April 7th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
13 years ago

Blitzer: Is Clinton ahead in the only count that matters?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/04/art.blitzer.cnn.jpg caption="The economy once again may be the dominant campaign theme."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - In recent days, Hillary Clinton supporters have been pushing this notion that the Democratic presidential candidate who has won the states with the most Electoral College votes should get the party’s super delegates and the party’s eventual nomination. We’ve heard it from Democratic Senator Evan Bayh of Indiana and Democratic Governor Ed Rendell - among many others.

They make this argument because Barack Obama remains the leader so far in pledged delegates, the popular vote and the most states won.

Clinton’s supporters note that Obama may have won more states - 27 to 14, excluding both Michigan and Florida whose delegates so far are not being counted because those states moved up their primaries against Democratic party rules. But they argue that her 14 states have a total of 219 Electoral College votes and his 27 states have 202 - and insist that makes her more likely to win the general election in November.

Among the big states she has won are New York and California.

Obama supporters argue that any Democrat likely will capture those states if recent presidential elections are a model. That may be true but John McCain and his supporters are arguing that he might actually have a chance in California given his supposed “maverick” reputation and the strong support of the state’s popular Republican governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Clinton supporters also argue that she has a better chance of beating McCain in swing states like Florida and Ohio - which they say Democrats would need to win in November. They say it’s all about the Electoral College - not the popular vote - as was made clear in 2000, when Al Gore won hundreds of thousands of more votes than winner George Bush.

It’s a controversial point that the Clinton camp makes.

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (389 Responses)
  1. Lee WV

    Just because Hilary won those so-called big states against Obama I don't see what that has so much to do with the General election.After all the primaries put democrat against democrat.In the general election it's democrat against republican.I think that most voters that say that they will cross to the other party if their candidate is not the nominee are just blowing smoke to make a cases for their favorite.In this case popular votes and pledged delegates have to make the decision.

    April 7, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  2. Karen

    Did I hear the governor of Peurto rico is being investigated for whatever crime? what a coincidence?

    April 7, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  3. apple


    April 7, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  4. HSNP

    Exactly correct, Wolf. It's the November general election that really counts. Florida and Michigan will count then and Hillary Clinton is the only candidate who has stood up for their primary election concerns. There could be a backlash against the Obama campaign come November because of his attempts to suppress the primary votes in those 2 large states.

    April 7, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  5. CognitoErgoSum

    Ah, the Clinton campaign is moving the goalposts yet again.

    April 7, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  6. Chris Gromek

    The Democrats might as well throw in the towel if their superdelegates elect the candidate who did not win the popular vote.

    April 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  7. Matt

    We got a president the popular vote didn't want in 2000; why should we get a nominee that the popular vote doesn't want in 2008? That's directly analogous to George Bush's win, and a strong argument for electoral reform.

    April 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  8. Lin

    Of cource it is more about electoral college, please be aware that there is no caucuses in general election at all, and in the general election, Obama will lose all the black states he won in the primary. Don't be kidding to think he even has a chance in Ohio or Florida.

    April 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. Joe B.

    Team Clinton has as many theories about why she should eventually win while currently losing as President Bush had for going into Iraq. Wait....I think she should be the nominee because she has won the most Thursday primaries on odd numbered days.

    April 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  10. KheperaMayet

    This is more misdirection from the Clinton campaign.

    It's like saying that if Obama is the nominee, there will somehow magickally be more Republicans than Democrats in California, but if Clinton wins the nomination there will magickally be more Democratic voters than Republican in the general election.

    Only a fool would fall for this.

    April 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  11. yogi

    109 million guess she feels she can buy what she wants. and now she wants to buy the presidency. I use to have a lot6 of respect for hillary but now her true colors are shinning through and i do not see red white and blue.

    April 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. Tom Huntington,NY

    At this point Hillary will say or do anythimg to get the nomination. She won New York for obvious reasons. Does any one think that New York or other so called "big states" are suddenly going to go to McCain? Hillary has lied too much in this campaign and I think most people are seeing right through it. She has no one to blame but herself. She was arrogant to the point of thinking that the nomination was hers for the asking and it would all be decided by Super Tuesday. That is why her campaign was broke and she had tgo loan it 5 million.

    April 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  13. Jawahar Chirimar

    "keep slicing it till you find one tiny angle where you are CURRENTLY winning" – That is a loosing strategy.

    Hillary leads in ONE vote that matters. That is the vote asking her to quit and stop humiliating herself publicly.

    April 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  14. Jason Carter

    It's not really a bad argument, except that it's hard to prove and it would amount to superdelegates overthrowing the popular vote. Florida will likely go to McCain in any event due to the mess with the Democratic primary there. Ohio seems to lean more strongly towards Hillary than towards Obama, but McCain has to prove to Ohio that he can handle the economy before he can win there against either of the two. And who knows how California will go in the general election? Hillary is the favorite, but Obama has gained a lot of support there recently, and so has McCain.

    April 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  15. Patrick

    Um, no, Wolf. No it isn't.

    The system is set up for delegates for a reason. History shows that winning a state in a primary bears little to no reflection on how that state votes in November.

    It's only a "controversial" point if people like you continue to give it credence in effort to make a story out of a primary race that is all but decided.

    Oh, and in terms of star power in the Golden State, I'll take Obama over McCain anyday. Give me a break.

    April 7, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  16. Terry Williams

    It may be a contraversal point but Obama is hinging on the idea that he can change the electoral map. He may have been able to do that if this was 6 or 7 months ago. But as the campaign as gone on, he has gone froma candidate who transcended race to a candidate who submerges himself in race. He has become a man who is outside of the old politics, who stays out of mainstream politics to a politician who does exactly what any other old politician does. His original mesage is slipping away and he's no longer a man who can change the electoral map. I don't really know if Hillary can win at this point with that argument, but I don't think it looks that great for Obama, who thinks he doesn't need Florida, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan in NOvember by flipping some red states. It seems like something he's arrogantly thinking he can do and in November, fail.

    April 7, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  17. Cheer

    Clinton can say anything she wants; it is only to further demonstrate her stupidity and ruleless opportunisim. No data supports that the primary election result represents the general election result – that is why we have a two-tier election system. The meaner she is, the sooner her supporters will abandon her – a path ahead. Just see how many her supporters have said so on your web site for her calling "boycott" the Olympic opening.

    April 7, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  18. Phyllis

    Is that so? No she is not.....Is it a low news day? Clinton's Tax Returns, Mark Penn, more HRC lies) is not enough?

    April 7, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. wanda

    This is nonsense! Just pure spin! Electoral votes only count in the general against an opponent of the opposite party. There is nothing that says she will win the states in the general that she has in the primaries. If the super-delegates are stupid enough to fall for this line of horse-pucky than we are surely doomed as a party.

    April 7, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. Seth

    Not only is it controversial, it isn't how the system is set up.

    The Democratic nominee is nominated via, wait for it, wait for it... a democratic system!

    Delegates are awarded based directly on the popular vote. Only in the case that neither candidate wins are the super-delegates "activated."

    And by all accounts the super-delegates will not over-turn the delegate votes. Who would they rather upset – the majority that voted for Obama, or the minority that voted for Clinton?

    Also, it is a spurious argument that since Clinton beat Obama in Ohio, that means Obama can't beat McCain there. That isn't necessarily logical.

    April 7, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  21. Belv

    Absolutely not.

    Popular vote is popular vote and there's no way to change that, no matter how much Clinton supporters or the media afraid of speaking the facts (Fox and CNN) try to spin it.

    April 7, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  22. Charles

    It seems like the Clintons are looking for an area that Obama has not won and are trying to make that the standard for superdelegates to make there choice. Once again trying to change the rules in the middle of the game because to play but the rules would not get them the nomination.

    April 7, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  23. Bill Ferris

    That argument does not hold up.Regardless of who won those larger states in the primaries,THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE will still win those large states in the general election.Blitz,your logic is about as flawed as Hillary`s.

    April 7, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  24. Bob, Phoenix

    Demonstrates how poorly managed the DNC and Democratic Party are. In something as important as a Presidential primary, the candidates, voters, and party power players are all trying to figure out the rules when the game is nearly over. And they should be running the most powerful, complex organization in the world? Scary

    April 7, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  25. Aidan

    All the hate and underhanded tactics the Obama supporters have given towards Hillary will just lead a lot of her supporters to vote for McCain. If his supporters just promoted his policies instead of just constantly attacking Hillary then there would be a more united party.

    I have not heard any details of his policies but only criticism of Clinton.

    If Obama is the Democratic nominee then McCain will be the next president.

    April 7, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16