April 24th, 2008
02:30 PM ET
10 years ago

Blitzer: Crunch time for superdelegates

Many superdelegates are still torn between the two White House hopefuls.

Many superdelegates are still torn between the two White House hopefuls.

(CNN) - For the few hundred still undecided superdelegates who almost certainly will decide the Democratic presidential nominee, there are two key questions they must answer: who will be the better President of the United States, and who will be the stronger candidate against John McCain.

On the first question, that will come to the superdelegates going over the policy positions, experience, personality, and background of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. In the end, that decision will probably come down to their gut instincts – who they feel more comfortable with and like more.

On the second question, they will be able to look at some hard numbers. Who has the most pledged delegates? Who has won the most states? Who has won the most important Electoral College battleground states? Who has won the most popular votes? How, if at all, do you weigh in the disputed primaries in Michigan and Florida, both of which Democrats will desperately seek to win in November?

“This is for me a no-brainer,” Democratic Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, a Clinton supporter, is quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying. “If we’re going to plan to win in November, we need to choose the candidate that has the greatest strength in the states that are necessary to get us to the electoral votes we need. I hope the super delegates are paying attention.” He was specifically referring to his state of Ohio and to Pennsylvania, both of which Clinton won by about 10 percent. She won by more than 200,000 votes in each of those states.

But Oklahoma’s Democratic governor, Brad Henry, an Obama supporter, sees it differently. He told The Journal that Obama “represents the future versus the past, the new way versus the old way.” As a result, he says Obama has brought in millions of new voters, especially younger people and African-Americans. Like other Obama supporters, he says Obama can be competitive in several states where Democrats have not always done well, including Virginia and Missouri, both of which he won. In other words, they insist, Obama will win the traditionally Democratic states but will also bring some traditionally Republican states into the mix.

We shall see. These are tough decisions for the superdelegates.

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (269 Responses)
  1. Eric

    I'd rather not vote than put someone in the Whitehouse that I do not trust. Therefore, Hillary will never have my support. I don't trust her at all and I don't see how anyone could.

    The only experience Hillary has is telling lies and being around people with politcal experience. She votes yes to Iraq, yes to NAFTA, and has been working on Healthcare for 15+ years (and nothing has happened). How can you expect anything good to be done by her in 4 years if nothing has happened in 15 years?

    April 24, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  2. Debby

    Wolf bottom line the superdelegates should look at who won the electoral states or the Dems. don't have a chance in Nov. Most of the states Obama is claiming victory to will go Republican in the fall when they all come out in droves to vote.

    April 24, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  3. Peter in Canada

    These are not the most important questions if you are a Democrat. A very shallow analysis as usual Wolf!
    The most important question is: If Obama wins the legitimate popular vote, the pledged delegate count, the most states, new states for the Democrats to win, registers new Democratic voters, attracts a new youth vote to the party, attracts swing voters and carries 80+% of the black vote, will there be a Democratic Party left if Hillary is anoited as the nominee over Obama by the Superdelegates???

    April 24, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  4. Ren

    I'd just like to say I plan on voting Democrat in November. I realize this isn't the LOUDLY PROCLAIMED opinion, but I'd like to remind you all that it's the majority opinion.

    We need to stop listening to the extremist Obama or Hillary supporters who scream in defiance of "their" candidate not being chosen and remember that we're all democrats and WILL vote for the candidate who receives the most votes in the democratic nomination process.

    And if we all vote for our party's nominee, then a democrat will be in the white house in January.

    But to those of you who say "if my candidate doesn't get the nominee then I'll vote for McCain", please just turn in your american citizenship now and get out. You don't get to demand that the majority of the nation go your way. Part of democracy means that you don't get to always get what you want, but that the majority rules.

    Read that again, please. "THE MAJORITY RULES."

    Not just the few people who scream the loudest.

    Let's take our country back. All of us.

    April 24, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. Billy

    These super delagates that going for Obama, I hope they don't have
    to eat crow if he is elected.

    God Help Us if he is elected.

    April 24, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  6. Neil

    What most people don't understand is that the traditional democratic states: NY, Cali, IL and others will go Democratic no matter who the nominee is. If I was running as a Democratic I would beat McCain in these states.

    So then it comes down to "Swing States" What many have failed to realize is that McCain is not a strong conservative or republican, and in this election Obama has created many more "swing" states including MO, LA, etc. Obama can compete in these states due to his overwhelming support from African Americans. Hillary unfortunately cannot.

    Lastly if anyone thinks that Obama will have a problem with McCain in places swing states like Ohio, PA, etc look at the number of people that have been voting in each state during the Democratic and Republican Primaries. In Ohio for example Obama got 2nd place and still had more than 300 thousand votes more than McCain who WON his primary. No matter what, there are more people voting democratic this year because of Bush's failed policies and places like Ohio and PA will not be close.

    If you gave Obama only 33% of Clinton's votes in Ohio and ALL of the republican votes to McCain, Obama would still beat McCain by over 375 thousand. It's not close at all, and Ohio is a "Swing" State"

    April 24, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. JR

    If the delegates are not willing to stake a position now, I would hope the undecided's would band together and say they will not cast a vote for either candidate, unless the two work out a deal. I believe that together, Clinton and Obama would be a tremendous and unstoppable force. Since Clinton is more versed on policy and has quite a bit more experience, I would suggest she be at the top of the ticket with Obama as VP. This is a ticket I would fully support. It allows them both to bring their supporters together and unify the party. I hate to say it, being a proud and true "D," but if Obama gets the nod as the nominee – he will not be able to count on my vote.

    Clinton – or – Clinton/Obama 2008

    April 24, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  8. Barry

    Hi Wolf,

    Thanks for all the great election coverage. While Hillary implores superdelegates to disregard Obama's current lead in delegates, her only real hope is to use Bill's backroom connections to many of the congressmen, governors, etc. who comprise the superdelegates.

    By nature, superdelegates are long-standing political figures with whom Bill Clinton would surely have interacted over the past fifteen to twenty years. These relationships are Hillary's only remaining card heading down the road to the convention.

    Also, I hope you don't mind me dropping in a brief plug here... I am so interested in the election coverage that, as a comedy writer, I'v spoofed a few '3rd Party Candidates' on my website. If you'd like a break from the skulduggery of the campaign trails and want a chuckle, take a look. It's at http://www.BrevityTV.com.

    Cheers and thanks again, Wolf. 🙂


    April 24, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  9. Michael O'Neal

    At first Hillary was slammed, mercilessly for playing a 'strategy game' to get the nomination. She stayed cool and stuck to her guns. Now, people are waking up and saying " Oh my...we need these states that she won to get a Democrat elected...and Obama is doing poorly with the coalitions that voted in them.

    He says we should elect a president based not on experience but judgement and the ability to bring people together....I agree.

    April 24, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. Jane Morris

    I am from Ohio but I am very disappointed in my Democratic governor Ted Strickland. If he thinks all "older" "white" "women" are Hillary supporters, he is way off base. My democratic friends and I are all Barack Obama supporters and as a consequence of his actions in this primary, I will not vote for him next time he runs.

    April 24, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  11. mary cleveland, ohio

    I hope all the Clinton supporters are paying attention to her behavior. Just pay attention to what she is saying and doing. Would you want the President of the United States to outright lie to you like Hillary did yesterday? Yesterday Hillary said she is ahead in the popular vote. THAT IS AN OUTRIGHT LIE, because the Mi. and Fla. votes do not count, never have counted and had better not ever count. If they ever count, then we'll have more than a lying Presidential Candidate, we'll have a lying Democratic Party.

    Aside, from that, we do not need the CLINTONS RUNNING UP BILLS AND HOPING TO GET ELECTED SO THE TAX PAYERS CAN PAY FOR THEIR SCREWED UP CAMPAIGN. They are not paying their bills during this campaign and that speaks more volumes than anything else. What do you Hillary supporters think of people who don't pay their bills?

    April 24, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  12. IAMWMD

    Hillary won the larger states due to her being a caucasian woman and taking the majority of votes from rural areas. A lot of older caucasian people still cling to their racial values that they were taught in the late 50's and early 60's and if presented with a choice of a Democatic caucasian they will go with the person they've been taught to be a better race which is a total myth.

    They will accept Hillary's lies and deceit just because she's caucasian.

    Obama won with forward thinking educated, younger people that will vote for years to come. You can't say that for Hillary supporters.

    In the general election they will join Obama or suffer the consequences of a Republican Administration, period.

    Obama 08

    April 24, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  13. Rick from NJ

    I am a woman and would recommend to the superdelegates to support Hillary. She reaches white males and the middle of the road voters.

    I think they can't look at the beginning of the primary voters. None of the issues about Obama were evident.

    Now that they have a better picture of Obama I think they should be asking who could beat McCain.

    There is no way that Obama could beat McCain. He has too many negatives and is basically not proving himself by the last biggest primary.

    He has Reverend Wright, Farrakhan, Rezko and William Ayers surrounding his name.
    He has a father with Muslim ties.
    He has been called an "elitist" by the Republicans
    He can't reach the "middle of the road" Democrats.

    There is no way he can win. If the Democrats knew what they know now, they would never have voted for him.

    April 24, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  14. Mike

    To be honest Wolf...

    I do not know how anyone can say that this is a fair and accurate contest... Two major states violated the rules and will not be counted... Obama claims that he should be the nominee because it will be against the will of the people if the superdelegates vote for Clinton... the problem with that scenario is that two states did not count so the will of the people is not truely represented... Clinton says to look at the electoral college... well she has a point as well but no one is sure whether or not they will support Obama as well in November... then you through in some of the superdelegates that have went against the voters in their state... that includes Kerry, Richardson, and many others... once again hurting Obama's case regarding the will of the people... who wins???

    It sure looks like no one... I would not want to be wrong if whomever the nominee ends up being... especially if they lose in November!!!

    If I were a superdelegate I would vote for who I think is most likely going to win in November... then beg the other to be the VP!!!

    April 24, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  15. Obama will be President

    Only the Super Delegates can knock sense into Hillary.....lets go vote her out!

    April 24, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  16. Gina

    I won't take credit for this but I read a very interesting question on another site:
    If Obama has it all sewn up and "won".....why doesn't he just quit campaigning ?
    Everyone's screaming for Hillary to quit....when she is the one who has proven she is not a quitter....and he's the one who "won" it already yet he won't debate. I'm pretty confused by his behavior I guess.

    Count Florida and Michigan, look at the electoral map and if we want a Democrat in the White House Hillary is our candidate.

    April 24, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  17. GTWMS


    Since Billary was the former first lady for Arkansas for sixteen years, the former first lady of these United States for eight and in her second term as the Senator of New York, my question to you is why hasn't and can't she close out Obama? Prior to 2004, who had heard of Obama?

    April 24, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  18. joe


    April 24, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  19. Eric

    since republicans do not vote in democratic primaries, we do not know how many would switch parties in the general for either democratic nominee. since democrats pick between two democratic candidates, we do not know who would not vote democratic in the general if their primary pick lost. these numbers might not be material, but if not, i am wondering why i am not hearing anyone address them.

    April 24, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  20. JR

    And dammit – count FL and MI!!!!! They are American citizens too!!

    April 24, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  21. race card

    How can Obama NOT win the nomination?
    He has been given all the advantages:
    Celebrity support
    Media bias and adoration
    Free airtime to give lofty speeches
    DNC fixed primaries in his favor
    Flawed caucus format to magnify his support and appeal
    Throwing away Hillary wins in Fl and Mi
    20 debates biased in his favor.
    Willingness to play the race card to discourage personal scrutiny
    Now super delegates forgetting their true role and propping him up.

    And still he's got 50%- only.

    April 24, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  22. John Smith

    If you want to win- win with integrity and grace, not with a "name recognition." There is no way, not even Bill, can bring back the Internet wealth of the 90's (not without Al Gore). I guess today, Gore is laughing at dumb supporters of Hillary. Pleas tell me– why have majority of those who served during the Clinton years decided to go with Obama? Do your "home-work" bird-brain people!!!

    April 24, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  23. Ann

    How can Deval Patrick say all peoples votes count, with a straight face? Baracks operatives steamrolled the effort for a revote in Michigan! Why isn't that reported??? Does he actually think Michigan and Florida are going to rally around him when he has stifled our vote? I think Barack is in for a huge sucker-punch from these two states–just like he has done to us! Don't expect any Kumbaya moments from us–we don't count (UNTIL NOVEMBER)!

    April 24, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. Ed from Texas

    Democrats, start uniting!!! Hillary supporters take a sip of the bitter cup and understand that your money helps her campaign. She is running out of money because of poor mangement. She is losing because of a poor strategy. She can run...I encourage her to run, but she is going to lose Indiana. She is trailing in the polls and she has yet to ba able to come from behind and win a state from Obama.

    The knock out punch is coming, she is running out of money, she is desparately doing everything she can to win. She has run the good race. There is no shame in accepting defeat. Do what you need to do, and even stay in if you can afford it all the way to June. But do the right thing and win the punch comes in two weeks, start building gridges again.

    Obama is a great candidate, and is a whole lot better than McCain. It is great that you support Hillary, and as Hillary has stated....they agree 95% of the time. Are you really not going to vote? Are you really going to vote for 4 more years of Republican mismanagement? Hillary has admitted that Obama is the better choice! Promote the positives and the progressive ideas to lead us in the next four to eight years! Yes We Can (Obama) and Yes We Will (Clinton). Go Democrats for 2008!

    April 24, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. Tootie Boca Raton, Fl

    To: Fla for Obama

    What didn't you get pal, Fla did vote and Hillary won.

    Both names were on the ballot, neither campaigned in Fl,but

    Hillary won. WHAT MORE DO YOU WANT>

    April 24, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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