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. Jackson

    Hillary is winning blue states. Blue. Meaning they historically vote Democrat. So if Obama is the nominee he will be taking those states. It's also nice that he has a strong foothold in the red states too and a generally good rapport with the people. Clinton sounds as if she's saying "Democrats living in red states are dumb; their voices may as well not even be heard. We'll just stick to trying to win a swing state and that's it. Winning by 1 is still winning."

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

    If Hillary wasn't there Obama would be winning anyways. Besides, the amount of people voting even when he loses is significantly larger than the turnout that the republicans have been getting. so i don't see this as a big issue.

    March 12, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. Illinois

    Every state is important at this time in the game. And if MI and FL delegates do get seated, Obama will lose his current lead and he will be in second place. But I doubt the pundits or anyone else will be shouting for him to take himself out of the race to "save the democratic party" like they've been doing to Hillary.

    What some of you people don't realize is that Obama is just as corrupt as Clinton....he's just better at hiding his indiscretions for the time being.

    March 12, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. HH

    Hillary can not win and will not win states like–

    Washington,North Dakota,Colorado,Nevada,Iowa,Missouri,Minnesota,Virginia,Maryland,Wisconsin.

    The only states Hillary can brag about winning that are usually republican are-

    Ohio,Arkansas,New Mexico.

    All the other states are ones democrats will win.

    HIllary plays the American people for stupid. You have to think are states like New York California New Jersey really going to be republican.

    March 12, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. Lilia, from PA

    All the Clinton camp are pathetic liaers. They are blind by the truth.

    It doesn't make any difference to them who has most delegates but who wins PA. That is not how you elect a candidate.

    Hillay close your tent and go home.

    March 12, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    All states matter. Period. I'm tired of the notion that this country is divided along the lines of blue and red states. It's stupid. Most states vote roughly 45-55% either way. All you have to do is catch an additional 6% to shift the vote.

    Also, why is that, any time Obama wins a state, it's expected? But, when Hillary wins a state that had her up by 20 points, it's a come back?

    Let's stop counting people out. If Hillary cares about the votes of everyone, shouldn't she care more about the little states?

    March 12, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. Ruslyn Schultz

    Obama will easily win most of the states Hillary has won in the general if it comes to that. McCain has no chance at winning a blue state. It's not like Obama wouldn't win California or New York.

    If anything, I think Obama has a better chance of turning a red state blue than the other way around. I don't think Hillary could either in all honesty. He's polarized the youth vote much better in any campaign in recent memory, and that is the key to make the red states blue, or at least very purple.

    March 12, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. Peggy

    Clinton is disrespectul to many states that she deemed unimportant. Isnt she the one saying to NOT disenfranchise voters?!

    Too little too late Hillary, your attitude is disgusting.

    March 12, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. DeniseGA

    This is very true!

    !DO HILLARY SUPPORTERS, REALLY BELIEVE NY, NJ, MS, CA, WILL NOT BE BLUE IN NOVEMBER? Please, her argument tht she has won the big states does not fly. She didn't even win big in those states. Obama, has the chance of pulling in republicans and independents. HE WON WITH WHITE VOTE IN ALL THOSE MIDWEST STATES, NOT AFRICN-AMERICANS. Hillary cannot draw republican or independents, and we need to think about what is best for the party. NOT OUR EGOS OR BIRTH RIGHT!

    March 12, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. CB

    Clinton needs to wrap herself in the white flag and jump in a river... her husband is a Liar... guess it runs in the family. Seriously, CNN quit giving this lady airtime...

    March 12, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. Tim, NC

    After Pennsylvania & NC, there wil be virtually no change in the delegate count and Obama will still be in the lead in the popular vote. FL & MI will be split 50/50. Then, the Superdelegates will have no choice but to weigh in to take President Obama over the top.

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

    North Carolina will be central battleground? Guess what – winning Florida and Ohio and holding on to PA and MI are a little bit more important and feasible. And how about this: Clinton is out, Guliani campaigns for McCain and how much time and money Obama will have to spend just trying t hold on to NY and NJ. And CA with Arnie who can say that MCCain as President will gvern the same way he did in CA?
    Obama guys played a very smart campaign but clearly can't see strategically – if Obama looses the same way Mondale did in 1984 or Dukakis in 1988, his political career will be over.

    March 12, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. Haley Rodman Clemson

    Truth be told, she has won the battleground states. It's Obama that doesn't win the ones that will have the big impact in November.

    March 12, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. JJ

    Now if only people would wake up! Obama won't win in Nov, because of this very reason. Oh well

    March 12, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  15. NYC and ASHAMED

    This is exactly the mind set we don't need in the white house. Hillary thinks the people that matter are people in the big STATES. I'm from NYC and a women. I'm ashamed of how Hillary has conducted herself throughout this process. I WILL NEVERRRRRRRRR VOTE FOR HER and will encourage others to do so.

    March 12, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. 08 for Obama

    The Clintons should be aware of the people's voice, instead of going around and telling us what states should or should not count. This woman and company have been beaten over and over again, and if you think I am lying, then look for yourself. Obama has won twice as many states, he leads the popular votes, leads in the number of delegates, leads in handsomeness, attractiveness, electability...This is not an opinion, it is a fact and there is no way Democrats are going to pick a nominee on the basis of nothing (Clinton) or I should say on the basis of a few bigger states! I believe that every state matters, and there is no such thing as bigger or smaller states. Obama is ahead, will be ahead and will get the nomination period. And if you are not down with that, then I got two words for you; STOP HATING!

    March 12, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. Hillary unsensord visit youtube. get the picture yourself.

    Every state should count Hillar campaign management! There is no Big state small state red state blue state avantages, all states is what form the UNITE STATE OF AMERICA.

    March 12, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. D in MA

    Democrats love HRC. Why wouldn't she be able to compete?

    Obama's won twice the states, but he isn't twice as far ahead...Why?

    The answer's in the numbers- There were more voters for Hillary in my home town of Fall River MA, than there were caucus-goers in the entire state of Wyoming... Hillary Clinton is the Democrats best chance in November!

    The caucus system does not accurately represent the "will of the people."

    March 12, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. Brian from Los Angeles

    I just hope that if Hillary is not treated fairly by the democratic party that she and all, and I mean ALL of her supporters put their support to anyone other than Barack Obama as their way to get their true and reaonsed voices finally heard.

    Media haven't given her a fair shake, the DNC hasn't given her a fair shake and now that the Democrats realize that the truth of whom hey are likely to nominate, they now realize they just might have proven again that their choice was built on emotion and not achievement and accomplishment. Well democratic party you now have to reap what you have sowed.. All the stars should be aligned for a new party to be elected into power.

    Barack believes in change Americans can NOT believe in, higher taxes, bigger governement and less security to our country.

    Moderates and Independents throughout this country will vote for the candidate that provides better security, lower taxes and less government. And they won't be voting on who can be the best speech writer of the problems of the past. They will vote for the best problem solver. A concept Barack hasn't considered too much in any of his eloquent speeches, and that is solutions to problems. No higher taxes doesn't lower deficits or improve business.

    March 12, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  20. Mad in Texas

    How ignorant can you people be. Why should she waste her time in these state's that are over run with African Americans who are voting for Obama at a 90% rate. You call caucasions racist. Pardon me. But, let me tell you that Obama can not win the election with all the ignorant white people that are voting for him right now. He better be wise enough to know this. If he wins the Democrat nomination all the white vote he can get is the ones he is getting now. That won't be enough to beat McCain. OBAMA & HILLARY have destroyed both camps chance of becoming President. They could have won if they'd joined together way back when. It's Too late now to even consider a joint ticket for the two. I wouldn't vote for them anyway if an OBAMA was on the ticket. He is a fraud and a liar. HILLARY 08

    March 12, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. A.Y.

    Yeah, Pennsylvania's winning in April is the end-all-be-all determinate of how the state will vote in November – if Hillary's not the nominee, EVERYONE knows that Pennsylvania, like New York and California and all the other "big states" will swing to McCain (please note that was said with enough sarcasm to fill Lake Erie).

    A delegate is a delegate, if we must seat them all
    Then a state is a state, no matter how small.

    Ironic how Rhode Island suddenly became so important once it counted as a "Hillary win", being the smallest state in the country.

    March 12, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. Michael

    Whoever the Dem nominee is will win there in November. Does the Clinton camp honestly beleive that because Obama didn't win the California primary, he wouldn't win in in the general either? C'mon, there's zero correlation between the primary and the general election.

    March 12, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  23. Obama support in Iowa

    Hillary – you are weakening the Democratic party. Please withdraw now before you cause irrepairable harm. Be a gracious loser. Obama supporters will not follow you because you have shown such poor leadership skills. Your judgment regarding campaign tactics lacks integrity and strength of character. You will always have 16 more years of experience because you're 16 years older. McCain will have 12 years over you. Experience isn't the issue. Character is. You need to get out of the race before you ruin our chances in November

    March 12, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  24. New Polling

    How is it Clinton get's to define who wins? The winner is the winner is the winner. No matter how much they talk about Pennsylvania.

    March 12, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  25. Black Man in Dixie

    Why can't Obama win Penn? Not enough of his "base?" Why do they think he'll "do well" in NC?

    March 12, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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