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. Bill Parker

    I watched the Democratic debate in Los Angeles and I need to say that I was disgusted with your handling og the comments the candidates made. Wolf, you continually made comments or asked questions that were unnecessary and only trying to get an argument going between the candidates!!
    That is not your job and irresponsible reporting! I am a big CNN fan, but I'm getting more and more disgusted with your approach to this campaign.
    Please clean up your act and get back to reoprting the news and not trying to create it.
    Bill Parker

    February 2, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  2. Sally

    I enjoyed the last Dem debate because the candidates were savvy enough to drown out Mr. Blitzer each time he tried to spark dissention. The result? Civility and REAL information!
    Mr Blitz does no service to CNN. sorry..............but true!

    February 2, 2008 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  3. John

    The problem with the cable TV media, even the supposedly 'neutral' ones like CNN, is that they cannot resist beating down the frontrunner and pumping up the underdog so as to make their show 'exciting'. Let's see if we can provoke her and have her make a mistake on national TV. And of course, let's see if we can do this to the frontrunner and not the charismatic runner-up.

    It would not make for good cable TV if Hillary ran away with the nomination. Viewers would tune to another channel. So even though CNN thinks it's superior to, say, FOX, in some ways they are all in the same game. It's a shame but unfortunately that is what commercial TV results in. In fact, PBS, The Newshour, is much better at maintaining its neutrality. I cannot imagine Jim Lehrer making a snide remark to Hillary the way Blitzer did.

    February 2, 2008 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  4. jen

    i was glad he got booed. he deserved that . i, to am tired of cnn's coverage. The sad news is , their "Candidate" is still LOOSING.

    February 2, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  5. Jeff, Rathdrum ID

    My God you Clinton supporters!!! He did everything but get on his Knees and kiss her feet. He let Clinton go on and on, and cut Obama off, he always let Clinton respond and never let Obama and he tried like 3 or 4 times to bait Obama. It was the Clinton News Network at it's best and you still complain.

    February 2, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  6. Sean McM

    From Factcheck.org:
    Amid all the mutual admiration (during Thursday debate), we still found a few factual missteps:

    Obama claimed Democratic voter turnout has doubled in "every single election that we've had so far in this [nominating] contest." Not true. It doubled in only two. In New Hampshire the turnout increased by 30 percent.

    Obama misleadingly said corporate tax loopholes totaled $1 trillion. That figure is an estimate for a 10-year period and includes items such as low-income housing tax credits and tax-free bonds for state and local governments.

    Obama mischaracterized Clinton's earlier statements on driver's licenses for illegal aliens, saying, "You said you were for it. Then you said you were against it." Actually she avoided giving a yes-or-no answer in one debate, then made clear she opposed the idea.

    We also found that Clinton's response to a question about her vote on a key amendment to the Iraq war powers resolution may have left viewers confused, because the question didn't correctly describe what the vote was about. What she voted against was a measure that would have allowed the U.S. to invade Iraq only if authorized by the United Nations Security Council or by a separate vote of the Senate at a later date. Clinton said she opposed that proposal because it could have subordinated U.S. judgments to those of the Security Council.

    Note: This is a summary only. The full article with analysis, images and citations may be viewed on our Web site:factcheck.org (Univ of Pennsylvania)

    February 2, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. Mike

    I was so glad that a woman asked Clinton "How does being first lady qualify you to be president?" I agree! Just because you vote tough also does not mean that you know what to do in a crisis. What counts in that time is judgement. After Clinton judged all the evidence she had before her in 2002, she went with the mob of Republicans NEO-CON's who incited a riot based on hatred for those who just happen to look different. Racism ruled and Clinton was on the side of racist, much like her husband.

    The question I wish was asked to Clinton was, "how did it feel to be rejected in South Carolina after your husband played the 'We're White he's Black' race card in the South?

    If we don't change now we may well forget what a democracy is! I guess Laura Bush is up next! BOOOOOOOO! This sucks!

    OBAMA 08

    February 2, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  8. Ken Frederiksen


    While I have been an Independent for 30 years I have voted for Democrats in each election. I held my nose when I voted for McGovern and had a paper bag over my head when I voted for Dukakus, but after hearing this debate and the two candidates positions on Amnesty I find there is no way I can hide my disgust one more time and vote against America again. McCain would be worse choice than Obama or Clinton. If Lou Dobbs does not run I will just sit this one out. Any vote for any of these candidates is a vote for the continuing deterioration of this wonderful country. I will vote for national suicide.


    February 2, 2008 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  9. Frank


    While watching the last debate between Obama and Clinton, it was shocking to hear your second interruption of Hillary, asking her why not she simply admits being naive. That went to far from the centrality and objectiveness of the moderator, and damaged the image of yourself and CNN.

    February 2, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. Anonymous

    Barack Obama made the statement in campaigning the other day that he was more electable because Hillary Clinton supporter will vote for him in the general election if he becomes the Democratic nominee but that the Barack Obama supporter will not vote for Hillary Clinton if she is the Democratic nominee.

    Well unless he retracts that statement immediately in this fast paced election, for this Hillary Clinton supporter who for party unity and so did not want more Bush Whitehouse years made that statement true is now here by giving notice that it is no longer true. If I do not hear not only a retraction of this statement and a encouragement by Barack Obama for his supporters to vote Democrat no matter who ends up getting the nod as the Democratic nominee I will be setting out this election if Obama wins the nominee! He went way to far! If he waits till the convention to get all unity mode it will be to late for me! Lets see if Barack Obama wins without the Hillary Clinton supporter any better then Clinton would win without the Obama supporters.

    February 2, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  11. Neil

    It's going to be difficult for you to say 'Madam President', isn't it?
    Get used to the idea.

    February 2, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  12. Hillary08

    CNN is biased and favoring obama

    February 2, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. jose calderon

    good job wolf, i think this was history in the making, i support you but please dont be too negative with hillary she is a nice person and loves the country, cnn is the only place for politics

    February 2, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  14. Eli

    Here is a novel idea (if you can talk the campaigns into it):

    If by the Ohio debate, the Democratic race is up in the air but the GOP race is decided, then see if you can schedule a three hour debate with the two Democrats debating for two hours (as scheduled) and then ask John McCain to join the two of them for the final hour. It would help Democratic voters in seeing who was better at taking on Mr. McCain (maybe also the candidates might find that appealing) and help Republicans see the same thing (from the other side) and probably push your ratings up through the ceiling.

    I thought it was a great debate, and it lacked a lot of the nastiness of some earlier debates. And the last question nailed it. Whether by agreement or not, I suspect that both candidates realize they appeal to different groups of voters and if they end up on a ticket together it would be stronger than pretty much any other ticket the Democrats could field at this point.

    And as close as this race it, expect to see more of it in Ohio, Texas and some of the big states that are yet to vote.

    February 2, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  15. Julia

    If you people dislike CNN so much, why are you watching it? Why are you coming on the site and sniping at the anchors? Grow up people... It's a simple solution, if you don't like the way the network covers the news, don't watch it.

    Wolf, I think you did an excellent job Thursday night. You let both Barack and Hillary get their points across without letting them drag on for ten minutes at a time. You and Anderson always make the debates fun to watch, and I'm looking forward to seeing your coverage of Super Tuesday. I'll be watching!!

    February 2, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  16. Jung Germany

    wolf blitzer to me looked like he fears the democrats. he dosen't asked them any hard questions. I know cnn is a liberat news channel. it was one big love fest.
    as for the first woman or first black president, don't get so excited. we got our first woman speaker of the house and what has that done.
    bush might have low approval ratings but congress is worst. clinton, obama, and mccain are all part of that congress.

    February 2, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  17. CCHutton

    Please, please, STOP saying you're the "Best Political Team on Televsion."
    It's so arrogant, smug, self-serving and annoying. You are not the news.
    You cover the news. Stop promoting yourself all the time. If you're really the
    best, people will know it. You don't havea to keep hitting us over the head with how great you think you are. Who are you trying to convince? If we have to listen this for next 10 months, viewers may start to look for the Second Best Team.
    Think of something else. Just stop saying it.

    February 2, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. disambiguate

    Other posters have remarked that they would prefer to have Anderson Cooper or another more objective newscaster perform the duties on debates and these sort of events. Clearly a good idea. One worries that if you moved into a more management level role on these that it could get worse. I can imagine Jaba the Hutt's daughter, Candy Crowley, being used instead. She has even less objectivity.

    February 2, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  19. Jan Umbras

    I truly enjoyed the democratic debate the other night. One of the big reasons was that they were very civil to each other. The constant fighting and back-stabbing is not what we voters want to see or hear. I do feel that Wolf did "take sides" which as a moderator is WRONG. He seems to try to bait Hillary several times into saying something wrong or get her anger up. She kept her cool, and told him "nice try Wolf". Why not keep your private thoughts about your choices for candidates to yourself!! We're not watching the debate because of your ideas but theirs!!

    February 2, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  20. caribbean

    I am still to see Obama take questions from the crowd around him simular to what Senator Clinton or Mc Caine do.

    We treat him as if he comes form another planet , it seems that any question address to Senator Obama or anything said of him is taken as racism.

    Other canidates can be criticize and take it with a smile,Obama takes it as racism.

    Is this who we want to be The President of U.S.A.

    February 2, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. Karta Moe

    I believe Wolf is doing a great job, after watching the debate carefully there is no doubt that Hillary have a better chance to become the next US President against the Republican nominee, it is so unfair keep on talking about the Iraq war and blame her for that, to me after the 9-11a true American must do anything to get even, we can't just sit back and pretend nothing is happening

    February 2, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. ANGIE

    You need to get a different job!!! The way you put down Hillary and the disrespect you showed toward her made me sick. Asking her or making the statement that was she that nieve. You, susan and jack were also trying to get Hillary and Obama to fight, but they were on to all of you.- their a lot smarter then all three of you put together . And you are so transparent that you favor Obama , that you must think the public is stupid and we cannot see it. Of course, I feel that your really not for Obama, your just bias because he's a man. I would bet that your a republican and for McCain. All in All, I feel your a journalist and it is your job to be fair to all . I AM A DEMOCRATE and for all the people not just for the rich that can take care of themselves and the hick with the rest of the world. I will vote for Hillary or Obama however is the winner in the primary.
    Please, Wolf try to do a better job in your reporting and stay objective -remember we are watching and judging .

    February 2, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  23. PA

    Recently, Political Analysts have started getting
    a. arrogant,
    b. fortune teller,
    c. egostic,
    c. disillusion,
    d. amenesic.
    e. argumental
    f. disrespectful

    These analysts sits on fat pay check and paints fictions than facts and are not capable to make right conslusion.

    BTW: I thaught Wolf is a poor moderator.

    February 2, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  24. Mary Ann Rose

    Wolf, I would like to ask the question to Hillary, "if you are so much against the Bush administration, why did you and Bill Clinton not actively support and endorse the Kerry-Edwards ticket in 2004?"

    February 2, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  25. malik


    U did a good job with picking the people to ask the questions they did a good job asking. but u tried t oput words in the candidates mouth. u tried to make them say stuff they didnt and thats not good. they did nt want to get dirty right before seper tuesday and u made them. but still goood job!

    February 2, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
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