January 26th, 2008
02:01 PM ET
13 years ago

Clinton, Obama campaigns play expectations game

WASHINGTON (CNN) - As South Carolina Democrats headed to the polls, the presidential campaigns of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama each sought to raise the expectations of their rival while lowering their own, in dueling memos circulated to reporters Saturday.

Clinton Communications Director Howard Wolfson all but declared the New York senator will lose the state, and he said the Democratic race will shift to Florida afterwards - a state where Clinton holds a wide lead but whose primary has been rendered essentially meaningless by party sanctions.

"Regardless of today’s outcome, the race quickly shifts to Florida, where hundreds of thousands of Democrats will turn out to vote on Tuesday," Wolfson wrote. "Despite efforts by the Obama campaign to ignore Floridians, their voices will be heard loud and clear across the country, as the last state to vote before Super Tuesday on February 5th."

Wolfson's comments come a day after the Clinton campaign formally called on her party to seat Florida's delegates at the convention - a privilege the state had lost for holding it's primary contest before February 5, in violation of national party instructions. Obama's campaign quickly criticized the move, trying to "assign meaning to a contest that awards zero delegates and where no campaigning has occurred."

Also on Saturday, Obama's campaign circulated a memo form Joe Erwin, a supporter of the Illinois senator and the former chairman of the South Carolina Democratic Party, that notes Clinton's efforts to win the Southern state.

"The truth is Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign is pulling out all the stops to win in South Carolina," he wrote. "And it includes saying and doing just about anything to win."

The memo went on to note the significant resources the New York senator's campaign has invested in the state, Bill Clinton's fervent campaigning there over the last week, and a recent declaration by a Clinton surrogate that she would win the state.

Responding to Wolfson's contention that the Democratic race will soon shift to Florida, Obama spokesman Bill Burton said, "It should not be surprising given recent events that the Clinton campaign would in one breath say the election is about winning delegates and then tout their success in states that don’t award any delegates in the next breath."

"The DNC has made clear that the winner of the contest in Florida will not receive any delegates, so the next step in this nominating process is February 5th. If the Clinton campaign's southern strength rests on the outcome in a state where they're the only ones competing, that should give Democrats deep pause," he added.

soundoff (59 Responses)
  1. George from Minneapolis

    as an african american male for bill to imply that the main reason blacks will vote for obama is because he is black is an insult. tjhe clinton campaign know exactly what they are doing, basically saying to whites "blacks are for obama so you whites should be with us."

    i will laugh daily till my stomach hurts if hillary wins the democratic nomination then loses to a republican in the general election. i for one will vote for a republican if obama is not in the general election.

    america will deserve another term of a republican president if it allows hillary to win the nomination after which the democratic party will come crawling back to obama to save it.

    why go through all of that when you can elect the best candidate NOW..

    Barack Obama

    January 26, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  2. Tyler in Raleigh

    I love that Clinton and her obnoxious supporters claim that Obama is breaking rules by running a CNN ad that will air nationally, including Florida.


    MI and FL do not count. Not becuase of Obama, nor any other candidate. The states are to blame for costing their people their voice. They broke the DNC rules and moved the elections up when they were told not to. Now the people want to complain, well STOP BLAMING THE CANDIDATES AND BLAME THE PEOPLE N YOU STATE THAT DECIDED TO BREAK THE RULES.

    The Slick HILLBILLY comes along and wants to change the rules after the fact to suit their needs. They tried in Nevada to ban caucas sites that might hurt them AFTER IT WAS AGREED TO MONTHS BEFORE. Now she wants MI and FL to count AFTER SHE WAS THE ONLY ONE IN MI ON THE BALLOT!!!

    How is that for breaking rules? She did not stay on the ballot because she wanted MI voters to have a voice.... she did it to claim victory in a race that does not count and where there are no opponents. Even then, she wont 55% against NO ONE. Not a resounding victory that shows how little support she has in the state.

    Now FL.... all to claim another win... what next, she declares there are a dozen new states in the US that also voted for her??

    January 26, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  3. Jake, California

    Hillary, no! We'll simply not have elections in Florida. No that the people of that states aren't important. It's just that you want to be the winner going into Super Tuesday, well you can compete against yourself there and win 'NOBODY' again so you can have a lot of winning records...

    I fear this woman might become like Britney Spears!

    January 26, 2008 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  4. Hugh

    Kandace, Clinton will need MUCH more than Navada and New Hampshire to win also...what's your point? Apparently Clinton and Edwards thought Obama wouldn't win that's why they spent Hundreds of Thousands of dollars in the state. They thought they had a chance to win...again, what's your point?

    January 26, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  5. observer

    Regardless of delegates in Fla. or Mich. the people there are voters and will have to live with whoever is elected. Hillary shows that she is a candidate of the people by making a showing there. Shame on the other candidates for only counting the people of a state by the delegates they represent. Obama preaches "unity" yet there is no unity without delegates? Go Hillary, show them a TRUE candidate of All people,,how honorable!

    January 26, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  6. Mike J.

    Barak Obama needs to look at how he one SC.From what i can see he needs to give it up now.If he does get the nod we will have another republican for four more years and that will hurt america.America needs a doer not a talker.We have alot of preachers in america we dont need one running the country.Hillary will listen to america and not her self unlike Obama and do what she is asked.Everyone knew what was going to happen in SC and so did the talker and he knew this was his audience and they would listen to his bs.Listen to what he says.He will join the two parties together.What a joke.Republican and Demicrats only come together when its an emergancy.Hillay Clinton is the person for america and it is time for america to back her.I challange the american people to vote on super tuesday For Hillary Clinton and make it more of a desisive win then Obamas so called win in SC.

    Mike J.
    Go Hillary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 27, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  7. Sherry

    Since when does the DNC speak for Florida? Just because our primary was moved up by one week does not mean we should lose our democratic delegate votes! What the hell kind of a scam is this? I think Gov. Christ should correct this!!

    January 28, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  8. lcb

    I am very disappointed that as a tax paying Floridian my vote will not count. Having said that I am so very upset that the media spends so much time in spinning things and not helping the public by allowing equal destruction of campaigns. For some reason the Obama camp is being portrait as the next coming.

    I don't understand how Americans are flocking like mindless sheep to a candidate that has no substance but wonderful written speeches about "hope", and moving forward past the establishment. Yet he loves the establishment (the long term senators and politicians he is vowing to change) endorsing him. I don't know what you Obamanites are trying to sell, but I am not buying.

    I have had enough of inexperienced politicians. Seven years of Bush (which I recall also spoke of hope and change) is enough for me. Give me substance and guts, action and experience...Someone that will not be manipulated, or whine, or act childish, or complain about every thing. Someone, please, quickly, explain to Obama it's a primary, it's not about him it's about The United Sates of America. Get over yourself!

    January 29, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  9. Jessica

    Actually, all of Romney's money can be spent in the primary, nicluding the $2.35M he loaned to himself for startup costs in the first days of his candidacy, which in effect brings the total to $23M. He's already spent half of that, but the half he has left is still more than the record $8.9M Al Gore raised in the first three months of 1999.Romney has won the first major round of PR since the simple fact that he has raised the most on the GOP side will increase the amount of free publicity he receives, which he desperately needs in order to get his name out in the public eye over and over again until people start becoming interested and finding out what he's all about. It's going to take a lot of PR and expensive advertising for him to compete with the name recognition that Giuliani has going for him, but if Romney has any chance at all he seems to be making the best of it.

    March 16, 2012 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
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