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. doyle warren

    wolf you show biasa and you kept trying to bait both canidate.. and the never took the baite... and do you really belive we thought someone sent that question in bout clinton/bushie in white for 28yrs.... come on give me a break just next time b fair.

    February 1, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  2. Victor

    The CNN team is biased against Hilary. I don't think its any deeper than settling personal scores with Bill Clinton and the media's superficial fascination with "change" because it sells.

    I think Bill Clinton had a point when he said shame on you. You do try to dictate the agenda.

    As for the war thing. Obama was not in the Senate and had no constitutional responsibility to protect American interests from possible WMD He was not receiving the briefings Hilary was. His speech was just that – n uniformed speech without consequences. When he became a member of the Senate and shared her responsibilites and was subjected to the same considerations, he fell in line with the conventional wisdom.

    Actually i think he is insufferably smug with no reason to be apart from the fact that he is getting a free ride.

    February 1, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  3. marilyn

    As I was watching the candidates last night, I kept feeing how staged Hillary looked. I'm thinking man..she looks like yesterdays news.. trying to recap the 90's, which we all know is long gone... I think we really need someone like Obama, I'm 47 years old and for the frist time in a long time.. I really felt like...yes we can!! and beacuse Obama is NOT jaded by being in Washinton since the dinosaus walk the earth, we can trust that he can and will work hard for all people and not just the chosen few. And one other thing... Mr. Wolf I don't think you where too hard on Hillary.... after all she does have 35 yrs of experience dealing with critcism, kinda remind me of Lucy in the You're Not Elected, Charlie Brown

    February 1, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  4. Right on Day1

    Great Job Wolf!!!! You did what a moderator should & moderated this time. It stayed on track, without devolving into childish remarks. Issues were tackled in the limited time that mattered. You were very unbiased, catching Obama and calling out Hillary.

    Thank You.

    But I was disappointed that in 2 things:
    a) Obama was not asked to be specific on how he will change the country. That's the main point the undecided seem to have.
    b) Hillary was not asked how she will overcome her polarizing presence in a general election. Working bipartisan in the senate is a far cry from winning the votes from moderate republicans & independents.

    I know it doesn't matter much, but you have redeemed yourself in my eyes, after that previous debate.

    February 1, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  5. Carole

    Wolf, as an "unbiased news anchor/reporter", your bias certainly showed when you attacked Sen. Clinton last night. Shame on you. Sounded like Edwards in Wolf's clothing.

    February 1, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  6. ryan gordon

    wolf your disrespect towards hillary clinton not only took away some of the excitment of the event but also reduced your standing as a news reporter. i also booed you. i watched you today and it was business as usual for you with no remorse. shame on you.

    February 1, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  7. ryan gordon

    shame on you wolf, your disrespect towards hillary was poor judgement on your part.

    February 1, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  8. gina

    I thought I was going crazy, until I realized that people know that you HATE Hillary. YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO BE IN BETWEEN. I dislike CNN so much!

    February 1, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  9. Salvador

    if she wins, hope you eat your words!

    February 1, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  10. sundari

    Wolf,

    You and CNN need to seriously do objective journalism. Your bias towards Obama is sickening. Yes, Hillary voted for the war on Iraq. So did many other senators with 9/11 fresh in their minds and Bush and his clones lying to Congress that the threat is imminent. Obama was not in the senate at that time and has no right saying he didn't support the war because no body knows how he would have voted. I too thought it was not a good idea to go to the war. I had a very good judgement too. Does it make me eligible for presidency? Heck NO. Obama need to quit bringing this up holier than thou attitude. Chances are some of his old mistakes wil surface to haunt him as well. Oh, wait a minute. He actually never takes a stance on hard issues, because he votes "present". Please get serious wolf and stop pandering to Obama and other celebrities.

    February 1, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  11. fergusparent

    I was disgusted by the question asked of Hillary about the spouse issue. In my mind, I think that is a rather personal question and not really anyones business, after all, Hillary is the one running for office, not her husband,

    February 1, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  12. LC Fernandes Calif.

    Wolf,
    I was a bit ticked off when you called senator Hillary Clinton "naive". It didn' come off as a challenging question but rather it seemed to come out in a disrespectful manner with a condescending tone if you will. ( althought I believe that's not what you intended.) I hope.
    I personally like Anderson Cooper's style of interviews where no matter how difficult or direct the question is, it never comes off as a diss" if you will.
    It must be a personalitiy thing, anyway no harm no foul. I enjoyed it overall and I did post on the AC360 blog the effect the debate had on me and on my voting decision so I won't go over it with boring details here....
    fine job overall- CNN keep on keeping it honest and real –

    Ciao,
    LCF. Calif.

    February 1, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  13. TJ from Woodlands, TX

    Wolf, using the word "Naive" on Hillary was very unnecessary and disrespectful.

    I wonder why the press (especially CNN crew – Jack Carfety, John King and CNN contributor, Mr. Bennet) despises Hillary Clinton and so obviously never finds anything negative about Barak.

    Is Barak that a supernatural being that is just soooooo withot a fault? Agreed that Hillary has made mistakes in the past, but having made mistakes and learned from it is exactly what makes her more qualified than Barak who may only rely on John Kerry and Ted Kennedy if he mistakenly makes it to the white house.

    Please show Hillary some respect and focus more on her positives than her mistakes.

    Please do not be sold on new antiques – there really is nothing like new antiques and Barak does not have enough of what it takes to lead America (he'll sure do well and learn a lot more from being a VP)

    February 1, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  14. Dennis

    This is the problem with the media, and Wolf took it to extremes last night. Both candidates handled themselves very respectfully and professionally, while Wolf obviously wanted Hillary's blood. The music that sounded like drums; I'm surprised there weren't cat calls. CNN should realize, how obvious this is.

    Obama has obviously some sort of a deal with Oprah, and the media, including the newspapers. With their help, he is trying to convince the American people that he is more electable than Hillary. The polls show that the American people are smarter and know that Hillary is a much more experienced, tough electable candidate. Obama is great on the rhetoric, but right now we need someone who is going to roll up their sleeves and fight for ALL of the American people. Obama doesn't have a record or the experience to lead this country during times like these. He will depend on his cabinet to run the show. If he is smart, he will accept (if offered) the vice presidency, learn a little more and then become president and then keep the democrats in office for a long time. These are historic times, I hope it's not for naught!

    February 1, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  15. FOR HILLARY !!!!!!!

    Mr Wolf !!!!!
    Be fair !!!!!
    I have seen last night , that Mrs Clinton was doing a lot better then Mr Obama.
    She is the stronger leader in the election !!!!!!
    I will vote fro Mrs Clinton !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 1, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  16. angelita

    Mr. Blitzer:

    Just so you know Hillary was poised, confident, she had the facts, she didn't fumble for words, she was sincere, and you couldn't break her. The only thing you MEN are dangling over her head is her vote on the war. It's now becoming redundant, and all we need to do now is to bring the troops home. Believe me she can, and will get the job done.

    While you "talking heads" and so called pundits may think if she is elected she wouldn't be able to get the job done on the war on terror or bringing the troops home early, don't let the skirt fool you.

    February 1, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  17. Vancouver-Truth

    I agree that CNN generally, and you Wolf, are unfair to Hillary. Obama has been a media darling since Oprah backed him. He has received far more attention and credibility than he deserves- given what he HAS NOT DONE for the American people to date.

    February 1, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  18. Nancy

    I thought that the news media was suppose to be unbiased. CNN is so Obama that is all they talk about maybe they will throw the other candidates a crumb but they are so obvious.

    CNN Obama 08

    February 1, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  19. D. Brinsley

    Over all you did good Wolf, but you did seem a little bullying on the subject of Hillarys' vote. She made a decision based on the information she had at the time. I also was concerned about those WMDs. We all were misled. Time to let her off the hook for making a decision based on faulty intelligence.

    The news of the day about Obamas' campaign bringing in about a million a day makes one wonder how much billionaire Oprah has beefed up his coffers? Just asking. And more news of the day concerning Obamas' announcement about his supporters not giving their vote to Hillary if he is not nominated- Who is playing the race card now? Is he intimating that blacks will withhold their vote if they can't vote for him? This is divicive talk.

    February 1, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  20. Mike

    I'm surprise that Wolf didn't say that he was endorsing Obama at the end of the night! I have never seen such biased questioning. CNN will do and say anything to get Obama elected! Goodbye CNN!

    February 1, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  21. Sandra, New York

    Hello Wolf,
    While I am sure you are proud of the historic nature of the debate last night, I found you to be incredibly biased against Hillary Clinton. I am amazed at the free ride that Obama is getting from the press; especially on CNN where I would expect you to be impartial and raising both sides of issues and candidates, not just parading out Carl Bernstein to spout off how much he hates the Clintons every day! As a voter and viewer I want to make up my own mind about who I vote for, and look to you for facts and coverage that will allow me to make up my own mind. That's the beauty of the political system in this country. No matter what, when I go into that voting booth, I make the decision who I vote for.

    February 1, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  22. Corey

    Phenomenal debate! Great moderation! Go OBAMA!!

    February 1, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  23. kaywallis

    Dear Mr. Blitzer: Regarding the presidential debates, with the thousands of hours of air time now available (thanks to cable television), it seems amazing, and ludicrous, that most of that time is filled with reruns of old TV shows, movies, every conceivable sporting event, etc., and yet the people running for President of the United States get 60 seconds to talk about some aspect of foreign policy, economics, health care, taxes, immigration, etc. And from these "bumper sticker" debates, "we the people" are supposed to somehow learn something about what these candidates understand and how they arrived at their various positions? Something is very wrong with this. I own a bookstore and could easily fill it with books on just econmics. These are complex, interrelated, dynamic issues–wouldn't you agree we deserve more than a collection of soundbites? I realize that the candidates have written versions of their positions–I've read most of them online. And while they provide a little more information, they also tend to be pretty superficial–long on rhetoric and short on specifics. That's where the media, particularly television, can be very helpful by asking the questions that will get to the specifics (or get a lot of doubletalk from candidates who can't answer the question).

    So, I have two suggestions: (1) cut the post-debate commentary to 30 minutes, max, and then add 30 minutes to the debate time. I've been watching the post-debate commentary on both CNN and Fox, and have noticed that after the first 15 minutes or so, both tend to get repetitive, especiially if they are trying to fill an hour. And, (2) have future debates focus on one subject. A 2 hour discussion of health care, or immigration, or foreign policy, (especially now that we have only two Democratic and four Republican candidates), would not only give us a much better understanding of the candidates' positions, but also give people a much better understanding of just how complicated these issues are.

    February 1, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  24. H. M-C

    Mr. Blitzer:
    I am normally impressed with CNN and their reporters (Anderson Cooper et al), BUT I was truly disappointed in your unprofessional moderator skills. I moderate focus groups for a living. And as a professional, I have to be objective and get respondents to try to be as honest as possible.

    YOU on the other hand were really obnoxious in trying to instigate a fight between the two candidates.

    YOUR bias against Senator Clinton was apparent and was totally uncalled for. If the two candidates wanted to 'play nice' and help unite the Democractic party, then LET THEM.

    This is historic , having two minorities be potential presidential nominees Senator Clinton kept her cool and I was very proud of her performance!

    February 1, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  25. felix yaroshevsky

    Clintons are "2 for 1" type of merchandise; Obama – 'all IN one'

    February 1, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
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