February 29th, 2008
03:59 PM ET
15 years ago

Blitzer: Can Obama withstand GOP assault?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/16/art.blitzeriowa.cnn.jpg caption=" Obama would face a tough general election race. "]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama doesn't even have the Democratic nomination, and yet questions are already swirling over whether he could withstand the fierce assault he certainly would face from the Republicans in a general election. Whatever criticism he confronted during the Democratic primaries would likely be child’s play compared to what’s coming up.

That fear was reinforced by the front-page story in The New York Times entitled “For Obama, Taste of What a Long Battle Holds.” Adam Nagourney writes that Republican “opposition research” is gearing up for a battle against Obama. The suggestion is that they will use material from Obama’s past that Hillary Clinton and the other Democratic candidates avoided.

“Some cases are simple let’s-go-to-the-video moments, like Mr. Obama’s statements that he would support giving drivers’ licenses to illegal aliens or would support raising taxes to shore up Social Security, lines of attack that Republicans are already employing,” Nagourney writes. Other material could be more explosive.

“He regularly goes out there and says he’s the person who can beat John McCain,” chief Clinton strategist Mark Penn is quoted as saying. “But the truth is, if he is ever in a general election, a lot of positions he took in 2003 and 2004 will come back to haunt him in a big way and a lot of the vetting that didn’t happen will happen. The independent and Republican support that he has had will evaporate really quickly.”

Clinton's camp is convinced that she could withstand a Republican assault in a general election campaign better than Obama. They have often pointed out that she has a lot more experience in this area – given the battles she’s faced over the years. Her supporters are especially anxious right now that voters in Texas and Ohio appreciate what could be in store for Obama before making up their minds. And that’s the case for the Superdelegates as well.

- Wolf Blitzer

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. Jack from WV

    Either way you look at it McCain can take either Hillary or Obama hands down. Hillary talks about her 35 years experience well than McCain must have 60 years experience. He has been around a while and knows the ins and outs of diplomacy when to use it and when it is done and something else needs to happen. Figure it out, both Obama and Hillary don’t have half the time in the Senate like McCain talk about being ready day one, that’s McCain. The GOP is waiting for Hillary and her closet full of skeletons and Obama’s poor voting record, and his lack of real experience. The democrats have nothing. One who is a good talker and one who loves debating and that’s suppose to show the American people they have what it takes to run the country, NOT They have spent too much time arguing back and forth and not enough time talking about the real issues and that can be blamed on the media they just keep feeding on all this and clouding the issues.

    February 29, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  2. Olivia

    I am an AfricanAmerican who supports Sen. Clinton and can not understand what all the fuss regarding her ad is about. We all want to feel safe and know that our love ones are safe whereever they may be. That means someone who does not rattle easily and is ready to make sound judgements like Sen. Clinton from day one. I also like Sen. Obama as well and would be happy if either one is elected.
    I would also, like to see a more balanced reporting of Sen. Clinton and Sen Obama as well as John McCain. It is so bias toward Sen. Clinton and that is ashame because we need to hear the facts from all candidates and the media is not giving us that choice.

    February 29, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  3. Rebecca - Fresno, CA

    Seems like he has done great so far........ tactically, strategically, and with intelligence. As much as I might respect Sen McCain....... having him in office would not change a thing......new military approaches, maybe, and just slightly.........but other than that, he has supported the administration for the past 7+ years. His foreign policy philosophy is exactly the same as the current administration. Other than bringing some integrity to the office, he wouldn't bring the change of direction the country needs.

    Yep.... considering Barack Obama's life story and the obstacles he has overcome just to be in the position he finds himself in right now.....I am confident he will rise to the occasion...... and be the leader we need right now. The doubters and the Hope-haters will have to eat their words.

    February 29, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  4. Bill J from Pa.

    Barack Hussein Obama can not take the pressure from the GOP........

    However Wolf, he has the big black machine pushing him....................

    I would never vote for him............................he lacks skills
    and ability, and has never worked well with the white Senators and Congressmen. With the exception of teddy kennedy, and we all know
    about his ethics, poor young lady never made it across that bridge.

    February 29, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  5. Marie H.

    If Obama is the nominee, the republicans will surely win the election in November. With the number of Clinton cross-overs and McCain supporters, Obama will make a bigger fool out of himself that he already has. In an attempt to get the nomination, he is all talk and way over his head. He is to be feared. Hillary is the only sensible choice. Think, you democrats. Don't be misled by this cult leader Obama.

    Real Democrats are voting for Hillary. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 29, 2008 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  6. Raj

    America is a superpower and they should always be represented by a strong person.This is where I beleive Obama does not fit in.What America needs is an Administrator not an orator.I would rather have a great administrator with swift strategies than a great speaker with no strategy.Because America is a superpower all countries are picking on them and the world is waiting for a weak President to come by to show how mean they can be.To me it would do a world of good if Obama serves as a VP to Clinton for 8 years before he ventures into the presidency race.

    February 29, 2008 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  7. Arlene NY

    That story from Canada involving the Obama camp calling a Canadian official to say that Obama would be saying that he would pull the plug on NAFTA , but that Canada shouldn't worry because what he says will just be rhetoric, has now been CONFIRMED by 2 high ranking officials who investigated the allogations. They re-checked again and confirmed again that the incident did happen. Yet, Obama lied and said the incident didn't happen. He has some explaining to do. He dragged Canada into his politics.

    February 29, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  8. John Z.

    I totally agree with Wolf Blitzer. If he's the nominee, Obama will be tarred and feathered by the GOP and the media, as everything bad that can be said about Hillary has already been said, but Obama's past is fertile territory.

    February 29, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  9. alngls

    It seems to be part of the GOP strategy to attack and weaken Senator Obama with the objective that voters will support Senator Clinton, whom, they think, will be easier for them to beat in the general election.

    February 29, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  10. G.moody, Alabama

    Barack is much tougher than the media tries to portray him as! He has prevailed against the odds his entire life. The GOP will not stop this man, nor McCain. He has millions of Americans standing behind him.

    There's a hurricane of change approaching and nothing can stop it.

    February 29, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  11. Richard

    Note to McCain – Sweet-talk Condeleeza Rice to be your VP. It's time for a woman/black who're REALLY qualified. Obama and Hillary would have to concede that kind of teamwork ! She could handle either one of them, with McCain handling the bigger issues.

    February 29, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
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