May 13th, 2008
10:45 PM ET
7 years ago

Why West Virginians turned out for Clinton

Clinton’s West Virginia supporters say they weren't swayed by grim pundit assessments.
Clinton’s West Virginia supporters say they weren't swayed by grim pundit assessments.

CHARLESTON, West Virginia (CNN) –There was never much of a question about who would win the West Virginia primary. The electorate is made up of older, white, blue-collar voters that have become Hillary Clinton's base.

But they've also been hearing a week of speculation that Obama's path to the nomination is inevitable. So why turn out?

"I think she's got the experience to get us out of a deep hole," said Johnny Nance, a preservation contractor who owns the building in Huntington where Clinton has a campaign office. "You can't win this country's [presidency] without winning West Virginia. We've picked them the whole 20th century," added Nance before saying he'd support whomever the Democratic nominee is.

"She's brilliant," said Veda Hughes, 58, joined by three friends at Clinton's victory party Tuesday night.

Does the impression the New York senator can't win bother her? "Heck no! No! We're in this 'til the end, it doesn't bother us at all!"

"I think Obama is a wonderful speaker and I love what he says but I think Hillary has the experience, she knows what's going on. She tells what she's going to do," added companion Amy Wade, 35.

Several people pointed to potential baggage Obama could carry into the general election.

"I don't think his wife has been a credit to him, I don't think his minister has been a credit to him," said Diane Givens.

Surgical technician Jeremy Elswick, 30, agreed that Wright was a negative and said Obama didn't do enough to woo the voters of West Virginia. "He just seemed like he had his nose up in the air. She seems like she's for the blue-collar people of West Virginia."

Clinton heads to Oregon - considered Obama-friendly territory - on Friday before campaigning in Kentucky, a state whose demographics are very similar to West Virginia's.


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • West Virginia
soundoff (270 Responses)
  1. Obama won

    Obama wants to make her feel good about losing. That's why he didn't bother to campaign.

    May 14, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  2. CNN loves Hillary

    Congrats to Clinton on her big win. Unfortunately, she still needs to think about a respectful withdrawl from the race as she has no chance of legitamately winning the nomination. If Clinton cares about her party she would start supporting Obama.

    And to Clinton supporters who won't vote Democratic if their candidate is on the ticket...please reconsider. Clinton will eventually rally behind Barack and she will not know or care about your little stand. She will think only consider Democrats foollish if they give the presidency to McCain and his continuation of Bush policy.

    May 14, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  3. Griff

    Hillary's a winner. Without her, the Demo/hypochrits, are loser's..

    May 14, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  4. Sandra Goodwin

    Way to go West Virginia and Senator Clinton...us, uneducated, old white women know a leader when we see one.

    May 14, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  5. edward0911

    This race would have turned completely different if the media especially CNN and MSNBC would not have been so biased in protecting Obama and the story of Wright would be released BEFORE super tuesday. Since that point Obama has lost momentum and now it might be too late for the American Voters.
    We rely on the news coverages TOO MUCH and if I would have known about Wright before Supertuesday the vote would have been different.
    I do not believe that Obama did not know about Wrights comments. Especially while he was his spiritual guide and he put him in the same spot as his grandma. I really hope that Hillary would continue in the presidential primaries as an INDEPENDENT while clearly the voters did not got all the information. I will for sure not vote for Obama and if Hillary will not run as an INDEPENDENT I will vote for the the Republican party while I do not want us to make the same mistake as what happened with Bush. This was also the underdog and we did not know so much about him and look were we are.

    May 14, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  6. Anonymous

    Why ? If you ask why ? Why not count Florida and Michigan ? Guam is counted but Florida and Michigan are not. We don't deserve a democracy. We are going to count Puerto Rico , but not Florida and Michigan ? I see McCain in 08 , some will vote principle . Thanks Dean for a total mess up. I thought I had seen it all in 2000 .

    May 14, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  7. AJ, IL

    Also Obama is not hitting Hillary hard on Iraq war anymore. Mike makes a good point that Obama could compare Hillary and McCain to Bush's Iraq War that has caused the deaths of 41 Kentucky soldiers and cost Kentucky $4 billion. If Obama did this type of compaigning in West Virginia he could have closed the gap. Obama is saving up firepower for McCain in the general election.

    May 14, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  8. monica

    If I were her, I'd be offended that only uneducated white people voted for me.

    May 14, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  9. voice

    The reason? Clinton says it all: West Virginians are uneducated and poor and white votes. Poor folks produce poor leaders.

    May 14, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  10. Obama supporter

    Go Obama!

    May 14, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  11. Ron R

    Her speech will not sit well with the super delegates. You watch, more defections to Obama's side starting tommorrow and they will start coming in bigger numbers..........her strategy is flawed to the umpth degree...........

    May 14, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  12. chula

    Hillary is brilliant and is the President America needs.

    The strength, courage, integrity, tenacity, grace and sheer will she has demonstrated through out this campaign is breath taking and inspiring.

    She has connected with ALL Americans and understand their needs, while Obama has proven to be for the Elite and Corporate America.

    Hillary will bring our troops home, get the economy back on track and help America gain the respect of the World it once held before.

    Hillary IS the President AMERICA NEEDs and WANTS!!.

    Go Hillary!!!

    May 14, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  13. down not out

    All of the uneduacated simple white Democrats that you, Howard Dean took for granted, will be voting for John McCain for President.

    So chalk up another loss for Deans Dozen. I would rather die than vote for Obama. All of my Democrat friends say the same. In reality I am glad, because Dean you turned your back on us, shoved Obama down our throats, now we're throwing up.

    Seems like you old school Dems, Dean, Kennedy, Kerry etc., really pissed us off this time. You turned your back on the Democrat's most viable candidate, Hillary. Now we are going to return the favor. I am going to turn my back on YOUR CHOICE Howard Dean, and will be voting Republican for the first time in my life.

    At least I know McCain is a patriot, has pride, and shows and has shown his loyalty to his country. Therefore I will vote for McCain with a smile on my face.

    May 14, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  14. R.I.F.

    Kerry Chapman, CPO USN ret. May 14th, 2008 12:10 am ET

    With all do respect, I glad that you are retired. I hope you didn't vote for Clinton either because she has taken pictures in traditional garb (garb = clothing) from places all over the world. I guess she's a buddist because I've seen her in that gard before. When politicians go to other countries, they sometimes dress in the traditional garb as a peace offering. Obama is not a muslim. You began by saying you are not a racist but you contradicted yourself in the sentences that followed. I've seen Bill Clinton, George Bush, and the list goes on in tradtional muslim clothing before in pictures. I guess it was okay because they were white. Guess what, there are a lot of white muslims so maybe they are really muslims as well. Get a clue, read and research before you spew hate on these blogs.

    May 14, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  15. Montana is Obama Country

    Why did Hillary TAKE money from a 11 year old (who BTW can't vote) when Bill made $$$$ 56 milion selling speeches..

    AND...

    Why did Hillary talk about a dead woman.. Hillary is sick... by trying to make people feel good about her when a famliy id greiving a loss of a famliy member..

    Hillary is a sick, demented woman who cares about herself only...

    May 14, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  16. oti

    my first comment is nowhere to be found,,guys
    Whar"s Gwan?

    May 14, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  17. Belle

    PS
    The remaining states Obama says are Democratic this year=170 total electoral votes....which means NEITHER Obama or Clinton would win according to Obama's plan.

    However, if you add in Arkansas, West Virginia, Arizona, Tennessee, other Battleground states in PREVIOUS Standard elections....Clinton wins the Presidency.

    May 14, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  18. Jason

    Whenever Obama looses all you people do is criticize Hillary. I'm starting to see a pattern here...

    May 14, 2008 12:30 am at 12:30 am |
  19. Jason

    A congressional seat in northern Mississippi lost to republicans in 1994 during Pres. Bill Clinton's regime was recovered today by Democrat Travis Childers after he defeated Republican Greg Davis in the special election with the power of BARACK OBAMA's brand name.

    May 14, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  20. nina

    Here's what I don't understand, and it's very simple:

    HOW CAN YOU ELECT SOMEONE FOR PRESIDENT WHO CAN'T EVEN MANAGE THEIR CAMPAIGN IN A PRIMARY???

    PEOPLE REALLY WANT THAT PERSON TO RUN THE COUNTRY?

    This is what baffles me. I just don't get it. Someone please explain it to me.

    May 14, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  21. CindyNYer

    What is up??? Isn't WV supposed to be Republican, why does Obama have more votes than John McCain??? Are the Republicans interfering with the Democratic Party's nomination process again???

    Something fishy here!!!

    Tired of all the Clinton's spin

    May 14, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  22. John

    With 93% in,Hillary is at 67% at 223,509votes. Obama at 26% with85,474 votes.How does Obama feel tonight?? with a 40% lead by Hillary? Obama a day or two ago brought in the open his bragging rights,by a condescending statement of how he (OBama) wanted Hillary to be comfortable with the process!!! Well,how do you like me now-that you are holding the end of the broom??

    May 14, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  23. Matthew

    I would never sell my bike for that sociopath.

    May 14, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  24. Alek

    I don't think that a majority of West Virginians are racist, and it would be impossible to prove anyway since extremely few racists would ever actually admit it. But it is a proven fact that West Virginia is one of the least educated states. According to exit polls, we can determine that roughly 35% of West Virginians are grossly incompetent and are totally incapable of determining what is in their best interest. How? That's how many people said they wouldn't vote for the other Democratic candidate should their choice not win the Democratic nomination. I personally greatly dislike Hillary, but if she wins I will vote for her in a heartbeat. The two candidates are extremely similar on issues and are both light years away from the where John McCain stands. Anyone who says they would switch sides if their candidate doesn't win should have their right to vote revoked.

    May 14, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  25. Dan,Louisiana

    DIVISIVE= I won these states but Obama cannot win them in Nov. Next she says i will work hard for the nominee. Anyone that can think beyond their nose knows this is contradictory. This is part of the sneaky deceptive smoke screen agenda. Why is Obama not saying the same for southern states.....because he is a decent and inteligent man.

    If she has the intrest of the party at heart and campaigns for the nominee, Obama can win those states in Nov.

    Democratic Party 2008/2012!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 14, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
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