May 12th, 2008
03:20 PM ET
15 years ago

Clinton supporter on WV vote: 'Just wait ‘til we win like 80-20'

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A Clinton supporter set the bar in Tuesday's vote very high."]

LOGAN, West Virginia (CNN) – Political campaigns usually look to lower expectations – but one of Hillary Clinton’s supporters took the opposite tack Monday, setting the bar for a West Virginia primary win at an unprecedented high at an enthusiastic campaign event.

“You think this crowd’s noisy?” said West Virginia Senate Majority Leader Harry Truman Chafin. “Just wait ‘til we win like 80-20.”

“We’ve got to give her a vote tomorrow of 80-20 or 90-10,” he added moments later.

A campaign spokesman quickly tried to downplay Chafin’s remaks, saying “We appreciate his exuberance, but we're pretty sure this race is going to be much closer than that.”

Polls suggest Clinton will win West Virginia very easily - recent polls have shown her beating the Illinois senator by as much as 40 percentage points.

But Chafin isn’t the only one raising expectations.

Last week President Bill Clinton told a campaign crowd that ”all this stuff you are hearing about is an attempt to discourage you. That's what this is, pure and simple, hoping, 'Well, Hillary can get 80 percent of the vote in West Virginia', and if only 100,000 people show up it is not enough. But if 600,000 people show up, and you say, 'We want a president', then you will see the earth move.

There are 28 pledged delegates in play in West Virginia Tuesday, so a victory margin of 60-80 percent would allow Barack Obama to maintain a significant part of his 172 delegate lead, though it could slow his momentum.

Clinton herself didn’t completely shy away from the expectations game, calling Tuesday’s primary “a crucial turning point in this election.” She argued that voters’ primary objective should be to choose the candidate best suited to beat John McCain in the fall.

“I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t believe I could be the best president for West Virginia and America and that I was the stronger candidate to take on John McCain in the fall and make sure we have a Democrat in the White House,” she said.

Obama himself seemed happy to agree with the most optimistic Clinton campaign assessments. “I think President Clinton said that they are going to get 80 percent of the vote,” he told reporters in South Charleston Monday afternoon. “We’ll take him at his word.”

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • West Virginia
soundoff (282 Responses)
  1. Rachel

    Woo Hoo!! 80-20 is unlikely but.. it'd be sweet!

    Popular vote wins all- Sorry Baraccoli, that's one thing you won't have. Maybe you and Rev. Wright can figure out a way to have none of WV's votes count since Hillary's projected to mop the floor with you there.

    May 12, 2008 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  2. Marie in California

    Hillary WILL win more of the popular vote than Obama in the long run.....and the superdelegates and the DNC will still bend over backwards so far that they'll do somersaults as they hasten to give the nomination to Obama, the least qualified of all the three current candidates running for the job of president.

    That's crazy, as is the confusing, inefficient, convoluted primary process that the Democrats use. I have to say, the RNC sure does a better job of all of that.

    As a centrist/moderate Democrat and one who has never been very loyal regarding party dogma, preferring instead to support individual candidates, Hillary is my first choice this election.

    My second choice is McCain. End of story.

    May 12, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  3. Ed

    If it really mattered I cause it would mean something. Senator Clinton you had the deal in your hands to close from the beginning and you didn't do it. You were beaten by a more junior Senator than you because he had a better message and was more believable. You don't have all the experience you try to claim and the country has seen through your lies."You have also damaged the Clinton Legacy forever" We now look at Bill differently because of the campaign you have run. It truly is a sad time for what the Clinton Campaign gas done.

    May 12, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  4. Olivia

    I am on the ignore list also.
    Hillary is my candidate of choice and at this point of the campaign I'm tickled, having a good laugh at what's going on.
    Hillary is so strong she's making obama look really weak....which he is....and the obama camp and the activist left of the dem party is getting nervous. The old Washington "status quo" that Obama vows to get rid of but who have all stepped forward to support him.....the same people that came out very early to call for Hillary to step out of the race, is really getting worried. They should be. By continuing the race Hillary isn't undermining the party, she is showing up their candidate for what he is.....inexperienced and naive.
    Obama wasn't ready and it's becoming quite obvious. Cut the hype and the rock star behaviour, and it all looks pretty average.

    May 12, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  5. Jake

    Amen Mel in Texas, we as Democrats have to come together, this isn't about issues, Clinton and Obama are similar when it comes to issues. Democrats have to put aside thier hard feeling and get over the fact that Hillary will not be the canidate for us. She is a fighter, but she has lost this fight. We need to focus on making sure McBush doesn't win, and if you would rather vote for him over Obama, then this was never about the issues and the political differences, it would be because your a racist. Go listen to Glenn Beck and support whoever he wants, and get out of the our party.
    Democrat for a Democrat in the White House

    May 12, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  6. kido from WV

    Wait and see the margins and be surprised. well, it's a payback time for the debt she is in, and she will remind everybody to go to her website and ........;her debt is paid (at least a portion) and she will quit. i am not a prophet but that is what she is aiming. Work hard and pay your debts! She has lost long time ago. if She wins, me and all my friends will never vote for democrats for sure. Non-negotiable. This is not just stealing but a face-off; and no one is fool to take this. We all know math. i don't blame her though. The Superdelegates are responsible for the failure of the democratic party. They could have decided long time ago before all the trashy arguments. They let that happen and they are still waiting for an excuse to give it to her. Anybody with common sense knows this fact.

    May 12, 2008 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  7. Michael

    Ok, we're gonna wait until you win by that margin and YOU WILL STILL BE BEHIND!!!!!!!

    May 12, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
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