February 27th, 2008
03:21 PM ET
12 years ago

Blitzer: If the economy is weak, will Democrats benefit?

 The economy issue could help the Democrats.

The economy issue could help the Democrats.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - If the economy is weak in November, the Democrats will have a great chance of winning the White House and increasing their majorities in the House and Senate.

That’s the prevailing view among many political insiders of both parties. They say voters will tend to blame eight years of Republican leadership in the White House under President Bush for their fears of losing their jobs, homes and health insurance. If voters are worried about recession and inflation, they will want to see change in Washington. That, these insiders say, would be the major factor in the election.

They remember what happened in 1992. The economy was the dominant issue in that campaign when Bill Clinton challenged then-President George H.W. Bush. Bush was coming off the heels of a major win in the first Gulf War when he ordered half a million troops to liberate Kuwait from Saddam Hussein’s occupation. At the end of 1991, we saw the collapse of the Soviet Union, ending more than 70 years of Communist rule in Russia and the other Soviet Republics. The president had enormous national security and foreign policy experience. But it was all for naught.

By mid-1992, there were serious fears of recession. People were worried about the bread-and-butter issues and they wanted change. Bill Clinton may have been a governor from Arkansas with limited foreign policy experience, but voters flocked to him and he won. With serious concern over the economy right now, Democrats are hoping to see the same scenario played out this year irrespective of whether Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama is the party’s nominee.

There is, of course, a huge wild card out there – the war in Iraq and the overall war on terror. We don’t know what is going to happen over the coming months on either front. If Americans come to fear a major terror threat, or if there is another major terror strike against the United States, all bets might be off. Voters could rally behind John McCain, who has lots of national security experience.

Just some thoughts to consider as this hectic campaign season continues.

–CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Joe

    Democrats will benefit if they nominate Clinton. Otherwise, I don't see how Obama is a strong candidate with the economy.

    February 27, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  2. Alice

    Obama will lose in November if he is the Democratic nominee.

    I live in Florida (yeah, one of those big states), and everyone I know says the same thing. If it's Obama, we're voting McCain.

    And it has nothing to do with being a "disloyal" Democrat. I have voted Democratic all my life, but I cannot see Mr. "Hope" in the White House. He scares me to death, and his wife and his supporters scare me even more.

    These times are too dangerous to trust them to a novice. Obama has no experience, has accomplished nothing of note, votes "present" to cover his butt, would have been out of the race long ago if the media had not crowned him their King for who knows what reason, and umms and awwwwws his way through debates when he's not saying, "Oh, yeah, what she said."

    The only thing he does well is give a pretty speech, and that's not good enough for me or any of the people I know.

    Clinton or McCain 08

    February 27, 2008 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  3. June (California Voter)

    I really think the Democrats will benefit as far as the economy is concerned.
    Remember 1992.

    February 27, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  4. linda hemmingsen

    why wolf are you always making every success the clinton years had and putting them down. isn't it enough that you and cnn have caved in to obama on any serious investigations on him .every night your team has slowly destroyed clintons credability and i have seen your pundents actually laugh as they trivauize her. you are not the most trusted name in news any more ias a canadian are so disappointed in you and your team. you have driven up the polls for obama .you never went after bush because you would of been brande a traitor by his team now you don't seriously look at obama because of being branded a racest, what the heck is a journalist for ?to seek the truth!!!!!!!!

    February 27, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  5. Bubba

    So all Bush has to do is screw up the war some more and McCain wins? That's vile. He'll do it, too.

    February 27, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  6. Bill in Columbia

    Yeah, the number one similarity between Obama and Bill Clinton is their slick exteriors and public speaking ability. Barack is very clever, very slick. That's why the American electorate should be very wary.

    February 27, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  7. Vig

    When will the Hillary Hating press give Clinton some recognition. She will do alot for this country. The male-owned and operated media conglomartes just don't want a woman running the country. it's not about Clinton – it's about gender. Texas and Ohio – let the election process go to the convention floor – put the brakes on this hack job

    February 27, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. Charlie

    Spare me. The war in Iraq has only severed to increase terrorism, not protect us from it, and if a fraction of the money being spent there was spent at home on security measures, we would be light years ahead of where we are now. John McCain means more of the same, and while he is somewhat more competent then our current president, Obama will get us out of the war so we quit mortgaging our kids future for a war we can't win, and will also have the diplomatic skills to bring the waring factions to the table to find a solution to the conflict the US has created there. It's time for a change people.

    February 27, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. Bruce

    If the economy is in the dumps, there is no Iraq news that could trump it. If people can't figure out how to make their house payment, they won't be too thrilled about some new political accomodation in another country. This is not the type of war in which the enemy will surrender, and we will have a ticker-tape parade. Everyone knows that this was a war of choice, that tax cuts for the wealthy was a choice, that the merger between the Repbulican party and coporate American was a choice. We've been had, and everybody knows it. Other than troops returning home, there is no news from Iraq that would make a difference. We were never emotionally invested in Iraq's future to begin with.

    February 27, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  10. Belle

    If Clinton's campaign is raising $1 million a day, CNN...it DOES NOT MEAN HER CAMPAIGN IS DEAD!

    If SHE WINS TEXAS AND OHIO...do you seriously think Obama will quit?

    That would mean he has NOT CARRIED ONE of the States so important to the presidency.

    He will justify it....well....we really didn't campaign there....we are not as well known as Clinton....if we had more time, we would have won....

    You portrayed Clinton's campaign as discounting the other states...when in truth, MOST CAMPAIGNS GO OUT TO WIN....which means the swing states.

    February 27, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  11. Greg

    You really have to feel sorry for whoever wins in November, the country is in a mess, maybe we should outsource the Government to China, everything else in America comes from there.

    February 27, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  12. Fay

    In response to what you said earlier to Ed Rendell about CNN not being able to run the same story "every single day," how can you say that? You guys already do it every single day all day long! Gov. Rendell hit it on the nose! Even a CNN report that has been airing over the last couple of days examined the coverage of the 2 candidates and found that negative stories on Obama just didn't seem to get traction! Given those 2 facts, how can you and Jack stand up there and even ask the question?

    February 27, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  13. LEO


    February 27, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  14. jw, canadian,ok

    If the economy is weak, nobody benefits (with the exception of Exxon).

    February 27, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  15. Sandra Main

    The challenge for CNN is to begin carrying the news in a straight-forward manner. I have lost very much respect for Wolf, Jack Cafferty and a number of other commentators. A commentator does comment on news, but ought to begin to do so in a fair manner. I do believe you should research all the debates, look for the number of times Senator Clinton was asked policy questions and stances first. From early debates (and continuing) Barrack gets to say, "I agree with Hillary" and it appears he then works from her great research and knowledge of issues and call them his. You do your country a real disservice by not honestly covering Barrack and his stance and policies. I surely do not wish BAO to fail as a leader, but do not feel he can make all the promises come true or clean up the country issues. You are challenged to perhaps become the "best political team". i NO LONGER WATCH YOU AND TELL as many friends as possible, though they also laugh at your news logo "Best ..." I did see only one time a video yesterday 2/26 and then it disappeared as do any positives on Sen. Clinton.

    February 27, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. htp

    I would vote for Mc Cain if Obama won the nomination. I do not want more of the unknown as we see in George W. Bush. It's more critical now for our country than 2000.
    A dedicated democrat.

    February 27, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  17. Liza

    If Obama wins, many democrats will switch to McCain regardsless of the economy. Who can gamble with Obama, particulary given his ultra-leftists appeal, when McCain is just somewhere in the middle and has a great deal of experience. Would anybody hire an employee for a CEO position if he does not have any experience? All just doesn't make any sence.

    February 27, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  18. RSP

    Wolf, you are one of the only level-headed journalists out there. You give clear opinions and arguments without bias.

    "It's the economy, stupid" has always been true. However, the thorn in the Democrats' side is that Obama has so little experience. America is nervous now. Very nervous about the Iraq War, about Afghanistan, and yes, about the economy. When you are nervous, do you put your faith in someone who spouts words without any real accomplishments?

    No, McCain is not perfect, but with age comes wisdom, and when you're nervous you want someone who has wisdom and experience.

    February 27, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  19. Obamacan!

    Absolutely. McCain has publicly announced he doesn't understand economics. I don't think he stands a chance.

    February 27, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. Steve Osborne

    Because Obama and Clinton are currently in a race to get the most votes from their party's delegates and because much more attention is given to what they say than to what the republican candidates are saying, the democrats will be penalized in the polls until they choose a candidate who will then be free to speak to the the nation as a whole and rally more independant voters behind the democratic party.

    February 27, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  21. John H, MN

    Yes I think if the economy is weak come November then the Democrats will benefit. I really dont think the economy will get any better by then. What is happening right now is the government is putting "band aides" on things to help improve the economy, by means of tax rebates. That is only a temporary solution and may not even have an impact. It takes time to improve the economy and the only reason why Bush is concentrating so much on the economy right now is so it hopes to improve only to have another Republican in office. But I think the Democrats are the KEY to improve the economy and keep it stable. Another reason why I think the Democrats are KEY is because the economy is #1 on their list as where Republicans the #1 thing on their list is the Iraq war.

    February 27, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  22. Jeff

    I think McCain would crush Obama if Obama becomes the nominee. The economy won't help Obama at all.

    February 27, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  23. Lloyd Hansen

    Voters can blame whatever they want but blame placed anywhere other than pork-barrel spending and tax increases thanks to the democrats in congress will be misplaced. Bush and the republican-dominated congress oversaw a period of strong, sustained growth despite the dotcom bubble bursting, 9/11 and the war in Iraq.

    February 27, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  24. Mary Mille

    Dear Wolf,
    I've always been a great admirerer of yours. I love how you're able to keep a (relatively) straight face when so many weird comments are made in your presence. Anyway, I can't blog to Jack Cafferty because I'm afraid I'll use foul language. He's gotten me so angry lately. I really think he's a mysogynist, and surprised I am. I've noticed there's a lot of that going around CNN and MSNBC as well (I won't even mention Fox). I'm so glad you've managed to stay above the fray and ask many meaningful, probing questions that treat both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton fairly. Jack obviously hates Hillary. He suggests, like Jonathon Alter, that she concede the race now to Obama. Now we millions (count them) Hillary supporters who actually voted for her, Hillary's donors strenuously object and are still hopeful she can win in Texas and Ohio, and in Rhode Island and Vermont too. Obama has no right to characterize her candidacy as 'the politics of yesterday', a potent verbal bash with no basis in reality. She'll make a fine, competent president and Commander-in-Chief. He's still so green; it's so obvious. Remember, Hillary didn't need to improve in her debates. She's been great from the start. He's improved because improvement was needed! So too in so many areas of his potential presidency. Not so Hillary...'ready on Day One' is she!!...Mary Mille

    February 27, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  25. Buddy

    Guess what there is a Clinton in the race for President. Remember when we had a budget surplus instead of a 4 trillion dollar deficit. I will take solutions over Change any day. Because some ones going to get short changed. GO HILLARY

    February 27, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
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