December 21st, 2007
09:19 AM ET
12 years ago

Obama hits Clinton on electability

Obama hit Clinton on her electablity Thursday.

(CNN) - Barack Obama took direct aim Thursday night at Hillary Clinton’s claim that she is the most electable Democrat in the presidential field, telling a New Hampshire crowd that the argument that “is being pushed, by the way, by a candidate who starts off with a 47 percent disapproval ratings.”

The remarks come days after a new Gallup survey found that Obama fared better than Clinton in head-to-head match-ups with the leading Republican candidates.

“I’m not going to mention names, but I mean the notion that a viability or an electability argument is being made by somebody who starts off with almost half the country not being able to vote for them doesn’t make sense,” the Illinois senator told a Portsmouth audience, according to a report in Foster’s Daily Democrat.

“For whatever reason I keep on defying this notion that somehow the American people are not ready for me. That just is not borne out,” he said.

Obama’s campaign has grown more aggressive in recent days, sending out press releases and mailers that directly take on senator’s chief rivals for the Democratic nomination.

Obama and Clinton were tied in the Granite State, but the New York senator has opened up a double-digit lead among primary voters there in the latest CNN poll, released this week, in large part because of major gains among older voters.

Last week, Bill Shaheen, Clinton’s New Hampshire campaign co-chairman, resigned after telling a reporter that she was more electable because Obama’s youthful drug use would be a target for Republicans in a general election contest.

- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. David, Baltimore MD

    Mr. Obama stakes his campaign on the idea that he will do things differently than what politicians typically do in Washington. But instead of simply sticking to his own "new" ideas, he's trying the "old Washington" tactic of pointing out his opponent's weaknesses. Where's the "politics of hope" in that? I was hoping Mr. Obama wasn't like every other politician, but this shows that he's no better than the others.

    December 21, 2007 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  2. Ginny, Byron, CA

    Oh, he's not going to name names? How terribly "decent" and coy of him. Obama is in the ring with the big guns, and he'd better start playing the game with honesty and straightforwardness and lay off the whining. I think he's way too thin-skinned to survive a REALLY tough campaign. If, by some miracle, he becomes the Democratic candidate, the Republicans will rip him to shreds. He won't be able to keep crying and asking his supporters for more money because people are saying bad things about him. This arena is no place for a crybaby.

    December 21, 2007 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  3. William, Worcester MA

    That's right! Hillary's negatives are higher than those who say they'll vote for her...where's the electability?

    BTW- the latest USA/GALLUP poll has the NH race in a tie...

    We know how much the Clinton News Network supports Hillary, but try to keep your bias less flagrant.

    December 21, 2007 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  4. alton, Detroit, MI

    I like Obama but it is John Edwards that fares the best against all the republican candidates. I think an Edwards/Obama ticket would be great for America and nearly impossible to defeat

    December 21, 2007 10:06 am at 10:06 am |
  5. Lee, Mays Landing, New Jersey

    Hillary Clinton may be the average republican's biggest fear (because some of them really believe she is the devil incarnate after listening to years of republican propaganda on hate radio).
    But Republican leaders know that this means that Hillary Clinton is their ticket to again keeping the White House for another years more of republican control. When you are running against the "devil" (as they believe), they can easily unite their party and have almost half the country intensely motivated to vote against her.
    Having Hillary Clinton as the nominee will allow the democrats to snatch defeat out of the jaws of victory (again). Also, it will limit or perhaps reverse democratic gains in congress and we can continue the wonderful "progress" our nation has had with undivided republican rule. LOL

    December 21, 2007 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  6. Jeremy

    Obama is rudiculous, No to Obama, he is the least electable in a country dealing with racial relations.

    December 21, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  7. Pall Forloney, Riomaggiore, Italy

    He is right and why in the hell are all these people blind to it. She is a machine and will not b abl to do anything except for her money friends. Hey is Magic going to sleep over at the White House? Why not invite a low unemployed worked to stay over?

    December 21, 2007 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  8. Eric, Staten Island, NY

    What Obama is relying on is national polls pitting him and Hillary head to head versus the various GOP candidates. What he is not looking at is the state by state polls which we all now really matter and in this area Hillary IS doing better.

    December 21, 2007 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  9. Sam

    Obama has no room to talk on "high negatives." As he becomes better known, his have started to grow. I'm one voter who used to like him; now I find him dishonest and his policy positions very weak. And, CNN, could we focus on those for once?

    December 21, 2007 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  10. xtina chicago IL

    Like Seinfeld, Obama is a man about "nothing." If you read through his comments every day you think, "what did he just say?" His words on the campaign trail don't point to specific things he's done, they don't run down his qualifications, they don't talk about a track record.

    What has he done that compares with Rudy Guiliani reducing crime in NYC by over 50 percent? What has Obama done that shows a willingness to cut taxes? What has he done that compares with Mitt Romney's taking the SLC Olympics organization out of the red?

    Obama hasn't run anything. Not only is the Senate a bad place to train for the Presidency, but Obama is a junior Senator.

    December 21, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  11. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    As John Edwards pointed out in his appearance on Hardball this week, he beats all GOP candidates in head-to-head polls and he does it consistently. _That's_ electability.

    December 21, 2007 10:24 am at 10:24 am |

    All this brouhaha from a Gallup Poll? What about the Fox News Poll that puts Hillary on top?

    Somehow, B. Obama is beginning to sound like B. Clinton.

    December 21, 2007 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  13. jd, des moines, iowa

    Obama is pulling a trick from the republican playbook, by emphasing the opponent's few negatives rather than her most positives.

    The negative is from the biased position of obama supporters and the republicans.

    Based on Obama's logic, should we vote for senator Biden, because of few voters' negative view of him?

    Hillary's cup is half full, not half empty. The bottom lines is that Hillary received the most votes (more than Obama) from dem voters in the rating of: experience, qualifcations, leadership qualities, hardworking, electability, etc.

    The most recent dec 19 national poll from Fox News shows Hillary is ahead of Obama by 29 points (49 vs 20). And, the early state polls show that Hillary is improving her standings there. If she wins Iowa, Obama and Edwards can start packing.

    Obama is not electable because: his inexperience, his poor senate attendance and voting records, his blackness, his personal flaws, his muslim background, his flip-flopps, etc.

    December 21, 2007 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  14. kerry,newton,iowa

    CNN has become the new National Enquirer of the gasbag pundits. Haven't you had ENOUGH of this media-genereated and very silly "Clinton-Obama" fight? Can't you lazy talking heads focus on substance for a change instead of pettiness all the time????

    Gosh, I'm so sick and tired of the stupid Maureen Dowd type catty attitude that is infesting the the media.

    December 21, 2007 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  15. daniel,newyork,ny

    I didn't think it there was much of any analysis here between the two candidates by Rebecca. Opps! This is news reporting.

    December 21, 2007 10:35 am at 10:35 am |

    Obama is perfectly right about this issue. It like a killer telling people to be fearful of a peaceful and harmless preacher. Hillary if you don't know, 50% of the country say NO to YOU and any BUSH family! If don't agree, see what will happen to you Jan. 3. We are here to show you what democracy means. Do you remember what happens to Chavez–the great dictator–he lost to DEMOCRACY.

    December 21, 2007 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  17. jackie,derry,newhemshire

    i heard some of what clinton said on the news on my way home. platitudes, platitudes, delivered in that nasal whine which sets my teeth on edge. she seems to research the probable reaction to everything before she says it, and then says it – bleats it – using the wording and emphasis determined by her advisors to appeal to the broadest cross section of voters. fake, fake, fake.

    Give me Obama anytime!

    December 21, 2007 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  18. Joe, New Hampshire

    FINALLY! Obama is stating the obvious.

    Hillary is "electable"? In order to win the presidency, the democrtatic candidate will have to win over people who actually voted for George Bush in 2004. These are not liberals, not "blue state" activists, and certainly not people who like or will ever vote for Hillary Clinton.

    With her monstrous machine and Big Bill and all the money working at full capacity, it looks like she can barely win Iowa. And even more alarming, the more that these early-voting primary states see of her, the less they like her- in every state!

    She has no chance in November. It will be worse than Dukakis. Against someone like McCain (especially after striking this "experience is everything" mantra in the primaries), she'll be luck to get 35% of the popular vote.

    Please, people: jump of the Clinton ship-> it will never float and smells like rats anyway.

    December 21, 2007 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  19. Neither Hillary nor Obama Supporter, New Haven, CT

    In anticipation of the hundreds of pro-Obama/anti-Clinton statements that will undoubtedly follow, I would just like to point out a general election poll, at this stage, can hardly be considered telling of how things would play out in the actual general election. Obama has not really been vetted very much. He has been the media's golden boy, and has gotten very little negative press, sans the few not particularly damaging attacks from other democratic candidates. If Obama were the nominee, the kinds of attacks launched by the Republicans would, in all likelihood, destroy him. The figures he's touting, at least at this stage in the game, aren't really what matter. Flame on.

    December 21, 2007 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  20. barbara,lowell,ma

    so what serious stuff did obama say? poor obama, he says serious things and folks are only thinking, gosh, how does his ass look like? the "serious stuff"? is the news.their style of delivery is known to everyone. we the readers deserve to get more for our buck!

    December 21, 2007 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  21. James, Cleveland Ohio

    Obama and Clinton were tied in the Granite State, but the New York senator has opened up a double-digit lead among primary voters there in the latest CNN poll,

    It has become apparant that CNN is a Clinton Backer. What else explains the other ooficial polls saying thier tied but only CNN's showing Hillary ahead.

    December 21, 2007 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  22. Jimenez - Texas

    Ha Ha so Obama thinks he has a better chance? The more I read about Obama the more I am amazed that people support him. Go figure. Clinton 08

    December 21, 2007 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  23. Keith,nyc,ny

    To Barbara in lowell,ma
    Rebecca journalistic idol is Matt Drudge.

    What did you expect? The days of serious news is over. Gossip, low brow, third grade level news rule the WPost, network news and cable news.

    December 21, 2007 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  24. Karen, Pasadena, California

    I never understood how any Hillary supporter could say she was more electable with a straight face. Hillary is Bill with all the baggage and without the charisma and lacking some of the intelligence. Her campaign is difficult to understand (experienced change) and she claims experience just from being married. She offers no proof of her white house activities, but we know she had no formal position and was not accountable to anyone.
    She is condescending and a lot of people will show up just to vote against her.

    December 21, 2007 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  25. Dave, Evergreen CO

    Hey CNN, if you are going to report on poll numbers please use the latest:

    WASHINGTON – Democratic presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are locked in a dead heat among New Hampshire voters ahead of the state's primary contest next month, according to a USA Today/Gallup Poll released on Friday.

    Clinton, a New York senator and former first lady, and Obama, an Illinois senator, are tied at 32 percent, with former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards at 18 percent, according to the poll.

    December 21, 2007 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
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