May 5th, 2008
02:45 PM ET
6 years ago

Blitzer: The loser's role

Will the loser rally around the winner?
Will the loser rally around the winner?

I keep hearing from very worried Democrats this constant refrain. The loser of the Democratic presidential contest – whether it’s Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton – will have an incredibly important role in determining whether a Democrat sits in the Oval Office next year or John McCain. It depends, they say, on how the loser loses.

Their thinking is shaped in part by the 1968 and 1980 Democratic presidential campaigns.

In 1968, Vice President Hubert Humphrey faced a very stiff challenge from Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota. He had mobilized a lot of young people. It was a bitter contest that Humphrey eventually won. Many of McCarthy’s anti-Vietnam War supporters were depressed and never really jumped aboard the Humphrey bandwagon. Richard Nixon, the Republican, won the election that November.

In 1980, the incumbent Democrat, Jimmy Carter, faced a tough challenge from Senator Ted Kennedy for the party’s nomination. It, too, was a bitter contest that Carter eventually won. Many of Kennedy’s supporters could never warm up to Carter. There apparently had been too much bad blood. Ronald Reagan, the Republican challenger, won the election that November.

With that historic context, many Democratic leaders now are desperate that the current loser quickly moves on and winds up enthusiastically endorsing and working for the winning candidate. Will that happen? One way of guaranteeing that it will, of course, would be if the losing candidate winds up being the vice presidential running mate.

That is the proposal put forward by former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. Will that happen? My sense is that it will happen only if the winning candidate determines that that is the best of uniting the party and winning the election in November.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (222 Responses)
  1. Read Me

    "It was during the Bill Clinton Administration (1995) that the sale of Magnequench to the Chinese was approved (via their surrogates Archibald Cox and the Sextant Group). As the Indianapolis Star reported, the Clinton Administration could have blocked the sale since " Congress gave the president authority to block foreign acquisitions that could threaten national security". That law was available to the Clinton Administration." (This was obtained through a link from the unitedwestand.com website.)

    May 5, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  2. Joe B

    Looks like Nixon wins again.

    Read through the comments, tired of the petty Obamabots and their nasty comments and childish attacks.

    Nixon '08

    May 5, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Paul

    Hillary 08!
    Yes she will

    The White House will be in the hands of the Democrats soon for a better future for us all.

    Vote Democrat – Vote for Clinton!

    May 5, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  4. TESAP

    Well the loser will be HC and she is not graceful, and lately hasn't shown much dignity; If HC is GIVEN the nomination then McCain will probably win, it would be obvious that the nomination was stolen, and Democrats will FOREVER BE DIVIDED......

    May 5, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  5. Jane, NC

    Sen. Clinton has made a much more firm commitment that she will work hard for Sen. Obama if he is the nominee, and she will. Senator Obama, on the other hand, has been flimsy in his promise to work for her should she win the nomination. So have his followers. That should tell us which of these candidates has the most character and intergrity.

    May 5, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  6. HYPOCRACY 08

    Obama will cry and scream racism in America

    Clinton will cry and scream sexism in America

    We all lose!

    May 5, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  7. Herman in LA

    CNN & THE MEDIA ARE THE LOSERS THEY HAVE PUSH THIS PRIMARY ELECTION WAY ON PAST WHAT IT SHOULD HAVE GONE.

    AMERICA IS A SAD COUNTRY.

    OBAMA 08

    May 5, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  8. Zak, Chicago

    I don't know if I can ever cast a vote for Hillary. She has shown too many evils and is the embodiment of everything wrong in Washington.

    It is McCain or Obama, and on a joint ticket, I might go to Denver and protest her inclusion. If Obama agreed to have her as a running mate, he wouldn't be the man I think is and I would cast a difficult vote for McCain.

    May 5, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  9. Thea Lewis

    Barack Obama has already won. What is up with you, Wolf?

    May 5, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  10. Tennessee

    You cannot support someone who supports organizaed crime. Obama has worked a deal to get teamster support by promising to dismantle the federal oversight panel for the union. How long would it take organized crime to up and fulling controlling America's distibution system if the panel is dismantled?

    Obama is a joke. Vast numbers of democrats, like myself, would not support Obama regardless of Clinton might say. He is a militant in sheeps clothing.

    May 5, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  11. less media more issues

    The Democratic Party is blessed with 2 candidates who would make great leaders. Whoever comes in second will unite the party.

    May 5, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  12. Connie

    Wolf, you are full of CONSPIRANCY!!!!!! Cafferty needs to take your place at lest he tells it as it is. Wolf , you are evil!

    May 5, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  13. Lana

    Oh give it up already

    We already know whose bed CNN is in.

    Obama 08.

    Kick Clinton to the curb.

    May 5, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  14. Obama 08

    Come on Wolf: Obama has already won....six more superdelegates today...has now narrowed Clinton's lead in Superdelegate to 14...That is NINE more in a week..How can you in all sincerity as a journalist keep slinging this stuff...You are no longer a fair and balanced news source.

    May 5, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  15. Greg Pa

    Dems are just that stupid !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 5, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  16. Ramona

    June...June..June! Where art thou MY June?? Please hurry up and get here. I can't take anymore of this!!!

    May 5, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  17. Karol

    It will not matter to me what the loser says – if my candidate does not win – I'll vote for McCain.

    May 5, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  18. Stacy Clarks

    DEMOCRATS UNITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 5, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  19. Lynn Waldrip

    It will never happen!!!!

    May 5, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  20. Ken

    I am an Obama fanatic, but I will have to think twice before I vote for Obama/Clinton, and especially before I vote for Clinton/Obama.

    But then again, she can't win...

    May 5, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  21. laura

    HRC supporters must realize she is indeed losing if they are no longer offering the VP spot to the leader. HRC is old politics, she isn't a force for change, and Obama has much better options for a running mate.

    McCain can have Hillary as a running mate, those two get along so well (and agree on Iraq and the Gas Tax).

    May 5, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  22. Ameen in Georgia

    Wow, ya think Wolf?

    This was brought up and shot down numerous times by Nancy herself. I knew this was the case from day one.

    Words and Action.

    May 5, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  23. Bitter Allen Hissein from Visalia

    As an Obama supporter, I have been dead set against having Hillary on the ticket as Obama's VP but I am re-evaluating this view. Hillary does do well among some voters that Obama can't seem to win over at this point. The die hard supporters for both candidates are pretty entrenched in their negative feelings for the other candidate that it may be necessary for the sake of party unity for Obama to put Hillary on the ticket.

    May 5, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  24. John C

    I have watched this race and have not been too happy with the way the Mrs. Clinton has conducted herself. I am voting for Obama and don't have a problem saying that. As a 35 year old African-American and registered Republican I am very impressed with Obama. We don't share the same upbringing but we do have similar goals. I was raised to support my people when they were worthy and able to do a job. Thus, my not voting for my party's nominee if Obama wins the democratic nomination. I can tell you seriously that if he doesn't win the nomination it is going to turn off a lot of black voters. They will not vote for Hillary. Most of my friends and family including my wife are Democrats and they have said that they will not vote for her. That is encouraging for me because we are finally realizing our value in the political system. 10% of the popular vote can swing an election either way.

    May 5, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  25. Dan

    3 Maryland super delegates announce for Obama this afternoon.
    3 Illinois super delegates officially for Obama this afternoon.

    Is this the most any candidate has picked up in a single day (2008)?

    May 5, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
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