December 21st, 2007
09:19 AM ET
13 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. Alex,methuen,ma

    I admire Obama for what he is trying to do and if he were the DEMS candidate I would vote for him. But the Republicans will play EXTRA dirty to keep power and I think Hillary Clinton is the best to take them on.
    If you're a sunny optimist and believe that politics are good and fair and that people will vote for what's best for them then Obama is your guy.
    If you think it's gonna be a nasty fight and you want to come out on top then Clinton is your best bet.

    December 21, 2007 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  2. renna,ct

    I agree with you,
    Obama is already 4% higher in stats then Hillary.
    We NEED changes, and improvment,
    VOTE 0BAMA 08'

    December 21, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  3. Andy, NH

    Hillary Clinton is the most unelectable democrat possible in a general election- besides maybe Kucinich (but at least he has convictions.)

    I am a democrat, hate Bush (in 00 and 04), and still would NEVER vote for Hillary.

    She is a polarizing person with absolutely no experience except for her carpetbag term as senator.

    She is, however, "ready to lead on day one" the democratic party straight over the abyss, by losing BIGTIME in November, while at the same time allienating the core idealists (vs corporate interests) in the party.

    No more Clinton/Bush-> twenty years of ego driven dynasties are enough.

    Change. Scary as it, America. Change.

    December 21, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  4. Dave, Evergreen CO

    How can anyone say that CNN promotes Hillary? Have you people ever watched Chris Matthews on CNN. He slices her up for a full 1 hour each and every night. Its discusting!
    Posted By John Smith : December 21, 2007 1:09 pm

    Umm, John, Chris Matthews is on MSNBC, not CNN.

    December 21, 2007 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  5. Meks, Florida

    The response to Sen Obama's remark is simple. He can NEVER win the general election. The other candidates do not waant to say it because they will be accused of racial comments. Sen Obama will not win a single southern state therefore all the electoral votes are out. How then can he win the general election? The reality is that the polls are testing popular votes nationally and does not put the most important variable into consideration. That variable is electoral votes. It is much more important than the popular vote. Sen Clinton remains the only democratic candidates that can will Florida which was the state that stopped Kerry and Al Gore from winning the general election. Take a look at which candidates are winning the opposition in Pennsylvania, Ohio and most importantly Florida. Without Florida we have lost the two past elections. Sen Clinton puts Florida, Tennessee and Arkansas into our folds particularly Florida. Sen Obama puts none of these states into play. nada! You folks need to wake and do not let sentiment affect your judgement. Check your facts well. Sen Obama's negatives will go up eventually if he gets the nomination though i cannot predict if it will as high or higher than Sen Clinton but that is not really relevant becuase he cannot win the electoral votes as i have explained earlier. Do not be fooled, all the candidates know that and choose not to discuss it for the reason i explained above. This is not an opinion, it is a fact. The liberal media are only interested in seeing Sen Clinton lose because of their obsession to cut Bill Clinton to size (whatever the reason, i am not sure but i suspect it has to do with the moneymen behind the liberal media who had issues to grind with the former president). So the liberal media will prefer Sen Clinton lose even if it means the dems losing the generaal election. Can you explain why the liberal media refuse to pick on the planting of question by Obama volunteer recently or why they refuse to pick on the story he had infants making maximum donations ($2300) to his campaign? Maybe we should re-evaluate media story about Obama being raised by a single mother – is that really true? Why was he in Indonesia at an early age? with whom? who was his mother with? How did the single mother get to live in Indonesia? How was she able to afford private school education for Sen Obama while living in Hawaii? These are questions that will reveal some truths as soon as he gets the nomination. The conservative media will reveal those answers and keep it in the news unlike what the liberal media is doing now – burying the information. It is to the advantage of the conservatives that Obama gets the nomination and that's why they are not interested in keeping the story in the front burner for now. Support the candidate you want but there's only one truth. While Sen Clinton is not the only democratic party politician that can win the general election she's is the only one in the crop of the candidates at the moment that will win the general election. Remarks and reactions welcomed. Please be constructive.

    December 21, 2007 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  6. Phil Memphis, TN

    It is sad that Hilary and bama are the only Dems getting any coverage. I am very concerned that neither one of them is electable. I am with the other 2 posters who think Edwards is the most viable Dem candidate. I would be all for either Edwards/Obama, or even Edwards/Clinton.

    December 21, 2007 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  7. EE

    Clinton folks are terrible. This argument of trying to use Mr Obama's race as the electability measuring yard is worse than Rush Limbaugh. This is a slap on the face to all people of color.

    In essence what they are saying to tell people of color is, "PLEASE, YOUR RACE DISQUALIFIES YOU FROM THE WHITE HOUSE"

    But unfortunately for them american people have rejected and abandoned them, no one's race is by choice.All humans are equal before God .

    The Clintons should be reminded of this.I personally dont support Mr Obama bc we disagree on issues not bc of his race.The Clintons are running a campaign of personal DESTRUCTION.

    Provided Clinton gets the nomination she will lose the general election woefully. She would've disenfranchised all people of color, destroyed Obama, driven away independents to Repblicans,angered young people, who's left? Defeat in '08. Quote me in '09.

    December 21, 2007 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  8. Sérgio, Porto, Portugal

    Obama is often criticized for being a candidate of the blacks. Oprah was slammed because people assumed she was just supporting him due to his colour.

    What is overlooked is the fact that most women support Hillary due to the fact she is one of their own. I mean, just the chance of having a female President is an orgasm for a lot of women.

    I read someone telling that Obama wants to raise the minimum age to retire. Well, I agree with that. Have you thought that people actually live longer and better today than 20 years ago? It's a question of sustainability!

    And about the "drugs" issue, who still lives in Wonderland and thinks presidential hopefuls are superheroes with no flaws? Gosh....

    December 21, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. RuthieM

    Why is CNN talking about a CNN poll that came out a week or so ago about Hillary double digit lead or whatever points when today is 12-21-07 and there's a new poll from today, USA Today/Gallop I believe that has them tied 32-32? Wow, so CNN is a Hillaryite, hm. OBAMA '08!!

    December 21, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  10. Russell Nc

    How could Hillary possibly be president? It would be a full time job keeping Slick Willy away from the Interns.

    December 21, 2007 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. Jimmy

    If Senator Obama would quit with the attacks on Senator Clinton and stick to policy he might be a little more favorable. but he has been in the 20 29% for a year now and still not going anywhere If he would grow up a liottle he might make a good Vice President. Clinton / Obama 2oo8. Unbeatable

    December 21, 2007 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  12. Rick, Madison

    Hillary is the only chance the republicans have. That's why the Rupert Murdoch papers (London Times, etc) are supporting her and attacking Obama.

    Hillary was not president in the 90's, she does not have the experience she is trying to claim, unless she admits that she will just be a puppet and Bill will be running the show.

    Go Obama, America's best hope.

    December 21, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  13. Todd, Sacramento California

    How can Obama get votes! He misses mosts votes on the floor and bags everyone else on what they voted for.At least we know where they stand. With Obama you get???????? All Talk!

    December 21, 2007 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  14. Jose Card - Independent

    Being an Independent, I want the best candidate from each party for the best of our country. Obama is right. Hillary is not electable.

    Here is an article from an expert on foreign policy in this issue of Newsweek.

    "The Power of Personality" – by Fareed Zakaria, Ph.D. in international relations and an Indian American from India.

    "I never thought I'd agree with Obama. I've spent my life acquiring formal expertise on foreign policy. ... But when I think about what is truly distinctive about the way I look at the world, about the advantage that I may have over others in understanding foreign affairs, it is that I know what it means NOT to be an American. I know intimately the attraction, the repulsion, the hopes, the disappointments that the other 95 percent of humanity feels when thinking about this country."

    Another expert, Prof. Robert Reich of U.C. Berkeley and Bill's former strategist, commented on December 3, 2007 as follows:

    "If there’s anyone in the race whose history shows unique courage and character, it's Barack Obama. HRC’s campaign, by contrast, is singularly lacking in conviction about anything."

    December 21, 2007 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  15. Mario Uy Streamwood IL

    People, people, people. Have you not learned you lessons yet? There is no difference between Clinton and Obama. They are the same. Once elected, they will both screw you, hard. The only difference between them and all the other candidates is any of the other candidates will screw you less. So the questions is, do you want to be screwed hard or less? That is the question.

    December 21, 2007 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  16. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Obama, don't confuse, yourself is not ready for the President, don't blame American, American voters are ready for the most qualified candidate, Hillary Clinton, that's why they are not ready for you.

    December 21, 2007 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
  17. Robert Morrow, Austin, TX

    Hillary makes me want to puke. How is that for "electability?"

    December 22, 2007 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  18. Dorian, Brentwood, Ca

    My vote is too precious to throw away. . .that's why I'm voting for Clinton. GO HILLARY!!

    December 22, 2007 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  19. Jose Card

    Obama is not alone.

    Bill's former strategist, Prof. Robert Reich also commented that Hillary (HRC he called her) lacks convictions of anything. That's a nice way of saying she is not electable.

    December 22, 2007 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  20. Brad, Stockton, CA

    Hillary... electable? She is as much a divider as our current president. She would be as big a danger to Americans and our future as a nation as our current president is, and nearly as great a danger as Rudy.

    December 22, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  21. Ludlow Ball, San Antonio, Texas

    SEN Obama ascending to the Presidency will be good for America in many ways and for decades to come. The confusion over Obama vs Osama is part bigotry and well placed dirty politics. SEN Bob Kerry's comments were offensive, dirty politics and I am inclined to say deep seated bigotry. SEN Obama is a Christian so of what importance is his father's and grandfather's religious preference....very disappointed in SEN Kerry despite his apology to SEN Obama


    December 22, 2007 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  22. GRACE

    NEWS, TOO.

    December 23, 2007 03:10 am at 3:10 am |
  23. pj jackson

    Im a life long republican voter – and there are parts of the republican platform that I do not agree with ie: gun control or as i call it "guns out of control" but it so obvious that Hilary Clinton is the best thing that could happen to the R's in 2008. We are all praying she gets the nom.

    December 23, 2007 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  24. permalik078 iowa

    i always ask myself is Hillary really unelectable?
    i am very suspicious when republicans tell me who they can beat in the general election. let me ask, if some one was not a threat to you would you bother spending money and time to bring them down, i think the answer is no. we have Rudy basing his campaign on the fact that he can beat Hillary, we have mccain spending money in new hampshire just to tell people that he is best equipped to beat Hillary, we have the republican candidates attacking Hillary in every debate they have and we have Karl rove giving obama advice on how to beat Hillary. can they really beat her or they are trying to get rid of her in the primaries? i personally think if they could beat her as they claim, they would let her win the primaries and then deal with her in the general election. i can't believe that Karl rove wants obama to win, that's ridiculous. the Republicans will do all they can to make sure they do not face Hillary in the general elections. democrats we need to wake up and open our eyes. we have the republicans and democrats attacking Hillary because they know if she wins, she will be unstoppable. stupids democrats are falling in the republican trap once again. she was leading in the polls and they attacked her left and right by making us believe she is unelectable. i strongly believe that she so far the best candidates the democrats have and they will be loose the elections if they elect someone else. i would like to see obama be our next prsident but the truth is, he can not win against any republican. do not believe the polls, polls lied that john kerry was going to win and they also lied that Howard dean was going to win the primaries. if polls were right bush would not be the president today. let's give the republican there medicine.

    go Hillary

    December 23, 2007 07:32 am at 7:32 am |
  25. Grinch in America Looking for Truth

    So much for running as a "Uniter of America" 🙁 just same old – same old dirty politics as usual and a big bag of hot air to boot...

    Word has it that if Obambi doesn't get the Dem nod – he will simply declare himself an Independent and run w/Bloomberg cuz he wants to be in the White House soooo bad 😉

    December 24, 2007 04:22 am at 4:22 am |
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