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. seymourgash

    Hillary Clinton is on the ropes! Good! She can't take care of her husband & now ahe wants to try to care for America? I don't think she is up to the job. She is a lawyers lawyer, or another words a lyers lyer. She is only ego driven. She has spend more than she had in her warchest for her campaign & now she expects us to believe that she could balance a budjet. Bill Clinton took office after George Bush sr made a balanced budget a possibility. Bill Clinton did nothing after the bombing of the USS Cole. No wonder the Pentagon was attacked & they hit the trade towers. The Democrats are to liberal for this violent world & would be seen as cowards to the world if elected. Like Good ole Jimmy Carter was. Only differance is Jimmy is an honest man.

    February 13, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  2. Brent J. Cohen

    Hillary cannot afford to wait until the March primaries to slow Barack’s momentum. His sweep of the weekend’s primaries helped propel him to crushing wins in the Potomac Primaries, where Obama not only won, but won across all demographic groups. If Barack wins in Wisconsin, it will propel him to possible wins in both Ohio and Texas.

    Hillary must change her focus from Texas and Ohio to Wisconsin. She cannot continue to lose states and stay competitive in the race. If Hillary does not win by crushing margins in Texas and Ohio, much the way Obama did in the Potomac Primaries, her presidential hopes will be over.

    February 13, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  3. Lee

    Re: All comments regarding Obama's "lack" of experience...

    Let us all remember that while Clinton may have a slight lead over Obama when it comes to years in the U.S. Senate, Obama has quite the lead when it comes to years in elected office (i.e. the IL Senate). I don't believe anyone I know would dare count Clinton's years as First Lady as "experience," especially when her pet project failed disastrously.

    Finally, Obama's experience has been largely in and for his home state and the communities that know and respect him. Exactly WHEN did Clinton move to NY? Oh, that's right–directly before the election for Senate seats. Carpetbag much?

    February 13, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  4. Steve S

    How ironic, it takes this CNN ordinary way of doing business for Democrats to see just how slanted the mainstream media is with whoever their golden boy/girl of the moment. Dems have lashed/ranted ad nauseum of how slanted Fox News is, just because they are the only U.S. based major television station who is off the Dem reservation.
    Ironic too, how Hillary praised Fox News just the other day for their fair treatment of Her Highness.

    How does Hillzilla like being several hundred thousand or so votes behind Senator Obama as of now. Seems like the 2 Clintons (both running for office) as confirmed by Carville...just can't fathom that Senator Obama has escaped from the Dem plantation.

    February 13, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  5. Sue in Florida

    James, thanks for honest and non biased reporting. Do you feel that the voters in Florida and Michigan who supported Senator Clinton should not be seated or counted? It's so hard living in a state that threw their all behind her to have a few politicians screw it up for our votes being counted. I wonder if it was Senator Obama, would the media not be screaming and suggesting ways to allow the people's voice to be heard. Two wrongs don't make a right. Look past the ones who erred so badly for our states and include us as U.S. citizens with the right to cast our ballot. I can't fathom why anyone should feel this is not justice! If Sen. Obama feels he is the true winner, then he should also want the votes for these 2 states to count. He might find some had changed their minds since first voting. That's his platform. He can change and win everyone as he goes, then let him prove it for our state and Ohio.Thanks.

    February 13, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  6. Gee

    I have not made up my mind about whom I will vote for, but I will vote.
    I cannot understand how the media can be so bias against Hillary. Everytime I turn the TV on CNN, FOX or any of the News Station I see Obama. When people on these stations mention his name, they are smiling from ear to ear. Chris Mathews adores him. I admire Obama also, but the reporting should be fair. I think the press is wrong about one thing. I strongly believe the Republican would rather run against Obama then Hillary.

    February 13, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  7. Lis

    I am one of those Republicans supporting Obama but would never vote for Clinton. As the election process continues, the whole world sees her lack of character. How ungracious of her to ignore Obama's wins last night. She ran and hid in Texas pretending it didn't happen. The people have spoke and continue to speak! The people's choice is clearly Obama! He will be our next President........ Hillary cannot stop him! Change means the end of the Bush/Clinton Dynesty! YEAH Obama! Yes We Can !!

    February 13, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  8. James

    I don't care much for Mr. Carville's general style as a media personality, but I do think his analysis is dead-on. Because of the so-called Red State strategy adopted by Obama and his team, he is likely to continue to win smaller states, even after March 4. To offset those victories, Clinton must win all three of the big states that are left. If Obama can win even one of them, it should be sufficient to tip the balance to him.

    One more note: Can we have a more civil discourse here? Why must the anonymity of the internet be used to launch attacks on other forum participants, to post screeds, or to engage in overt propagandizing for one's preferred candidate?

    February 13, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  9. Tammy

    All of you Clinton supporters keep saying she has the experience. What experience??? And when you answer that remember that we are talking about Hillary Clinton, not lying, cheating Bill.

    She certainly doesn't have much more experience then Obama and if she has this so-called "35-years" of experience, why hasn't she accomplished anything????

    Obama 08 or sit this one out!

    February 13, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  10. ray gardner

    Ok who wants it more thats what this race is all about do or die

    February 13, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  11. Chris, RI

    Karen from MN, you're part of the problem, not the answer.

    Only Superdelegates should pick the party nominee? Why not just make it bloodlines and return to a monarchy? Wait, that's almost what you hoped to achieve by having Hilary come in after Bill.

    The truth is Hilary doesn't appeal to many moderates, be they democrat, republican, or independent. The choice to remain independent shouldn't mean being ostracized from the political process. It means they correctly believe that neither side has it 100% correct, and they don't mindlessly follow the throngs to simply vote whichever candidate makes it to the general election. If Obama is winning in the independent vote (ie, where the Democrats failed against Bush both times), perhaps that means he carries the best hope for a democrat in the oval office. Being a "good" democrat, you should try to understand that so you can follow your party no matter what they do in August.

    February 13, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  12. Oregon Modliberal

    Looking at the States that went for Bush I just don't see enough going for either Billary or Obama when given the choice to support a moderate like McCain. There are several sites that are running mock elections given recent polling evidence and neither Billary or Obama win more than 3% of the trials and Obama doesn't win that much. The South will not support him in the general election. He looses 45% of the Dem. white vote in the south and Billary looses 22% of the Dem. men and only gains 13% of the Rep. women. The Dems have done it again, nominated on redical popularity rather than the candidate with the best chance of winning. There wasn't a hairs width of diffence in policy between the three top tier but Edwards was a lock for the general. So what did the Dems do, went with someone else of course.

    February 13, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  13. Independent NW

    I don't know where this is going but it has to be good news for the Republicans.

    February 13, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  14. Linda in Gainesville,FL

    I've been watching CNN since the beginning of time...or so it seems.
    Now I feel as though it's the OBama fan club...What a disappointment.
    Why don't you sit down with him and Oprah & the Kennedy's and talk Poverty?
    As for James Carvelle....why don't you get your butt to Texas??? You did realllllllllll good back in Pa in 91-92...I know, I'm from Western Pa originally....now residing in the territory of Florida. The state opps, I mean territory where Hillary Clinton won out and out but....and a big but...We're just Window dressing ...to quote Sen. Obama.

    February 13, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  15. Gobama

    This Clinton surrogate, James Carville, is just trying to be crafty, trying to be like his buddy, Bill Clinton, slick willy.

    Democrats have had 18 debates already.
    Obama is too astute to allow these losers goad him into wasting time debating.

    Also the nonsense talk about Hilary Clinton will get the nomination if she wins Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania is just that, baby talk.

    The person getting the Democratic nomination WILL BE the individual with the most PLEDGED DELEGATES!

    There is not way in hell that Super Delegates will determine the nominee.
    Otherwise, the Dems will again snatch defeat from the jaws of certain victory, as they have been so fond of doing ever since the Clintons debased the Oval Office and destroyed their White House legacy.

    February 13, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  16. Democrate 100%

    Sarah: I disagree with you. Like the Republicans, the Democrates allowed, "Independents, Non-Committed, and members of the opposite party", decide who their parties representative is.

    I have been listening to "Progressive" radio and am purplexed why in the world these people feel that they can place their candidate onto the Democratic ticket. Why not on the "Progressive" ticket was we do here in CA. Why have the parties opened up their selective process to those that not only don't care about the party, but have their own agenda different from the party itself.

    I have read and re-read comments on these blogs demonizing both the democratic and republican party. I understand your words but whole heartedly disagree with opening up our party selection to you and those that would like to cause it harm. In Virginia, we experienced a large number of republicans crossing over to vote for obama not because they liked him, but because they knew John McCain had locked up the nomination and they would love to have obama running our our ticket.

    Come on – it's time for democrats and republican to rethink their strategy of open primaries where the selection of party leader is anything but that.

    February 13, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  17. Leo

    Hillary supporters have something in common with her, you want to blame Obama for her losing. Hillary is losing because the people don't want her as president, Obama is not voting for the people, these numbers are what the people want. You don't understand what Obama means by HOPE and CHANGE that because you are content with the way things are. You are afraid of change because it will no longer be about you but about us as a country. You say Obama is just a talker, well why is his opponets stealing his lines CLINTON – yes we can, McCane fire up and ready to go, I guess they are serving KOOL-AID also.

    February 13, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  18. oh my

    Oh my Obama sure has alot of people fooled
    When he messes up this country with his race tactics
    and his lack of knowledge , I can say told you so to all those
    who voted for him.He is just telling people what they may want to hear
    and doesn't mean a word of.And by the way to all the blacks who are voting for him just because they think he is black.....well he is mixed!
    So better start listening to him he has no plan for the people just his goal to become president!

    February 13, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  19. MarkieBee

    My goodness the Hillary sock puppets are out and are they whiny today! OOOHHHH, THE BIG, BAD MEDIA!!! John Glenn endorsement? He isn't even a sitting senator anymore, who cares? Has Obama called a magazine or other news organization and successfully had a story killed? Nope. That would be the Clintons and the magazine was GQ. You know, CNN used to be called the Clinton News Network and they way Wolf Blitzed has given Hillary the kid glove treatment at the debacles, er, debates he's moderated let's you know it's still the Clinton News Network. So take you whining over to TaylorMarsh.com, that hack's web site is built for the sock puppets.

    February 13, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  20. Mark

    The sheer stupidity of so many of these posts is staggering to me. people with no sense of real political strategy are belching venom and hatred toward both candidates without any real substance.

    Here are the simple facts from a poli sci major:

    By the time March 4th comes around Clinton will have, likely, lost TEN contests in a row. Let me say that again for emphasis: TEN, 20% of the total number of states *POOF* gone for Clinton and that's not counting the other states Obama has won. Obama will likely do better in Texas than people are expecting because it's a mixed vote: some primaries and some caucuses. Obama has crushed Clinton in the caucuses wining eight of nine. He'll do fine in the caucuses which will keep things close and since the delegates will be handed out proportionally Clinton will have to not just win Texas, Ohio and Pennsylvania, she will have to DESTROY Obama to start catching up. She's running out of money, running out of time and running out of people in her campaign to change.

    For all of the idiots on here, regardless of candidate affiliation, let me explain it so you all can understand: her campaign is dying and she knows it. She needs to turn it around not today, not tomorrow, but yesterday or it's over.

    February 13, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  21. CHERYL




    PRIOR DRUG USE!!!!!!




    February 13, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  22. David from Singapore

    People need to wake up and realize what is of substance, if any, behind all the hype of the Obama momentum. What has he accomplished? What can he deliver? We are all vulunerable during econcomic downtime and we look for hope. But let's be clear about one thing, let's not fall into this state of freziness without asking the right questions. Who can deliver results for America? Who can lead us into the next chapter? Washinton is an establishment and you have to change from within the system. Sen. Clinton is THE candidate and let's not put our hope in an amateur.

    February 13, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  23. oh my


    February 13, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  24. Trang, Fremont, CA

    Look at how Hillary and Obama manage their campaign does tell something about how they will manage problems.

    Obama, despite his initial low polling in the states, went in the states, talk to people, win them over, and experienced his success.

    Hillary, seeing her low polling in the states, decided to give in, don't campaign there, give the state to Obama. If she doesn't win, she can always say, well, she didn't campaign there. But this does reveal her character. More of a strategist, campaign where there are a large number of people w/ large number of delegates and ignore the smaller states w/ lesser delegates.

    Obama is pretty much all over – no states is too small for him. He will go there and speak to people even if the states don't have that much delegate if he wins. It does tell something about his character.

    How refreshing to see someone like Obama emerges.

    February 13, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  25. Avis C, Richton Park,IL

    Carville is right. Hillary needs to win, don't count the Clintons out yet there's no telling what they have up their sleeves.

    What's with you people blaming CNN for being bias? You want to talk about bias, have you people seen FOX news channel? Jeez give me a break STOP, STOP , PLEASE STOP blaming the media for reporting NEWS!


    YES WE CAN!!!!!!!!!! OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 13, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
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