April 24th, 2008
02:30 PM ET
15 years ago

Blitzer: Crunch time for superdelegates

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/10/art.clintonobama.ap.jpg caption="Many superdelegates are still torn between the two White House hopefuls."]
(CNN) - For the few hundred still undecided superdelegates who almost certainly will decide the Democratic presidential nominee, there are two key questions they must answer: who will be the better President of the United States, and who will be the stronger candidate against John McCain.

On the first question, that will come to the superdelegates going over the policy positions, experience, personality, and background of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. In the end, that decision will probably come down to their gut instincts – who they feel more comfortable with and like more.

On the second question, they will be able to look at some hard numbers. Who has the most pledged delegates? Who has won the most states? Who has won the most important Electoral College battleground states? Who has won the most popular votes? How, if at all, do you weigh in the disputed primaries in Michigan and Florida, both of which Democrats will desperately seek to win in November?

“This is for me a no-brainer,” Democratic Ohio Governor Ted Strickland, a Clinton supporter, is quoted in The Wall Street Journal as saying. “If we’re going to plan to win in November, we need to choose the candidate that has the greatest strength in the states that are necessary to get us to the electoral votes we need. I hope the super delegates are paying attention.” He was specifically referring to his state of Ohio and to Pennsylvania, both of which Clinton won by about 10 percent. She won by more than 200,000 votes in each of those states.

But Oklahoma’s Democratic governor, Brad Henry, an Obama supporter, sees it differently. He told The Journal that Obama “represents the future versus the past, the new way versus the old way.” As a result, he says Obama has brought in millions of new voters, especially younger people and African-Americans. Like other Obama supporters, he says Obama can be competitive in several states where Democrats have not always done well, including Virginia and Missouri, both of which he won. In other words, they insist, Obama will win the traditionally Democratic states but will also bring some traditionally Republican states into the mix.

We shall see. These are tough decisions for the superdelegates.

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (269 Responses)
  1. joyce

    obama all way to the big house and i do mean the white one on pennsyvania ave
    go obama

    April 24, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  2. gerry

    The primary election is about elected delegates and Obama has already won.

    2-3 super delegates will flow to Obama each day for the next 13 days before the next round of elections.

    Someone needs to tell Clinton it's over.

    April 24, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  3. Clinton is a LOSER

    Nice one Mike. Too bad that in a general election, the candidates are running to obtain electoral votes, not delegates. Also, your numbers mean nothing because in a general election, one of these two nominees will be running against John McCain, not each other. By this, I mean that the candidate that performs the best will be the candidate that can gather as many of the other's democratic supporters once the party unifies. Polls have shown that more democrats will support OBAMA than Clinton if he is nominated. Also remember that independents overwhelmingly support Obama, which makes Clinton much less electable. BOTTOM LINE: IF YOU ARE A CLINTON SUPPORTER, DON'T TRY TO PLAY WITH NUMBERS BECAUSE MOST OF YOU ARE UNEDUCATED ANYWAYS.

    April 24, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  4. The truth from a young democrat

    To be perfectly honest..............I believe the superdelegates are truly to blame for why this race is going like it is. If they had confidence in either candidate they would have come together and endorsed one by now. But quite possibly.............they don't think a white woman or a black male can beat a white male for president in this country no matter how bad a candidate the white male is. I have my same doubts as well this can happen but the sooner we pick a candidate and join behind them as a party the better are chances are of defeating the republicans. This indecisiveness is not helping!!!! We are undermining ourselves when we should be focusing on pointing out the damage the republican party and their president have done to our country!!!! Why this is not obvious to everyone in the Democratic party is beyond me............

    April 24, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  5. ray from FL

    about all this type of talk is worth is TV ratings. How can anyone with half a brain think the democratic party can take away a victory from Obama, IF IN FACT, in early June he is leading? Its total nonsense to count votes from Michigan when Obama was not even on the ballot, this is typical Clinton nonsense. Give them the split in Fl with an even distribution of votes from the other canadates and split the delegates 50/50 for Michigan, if that makes everyon happy. BUT, lets get this over with and begin the real battle, McCain vs Obama. ENOUGH ALREADY, hasn't everyone had enough of OPERATION CHAOS? How can any sane person watch TV any more where all you hear on every news channel is HE said She said?

    April 24, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  6. typical white guy

    I just have to say that I guess so we won't see riots and violence we need to support Obama. Of course, we will lose to McCain with Obama but if we must be politically correct the superdelegates should vote for him. Of course they will lose their seats by making the lesser of the two intelligent decisions but we should probably do the right thing so African Americans can say they at least got this close. Again, this is not about race but it will be if he doesn't get selected.

    So, I'm for Hillary 'cause she will beat McCain. But, again, if we don't want riots and fires and murders we need to push for Obama.

    April 24, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  7. joyce

    mike you have listened to hillary to much today
    the math is mich and florida don;t count looser hillary

    April 24, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  8. Tiachi

    Hey Mike: nice analysis. This is all good that you can do math... but you are missing the fundamentals. It doesnt matter AT THIS POINT how Hillary will do in the GENERAL election because SHE IS NOT THERE YET, she IS NOT EVEN IN THE LEAD. What is wrong with these people?!?!? You are speaking on hypertheticals. In the event Obama is the nominee and you are looking at General election numbers, Hillary will be NO WHERE around, so why would you give her any numbers for the general election.

    That was a nice argument for Hillary indeed, but its inaccurate.

    Also, while there may be some people who are stupid enough to vote for a republican over a BLACK MAN, there are still many dems that WILL, (when Hillary finally leaves), vote for him and he will win the GENERAL ELECTION as the democratic nominee / President.

    It is NOT Hillary's time, she put up a good fight but the fact is SHE IS LOSING... now lets unite and stand behind our nominee, even if he is BLACK!!!

    If he was a white man, we would not be having this conversation.

    April 24, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. Superdelegates

    If the democratic party wants a win in November they need to vote for the person who will be the strongest to beat McCain. Hillary and Obama supporters do not like each other and that is not going to change – so you have to look hard at each one and decide who would do better with solving the ever most serious problems we are right now facing. Who is the toughest but not stubborn, who will cross over in the aisles to get things done. Who will look out foremost for the American people. Sometimes you just cannot unite people so we need a person who will know how to handle that type of situation.

    McCain has a very good shot at getting the Presidency because there is real genuine hard feelings running high in the democratic party. I hope the superdelegates make the right choice.

    April 24, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  10. bob

    Those that argue that she has garnered more electoral votes than Obama are absurd. First of all, she is running, right now, against another democrat. Your argument would be plausible if she were running against a Republican. I would imagine that most democrats that voted for her in the primary would vote Democratic in the fall. While it was impressive that some gathered lots of statistics to back their argument, your case is fundamentally flawed because it lacks logic. The case has to be made in the parameters that were outlined by the DNC at the beginning of the primary season. This is a case of changing the metrics to suit your candidate. Unfortunately, these metrics cannot be changed. Everybody agreed to the rules before the contests began; therefore, everyone should abide by them.

    April 24, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  11. Peter

    Judy Green, . . .You just described Senator Obama.

    Yes We can.

    April 24, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  12. Jeff Radun

    This is an example of why Obama will not bring into play republican states.
    in NC Obama will crush Hillay in but who cares.
    It will go replublcan in November
    In Virginia and Missouri Obama will get 95% of the African American vote but they will 100% end up as republicans
    Dream on if any dem thinks that rep states will move to dem party.
    The only hope either party has of winning the white house are the purple states, the one that make the diference in the general and Obama has not won even one of these states and he has not won the big core states like CA and NY. These will go to the dems whoever is the nominee, but PA, Ohio, Florida, and Michigan will tilt to the republicans
    Hillary won PA and Ohio.
    Florida and Michigan are not being allowed to count in the dem primary so many many voters will be angry at Obama for keeping their voices out of the procees unless he benefits

    April 24, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  13. Ryan

    I wish Obama supporters would get their heads out of the clouds and stop dreaming of the perfect candidate and try and think logically about who can really win in Nov.

    April 24, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  14. bitter_in_pa

    Clinton folks keep talking about her experience. Please tell me ... what experience? She was the wife of a governor and then the wife of a President. Then she became a senator (appointed by the DNC for a state she didn't live in) so she could run for president for several years on the public dime. Now she is in debt and I think it is not just money at stake... She obviously has alot of hidden political debt to politicians, companies and foreign interests who have backed her and Bubba over the years . Then there is the furniture she borrowed from the White House.... ha!
    At this point I think she is off her rocker and I think most of her experience is in her imagination. She would be a dangerous person to have in any leadership position because she's crazy.

    April 24, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  15. Len in Washington

    Sorry, Wolf, but I have to disagree with one of your premises.

    Who is winning the electoral states at this point is moot. After there is a nominee selected, most (but granted not all) of the people who voted will vote for the Democratic Candidate. Also many votes will then come from people who could not vote in the closed primaries because they were either Independant or Republican and did not want to commit to the Democratic Party even thought they prefer the Democratic Candidate. This could greatly add to the votes for either of these candidates during the November election.

    To base a decision on just half of the votes cast during the primary for either candidate does not reflect the number of votes that would be cast for a single candidate later.

    It's best just to utilize the existing premises that actually WILL matter to the primary. Namely, total primary votes, total delegates and total states won. Votes/delegates from states that violated the election rules previously agreed to by ALL of the Democratic Candidates should not be figured into the totals. I realize that this upsets the voters in Florida but they really need to focus their outrage toward those responsible in THEIR STATE that caused this. I agree that it's sad but it's not correct to blame the DNC or any of the individual candidates. It was the Florida Republican Legislators that caused this and they're still laughing.

    April 24, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  16. Pam

    You know what, if I hear one more thing about the popular vote, I am going to burst...................

    I am from Iowa and the Clintons consistantly say (while breaking the rules) that FL and MI votes have been disinfranchised. Hillary says it is the popular vote that matters. Well, look how many caucus states that she disenfranchises in that analogy.

    If supers go off that they are going to really tick people off in how many states????

    I am all for MI and FL being seated but it should be fair, why don't you just average out the electoral votes in all the races and split them that way.

    Oh, thats right, it is her way or not at all...politics as usual.....no thanks!

    April 24, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  17. Grif

    On the Right! The Dominant Male. On the Left! The Woman??????

    April 24, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  18. Dave from CA

    I’m tired of some people saying “The super delegates have to vote for Obama because he has the lead in pledged delegates.” I have found it helpful to discuss the delegate math as follows: Clearly, just over 50% of the total delegates are needed to win. When all the primaries and caucuses are done, it's likely Obama's pledged delegates will provide him with 41-42% of the total delegates and Hillary's pledged delegates will provide her with 38-39%. That shows the public was nearly equally split between 2 popular candidates both in terms of pledged delegates and popular vote.

    The voters were unable to choose a nominee so the super delegates need to decide whether to push Obama from a bit over 40% to 50% or whether to push Hillary from a bit under 40% to 50%. They should decide based on who they think has the best chance of beating McCain. It's as simple as that.

    If Obama’s pledged delegates had provided 49% of the total and all the super delegates then sided with Hillary, that would seem like the nomination was "stolen". But they both will only have about 40% of the total based on pledged delegates so I don't see the big outrage if they push either candidate beyond 50%. Nothing was “stolen” because neither came close to the 50% needed based on their pledged delegates. I voted for Obama but I will support Hillary if she is the nominee.

    April 24, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  19. Phong Nguyen

    Let the superdelegates vote their conscience!!!

    April 24, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
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