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. Darth Vadik, CA

    ...and made Hillary lose her mind.

    May 13, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. shirley

    Good for you Mr. Blitzer, an unbias report.

    May 13, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  3. Wrong


    May 13, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  4. Stacy Clarks

    YOU DANG RIGHT!!!!!!


    How can you explain you claims to go from Clinton to McCain if she does not win? HER SPOLICIES ARE IDENTICAL TO OBAMAS!!!

    So when you are crying everytime you go to the pump, or another parent loses their child in a war we should not have started, or the supreme court slowly takes away your right after all the conservative he will appoint, please, DO NOT COMPLAIN!!!!

    Think about it before you vote. And if not, let's be real, you were never going to vote for him anyways!!!

    DEMOCRATS UNITE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 13, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  5. John, OR

    Mccain for President!!!

    McCain is deficit hawk, he hates earmarks – Bush signed everything put in front of him (no veto in first term) and spent like crazy.

    McCain thought the initial implementation of policies in Iraq were terrible, McCain was brutal on Rumsfield (and Bush).

    McCain was the key guy opposing torture – I doubt Bush/Cheney agree with McCain.

    McCain is closer to Al Gore than Bush on the environment – McCain won't even drill in Anwar.

    I'm not saying that all this is an "improvement" – I am saying your "McSame" usage is utter crap.

    Obama's saying McCain is running for a Bush 3rd term is also utter crap and exposes Obama as either a fool or a liar too.

    Bush Sr was running for a 3rd Reagan term (as Reagans VP) – business as usual.
    Gore was running for a 3rd Clinton term (as Clintons VP) – business as usual.

    McCain is not running for a 3rd Bush business as usual term – and everyone but the Obamites knows it. Even the conservatives know it, they have a huge dislike for McCain.

    May 13, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  6. Susan Missouri

    Hope Clinton ends up winning. She was a strong candidate from the start!

    May 13, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  7. Sally

    Hillary has made herself unelectable with all her lies and mismanagement of her campaign.

    Obama or McCain '08

    May 13, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  8. Allen deLuca - Florida

    Obama has split the democrat party and it will never be healed, especially not with just talk-talk-talk about hopes and dreams which is all Obama has to offer.....

    May 13, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  9. RB

    Hillary thinks she can damage him to the point he loses in 08 and she can run again in 12. BUT, we will NEVER forget the dirty, underhanded, divisive, tricks she has pulled! She's through as a leader. I'm just glad we saw her real colors BEFORE we elected her president.

    May 13, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  10. Kristi, Chino Hills, CA

    It's finally nice to see someone besides Jack Caffterty recognize Senator Obama's accomplishments while he is running for President. He WILL win in November, as he is the only cadidate who will bring our country out of the enormous hole we are in due to the incapabilities of our current administration. Experience does not always mean you know better – as we can surely see!

    May 13, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  11. Sharon Minnesota

    It's going to take a few more primary's to get him up to speed and strong enough to be the president of the American people and the leader of the free world.

    He should go back to the Chicago Senate and re-learn how to be a good American.

    May 13, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  12. John Smith

    As I have noted repeatedly, only those who have had at least a "semester" of college should be allowed to vote for the nominee of the presidency.

    We expect our president to be bright, morally strong, and quite understanding to the needs of others. Equally, we should expect the voters to be educated as they make such an important decision!

    May 13, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  13. Hillary or McCain

    Yeah, I guess he improved his technique. LOL!

    He went from "Um, yes, I, um, agree with what Senator Clinton just, um, said"

    To just plain "Um, uh, umm, uh, ummm, uh, uh"

    May 13, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  14. Roger

    . . . Not only has the race made Senator Obama stronger. But the
    nation as well. Senator Obama will bring this nation together as
    president and give new meaning to cooperation across all boundaries
    to achieve the common goal of making this country the greatest that
    it can become in our history. White, Black, Yellow, Red, etc. . . . .UNITE.


    May 13, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  15. Loi

    He still will loose this one. Too bad that the Democratic party only chooses loosers with superdelegates and all.

    May 13, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  16. sacto joe


    A lot of Repubs posing as Democrats are posting hate mail. They're trying to drive a wedge between us!


    May 13, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  17. Billy from Fla.

    I absolutly think Obama is stronger, he had a good teacher Hillary

    He followed her lead in every debate and also in his speeches. I
    will give him credit for his YES WE CAN speeches, that was original
    and from him.

    He would probably make a great president in 4-8 years with a lot more
    experience under his belt and if Rev. Wright to a run way trip somewhere, never to return.

    May 13, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  18. Terry

    McCain has many flaws as well as years of skeletons in his closet. It's going to be an interesting road to the white house and that's why Barack Obama is going to be our next president.

    May 13, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  19. Jayson

    How does a primary that has been so divided along racial lines make the Democratic frontrunner stronger?

    May 13, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  20. Motov8n

    He ran the best campaign in history. Hillary blabs " No DEM. has won the white house without West Virginia" #1 Look who was running for president ( Hillary). By the way Iowa has MANY hard working white people!!!!!!!!! Do the Math!!

    May 13, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  21. You Know Who

    Anyone who is even remotely considering Clinton for VP spot consider the following:

    1) She just doesn't fit the vision of Barack Obama for "Change".
    2) She has 35 years of experience in the same old politics of washington.
    3) She is not trustworthy.
    4) Bill Clinton will back peddle all her decisions.
    5) Does water and oil ever mix? Barack and her just don't get along!
    Too much animosity due to a vigorous campaign and competition.
    6) She does not excite blacks, young, well educated population.
    7) She carries too much baggage from Clinton name.
    8) She won't let us turn the page of history by looking forward, not backward.

    So, please don't suggest her name. There are plenty of good candidates out there such as Edwards/Richardson/Bloomberg/Gore etc.

    May 13, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. Don from canada

    Wolf, Obama has orgaized his people and has used his brain because he has one. You know the funny thing is Hillary changes her stance on the issues based on the state she is in and the voters she is pandering too. Right now she is saying W. Virg. is an important state and matters. Of course the people there matter but not to her she says that because she wants there vote. She is the only one that doesn't know its over and CNN is not helping today as you guys act like its an important vote. Its Done

    May 13, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  23. Dave, IN

    My gosh, he's almost god like, Wolf!

    May 13, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  24. Dr Jamgbadi SS

    For the first time Wolf, you 've given a professional and balanced report on Obama. Kudos to you. I guess its very clear to you now that all your negative reports and innuendoes could do no harm to Obama. Thank God.

    May 13, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  25. Eddie

    Wolf, this is why Hillary should have dropped out last month. The moath was not there early on. She should have dropped out. I'm a Republican voting for Obama, but I know that McCain will have to keep race in the forefront in order to win.

    May 13, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
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