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. Prince Joe

    Yes thats truth he is more stronger then before,,,

    May 13, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  2. George J


    I've been to West V. They are racist my friend. WV is home to the most racist county in america for the past however many times I checekd, Newcastle County. They actually shoot at black people who got off the wrong exit there. Literally. I saw too many black dummies hung on their porch beams to count. Some of the people I met would not allow black folks to serve them food in a restaurant.

    And plese check the headline in the CNN election center before you make your comments on media biases.

    May 13, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  3. ken

    Thank you for noting his ability.

    To be honest, he is getting stronger. He came from nothing. That is the point. One, he has to introduce himsefl and he goes to the issue. Others they don't have to introduce.

    May 13, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  4. Ron S.

    Good coverage of the Obama Missouri speech Tuesday night. When is the McCain speech? CNN will certainly give him equal time to him, will it not, to make his case to the people?

    May 13, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  5. Prince Joe

    Well i just want to give a big thank to the O TEAM, they have done a great job so far. There is lot understanding in the Obama campiag that makes he reach this far, he is strong and will be strong against McCain, this is the time for the Democrate to lead America and for sure the American people know that. Let's unit the party and go farward thanks.

    May 13, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  6. Raghu

    All you Obama haters show some some respect like we do for Senator Clinton, both of them are the same on issues.

    Dont call Senator Obama a "lame puppet, Hussein – dont be racist, Bush and Cheney – HE IS NOT.

    I have made a conclusion about people on this page

    1. The MAJORITY, i am not being age-ist, of the elderly vote for Clinton

    2. ALMOST ALL OF Clinton supporters are switch-party-ers

    Therefore almost all of the elderly-Clinton voters are switchers.


    Now bear with me when I go slightly dirty:
    You do not care whether or not we will continue to die in Iraq, because, this applies to everyone, you will be to another country, or not be there?
    Why, do you not care whether or not Social security will be there for the new generation, because you will not see it.
    Tell me another reason, CNN, or anyone.

    Do you not care whether or not ROE V. WADE will be overturned because you cannot have an abortion.


    *****CNN, please post.**************

    May 13, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |


    May 13, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  8. Michey from Atlanta

    If the american people and the media elected Bush and Cheney, why not Obama??We have dealt with almost 8 years of desaster of the Bush administration. Let's just pray for Obama. I am sure he can do much better once elected.

    May 13, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  9. Patrick, NY

    To Remy:

    The idea that Barack Obama, the man who has not received any funding from Political Action Committees, and the only candidate who has not done so, is the one being controlled by the "powers-that -be" is perhaps the most unintelligent statement I have read on these blogs (and I have read a lot of ignorant crap). Though Clinton has not gotten as much PAC support as McCain, they are both more "politicized" than Obama.

    Please, wake up and realize what this country needs.

    May 13, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  10. KLT

    If Obama's so good at debating these days, why did he refuse to do another before Indiana? Because he knew that Hillary would show him up and prove her superior mental agility and command of the issues. Yet again. Please-plenty of people learn how to debate at high school, so it's kind of hilarious that CNN are giving Obama a gold star for his debating skills in his late 40s. If he can't discuss the issues in a cogent manner during the Democratic primaries, how do you expect him to do as president?

    May 13, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  11. Frank

    Obama kept his name off the disputed ballots in Florida and Michigan thereby proving that even the Agent of Change, who wants to be different than the Washington insiders, can learn how to "play by the rules".

    May 13, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |

    Who controls who. Barack or his wife

    May 13, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  13. Sarah, Michigan

    Thanks for acknowledging Obama's strengths, Wolf. Its nice to see a report that is grounded in reality.

    May 13, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  14. Karen

    Did you mean Clinton has become weaker? hahahah...
    Don't forget that Obama had the best prepared orgaization, strategy and roadmap from the very beginning. To say he BECOMES stronger only indicates your ignorance of him. He SEEMS stronger only because his opponent has been defeated.

    May 13, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  15. TMR

    I get so angry when I read these comments. Are people blind? Obama has no experience, he is into black liberation theology which is based on philosophy of Karl Marx.. For governing the country in the condition that we are now, we need someone which has more experience than a community organizer. This is a sure road to a major disaster. If democrats get rid of Hillary while getting their noses brown in a desporate need to secure a warm place in the government, I would rather vote for McCain! Grow up, people!

    May 13, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  16. John - Georgia

    Sen. Obama should now focus on the National campaign. He will win the nomination and go on to the White House.
    Sen. Clinton should read the numbers and start supporting Sen. Obama.

    May 13, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  17. Travis in Canada

    Hide all the knives in the kitchen if she's on the VP ticket.

    May 13, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  18. Kay

    "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….."

    Now, this is an interesting twist, err, spin.

    How did Obama split the Democratic Party? By daring to run against Clintons? By differing on certain policies? By having been born? By not going to Bosnia under sniper fire?

    Isn't it like blaming a guy who got shot, not the guy who shot?

    I though only the Pubs use twisted logic like that.

    May 13, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  19. Hillary or Bust!

    I just tuned into Fox news because CNN only has OBAMA supporters on their panel.....helllooooooo Jamal, Roland, Brazile – HELLLO..... where are the hillary supporters?

    You only have OBAMA supporters on – NOT FAIR.

    May 13, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  20. Deb

    Obama and Hillary are DIFFERENT....Obama will increase taxes on people making $75,000 and up....Hillary on $250,000 and up. Obama's Global Poverty Act of 2007 is worrisome...that will cost $845,000 a year. We have people in this country that need help. Who is Obama supporting, Third World countries or the people of this country? Their health care plans are different. Hillary covers everyone...Obama does not! People now with health care pay for the uninsured. With Obama it will be what we have now!

    The issue should be who can win the White House. I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop with Obama...and then McCain will win the White House.

    May 13, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  21. Jesse

    McCain gives "same old . . . " a new meaning. Definitely the SAME on too many issues as Bush, although they will try to tell you differently, and Definitely OLD. Looking forward to Obama as president and an 8 year enema for DC and our great country; US. The world will be watching, vote smart, vote wisely, vote Obama!

    May 13, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  22. BJ

    Stronger? What a delusional thought!

    The truth is, the Democratic party has lost the general election for itself. It had the sure, clear path for them to in the White House away frm the Republicans... what did they do? Instead of sending Clinton to win the election, and grooming Obama to take over, they pit them against each other... and now, they are both flawed candidates.

    Leave it to the stupidity of the Democratic party to lose an election that is being handed to the on a silver platter!

    May 13, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  23. Anders Juhl, Denmark, Europe


    Remember that you never know, who is really writing these comments. There could be republicans posing as Clinton or Obama supporters. To write: "Clinton has run a lying campaign – signed Obama 08" is a smart thing to do, if you are republican.
    Similar ventriloquist tricks was seen in my country (Denmark, Europe) in our recent election. People also use fake identities in traditional newspapers, even authors. Wearing masks like this is apparently part of humane nature.
    So: Don´t trust these comments. Use your brains and instincts.

    May 13, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  24. Les

    First thing American people has to look at that Mr.Clinton And Mrs Clinton,spend two terms in office,they diden't get health care for these older you think they are going to get it now.Next take a look at the Russian Presidency he is only 42 years old, American need young fresh Presidency. put the old guy on woman aside.American is falling. I'm a old mam too.Let the young one take over like the Russian.

    May 13, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  25. Candice Vivian

    Hillary Clinton has taken this race to the White House personal, as President Bush is to this war in Iraq. She has made too many mistakes with her quick, temporary solutions to gas price and other issues. If the American people don't wake up, and look at how she run her campain VS Obama, They will understand why she is losing. She is upset with the fact that she was motivated to run for President, and people she work close to have jumped ship. Why? I feel she need to make a point to them and Obama, that she should run against McCain, although now its the matter of revenge against the democratic party for not having faith in her. This has nothing to do with racism or gender, but personal believe where she think she should be- The White House. Do you really want some one running on their personal believe (disregarding what the people wants) like President Bush or set aside their personal beleives for the people?

    May 13, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
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