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. John in Virgina

    Even if that is the case, Obama's numbers are still far more than McCain's in those states. It doesn't mean that the general election will be the same as the primary; there will be some degree of crossover. But McCain will need to do something to really mobilize voters to compete with those numbers as they stand. It is a definite concern.

    April 7, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  2. Mick

    Why is it so complicated?
    One Person – One Vote
    Or have we given up on Democracy?

    April 7, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. Tyrone Brown, Seattle, WA

    We can add the current spin from the Clinton campaign to the list of unfortunate notions being pushed by the Clinton campaign. Notions like:

    – the smaller so called "activist" states don't count
    – South Carolina doesn't matter because Jesse Jackson won in '84
    – First Lady (or First Gentlemen that matter) experience qualifies one to be President of the United States
    – Obama should run as Vice President

    ...and now, that it is all about the electoral college.

    Barack Obama is edging closer to winning the Democratic nomination. Why? Because he is running a brilliant campaign, has tapped into the "heart and mind" of the average American and represents the very best of what our country has to offer.

    Obama '08

    Tyrone Brown
    37th Legislative District / State Delegate
    Seattle, Washington

    April 7, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |

    First it was all about delegates, then it was all about super delegates, then it was about popular votes. Now it's about electoral votes. Does Hillary get to keep choosing a way to count till she finds one that puts her ahead? I've never seen anyone so convinced she is owed this nomination that they would make up new rules every month to fit the current situation.

    April 7, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  5. L. Stephenson

    Oh my gosh. Has hell frozen over or something? I haven't seen 1 Obama headline in your articles today. The last time I considered voting for Obama was when I actually saw a photo taken where he appeared to have a halo (background lighting). I actually voted for Hillary in the primary – wasn't too excited about her then and am even less so now. Too bad they can't take all the millions of dollars they have collected to advertise their campaigns and maybe do something worthwile with it, like say, feed some starving American children or something. Why do we even bother having a president, anyway?

    April 7, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. richard

    Mccain win New York and/or California on a pro-war policy? Not likely.

    April 7, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. Carl from Pa

    This is one of the silliest ways of measuring who is ahead. Firstly, this is an election among only democrates and so it is not in any way a predictor of who would carry those states in November. Secondly, this contest is about delegates both pledged and super. If Hillary wants every vote to count and for every state to have its say, then why would her campaign suggest that the delegetes overturn not only the popular vote but also those whom they represent to elect her based on this "electoral" number?

    Honesly, I can't see how more people can't see the rediculousness of all of this.

    April 7, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. Paris Prince

    The Electoral College tally chooses the President. It's True

    April 7, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  9. Ray

    Although I'm fed up with CNN's biased coverage against Senator Clinton lately, I'll have to give this a positive response and say I'm glad Wolf is airing it. Yes, it is true the Clinton's are making this case, and the case goes back to the issue of who has won big in primary states and who has won in open caucus states. In primary states, many of them huge states in terms of population, Senator Clinton has shown she can pull out the Democratic base and Independents to win the vote. In caucus states, Senator Obama has shown he can pull out Independent. However, these are small states that are clearly going to vote Republican in the general election anyway. And, if they do vote for Obama in the general election, they won't give enough delegates for the party to win enough delegates to win the election. Senator Clinton clearly has the edge by winning the big states. The argument is a sound and fair one the Obama people have to accept. Of course, they will argue the election has been stolen from them. Then again, they aren't Democrats anyway, so what does it matter what they think. If they really want the war to end and the economy to improve, they will overlook the issue of whether it is Obama or Clinton and vote for Senator Clinton as the Democrat.

    April 7, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. Greg in La

    All this spinning is making my head dizzy....

    April 7, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. Joe -New Jersey

    Blitzer is a bias pseudo journalist who might as well pin a "Vote for Hillary" button on his label.

    April 7, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  12. Grant Devereaux

    I think it is about shoe size. The Person with the smallest shoe size should get the nomination. Yeah – that's the ticket!

    The first time I played Candyland with my 3 year old daughter, she made up the rules as she went along. Hillary seems to be doing the same thing.

    April 7, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  13. anthony s.

    Aren't we all just tired of Clinton trying to find ways to argue that she should win the super delegates? I understand you will do and say anything to win (as Clinton has done), but it gets to a point that the argument is too pathetic. Obama is winning the heart of America, no matter how many obstacles and controversy that they throw his way...may be he should just win on those grounds!

    April 7, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  14. Don Badgley

    Hillary's argument about Electoral College votes in major states makes sense only if she runs against Obama in the general election. When desperate.... default to the absurd! CNN should call it what it is: desperate.

    April 7, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  15. kp

    This is pure nonsense. When Obama is the nominee, the big states that Hillary won will support him. I think the 24/7 news nuts are just filling in air time with their usual stupidity and made up controversy.

    April 7, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  16. Independent Voter

    Why does the Clinton Campaign need to change the goal post every second? The Presidency is all about integrity, honesty and of course judgement of which the Clinton Campaign do not have. If Clinton cannot WIN the Democratic Primary, what makes the Campaign thinks they can win the General Election. Why does the Democratic Party has to send its losing team to go and play in the Final two?

    April 7, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  17. Baffled

    Perhaps this is another instance of her changing her position on an issue in a way that will best benefit her and her quest for power at all costs.

    Her previous stance regarding the Electoral College (and which can be found in archived news articles if you search) was expressed in 2000 while the country awaited the word on who would become president. She stated, ""We are a very different country than we were 200 years ago. I believe strongly that in a democracy, we should respect the will of the people and to me, that means it's time to do away with the Electoral College and move to the popular election of our president."

    Interesting that her tune has once again changed. People need to know this!

    April 7, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  18. Darcy - Arkansas

    Obama would make the better president. I would vote for Obama. IF he does not get the nomination I will have to vote against McCain, therefore Hillary would get my vote and I will feel we did not get the best president but more of the same politics that got us into this mess. My HOPE for change would be lost to the Clinton machine.
    I sincerely hope she does not emerge as the winner of the nomination.

    April 7, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  19. mendoza

    once again the clintons are making up new rules that have nothing to do with the contest that is taking place now. She looks pretty sad!

    April 7, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  20. Kevin

    Clinton does have a point. I mean, winning a state's primary automatically means you win the votes of that state in the electoral college.

    April 7, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  21. chuck

    Everyone knows exactly what is going to happen. If Barack Hussein Obama gets the democratic nomination, it is a guarantee that the Republicans will win the white house again. America is so caught up in that noone wants to be known as racist, that people are saying not what they believe, but what they think is politically correct. In a voting booth out of the spotlight politically correct thinking goes right out the window. Let's not be naive.

    April 7, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  22. Mischelle from Illinois

    It is about time someone on CNN made some sense. You must not like kool-aid very much Wolf! She is and always has been more electable than Obama. This will be the case in the end!

    April 7, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. James, Cleveland Ohio

    Wolf, so much for independant journalism, maybe you should interview for Mark Penn's position it is available

    April 7, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Sylvia Johnsen, Oslo Norway

    Hillary 08 is the best:
    – Commander-in-Chief-candidate,
    – Health-and-School-candidate,
    – Economics-and-Jobs-candidate. and yes – even the best
    – Black-candidate

    Hillary met with reverend Martin Luther King as a young churchgoing activist. Her career on point is a history of achievement. Hillary Clinton is simply the best candidate!

    You might not like her, but she'll make US proud and salvage the world from present disaster, courtasy of the very "likable" politician, President George W. Bush.

    April 7, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  25. Walaur

    When you spend your time to put this thing out there you should have a reel conclusion: a real purpose.
    What are you implying?
    Stop to spend your time on argumentation and non-argumentation at the same time.
    You want to be busy please say things that matter.
    I like you but sometimes you want to ovoid to take a side .Thus your point become non-sense.
    Please say what you think and/or present both sides with conclusion.

    April 7, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
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