March 12th, 2008
01:30 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama camp: Clinton won't compete in battlegrounds

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The Obama campaign says Clinton can't compete in key states."](CNN) - Barack Obama’s presidential campaign manager said Wednesday Hillary Clinton’s campaign had “waved the white flag” in what he said was a potential fall battleground state.

The Clinton campaign responded that Obama’s team was looking to divert focus from the upcoming Pennsylvania primary, where the New York senator has held a significant advantage in most recent polls.

They have pointed out that many of the states that Obama has won by large margins during the primary process are not states the Democratic Party is likely to carry this fall, with senior adviser Harold Ickes telling the New York Times Wednesday that Obama’s victories there would be “virtually irrelevant to the general election.”

On a conference call with reporters, Plouffe did look to lower expectations in Pennsylvania. “We do not view this as a race now solely about the state of Pennsylvania,” he said, adding that the Clinton campaign was “the prohibitive favorite. They should win by a healthy margin given where they start.

“We’ll campaign hard there, we’ll try and get as many votes and delegates as we can, but our campaign will not be defined by Pennsylvania.”

He added that that the Clinton campaign’s contention that a Democrat could not win a fall bout in North Carolina – a state where Obama is expected to do well when primary voters head to the polls in May – “speaks to their weakness in the general election.

“We think we can win the state of North Carolina. Clinton has already waved the white flag... North Carolina will be a central battleground if Obama is our nominee," said Plouffe. The campaign also released an assessment of Obama’s general election chances in some of the biggest states.

Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer immediately responded: “The path to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue goes through Pennsylvania. So if Barack Obama can’t win there, how will he win the general election?”

- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama
soundoff (241 Responses)
  1. v.a.


    March 12, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. paul

    In analysis Obama won a lot of caucus states that democrates will not win, and the so called battleground states he won are marginal at best. I think Clinton makes a powerful argument that she won the major states, and the fact that neither will have enough delegates to win, well the bottom line question, is experience to lead our nation forward. I have a dream is different than I know how to lead.
    This election should not be about race or gender, but, in reality it is.
    Obama has the advantage being a male. It doesn't matter what race he is, the good old boy club makes it difficult for a woman to advance.
    I wonder why reporters don't press the question to afro-american voters why are you voting for him at a 70% clip, I think the bottom line it because of race. And when women are asked the same question, well it is about gender. But, really, isn't the bottom line question about who can best solve our problems, deal with Washington, because, lobbyist will be a player no matter what Obama says, or what Clinton is accused of the lobbyist friend. It always boils down to leadership skills and how make government work.

    March 12, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  3. NoBama

    Obama is Desperate!

    March 12, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  4. morrow

    OK – so who's the strongest candidate in the Nov. general election? Isn't Clinton is way ahead in that statistic? My count is this:

    263 – Electoral college votes of states Clinton has won
    193 – Electoral college votes of states Obama has won

    The electoral votes from states Clinton has already won, plus Pennsylvania (or one or two of the other states yet to vote), would put her over the 270 required to elect a president.

    March 12, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. Kyle

    Huckabee has as much claim on the Republican nomination as Hillary has on the Democratic one. After all, according to the Clinton campaign logic, McCain won CA, NY, NJ, MA all states that Republicans lose in the general, while Huckabee won the South and more self-identified Republicans in SC and FL. So if we are to ignore delegates, states won and vote totals and all that matters is selective states that you are "supposed" to win then I guess Mike Huckabee is preparing for his nomination. If delegates and votes don't matter in who should be nominated, what would prevent such future "moral" claims to nominations, no matter how far behind candidates are? The Clinton campaigns argument is flimsy considering if it were applied to the Republican race that that would mean Huckabee has as equal a claim to be nominated as Hillary does.

    March 12, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. IF, Portugal, Lisbon

    The general election won't be about Pensylvania or Ohio. Her margin in Texas was negligeble to start with and has all but vanished this last day. The ganeral election will be, as the nominee elections, about each of the United States (if the United part survives Clinton's campaign). So, how can Clinton win the general election if she doesn't seem to be winning the nominee "contest"?

    March 12, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. Daniel

    The lead that Obama has is too big for Clinton to make up. She might win PA but Obama will win NC and then we are back to where we started. At the end of the process, I think Obama will maintain over a hundred delegate lead and the Super Delegates will flock to him and bring this fight to a close

    March 12, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. joanna

    What would this guy do if he did not have Hillary to kick around?

    March 12, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  9. AngryinMN

    I almost forgot: How about path to Washington DC goes through Washington State?

    Obama 08

    Anyone but Hillary.

    March 12, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. Peter in Canada

    I am beggining to believe all this campaigning is just "smoke and mirrors" at this point.
    Hillary's strategy is becoming incredibly clear, it is referred to as "the NUCLEAR OPTION".
    If you cannot win (and she can't) then you hold the Democratic Party hostage until you get the nomination or you will destroy them or any chance of a presidential win for ANYBODY Democratic.
    This shows her true character. Is this waht America wants for "Commander in Chief" ?

    March 12, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. Yakoto

    Yes, given the recent sharp negative, foul and defeatist remarks and utterances of Mrs Hillary Clinton and her campaign team, Sen Clinton would n't be able to compete meaningfully in forth coming battlegrounds.

    Instead, Hillary Clinton should start preparing her acceptance speech to concede defeat for the Democratic nomination compaing sooner than later.

    Barak Obama, all the way!
    Obama go on, foward ever!
    Obama winning ways!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 12, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  12. Arthur

    By throwing "the kitchen sink" at Obama prior to the Texas-Ohio primaries Hillary proved what many suspected about her – she will do anything to win. She gave the Republicans ammo to fight Obama with in the general election in November, were he to be the nominee. I've never seen anyone go to those lengths in other internal party elections in Ireland or the UK. It is as if she was saying to the Democrats "If I'm not going to be the nominee then I'll make sure you lose." I was not committed either way before that stunt but now, if she wins the presidency, it will cast a long shadow on politics for a long time. Bizarrely its almost exactly as Obama said in the beginning – the politics of fear vs a new hope.

    March 12, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. Mike

    Obama has not been able to prove himself in the states where it counts. There is no question he is the candidate of the Black People. There is a question as to his standing with the majority. I for one will not vote for someone just because he is black nor would I vote for someone just because he is white. I will however vote for someone because he is a member of my group – A Naval Aviator.

    March 12, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |


    March 12, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  15. Diamond

    Hillary Clinton pursues a falwed strategy that has failed Democrats for years. This woman has ZERO creativity.

    You cannot win the prewsidency by winning 5 big states. Do't be deluded. EVERY SINGLE SURVEY OUT THERE shows Obama doing better against McCain – even in New York.

    This woman is unelectable. Her negatives are too high.

    March 12, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. Chris In California

    Oops – I thought this was Jack's

    Anyway, I still feel the same. I do not think Hillary has waved a "white flag" at all. I think she will go on to win the nomination and the presidency and that she will serve the people well.

    March 12, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
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