March 12th, 2008
01:30 PM ET
14 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. fred

    AMEN Phil Singer, there is no way Obama can win in November!!

    March 12, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. Jim Shimmer

    Clinton is the worst person ever. She will stoop to any low to win. She cannot win. Almost 40% of the country strong dislikes her and she sure has lost independent and african american votes.

    How can we let such a pathetic person run our honorable country???

    Please, wake up. She will do anything to win. She represents the same ol dirty nasty politics of washinton.

    March 12, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  3. polly molly

    Well, I am sure that with the new Clinton Campaign slogan, they ought to keep a low profile, not to mention Eliot's scandal, and we dont know the list of people there, (some client #000 BC ) might be listed as one of the club's clients!!! Lord what a mess.
    Clintons new campaing slogan: racism !!!

    March 12, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |

    Simply thinking OBama can beat a war hero..

    Simply thinking OBama can carry the republican states..

    Simply thinking the Republicans (Goliath) are salivating at their chance to get him..

    Flip Flopping already did John Kerry in..It will certainly make Obama look silly again!

    Hillary 08!

    March 12, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  5. Mike in Ohio

    If Clinton was so strong a candidate, she wouldn't lose the 20-30% point leads she's had in every state since the beginning of the contest. The truth is, voters have buyer's remorse regarding HRC. Once given a clearly better choice in Obama, Clinton's lead begins to shrink and shrink dramatically in EVERY state. I know that superdelegates must be very concerned about this

    March 12, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  6. Carla J

    The funny thing is that the latest Rasmussen poll shows Obama 1 point behind McCain in PA and Clinton 2 points behind McCain in PA. Sure, the polls aren't 100% reflective of what will happen, but the idea that in the general election that Clinton will definitely win PA and Obama will definitely lose PA is absurd. The proof is in the pudding.

    March 12, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  7. An Army veteran

    The role of the primaries is to see what is the will of the Democrats. There is no historical corelation between states won in primaries vs states won in General Elections. Hillary is just going for the wins where she knows she can get them to appear alive in this race. Anyone with 5th grade math skills can see that she cannot win.

    Hillary please bow out with dignity.

    March 12, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. Les

    THe problem with the Clinton's argument is that they have done well in states that democrats usually win. Unfortunately, that is not enough to win the general election. Obama does better in states that democrats don't usually win and thus has the advantage in the general election in winning those states as well as traditionally democratic states.

    March 12, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |

    Now, Pennsylvania. Do we want change? Do we want our
    candidates to make bribes or promises to A man like Rendall
    to be named Sec. of Energy when time allows. Hillary is no
    different than the Republicans: Bush, Cheney, McCain, she
    learned from them.

    I DO NOT TRUST THAT WOMAN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Pennsylvanians, can we hear from you. Is she really that popular
    with you? Is Rendall that popular. He has already announced that
    he will not run again for Governor. Is that because he knows he
    won't win? Let us know, Please?

    Retired, Professional w/woman of 63 for real change in Washington.

    OBAMA 2008

    March 12, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. Laura

    I'm a democrat in NC and will vote Republican for the first time in my life if Barack Obama is the nominee.

    March 12, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. kevin from alaska

    Ever since SNL did some skit about CNN the media has been completely bias in favor of Hillary Clinton.

    Hillary now dictates what states "matter" and what gets coverage. She says Ohio and Texas matter and Mississippi and Wyoming don't and the headlines are: 'Big wins for Hillary in Ohio, Texas, Obama beaten' and then 'Obama wins as expected (there are a lot of blak people), Hillary ready for PA'

    How come Pennsylvania counts for so much and a state like North Carolina, who have almost as many delegates, gets no mention when they vote just weeks after PA? Is it because Obama is leading by double digits there?

    March 12, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. Jenny, Rio Vista, CA

    And how will Hialary Clinton win without the black vote, without the young vote, and without 50% of the rest of population who despise the Clinton name? If you want to bring out the republican voters in droves, put Clinton on the ticket.

    And by the way, I despise the Clintons myself now that they have shown themselves as racist, power hungry, degrading, and downright disgusting,

    People talk about how the old women will not vote for Obama, believe me there are a lot more people in the country that wouldn't vote for a CLINTON.

    March 12, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. Norma

    SHUT UP!!!

    March 12, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  14. Sean

    Now who's saying that certain states don't matter? Maybe those states that are red are so because candidates like Hillary write them off as unimportant!

    March 12, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  15. Slick Hilly

    Don't tell Ferraro about that "white" flag comment.

    March 12, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  16. Jesse

    The Clinton Campaign is only going to win Pennsylvania because of the high population of prejudice whites. Most of the states she has won in either have a lot of whites that are not to fond of blacks or Latinos that are not to fond of blacks. Clinton's campaign had tried over and over again to make this about race and the media also citing every time Obama won a state with a high percentage of black as if he did not win over a dozen states with a high percentage of whites. What Clinton is trying to do now is really tap into the prejudice of white America and that will be her only hope, to make Obama look like a black man which he has been able to escape and appeal across all racial dividers. Only problem with that is the majority of blacks and the white who are for Obama will not vote for her in the general election because most are already turned off to her and see the type of president she will be just by how runs for the position.

    Goooooooo Obama !!!!!

    March 12, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. Vince

    As a residence of NC I can tell you that Obama is far more popular than Hillary, I expect him to win this state by at least 10 percent.

    As for the general election, it'll be tough but Obama at least has a chance to win Hillary has zero chance to win here.

    This state has a lot of young people, it naturally favors Obama.

    Though the media doesn't recognize NC as a large state, it's just a little bit smaller than Ohio and Penn. in population.

    March 12, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. Mike

    Unbelievable that this is coming from the Obama camp... She has been at every state during her campaign... how can you say she is won't compete in battleground states... all of this negative talk coming from Obama has really told most Americans that he really does not stand for change and unity!!!

    Every analyst and democrat has noticed that this race is way too close... if Mr. Plouffe were right on this matter the super delegates would have backed Obama all ready... all of this talk about math... He has won twice as many states but only leads by 125 delegates??? I believe that proves the big state argument !!!

    Obama will win the delegate count by a slight margin... he will lose the popular vote... it will come down to the super delegates to decide who is most likely to win in November!!!

    Shame on David Plouffe for trying to spin this story !!!

    March 12, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. Jeffrey

    Neither Obama nor Clinton will win in November. They have splintered the Democratic Party like no one ever has. Obama is going to need most of Hillary's supporters to win and Hillary is going to need most of Obama's supporters to win and I do not see that happening at all. As a supporter on one of them (it doesn't matter which one), I have grown to dislike the other a lot and at this point in time will not vote for the other in the general election. That is just how it is, and it is going to take a miracle to reverse this terrible trend in the Democratic and the ultimate loss in the general election for Democrats.

    March 12, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. BK

    Most Florida Democrats will vote Republican in Nov. if their votes are not counted as is. Obama sending Al Sharpton down here to make sure our votes aren't counted is disgusting. This election is nothing more than a Civil Rights Movement. Obama is more racist than any white person ever thought about being.

    March 12, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. mk

    So the Clinton campaign does not feel that ANY of the States matter unless they are big enough?
    Does this mean, if she were president she would only feel obligated to fairly represent those people in the BIG states? She would be the president only for those she thinks matter?
    And people wonder WHY Obama is so popular? It ain't cuz he's black, its cuz he ain't HILLARY...Maybe someone needs to call Geraldine and clue her in to this fact.
    I am a small state resident who is sick to death of being dissed by Hillary Clinton

    March 12, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. OBAMA 08


    March 12, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  23. Alex H

    So only democrats who live in democrat states deserve to have a say in their candidate?

    I don't know how people can't see that Clinton only cares about states that she knows she can win. The rest of you don't matter.

    March 12, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  24. Eli

    When did North Carolina ever become a battleground states for Democrats. Obamas team is trying to cover up and get peoples mind off Hillary Clinton winning the large and true Democratic battleground states. Super delegates were set up to watch politics and know who would be best for the country and to vote for who they think would be able to lead this country. If they were suppose to just go with who had the most votes there would be no reason to have super delgates we would just let whoever had the most votes be the nomination. Now if the news media does not want to say this they will be the reason we have conflict and riots when the actual super delegates vote.

    March 12, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. Sebastian francis

    Obama and Racism: A Reality Check
    It seems like Obama plays the race card in a very subtle and shrewd way when it is advantageous to him and cries foul when he thinks it is going to hurt him. In Iowa, Wyoming and other white dominated states, he portrays himself as the candidate of unity. In South Carolina and Mississippi where black votes make a difference, he trumps the race card to win. He instigated the blacks in South Carolina by accusing Bill Clinton of racist remark, by taking a quotation out of context. In Mississippi, he accused Hillary of releasing the photo Obama in Kenyan dress when he thought he can gain some votes with the African roots. During the Ohio debate, he told the audience that he doesn’t think that Hillary camp is behind the release. Once he won the Mississippi state, he left the state even without victory rally. Why? Now he is going to Pennsylvania. And you know why? I don’t have to explain. What a hypocrisy? Now he wants to disfranchise the millions of voters in Michigan and Florida because he knows he is going to win them. Do you want a president who wants to disfranchise millions of people and become the democratic nominee at their expense?

    March 12, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
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