is going to be a change. He has used the word change until it now it has no meaning.He says "Change" but doesn't show how to make it happen. He is an Obamanation.

    Hillary has concret plans on the issues as to what she will do. I don't care what Bill did, I care about what Hillary will be doing as president.
    I don't want a movement, I want an adult who is going to work to bring this country back to the hope of the world. Hillary will be the one to do this.

    Obama has split the democratic party and if he is the nominee I will be voting for McCain.

    March 19, 2008 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  17. Charmaine, FL

    Well Wolf,

    We know that a president needs both, but that's what we expected from Bush in 2000. We wanted experience and his supporters said he had it, and we wanted change. We didn't get either. So this question may be moot.

    I have never wanted change so bad in my life. I am working on my end, but our president has to work on their end. Bush doesn't know which end is up, so we'll just have to wait and see.

    March 19, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  18. Tim

    Obama clealy has shown us he does't have good judgment (via Rezko, Wright, and NAFTA) or experience so I don't expect much change coming from Obama except for disaster,

    March 19, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  19. Tom P

    I believe change is what this Country needs. It is the experience in how to play the political game that has gotten us in the mess we are in now! I do not believe Hillary Clinton has anymore experience than Barack Obama has. I believe that what we need now more than ever is change, and a fresh approch to how things are done. Without owing lobbists or big business or the good ole boys squat. That being said the only one that can accomplish this is Barack Obama period!
    I'm a Veteran, and I say Obama in 08!

    March 19, 2008 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  20. Barbara

    Perhaps intelligence, wisdom and the ability to look at many sides of the problem outweigh the experience of "same old, same old".

    A person of integrity and intelligence is able to look to able advisors to help craft solutions. A person with "experience" who feels comfortable with that same "experience" can often think too much inside the box to look at alternatives.

    Give me the intelligent person of integrity everytime.

    March 19, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  21. JAMES IN BAMA

    I THINK IT IS ALOT DEEPER THAN JUST THAT. CLINTON BROUGHT IN ALOT OF CHANGE WHEN HE ENTERED OFFICE AND I THINK HILLARY CLINTON WILL DO THE SAME. MAYBE NOT THE BLIND EYED OPTIMISM OF BARRACK, BUT AN EXPERIENCED CHANGE THAT WILL HELP OUT AMERICA AND CHANGE US FOR THE BETTER.

    March 19, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  22. Anita

    Well if Obama gets the Democratic presidential nomination and faces McCain, I think that experience will be the least of his worries facing him in a debate. I'm sure that with this latest mess regarding his minister that McCain will certainly go after him on his integrity and honestly and how well he could serve "all the people", not just the one's that choose to go to Rev. Wright's church !!!!

    March 19, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  23. Tidah

    This is totally moot..... He is not the Nominee yet....

    March 19, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  24. sil

    fire jack cafferty asap.

    March 19, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  25. m

    WE DON'T WANT DON'T WHAT THOSE WHO CANNOT WHO DON'T HAVE THE EXPERIENCE OF CONTROLLING THEIR SEX- BEHAVIOUR IN THE WHITE HOUSE. WE NEED CHANGE

    March 19, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
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