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. Ca Native

    Will this be their argument when McCain wins MORE states and more votes in the fall??

    When a candidate begins doing electorial gymnastics to present their case – you know they're getting desperate!

    April 7, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  2. Sharon

    She would win PA, FL, OH, and MI in the General Election....Obama can't.....look at your beloved polls.....Why do you think the remaining Super Delegates haven't voted yet??????? They understand this and are just waiting for her to capture the popular vote and have command of all the states dems need in the fall.....
    Glad to see you back Wolf.....the others who covered for you hate Hillary....it's nice to see someone with his own mind back in the drivers seat on CNN......

    April 7, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  3. Evan

    Strange. I thought that the only count which mattered was the delegate count.

    Or have the Democratic Party rules changed and no-one informed anyone?

    April 7, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  4. Trey L.

    Yeah right!
    If I was Hillary I'd say the same thing. Problem with that thinking is any Decent democratic would vote for whom ever wins the nomination in those big states. That 's like saying the Yankees or the Red Sox would not beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series last year or this year. (Sorry PA)
    Well you get the point! Whatever you have to tell yourself Mrs. Clinton to make you sleep better at night. Just admit you can't stand to lose to Obama in O8!

    April 7, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  5. ABG

    If Obama wins the nomination, McCain will target his lack of resume for the job. People are ignoring that key point right now, but they will not in November. That is reality.

    Hillary leads McCain in the key states to win. Obama does not.

    The Democratic party must be united after the convention. That is up to the DNC.

    If Hillary Clinton is not treated fairly in regards to the votes and delegates in FL & MI, then the Democratic party has lost their integrity and principle.

    As a life long Democrat, I will not vote Democratic if the party does not "walk the Democratic talk".

    I am sure there are other Democrats who feel the same way.

    April 7, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  6. Alex H

    I heard a Clinton supporter on Larry King say Hillary Clinton is "doing so well in these states that look like the United States of America" and saying that the people in those states "are the folks who are important right now" and my jaw dropped!!! This is the sentiment of the Clinton campaign! Who are they to say what America looks like??? Last time I checked, the whole country was America and the whole country is important!

    April 7, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  7. Key West Sun

    Well the Dem's are finally starting to see the light, In the fall only Hillary has the chance to take Florida, Ohio or Pa. Nobody is going to the white house without 2 of the 3. Hillary has done everything she could to keep the Florida voters in this from day one. Obama was the only canidate to run campaign ad's in Fl and still didn't not do him anygood. How many times have I seen a Obama supporter on here say,,,to bad they broke the rules, if they don't like it,, then,, we don't need them in the fall.
    I guess most Obamaians are young and not really up on how the Electoral vote works. Red and Blue States are a fact, and fewer borderline states,,
    Oh well, can't wait to hear the screaming on here from this story.

    April 7, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  8. HRC, it's over babe

    Stop selling Clinton, she is done. She is simply UNELECTABLE

    April 7, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  9. Alexandra

    Wolf stop being biased.
    You know the rules the DNC set, so why are you trying to help the Clinton's move the goal post?

    April 7, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  10. Jack in ND

    Okay, let's examine...

    #1 California...she won that, but in large part because nearlt half of the people voted ahead by mail. Obama was enjoying a late surge, and among people who decided in the last 72 houirs, Obama won handily. Plus, Obama now leads Clinton in California in recent polls.

    #2 Texas...Hillary won that narrowly, but largely due to Republican voters, who cast 125,000 votes in a state that Hillary won by 100,000. Plus, Obama won the caucuses..a process that Operation Chaos didn't interfere in.
    #3 New York...home state advantage for Hillary.

    #4 Florida...one of the two states with tainted results. Hillary would likely win this if they voted again, but only because she's attempted (and unfortunately succeeded) in actually blaming Obama for their disenfranchisement.

    #5 Illinois...home state advantage for Obama.

    #6 Pennsylvania...biggest state yet to vote. Clinton leads but Obama is now surging there just as he had in California. Hillary will probably still win, but not by the double margin she needs. If she doesn't, it's a useless win.

    #7 Ohio...Hillary won this state, with a demographic custom made for her, solidly, and good for her. I wonder, though, if it would have voted the same way if her duplicity had surfaced last month. Fortunately, Ohio's twin, Pennsylvania, can weigh their vote accordingly.

    #8 Michigan...the other tainted state, and this one didn't even have Obama on the ballot, as per mutually agreed to rules. It can;t coutn as is, but if it had a revote I suspect Obama would win this one.

    That's 8 states with 10 million people or more.

    But there are 13 more with 5 to 10 million, and 7 of them went for Obama (6 of them strongly), while 4 went for Clinton. North Carolina will likely be an 8th for Obama, and Indiana is a tossup.

    April 7, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  11. Mary-NY

    That is what matters, those big states that the DNC need to win the November election and the way I see it, Barack Hussein Obama did not win any of them and if you guys remembers '00, '04 Ohio, Florida, Michigan must be won by any DNC otherwise White House exclude the candidate. As for me, Obama is not a leader and looking at him, he looks like a man with a hidden agenda. Why couldn't he attend MLK memorial service if you he thinks that he meant something to people and Americans in general. All he is just a pretty boy who is an opportunitist deciving the generation X with empty promises. If the DNC nominate him, come November, NY, CA, Ohio, Michigan and Fl will vote for John McCain and for the first NY will go GOP. Barack Hussein Obama should wait for the next round and gather more experience before running for White House.

    April 7, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  12. Geoff

    To put thing into perspective! As a matter of a fact Obama does better in the head to head against mc Cain in California than Clinton does! Also in states like NJ and New York the head to head polls for the GE are not at all in line with the results of the democratic primaries. Bottom line is that you can"t predict results in the GE based on primary results (uncomparible dynamics) and this make the whole Clinton "case" only wishfull thinking!

    April 7, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  13. Jeremy

    The Democratic Party primaries & caucuses are for all democrats to let the party know who they want to be the nominee, not just those in big states. Democrats that happen to live in red states, or small states, have a voice on how things in this country should be run, too. If Democrats do not vote for whoever the democratic nominee is, they are just ignorant of where the candidates stand on the issues since they are almost the same, and are far different than the Republican counter-part.

    Jeremy – Denver, CO

    April 7, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  14. Observer

    would this argument hold up if it were any other candidate making this case?

    April 7, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  15. Robert in Toronto,ON

    Clinton can spin it any way she wants to Wolf. Bottom line – she's behind in pledged delegates, states won, AND the popular vote. Time for her to step aside and be a gracious loser instead of bleeding money from Americans to support her already doomed campaign.

    April 7, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  16. Doug, Florida

    That's one of thre reasons I no longer watch Wolf nor Dobbs.
    I just chance the channel

    OBAMA 08

    April 7, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  17. Glenn Doty, Columbia, SC

    This pathetic appeal is all they have left. But it's as hollow as the rest of their imploded and tragically managed campaign.

    In California, for the democratic primary, ~5 million people turned out to vote... Which is pretty impressive.
    BUT – in the 2004 general election, more than 12.3 million people voted.

    New York – ~1.8 million people in the democratic primary, ~7.9 million people in the 2004 general...
    Tennissee – 623,000 in the democratic primary; 2.4 million people in the 2004 general...

    Every single state you'll find numbers that are similar or worse.

    The fact that most of the people voting in the democratic primary are die-hard democrats would strongly suggest that they will vote against McCain regardless.

    The only real crystal ball available would be to look at the independent vote. These are the voters that will switch sides depending on the candidate, and will actually determine the outcome. Of course, the Clinton campaign doesn't want to focus on that – since they're supporting Obama over Hillary by ~3 to 1.

    April 7, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  18. jl







    April 7, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  19. Terrence W

    Can we change the prerequisite for Winning yet again? First it was a delegate race. Could win there, so it became a popular vote race? Can't win there, so now we are going to count delegates like this is a Gen Election? hahaha this is too funny.

    April 7, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  20. Nate

    Clinton DID NOT WIN TEXAS.

    So the argument is moot.

    Obama – 236

    Clinton – 185

    April 7, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  21. Vig

    It's 3 am – the phone is ringing – Hillary, pick up the phone – it's destiny calling!

    April 7, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  22. Stephen

    well... when she's clearly not winning any other measure of the vote... i guess electoral college is all she has left to yap about.... the question would be... if Obama beats her there? then what's the excuse? The new spin?

    April 7, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  23. Dave in DC

    Howard Wolfson Blitzer speaks.

    April 7, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  24. Dilly WA

    This is rediculous. The general election is not a primary and the electorial vote does not apply to it. Stop supporting Clinton's fairy-tale math just to make stories for CNN. It is not good for the voters or the Dem party to be so misleading.

    April 7, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  25. Angela

    The recent poll showed 28% of Clinton supporters would not vote for Obama? If those people stay home or, even worse, vote McCain, then those swing states, and maybe the large Democratic-trending states, are in play.

    The super-delegates HAVE to take that into consideration. Obama is not going to carry the red states. Clinton won more democratic and swing states. They HAVE to look at that.

    April 7, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
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