April 7th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Blitzer: Is Clinton ahead in the only count that matters?

The economy once again may be the dominant campaign theme.
The economy once again may be the dominant campaign theme.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – In recent days, Hillary Clinton supporters have been pushing this notion that the Democratic presidential candidate who has won the states with the most Electoral College votes should get the party’s super delegates and the party’s eventual nomination. We’ve heard it from Democratic Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana and Democratic Governor Ed Rendell - among many others.

They make this argument because Barack Obama remains the leader so far in pledged delegates, the popular vote and the most states won.

Clinton’s supporters note that Obama may have won more states - 27 to 14, excluding both Michigan and Florida whose delegates so far are not being counted because those states moved up their primaries against Democratic party rules. But they argue that her 14 states have a total of 219 Electoral College votes and his 27 states have 202 - and insist that makes her more likely to win the general election in November.

Among the big states she has won are New York and California.

Obama supporters argue that any Democrat likely will capture those states if recent presidential elections are a model. That may be true but John McCain and his supporters are arguing that he might actually have a chance in California given his supposed “maverick” reputation and the strong support of the state’s popular Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Clinton supporters also argue that she has a better chance of beating McCain in swing states like Florida and Ohio - which they say Democrats would need to win in November. They say it’s all about the Electoral College - not the popular vote - as was made clear in 2000, when Al Gore won hundreds of thousands of more votes than winner George Bush.

It’s a controversial point that the Clinton camp makes.


Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (389 Responses)
  1. Warc

    you can't cange the rules of the game after the race has been run; it doesn't work that way. Otherwise, wy hold a contest at all?

    April 7, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. PeteinDC

    The logic in this argument is not entirely sound. Obama has won far more Independents than Clinton. He has also shown some cross-over appeal to Republicans in open primary states, while Clinton has shown none at all. Furthermore Clinton's tendency to polarize is perfectly clear. None of these bode well for her chances should she be up against "war hero" McCain in November. The Dems will need all the charisma and non-partisanship they can get in Obama.

    April 7, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. Bright

    Naturally the Clinton camp would change their arguments depending on the race. First they were comfortable with the delegate account. When they trailed on that they argued the nominee should be one with the most poplar vote, when that doesn't seem possible it is now the electoral votes. Clearly these people would present anything point that would give them an advantage. Lest we forget Michigan and Florida did not matter until they found themselves in an uncomfortable position..

    Dignity is what they lack!

    April 7, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. Obama WILL be President

    Silly season!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 7, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  5. Janice Markey

    Hillary has done and will do just about anything so she and Bill have a chance to get back to the white house, even if it ruins the dcemocratic party and ultimately America going forward.

    April 7, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. Obama supporter in Indiana

    How many ways can the HRC campaign try to add up numbers to her advantage? Don't see it happening. I kinda feel sorry for her at this point, desperate math and comedy TV is all that's left.

    April 7, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. Sam McLean

    If the race wasn't so close between the two candidates I wouldn't agree. However with how close the last two presidential races were I think it is a valid point. Superdelegates really need to weigh all the votes in BECAUSE it is such a close race. We aren't electing Student Body President we're electing the President of the United States.

    April 7, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. Kate

    LOL .. now that's funny Wolf. Up is down .. down is up .. what won't Hillary with the help of you Wolf do to win this thing ..

    April 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  9. Political Jonze

    Changing the goalposts once again. Nothing new. First Sen. Clinton was going to use the Super Delegates, but when that wasn't likely, it because an issue where pledged delegates weren't really pledged, but when that didn't work, it became a popular vote issue, and when that didn't gain any traction it's now Electoral College votes.

    For McCain to have any chance in California, he's have to alienate a lot of his far right base elsewhere. And Sen. Clinton has insulted citizens of every state she didn't win along the way, saying they didn't matter. How is she going to make in-roads in these States should McCain make a play for California?

    April 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. Andrew Martin

    Does anyone else remember Hillary Clinton calling for an end to the electoral college after the 2000 debacle?

    April 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. ABC

    A bit unconstitutional.

    April 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  12. TYSPOCK , COLUMBIA, MD

    Great point, what difference does the primaries make if you cannot win the general election !

    April 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. Dave in DC

    Only problem is – Wolf and the rest of the Clinton team are pretending that she won Texas. Look again my friend.

    Of more importance, Dems won't win TX in November, Dems will win states like NY, CA, IL, and WA – so looking at primary winners to determine who'd win general is pointless – unless somebody's pushing a slanted agenda, that is.

    April 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. Bob from Kentucky

    "... the only count that matters." You mean, the only count that she still claims to be leading in if you twist the numbers enough? Ridiculous!

    Why is the candidate always the last one to know that they've lost?

    April 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  15. Bright

    What a shame on the Clinton camp as they flip flop on their stands. What ever works for them at the time is what they support. Masters of double speaking.

    April 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  16. Ric

    Yes. If you factor in the states a Dem candidate will NEVER win. It's funny to hear the Obama camp talk about moving states "in to play". What states? By all accounts, it would be naive of them to think that they could sway enough Republicans in Texas, or Wyoming to vote Democrat. Maybe Florida, maybe Ohio. Maybe.

    April 7, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  17. John G, New York, NY

    This argument seems similar to my high school basketball teammates who claimed that they were the best in the league because, if you tallied them up, we had more total points for the season than any of our rivals. What they forgot was that WINS count, not total POINTS. Bottom line...the only thing people remember these many years later is that we didn't even make the playoffs that year.

    The Clinton machine will spin just about ANY measurement that makes her viable...since, of course, the real measurement is, well,...actual votes. On that measure, Hillary simply comes up short.

    April 7, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  18. Avatar

    It's not so much a controversial point as it is stupid and pointless. The only measure that matters is delegates. Not states won. Not popular vote. Not a particular state's blueness, redness, or swinginess. Not what a general election poll in a state says. Nothing matters except delegates. And by that measure Senator Obama is winning and unless a major shift happens he will continue to be winning. You may as well say, you know, we've decided that all the 3 point shots in this basketball game should instead be worth 4 points. Or why should we count points at all, total yards rushed is the new measure we are using. It doesn't matter. Only delegates matter.

    April 7, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. chuk

    As usual...the Clintons live in one world, the rest of us live in another world. They make the rules as they go on. Existing rules do not matter. This people are dangerous!

    April 7, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Are you on her payroll too. You are completely biased in your reporting. Quite disappointing.

    April 7, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. Paul

    Wolf,

    This isn't news. This is the Clinton campaign trying desparately to change the metric for winning yet again. It's nice that you feel it necessary to clog a mainstream news web page with this nonsense.
    Why don't you do some real reporting by interviewing Senator Clinton and asking her specifically how she is going to end the primary season with more pledged delegates than Senator Obama? That is the metric that matters and the metric that will result in a Democratic nominee. Anything else is senseless spin and a waste of time.

    April 7, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. WIlliam Driscoll

    Absolutely. In fact I believe that democrats should not even hold primaries in states that don't "count". Democrats should hold primaries only in states that they won the previous year. We should reduce the whole primary season to 15 states and that way we wouldn't have to spend so much money. This big state argument was devised by who? Let me see–Mark Penn?

    and Hillary fired him.

    April 7, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  23. NC Primary MY TURN!

    Clinton's argument is hogwash.

    April 7, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  24. Eric

    This question has no relevance whatsoever, except giving fuel to every spin the Clinton's campaign can come up with. The electoral college votes apply to the general election. Last time I checked, they had no importance in the primaries. Why CNN keeps giving importance to every twist and turn HCR's vivid imagination creates. You should help your audience understand the rules of a primary, and show them how HCR tries to redefine them along the way.

    April 7, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. Dina Phila., Pa

    Wolf,

    Here is my take on this situation. If Hillary's supporters feel that she can win in November by only counting the big states that she has won and does not need the other states to become president, then they are correct.

    Now here is reality...the Democratic nominee will need all the democratic votes from every state to win in November, period! Every democrat will be voting against John McCain in November, at this point every state will count. Hillary supporters continue to say let every state vote in this primary because they are important too and should have their voices heard. Now they say, the other states that Obama has won over Hillary, they really don't count and Hillary will be the better candidate in the fall because she won 4 big states. This is nonsense.

    April 7, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
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