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. ICHOPE

    Blizer,

    The media help to scare Obama. You are part of that media, how can anyone heel from your scars.

    May 5, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  2. Rob

    the media and Clintons are perpetuating this sense of non-support. The media is also playing a major role in keeping the Clinton campaign alive. This thing was technically over in February and this conversation would not be happening if the candidate were any one other then a Clinton.

    May 5, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  3. David

    By reading some of the comments in the past on this blog, I'd say the loser's supporters seem to favor voting for McCain or someone other than the opponent.

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

    Surely Obama is he winner! There is no magical means by which Hillary can be the winner! If the super-delegates want to destroy the democratic party they an go ahead. The whole world is watching events closely and it will be disgraceful to rob Obama.

    May 5, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  5. Willam from Texas

    "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."

    That is it in a nutshell, doing what has to be done for the good of the party.

    Personally, I'll take a Clinton/Obama ticket, or a Obama/Clinton ticket.

    Either one works for me.

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

    Sen. Clinton as repeatedly said that she would do everything she could to help the nominee to attain the white house she also repeatedly said she would advise her followers to do the same many of her endorsers such as carvel ect vow to do the same Sen Obama on the other hand says very little regarding this and as been evasive at times so do a little research and see who is the real team player is

    May 5, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  7. Paulinus, Canada

    CNN will be the Loser. This primaries have uncovered your bias reporting. It is like you guys endorsed Hillary.

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

    it does not only depend on what the losing candidate does. It depends enormously on the loisng candidate's supporters. From the comments I see posted on this website, it seems to me that the Obama supporters are very divisive (anyone who doesn't vote Obama is an uneducated white old racist, is wrong, McCain=Clinton=Bush, voting Obama=moral high-ground) and disrespectful. They shouldn't forget Obama would need Clinton's supporters to win in November.

    May 5, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  9. Illinois for Hillary

    I would not vote for Obama regardless of who is on the ticket with him. If Obama is the dems choice for president, McCain is my choice and I am switching to independent. As a resident of Chicago and Illinois, I can tell you first hand that Obama is a sham.Sad day for the loyal democrats (not the first and last time voting Obama democrats). I have sent my hard earned money to the democrats for 26 years. What a waste. I am currently working on an email to the DNC about this but everytime I proof read it, it seems "bitter". I guess it took Obama to make me bitter.

    May 5, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  10. Steve, New York, New York

    Hillary is doing her very best to help McCain become the next president.

    I wonder how much $$$ the Clintons received in personal earnings, for their ridiculous library, from some of the same people backing McCain.

    Please . . .ANYBODY BUT HILLARY IN 2008!!!

    May 5, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  11. Lance

    Wolf,

    Time to go old man,........

    May 5, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  12. Fighter or Uniter?

    If Clinton loses to Obama, she's not going to stop "fighting." She doesn't care about the Democratic party, or the people. She cares about getting herself elected, and that is what she is really fighting for.

    If Obama loses to Clinton, he would do all he could to heal both the party and his supporters. Because that's what he's all about: integrity, character, and doing the *right* thing.

    May 5, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. jojomean

    if obama win

    Mr Mccain will be our president.

    by the way if obama win here's his list for V>P

    obama/flaver flav
    obama/oj
    obama/ don king only in america

    May 5, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. nitro

    Clinton and Bill has baggage out there that you guys seem to not want to bring up, but the republicans will. Why would he want her on his ticket?

    May 5, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. Rosalynd Florida

    Wolf you are so bias and should be ashamed. The Dems already have a looser and that is Clinton. She has not stepped aside because of folks like you who keep pushing a lie to the public that she can somehow steal the nomination from Senator Obama. The Dems leaders have said it is the pledged delegates stupid!

    May 5, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  16. Jezenla

    Hillary's role as loser will be to shut up. She has been so aggressive and negative in her effort to win at all costs that any support she gives Obama will be obviously fake and only hurt him. True Democrats who have supported Clinton wil support Obama and rascist insecure liars who supported Clinton will support McCain. People who crave the truth and some degree of honesty and integrity will vote Obama no matter what political affiliation they had in the past.
    I think we have had our share of adulterers and liars in the Whitehouse. Lets try something else!

    May 5, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  17. Travis in Canada

    I thought reporters were suppose to be unbiased....Wolf you've obviously already voted for Hillary...it's so obvious.

    May 5, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  18. sing a song

    obama isnt even good enough to sweep the floors of the white house.

    It amazes me how dumb america is to be voting for obama in such large numbers, but that explains why infomericals work.

    May 5, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  19. Benjamin, Columbus OH

    Mr. Blitzer,

    Let me make one thing perfectly clear, if Barack Obama does not become the Democratic nominee if he ends the primary with the most pledged votes, I will make it my mission over the following months to encourage every African-American to show up at the polls on Nov. 4 and cast a vote for every race and issue except President. One party, the Republicans, hardly acknowledges our exsistence and the other party, the Democrats, have taken our vote for granted for far too long. Enough is enough.

    Watch for a systematic, dedicated, organized movement, the likes of one not seen in American politics by one demographic, to make a statement this fall that "enough is enough."

    May 5, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  20. 58 white old ladies for OBAMA

    HILLARY THE OTHER REPUBLICAN OWES US AN APOLOGY,

    DUE US SINCE THEIR LAST ESCAPADE IN THE WHITE HOUSE.

    WE HONESTLY THINK SHE SHOULD USE OF HER

    LAST OPPORTUNITY TO BE OF SOME USE TO US, THE

    AMERICAN PEOPLE. HER MILITARY SERVICE IN BOSNIA, JUST

    WASN'T ENOUGH, CONSIDERING SHE & HER FAMILY HAS

    LIVED OF THE AMERICAN VOTER THEIR ENTIRE LIVES.

    May 5, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  21. alice2

    BREAKING NEWS: HILLARY, YOU LOST!!

    May 5, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. CNN=Hillary Clinton

    --when she steals the nomination , Sen. Obama should run as independent.-–

    i would never ever vote for that wicked witch!

    May 5, 2008 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  23. carrie

    wolf we all know that you are pro-clinton.
    i love jack.
    go away with ur biased reporting
    and u better show this

    May 5, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  24. Ann

    Party leaders and the uber-liberal wing of the party need to wake up and acknowledge that BO has no chance of winning. Nominate BO and we will lose 45-49 states just like 1952 and 1956 (stevenson), 1980 (Carter – a sitting president), 1984 (mondale) and 1988 (Dukakis). No way the American people are going to allow BO's radical cronies anywhere near the White house.

    May 5, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  25. Clare

    I'm a Republican crossover that voted for Obama because of the sanity and level-headed approach he brings to the table. If he doesn't get the nomination I don't know what I'll do

    May 5, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
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