February 11th, 2008
02:45 PM ET
14 years ago

Blitzer: Don't count on endorsements

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/16/art.blitzeriowa.cnn.jpg caption="Blitzer: Most endorsements don't make much of a difference."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - My email inbox is usually loaded these days with releases from the presidential candidates boasting of major presidential endorsements, usually from politicians and newspaper editorials. On the Republican side, John McCain is lining up tons of GOP endorsements, most recently from Florida’s popular former governor, Jeb Bush. The Republican establishment quickly seems to be lining up behind him – now that he appears to have the nomination mathematically wrapped up. These late endorsements are not exactly profiles in courage.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are getting tons of endorsements as well. The lists keep on growing. They are both courting John Edwards right now. No doubt, they would each love to win Al Gore’s support. But how much do these endorsements really matter?

Most experts believe that Florida Gov. Charlie Crist’s endorsement of McCain before the Florida primary helped. The same is probably true of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s endorsement of McCain. Both of those governors are popular.

But McCain suffered an embarrassing and crushing defeat over the weekend in Kansas despite the endorsement of Sen. Sam Brownback. In Massachusetts, Obama had the full-throated endorsements of both sitting senators, Ted Kennedy and John Kerry, as well as the governor, Deval Patrick. But Clinton won. There are plenty of other examples.

I have often felt that most endorsements probably might not help, but usually can’t hurt. Of course, there are some endorsements that probably can hurt. I suspect The New York Times’ endorsement of McCain for the Republican nomination didn’t help shore up his support among the conservative base.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (34 Responses)
  1. nic

    Has Wolf come out & officially endorsed Clinton yet, or is he still hiding the Hillary t-shirt under his suit?

    February 11, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  2. Jim

    Endorsements don't matter. Votes Matter! Obama has the most votes. He has also won the most deligates... despite what CNN may want you to think

    February 11, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. Karen

    Dear Wolf,
    Hoping you can answer a question? How is it legally possible that the voters in Michigan and Florida(14 million registered voters) have been told that their votes (delegates) will not be counted? In America, the DNC can tell states whose votes count and whose don't?

    February 11, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. Eye Opener

    Thank you Mr. Blitzer.
    I think the american voter is concerned enough with the future of this country to rely on endorsements of politicans who have been entrenched in the system we are trying to change for so long. There is to much at stake this time, VOTER BEWARE!

    February 11, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  5. John

    Endorsements are good at playing psychological warfare with your opponent.

    The Clintons, like the Bushes, fiercly value loyalty- so the steady stream of high-profile Obama endorsements (many of whom are female) must have gotten under the Clintons' skin.

    February 11, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  6. Ken, Suitland MD

    Bitzer, do you actually get paid for this drivel....?

    February 11, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  7. Amy

    Endorsements do matter. They help with an undecided voters justification for a candidate. And they confirm others voters decision as well. The Clintons know this and always tend to downplay the many high profile endorsments that Obama has garnered. Then they trot out their endorsements as an accomplishment. They matter. So don't try to downplay their significance. In fact the Kennedy endorsement and Maria Shriver endorsement for Obama was outstanding and helped confirm my vote for Obama.

    February 11, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  8. Cheers

    Well said. So goes Edwards's endorsement.

    February 11, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  9. george

    Why nobody talks about Michigan and Florida delegate situation? How can anyone win the general election without winning at least one of the two?

    February 11, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  10. Paul

    Karen, the primaries are the business of the political parties, not the states – technically they're independant entities. The party can carry out its primaries any way it wants: they could say that only people between the ages of 45 and 50 with red hair are allowed to vote, if they really wanted to (but they wouldn't, of course, as half the party would switch to another one or go independant).

    February 11, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  11. Jordan


    When are you planning on proposing to Hillary? Be careful of Bill, man... he's quick to pull out the skeleton's in opponents' closets!

    February 11, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. Ted

    I agree , because come next year when the economy will hit an all time low , Oprah and the Kennedy's won't be helping you with your mortgage payments . No , they will carry on living in their nice big homes and watch their bank accounts grow..!!
    So be smart America and choose carefully , Obama is not ready to be the leader , not just yet anyway..!!!

    February 11, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  13. Anne

    Personal endorsements are one thing... but the concept of "superdelegates" is another.

    I shudder to imagine what will happen if Obama goes into the Democratic convention with a lead in the state elected delegates and this mandate is overturned by political honchos and insiders.

    Whatever miniscule faith Americans still have in the political process will be shattered, and our "democratic process" will have lost all credibility...both here and abroad.

    I am not so naive as to believe that the "smoke-filled room" is a thing of the past, but I do hope that this will not be the case with the eyes of the world upon us. We have staked our political honor on the concept of "the will of the people", and it would be a terrible mistake for the Democratic Party to prove that to be misplaced.

    People have lost enough faith in our government...and a brokered convention could be the killing blow.

    February 11, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  14. glhf

    The DNC made their rules and those 2 states broke them. I'm from Florida so obviously I'm upset as well but it's my state's fault, not Obama, Hillary, or the DNC's. I hope that answers your question Karen.

    February 11, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  15. Otto

    MI & FL violated DNC rules and scheduled their primaries early and we denied delegates. For that reason no one advertised there or made appearances. As such the vote is also not representative. HRC came into this with name reccognition and an automatic vote of a large portion of regular democratic voters. However, she has now lost 19 out of 29 states where candidates actually made an effort in.
    MI and FL have been offered to hold new elections and allow candidated to advertise, campaign and with MI put their name on the ballot.

    February 11, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  16. Peter

    If the super delegates push Clinton over the top...Barack Obama should then declare that he will run as an independent...

    February 11, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  17. Jackie

    I don't understand how a person can be swayed by a celebrity. Obama is a product that is endorsed by celebrities. Here buy Obama Oprah likes him. Here Buy obama Ted Kennedy said so. Give me a break. Obama is a name brand, that needs endorsments. If Big names didn't come out who would know about him. If supporters of him are voting for him B/C of the big name endorsemsents then they are weak minded with no ability to make up their own minds. I DO NOT WANT A PUPPET IN THE WHITE HOUSE. OBAMA IS A PUPPET AND THE CELEBRITIES ARE THE PUPPET MASTERS.

    February 11, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  18. HP Boston

    Oh Blitz must know the Edwards endorsement is coming! All 26 delegate votes too! Yup Hillary is going to win, as hard as they try to sweep her under the rug, it will be pulled out from under them!

    February 11, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  19. Thorisa Thorangkoon Yap

    Thank you very much for your well thought article. Now I do know why everyone I talk to loves CNN. I will not endorse any candidate who does not have any idea about Foreign as well as Domestic policy. He or she may be my friend but, I will do the Right thing that will benefit my Country not any corperation, FCC license benefit, or free Visas for the Iraq green zones War workers. A Presidental candidate should work very very hard in order to earn it. This is the urgent matter of my country and it is not a Popularity contest. It is my personal opinion and I will stand tall for my statement.

    February 11, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  20. Anthony

    Sources say Hillary Clinton still has a slight edge in the popular vote... I wish all the people who say otherwise would take the time to read certain news stories.

    Even if Hillary doesn't have the popular vote anymore, it is so close to 50-50 that it's ridiculous.

    February 11, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. aggiemom

    Does anyone have any idea who Al Gore is for? I think his endorsement would help someone.

    Praying it is Obama......

    February 11, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. ben

    When I read in the blogs remarks about the bias of Wolf Blitzer, It does make me
    worry about the mentality of some bloggers out there.
    You will not find a more level head anchor than Wolf. He is not biased for or against any candidate. He is just one hell of a good anchor man.
    You want bias? Tune in abc. They even hired Carl Rove to add to their list of biased reporters!

    February 11, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. David

    why is CNN showing superdelegates? Are you trying to make it appear as if Hillary is doing better. Billary's losing!! And soon their Washington friends won't be enough.

    February 11, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  24. Joe

    Just for a minute if we think..its correct. Then how can Clinton News Network(CNN) can explain the secret meeting between Mr. Edword and Mrs. Clinton.

    February 11, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. Robin Wagner from ct


    February 11, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
1 2