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. bob from dover delaware

    The main thing I see different about Barack Obama's style is that he is a preacher.... Some people like Al Gore are teachers they tell people what is wrong and then explain how they are the best one to fix it. Other people like George Bush cling to sayings like No New Taxes and they rally people as if at a sporting event.

    Barack Obama is a Preacher who uses analogy to manipulate peoples thoughts about a subject.

    For instance someone like al sharpton might say: Do you remember the oppression of the 60's and Slavery well this new law to outlaw hot dogs is the same thing... I once ate a Hot dog with Martin Luther King and he would condemn the Hot dog Haters.

    Preachers get you riled up about one thing then apply it to something else that is totally unrelated....

    It is a pretty dangerous thing to do.... and it is total manipulation.

    But more importantly it lacks the substance that an Al Gore type speech would have. No one wants to listen to a person like Al Gore they say he lacks the persona and panache heheh panache heh .... but what they are really saying is he lacks the skills of manipulation....

    And I feel that is because when a person is honest about a subject it can sometimes be boring but it is no less important because they need you to understand the facts and not just have a cause and effect reaction.

    May 13, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  2. Go Obama 98

    In reference to all the commentaries about Obama can't win the white votes, the blue collar votes, etc. I have not heard a word about the fact that Hillary can't win the black votes. So are you saying to Black America that Hillary Clinton can win without the Black votes? Are you saying that she doesn't need the black votes to win? Think again!!! You have an educated, intelligent and inspiring young black man that wants to make a difference. So let's get beyond the race issue and move forward.

    May 13, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. hmmmmm.....sounds fishy

    Good people the article is about Obama being stronger.......he just beat the Clinton machine......he may not be stronger but he sure is smarter.....only an irrational person would disagree that five months ago....if we said it would come down to Puerto Rico and Clinton.....everyone would have chuckled because no one knew who Obama was we all see

    May 13, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  4. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    We could have predicted 60 years ago how West Virgina would come out today! THE SOUTH WILL RISE AGAIN!

    It is clear to me what the difference is, the states West of the Mississippi or more progressive and educated. A lot states on the on the east side of the Mississippi still live in the past never fully understanding those who live around them. They stay locked up in there homes always afraid of those who are different.

    Obama will win every state West of the Mississippi with the exception of Arizona McCain’s home state. Obama is well loved out here in the West we always look into a mans heart and see his soul . That is how the West was won we always look ahead. We do not have all the problems you have on the east side of the Mississippi, we always look forward instead of backwards.

    The hate and racism you have handed down from generation to generation in the East does play well out hear in Gods Country. We are not perfect out hear butt we will give a man a honest hearing.

    May 13, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  5. AJ in Fla

    Dear Mr. Blitzer

    Final election results , John McCain 53 %, Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama 45 % , Non-vote 2 %

    Keep this in mind. I will e mail you in November

    May 13, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  6. "Honky white guy from chicago"

    Blitzer for Vice President. What do y'all think? 😉 Am so totally for it.

    May 13, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. Pat in Cali

    All of you who will vote Republican, just do it already. Nobody cares that you want to waste your vote.

    Why are you commenting about Obama if you're not afraid that he will beat your candidate. McCain is way too old for the job ahead.

    I think you guys are just plain worried. And you should be because the oil men have play you guys like an old fiddle. Seen the price of gas lately?

    May 13, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  8. David, Santa Rosa, CA

    Wolf, it seems you "got the message," your Obama interview and opinion pieces recently have improved dramatically over the tabloid journalism. You lost me for a while.... try not lose me again. My disappointment in you takes so much effort on my part. 🙂

    Well done Wolf, well done. Nice turn-around.

    May 13, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. Debby

    We wouldn't be talking about Obama today if Wright came out before the campaigning started in Iowa Wolf. I don't think this party will unite. Its been a loser for 8 years and I think the Republicans won't be the problem this time but the split Democrats.

    May 13, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. Dave in Florida

    I am wondering if you are going to put a checkmark on Hillary Clinton's W. Vriginia WIN as quickly as you did to Obama's N. Carolina win?

    May 13, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  11. noemi in los angeles

    Obama Generation, Stand Up!!!

    May 13, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  12. Sylvia

    I totallly agree with you, Wolf. Mr. Obama had a very tough opponent which I'm sure he is thankful for.

    May 13, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  13. Aces full of Kings

    Clinton to McCain equals racism. I guess in many places in the U.S. it's still 1948, instead of 2008. Look no further than the hills of West Virginia and Pennslvania to see this at work. Until these in-bred white racists come into the 21st century and put an end to racism, this country will never move forward. We are all Americans, try to remember that.

    May 13, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  14. jane in CA

    Yes, it does. He will be all fit by the GE time and ready to lead the country. It's too bad that at the same time many have seen what Hillary is actually like.

    May 13, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  15. W.F. Dixon

    First, I am having great interest in watching the polical gamesmenship being played out between Sen. Clinton & Sen. Obama. I am interested in what Sen. Clinton will be trying to exact from Obama as far as having a seat at the table and input to his general election campaign and possibly further down the road a Obama administraion if he should be elected? She will not be going quietly into the night nor will her side kick and kiss of death partner Bill. This is just getting good!!

    May 13, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  16. AJ, IL

    Sure the long presidential campaign has made Obama stronger even with much of the negativity coming from the Hillary camp!

    Many concerns have been flushed out about Obama ranging from being a Muslim and not wearing flag pins to Jeremiah Wright. Obama is still Obama no matter how Republicans, conservative media, and sometimes mainstream media try to spin it.

    Obama has set a new tone in this campaign (and hopefully future ones to come) in which being truthful and honest outweigh the merits of politics of distraction and personal destruction. Will race be an issue in the general election? Of course. Will age be an issue in the general election? Of course. But Obama has tried to downplay the issue of race in as much as the mainstream media wants it to be more at the forefront.

    May 13, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  17. joel

    If Clinton is the only Democrat that can win in the fall, I will be voting for McCain. Better to vote for the Racist I know than the Racist I don't know

    May 13, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. JJ

    You Billary supports are a bunch of idiots. You talk about all of Clinton's experience in the Sentate....but please name one piece of substantiative legislation that she has sponsored. What has she done for NY or this country since being elected to the Senate.

    Obviously you buy into this uneduated, low information voters (LIVs) that the MSM are defining you as. Please stop with the non-sense...if you think the President, be it Obama or McCain can do anything without the Congress...then you guys are as stupid as the MSM paints you out to be.

    Please stop watching so much tv and read the papers. The sensationalized media cannot provide the knowledge you need in order to make a well-informed decision.

    Please think about the issues as Democrats that we face, and stop being so racist about the fact that an AA will ascend to the ofice of the President. It's clear that you would be ok if Obama was Clinton's VP, so why can't he be President.

    You guys clearly need to stop blogging and get enrolled in night school, so you can become a more well-informed electorate.

    May 13, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  19. Jazzy

    Senator Obama appears to be a man with wisdom beyond his years. God bless you, Senator Obama, as you attempt to bring America together as one nation for all people. We are counting on the fact that with God on your side, there is nothing that will be too difficult for you to do and that nothing will be able to stand against you. God bless America!

    May 13, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. War Survivor

    Obama is Stronger because of attackes by Hillary, so in a way thanks Hillary. Now it's time for her to drop out respectfully.

    May 13, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  21. San Fran Loves Obama!

    PLEASE do not put Hillary on the ticket for VP – it will contradict what we Obama voters stand for! Hillary voters are delusional in thinking she can magically win in Nov. Why doesn't she start by actually winning the primaries first........

    May 13, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  22. Venus

    Wolf – what are you basing your report on?

    Obama was strong from the gate!!!

    What blew most people away about Obama is how he wanted to campaign – his way and the new way!

    If you noticed all the dirt you and news-media threw at him – he didn't blink an eye! Noticed the crap about a flag pin?

    By the way – if Americans love the flag pin so much – why is it made in China?

    He's a lot stronger than you and the vast news media and many others sitting on the side-lines watching and talking!

    He's ahead of Hillary and Bill Clinton!

    He's a better person because of he who he is. He has a better staff and better plans to campaign and fundraisers!

    He is going to be a great president!

    May 13, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  23. Kiah

    Winning also makes you stronger. If that's an option!

    May 13, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  24. LOLerskates

    LOL- Don't try and pretend you are a die-hard Hillary backer and you won't vote for Obama. You are clearly repubs dressed in sheeps clothing.

    Everyone knows that Hillary backers are non college educated folk. These people aren't on the internet.

    May 13, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  25. p Coleman

    He has yet to really say what he is going to do as president. He would make a real good preacher. Since everyone in the Media has lost their minds over him and the Democratic party is pushing for him to be the nominee, I hope I am around to see the pitiful outcome of all of this.

    Hillary should not be his VP because if anything was to happen to him it will be blamed on her and Bill. but then if he does not win by a land slide that will be blamed on them and if he loses that will be blamed on them, so matter what happens everything will be made to be their fault.

    May 13, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
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