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. Hillary backer

    Obama is a lot of hot air. But you never can tell about the fickle American voter. It is basically a popularity contest. We get who we deserve which is not much. Look at the last 8 years.

    March 12, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  2. Perrell, Lincolnton, NC

    Its not to say he can not win there, if HRC wins there but Obama gets the nomination, I still feel that Obama will win that state just b/c it is more of a blue state then red state... So it would be naive of Phil Singer to say if Obama does win Pennsylvania he will not win the White House is absurd to say the least.

    March 12, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  3. "Keeping it real"

    Clinton and her campaign are crazy as hell! Don't get too cocky, April 22nd is a long way off. A lot can happen between now and then. Don't be at all surprised if it does.

    March 12, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  4. MP Pennsylvania

    Hillary alieanated black people so much in primary with her surrogates that in november those people will not vote for her. She lost black people support due to her dirty politics. So she will depend on women and some latino's in november. I am a woman but I will not vote for her. She is a disgrace to all women.

    March 12, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |


    March 12, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. changing times

    Simple Singer, Obama is changing the electoral map. He of course win the state that are already blue and it's more than probable that because of the 2-1 margin of democrats participating vs republicans he can very well change the electoral in our favor.

    But first we have to stop this in-fighting and racial and gender division and concentrate on healing. MSM, Republicans and conservative evangelicals have us against the ropes. It's our election to lose if we don't snap out of our hatred and bitterness.

    March 12, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. jason

    So Clinton thinks that winning states in the primaries that the democrats will most likely lose in november makes those wins somehow less meaningful or valuable? Funny, she seemed to think that winning Texas was of utmost importance... considering texas has voted republican in the general election nearly every time for the past few decades.

    March 12, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  8. Paul Naranjo

    Poor Obama, now he is one more politician trying to put down other candidates. Finally, he is showing who he truly is.
    What about his change, did it get lost somewhere in the path,' cause now, he is going negative to devaite voters' attention from the fact that he is not ready nor experienced to lead our nation.

    Obamaniac , why don't you stop crying and dividing the party and go to the facts.

    They say that he is the front runner, which is not true, since no one will accumulate the number of delegates needed for the nomination, thus, he cannot proclaim himself the savior of America, cause we need a President not a preacher.

    Every vote should count.

    HILLARY 08

    March 12, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  9. joanna

    I am so fed up with these campaigns. Candidates hoisted afloat by their own hot air. Worst example is Barry O. so full of himself and the hot gases emitted by his followers.

    March 12, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  10. Andrew from CA

    CNN claimed that Ohio and Texas stopped Obama's momentum even though he made significant gains in the weeks before their primairies (and actually won more Texas delegates.) I challenge CNN to be fair on judging the PA results.

    Let's check the polls right now in PA and see where Clinton and Obama stand. Then lets see where they stand on April 23rd. If Clinton has momentum, the percentages should strengthen her lead. If Obama narrows the gap, he can claim the momentum is still going his way.

    No movement against the polls is NO CHANGE. Hillary winning PA is not a swing in momentum unless she changes the needle from where it stands now. Can CNN be balanced in analysis?

    March 12, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  11. Pat Huntington NY

    North Carolina is anything but a battle ground will certainly go to McCain why? Because the blacks, while making up a large percentage of the democratic voters, make up a mere fraction of the general electorate, and the overwhelming general electorate there, are white republicans, and many are white conservative former NY'rs who will not vote obama. That's a sad truth, but its a reality. Who ever obama has in his campaign helping him to figure percentages and statistics, should be fired.

    March 12, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  12. Michael

    Anyone who believes a words Harold Ickes says, including "and" and "the" is gullible in the extreme.

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

    I agree with Singer! PA is another step to the whitehouse. Hillary is the best chance we have in the election.

    Hillary' 08

    March 12, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  14. arthurW from Virginia

    The logic escapes me that if one candidate wins a state, no matter by how small a margin, then the 'losser' can't possibly win the same state in the Fall election. The absuridity of their pronouncments are starting to make both camps sound like idiots, though the logic of seating delegates as voted from states that both parties agreed would not count gives the dunce cap to the Clinton Camp. Please, the american public isn't that stupid... are we?

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

    mmm, lets wait and see

    March 12, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  16. Jorge

    ofcourse not!!! the only sight of the name Clinton on the ballot makes many people. like me, to vote against it!!! I will NEVER VOTE FOR HER!!!!! NEVER!!!!!

    March 12, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  17. GAURAV


    March 12, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  18. Charle/Amsterdam, Netherlands

    and here I am thinking that the USA consisted of 50 states plus some far away regions like Puerto rico, Guam etc. From the Clinton point of view the USAc osists merely of a handful of bigger states like California, Florida, New York and Pennsylvania, provided she wins those states. Is Texas still a worthy state or has it lost its status afterthe full election results?

    March 12, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  19. Keith

    The Clinton campaign falsely portrays that if they win a big state in the primary that Obama cannot win that state in the general election. This position is flawed...The democrats will win CA, NY, NJ, MA and yes OH and PA with either of these canidates. This is mostly true with all of the states...Obama does bring into play the possibility to win states that have traditionaly voted republican and Hillary does not...this is an undisputed fact (republicans HATE Hillary)

    All canidates try to spin their message to benefit them but Hillary Clinton does in a way that disrespects the american voter, treating us as if we are stupid. We should all be outraged over her behavior!

    March 12, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  20. TAR HEEL

    just leave it to obama's campaign to point out that he is competing in a racially mixed state like he is himself ...what will he think of next to actually speak on the issues ..oh wait he does ....fact is obama doesnt have to do anything but coast statisically he only needs 47% of the last contests to win the nomination because he is so far ahead in the delegate count ..............

    ooooohhhh thats gotta hurt hillary geraldine and gloria steinem whats next will they protest that he should have given them a head start because they are women ......they will think of something stupid to say tommarrow just wait you'll see

    March 12, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  21. Dana

    I am so tired of hearing the same old noise from Hilliary. She couldn't win in November with all the Republican attack machine waiting patiently for her. So forget it Hilliary and aren't you tired of this losing battle you're fighting.

    March 12, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  22. Tom,des moines

    People who support Obama should know 1 thing, and that is u need to win blue states, and not red states like AL,AK,GA,ID,KS,ND,UT,LA,NE,VA,WY and MS, as u know John McCain will win most if not all of the red states anyway. all I can say to Obama supporter,that is not 2 late to join the winning team and be part of the team that will beat John McCain in the gereral election. Go Hillary!

    March 12, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  23. AngryinMN

    "Pennsylvania...path to 1600 Pensssylvania"??? Like it was 4 years ago with Kerry/Edwards ?

    March 12, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  24. TSR

    Ridiculious is what i call her campaign,,,,,,,,John Mcsane will win Pennsylvania in the general election if the democrats elect Hillary and Bill to the party's nomination,also he'll probably win Ohio and Texas.

    March 12, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  25. Tom, Iowa

    Who wrote this article? It makes no sense. Three paragraphs in it mentions some named "Plouffe." Who are they? Who do they represent? Someone needs to edit this.

    March 12, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
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