February 1st, 2008
02:50 PM ET
15 years ago

Blitzer: Another record-breaking night

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/21/art.wolfdebate.cnn.jpg caption="More than 8 million voters tuned in last night."]NEW YORK (CNN) - I am now back in New York after taking the red-eye from LA. My job may not necessarily be as glamorous as it sounds - but I am not complaining at all.

I was honored to represent CNN at the debate between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. It was historic - the first time we saw a woman and an African-American together on the stage poised to become the Democratic presidential nominee. The excitement at the Kodak Theater was palpable.

Going into the debate, I was a little nervous. I knew millions of people would be watching. And indeed, they were. We now know that a record 8.3 million watched in the United States – more than any other presidential primary debate on cable news ever. The previous record was the 4.9 million who watched our Democratic debate in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina earlier in January. Many millions more watched the debate on CNNPolitics.com, and on CNN International around the world.

I want to thank my debate partners, Doyle McManus of The Los Angeles Times and Jeanne Cummings of Politico.com, for joining me in the questioning. When I introduced them last night as excellent journalists, I spoke the truth. I have worked with them over the years covering many stories, and they really are among the best in the business.

Now, we get ready for Super Tuesday. It will be an enormous challenge for those of us in the television news business. But we at CNN have the best political team on television, and I can promise you this – we will be ready for all the action.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (263 Responses)
  1. the mat


    Shame on Wolf Blitzer needling Hillary about her Iraq vote to the point of calling her "Naive"! This should not have been allowed by CNN. You are supposed to be unbiased but you are showing your true colors. Stick to the subject and do not sensationalize things – you are risking becoming like a Geraldo Rivera.

    the mat

    February 1, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  2. Bob

    PS: I don't think journalists are supposed to suspend their intelligence when they speak with someone on the air. I find it refreshing when they call someone out for something that is clearly contradictory.

    February 1, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  3. Scott H.

    Wolf Blitzer trying to appear humble? A man of the people? C'mon, Wolf, you've been on TV for years, in front of plenty of viewers. No need to patronize us! You're a celebricaster, with all of the perks, privileges, and responsibilities that come with the title. Take ownership of who you are!

    "My job may not necessarily be as glamorous as it sounds — but I am not complaining at all..."

    "Going into the debate, I was a little nervous. I knew millions of people would be watching..."

    February 1, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  4. rok

    Considering CNN's lean to Obama (lastest news...Sentator Rangel's wife (who?)endorses Obama; Ann Coulter endorses HRC), you did try to keep it clean and give Senator Clinton fair questions. I'm just so sick of the media's attempt to handpick our next president...I think it will back fire. People are smarter than that.

    February 1, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. Frank Chase Jr,

    Give Obama the nomination. A lot of Afirican Americans make like Hillary, but I'm not too sure she can win it. The dream ticket sounds good, but the clinton baggage will sure enough the DEMS and loose the white house again. Let Hilliary wait a little longer. Barack can't afford her as a VP at this time. I'M SCREAMING NOW SO YOU CAN HEAR TO NOT GO WITH HILLARY NOW. THE REPUBLICANS WILL USE ALL THE CLINTONS MESS TO SINK OBAMA. Obama is not kidding, he can deal with McCain.

    February 1, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  6. bbln

    Dear CNN – please STOP SHOVING OBAMA DOWN OUR THROATS. Have a nice day.

    February 1, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  7. Marilyn

    I thought the way you treated Hilary was not fair! The nieve thing was uncalled for!
    I don't care for you at all any more. You think you are so cool because of your job.
    I wish Anderson Cooper could take your place!

    February 1, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. JA Cook

    I was somewhat disappointed in the moderation. More than once you (Wolf) injected words that weren't there or necessary.

    If one candidate does in fact take a swipe at the other, let the other be the one to recognize it and react. It's not for you to look for offense in their remarks and try to create friction.

    On the idea of both on a ticket, neither agreed, yet you kept trying to interpret both responses as a "yes".

    You overstepped the bounds of a moderator and tried to steer the answers.

    February 1, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. AnnAloha, Independent Thinker. PA

    CNN and John King Glorifying Senator Obama
    I was wondering if I was the only one that caught that, but thank God I wasnt! WHAT IN THE WORLD WAS HE THINKING!?!?!?! "Well, Obama had a great response to that but we went to break, so I talked to his people, and here's what he WOULD HAVE SAID.........blah blah blah!" GIVE ME A BREAK! What he WOULD say isnt worth the day old coffee grounds in my Mr. Coffee, what he did say is worth the same as the mangled up scraps in my garbage disposal.........both worth NOTHING! Because he didn't say anything there was no value. Because he "would" have said, has no value. The reason nothing was said is because he had NOTHING TO SAY! The comment from Hillary was not a comment for him to make rebuttal or opportunize to drop another name, like Gregory said on here.

    I thought Hillary majorly won the debate and was sick of hearing from everyone except Bill Bennett and Pat Buchanan that she didn't. They called it correctly saying that she did win it, and for what reasons. Also, it's funny to hear the reporters this morning with their down turned voices while having to report that Hillary is up +13%pts in Missouri, up +20%pts in New York, up +11%pts in Tennessee, etc! and most of the other Feb 5th states as well.....with the exception of Colorado, where they only have her predicted as -2%pts down, easy ground to pick up!

    February 1, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  10. Geo

    Wolf, you were the biggest loser last night. Your dislike of Hillary and favoring one candidate over another was so obvious, Listen to your viewer audience, they sure responded with lou boo's to you. You are losing it Wolf. Maybe time for you to be replaced?

    February 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  11. Al

    Agreed. You are biased. That is not journalist do.

    February 1, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. Chiman

    Mr. Wolf
    Good job during the debate except for the cheap shot you took at Mrs. Clinton when you called her naïve. I am disappointed in your so called ‘best political team’ though. They need to stop campaigning for Mr. Obama. Any person who watched y’day’ debate and has a little brain would say that Mrs. Clinton won the debate fair and square, but your political team tried to give it to Obama based on one and only one point when that Obama scored – Iraq War. You know better than anybody that Economy and Healthcare are much bigger issues than Iraq war and on both issues Mrs. Clinton scored huge victories.
    Please start being fair, independent and trustworthy – that’s how we knew CNN was otherwise get ready to go down in rankings.

    February 1, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  13. Tim Spence

    I am finding that most of the media is biased against Hillary. I think she is a great person, and a fantastic candidate. I worked the phone banks for her in Phoenix, and had a great response. Please be neutral, and try to be fair to both candidates.

    February 1, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. Klaus

    Having read most of the comments on Bill Schneiders article last night, I feel that the Republicans are seeding your website with anti-Clinton comments.
    Obama tried hard last night to break away from his trade-mark oratory, which usually is devoid of details. Hillary has the guts to spell out most of the details of her platform. You know where you stand!! All in all it was the most interesting debate in a very long time.
    But, Wolf, do not call her naive, as you implied in one of your questions.
    She was graciously sidestepping that affront. Her best line was surely the Clean-up Job after the Bushes. Priceless!
    I do not agree with E. in Dallas, that Anderson Cooper should have moderated.
    Not after the Republican debate fiasco. For the first time – and I do like AC normally in his various stints – he lost control and couldn't get the debate back on track. None of these R candidates offered nearly as much detail of their platforms as did Hillary and Barak
    We usually watch CNN to stay abreast with US politics. You – and your whole crew – is actually doing a very fine job of reporting. So we allow you a few stumbles here and there.

    February 1, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. Dean from Texas

    After watching the Democratic debates, and hearing the comments that they plan to pull out of Iraq immediately after in power......why is it that no one asked the question about what they think will happen to the oil if we pull out and leave Iraq as it is right now? Do they not think the terrorists will go in and confiscate the oil in that country and other nearby countries? How will America get the needed oil to survive?

    February 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  16. Jay Branum

    Excellent debate between the two Democratic finalists last night. Neither of the two candidates came away a "loser" – in fact, the only loser was Wolf Blitzer, because of the tasteless baiting of Senator Clinton by trying to put words into her mouth and get her to admit to having been naive. This was way over the line, as far as my wife and I were concerned, and to judge from all the boos from the audience, a lot of other people had the same reaction. Your professional judgment abandoned you during those moments, and you clearly stepped out of role, Mr. Blitzer.

    Otherwise, a great debate, one which put all previous debates in the shade – especially the previous night's squabble among Republicans, during which the clear preponderance of questions and airtime was concentrated on McCain and Romney, to the detriment of the other two candidates and the public.

    Jay Branum
    Powell Butte, Oregon

    February 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  17. dawn

    As a journalist Mr Blitzer, aren't you suppose to be neutral...I was disappointed in your attempts a few times to try and stir up a fight between the canidates. Hilllary is not naive as you suggested and your remarks about "that was a clear swipe" trying to show that Obama said something YOU thought should not have been said against Clinto. What I saw from that is that YOU wanted to beef up viewers but instagating a fight.... Both canidates can answer for themselves.
    Keep your mouth shut in the future and let the canidates stand up for themselve if they feel it is needed (like the Republicans did, on their on in the debate the night before)

    February 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  18. Rob

    I for one am quite tired of the media's obsession with conflict themes in politics. This race should be about ideas and I saw Wolf Blitzer doing everything he could to try to goad the candidates into a "fight". We may as well start getting Don King to moderate presidential debates. Please, just focus on the issues. We all have too little information about our candidates because people like Mr. Blitzer seem to be more focused on entertaining and teasing out sound bites then pressing these people for real answers about the problems our country would be facing under their leadership. In case no one has noticed, the past 7 years have placed our country in a position that will take decades to recover from even under the most competent leadership. All that time, the media has failed to perform their duty in checking this administration. Now the media focuses more on personality than substance. You people are supposed to ask the hard questions, to dig, to get real answers that matter. I can watch Fox Reality to get conflict and entertainment.

    February 1, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  19. Anna

    I felt you and your staff were totally biased toward Obama. Your dislike for Hillary Clinton shows through. I sincerely hope you never host another debate.

    February 1, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  20. John A.D. Frederick

    I wish you would've left out the naive comment about Clinton related to Bush. It's just another example of why the ABC debates were better and why I watch them instead of CNN. You acted worse than Fox being biased toward Conservative issues and candidates.

    February 1, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  21. Justin


    Good job moderating. But I have to strongly agree with some of the other posters on here; you clearly favored Sen. Obama. I don't watch a debate to get the opinion of the moderator. CNN is usually my source for political coverage, however, as of late, I am finding it appauling how much more coverage Obama gets over Clinton, whatever happened to objective journalism? I am beginning to have to watch FOX or MSNBC. I am not making this point because I am a Clinton supporter, I also rambled about this subject when John Edwards was in the race.

    Many of my coworkers talked this morning at work, the old "convo by the water cooler." Many were disappointed in you calling Hillary naive. We've all made decisions before, including Sen. Obama, where we trusted another peron to do the "right" thing. It is not Sen. Clintons fault President Bush abused his Presidential power and betrayed his counterparts in Washington and the American people.

    While I find Sen. Obamas message of change refreshing, we hear this same message every four years from a particular candidate who discusses nothing but change and bringing people together, I'd like to hear more of his views on the actual issues at hand. Sen. Obama talks of "changing" Washington, however, Obama is a Senator, he is a part of the problem. Keep to the issues. Democrats are voting in record numbers, but it is not the way CNN portrays it. It is not because of Obamas message if change, he is not the only one reviatlizing this party. In all honesty, Sen. Obama cannot win the general election, even CNN has shown the numbers, for whatever reason, he is not getting the white vote. A Obama/McCain race ensures a John McCain victory. Something for Democrats around this nation to think about.


    February 1, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  22. lil P

    There is to much bias towards Obama from CNN. Where's "The Fair and balanced"? Didn't see it last night or any other night.

    February 1, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. independent for obama

    i have posted many comments today and none have gone up. Have i been blacklisted?

    February 1, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. Rebecca

    I would prefer it if Wolf Blitzer would be objective. I used to think he did a terrific job when reporting on the Gulf War but think power has changed him.
    I believe that the media has a duty to our country to be impartial when in charge of something like presidential debates. He has a right to his opinions and views. It was a debate, however, NOT "his program".
    Lou Dobbs and others have "their own program" and have every right to express their opinions–even if they want to say the same thing over and over again. People can chose to listen to them knowing what they can expect.–their opinions.
    This presidential debate was history making and something that I did not want to turn off to avoid Blitzer's comments.
    Please have your staff keep this in mind. Media can and do influence our decisions. That gives them a responsibility to use discretion. Rebecca

    February 1, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  25. marc

    Wolf Good job buddy.....Both candidates did their best but kinda almost put me to sleep

    February 1, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
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