February 18th, 2008
02:50 PM ET
15 years ago

Blitzer: A 'historic opportunity was missed'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/18/art.wolf2006.cnn.jpg caption="Blitzer: New Orleans should have been chosen to host a presidential debate."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - It’s really pretty sad that the Commission on Presidential Debates - both its Democratic and Republican leaders - decided New Orleans wasn’t yet ready to host one of three scheduled presidential debates between the party conventions at the end of the summer and the November 4 election.

A debate there would have sent a powerful message to the people of the city and to the country that the political leadership cares and remains deeply committed to its reconstruction.

When the commission made its decision a few weeks ago, I assumed that New Orleans wasn’t yet ready for prime time. But having spent the last few days there, I can now say New Orleans is more than ready. It just did a fabulous job hosting the NBA All-Star Game and related weekend activities.

The business leaders and people of the city did a really solid job welcoming thousands of NBA owners, executives, advertisers, and fans. The hotels were first-rate. Transportation around the city - to and from the various events including the big game - was smooth.

Indeed, it was a lot smoother than last year in Las Vegas. I remember the monumental traffic jams in Atlanta a few years ago when it took forever to get to the actual game. In contrast, New Orleans worked.

I spent some time Saturday afternoon in Baton Rouge with the new and popular Louisiana Governor, Bobby Jindal, who was understandably very upset that the presidential debate commission had snubbed New Orleans. So were a lot of other folks in his state. It’s a pity that this historic opportunity was missed.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (163 Responses)
  1. Jake Loving

    As a fact finder, (student of Melvin Mencher) it's quite obvious that very few people do their homework, they follow the flow of others. We wait for news reports from the media and instead of listening to all the reports, we selectively choose the ones we want to believe. This is America and not American Ideal–choose according to the facts not popularity. Endorsements don't move me, and all living former Presidents have had their share of bad press, that's fact!

    Jake Loving

    February 18, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  2. rare

    Please stop speaking as if we the voters in Florida did not know that our votes in the primaries did not count. I voted historically just for the heck of it since I wanted to vote for property tax relief. It is the Florida Democratic party who disenfranchized the process in the first place by blatantly going forward when they knew the consequences. Florida votes for selection of a president in the primaries should not count. If they want it to count then we should have a re-vote....a real election and not one where you know before hand tha your voted would not count.


    February 18, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  3. Chris-Seattle

    Paul from Kissimmee –

    How many days was your city buried on 10 feet of water? Was it deemed a federal disaster? Was it category 5 hurricanes that hit you?

    February 18, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  4. Mike

    To KS

    Don't you understand that exactly what you are describing would be so much better off if the wetlands were preserved and levies and such were not built?

    February 18, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  5. Claire,

    to support ANY candidate just because he is from the democratic party, is OLD politics. To support Hillary is INTELLIGENT, to support obama is ROMANTIC.

    uhm... my bank acount needs more of the intelligent than the romantic.

    February 18, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |


    A STRONG WOMAN could not get THINGS DONE!!!!!!!!!!


    nevermind this already happened

    GO HILLARY!!!!!!!

    February 18, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |

    Clinton shouldn't waste her time, they'll for sure vote for Obama.

    I am a Republican and can remember the Clinton scandals.

    February 18, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. Billc

    Yes we will..Yes we will...Remember that a few days ago..Way to go Hillary!!!!!!!..Let's see that's from Barak's campaign., also from Ceasar Chavez as well. ...Why is the Clinton campaign focusing on this small issue. Aren't there bigger fish to fry..ie Iraq, economy. By the way Didn't Patrick say it was ok to use his comments? Yes.. Move on Hillary. Is this what we have to look for from the Clinton campaign?

    February 18, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  9. Alicia

    Vanessa Frazier, I think you are forgetting all that Bill Clinton has been doing in favor to those with AIDS in Africa. To say that they have done NOTHING is extreme, so you want Hillary to have done more in favor of the US?? What has obama done? Does he not work at the smae office building, doing the same job and being paid by the same employer.... US if he is ready and if he is more than just rethorics, then tell me, what is what he has done to make our country a better word. Why didn't he stopped what he calls the "OLD POLITICS" and stopped Hillary? He is waiting to be elected to do it?

    Yeah, right, if it is up to me I'm not giving him that chance.

    February 18, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  10. gabrielle


    February 18, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  11. Harold Smith

    Talking about pledgerism? If we could go back before Hillary's "I found my voice" speech we would hear the same identical words being used for a TV ad on television and the add ran for a few weeks before her speech? hmmmmm

    February 18, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  12. Dina O'Sullivan

    Perhaps Mr. Edwards would have planned a debate in New Orleans. He seems to care about the city and the people. As a native New Orleanian I am confident that the city will rise again.The spirt of the New Orleans people is unsinkable. It may take some time but it will happen.New Orleans has soul and heart and even when you leave it, it never leaves you. It is not geographically beautiful, clean or crimeless but what it does have are good people.

    A thank you to Wolf Blitzer who noted this snub,of the debate planners, to Anderson Cooper who kept things going after the storm and to Brad Pitt who is trying to rebuild the ninth ward and to all the other people who have been there rebuilding the city. Where is the government and the presdient and the new candidates today?

    February 18, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  13. Natalie Andrus of Lawton,OK

    Dear CNN: I remember years ago when President Clinton ran for President, Phil Donahue had the then democratic candidate on his show as a one on one discussion around a round table for the whole hour of his show. What I would like to see is the same with lou dobbs or wolf blitzer as the host. I would like to see about two nights of an hour and a half each night for the two candidates to discuss with the host their plans for the future of the country and the way they will tackle the problems of Iraq, immigration, education, the economy with taxes and health care. I learned a lot from that kind of forum than I do from the debates. It is hard to keep track of what they are talking about when they interrupt each other. They get side lined and sometimes never get back to the question. I realize that it is a little too late for the primaries, but how about the fall with the republican and democrat (and any other viable) candidate? It would be so enlightening to get to see them in quiet situation. May be we could email our questions and the host could pick the good ones for usto hear the answers to and their opinions and ideas for the solutions to the problems mentioned above.

    February 18, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  14. Alicia

    the act of division leaves less hands and eyes on achieiving the ultimate goal."

    Curtis L. Madison

    Yes, that's why we should vote for Hillary. It is obama who started planting the idea that Hillary is divisive. He acts like this example of morality, however, it is his "spin" abilities that makes him seem like he is moral, and the fact that the media has been protecting him.

    Do you truly think, that a man, or hiswife, making comments that, if he doens't get nominated, he is not running again for the candidacy, has your better interest at heart. Where is his dedication to the people? he is only thinking about himself. All his words are self-servicing and oportunistic.

    As a Latin woman, I am disgusted at him taking our slogan for himself. Where was him when the thousands of Latinos chanting "yes we can" got attacked? What has he done for us?

    February 18, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  15. kathleen, illinois

    My fellow Democrats, if Obama does not win because of the
    Superdelagates or that the pledged delegates get counted
    in Florida and Michigan, how would we vote then?

    February 18, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  16. Mary Beth

    Words. Many people use the words of Harry Truman, Churchill, John Kennedy, and Martin Luther King, Jr. in their speeches and that's Ok unless the speaker is implying that he is like that person. Obama, a man of many words, a lightweight, untested and too inexperienced to be our President., is not like any of these great men. Ask Al Gore about the significance of words. His slogan in 2000 was "You ain't seen nothin' yet", words which were insulting to the Democratic Party and which were used very skillyfully against him by the Republican Party. It was one of the reasons he lost the election.

    February 18, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  17. Tesfa

    Why is Clinton's picture all over CNN in every piece of news even when not directly related to her? Just wondering!

    February 18, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  18. kathleen, illinois

    And, why did John Edwards go to New Orleans to campaign?
    Because he cares. Hope he gets behind Obama. They both care
    they "WILL NOT FORGET" the poor.Thea, my folks is sincerety at
    it's very best!!!!!
    Obama-Edwards 2008

    February 18, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  19. Texas4Obama

    Geezz – Obama borrowed three short sentences from his friend Deval. NO BIG DEAL. Deval has used Obama's words in the past. Hillary is scraping the bottom of the barrel because she DOES NOT have any dirt to toss at Senator Obama.

    As far as the upcoming debates go – there are two scheduled debates for February.

    Why are people making issues out of things that are NOT issues?

    Obama '08

    February 18, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  20. Mark Hawkins

    Wolf, it's one thing to be concerned about the cities that the Presidential Debate Commission snubs but it's far more important to focus on the numerous constitutionally-supported, legitimate Presidential candidates from American political parties other than the Republican and Democratic parties who have been snubbed and denied the opportunity to participate in the televised presidential debates. If you do a review of this issue, you will find that It has occurred in EVERY presidential election since 1980!

    February 18, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  21. Mary Beth

    The Democratic Party allows "independents" or uncommitted people to vote in their primary elections and that is a huge mistake. Only registered Democrats should participate in the selection of their party's presidential candidate. The general election is open to everyone and that is when the non-Democrats get to vote for any candidate they choose. Because of the huge numbers of independents (non-Democrats) who used Democratic ballots in this primary election, I think it would not be a bad idea to allow the super delegates to make the final decision.

    February 18, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  22. Stephen,Wilmington,NC

    The government can't fix New Orleans, it's up to the people living there. The Fed's have done all that they can do which is to appropriate money. The problem is that they voted in a Mayor that is incapable of doing anything. I can't understand why they would every re-elect a Mayor that was proving incapable of providing the most essential things needed to revive the city.

    February 18, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  23. Pam

    I have serious concerns about Hillary running the country. Did she not say in one of the debates that the President should be more like a CEO knowing all that is going on and being hands on? Look at her campaign...there has been infighting going on, apparently since New Hampshire...something that was also a problem in her campaign for her senate seat. She had millions of dollars going into the race and comes up short so that she has to "donate" 5 million dollars to her campaign. She had no idea that the campaign was that much in trouble financially? How could she not know. Her people say they were fearful to tell her...what does that tell you about her as well. She is having to fire people....etc. Her website started copying some of the things on his website and tactics. How can she manage a country when she cannot even manage her own campaign? Hello!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 18, 2008 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  24. Worthington-Aberdeen

    Empty Rhetoric ... FREE! Stealing someone else's empty rhetoric ... PRICELESS!

    February 18, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  25. Alan V

    Desperate measures... It's simple, if Hillary wants to win she needs to stop being dirty. She's loosing because of her dirty politics, and she will continue to loose if she continues...

    February 18, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
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