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

Blitzer: Can Obama withstand GOP assault?

 Obama would face a tough general election race.

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. sivananthi

    Media has created a bad picture of Hillary Clinton to the public and when Hillary Clinton attacks Obama they feel sorry for him.
    But when Mccain starts attacking Obama in the future the people will start listening to the facts and Obama won^t stand a chance .!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 29, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |


    February 29, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  3. Matthew

    By the way- Stacey Clark- Fact check yourself. Other people in this forum are agreeing with you, and you put Iowa, as the state...

    That's scary.

    February 29, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  4. Barack Oprah

    He will cry and MAMA OPRAH will help him.

    February 29, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  5. Boomer

    How can a party that has spent countless billions on a stupid war while ignoring the needs of Americans make mincemeat out of ANYBODY?? Obama is a far better debater than McCain. It's time for a change after eight years of Republican incompetance. Hillary is too polarizing a figure. Obama is new and fresh and has better judgement than McCain. When people realize that, with McCain, they will get eight more years of Bush, they will flock to Obama. McCain equals fear. Obama equals hope. I'm not afraid.

    February 29, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  6. suzy

    She walks a very thin line in trying to "chew him up", but I have no doubt that she could, and be victorious. BUT,
    in case you haven't been watching the news lately,if she even looks at him wrong the media and the Obama camp call it an attack....
    talk about "whining"....
    I have been told by a few people that I trust that some Independents and Rep. have been voting Obama (in the states where they can participate in the primary), but never plan on voting for him in Nov. I have heard this more than once. It's a set up.......it may be dirty politics (actually seems borderline "illegal" to me), but......
    They will chew him up, no doubt.
    Hillary can take, no doubt about that.
    she is tough, she is a fighter, and she just keeps going and going and going.....

    February 29, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  7. S. Wright

    Neither Hillary, nor Obama can attack each other the way McCain and the Republicans will attack the eventual Democrat nominee.

    Today, Obama states that 9/11 can no longer be a political issue, and that it is just a scare tactic to garner votes.

    Mr. Obama, if you truly believe that 9/11 can be magically wiped away from the memories of the American people, and that that event won't mean much in terms of future foreign policy, then you sir, have inhaled way too much helium.

    February 29, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  8. James

    I said from the very beginning that Obama will NOT withstand Republican attacks. He is just a kid. He CANNOT beat McCain, especially with all of McCain’s experience. All Obama says is that he was against the war from the very beginning. Well Obama wasn’t even in the U.S. Senate at the time they voted. He had no say whatsoever. Obama cannot use that anti-war stance the whole time he running for president. It won’t work.

    February 29, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  9. minedigger


    February 29, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  10. Penelope

    No, he won't. If Obama smears McCain he will be rejected, we are at war and won't tolerate disrespect to our present or past soldiers.

    As for Iraq, if Colin Powell believed the intel, why are we so down on anyone else that did? I was skeptical about Bush but when General Powell said we needed to go, I said, okay, it must be true. So if Gen'l Powell was tricked and betrayed, why do we find it surprising that Clinton or McCain was? Or does Barack see himself as superior to Gen'l Powell? Gen'l Powell had a HUGE role in getting that vote-but Barack skips that part. I still admire and respect Gen'l Powell more than I ever will Senator Obama, unless he proves himself fair and square. Even JFK made mistakes (hello, Bay of PIgs?) In the case of nuclear weapons, it's better to err on the side of US safety. Bush rushed to war, not letting the UN finish.

    John Kerry voted for the war, but Obama seems to think he has great judgement in his endorsement of Obama.

    And, don't forget, every time he condemns the war he disrespects the soldiers who have served and continue to serve, even if he sandwiches his criticisms with praise, like he always does, which pisses off a LOT of people, me included. Shut up and talk about what to do now, enough armchair quarterbacking. If he thinks he won't make mistakes, he's really dangerous.

    February 29, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  11. Joan

    The people voting for Mr. Obama are mainly: (1) republicans who are intentionally throwing a monkey wrench into the works by crossing over in primaries to vote for the one candidate they know McCain can beat in November (2) young white liberals who want to think that America is no longer a racist nation and (3) blacks who have been caught up in a religious fervor for a black messiah. Unfortunately, if Mr. Obama gets the nomination, the democrats will lose all fifty states to McCain and there won't be any talk about another black person on any presidential ticket in the future. Whites are not about to turn this nation over to be run by a black person, no matter who he or she is (even Condi Rice, Colin Powell or Uncle Clarence Thomas could not be elected president). Democrats had better get behind Hillary before it's too late or we will see this nation go so far backward it will make your head spin. WAKE UP!!!!

    February 29, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  12. Joan

    In his first major public address since a cancer crisis, Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan said Sunday that presidential candidate Barack Obama is the "hope of the entire world" that the U.S. will change for the better.

    February 29, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  13. Peter

    Of course he can. His friends at CNN and MSNBC will protect him.

    February 29, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  14. hms

    Obama is where he is because of the media.. they killed Hillary..

    But with republicans having their own media (FOX), he doesn't stand a chance.

    he has already made so many blunders... On Iraq he says he will withdraw within an year and in last week's debate he said that he will attack if Al qaeda is there.

    On NAFTA, he said he will renegotiate and then there is news that his campaign called Canadians.to take back his comments..

    Republicans will raise all these issues.

    February 29, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  15. kevin

    The choice is clear to me. The repubs have done nothing but attempt to avoid scnadal for 8 years. Corporate intrests..big tax breaks to oil..tax cuts to the rich...giving up our freedoms to cave dwellers..fighting the wrong war in the wrong place..opening up our borders to save the economy..GW IS THE WORST EVER. Time for real change, hope and promise...Obama wants the people to take charge again...God bless America...we need his leadership. NOW!

    February 29, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  16. st louis

    I can not wait for McCain and Obama. This is going to be good. How old is McCain again?

    February 29, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  17. Bob

    The GOP is their own worst enemy! In the aftermath of Bush / Cheney Alfred E Neuman could win the presidency if he were a democrat. Aside from that,, McCain's love of continuing a war for which Americans have no desire, is his guarantee of failure. That's how out of touch he and his GOP pals are.

    Where's Alfred E when you need him?

    February 29, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  18. Matt

    With a tanking economy and a failed policy in Iraq, McCain should be the one bracing for more criticism.

    February 29, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  19. Darth HUSSEIN Vadik, CA

    If the GOP trully thinks they can beat him,


    They are having study groups on how racist they can go,
    they keep mentioning his middlename and calling him Osama to subtly connect him to the radical muslims.
    How low will they go, I'm afraid to say way lower than Hillary, but watch, you'll see how strong Obama is when he wipes the floor with McCain and the GOP anyway.


    February 29, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  20. Independent-Latina-voter, Salt Lake City, UT

    I believe that Republicans want Hillary to be the nominee. I suspect that the attacks of Sen. Obama are about derailing his campaign so they can have what they have always wanted.

    The RNC can't wait to get a hold of HRC!

    Sen. Obama may only have a few years in the Senate, BUT that's precisely why this Independent voter likes him! He hasn't sold his soul to the DC-devils yet.

    McCain's a great guy. But W. blew it for the Republicans, the country wants change.

    February 29, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  21. Anonymous

    No he can not withstand the GOP. His fancy speeches will not cut it. I'm not confident he could do the job. If he is nominated I will have to vote for Mccain. Gop or democrat, we need someone who can do the job.

    February 29, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  22. MD Democrat

    HECK NO!!! The GOP will tear his butt to shreds. That's why they are buying/manipulating the media (CNN included) for Obama, in order to have a chance to in the general election. They know that they can't beat Hillary.

    February 29, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  23. SAM - CommonSense

    Shame on anyone who desregards the intelligence of the American VOTER! YES WE CAN! The Obama campaign is for the American people... Not another Bush nor Clinton dynasty! Watch us take our country back from the war mongers and coperate Queen!

    Vote OBAMA 08!

    February 29, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  24. James ( Independent )

    Obama has shown that he has the best campaign in political history , he will spank McCain and send him home , as he shows the GOP to be the fools they are.

    February 29, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  25. Andy

    An experienced and vetted War Hero like McCain up against Obama?

    McCain is a GIANT.

    I am not for McCain, but the situation in Iraq will continue to improve between now and November.

    Also, Obama doesn't have a Karl Rove.

    Rove will use Obama's greatest talents and strengths and use them against him.

    It's a shame Obama is shooting for the VP slot, I honestly think we would have a Democratic President for the next 16 years.

    I like Obama, I really do. But you can't be a rookie and beat McCain.

    February 29, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
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