January 15th, 2008
01:35 PM ET
15 years ago

Blitzer: The game is too close to call

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/15/art.wolf2006.cnn.jpg caption="How is politics like the playoffs?"]NEW YORK (CNN) - As some of you probably know, I am a huge basketball fan. I have season tickets for the Washington Wizards and try to go to as many games as possible - though I have missed a lot of them this season because of election year coverage. Right now, I am in New York getting ready to anchor our coverage from the CNN Election Center at the Time Warner Center.

This morning, by chance, I ran into some of the Wizards coaches who happen to be staying at my hotel. They are getting ready for tonight’s game against the hapless New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. The Wizards, even playing without their star, Gilbert Arenas, managed to beat the best team in the NBA, the Boston Celtics, twice in the last three days - at home Saturday night and last night on the road in Boston. That was very impressive. But there’s still a long way to go until the playoffs and the championship games.

As I was talking with Eddie Jordan, the Wizards coach, and his associates, they raised the issue of politics - I, of course, wanted to talk about basketball, but they wanted to pick my brain about the primaries. “Give me the real inside story,” one of them said. “Who’s going to win?”

I candidly told them the truth: I have no inside story. I really don’t know. This is a wide-open race on the Republican and Democratic side. And even once the Republican and Democratic nominees are selected, there could still be a third-party candidate waiting out there.

And with that, all of us agreed that politics and sports are similar. There are winners and losers. There are close games and close races but only one winner. There are early contests - caucuses and primaries in politics and playoff games in sports – leading up to a presidential election in November or a NBA championship game or Super Bowl. We all agreed it’s better to win than to lose. I love politics and I love sports.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Rich In Seattle

    Let's have a betting pool as to when they will forget the lesson of New Hampshire and go back to telling us who will win before a vote is casted. I say on Super Tuesday they will break down and start making predictions early again. Anyone else care for a piece of this?

    Isn't it sad that newspaper circulation is going down while cable news programs go up. At what point did we stop thinking for ourselves? Reading is hard.... TV is easy. Me like.

    January 15, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  2. DeEtt

    RE: Debate questions
    I would like to hear what the candidates have to say about SCIENCE. Cloned meat, genetic manipulation, ethics of stem cell research, organ manufacture, the list is endless. We are on the brink of so many incredible things; if the next president were to have an eight year term many of the things that look like fiction today will be reality before they retire from the office. How they deal with these things will effect the world, the economy, our privacy, our basic rights. I want to know how they are going to make judgments on these issues because they will be leading us into this exciting and frightening future.
    Thanks and good luck getting real answers!

    January 15, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  3. Marvin - Houston, TX

    Dear interviewer expert:
    Allowing people to address only what they've done stifles creativity and ambition. Sometimes people need an opportunity to show what they can do.

    January 15, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  4. CitizenUSA

    Wolf...Sports are not like politics anymore than the football grid or basketball court is a field of battle. Iraq is a field of battle, the others are sports competition venues.

    Personally, I'm really starting to hate main stream media. I don't care about Brittany Spears, Mike Vick or O.J. Simpson. Yet, that's all that gets reported as "news". CNN is just as guilty as any other station in this regard. What gives...why does CNN feel compelled to compete with Entertainment Tonight.

    So, rather than make lame analogies of the election process and politics, why not just announce the news like it used to be done in the old days, say circa 1985 and earlier. There are advantages to doing this. You wouldn't be obligated to announce every shocking tid bit, everytime a candidate belches, sneezes, wimpers, screams, utters a racial or ethnic slur, looks flushed etc. Nor would you feel obligated to make lame advanced projections of election results, like in New Hampshire. In short you could just report the news; spending more time on getting the facts straight, rather than spicing up "boring" news.

    January 15, 2008 09:45 pm at 9:45 pm |
  5. Yazeer

    Wolf is the Wizard of Politics, because he loves politics and he loves sports. How sweet!!!! I have learned soooooo much by the above comments. Cloned Meat??? Is that our most pressing national issue after W borrows $2 trillion for Iraq? After W ignores the laws passed by Congress? After 8 years suffering from Cheney and the President of Torture. God help us.

    January 15, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  6. Rafi, NY NY

    The last paragraph reads like a 3rd grader's daily journal entry. –Gary, Charlottesville

    That's so funny, I actually opened the comments section for this post specifically to make this same comment.

    January 15, 2008 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  7. Tristan Penton

    I am glad it was ironed out. I am glad it ended peacefully and with truth. There is not a bone in me that is racist. I know what I wrote got a lot of attention, but I want to make it clear I only wanted to clarify Obama's remarks about Clinton's statement baffling him and implying she thought the president deserved more credit that Martin Luther.

    I am glad you drew from Martin Luther King's statement when he said "Direct action is not a substitute for work in the courts and the halls of government. Bringing about passage of a new and broad law by a city council, state legislature, or the Congress, or pleading cases before the courts of the land, does not eliminate the necessity for bringing about the mass dramatization of injustice in front of a city hall.

    Indeed, direct action and legal action complement one another. When skillfully employed, each becomes more effective."

    At the end of the day, while I am happy it was ironed out, I do not apologize for the manner in which I expressed my emotions over this very important distortion of Clinton's words.

    I don't regret that. I am a writer and writers employ styles that reflect what is going on inside of a person.

    I am glad that Obama and Clinton are on the same side. God bless them both!

    (Wolfe, I don't know how you do it – politics is very stressful!)

    January 15, 2008 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  8. I agree with Tristan and with free speech

    Tristan, I read your comments and I think you had every right to speak up about your concerns.

    The Candidates do not have the freedom that citizens have. We are not attached to any particular campaign and bound by the stringent standards of propriety that being in the spotlight require a person to have.

    We are the voice for the unspoken tensions that need to be addressed. They address them from the top down and we address them from the bottom up.

    I do believe that it's not fair that we cannot bring up anything about Obama's record without being labeled racist. I think that's not fair and it's a little unsettling.

    But all in all, I think this is a healthy discourse and a very effective way for people to voice their opinions. We are the unadulterated voice and the one that is not paid to speak and keep the status quo.

    Perhaps Clinton and Obama would not say the things that we would say, but they are both trying to keep their positions.

    We make fun of Bush and pry into his life so much and we don't ever defend him, why should Obama be above that?

    It is like sports. Politics is like sports. But it's important that when there is foul play and someone commits a foul that the referees watch the ball carefully and replay the tape of the play to make sure there was no foul play and if there was – that it's pinned on the right person.

    January 15, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  9. I am Tristan's mother

    My daughter posted comments on this website for the first time in her life because she wanted to know more about Obama and why he would be baffled.

    I like democracy and think this is a good way to share ideas, but my daughter (who is using a moniker) is not racist at all. My daughter wanted to know certain things about a man who has a big chance of being the president and she uses this freedom on the commenter site just like everyone else. When we read accusations she was racist, it was scary. We don't think of race in our family. It's not an issue. We are too mixed.

    Many of the issues we brought us hit close to home for us.

    It is like sports. I hope CNN is a good referee.

    January 15, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  10. Lucky Lakeshore

    The trouble, Wolf, is that politics really isn't a game. It's way too important to be treated like a horse race or basketball game. You in the corporate media need a hook to keep those viewers tuning in (or at least try), though. So, even when the results come in, you stand there like an idiot and act as if it's the Kentucky Derby. Dude, when the polls close, the votes have already been cast. The winner has been decided. It's only your reporting of the results that comes in slowly and precinct by precinct. You do a complete disservice to the country by the way that you cover elections. And judging from your lousy ratings, you're losing at your own game, too.

    January 15, 2008 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  11. am Tristan's mother's mother

    My daughter posted comments on this website.
    Then my daughter's daughter posted comments on this website.
    For the first time. Really. Now I want to ditto those comments.
    My daughter's daughter lied about her real name. Because she believes strongly in her first amendment right to provide false information, in order to obtain the information she needs to exercise her right to vote. That is not being racist at all. This is getting rather emotional for me so I will bring my comments to an end. I love democracy and I love CNN.

    January 15, 2008 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  12. am Tristan's mother's mother

    I want to ditto my daughter's daughter's comments

    January 15, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  13. Morris Valentine

    "I love politics and I love sports"?

    Well, I do, too, Mr Blitzer, but I don't have your education or get paid the kind of money you do – which is why you really ought to challenge yourself more to write a better article, or at least a better closing line. This is pretty insipid stuff. Maybe you've been hanging around Larry King for too long?

    January 15, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  14. Austin Stradling, Chandler AZ

    Politics in our country has turned into a corrupt soap opera episode. It's kind of like watching WWF, it's a bunch of fake garbage.

    If you watched the South Carolina debate on FOX, and your head is screwed on right you know Ron Paul is the only serious Republican candidate.

    But, oh yeah, Americans don't really go for the truth anymore, I forgot. Ignorance is bliss.....

    Ron Paul 2008!

    50,000 + in Michigan
    20,000 + in Iowa
    20,000 in NH

    Freedom is spreading.

    January 16, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  15. Dan ~ Longview, WA.

    Can there be any doubt that Ron Paul is who this country needs? A man of the utmost integrity and a man of humility. But most importantly, a man with the right ideas – of tolerance, of love, of freedom, and – of course – of the people.

    Ron Paul is in the thick of this race. Almost 30,000 proud Americans already have cast their ballots for Ron Paul in both Iowa and New Hampshire:

    1. Romney 103,755 30%
    2. McCain 102,361 29%
    3. Huckabee 66,876 19%
    4. Paul 29,648 9%
    5. Giuliani 24,151 7%
    6. Thompson 18,712 5%

    January 16, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  16. Julia

    Wolf, my darling, don't let these people get to you.
    You're exactly right, politics and sports are very similar in the fact that often times, the game is too close to call up until the very end. And even there, you have cases like Florida in the 2000 election, where we are driven into overtime waiting for the score to be reported.
    Wolf, you've taught me so much about politics, perhaps you can teach me how to understand basketball!!

    January 26, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |


    February 4, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  18. Nina

    I agree with Ron... It is so obvious the look of dissappointment on Wolf's face every time Hillary had a win.

    February 6, 2008 12:42 am at 12:42 am |
  19. shirley palmer

    i hear hillary has won 12 states,and obama has won 13. then i hear hillarys won 8. does anyone know anything for sure/
    and what is this its important thing i hear this year about you must also vote for the delagets,and also what canadet to. what does all this jibber mean anyways. can someone tell me in plane english what all this election stuff means,or we all in the dark about politices?
    thank you shirley palmer

    February 6, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
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