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. jeff - Dallas

    She ran her campaign $20 million in debt, what will she do for our country's budget? Clinton is more of the same old stuff. Our country needs real change.

    May 14, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  2. jafus

    Obama and Clinton both made agreements concerning Florida and Michigan. The problem is that the Clintons thought Obama had no chance getting the nomination. Now that Obama is winning they want to change the game. If a football team start out bad and get behind, and at the end of the game start to play good, they cant move the goal post so they can win even if they are the best team. Is't shamful that there are those still in America that dont think an Afro American is smart enough to be president, and this include the Clintons. Obama is campaigning against the whole Clinton family and beating them. Also, people keep talking about who won where in last elections. Just because the past candidates didn't win does not mean that Obama cant win. The past does not equal the future. It's amazing that some of those uneducated voters are still living in the sixties.

    May 14, 2008 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  3. Kim

    Oh one more thing... for all of you I won't vote for Obama only Hillary

    Well YOU will do what SHE SAYS and she better say Vote for Barack
    because as an independent there is no way I would vote for her corruption... and when the party is over and he is standing she will have to if she wants to maintain her position.

    What happens if Barack did lose? (doubt he could... come on against McCain) It may be blamed on the Clintons. More for their legacy!

    May 14, 2008 01:13 am at 1:13 am |
  4. John

    Hillary's win is a resounding one! those who think otherwise ought to look back and review the whole progression of mindboggling duel.Let Americans vote and decide who they need as their leader.This midnight express train,is a real bandwagon likely to derail at nowhere!The progress achieved sofar,will all be retrogressive!

    May 14, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  5. Jay from the west

    As much as I love you Hillary, Obama has already won...........................

    Obama 08

    nuff said.

    May 14, 2008 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  6. Rhea

    People get real! WV is a racist state and we all know it. The majority of these poor uneducated folks will never vote for an African American whether he or she has the experience that they claim they're looking for in a candidate or not. Racism is an ugly thing, but it is very much alive in the United say what it is, not what you think people want to hear.

    May 14, 2008 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  7. Brant from CA

    Perhaps tonight's results were inevitable, but as an Obama supporter I expected more from his campaign. His brief visit to WV reflected the old style of politics and not that of an "Uniter." Why should the people of WV consider voting for him when he showed little consideration for them? He should apologize to the people of WV, recapture his credibility as a "Uniter" and fight hard in Oregon AND Kentucky. Go Obama!

    May 14, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  8. mike

    I stand corrected JFK did win WV in 1960....GO OBAMA.......

    May 14, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  9. Debbie

    Hillary has the experience, knowledge, confidence and the guts to pull our country out of the worse situation it has ever been in in recent history. It will take the strongest democrat candidate to pull the U.S. back out of the black whole President Bush has pushed us into. Obama doesn't have the fight and will that Hillary does. Go Hillary ,Go. Win, Win, Win. We are counting on you Hillary to never give up! We need someone like you as President to lead the United States out of the dark and into the light again!!!

    May 14, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  10. Lisa

    Why did Romney pay for his campaign and Clinton, worth over 100 million, expects people to give her money to finance a campaign she doesn't believe in? If she believed in her campaign, why doesn't she contribute cash instead of "loaning" money to it?

    May 14, 2008 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  11. Really

    Obama didnt' vote for the war? That is because he wasn't in office and didn't have to make that decision. Clinton's have ethical problems? So would you if someone spent $200 million taxpayer dollars cleaning out your closets. Obama is more ethical? He is showing the same baggage. Obama offers hope? Hillary has been working in the trenches for his ideals while he was in diapers. No more Clintons!? The Clinton presidency was the best since Kennedy, and you democrats know that.

    Congratulations on counting Bill's sins against Hillary. Congratulations on seeing the Clinton's as pariahs. Congratulations on letting the Right Wing control your mind. They succeeded after all.

    Obama is style, Hillary is substance, with the baggage equivalent to that which every one of your greatest heroes has had. You have fallen for image. Do you think Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln, Franklin, Kennedy, Einstein, Edison, and so on didn't have baggage. You live in a world of dreams. Hillary is the real deal.

    May 14, 2008 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  12. Jan

    There's no way I could vote for Hillary. I am white, 61, female. – registered independent but voting Democratic 99%. This country needs Obama more than he needs to be president. Hillary is as much like Bush as McCain. I don't trust a word she says. And I voted for Bill, and respected both of them. That's past tense by the way.

    May 14, 2008 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  13. Sarah

    Clinton won in a state with how many blacks? She only cares of Clinton not the party. She pulls the red neck vote.

    May 14, 2008 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  14. Mariko from Japan

    Audacity Hope for you, Hillary!
    I did not know that you are one of the Obama Girls!

    May 14, 2008 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  15. lori

    Big deal!! She won a "small state". She won by 66% of the vote. That means that 34% of the "hard working white americans" in WV DID NOT vote for her. What happened to the 80-20 that she was supposed to win by????

    May 14, 2008 01:23 am at 1:23 am |
  16. Trenton Sims, Los Angeles

    She also is hoping that Barack will be psyched by her argument about being more electable in he will make her his VP
    & running mate..

    May 14, 2008 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  17. Barbara-California


    As the "Great Gildersleeve" used to say, "What a revolting development this is!" What a farce, what a mess, what an incredible lack of intelligence on the part of some of these voters! We are indeed a lost society! Stupid, Stupid, Stupid!

    May 14, 2008 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  18. Tara

    Mike, you are so full of it .
    Obama never had to vote on the Iraq war and going by his voting record would probably have voted "PRESENT".
    I didn't agree with the war either but for you to single out McCain and Clinton is absurd and misleading .
    You should be ashamed to USE the men and women who lost their lives and the ones that are still risking theirs , for political fodder and pandering.
    So far Obama has failed to show any specific plans to fix the economy , as for world affairs he has shown lack of knowledge and if anything , bad judgement.
    His campaign played the race card , therefore dividing the party and country.Obama is an empty suit.

    May 14, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  19. AE

    Mike P. The reason so many Hillary supporters don't want to vote for Obama is because his supporters have been so hateful and vitriolic toward Hillary. I'm glad you aren't, but you're one of the few I've seen on this blog in a long time. I used to leave comments to the effect of people should respect both candidates and support the winner, but I grew tired of all the hatred and quit trying to convince people to be reasonable.

    No one wants to be part of a party where they and their candidate are despised. Until Obama supporters realize this and make amends for the hatred they have shown for one of the Democratic party's heroes, the party won't be fully reconciled.

    Democrats 08!

    May 14, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  20. Trenton Sims, Los Angeles

    Only one problem..Obama can just let the clock run out and let her fade to black...hehhhee

    May 14, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  21. Edward

    Hey Kentucky, Hillary has been a trailing candidate from day one! Like Rudi Juliani, she has only been ahead in opinion polls by the media. Don’t waste your vote by voting Hillary! Go Obama all the way.

    May 14, 2008 01:27 am at 1:27 am |
  22. Oscar Harris

    Obama, should say THANK YOU W.VIRGINIA. Hillary won ehe primary, but they just put Obama in the White House, whether tey like it or not

    May 14, 2008 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  23. Lynda

    Shame on you Fred. You insult the people of WV but remember you don't need a master's to vote. Obama is like cotton candy, looks good but take a bite and there is nothing there. By the way Fred, work on your spelling and thank God you don't have to be a good at it to vote.

    May 14, 2008 01:29 am at 1:29 am |
  24. L. Kohler

    Our country needs a change. Hillary Clinton has the experience to be a great president.

    May 14, 2008 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  25. A Clear Thinking Independent

    Someone above touted Hillary Clinton's experience and how she will make sure there is a universal healthcare plan.

    She didn't do so well with that initiative as first lady 12 years ago. What has she accomplished on this topic that makes us believe she has the required skill and experience to get this across the goal line?

    May 14, 2008 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11