February 13th, 2008
09:30 PM ET
12 years ago

Carville: Do or die for Clinton in Texas and Ohio

James Carville is supporting Hillary Clinton's White House bid.

James Carville is supporting Hillary Clinton's White House bid.

(CNN) - He hinted at a similar sentiment earlier this week on CNN, but James Carville – a supporter of Hillary Clinton’s White House run - was decidedly more blunt Wednesday on the impact a loss in Texas or Ohio would have on her presidential bid.

"Make no mistake," Bill Clinton's former chief strategist told the Orlando Sentinel. "If she loses either Texas or Ohio, this thing is done."

The Clinton campaign has increasingly placed importance on those two March 4 primaries following eight straight losses for the New York Democrat since Super Tuesday. On Tuesday night, she was swept in the so called Potomac primary, losing to Obama in Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.

In a conference call with reporters earlier Wednesday, Clinton campaign aides noted 60 percent of the remaining delegates are in Texas, Ohio, and Pennsylvania - all states where polls show the New York senator is leading Obama. But delegates in those states will not be awarded on a winner-take-all basis, and Clinton staffers said Wednesday that their expectation was that the two candidates would be within 25 delegates of each other following the March 4 contests.

Obama campaign aides said Wednesday they believe it is nearly impossible for Clinton to catch up to Obama in the delegate count under the current guidelines, even if she wins all three contests.

Speaking on CNN's The Situation Room earlier this week, Carville struck a similar note.

"The truth is that Sen. Clinton has to win Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania," he said. "If she wins those three, she's probably the nominee. If she loses one of those three, then Sen. Obama is probably going to be the nominee. That's a fact."

"We have a lot of debates left to go," Carville continued. "This has been a very close contest. Democrats want to hear from both of them. I've seen the Clintons counted out before. I would be very reluctant to count the Clintons out."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (516 Responses)

    DID YOU GUYS HEAR? John McCain's campaign manager in an interview with NPR, said "if Obama is the nominee, he will resign." He said he's not saying he will vote for him, but he is not willing to sling mud at him. either. Apparently, he has respect for Obama's character.

    He did not mention Hillary though. Most of us already know her character. Her supporters just choice to ignore it thinking they'll get free healthcare that congress will never agree to.

    February 13, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  2. Mike K

    If hillary does not get nomination I think her supporters go for Mac Cain in November

    February 13, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  3. kathleen, illinois

    Forget the trashing Debates. Oh, well, if you like to trash people, they might be good for 1 party,.

    OBAMA 2008

    February 13, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  4. Markeis

    WOW! All of you Clinton supporters. Mrs. Clinton doesn't have her own ideas. No one started talking about change until Mr. Obama brought the issue to the table. After Mrs. Clinton lost Iowa, I heard her telling her supporters "Fired up and ready to go" and "Yes we can" How can we elect Mrs. Clinton leader of the free world and she can't even come up with her own ideas. What has all of her experience gotten her? She can't even run her campaign correctly. No more status quo. Time for a new era. Obama 08

    February 13, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  5. Sam

    I have a question for Mrs. Clinton. She says "she in the solution business." What soluntion has the good senator has delivered to the American people? First, Mrs. Clinton is a first term senator from NY. Before that she did not hold elected office. She was in private law practice that involved a failled real state firm. Second the health care proposal she advocated was soundly rejected.

    February 13, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  6. John in Columbus, OH

    I believe the office of the President is about Leadership, the main ingredients of which are charisma and inspiration. You can always hire experience policy wonks to mull over the details; that's why the President has a Cabinet. Obama inspires people. His genteel nature makes him an extremely likable and respectable fellow to Ohioans by far. These are the core reasons why Ohio will go to Obama. Now, I can't speak for Texas.

    February 13, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  7. JB

    Amy from Kazoo-

    They call these primaries early based on exit polling! Not actual votes reported. When 80% of people exit polled say they are for Obama, that is statistically enough info to move forward.

    February 13, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  8. gene

    Clinton hater's are a sorry bunch and if they are democracts it would surprise me. I suspect that they are Closet republicans and just saying things to spread havoc among us democract. I live in Texas and I think Hillary will win Texas, but if she should fail, Obama will lose the general election. The republican party will draw and quarter him and no transgression that he ever committed will be overlook.

    February 13, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  9. mike

    Carville's support of Clinton is all it takes to make me go all out for Obama. I'll give money and work my butt of for him, if for nothing else than to prevent left-wing arrogant elitist control of our government. And shame on Obama if he ever hires Carville in any capacity after he's elected. Stick a fork in both Clinton and Carville. They and the political dynamics of the past are obsolete.

    February 13, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  10. Juan Grain

    The reality is that it is over for the Clinton machine, They would have to swing the dendulume way to hard in the other direction. The trend (three or more in the same direction) clearly indicate that she will not produce the margins needed to change the trending results, which are Obama gaining everywhere and Clinton loosing ground everywhere. He will employ her in some capacity or another. She can do Condelizas job or Press Secretary!!!

    February 13, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  11. Cee Dubya

    This decision will fall to the superdelegates. Hillary will win TX, Obama will take OH. Neither will get the majority.

    February 13, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  12. hal

    Obama is playing the rope-a-dope strategy. He'll let Hillary get the visibility and the press in Texas over the next week while he concentrates on nailing down Wisconsin. I like it! It takes guts, seeing her high numbers there and not doing much about it, but it is probably the correct decision.

    The reason it works is that Hillary is a poor campaigner, while Obama is a brilliant one. Hillary certainly is very smart and determined, but she has zero subtlety. Somewhat like Mitt Romney in that regard (although they certainly have differences too). It's the kind of personality that makes a better first than a second or third or fourth impression.

    February 13, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  13. Leah DiMarco, TX

    America is ready for a woman president BUT NOT Billary!

    A president has to possess wisdom and integrity!

    Obama '08

    February 13, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  14. Hijinio

    I'm sick and tired of seeing the media lashing out at Hillary... She's absolutely right to bash on Obama for not wanting to debate that he'd rather give a speech.. People are just mesmorized by the way he says "CHANGE", he never gives any specifics cuz he has no idea what he want! People voting for him are voting for change, but it's not the change they are looking for. And that bill to set aside 20 billion dollars to help people who bought homes more expensive than they could afford is rediculous, people got into this mess on their own, why should we keep going into a deficite cuz of them? Hillary gives us specifics on how to change the economy, on Universal health care, on green collar jobs, i don't know how people just shun her cuz she's not a better speech giver! She has the answers, and the RIGHT change this country needs. Open your eyes people... OBAMA is all TALK!

    HILLARY 08!!!

    February 13, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  15. Rick

    James Carville reminds me of snake. Very fitting / appropriate that he works with the Clintons. I hope that Obama buries the Clinton's. The Clintons are simply the biggest, slimiest cheats of all time, and nearly everyone knows it (this is why polls show that Hillary is viewed as "most likely to do ANYTHING to win". In my opinion, the Clintons would commit murder to get the nomination, if they thought it would work, and could get away with it. The Clintons are even trying to pull an end-run by trying to force the seating of the Michigan and Florida delegates, when the DNC said these states could not send delegates to the convention (thus none of the candidates was supposed to campaign in those states. however, Hillary just happened to leave her name on the ballot... automatic win!. so, of course the cheat wants the delegates seated!). Clintons are scum!

    February 13, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  16. klb

    I laugh when I see all these supposed "Republicans" backing Obama. Obama is far more left than Hillary and was recently voted the most liberal. So Obama's "hope and change" (just writing that makes me laugh...sorry) has converted conservatives to throw away their core values and vote for a leftist Dem? Forgive my pessimism but yeah right. Either these are some well trained Obama bloggers or some Republicans getting a good laugh at the crumbling Democratic Party. I'm sure they'll be voting for lefty O even the independent McCain is better than that, at least he holds some conservative values.

    February 13, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  17. Grace

    Im so glad that I had a change of heart like so many more have. I started supporting Hillary but I can say no more!! Im going to stand by the man that is going to bea McCain and that is Borack Obama. Im happy that we as Americans first and Democrats second can finally come together as a party and support Borack Obama. Hillary has shown in the past two weeks that she is just full of drama. She started with 100 million and now she had to let her campaing 5 million. Hillary is refusing to realese her tax records. McCain and Borack have. Hillary health care is a fluke at best she wants a mandate. Im sorry Hillary Americans want choice. You are saying that if we decide to join we can have our wages garnish. Thats dead wrong. Hillary is too high stron and as we see more of her it becomes clear she is wants wrong with Washington. We need a candidate who can get along with others to forward an agenda that will benefit us Americans!

    February 13, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  18. Jon

    It's already over Hillary, just give up. People have already spoken, and their voice is loud and clear: Obama is the second coming of our long awaited Messiah. He will bring us loyal believers to live in eternal paradise. So quit trying to doubt the almighty and just go away. We are having such an amazing time dancing on your grave, so stop trying to dig out, because it's impossible.

    February 13, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  19. Melissa

    Ok Clinton supporters, have you been paying attention? For Clinton to even get back eye to eye with Obama after the Potomic Primary , if he wins Hawaii and Wisconsin, she would have to beat him by like 40 or 50 points IN EACH STATE March 4th. Do you even realistically realize how difficult that would be? That would mean only a couple thousand people would vote for Obama. That's highly unlikely. I'm not counting her out at all because the Clinton Machine no doubt is still up and running, but it definatley lost a couple of gears and they will have to look in every nook and cranny to replace them.

    February 13, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  20. Mat

    A leader inspires others to do better.

    A leader talks big picture, and puts the right people in place to execute on that dream.

    A leader doesn't rely on the status quo, but rather, the ability to do things better.

    Look, whoever wins the democratic nomination wins the White House. No Republican, not even McCain and his psuedo-conservatism will win. Obama inspires others, he leads, he gets results. Now I know how people felt when they elected John Kennedy. They hired an idea guy, and got results.

    Ronald Reagan was thought to have been too inexperienced to be a good president, and he did alright. And the last time we elected a senator with little public experience from Illinois, it seemed to turn out just fine (Lincoln).

    We need somebody that can inspire everybody, not polarize like Clinton. I like her, but the Clinton legacy is tarnished and is too divisive to ever get anything accomplished. Break the mold, elect somebody that can effect real change. I'm voting Obama all the way.

    February 13, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  21. Lilarose in Oregon

    We here in Oregon will not have an opportunity to vote for Hillary Clinton, if we want to.

    We don't have our primary until May thanks to the Democratic party.

    I do not believe that Mr. Hope and Change Obama has a clue how to be president. He does not discuss any of the issues, only talks about how well he is doing in the campaign.

    I am going to write in Hillary's name if I have to. Or not vote at all.

    February 13, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  22. Jeff

    I agree with Cal Jim2,
    We honest; how many time in life your were left cheated by sweet talker. Look real thing is different, In 3rd world only candidate gives False hope to get your vote (That is why I do not hear about Washington establishment – after Ted Kennedy gang)
    Are we electing President or Preacher?


    February 13, 2008 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  23. Grif

    Promote your own. and wake up with the Devil.....

    February 13, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  24. Linda Lee

    re: Dapne Murray's and seymourgash's comments about how "Hillary can't take of her husband, how can she take care of America" is a thoughtless and disgusting personal attack on her!!! Why do you fear a woman who has strong convictions and ambitions when it comes to her country? Then again, the people of America did re-elect Bush back to the White House...enough said! If you Americans live in the greatest country in the world, prove it! Show the rest of the world how you're not afraid of a progressive and formidable woman as Hillary and send her to the White House! If developing countries such as India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka can elect a woman president/prime minister, I think it's about time the United States did too. We even had a woman prime minister up here in Canada (if only for a short time).
    All the Best Hillary! You are the right woman for the job!

    February 13, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  25. klb

    Reading this I think Obama's supporters may be one of his biggest liabilities. Think ahead kiddies, should Obama win this he needs the Hillary supporters, reading around (not just here either) he definitely doesn't have it, not by a long shot. Another reason it will be McCain 2008 should "hope and change" win.

    February 13, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
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