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)
  1. Lyle Baucom

    One can admire the way Carville admits his bias for the Clinton's without tearing away at the other candidates. If he had been in charge of the Clinton's campaign, maybe the momentum would have gone the other way? Does anyone ever expect Obama to have more than Hope? What is this guy going to do if elected besides bring home the troops. That's a very good idea, but there are many other problems that he refuses to address, perhaps to keep open his options if elected. I say he needs to ask Carville for help.

    February 13, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  2. George Fellner

    Mr. Carville misstates the matter. Billary could win Texas, Ohio and PA by 52/48 and that would still not give her the delegates she needs to win. She would have to win by large margins to validate Carville's comment.

    February 13, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |

    Carville...tell Hillary to pack it up and move 'em out...it's Obama time baby!

    Obama 08

    February 13, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. Amy in Iowa

    The Clintons are in it to win. I am sure that in the upcoming days they and their operatives will go negative, do a swiftboat, etc, whatever it takes to try to win. But you can not stop a movement, and voters have seen the false tears, and dirty Clinton tricks before. That is why this country is thirsting for Change. I have had it with the Bush/Clinton dynasty.

    February 13, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  5. Adam, CA

    Got it. The clinton campaign is arguing the voters in Texas Ohio and Pennsylvania should count more than the voters in kansas and georgia and virginia and washington etc...

    It seems we as a party should be able to agree that absent a controversy that would derail a campaign the winner of the electoral and delegate count generated from voters should determine our next nomination not superdelegates catering to New York California Texas Ohio and Pennsylvania.

    No wonder the democratic party can't win in the heartland apparently we only count the votes on the coast we like. This kind of thinking is precisely why we can't break out and win elections.

    Saying guys we didn't win the most votes or delegates but because we won california new york etc... means we should be the nominee is just the kind of status quo thinking Obama is fighting against. Is expanding our party into the heartland really such a bad thing.

    February 13, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  6. aggiemom

    How can they have polls in Texas showing she is ahead? No one I know has even been called?

    Obama 08

    February 13, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  7. Chris N

    Great contest. I hope some of the supporters don't keep post derogatory and inflammatory comments and that neither campaign will resort to negative and deceitful campaign.

    February 13, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  8. Nicholas Gattinger

    This is when the Clintons are the most dangerous, when people count them out. I am excited to see what she does, she is a fighter and she will prevail.

    February 13, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  9. Chris N

    Great contest. I hope some of the supporters don't keep posting derogatory and inflammatory comments and that neither campaign will resort to negative and deceitful campaign.

    February 13, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  10. joseph

    Every democrate will know about the mistake letting Clinton out the moment they will see Obama loosing to McCain in November election. Now everyone is after him for his charisma and good talk but talk is cheap.
    When election comes an unexperience person to run the US vs an experience McCain well you will be the judge. The world is getting complicated and experience speaks these days.

    February 13, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  11. john

    say what you want about Jimmy-Bo
    ...and i do regret that his old-self and old-steadfast loyalty is being held hostage from being part of the first real spontaneous presidential movement since JFK/RFK where his political savvy would bring sparks of positive energy... Jimmy-Bo does tell it like it is!

    lose TEXas or OH-i-o and this thing is done!!! coming from Mr. C this is a powerful declaration calling to the forefront the state of an old school-beltway insider-do me and i'll do you Clinton campaign of deception and ego in a downward spiral to its own karma.

    if the clinton camp doesn't start to see what's going on here they're going to be the device that tears apart the democratic party and the novelty point of the parties greatest opportunity for creating a purple nation. that's our true single pathway to healing and rejuvenation.

    thanks once again Jimmy-Bo for atleast telling it like it is!!

    February 13, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  12. Former Emloyees of the Clintons still at work

    Spin. Spin. Spin all you want.

    That will not change the fact that Barack Obama is the people's choice by votes and delegate counts. A smart guy like James on CNN appears not to have any ethics in support of his old boss.

    February 13, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  13. An Agnostic Democrat

    Isn't this all-my-eggs-in-one-basket strategy what lead to the demise of Rudy? Hillary, my dear, your scrambled eggs (and toast)!

    February 13, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  14. Amy

    Obama has given America hope once again. If the Clintons or their operatives pull anything dirty or underhanded in this campaign, you will send the democratic party in shambles. Voters are not going to accept it.

    February 13, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  15. George

    Why isn't anyone asking Obama about his drug use? We currently have a president that was an alcoholic and cocaine user… results, questionable decision making. Don't we deserve a straight answer from Obama on this issue.

    He can't say "he was a young man" because when I was younger I choose not to do drugs. I think it tells the voters a little about his character. He's a little too "slick" and should explain his character flaws as a young man. Usually the flaws remain, but we learn how to hide them a little better as we get older. Maybe his wife set him on the right road. What happens when times get more difficult and he has to make real decisions and not just what to say in a speech. Have you heard him lately? The more confident he gets the more his speeches sound like sermons.

    February 13, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  16. Tony

    Someone should hold a sit down dedicated forum with all candidates. The questions need to reflect their current prepositions, such as Barack's and Hillary’s health care reform – where is the money coming from to make this happen, and how much money is needed to fully execute what their ideas.
    I, myself, am tired of paying for others to receive health care when they do not respect themselves enough to get a job, any job, to support the effort. Another question could be how they plan on keeping unity of such a diverse nation when certain candidates do not support war, how do we (U.S.) provide support to the outside countries that support the U.S.? Do we deny them the support needed, so we do not intervene into “their” war?
    The fact that the military takes a back seat to their politics is really ridiculous, and shows the lack of political stance required of a president. To be a strong, sound leader one must first learn how to follow.
    I want a president who will fear God, not make decisions based on political gain, but rather God's gain. It takes more than just the recognition of being a Christian to be a follower of Christ, a man of God is not worried about public opinion, but rather how God views his willingness to serve the people.

    February 13, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  17. Daphne Murray

    Gentlmen: I am exremely confused over this voting. The people of the United States have been asked many times to get out and vote. However I don't understand completely how if Barack Obama should get most of the votes, why would he not be elected.I undersand from your program that he still would not be the winner . What do you think ,how all these voters would feel after being asked to vote and then it does'nt count. Is this legal and why is this so complicated.
    what worries me is Hillary Clinton could not control her home or husband, how is she going to control the Unites States of America. Thank you very much,, for any explanation.
    Daphne Murray (Calif)

    February 13, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. Hawkeye

    Do or die, how dramatic. It's time for the funeral, she is going to be buried. Lets unify the Democratic party and move on. The number of people who would cross over and vote Republican if Hillary got the nomination would be enough to win the election. A Democrat for 50 years, I could not and would not vote for her.

    February 13, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  19. Sam

    Hillary Clinton is old status quo and riding on her husbands resume. There is no way she can repackaged as something new. Nothing against Hillary, but Americans have chosen Change. Hillary's is too polarizing to get anything done.

    February 13, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  20. Oregon Independent

    Billary can't win the general without the black vote; Obama can't win it without the Latino vote. One or the other is going to be disappointed no matter who wins this. It looks like it's going to be McCain sitting in the White House.

    February 13, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. Carol


    Somebody get this guy an optometrist!

    February 13, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  22. Mark

    Coming from an independent, I like that there is such a contentious race on the democratic side, however, it seems to be based upon personality instead of issues. I find it funny that Carville referred to Hillary's campaign as "the Clintons" at the end.

    February 13, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  23. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    Nice photo (Reno 911) now I know what that Republican propagandist sees in him! LOL.

    She not only needs to winn she needs to win big, and that ain't gonna happen.

    Stick a fork in her she's done.

    Time to unify the party and country behind an Obama/Edwards ticket, and take back this country from the corporate special interests!

    February 13, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  24. joel

    Be Smart and vote wisely. USE your knowledge unless you are a young first time voter who may tend to vote on emotions and pleasing Rhetoric. Think hared and well on the issues and then vote
    EXPERIENCE vs Inexperience.

    February 13, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  25. Sam

    Hillary Clinton is old status quo and riding on her husbands resume.

    February 13, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
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