May 13th, 2008
03:05 PM ET
15 years ago

Blitzer: The primary race has made Obama stronger

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/16/art.blitzeriowa.cnn.jpg 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. Anonymous

    when discussing race why is reverse discrimination never mentioned
    when 90% of blacks suport a black man does this not smack of discrimination against non blacks.

    May 13, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  2. Stephany

    I don't think Obama is the stronger person to hold MCcain at all. Hilary won all or just about all of the states you need to in november that are key. That is why she is the stronger one. She is behind because she lost florida and michigan half way though. So its fair let Obama lose two of this big delegate filled states new that would put them where they need to be and all of the people can see the true picture.

    May 13, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  3. Richard James

    I realize that the "economy" is number one, but it seems to me as if the media and the candidates are forgetting that a major problem affecting the economy is #2, the war in Iraq. I don't believe that they are seperate issues...

    May 13, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  4. D.Kimbro OHIO

    Susan in Missouri: I agree with you she started out as the strongest. I was prepared to support her, until she went negative. If she would have had the foresight to build an organization she would have won. Her campain has been a travesty. They told her it would be over by Feb 05, and clearly had no back up plan for if it wasnt. Although I am supporting Obama, she deserved better. Great job Carville to say if he wins you will support him. I may start liking you again now. Let's make up!!!!

    May 13, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. Hillary-ious

    No thanks to you, Wolf, or to CNN.

    May 13, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. Michael

    Good story idea.
    I am glad Obama is running so strong and
    even though her heart may be in the right place
    a candidate for (my) president should know better
    than to run up a multi-million dollar debt to get what
    she wants. Extrapolate that to our federal budget and
    look out. More of the same.

    Vote for Change, vote for Peace.

    Obama 08

    May 13, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  7. rod

    Hillary has lost and all she can do now is make herself look ridiculous; however she is hurting Obama not on policy issues but by continuous inflammatory racial comments. Also, all this talk of Hillary or her surrogates Wesley Clark, Madeline Albright, Richard Holbrook, Joe Biden and Joe Liberman is outrageous. Hillary and her surrogates were clinging to the war swords along with Bush just before the Iraq invasion. Obama should not give these two-faced democrats a chance to mess up his presidency. I would trust more Colin Powel than any of Hillary or Bill's friends!

    May 13, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  8. Wisdom

    It is not secret that West VA is a highly racists state as a whole. Anyone who is not caucasian( and a few that are) who has lived or have family who have lived or currently residing there knows this full well. It is no surprise, given the make-up and people coupled with their attitudes towards others that they over-whelmingly support Clinton. That state is less lkely for change as they are more prone to hold onto views from 1834. It's amazing that God loves these people too. If it were me, I surely wouldn't. And the sad thing is, they will leave this world with unwarranted hate in their hearts. Nothing worst than not knowing why you dislike/hate something. To me, that thought process is very animalistic and uncivilized. "If one cannot conquer and relinquish their hatred, then they will forever be a prisoner and will never see peace". And for those who say that a large number of African American's supported Obama in previous states, yes they have. But when and Hilliary supporter is going door to door and trying to gain supporters, 9 times out of 10 he/she is not being called a "pig", "inbred"or a "devil". That is the difference. Not on who you support, but the reasons why you support them.

    May 13, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. Lionel

    Wolf,

    When you interview Hillary tomorrow, would you ask her if she thinks she would be the better candidate against McSame. Why can't she beat Obama in the Democratic primary.

    May 13, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  10. Jan

    I am asking all Hillary supporters to boycott these Cnn sites. I sent many blogs that were not posted supporting Hillary. Let the Obamabots yell and crow at each other. They hate us "typical hard-working white people ' and love to fill up the sites with ugly comments against us. Lets make sure they have only themselves to scream and curse at and make accusations of racism. We will never convince them that we are Americans making a choice for a President....Let them put their rock star in and weep in November. Educated Nurse for Hillary. (this one won't be posted either.)

    May 13, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  11. A time has come

    This race has surely made Barack stronger – bringing out the best in him. On the contrary the race has bought out the worse in clinton. The race is over and its time to turn the page.

    May 13, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  12. Chris, Silicon Valley, CA, USA

    Next: OJT?

    May 13, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  13. Terrence (Winston Salem,NC)

    To all Hillary supporters, its been a tough race, but Obama is not stealing the election, he played by the rules in place. Rules that Hillary also agreed to. If you don't agree with the rules, thats fine, lobby to change them for the next election, but they are the current rules in place.

    Obama is not buying the election. His money came from over a million supporters that believe in him. They voted with their wallets.

    The sad truth is that Hillary was overconfident that she would be the nominee by Super Tuesday and she completely screwed up her campaign because of it. Some year we will have a woman president, it just wont be next year. The time has come to rally around the nominee, just as she would expect if she was that nominee.

    I will not BASH Clinton, but out of respect, I welcome all true Democrats to unite behind the party's elected candidate.

    May 13, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  14. mona

    Finally a journalist who comes right out and says who he supports who isn't under MSNBC's payroll. Thank You Wolf. So let's see the primary is his practice run for the general election and his general election will be his practice run to get into the White House...OMG and there is no practice run to actually run the White House. OMG and you picked him.
    Nice Job Blitzer.

    May 13, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  15. Pat M

    Well one certainly couldn't say that Wolf Blitzer is bias after reading this report ! (sarcasm)

    I guess that's why he didn't ask the questions I sent in for his Interview with Obama last week. In fact, he didn't ask any questions that were truly vital to the Presidential campaign or worthy of Obama's answers. Americans were still as much in the dark after the Interview as they were before it started.

    I truly believed that CNN was above such partisan reporting. I also believe that all New Networks should remain neutral and refrain from trying to sway the public opinion. I surely couldn't define Wolf's report as being neutral

    May 13, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  16. Joseph Adewole

    What type of experience is Hillary talking about? You have said it all here that BO is getting better and stronger daily unlike what he was few months ago. This show us one good thing; BO has the right type of people behind him.

    May 13, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  17. Tejano

    What planet are you on Blitzer. Obama is not stronger at least among my peers. We have overcome the racial divides and this idiot and his pastor are causing divisions among us again. Thank God my friends know that Obama and his pastor are in the minority when it comes to racial hatred. As a member of the forgotten minority soon to be the majority we refuse to buy into the rehetoric of this closet Muslim.

    May 13, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  18. Terrence (Winston Salem,NC)

    Walter in Maine –

    Psst... the "PRIMARY" election in that state is over. Just thought you should know that before you say he's breaking any rules.

    May 13, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  19. Loi

    As a life long democrat I can say, I can NOT trust this man with a 10 foot pole. The color of his skin has nothing to do with it. HE IS A ROOKIE FULL OF EMPTY WORDS OF "HOPE".

    GOD HELP AMERICA.

    Now before I am a Democrat I am an American and I will not give my vote to someone I can not trust. Is the first time of my life I will have to vote Republican but makes me proud that I won't let anyone influence my decision, only Obama can sell this one if he ever get the nomination.

    May 13, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  20. Gillis

    Yes Wolf. A good workout hurts but that thing builds muscles if the weights don't crush your backbone. Which means you have to have been strong to begin with.

    May 13, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. Srinath Dharmapadam

    Wolf,

    I believe in all fairness to Sen. Clinton, she should be given the option to do her best. If we keep psychologically brain washing the people that she is not going to win, the public while they are voting, are going to presume that she is not going to vote for Sen. Clinton. In what way is that fair for Sen. Clinton? No doubts, Sen. Obama is a good candidate, and so is Sen. Clinton. Press should stop speculating on either one of them, and wait for the public to make a decision on their own. If Sen. Obama wins, so be it. But press should not kill Sen. Clinton's chances, before the whole race is over. So long as Super delegates have all not committed, there is still a chance. We have to accept that FL and MI has to be counted, otherwise, Democrats will lose those states in Nov.

    May 13, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  22. Julie

    Nobody has polled me.........I'm a Democrat, and if Obama wins the Democratic nomination, I, as a PROUD Democrat WILL vote for McCain. I just talked to a big Democratic political figure in New Mexico, who is also planning, for the first time in his involvement with the Democratic party, to vote Republican if Obama is nominated.

    May 13, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  23. Ryan

    If Obama has this sown up like the media and his supports claim, then why are so many people refusing to get on board in Kentucky and West Vergina and vote for Obama.
    If anything this highlights the Democrats biggest problem, Hilary's supports do not want to vote for Obama, which means Obama will win a nomination only to lose the country.
    Superdelegates, think twice, do you really want to throw away our best chance to take back the White House?

    Clinton/Obama 08 or Obama/Clinton 08 no other choice.

    May 13, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  24. Granny

    Why are Hillary's slip ups lies and Obama's slip ups are mistakes? Where did he go to school? He says he has visited 57 states and has 2 more to go as he didn't visit Hawaii? Does he know how many states we have? He is a Harvard graduate. He can NOT win the primary either unless the Super Delegates GIVE it to him.

    May 13, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  25. Bayou Joe

    The man can't hold a candle to McCain. McCain is not George Bush, no matter how he wants to spin it, McCain is his own man. McCain cares for all people regardless of Race or Religion. McCain served his country and will continue to serve it as President of the United Stattes. Long Live John McCain.

    May 13, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
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