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. Ryan

    She has won bigger states – but they're the traditional Blue States that will remain in that column. There is NO WAY that McCain takes NY, CA, MA, etc...NO WAY. What Clinton surrogates fail to recognize that a lot of the states she won in the Primary Obama will win in the General – and further, he will put more than a handful of states into play in the General that normally wouldn't be – MO and CO come to mind.

    Going off of that it will force McCain (the GOP) to spend less time in the traditional swing-states of FL/PA/OH to focus on this new battle ground that they have long had a lock on, which only increases Obama's chances in places like FL/PA/OH.

    So really, the argument she is making is inherently an argument for Obama. Suits me just fine.

    April 7, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  2. Eric Jack

    Hold up Wolf... regarding Arnold and California... check back on this state. What Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is about to do with the state budget and cut education and health services he won't be to popular!

    April 7, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  3. Alicia - Atlanta

    Hillary & her people are so desperate it's really hilirious. I was a Hillary supporter up until she begin to look foolish & made me look foolish too by supporting her. Not anymore! She makes Obama look better and better each day. Go Obama, this woman is on your side now.

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

    These states voted at the time of the earliest primaries. The voters
    were not well-informed that Hillary and Bill were deceptive in every way. The Clinton's popularity has descented into the most negative
    opinions NOW. If those votes were to be taken at this time, when
    so many negatives have been witnessed by the voters, they would
    I suppose voters "remembered the Clintons" in a positive way,
    contending that Bill was a good President, therefore, another Clinton
    would be even better. Well, we have learned the true values and
    scruples of the Clintons, and voters do not like what they see.
    Voters are smarter and more knowledgeable that they were when
    these primaries began.

    Obama 2008

    April 7, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  5. Ronald monis Ventura ca

    Wolf you are always there promoting clinton and spinning every wheel you can in order to make the case for her. The fact is Senator Obama is ahead and will get the nomination. I hate watching your bias obama bashing show. Even if they put you as the top of the ticket any democrat will win NJ< NY ANd CA so stop your spinning. YOu all discussed me on cnn.

    April 7, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  6. Bud Curtis

    It may be a controversial point to make, but the only way to get elected as President of the United States, under the current system, is to win the most electoral votes.
    Today the focus is on the primary selection process. But that is all out the window come November. Like it or not, if a Democrat moves into the white house in January, the name on the mail box will say Clinton.
    Bud Curtis
    Miami, OK

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

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

    Um, no, I'd call that a stupid point, not a controversial one

    April 7, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Doug, Florida

    YAH. Right.
    After seeing the money Bill Clinton made as Ex-President. Hillary wants her turn as President to rake in some money too.

    These people make me SICK!!!!!

    OBAMA 08

    April 7, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. jAYjAY

    that is a ficticious number. Electoral Delegates do not show up at the Democratic or Republican convention. They mean nothing in primaries.
    Keep relying on the uneducated

    April 7, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Chrissy, TX

    Yes it's true. And throw in the hispanic votes in those states too. Remember that hispanics also like McCain.

    April 7, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  11. Karen, TN

    Since the electoral college comes into play only in the general election, I think HRC is getting way ahead of herself. There is absolutely no way she can lay claim to numbers that aren't even applicable at this point. I see what she's trying to say, but the fact is the democrats will probably carry the states they will carry no matter who the nominee is. Not to mention the fact that in almost every matchup, Obama does better against McCain than Hillary does.

    April 7, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  12. Obama Supporter

    Wolf, you are right that it is a controversial, or perhaps an interesting point. It is nonetheless meaningless spin. The democrats could have set up a system where the winner of the nomination would be the person who earned the most faux-electoral college votes, but they didn't. Instead, Barack Obama has won the nomination fair and square, and polls consistently show that he is favored over Hillary Clinton as the democratic nominee. Win or lose, the teams have to play by the rules, regardless of what that means for the general election.

    April 7, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  13. Unbelievable

    The people from the Clinton campaign just keep trying to convolute and change rules or give microtrend statistics to somehow prove she should get the nomination. She is not winning in pledged delegates which is the way the contest works. She will try anything but if she hasn't convinced many superdelegates at this point I don't think her latest attempt is going to do anything. After all she has a net loss of 5 supers since super Tuesday whereas Obama has gained close to 60. Give it up Hillary, others are playing by the rules so you will just have to do so too.

    April 7, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  14. kathleen

    I am not sure Hillary can even hang on to her Senate job in New York.
    I don't think so.

    Obama 2008

    April 7, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. ndo

    Not sure whom the pundits and McCain's supporters are consulting: Swarzenegger isn't as popular as some may argue. His anti-union stance and our state's struggling economy may prove unfavorable for any fellow Republican he endorses.

    April 7, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  16. Mike

    The bottom line is this:

    Obama has so many anti-American, racist and business issues that the only people overlooking it is his supporters. Hillary supporters are galvanized to not want Obama as the nominee by the mere fact of what his church supports. However Hillary has been extremely restrainful in her attempts to win but not hurt Obama's career.

    McCain and the GOP attack machine will not restrain at all against anyone. Clinton can win against them because everyone knows her issues and by mere fact her tax records showed she overpayed taxes by 10% and donated 10% of their money to charities makes her a strong candidate of conviction of principals.

    Obama's record is starting to come out and the GOP is just salivating for him to be the nominee. When they finish with him, not even his supporters will like him.

    April 7, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  17. tim

    Pro- Hillary and how I hate this guy!

    April 7, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  18. Chipster

    Winning in November is vital to the health and well being of our nation. We need Clinton's experience and skills to restore our International relationships and bring this country back from the brink of begin destroyed by corporate greed and voodoo economics!

    As a shameless capitalist, I have no problem with the Clintons making money and $10+ donated to charity seems pretty good to me. The media's attempts to exaggerate her slightest missteps and ridicule her sincerity don't change her achievements and her years of public service. Not do they diminish her determination to defend those who have few or no resources to defend themselves. She has 34 retired Generals and 2 Admirals endorsing her for a good reason. They have confidence in her and so do I.

    April 7, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  19. MP-Pennsylvania

    What about Michigan and Florida. She said it is important. Now it is electoral colleges.
    She said every vote matters.
    She change her words so fast.
    Is she going to disfranchise millions of voters.


    April 7, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  20. Chris - Hemet, Ca.

    And if that doesn't work and she can't get Florida and Michigan to go her way her next proposal will be that the superdelegates should side with the candidate who wears pant suits!

    April 7, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. Bruce

    Fritz Mondale and Michael Dukakis won a lot of state primaries on their way to the nomination in 1984 and 1988. What did they win in the general election? Winning a primary in a state does not correllate to winning that same state in November. Apples and oranges. It reminds me of my kids trying to come up with new arguments whenever I told them no. Each argument is weaker than the last.

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

    Hillary SHOULD be the nominee!

    Senator Clinton has worked hard and she has earned it!

    What has Obama done other than preach "Yes We Can."

    "No you can't!"

    The media has made him out to be a darling of a candidate and people are simply mesmerized, wake-up!

    Go Hillary!

    April 7, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. Jennifer

    wow wow... why not consider the 2004 elections and give the Presidency to McCain.

    The voters are more aware of the dirty politics played in Washington. Stop looking back. The world has changed.

    April 7, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  24. Craig in Texas Democrat and supporter for Obama

    Always plotting but did she factor in her supporters that will back Obama cause she is through. Just hanging on by a thread.

    April 7, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  25. Jack

    If the Democratic Presidential Nominee can not win at least two of the following swing states: Florida, Ohio, Michigan and Pennsylvania, he or she can not win the general presidential election in November. In this sense, Clinton has more chance to win general presidential election that Obama.

    April 7, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
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