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. Jimmy

    The down side for you and the other pundents is that your afraid to allow this race to come the convention. The real truth is that all of you are tring to end this race now because Hillary may become our canidate. you and MSNBC have been running a non stop infomercial on Obama since the beginning. I am white 50 and have my own business. I will not vote for Obama because he does not have what it takes to get the tuff things done. He is like jimmy Carter honest but without the knolledge of the forces against us. If he gets into office and performs as well as Carter did we will lose the oval office for decades!!!!!! I would rather see Mcain in there for 4 years than loose it for my kids generation. It's not Race it's the lack of understanding by Obma. We won't all hug and agree because he's nice if that were true Carter would have been a great President.... Get it Wolf

    May 13, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. H



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

    Let Hillary's supporters vote for McCain. Obama supporters should STOP appealing to these people. Clearly, these people will be rejected later by the Republicans. The Republicans, like the Democrats, like bright and intelligent folks. So, plase stop appealing to the Clinton folks who are "bitter;" let them move on so that Obama can be better organized. If Hillary cannot beat Obama, how is she going to beat MCain and the hungry Republicans?

    May 13, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Chrissy, TX

    Yeah, at lying. The media and pundits want this race to be over but from the looks of it a lot people still want her to continue. What's up with the flag pin......oh I forgot, he's the new politics. Whatever!

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

    John (OR.) Have you been asleep for the last couple of months? McCain will continue the war. He protested torture and then did not cast his vote against torture. He was against tax cuts for the rich, now supports them. He thinks it's OK to spend $2B a week for our kids to fight/die in Iraq, but will not spend $2B a YEAR to pay for education benefits. He wants them to "spend more time in the military". Sounds good, but how long does it take to die? Seems to me, that if you deploy to combat, you should rate your education benefits at the same time you risk your life to earn them. Shame on John McCain for not supporting our men/women in uniform and running around the country talking about his leadership experiences in war (and as a POW)!

    May 13, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. I used to be a Democrat

    Sorry Wolf. Obama may be stronger, but the Dems are weaker and Rev. Wright is still looming too.

    I'll never vote for Obama.

    May 13, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  7. Adios Hillary

    I think the biggest underreported story in this campaign has been that a rookie Senator from Illinois is, at this stage of the game, still beating the alleged smartest Senator in the Senate and her husband, the same guy the media keep insisting is the greatest living politician. Hillary and Bill's status has been tarnished so greatly, it's a wonder Hillary can still bring herself to go out in public.

    Beating her by even one delegate is the upset of the century.

    May 13, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  8. Uncle Sam

    Right on, John, OR! Although not aligned with either party, I applaud those Democrats who are breaking ranks to support Sen. McCain. The welfare of our country is too important to place in the hands of an unknown, inexperienced, untested, and unproven presidential hopeful with questionable judgment. I understand the the American people are anxious for change, and that we tend to blame the president and his party but, as you accurately state, John McCain is his own man. By his own admission an imperfect servant, but I trust him to lead our country. And I do not have to take his word for it, his sacrifices speak loudly enough for me.

    Americans for McCain '08

    May 13, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Damion K. Miles

    Barack Obama has surprised a lot of people during this campaign. None, more than Hillary Clinton and her team. He was extremely under estimated by them. The very people that they ignored are the main ones that they are clamoring to now. Low income voters. Hillary wouldn't have dreamed of asking for $5.00 donations when this thing began. This campaign has opened the eyes of a lot of people, none more than Hillary Clinton.

    May 13, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  10. Rachel Luna

    Well, how does your news department feel now that all your negative comments have affected Senator Clinton 's race. Every day you would boost Obama's ego and put down Senator Clinton. You now have your golden child. Let see how long the honeymoon lasts.

    May 13, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. La Raza

    I agree with SACTO JOE,

    A lot of the posters on here are republicans who are anti-Obama and are saying "if not Hillary then McCain"..........very clever repubs. but we see ya! You have faced the realization that you will lose in November.

    May 13, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. Mia and Mike

    Mr. Blitzer, I usually do not comment on your posts, because quite honestly, I don't read them because I disagree with you on a lot of things. This time you've written something that I actually agree with :). Thanks for an honest, non bias report!

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

    Susan Missouri, Billary is strong candidate ,to many spin lies , How she can beat Mc cain even she cant beat BO,She is JOKE

    May 13, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. Robyn

    If Sen. Obama wins the nomination I will vote Republican for the first time in my life. I cannot in good conscience vote for a man who has less than one year of national experience and has missed more votes than he's made. He may make inspirational speeches but that won't put food on the table or gas in the car.

    May 13, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. Jeff in Alabama

    Obama's campaign is all about change. To make change happen in this country, you have to be an incredible person with some unique characteristics and abilities. I like what I hear from him about making changes. But in reality, I don't see him being the kind of great politican that can really effect change in this country. I doubt he will get the chance to demonstrate what he has been talking about during this campaign because the Republicans have too much broad support across this country. Obama has some real problems with several key groups of voters in this country. And the Republicans know of several weaknesses he has that they will use against him. It won't be pretty. I truly believe Senator Clinton is the better of the two to withstand the Republican firestorm brewing.

    May 13, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. vic nashville,Tn

    Aha big joke Wolf
    In my life time only one candidate whining and crying that is Obama
    Only Hillary is strongest candidate in 2008

    May 13, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. It kills me

    to listen to people bring down Obama and Clinton. Both candidates are very well respected and both ran a long hard fought campaign.
    I do agree that obama skills have gotten better since the campaign started. He looks more comfortable and more confident when debating and speaking. Good for him!

    May 13, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. mndharmas

    An intelligent Human learns. That is how we have evolved to be a dominant species on this planet,

    But Alas Clintons have gone through without learning.

    May 13, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  19. Renee

    Obama is still weak! He is only strong when his wife, media and supporters are protecting and shielding him. He can't even debate Clinton unless he is in a Pro Obama environment!

    May 13, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  20. therealist

    Experience is what he is still lacking Wolfy, focus please...

    May 13, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  21. Mai

    If anyone has watched this blog and CNN , they will know that CNN is promoting Obama over Clinton. So much bias makes me angry. The media should report the news, not make it or distort it.
    This campaign has opened the eyes of Americans in regard to some one buying the race. Obama put aside $20 million to help out his superdelegates in their next race according to a talk radio station yesterday. Yea, money talks.

    May 13, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. ruby

    Obama started bearing the mark of patriotism after the fact. Does the media think this is important, to talk about?

    May 13, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  23. Brent

    I have an unrelated question Wolf. Why when discussing John Hagee's "problems" for McCain do you just discuss his Catholic comments? I am aware of your strong support for Israel and I would think his views of Israel would be disturbing to you. He says he's a strong supporter of Israel but for selfish reasons. He preaches endtimes theology. He believes the two state solution is a nazi-like policy. He also wants to start war with Iran to quicken the Armageddon. McCain said he appreciates his endorsement because of his strong support of Israel. Why has this not been further investigated?

    May 13, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  24. Nancy of Minnesota

    Sharon of MN: I'm not sure if you have any kids, but if you do then I feel sorry for them. You are analogous to Rev Wright. Please do not speak about being a good American as that takes the strength to see beyond race; which you clearly can not do.

    May 13, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. 52 year old Baltimore ,CPA, Black Women

    Who cares he is still a light weight campared to Clinton and by the way Kennedy the great speaker who could not win a primary or general election the one who make comments aboout Clinton based on what his winning record.....He could not get his own state to vote for Obama give me break

    All these minor players.... grow up and elect a women...

    May 13, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
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