May 5th, 2008
02:45 PM ET
14 years ago

Blitzer: The loser's role

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Will the loser rally around the winner?"]I keep hearing from very worried Democrats this constant refrain. The loser of the Democratic presidential contest – whether it’s Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton – will have an incredibly important role in determining whether a Democrat sits in the Oval Office next year or John McCain. It depends, they say, on how the loser loses.

Their thinking is shaped in part by the 1968 and 1980 Democratic presidential campaigns.

In 1968, Vice President Hubert Humphrey faced a very stiff challenge from Senator Eugene McCarthy of Minnesota. He had mobilized a lot of young people. It was a bitter contest that Humphrey eventually won. Many of McCarthy’s anti-Vietnam War supporters were depressed and never really jumped aboard the Humphrey bandwagon. Richard Nixon, the Republican, won the election that November.

In 1980, the incumbent Democrat, Jimmy Carter, faced a tough challenge from Senator Ted Kennedy for the party’s nomination. It, too, was a bitter contest that Carter eventually won. Many of Kennedy’s supporters could never warm up to Carter. There apparently had been too much bad blood. Ronald Reagan, the Republican challenger, won the election that November.

With that historic context, many Democratic leaders now are desperate that the current loser quickly moves on and winds up enthusiastically endorsing and working for the winning candidate. Will that happen? One way of guaranteeing that it will, of course, would be if the losing candidate winds up being the vice presidential running mate.

That is the proposal put forward by former New York Governor Mario Cuomo. Will that happen? My sense is that it will happen only if the winning candidate determines that that is the best of uniting the party and winning the election in November.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (222 Responses)
  1. bigben

    the reason obama is up by over 100 . Is how delegates are given out. If it was fair he be up by about 50. Some areas are worth more. Meaning some votes are greater than others. Not very democratic.

    May 5, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  2. DB

    To Jeff in Saint Paul:

    And what about the bad things that have been said about Obama and his supporters from the Clinton supporters. I think that the same thing would apply to Clinton if she was to be the nominee. So it works both ways.

    May 5, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. lynette

    It took CNN until this afternoon to talk about Obama rebounding in the national polls, but that information came out over the weekend. And where didn't Obama pick up another super delegate????? YUP.

    May 5, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  4. Kelly, Atlanta GA

    Wolf is the only loser here. Why is he bringing in the stroy we burried long long time ago? Coz he wants to pretend that HRC is still alive. Only somebody with no brain, like Lou Dobbs, can believe such a story. As far as I'm concerned I gave up on Wolf before 6 months.

    May 5, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. stefan

    CNN .Corp,

    May 5, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. Stephen David

    Oh my word... the rhetoric in these comments are ghastly!

    Well... "If person X is the candidate the world will come to an end" or "If person Y get's the nomination I will vote for the party I don't believe in." Tis' truly silly season and once again people have stooped to the level expected of them.

    "Obama supporters are mean", "Hillary supporters are ignorant", blah, blah, blah...

    I want a democrat in the WH... Personally, I would prefer Sen. Obama, but Sen. Clinton would be fine too! We need to stop this childish behavior within our own party. (I can hear someone saying now... well I will stop if they stop first).

    How can we increase our world perception with this kind of idiocy?

    Dems, get over your ego and your candidate and be a dem. How embaressing and shameful this is.

    May 5, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  7. SaneTexan

    Furthermore...there will be no uniting behind Obama. Remember all you supporters who called us rascist and ignorant because we questioned his "hope and change" rhetoric? Too late...the damage is done. Besides he is arrogant, weak and a cry baby who can't take the heat. He is NOT qualified...even if he is a Democrat. Anyone but Obama!

    May 5, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. Rich

    McCain 2008

    Clinton 2012

    May 5, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. Johnny Salami

    First of all McCarthy was from Minnesota – sloppy fact cheking from a media superstar – and young people not voting wasn't the problem. Try the Chicago Convention and its effect on middle America who DID vote.

    The Boom generation thinks the sun shines out of its rear end. I'm sick of this self-absorption.

    May 5, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  10. Ginger

    Where are the ticker items on Obama super delegate endorsements???

    I understand 3 Maryland super delegates and 3 Illinois super delegates announced support for Obama this afternoon.

    Ginger in MD

    May 5, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. Jeffrey

    Also remember, they have almost identical positions on every major issue....

    May 5, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  12. Ken


    I totally agree with the idea.

    Whoever wins, the winer has to give a VP spot for the loser . This is the only chnage that could give Demcorats to the white house

    May 5, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. Jerry, Seattle

    Hey Wolf,

    I think the origin of the "Dream Team" is CNN...actually I think that YOU are the source of this idea. If Hillary is on the ticket, I'm voting for John McCain

    May 5, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. Bruce

    See Mat that is why they won't unite behind him, just like you won't unite behind her. You call Clinton supporters "crazy". You are a real diplomat. Your nastiness and hard feelings will never go away.

    May 5, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. Obama baby

    Obama is winning and Clinton can’t win, you need educated people to figure that out. I can’t believe that we have that many uneducated people in the US. No wonder why they believe any thing Clinton say idiots. Only killing the party no way she can make it and increasing the numbers of uneducated is only delaying the process

    May 5, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Madam Speaker has already said it won't happen...

    May 5, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. Robin California

    I agree that Obama is just a smooth talker without alot of substance. He has no real hard lines on what his policys are and what he will really do if he gets elected.
    At least Clinton has all of her ducks in a row and knows exactly what ,when and how she will get things done.
    Her many years of experiance before and after the White House will only beneift the country.
    Come on Indiana and North Carolina do what we did in California and vote for Hiliary Clinton.

    May 5, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  18. Go Obama

    Its amazing everyone complains they dont know where Obama stands on the issues and what he proposes. Unless you go to one of his speeches, to his website to check it out.. or listen to another media BESIDES CNN (clinton news network) you will never know what his issues are. I know what he plans on the gas.. and its not a tax relief at the pump... but its other things and I cannot believe people on here complain they havent heard... well if you all really wanted to know you would do your research and check other media outlets because CNN is biased of course and you wont know.

    OBAMA 08

    May 5, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  19. CNN loves Hillary

    Hillary will always have your shoulder to lean on Wolfie-

    May 5, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  20. Nate in Mpls

    My sense is that your last sentence is a transparent opinion that only adds credit to the people that accuse you of supporting Hillary. And it had a typo in it. And it's stupid. Knock it off.

    May 5, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  21. Amy in Iowa

    Wolf, based on your biased reporting on behalf of Hillary, how loud do I need to say it? IT AIN"T GONNA HAPPEN! There is no way that Hillary will be chosen as Obama's running mate. Any ethical educated person can not consciously vote for any ticket that includes Hillary Clinton.

    May 5, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  22. american

    Obama does not stand a chance of beating McCain in the general election without Clinton as the VP. Just will not happen. Obama is damaged goods! Clinton should stay clear of Obama and select Edwards as her VP.

    May 5, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
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