April 23rd, 2008
03:15 PM ET
10 years ago

Blitzer: Inside the spin wars

CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

(CNN) - You can get dizzy from all the political spinning that's going on.

If you listen to the Barack Obama team, the Pennsylvania results actually showed that he was improving when it comes to winning support from white working class voters. They say he did better with this group in Pennsylvania than he did six weeks ago in Ohio, where Clinton also won by about ten points.

If you listen to the Hillary Clinton team, the results show that Obama simply can't win in major battleground states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida and Michigan. Those are states, they insist, a Democratic presidential candidate desperately would need to win in the general election.

All the spinning is designed to sway those still-undecided super delegates who will be critical in eventually determining the party's nominee. Remember – the party created those superdelegates so they would be able to ensure that the eventual nominee would be more competitive against the Republican nominee. That's why those superdelegates are so important and powerful. The rules make clear that they can choose a candidate who did not win the greatest number of pledged delegates, or the popular vote.

Right now, Clinton advisers also pursuing some of the superdelegates who earlier announced their support for Obama. They suspect the results from Ohio, and now Pennsylvania, are giving some of those Obama supporters buyer's remorse. They are hoping to change their minds. The party rules state that superdelegates can change their minds at any time until the real roll call on the convention floor.

All of which suggests this contest is not over yet – and might not be for some time.

If someone would have predicted back in early January, before the first contests in Iowa and New Hampshire, that the Democrats would still be slugging it out now, they would have been ridiculed. The assumption back then was that the Republicans would be fighting and fighting while the Democrats settled on their candidate relatively quickly. That goes to explain why politics can be so unpredictable and so much fun to cover.

soundoff (305 Responses)
  1. John WA


    April 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  2. Gaby

    We need more of Jack Cafferty,

    At least he says it like it is.

    April 23, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  3. Allen Berg

    From Michael Moore article:

    "Finally, I want to say a word about the basic decency I have seen in Mr. Obama. Mrs. Clinton continues to throw the Rev. Wright up in his face as part of her mission to keep stoking the fears of White America. Every time she does this I shout at the TV, “Say it, Obama! Say that when she and her husband were having marital difficulties regarding Monica Lewinsky, who did she and Bill bring to the White House for ’spiritual counseling?’ THE REVEREND JEREMIAH WRIGHT!”

    But no, Obama won’t throw that at her. It wouldn’t be right. It wouldn’t be decent. She’s been through enough hurt. And so he remains silent and takes the mud she throws in his face.

    That’s why the crowds who come to see him are so large. That’s why he’ll take us down a more decent path. That’s why I would vote for him if Michigan were allowed to have an election.

    But the question I keep hearing is… ‘can he win? Can he win in November?’ In the distance we hear the siren of the death train called the Straight Talk Express. We know it’s possible to hear the words “President McCain” on January 20th. We know there are still many Americans who will never vote for a black man. Hillary knows it, too. She’s counting on it.

    Pennsylvania, the state that gave birth to this great country, has a chance to set things right. It has not had a moment to shine like this since 1787 when our Constitution was written there. In that Constitution, they wrote that a black man or woman was only “three fifths” human. On Tuesday, the good people of Pennsylvania have a chance for redemption.

    Michael Moore

    April 23, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  4. Mike from Syracuse NY

    The very concept of superdelegates should be insulting to Democratic voters. The DNC is telling them that they can vote, but if we don't like your answer, we reserve the right to overrule you. Hey Dems, come on over to the Dark Side!

    April 23, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  5. Alonzo Demetrius

    Very easy to explain: the Dems have decided they want to change everything, and that's what they have done.

    Can't any of you see yet that usually time-proven methods are best after all.

    April 23, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. Bridgette

    If Hilary is the nominee does she think she can win it with four big states and skipping the rest of the country. The reality of it is she can't win populated areas. Even last nite she won alot of rural areas but not the populated areas. She is making the case that he can't win big states she can't win even half of the states. That argument makes no sense. Bill Clinton did not win all of the big states either win he ran so what does that tell you. It tells you that you don't need all of those big states to win. John McCain did not win all of the big states either. So are you saying all of the big states he didn't win all of sudden he is going to suddenly win. Let's be realistic here. This woman went in with almost a 30 point led and between all of the foolishness that they put out on him he cut it down. The reality of it is she can't hold on to her big leads and by the general election she would not probably have any of those states. He is only getting better in big states as he goes along. Picking up more of her so call base so by the time the general election came about he would carry those big states.

    She keeps talking about MI and FL and if she cared that much about those states then why did she sign off to not let them count. Think about that MI and FL if she cared that much about you why did she sign you away so easily. And now that she needs you all of sudden she wants to fight for you. Sounds fishy to me. If she were ahead she would not be fighting for you all to count. Think about that.

    April 23, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. Ben in Huntsville, AL

    Obviously folks who keep on saying "do the math" don't know math. Both candidates need the super delegates to win, so up until they decide, it's virtually a tie.

    April 23, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. Thomas J.

    The spinning from both sides leave a bad taste in my mouth. Both of them try to lower expectations before the voting so that they'll seem to exceed them. Too analagous to companies trying desperately to earn a penny profit more per share than expected of them. Blah blah ...

    Obama may have closed the gap a bit from the original near 20 pt gap, but it was still 10 pts. Clinton's argument on this is even weaker, that a later primary or one in a midwest state should be considered more significant than one earlier and in a different state; it's not something unusual for her campaign as they've appeared out of touch and lacking intelligent rational thought with such ridiculous notions that the leader in a nomination would be a fine VP to the runner-up.

    A continued primary does not need to be harmful for the ultimate Democratic nominee - but this one is. Just read and see how polarized and angry the comments are here from both the Clinton and Obama supporters. Either side will lose a signficant portion of supporters to McCain or abstention in the final November voting. And that's because this primary has been dragged into negative campaigning, fear-mongering, and attacks on character rather than lifting each other concerning the terrible state the past 7 years have left this country and what a new Democratic administration will do to change this. Obama receives a hand slap as well for ultimately lowering himself to defending himself with attacks on Hillary, but the primary brunt of this blame is on Clinton, who has led virtually a negative campaign since the opening bell and certainly since her initial Super Tue defeat.

    It's no longer possible to look at just the issues when it comes down to the final vote against McCain. Her lack of character and integrity has shown her to be from the same foundation as Bush, and as unelectable as he would be if he were to run again.

    April 23, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. Zoe

    Hilliary did what was expected, nothing more and not anything that indicates any change in the political climate. Its easy to overlook that Obama did well in PA. despite all of Hilliary and Bill's mud slinging and fear mongering. It may be easy to overlook that Obama was the challenger and Clinton was so sure of a walk into the nomination a few short months ago, she signed an agreement to close out Florida and Michigan.

    Hilliary. said "Yes..yes...yes", when she had to answer that question

    Thanks Hilliary but the rest of us already know that.

    April 23, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  10. vern anaheim,ca

    wolf,i still think obama will win the nomination and i enjoy watching you and the others on cnn every day,you guys are head &shoulders above those on that other partial network

    April 23, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. v.ananthan

    The democrats have 2 choices...

    They can support Obama and give win to Mccain in november ...


    Support Hillary and end the Republican rule in november....

    April 23, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  12. Peter, Indianapolis


    -Senator Obama is unelectable. Not only can he win, he is winning.
    Hillary's trustwortiness is 38%.

    -She has won the big states. She is not the only one who can win big
    states. Senator Obama is close enough in the big states to get
    Clinton voters who will not abandon the party because of their prejudices.

    -She has a broad coalition. She goes into states and resorts to divisive tactics such as race baiting to appeal to voters. Senator Obama has crossed all demographics and has united the most diverse coalition who will work together.

    -She has more war experience. She runs an ad with Bin Laden,
    but he is still able to roam around because SHE voted to go
    to war in the wrong place, along with Bush. Bin Laden doesn't live in Iraq.

    I'm sure the super delegates will take these facts into account.

    Obama 08.

    April 23, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. Sheryl

    Swiss in Canada said.......Can somebody explain to me why Clinton has won Michigan and Florida? (This is a honest question. I really don't know!)

    She didn't win either Michigan or Florida, or Texas for that matter.

    Last summer it was decided the Dem primary for Michigan and Florida won't count and no one, running for president, said anything. That was the time to try to fix the problem. Now Clinton wants to change the rules in the middle of the race, and trying to blame it on Obama. The only person on the ballot in Michigan was Hillary and Obama did absolutely no campaigning in Florida because that is what they had agreed on. In Texas after all the votes were counted Obama got more Delegates. And in the primary it's the Delegates that count.

    April 23, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  14. Luis A. Montero

    Let's face it: the Democrats are in trouble. For them to still be slugging it out at this late date, while the Republicans are focused on promoting John McCain and John McCain only, suggests to me that the Republicans are well-positioned for taking the presidential prize in November. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are tearing each other apart while John McCain is able to pitch his platform relatively unscathed. Could the fact that the Democrats are still so divided say something about the quality of their political platform?

    –Luis A. Montero
    7th grade Civics Teacher

    April 23, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  15. Robert Bergley

    It seems tragic that someone can make such blatant lies (under fire in Bosnia) in the primaries and rather than admit to flat out lying to EVERYONE come up with some nonsense about "mis-statements".

    If your child tried that sort of nonsense when they were caught in a lie you'd ground them.

    Let's recognize this as an early warning of what's to come if Hillary gets the nomination. We don't need another 4-8 years of a president that flat out deceives the public.

    April 23, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. Anonymous


    Hillary got the most votes in those contests that were invalid because they broke party rules by voting too early. (BTW: Obama's name wasn't even on the ballot in Michigan.) She's claiming those states as victories because it makes her argument more potent.

    April 23, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  17. Chris, NH

    Let us not forget that after May 6th the Delegate/poular vote margins will be back to what it was yesterday. That is IF She can pull another 9 point win in Indiana, otherwise she loses even more ground. After every contest, Win or lose, she gets further from the Nomination because there is less delegates/votes out there to close the gap.

    Every Win that is less than 80% to 20% is a "loss". Spin it how you want. After every "loss" that 80% number goes up.

    All that said, minus the negativity, this is the best thing for Barack and the Dem Party. They will have campaigned in EVERY state with record turnout, dwarfing Repub. turnout EVERYWHERE. This is a great foundation for a huge Democratic year with huge coattails for better majorities in congress. I support Hillary's staying in the race to help keep Dem's in the news, I just hope she is true to her word about the loser of the Nomination fight will campaign hard to their own supporters to tow the dem partty line.

    April 23, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. CAT

    I don't believe Obama or Clinton representatives should be allowed to talk with super-delegates. That's a sure fire way to invoke corruption.

    Super-delegates, are already corrupted in that they are already apart of the institution, the Congress or the Senate. These guys make deals with each other all the time.

    If you were to ask me if I believe these super-delegates, those in office already, if they are able to vote based on their on principals and ethics, to make their decision based on their beliefs and not based on what’s in it for them, then I’d half to say no, they cannot be trusted.

    April 23, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. Dave

    I want to know why Obama has Blocked every chance to have a re-vote in Florida and Michigan?

    Seems to me he's winning and doesn't care about getting a re-vote in those states.

    Now given that. He talks about Change And being for the people, But yet when it comes to those two states he doesn't seem to care.

    "If We Can't Count On You Now, Don't Count On Us Nov. 2nd!!!"

    April 23, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  20. A Real Democrat

    Off topic, but responding to the above...

    Wolf, you are both insightful and entertaining, and one of the only honest brokers on TV.

    I listen to you on Sirius, watch you on CNN.

    You are a maestro, juggling topics with ease and treating every surrogate, spokesperson, candidate and viewer/listener with respect.

    April 23, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  21. a democrat from nebraksa

    people need to calm down. obama supporters lashing out at hillary. clinton supporters crying that our country will go down the tubes with him at the helm.

    i'm just glad that bush is out. so calm down. it will all be ok. obama supporters will soon be able to start listening to dave matthews (or whatever young naive people do) at their frat parties again. hillary's supporters will be able to start gardening and knitting (or whatever old and clueless people do) again. and we will all be fine.

    i will say this, i strongly disagree with the comments i read about clinton supporters being stupid high school drop-outs. that's very disrespectful and you clearly aren't internalizing obama's message if that's the comment you choose to make. ever think that you might be doing more harm than good when you type things like that? hillary fans – you could ease up some too.

    April 23, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. E. loz Miami

    All this biitterness from Obama supporters??? May want to Stop clinging to negative outburst... All this about the MATH & the RULES of DNC... Reality Chk-"Both" dont have the # of pldg delagates to claim the nomination therefore it's up to the the Super Delagates>>>Now those are DNC rules. Wolf is only speaking the true facts. Also I'm just hoping we dont count FL out if we want to win in NOV. The hispanics here in South FL will go for Clinton in large #s & the lets not forget FL has the biggest older population going for Clinton. So this excuse about Obama did not get to campaing here in FL is just lame excuse for not being able to win another big swing states he needs but cant.

    April 23, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  23. Dave

    It's obvious that Obama will win. The numbers don't lie (Hillary does). The media just keeps drawing this out so people will stay tuned to their coverage.

    April 23, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  24. Mel

    Wolf Blitzer: Why would he ask the self-interested Governor of Florida, a possible VP running-mate for John MCain, who he thinks will be a stronger candidate for the Democrats. I have yet to hear you ask a Democratic Governor a similar kind of question. This is like FoxNews asking Carl Rove the same question. We all know who the Repubs want – Senator Clinton; they want "Rush Limbaugh Democrats" (Repubs for a day to keep the Democratic race going and to leave the party bloodied).

    April 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. CAT

    I don't think this is fun Wolf, this is starting to get ugly.

    April 23, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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