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. Lee WV

    Thank you Wolf and Jack you are good men.

    May 13, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  2. Ed

    As this Campaign has made him stronger , it has made Hillary weaker especially her management skills, tends to make one believe that the good lady Chelsea has become is because of Bill and not Hillary.....

    Hillary is a strong determined woman, she had this campaign wrapped up in December but her implementation and supervision has been very poor , thus the Obama blow -out !!

    America is a lucky country !!

    May 13, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  3. maxineforObama

    Wolf all this talk about WV and what it means ,buyer remorse and all that crap. allI it means is that they chose hilliary because they are use to bill clinton and her and like her better thats it. you anti -Obama freak . You can send this one to moderator too..

    May 13, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  4. Walter in Maine

    Hi Wolf,

    Can you explain something for me?

    Obama is still a candidate and NOT the nominee. Both candidates agreed not to campaign in Florida and Michigan. Why then is Obama campaigning in those 2 states this week? Isn't HE breaking the rules? There might be a second election in both states,therefore he is still campaigning as a candidate and not a nominee under the pretext that he is running against McCain.
    Is this unfair to the election and going against the DNC and undermining Hillary?

    How does this work?

    Thanks Wolf
    (Go Bills)

    Walter in Maine

    May 13, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  5. jenny

    The lady voter in W. Virginia who was interviewed today spoke briefly about how her representative (supposedly), Mr. Rockafellow certainly wasn;t acting on her behalf or the other W. Virginians, but was representating the big oil companies and other large corporations to line his own pockets. She is not alone, most Americians feel like our government forgets all about us folks back home once they get elected. It's enough to make me sick. I wish more people had an outlet where they could be heard like that lady today who was able to speak just long enough to be able to her two cents in. Way to go lady!

    May 13, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  6. Pepou

    In fact Barrack Obama gets stronger and stronger every day. That's why he will win the general election.

    May 13, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  7. Jason

    Obama supporters need to reign it in. Comments about racism and stupidity have turned this Hillary supporter against your double talk nominee. To have a message of unity and hope all the while his supporters are divisive and claim racism constantly is hypocracy at its worst. Grow up educated does not mean you were blessed with common sense because if you had you might have looked past the "I have a dream" speach and looked at what the democrats always fail to look at. Who wins the votes in the tougher fought areas with a broader group. Not Obama. Obama meet Micheal Dukakis meet Walter Mondale meet Al oh wait that doesn't quite work as oh yeah it does. This party listens to young and educated every four years and THEY give us the wounded hope and unity candidate. Once again the geniuses kill the nominee way to go smart people.

    May 13, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  8. Nando, Florida


    May 13, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  9. Knuckle Head Obama Supporters

    McCain will be our next President. Obama is a follower not a leader. He will not know what to do without following Hillary. He has no substance. And by the way, I am Hillary supporter without college and I am on the internet – not to mention that over the years I have made a really good salary. All you Obama supporters are pure and simple idiots.

    May 13, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  10. Venus

    Well Wolf----–

    We know he is stronger than you, Hillary and Mc Cain!

    Obama is a strong man with stronger supporters!

    You haven't seem nothing yet! We are going to really start pushing now so that we win in Nov.

    I hope you and CNN and the other news media can keep up with us!

    May 13, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  11. It's not to late

    As much as 30% of Obama's primary, and caucus votes are Republicans trying to choose the weakest democratic candidate for McCain to run against. These Republicans have been gaming the caucuses where it is easier to vote cheat. This is why Obama has not been able to win the BIG! states primaries. Even with Republican vote cheating help.
    Hillary Clinton has been out manned, out gunned, and out spent 2 and 3 to 1. Yet Obama has only been able to manage a very tenuous, and questionable tie with Hillary Clinton.
    If Obama is the democratic nominee for the national election in November he will be slaughtered. Because the Republican vote cheating help will suddenly evaporate. All of this vote fraud and republican manipulation has made Obama falsely look like a much stronger candidate than he really is. The democratic party needs to fix this outrage. I suggest a Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama ticket. Everyone needs to throw all your support to Hillary Clinton NOW! So you can end this outrage against US the voter, and against democracy.********

    May 13, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  12. Belle

    I'm so disgusted with Obama supporter's remarks.

    I am a Clinton supporter, college educated and on the internet, so I have a question for you IDIOT Obama supporters....

    How do you think it would have looked for Obama to LOSE W Virginia (A key Swing State) by a landslide to a candidate not in the race?

    Sorry to disappoint you, but Clinton has done Obama a favor. She has made him a stronger candidate.

    However, I will write in Clinton vs. voting for Obama....Why? After all is said and done, this is the game of politics....Obama lied about Wright's background, about his bill to get nuclear waste polluters, about Wrezko, about who is contributing to his campaign, about the 11 buildings of Rezmar in his district, about the amount of money he received from Rezko, about his relationship with Ayers, about his crossing the aisle in the US Senate, and he NEVER took charge of his senate committee. Those are just a few of the reasons this Clinton backer will not vote for him....the other reasons....the bloggers for Obama!

    May 13, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  13. Theresa in Minneapolis

    I believe it has made him MUCH stronger.
    I pray he does NOT put her on the ticket.
    A woman who's a little more conservative from a big state would be a great way to go. Because he is known as being SO liberal, it would be good to help pull some of the moderates his way. And the Republicans that do not want McCain.

    May 13, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  14. Democrat21st century

    Wolf-very interesting article and the analysis of yours seems to me is with precise judgment! I will add a few. USA has done a great leap forward but socially, it is still backward in pockets and clinging on to the race (we see else where in the world sharp ethnic and caste divide). Some of the politicians using the race, ethnic and caste (high caste, low caste and untouchables in Indian sub-continent) issues for narrow political gain (like Clinton USA Today game). Now the question is -will Obama able to wipe out completely the social divide-the blot on the USA greatness. I will argue yes they (the great Amrican people+Obama) can in the 21st century which will have a spillover effect to all over world! Truly, Obama has shown a kind of fair politics, and that will be remember for the years to come!

    May 13, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  15. "eh"

    Senator Obama should be in W. Virginia because if you show neglect to one, all then are aware of neglect being shown.

    May 13, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  16. rikicad

    It's funny when Obamas pastor made inflmary comments Hillary & John McCain both jumped Obama about his ties to Wright. Well it's time for McCain to practice what he preaches and cut his ties with the racist hagae. I wish there was another choice to vote for all 3 canidates suck. Time to vote for Popeye as a write in

    May 13, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  17. Farroel Richardson

    In the discussion regarding the effect of Rev Hagee on the campaign, I thought Ms. Brazile was right on – there are too many social issues to be concerned about to let the Rev. influence what happens in this election. Separation of Church & State is an important aspect of US life, and we need to be concerned bout poverty, education, peace, energy, & the economy generally before giving Rev. Hagee any more press.

    May 13, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  18. Lynda

    I'm also a hard working white 60 yr old woman from Ohio who will be voting for Obama. Not all of us old folks are for the crazy, adderall taking nut in the pants suit.

    May 13, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  19. marilyn

    I think Donna Brazile should be the democratic VP!

    May 13, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. Mike Birmingham, AL


    Pay no attention to the group that is posing as Hillary supporters trying to rally support for McCain or Hillary as an independent candidate. They are just Operation Chaosers trying to stir things up.

    Vote Democrat in '08!

    May 13, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  21. Dan (Kirkland, WA)

    He has publicly admitted he is not perfect which is refreshing. I think the fact that his dirtly laundry was aired out during the primary season makes any attempts by the GOP to use that material, old news by the fall.
    McCain hasn't had to face the full onslaught of the democrats since they've been having at each other for so long.

    May 13, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  22. Venus

    Wolf – considering Obama is a rookie – that should tell you something!

    Hillary should be ashamed for letting a rookie beat her and Bill Clinton and he out foxed you and news-media!

    Oh – I saw the news-media last Tuesday regarding the May 6 primary for IN and NC.

    You and the others were ready to say all the reasons why Obama lost – Rev. Wright, Bitter-gate, the white votes....


    When IN dropped from 12% down to 4%-- the looks on many faces!

    When it dropped to 3%.............................. it was even better!

    May 13, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  23. Marty

    The real crime in all of this is that the present administration has left the next commander and chief in such a hole that it will take way more than the next 4 years to get this country we all love back on track to where it should be! Here is one for you. Myanmar! Why do we not just force our way in and help those starving, homeless people that need not just our help, but everyones. Now DO NOT give me crap about "well we are not allowed to go in because blah, blah, blah!!!" The Hunta government has turned their back on their people 100 times worse than Saddam Hussein did. This is a situation where we should just go in and help, no questions asked! But here we sit! This Administration makes me sick!!!

    May 13, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  24. AIB

    He has been a campaigner for years. You, Wolf and some Hillary'spinners underestimated his talents and skills. Despite your collusion with Hillar's campaign to put him down, he has always shown resiliency, intelligence and serenity. These characteristics of a leader. Many saw these in him very earlier.
    Unfortunaltely, it took you a long time to see that.
    Also, you cannot stop the movement. This is more than senator. Thi is the call of the American people

    May 13, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  25. Marty

    By the way GO OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 13, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
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