May 13th, 2008
03:05 PM ET
15 years ago

Blitzer: The primary race has made Obama stronger

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Blitzer: If Obama is the nominee, his primary battle has made him a tougher fall candidate"] NEW YORK (CNN) - There is no doubt that Barack Obama is a better campaigner today than he was when he started this run for the White House nearly a year and a half ago.

All of these contests around the country have really honed his political skills. During the four Democratic presidential debates that I moderated over the past year, he clearly improved his technique. The extraordinary length of this campaign has made him a stronger candidate – one better poised to compete against John McCain, assuming Obama winds up winning the Democratic nomination.

The large number of contests has also strengthened his campaign organization around the country. With the exception of Michigan and Florida, where he didn’t campaign because those states were penalized by the Democratic National Committee for moving up their primaries to January, Obama now has a good base of support in virtually every state. This will be incredibly useful in a general election contest against McCain. The base of supporters across the country can potentially be decisive in getting out the vote on November 4.

He has also established a truly impressive network of fundraisers. The millions of people who have contributed to his campaign, especially on the web, will be tapped for funds down the road, and that will sure be a strong advantage for him. His staff has learned a lot over the past many months. They are better today as a result.

Still, there certainly is a downside to this lengthy battle against Hillary Clinton. Many of his political flaws have been widely publicized and could come back to haunt him. The McCain campaign and other Republicans have certainly learned of his vulnerabilities, which were on display in key general election battleground states, including Ohio, Pennsylvania and now West Virginia. All of the exiting polling results from around the country are being carefully studied by McCain and his supporters as they gear up for a potential match-up and as they look for his weaknesses.

As with so much in life, there are always pros and cons.

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (267 Responses)
  1. Linda of Atlanta

    What weaknesses? Do you mean that racists white people won't vote for Obama? Hillary Clinton is just a "crazy". She has single handedly turned this nomination process into a referendum on race. Shame on Hillary Clinton and shame on CNN for acting like she has some purpose in continuing in this race other than to cause the Democratic Party to lose!
    In any other candidate, you would decry her behavior as reprehensible. She has lost! It doesn't matter that you wanted her to win. She has lost! She is a horrible role model for children. What happened to "good sportsmanlike conduct"? What happened to playing by the rules? Terry McAullife has turned into a man with no respect for the rules he tenaciuosly enforced when he was Chairman of the DNC in 2004. He has been sold to the highest bidder and it would be a good thing if he went Republican and took Hillary with him!

    May 13, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  2. Joyce

    This campaign has made Hillary a whole lot stronger & she was strong to begin with. We still don't know who the REAL Obama is. We KNOW who Hillary is & what she stands for. It scares me to death to think of him as our leader when he doesn't have a clue how to approach it. We certainly don't need a puppet & that is exactly what he'd be & is already. Obama will never get my vote...not because of his skin color, but because he's unprepared for the humongous task any new president would have. He jumped into the race prematurely before he had enough experience under his belt. His discomfort during debates was a good indication. He doesn't have answers & solutions & we need them ASAP. Hillary is more than up for the challenge & will be one great president!

    May 13, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  3. Mary, WV Tech

    It was very smart for Obama to campaign lite in WV. The Clinton's would of turn him in a monster with their race baiting. Maybe in the general he can go back in to reintroduce himself to voters.

    Go Obama!!!!

    May 13, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  4. Kim Barker

    Well, I would hope he would improve after a year and half! If he wasn't he would have absolutely no business running for the highest position in the land. However, if he manages to be the nominee he is going to get blasted by the Republican party when they start working towards the general election. There is too much we don't know about him and what we do know is questionable. Also I still haven't heard anything he has said that doesn't sound like fluff. Say what you will about Hillary Clinton, but she is battle tested, knows what to expect, knows how to get things done.

    May 13, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  5. NObama

    Obama lives in the land of smoke and mirrors. His entire campaign is based on empty promises and illusion. Ask yourself, if the tables were reveresed, would Obama fight as hard as Hillary to win??

    This country needs a leader. This country is based on not taking no for an aswer and fighting for what is right. Hillary, regardless of your feelings for her is a fighter and a leader, that is irrefutable.

    Obama is smoke and mirrors, a master of the game of politics and that is all. If he is elected, the world, that doesn't need on the job training, will devour him.

    Everyone talks about her dishonesty.. etc... Do you really think Obama got to the pinnacle of politics without bending the rules? Nonsense.

    Obama is a joke, probably funded by Republicans to guarantee them a win.

    We need a person who knows what to do, not one who has to ask someone else, for guidance.

    He'd make a great VP, and when he grows up he can be president.

    If your life depended on someone knowing the right answer immediately, who would you ask for? Someone who can talk pretty (Obama) or someone who rolls up their sleeves and takes care of business (Hillary).

    May 13, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  6. NCAL2800

    I am amazed how wrong your miscalculations are regarding how democrats measure up the mccain and the republicans.

    CNN Commentors, has made a serious mistake that Hillary Clinton supporters will support the party run against Mccain- THIS IS A VERY WRONG CONCLUSTION.

    Hillary Clinton supporters will not support Obama therefore your predictions cannot be relied. You need to factor defraction from the party , about 50% or more supports of Senator Clinton will not support Obama or the democratic party.


    May 13, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  7. Whatever

    We really do not care! it will not change my opinion and neither the rest of Hillary's supporters!

    May 13, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  8. Murry - Arizona

    I am a Catholic, Hispanic, and a woman – I am backing Obama! I just can't believe all of you out there that would rather put another Bush in office just to not have to vote for Barack! You are so -– I don't know, there just aren't any words for you! – I'll start with Prejudice! If, – and just IF, which I doubt, if Hillary gets the nomination, You can bet she'll have my vote – anybody but McCain! Go Obama! I just love this election year! It'll go down in history, whatever the outcome!
    President Obama! I like that ring! – even at 3am! HaHa....

    May 13, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  9. Tara

    Lies after lies have made clintons outdated. The finest thing about Obama is that he did not take money from establishments and corporations. This is a people's revolution.


    May 13, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  10. Obama4Prez



    May 13, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  11. James from Fla


    Obama has become a stronger candidate because of all the things that has been put against him. When a man knows what his weaknesses are, he will be prepared for when it comes up again. I really hate these people whom judge someone because of race, gender, or another person. Whenever the media who brings all this negative stuff up on a candidate just to make up some kind of issue is showing their true colors. John(towards the top), a McCain supporter has no truth to anything. He is a judgemental fool just like every other idiot that judges people. Most people in the military environment has people of different races as their boss. They all don't agree to everything but due to rules and laws of the government "Change" is what usually happens to them. Lets not forget that people sons and daughters are still overseas and getting sent overseas to fight an endless war. Anders the Muppet show is truly the Puppet show. How long can the U.S. continue to allow weak minded people fool them? Your and mines worst enemy aka the Bush Administration. Thanks to the people that remind that me that race and gender is still a big issue in the american values we so truly believe are right. I think not.

    May 13, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  12. Ali Sina

    If we consider the failure of the tax cuts and the huge national debt, then Obama will be the logical choice.

    On pure emotion and ethnocentricism, one would vote for McCain.

    Personally, I was a Clinton supporter but Obama's arguments changed my mind because facts and logic cannot be manuplated with pure rhetoric.

    To become the strongest and richest nation-state, we must have a powerful economy.

    May 13, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  13. Al from Portland, OR

    I do not think this race(for the nomination) has made Obama stronger unless he really doesn't know how many states there are in our great country. In Beaverton,Oregon on Friday he stated that he had been in 57 states and had one to go. My 9 year old grandson knows there are 50 states but one of the candidates doesn't seem to know the make-up of the United States. It appears this fundamental mistake challenges his knowledge of the United States.

    May 13, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  14. Andrew L - Des Moines

    KE writes "Picking Obama is another Bush and Cheney".

    I think KE needs to listen to more of Wolf Blitzer! And I wouldn't normally say that, since he appeared to be SOOOO pro-Hillary at first. Now I think he's coming around to being fair and balanced - about time! Barack has now increased his lead over Hillary by 180 delegates. She'll gain some on him tonight, then probably next Tuesday, but by then, he'll have a majority of the pledged delegates.

    Hillary has been a strong candidate, but she uses old world tactics - Rovean tactics - to knee-cap even the candidates of her own party. Her campaign is $20 Million debt. She's had to loan her campaign $11.4 Million (should have done that a LOT sooner and kept more of the vendors happy).

    If Hillary had won 11 races in a row, she and her campaign would have been hammering Obama to set down. As it is, she's facing insurmountable odds and no one on her campaign is talking sense to her. It's like she's delirious with that lust for power thing that she has.

    Too many weaknesses for her to prevail over Obama. Time to move on to John McCain, who will go down by at least 341-197. At least, and Obama at the top of the ticket will enable us to win a 60%-40% majority in Congress. Oh happy day. Then we'll FINALLY be able to get something done in Washington for "We, the little people" instead of only for "We, the fat cats" that Bush has favored.

    May 13, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  15. Agha

    Please advise Wolf to be more professional, he just called that Hillary Clinton is "toasted" while talking about her position in the campaign

    May 13, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  16. moderator

    I think Obama's "change" slogan has changed Blitzer a little bit to write impartially. this is a good change. Yes you can.

    May 13, 2008 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  17. Wow!

    Beware Dems. The Repubs are on here saying "if not Hillary then McCain"

    Nice try Reps. Be smart Dems!

    May 13, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
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