February 11th, 2008
03:14 PM ET
9 years ago

Clinton dismisses weekend losses

 Clinton downplayed her weekend losses Monday.

Clinton downplayed her weekend losses Monday.

WHITE MARSH, Maryland (CNN) - Hillary Clinton on Monday explained away Barack Obama's clean sweep of the weekend's caucuses and primaries as a product of a caucus system that favors "activists" and, in the case of the Louisiana primary, an energized African-American community.

She told reporters who had gathered to watch her tour a General Motors plant here that "everybody knew, you all knew, what the likely outcome of these recent contests were."

"These are caucus states by and large, or in the case of Louisiana, you know, a very strong and very proud African-American electorate, which I totally respect and understand."

Clinton has publicly dismissed the caucus voting system since before Super Tuesday, seeking to lower expectations heading into a series of contests that played to Obama's advantage. His campaign features what many consider to be a stronger and more dedicated grassroots organization than Clinton's.

Noting that "my husband never did well in caucus states either," Clinton argued that caucuses are "primarily dominated by activists" and that "they don't represent the electorate, we know that."

The New York senator went out of her way to say she was "absolutely" looking forward to the Ohio and Texas primaries in March, where she believes voters are more receptive to her bread-and-butter message.

She also downplayed many of Obama's Super Tuesday victories, describing them as states that Democrats should not expect to win in November.

"It is highly unlikely we will win Alaska or North Dakota or Idaho or Nebraska," she said, naming several of Obama's red state wins. "But we have to win Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Florida, Michigan ... And we've got to be competitive in places like Texas, Missouri and Oklahoma."

Watch Hillary Clinton assess her weekend losses

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

soundoff (705 Responses)
  1. chris

    tomdavie: Actually its people like you that will make African Americans not vote for Hillary. As long as Hillary and her die heart supports keep blaming their troubles on African Americans and painting them as irrational actors with no ability to discern which candidate is best for them, the African American community will definitely need to look at John McCain as a viable alternative.

    Remember it was the Clintons who decided to engage in a Republican style "southern strategy." It was the comments made by the Clintons themselves that caused African Americans voters to move their support to Obama. We can all remember when Clinton was the favorite among African Americans and a lot of African Americans frankly did not consider Obama a representative of their race because he was not the product of slavery and is HALF WHITE and HALF KENYAN.

    No democrat complains when African Americans go to the polls and constantly vote for white democrats but now that they vote for a HALF WHITE and HALF KENYAN man its time for the hardline democrats to call foul. I encourage all African Americans to reconsider their democrat loyalties because it appears that those within the party do not respect you.

    February 11, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  2. jr

    Barack Hussein Obama is attracting young people just like a cult leader and we all know what becomes of cult followers. These young followers should find out the facts about his Kenyan background and his relationship to Raila Odinga (a Luo). They act like he is a rock star, not a politician. Facts regarding "sleepers" are discovered when it's too late to do anything.

    February 11, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  3. larry buchas, new britain, ct

    "They don't represent the electorate" could be her campaign slogan. LOL!


    That's a pathetic line if there ever was one. Get a grip! i can hear Obama using that quote any day now.

    February 11, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  4. sean Detroit

    what an unintelligent answer from a sore loser. Another pathetic attempt to marginalize Obama

    February 11, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  5. Dalton


    With all the trouble that McCain is having with the right wing of the republican party he needs Hillary Clinton as his opponent in order to get right wing republicans excited about his candidacy.

    Right Wing republicans are prepared to sit this election out, let Obama win and focus on finding a true conservative for 2012. However if Clinton is the democratic nominee the far right will turn out in large numbers to defeat Hillary more so than to elect McCain.

    Also, Hillary would enter the general election with 45% of the electorate (mostly independents) unwilling to vote for her under any circumstances which means that not only will McCain benefit from a resurgent right wing of his party but he will also get the lions share of the independent vote giving him a victory in November.

    In short, a primary vote for Hillary is a general election vote for McCain

    February 11, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  6. Joann

    Hey Maria from Texas – see what you are doing – you are making an unintelligent decision. You say you will not vote Obama just because everyone else it – that doesn't that that the is the candidate with the most experience just the candidate that can sell you land in Alaska. Don't you get it? I can't believe people can sway your beliefs like that. Hillary is getting the intelligent vote and Obama is getting the "cult" "jonestown" votes. I hope someday you go for a "dream" job and you are told that you didn't get it because you had too much experience and the person who did get it did so because they had to hire a certain number of "African Americans" to fill their quota – then would you like it? God get a brain.

    February 11, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  7. Sridhar Prasad

    Hillary's remarks after loosing number of states has come down to –

    Grapes are Sour.

    Go Obama!!

    February 11, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  8. Jermika

    And she wonders why there's no coronation. She's awful when it comes to being gracious. She should take a note from the whipping her husband got in the media last month. If you don't have anything nice to say.......

    February 11, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Olga

    Hillary has basically told people who voted in the caucases that their vote does not matter and she does not recognize it. So, is it only Obama's voters who are the "activists" or are the people who voted for her also "activists", because she seems to use that word in a very derogatory manner.
    I am constatntly astounded by the lack of knowledge that people seem to have about the Clintons. I don't think that there would be enough room in the entire white house for all of their baggage.

    February 11, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  10. Stewart

    I have to agree with Hillary about caucuses. They don't represent the general electorate, because they are ill-timed and too long. Luckily my caucus was on a Sunday (Maine), making it more accessible, but it was 2 and a half hours long! I'm told we had a "shorter" one also as many first time caucus goers were feeling restless, and the speeches were shortened. A primary would have been so much better. I also know of many people who would have attended, but had to work, or had other obligations. I'm sure this happened to an even greater extent in states whose caucus was during the week. I don't understand why all states don't have secret ballot primaries, as they seem the least vulnerable to coercion, and are the most accessible and convenient.

    February 11, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  11. magda

    Of course Clinton has to dismiss Obama's victories, but the fact that she is stereotyping and labeling the wins as based on "race" and "activists" is just shamful! As a voter in search of a candidate that is grounded in truth and moral courage, I am disturbed and disgusted by what Hillary is doing. As this campaign progresses and Hillary shows more and more of her true colors, I ask myself, how can she be my president? Her dismissal of Obama's victories not only shows how weak and pathetic she is, but her total lack of principles and heart.

    February 11, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  12. Jacqueline Samms

    The people who are voting for Obama are college educated, wealthy individuals. Why is this? They are critical thinkers. The people who are voting for Hillary are older people who are afraid of change and the un-educated. If I were a Hillary supporter, I would be insulted.

    February 11, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  13. Don, Rochester, NY

    She is absolutely correct. Americans who refuse to follow a trend can see she is clearly the most qualified and the most electable. Obama is winning caucus and/or red states almost exclusively. His numbers in those red states have been high, but don't be fooled. Many republicans opted out of these primaries, but trust they will be there full force in November. GO HILLARY!!!

    February 11, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  14. Tyler

    Obama wants voters to ride on emotion and not facts. I went to an Obama rally this weekend, and a Clinton Rally this weekend. Obama spent an hour listing his ideas and stances, throwing around generalities and ballpark figures. Hillary spent an hour completely outlineing her strategies and ideas for this country. She didn't expect anyone to take a leap of faith and vote for her. She allowed us to actually hold her accountable. She also aswered audience questions.

    These two candidates are VERY different when it comes to what they are asking of voters. Obama is asking voters to vote for him because he's the new kid on the block, and he's interested in uniting democrats and republicans. Hillary is asking voters to support her because she has solutions to all of our current problems. And she proved that during her speech that I attended this weekend.

    February 11, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  15. Jon, Lantana

    Get over it you all.....geez you blogsters spin and detract more BS than any politician. The fact of the matter is LA has a strong PROUD african american base and therefore they are going to vote with their race, not a good thing, but a true thing. So yeah thats not racists thats just true, second off Caucuses are by and large undemocratic in my view. Its a matter of push and pull and bullying to rally votes...they have to stand there in front of their peers and cast their vote, then when there friends realize they are voting for someone else they peer pressure them in to changing sides....that is wrong you should vote once in the peace and quiet of a voting booth and not have peter paul and mary pulling you to vote for their candidate....so yeah the activists, meaning the most outspoken have control over caucuses because they bully and sway people away from their original vote..when i voted there wasnt even allowed a political sign 500 feet from the polling place.....obamites stop looking for a reason to be devicive.

    February 11, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  16. Rick

    Can you spell sour-grapes???? if Clinton had won, she'd be spinning a different tale

    February 11, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  17. caywen

    I'm just completely bewildered now. I guess her strategy is to hope to make this a 50/50 tossup my making everyone so dizzy from her incredible SPINNING that they don't know which lever they are pulling in the booths.

    Best I can make out, her logic is this: If I won the state, it is an important state that represents the electorate. If I lost the state, it is not an important state, and those people are marginal. So far, all the states lined up with this logic perfectly! And therefore, Obama must be a marginal candidate.

    By the way, Obama's the one drawing fire from Bush, not Clinton. That's definitely has to worry the Clinton camp.


    February 11, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  18. get truth guy

    Obama people, wake up! This nation can't afford another "talker" like Bush did in year 2000, we need the real hands like Hillary who has been done real chnages for the poeple last 30 years. not an empty talker who just has a weeks talks on "changes" and had about half term experience in senate seat, it won't get thing done.

    February 11, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  19. This is Sad!

    i'm losing all SORTS of respect for Hilda....I used to admire her so much vowed to support the democratic nominee no matter who it was but now i've CHANGED my mind....shouldn't we want someone that can be confident and ORGANIZED enough to have a good showing in both caucuses AND primaries....and to not belittle these contests no matter how you do?

    i'm very disappointed Hillary!!!

    February 11, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  20. Independent

    Hillary release you tax returns!

    February 11, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. Rob K

    Dear Senator Clinton,

    I understand that you are frustrated that your "inevitable" argument got blown out of the water. I understand that you are surprised to be in a much more competitive contest than you imagined. I understand that the rigors of campaigning all over the country can be stressful and taxing. All that said, I cannot understand why you would stick your foot in your mouth so badly with this statement. Didn't the backlash against your husband's condescending dismissal in SC teach your campaign a lesson? I mean, you have to follow it up by dismissing people all over the country who battle the cold of winter and rearrange their schedules to caucus?! The people who show up to caucuses are the people who CARE!! Caucuses also allow more people to get involved in party-building the way primaries can't. This is healthy for the party even if it may not be healthy for your campaign.

    I've lived in a primary state (WI), and I now live in a caucus state (MN). Having both experiences, I gotta say I prefer the caucus, because of the party-building aspect. You may want to keep this in mind since if you are elected president in November, you'd also be head of the party. Until then, you might want to consider apologizing to the millions of people you just INSULTED (Do your best to make it sincere...at least to make it SOUND sincere)!! By the way, you might also want to look at an electoral map, because last time I checked, you have a hard time winning without caucus states like IA & MN behind you in November.

    Rob K
    St. Paul, MN

    February 11, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  22. Anonymous

    Other great leaders who didn't have previous experience to lead:

    Martin Luther King
    John F. Kennedy Kennedy
    Susan B. Anthony
    Nelson Mandela
    Rosa Parks
    Anne Frank...
    and everyone else who has had a hand in molding the freedoms we have and take for granted today.

    No one truly has experience to deal with the world today.

    Vote for what this country so depserately needs - unity and hope! Think outside the box. And whatever you conclusion you come to, be proud that you came to it from within and not just reiterating what others say or the political propaganda of the moment. Democrats will unite no matter who wins our nomination. So let's be honest and civilized about who can do what.

    February 11, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  23. michael

    so tired of Hillary's spin........Since When is TEXAS a state that Democrats have to win in November? Every loses, she blames the voters...Obama has run a clean campaign and he has strong energy and his message is a new change in washington politics...not the same o say anything do anything game that Hillary is accustomed to...Face it Hillary..you were banking on a Obama collapse on Feb 5th..and it didnt happen...Quit making up excuses..and crying every chance you get.

    February 11, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  24. independent voice

    Great for Obama that he has won these caucuses with his supporters being more energized.She needs to build a ground operation similar to his becuase her message is being drowned out by the spin ,it is the message of substance, of definite plans, of solving problems that has as much if not more resonance with the people.I hear more and more supporters from either side unwilling to accept the other candidate in the general election.That is a disaster waiting to happen for the democrats.We need to have a civil debate.

    February 11, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  25. Martin C Mongiello

    I believe that you would have to be out of your mind to have a junior Senator with only three years experience in Washington and NO experience on the international scene running this country.

    He would be a fantastic and unbelievable Vice President at most.

    His thoughts, speeches and views are fantastic and unprecedented! But the inner workings of DC are needful of a much smoother maverick who will not be jumped up and down on, she-banged, boondoggled and shmamboozled due to his green and naive nature.

    Let's wake up and be smart about this. Would you put a young man into a CEO position of your corporation and expect fantastic results? Typically not. For the same reason no race or society acts like this.

    Most all senior positions involving control of nuclear weapons, military, war, etc...economies go to senior, experienced seasoned leaders only. Not a greenhorn.

    I'm scared to death over his LACK of senior experience.

    February 11, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
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