May 13th, 2008
10:45 PM ET
10 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. harold

    Of course Hilliary supporters resent the call to get out....step aside and all that garbage....You Obama people just make it harder for you to win in November....Not good political sense....or experience whatever..If the states Hilliary won actually gave a winner a win instead of crumbs...she would be the nominee right now....Look at the repubs , they didn't have such a crazy nomination scheme...

    May 14, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  2. Puddin

    Is this what u like.

    Obama is a great man.

    He is the greatest.

    He is a good person.

    you'll post this right?

    May 14, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  3. Linda

    Hillary Clinton has tried for a decade to become the first female president. She is an audacious dreamer, a feminists, a Barry Goldwater Republican, a Vietnam protester (college years at wellesley college ) who manipulates people into voting for her with fear tactics.
    Kentucky just say no........look at all the baggage Hillary will bring with her. She has no experience she has rode to power on the coat tail of her husband.

    May 14, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  4. fwhite

    So proud of Hillary. One of the greatest examples of a true winner!
    She fights for what she believes and I agree with her that every voice
    should be heard. Hillary, don't ever quit!

    May 14, 2008 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  5. Puddin

    I really thought this was freedom of the press.

    How can that be, when you supress our negative comments about Obama?

    May 14, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  6. Bob, Yuma,AZ

    This is symbolic victory for Hillary. What makes her electable ? It is because she won WV. She tells all other states is not going to change the general election. She says all other atates people are bunch of fools. She wants open up the race issue. Her voters are 95% whites in WV. This country image infront of the world diminishing. A super power talking about race issue. She is not experienced like McCain.In fact media making her the presidential candidate not the voters. Obama in the lead and that is the end game. Remember WV people are not aware of the politics. It is a shame this country cannot find a leader for the president other than Buush and Clinton. lack of education.

    May 14, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  7. Obama won

    Obama colored in a very nice map of the US, blue being his favorite color, and before he finishes shading in the rest hillary grabs baracks blue crayon and says "I color better, that makes it my map". she breaks his crayon and pulls out the red one and scribbles in some of the states that were left to fill in and barack shrugs, and walks away to play with the all the other kids.

    May 14, 2008 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  8. strike

    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 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 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  9. BOBEY

    God, just look at 'em. Stupid is as stupid does.

    May 14, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  10. Slim Pickens

    A big win my eye! Whoop dee doo in W VA. All this "victory" shows is that W VA is still going RED come Nov. Just look at the margin of "victrory" for this state compared to all other primary states. Hillary either loses big or wins small in states that actually have a chance of being in play for the general election. She will not bring new and independent (like myself) voters to the table and will stir up the ire of all the meat heads who have stunted the growth of this country for the last 7 yrs.

    May 14, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  11. JC

    Why do these blue-collar workers want to support a candidate who strongly supported the most unfavorable trade agreements that sent their jobs away?
    I don't think I am smart enough to figure it out.

    May 14, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  12. Montana is Obama Country

    Yeah... So Hillary taking money from this little kid who sold his bike... Well...She's busting his economy too!!...

    May 14, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  13. Ed

    Isn't it ironic that Hillary is popular among uneducated voters, considering her own education? When she tries to sell herself to the educated voters in Oregon, they will see right through her blind ambition, say anything approach. After the WV win, I have been hearing more about the "dream Ticket" with Hillary as VP. Absolutely not. First, I agree with David Gergen, who said on CNN that Obama would need a food taster if that happens, and second, her negatives are so high in the electorate that even I, an Obama supporter, would not vote for him if she is on the ticket.

    May 14, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  14. Nelson, OSLO

    Who are these so call blue color hard working white voters and why they seem not to realise the wind of change in the hearts of the good American public? I do not think that they don't see what is happening and listen to what Obama is saying. They vote for Clinton not because they like her, but because they know her and not Obama, for he is a new person in the American political landscape.

    But one thing that should be noted is the fact that they are believing what they see that Black man could be their president and i bet you, these heart liner could even mean what we have been hearing especially from the Clinton camp to vote for McCain in the fall.

    May 14, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |


    May 14, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  16. Independent

    West Virginia, she was conning you. I feel such pity for you all. She is like a man on a date.Takes the fruit and moves on to greener pastures. She will not remember you from the second she leave your state. SHE IS A CON ARTIST. YOU SHOULD HAVE NOT GOTTEN INVOLVED WITH THE EVIL SNAKE.

    May 14, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  17. Yes

    Racism. Clear and simple.

    May 14, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  18. Ruben

    If a democrat can win without winning West Virginia then why waste all the resources on the other states? Lets just focus on West Virginia and whoever wins that will be the nominee. Never mind the other 49 states, they are irrelevant...

    That is the most absurd thinking that I have ever heard. This is a race, where all you have to do is win by one delegate. Clearly Clinton is losing this race and please don't tell me about the Michigan and Florida. They knew way in advance that by breaking the rules their delegates would not be counted. Don't blame the democrats or Obama, blame your state politicians.

    May 14, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  19. Geoff in Virginia

    Please, everybody, we all feel sorry for West Virginians. Tonight only proves there is no reason to stop.

    May 14, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  20. New Voter

    The Clinton camp is saying that West Virginia should be a big warning sign, and I agree. The low voter turnout is proof that it is Obama who is getting out the vote, not Clinton. And I suspect that many of those same people who would not vote for a black man will not vote for a white woman come November. Racism and sexism often go hand-in-hand. All in all, the results of West Virginia tell us little about the Democratic Party except that West Virginia is apparently filled with uneducated, blue-collar racists.

    May 14, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  21. Obama 08

    Congrats to Hillary. I hope she feels better. Now can we bring this thing to a close and welcome President Obama!

    May 14, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  22. Cheryl

    Hey Mike , did you know, that by Hillary Clinton 1 million plus kids in KY wouldn't have health care (called K-Chip) in our great state???? Or, did you know that Israel is scared to death of Obama? When someone asks What would you do if Iran ( which they have clearly stated) attacked Israel? He say's we'll think about it~ Yea, let's think about it while Israel goes up in smoke!

    May 14, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  23. uh, huh?

    Gee Mike? Have you heard there is a HUGE crater in Manhattan where two tall buildings used to be?
    Did you hear most of the American people supported the invasion of Iraq in 2002 when Congress authorized it?
    Did you hear Obama tell us Washington isn't listening to the will of the people?
    These extremists do want to kill us and they don't care that we are liberals!!
    To them, we are carnal, extravagant, self-serving infidels, and they are willing to kill themselves for the privilege of killing us too!

    The greatest problem facing the Democratic party's bid for the White House (and the comments I have seen support this), is that a significant number of DEMS on each side support their own candidate- not because they like Obama/Clinton the best, but sadly because they strongly dislike the other candidate.
    You can see in the comments before mine that people are not going to change their minds... I don't think the Dems fully grasp the gravity of this situation; it has nothing to do w/ the longevity of the race, either.
    The race continues only because of that fact.

    May 14, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  24. Jay

    I am being honest here. When Obama say he couldn't win in West Virginia, he gave up, and the same thing will happen in Kentucky. Is this the kind of man we want for a President? I don't. What happens if the Presidency become too difficult for him to deal with, or he doesn't get his way all the time. Will he quit, go home pouting. This man needs many more years of experience before we just hand him over the keys to the most powerful country in the world.

    May 14, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  25. Obama 08

    Because they are ignorant crackers.

    May 14, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
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