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. Tom, St. Paul

    Karen from Minnesota–Don't you get it? It's not about the party, it's about the candidate. Many of us don't care about the Democratic Party. We support Obama because of who he is, not what party he's from! Go ahead and be a good party person–the rest of us have moved on, and we will move on IN SPITE of your precious 2 party system!

    February 13, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  2. lee

    Sen. Clinton will not win Ohio nor will she win Pennsylvania......

    February 13, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  3. Liam

    Wait a moment. I realize that Hillary has just introduced her 21st Century Solution Business campaign, so I may not full grasp all the nuances of it yet:

    But But But But But,

    Aren't Texas and Ohio considered to be "Red States", and didn't Hillary just finish telling us that the "Red States" for Obama should not count, so why is she trying to win them, and if she does win them, why should they count.

    Hillary is in the 21st Century Doublespeak Business.

    February 13, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  4. nic

    "I've seen the Clintons counted out before. I would be very reluctant to count the Clintons out."

    Oh, so they ARE running together? I was confused...I was beginning to think it was just Hillary, but clearly, Clinton supporters are adamant in their hopes for an unconstitutional co-Presidency.

    You guys who think this is a pro-Obama network are tripping, hard.
    CNN has been decidedly pro-Clinton for the last year...

    no one needs to destroy Hillary. Bill's got that covered...

    February 13, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  5. California Voter

    CNN just did a projection on the next contests and you looked like neither candidate would have enough delegates to win in best case scenarios for either candidate. Looks like the DNC needs to think long and hard about disenfranchising democratic voters – particularly those in Florida which will be an important state for the democrats in the general election. I don't think they want those democrats voting republican because they are ticked off.

    February 13, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  6. Michelle N Louisiana


    Obama 08!!!!

    February 13, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  7. Kim, Dallas, TX

    The only venom I am feeling in these blogs is anti Obama venom. He has run a good campaign and will be a very dynamic leader. I am proud to be a supporter and yes, I am part of the Democratic party. I want to see our party do something right for our country and I am a firm believer that that can and will only happen under Obamas leadership.

    Go Obama.....

    Karen, do you really want to see the superdelegates be the ones who make decisions for all of us? What kind of a democratic process would that be. I may not agree with everyone, but I do believe that a majority should rule, and if I need to learn to follow a different drummer, so be it.

    February 13, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  8. Joseph Riedel

    Actually, CNN did run a story on the Glenn endorsement, but I'm sure you'd rather whine now that your candidate is behind the 8-ball.

    I have been volunteering for the Obama Campaign since last March, and I can tell you that I've never seen more local party officials working on a primary campaign thus far.

    True, Obama has brought in a lot of first time voters, but why discount their votes? They count the same as yours do. I have to disagree with your broad generalization that Obama supporters are not state and local party members. I know for a fact that is not the case.

    February 13, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  9. Midge from Ohio

    Mike – you couldn't have said it better. The media is ruining this election with their biased reporting.

    February 13, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  10. sacto joe

    "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."

    Come on, Carville! The article already says she's ahead in all three states! So you're setting up your candidate for a "win" on the basis of three states she's likely to take!

    The bottom line is – whoever has the most ELECTED delegates should get the nomination. Period. End of discussion.

    The so-called "super-delegates" are just party hacks, who are more likely to support the establishment candidate, i.e., Clinton. They should get out of the way of a democratic selection process.

    Or else there's gonna be trouble. Take it from one who still remembers Chicago....

    February 13, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  11. Blake in Brooklyn

    I agree there should be more debates. I would ask Mr. Obama why his grandmother has to live in poverty in Kenya while he is living large in the USA. I just read that his family is praying for him to win, but doesn't have a television set. I would like Mr. Obama to SPECIFICALLY address what his plan to help African countries that are mired in poverty, AIDS, and corruption is. He doesn't seem to care much about his own family in Kenya, and like most politicians he doesn't seem to care about Africa. What change could he bring about there, and how would he go about doing it.

    February 13, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  12. Marsh

    The polls may show Hillary leading now in Texas and Ohio but the full impact of the momentum from Barak Obama's sweep of Potomac Primary has yet to be seen. Carville knows Hillary Clinton is on the ropes.

    February 13, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  13. CWU

    Carville please bring up possibles Obama's VP candidates. Obama lack of experience will require that he chooses a VP with much more experience to counter McCain in November. Think what happens if Obama gets another Dick Chenney! In any meeting, who is the Staff going to listen, him or the VP? How long will it take before we hear rumors that Obama is being dismissed as another Bush lite, inside the White House! By the way, can this country AFFORD having another Bush? Why is the majority of the media, especially CNBC and Fox TV so eager to promote Obama now? Just think!

    February 13, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  14. Patricia Smith, Atlanta Georgia

    Yeah, that's it Phyllis. The media is trying to destroy Hillary. Geez.

    February 13, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  15. William

    I agree...cnn.com has loved Barack Obama and give him plenty of coverage...Hillary...some...I noticed that back in January.

    February 13, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  16. George Collins

    We have a tradition in our country of rooting for the underdog. And that's what happening with Obama!

    Of course, the Clinton folks did not help their cause by feeding us ad nauseam the notion that her victory was "inevitable." Then comes this pipsqueak called Obama – a junior African-American senator no less – who has the audacity to put together a surprisingly solid organization that challenges the Clinton Machine. (Think David vs Goliath.) And before we know it, we have a hell of a Democratic race well into March ... when this whole thing should have been wrapped up by Super Tuesday for Senator Clinton.

    So now everyone is going ballistic and is blaming that "fly in the ointment" (although in private circles they are more likely to refer to him using the N-word.) In fact, the Clinton camp should do some soul searching and ask itself what type of message they are sending about "experience" when they cannot even run a stupid little primary correctly.

    "Karen from Minnesota"'s comment above is a typical example of what is wrong with the Clinton camp. If things don't go her way, maybe the party elites should make decisions because the rank-and-file cannot be trusted. I shudder to think how "democratic" these Clinton loyalists really are.

    I could not have asked for better drama in my lifetime. Even if Obama loses in the end, this is one of the best races I have ever witnessed ... and believe me, I have been around.

    February 13, 2008 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  17. Rick from Maryland

    I don't think there is a lot of "venom" for the Clintons. The very fact that we are talking about mulitple Clintons is part of Hillary's problem. People want to move on from the Clinton/Bush era. Obama supporters are very wary that she will try to win this by breaking the rules (Michigan and Florida). They are also worried that she would be willing to pressure Super Delegates into going against the delegate count. This worries a lot of people because such a result would guarantee a McCain victory. It would be total political suicide if the SDs go against the pledged count. That a fact. Bank on it.

    February 13, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  18. Daniel Habtemariam

    After I read his book "Audesity of Hope" then I was convienced this thoughtful person "OBAMA" will make a positive difference in this beautiful country. Go for OBAMA.

    Daniel Dallas.

    February 13, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  19. Kevin from Michigan

    I have to be honest I'm getting really tired of this "Ready on Day One" nonsense. Living in the White House and running the White House are two completely different things. Sen. Clinton is a fine candidate but she's no more ready to run the White House than any other candidate.

    February 13, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  20. Lone Star for Obama

    Clinton complains about caucuses. Clinton complains about Florida and Michigan. Clinton brushes off her opponent's wins as inconsequential. Clinton can't win the pledged delegates so she relies on the undeniably undemocratic superdelegates. How this kind of behavior doesn't infuriate you, HRC fanatics, is a question for the ages.

    February 13, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  21. Lindsay Marie

    It is very obvious that CNN all along has supported Obama. They have given him MORE airtime and importance than any other candidate...just a fact.
    A good example was monday nite. Cut Senator's Clinton speech in Teaxas mid stream, then turned around and aired Obama in entire format.
    It is clear to me, a typical Hillary supporter, 55, self employed, modest income, native citizen, that the world still has a problem with women. Only the young inexperienced voters, who probably have never voted before, support Obama along with the very wealthy who I guarantee have something to gain with his nomination.
    I have learned over past years, the media certainly can sway the public...mostly wrong, but they do and CNN is certainly not innocent of this. Even today, all CNN says about Hillary is she is LOSING...instead of saying she is slightly behind....which she is.

    February 13, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  22. Greta from New Hampshire


    We are with her 100%!

    Senator Obama appears to be getting over confident! He was heard saying that Hillary's supporters would come over to him but his supporters wouldn't go to Hillary.

    Well, let me tell you all, it would take a phone call from both Hillary and President Clinton before we would do that! You can take that to the bank!

    We have a saying up here in New Hampshire "We are with you till the last dog dies Hillary!

    February 13, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  23. Brian

    Carville doesn't know what he's talking about. Clinton can win Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania, but when Obama wins Wisconsin, Hawaii, Wyoming, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, Montana, South Dakota, Puerto Rico and Vermont, which have 407 delegates between them, he's going to have such a huge delegate and popular vote lead that there will be no denying his path to the White House.

    That's not to mention his good chances of winning Indiana, his neighbor state, as well as Kentucky and West Virginia.

    If Hillary takes Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania by less than 20% each, she won't overtake Obama in delegates. If she wins any of them, she's more likely to win with a 5% margin, meanwhile Obama will continue to win states with a 20-30% margin.

    Hillary is done.

    February 13, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  24. Sean Chong

    Why all these discrediting of Hillary, and making Latinos and Asian-Americans being more racists just because they support Hillary? CNN, you're done this time. I think Mccain may win.... 4 or 8 more years dude.

    February 13, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  25. Paul Hamilton From The Recession State Detroit. MI.

    They say obama is just speeches. Hey the man actually stands for peace for all Americans. Even to stand up and fight for it thats why America wants him to be President. He wants to bring Blacks,Whites,Latinos,Asians,and Arabian brothers and sisters together as one nation. Hey if obama just walk on water for a minute maybe America would see we need peace and maybe just maybe he is a spark for change. One more thing if the superdelegates decide who the nominee is the Democrats will change parties. So i think they don't want this to be the change obama talks about.

    February 13, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
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