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. Manuel, Pearland, TX

    I expect that the super delegates in MI and FL will vote the will of the people in their respective states.

    Anything else is total disenfranchisement for the voters of those states.

    February 11, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  2. faboo

    Whoa, talk about deluded. Democrats can't win in those states? Well, I'll give her Alaska, but let's take a look at vote totals:
    North Dakota –
    Obama 11,625 61%

    Romney 3,490 36% 8
    McCain 2,224 23% 5
    Paul 2,082 21% 5
    Huckabee 1,947 20% 5
    The GOP total for that race is 9,743 votes. I'm sorry, who can't win North Dakota?

    Nebraska and Idaho haven't had their GOP primaries yet, so I have no idea what they're basing this statement on at all. Other than that, in almost all there races Sen. Obama won, the total number of votes for him alone, are more than what the top two GOP candidates received combined.

    And thank you Sen. Clinton for once again, dismissing activists. If it wasn't for activists, neither you nor Sen. Obama would be where you are today. I'm sure the activists working on your campaign appreciate that unnecessary and unwarranted slam.

    February 11, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. CP

    ChristopherM, totally agree with because she knows she will more than likely benefit from the Superdelegates on winning the nomination. Had she won the delegates this weekend she would not downplaying as such.

    February 11, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  4. David

    "they don't represent the electorate, we know that."

    WOW!!! Can't wait for Obama to raise this in the next debate!

    Shouldn't this be a NATIONAL headline right about now???

    She basically said people in such diverse states such as Nebraska, Lousiana , Washinton, and Maine don't matter!!!


    Good GOD CNN! Why isn't this on your front page?!?!!?

    February 11, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  5. matt, Philly, PA

    I think this is flawed reasoning. Any democratic nominee can expect to win CA, NY, MA, NJ (etc)... it's the red/purple states that matter... if the democratic nominee can draw voters from these states they have a much greater chance of winning the general.

    February 11, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. Paul

    Souza, Hillary had a donating link on the CNN homepage yesterday...
    So if you're a good speaker, you're automatically copying from the greats? Wow.
    And just because your ignorant self doesn't know or want to know about Obama's record and work on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, don't expect to influence others. Graduate from college and then come back on the message boards.

    February 11, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. Brandi House

    Right... because Texas is such a swing state. Hillary's logic is flawed here: if she wants to discount victories in red states, she can't try and promote the significance of Texas.

    February 11, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. Toronto Girl

    To a outsider... This is common sense, \
    OBAMA is scraping in republican state to come up with delegates ... these state he will never carry in a national election!

    February 11, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. CL Relf Deltona Florida

    I want to know who has the REAL numbers? It amazes me how different sites have different numbers......... just a thought.

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

    Those tens of millions of "activist voters" will never support Hillary. The fact that Obama brings more to the table in terms of numbers and enthusiasm should be a big wake-up call to the Party insiders; they will never show up if the nomination is stolen from Obama.

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

    I am a life-long Democrat. I have voted for only one Republican in a general election in my life: Ronald Reagan. This year, I cast my vote for Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Primary in Missouri. Of all candidates on the ballot this year, Senator Clinton most closely matches the priorities that I deem important in these unsettled times: 1) A prudent end to the Iraq War while maintaining a strong defense against terrorist threats that will certainly continue to plaque the civilized world. 2) A fiscally responsible plan to restore the economic health of the nation without increasing an already ballooning national deficit. 3) A real attempt to gain universal health coverage for all citizens with few, if any, loopholes for people to ‘opt out’. 4) An energy policy that provides real incentive for alternative fuels while reining in the power of big oil. This is in stark contrast with Senator Barak Obama, who I perceive as having little or no experience, record, or plan for dealing with any of these issues.

    Unfortunately, my preferred candidate did not win the majority of votes in Missouri, although she did win in 109 of the 114 counties in Missouri and narrowly lost in Cole and Nodaway Counties. Senator Clinton actually won Jackson County, but lost in the City of Kansas City which is not separate from Jackson County as the City of St. Louis is separate from St. Louis County.

    I am very concerned at the trends I see in Missouri and throughout the country as Senator Obama is championed by many elements in the media as racking up enormous wins. There are even statements that he is doing so well in “red” states. Do you really believe that a ticket headed by Senator Obama will win states like Utah, North Dakota, Idaho and the like? I doubt it. Similarly, Senator Obama will have a very difficult time winning Missouri if his only base of support is Kansas City and St. Louis. It appears to me that his appeal is primarily to African-Americans and those whom I refer to as “high-brow liberals” – highly educated, well off financially. Senator Clinton has demonstrated appeal to those of us who are more conservative or moderate in nature. In other words, she is appealing to ‘Reagan Democrats’. If you look at the Missouri exit polls, you will find that 24% of Democratic Primary voters would not be satisfied with anyone on the ticket except Senator Clinton (21%) or were not satisfied with any of the current candidates on the ticket (3%). These are ‘Reagan Democrats’ who are just looking to be harvested by a conservative, but not right-wing candidate such as Senator John McCain.

    I would encourage my party to take a long, hard look at the exit polls coming out of states like Missouri, Tennessee, Arkansas, and even California. Democrats are on the verge of nominating a candidate who probably cannot win any state south of the Mason-Dixon Line, any border state, and maybe not even California. If such occurs, it will because of Democrats like me who will be casting our vote for Senator McCain.

    February 11, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. CST

    She's right and Obama knows it.

    February 11, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  13. Christopher

    I’ve heard the ranting and raving between Democrats and I’m very afraid you are harming one another. Frankly, the criticism of both Clinton and Obama are generally unfounded. Obama for instance has a law degree from Harvard and president of the Harvard Law Review. Lecturer of constitutional law at the University of Chicago Law School. A practicing attorney in Chicago. Seven years in the Illinois state Senate.

    Experience counts, but so do qualities like intelligence, poise, decency and the ability to articulate a vision. The latter is especially important. When politicians of both parties swallowed the administration’s justification for the Iraq War, here’s what Obama said in 2002:

    “I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne.”

    Who has been proven right - the establishment men and women (Senators with many many years of experience) of Washington, D.C., or the upstart from Chicago?

    This isn’t an endorsement of Obama; it’s possible that the rigors of a presidential campaign will unmask weaknesses in his personal and political character (that’s why campaigns are held, plus we haven’t seen any as yet). But pundits who believe presidential candidates must be marinated in years and years of high-profile elected offices are wrong. There may be reasons why Barack Obama shouldn't be president, the next few months may reveal some tremendous weakness, but his relatively brief time on the national political stage isn’t one of those of the reasons why he shouldn’t be President.

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

    stop the hate against hillary... and, note, the establishment is behind obama and so is the media... so, quit saying that your movement is to bring change b/c your main man is supported by both the establishment and the media – not necessarily what he was touting when he first began his campaign!!!

    take your inexperience politics back to the scoreboard and stop hating on hillary...

    February 11, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. Royce

    Hilary: Release your tax returns!!!! If you have nothing to hide, release your tax returns like Barak Obama has done because no American can trust someone who might or might not be taking money from special interests. As it stands, we don't know that either way about you so either 'fess up or quit the race as Americans are tired of political candidates beholden to special interests.

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

    I really really resent being labled as an "activist" because I chose to participate in a Caucus. Not the best way to win votes from one of the most "non activist" people around.
    Wonder if Hillary would be saying these things if she had won.

    Sounds like desperation to me.

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

    She is all about divisive politics. Like Bush, she started her campaign within the party on the platform of you are with us or against us. Then her husband plays the race card. Now she is trying to divide "activists" (euphemism for liberals and students) against her "bread and butter" (euphemism for labor) message. I hope karma finally destroys the Bush-Clinton dictatorship of the last 20 years. This woman will go to no ends to run from the truth, just like our current administration.

    February 11, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  18. RAFAEL

    Am still waiting for an answer so I'll keep asking the question, hillary supporters, EXPERIENCE? Exactly what experience are you people talking about? seating at the wallmart board,working as a lawyer defending big corporations? wife of a governor? wife of a president?what has she run? She can't even run her own campaign!!! RUMSFELD,WOLFOWITZ,CHENEY HAD 100 YEARS COMBINE EXPERIENCE AND LOOK AT THE MESS THEY HAVE CREATED, JUDGEMENT TROUNCE EXPERIENCE ANYTIME!!!

    February 11, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  19. td

    Like it or not she's right about this and it's something all those remaining superdelegates should be thinking about among other things. You can't turn your back on "the establishment" of the Democratic party with McCain running because he has the potential to gobble up independent voters just like Obama has. The Democrats are going to need support from their base, first and foremost, if they have any chance of winning in November. Why do you think McCain is working so hard to win over the conservative base on the Republican side?

    Sorry folks but that's just good politics.

    February 11, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  20. Mike D

    again she dismisses obama as the "black candidate"

    February 11, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  21. lia

    The looser is always the whiner. She didn't complain about the caucuses until she lost. It's the mentality of the loser. Focus on yourself, Mrs Clinton!

    February 11, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  22. LisaMpls

    I am still supporting Hillary 100%. We Hillary supporters knew these couple weeks would be bumpy, and we are in it for the long haul! Let's stick to the issues and stay positive. The delegate count and popular vote are still so close that it is anyone's nomination still. She can best handle our nation's diverse issues, and that is why I voted for her on Feb. 5 and will work to be able to vote for her in Nov.

    February 11, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  23. Johnson

    Souza: the US Government is not a cooperation. It is a government established for the people, by the people. That the is problem with politicians, they want to treat the government like a business. The government is NOT a business. That is what we are trying to get away from. It is because of the business mentality that we have gotten to the point that we have gotten. We DO NOT need another "business leader" in the whitehouse. We need a LEADER who isn't afraid of change, who has good morals, and is willing to LISTEN to the American people and not abandon them after they get their election. Hillary is a product of the current government system which is what we are trying to change. You can not vote for Hillary and expect the current situation to completely alter itself. Obama has the best chance of changing Washington. GO OBAMA!!

    February 11, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. Jasmine - AZ

    See yo guys say CNN is bias....No Hillary puts her own feet in her mouth all the time...

    February 11, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  25. Independent for OBAMA

    No shame! She not only referred to the race issue AGAIN, but she's also insinuating the "activist" vote isn't merely worth what her votes are. Wasn't SHE an activist herself?

    This woman does not know how to lose.

    Did you ever hear Obama say that she only won CA, AZ, and FL because of the "energized" Latino population?

    As a woman and a former Clinton support, I have lost every ounce of respect I ever had for this family. I don't even find her to be intelligent anymore. What kind of intelligent person would continuously involve race in this competition?

    February 11, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
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