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. Nothing wrong with the comments

    There is nothing wrong with the comments. They are doctrinal and theological differences. Catholics publicly worship marry, and pray to saints, and ask men for forgiveness of their sins.

    We still have love for them, they just need to take a closer look at the scriptures.

    May 13, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  2. faye, NV

    Obama is not the only one that have weaknesses, all have some weakness. If he is the pick for the elections will Hillary&family vote for Obama or will she vote for Mccain?

    I believe she will vote the other way because she brought the race card in. Both candidates need all Dems to vote in this election.

    Instead she has plainly stated that her Whites will not vote for him. This is upsetting and unthinkable to here her make such a remark. I think she is gullyable.

    May 13, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  3. Russ

    It is amzaing reading the comments after your blog. People really are bitter and biased. If you are a Democrat support either candidate but not to the point of insulting the other. I am for Obama, may not like Hillary's win no matter what attitude but I have to respect her toughness. I would support her if somethning goes wrong and
    Obama does not get the nomination. Still much better than anykind of continuation of Bush's policies.

    May 13, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  4. rusty

    I'm still not voting for him!! He didn't do anything substantial here in Illinois and he ran a very strong campaign. Why should I believe him now? And shame on his supporters for calling President Bill Clinton racist!! Come November you will see the biggest losers – Obamaniacs.

    May 13, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  5. Isabel

    What are the superdelegates thinking? Hillary is the best prepared for the country at this moment, and the delegates from Michigan and Florida should count. If you were to have an important surgery, would you go to a rookie surgeon, or would you go to the best prepared, to the Top Gun? Well right now, America needs someone to put America again in the map, improve the economy, end the war, etc. and for that there is no better candidate than Hillary. Obama won't win against McCain. Wake up, and star giving Hillary what she deserves, that is your support, and superdelegates. Obama can wait 8 years, and then be President. He almost never voted when it was neede, even during the campaign he has responde late to the attacks, is that what America needs, or is a President that is always ready?

    May 13, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  6. Chut Pata

    What's proved to be good for Obama proved to be bad for Billary. Obama turned out strong and Billary turned out broke as her campaign goes "budget deficit" of 20million dollars.

    Go Obama let her contest till she spills all the money she got thru unfair means, its recession time in USA and economy needs Billary's billions.

    May 13, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  7. derek

    Wolf, wolf, wolf...Please! The extended race had not made Obama stronger. It is you in the media who have made him stronger. His base is eroding. Had the previous primaries/caucuses been held today, he would not stand a chance. Thanks to only your coat-tails does he have a shot.

    May 13, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |

    america need a face lift and obama is the guy! let's make her beautiful again

    May 13, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. Robert

    John, OR
    You are truly blind and do not see the reality.

    May 13, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  10. Emmanuel

    Some say Obama is weaker against McCain. But Obama can beat McCain just as easily as Bill beat Bush senior.
    Bush senior and McCain are about the same. Wartime pilots, guned down in enemy territory. Ideas won it for Bill and it will for Obama.

    May 13, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  11. Strength In Numbers

    Darth Vadik, CA (the first comment) hit the nail on the made Hillary lose her mind. I was a Hillary fan from the start, however this campaign has brought out the ugly in her and it doesn't look good. If Bush hasn't taught us anything but one thing is that it's about CHARACTER!!! Bush and his administration came in corrupt so of course we ended up with a corrupt govvernment in Irag, which the administration covered up. On the other hand here we have Barack who has gotten stronger. Now that's the kind of character I want from a president. Hillary and her clan has brought out the worse in people. It's sad!

    May 13, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  12. LA. WOMAN

    America needs a face lift and Obama is the guy! let's make her beautiful around the world again. no more old washington, poster girl go away!

    May 13, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  13. derek

    If Obama is the nominee, I will be voting Republican for the first time. Obama is only willing the red states that the democrats are expected to lose anyway. I feel the super-delegates should be held accountable in the upcoming elections if their Obama does not win the general election, which he wil not.

    May 13, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  14. pat

    How anybody think this guy won Fair is unbelieveable Two democrates are running and he ends up with 91 % of black vote .. I will never vote for him...

    May 13, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  15. anthony

    why do so many people keep using the word exsperience just because your the wife of a president does not qualify you to be president of the united states hillery does not have more exsperience than barak its just the name that makes her sound like the qualified person for the job some of you guys just want her to win no matter what but if your a true dimm fall in line

    obama 08

    May 13, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  16. KATHY

    God help me, i can't figure out who in the world is out there voting for this woman? All the blue collar workers that NAFTA put out of work? all the people of my demographics who should remember all the crap that went on when those she and Bill were in the White House. that we are still suffering because of? all the redneck bigots in in West Va? How her winning WV could change the way people look at Obama is beyond me. Who cares what a bunch of bigoted rednecks think? They have a black man and a white woman to choose from. Trust me if he weren't black, she wouldn't win. They make not like any race over than theirs – whatever that is – but they truly feel there is only one thing a woman is good for and her place is somewhere behind the pickup truck, hunting dog and kids. So if Hillary takes WV she ain't getting much. Trust me she has no use for that state, other than the votes it will get her.

    May 13, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Some falsities that keeps getting thrown around!
    1) that Obama cheated. Now this is clearly false, he has not done anything of that sort and stating otherwise is false.
    2) That Hillary is a crazy witch. I personally hate these kind of attacks, it is reminiscent of the disrespect we have for others. Hillary has done an amazing job, against a lot of odds, true some were internal and others external.
    3) The Idea that Obamabots or Hillraizers (on the blogs) represent the position of either candidate.... RIDICULOUS!

    Oh and some home truths! All politicians lie... They are human, and sometimes have to to get where they need to go, where they could be helpful.

    Neither Obama nor Hillary is perfect! They've both had to shy away from some positions and or apologize for some mispeak. They are only human. But it is ridiculous to imagine that their are some who think they have hidden agenda's against America (be that based on some false sense of entitlement, or anti-american agenda).

    What most likely drives them, is an inner-believe that they can do better than has been done in the past. And yes some bit of personal arrogance too. No one, not even Dennis Kucinich or Ron Paul runs for president without a bit of that arrogance (It is a requirement, and not a shortcoming).

    And finally, the Obamabots might not want to here this, but the best V.P for the democrats was always going to be the loser of the primary. They've both been that Good!

    May 13, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  18. weird...

    not so long ago the same Obama supporters thanking Wolf for his analysis were calling Wolf and CNN all kinds of names....oh that's right, they weren't being nice to Obama....well it looks like the Dems have found the ideal candidate: if you dare say something negative about Obama you're immediately tagged a white-trash, ignorant, uneducated racist and you get ripped to bits by countless Obama pitbuls...oh I mean Obama the way educated Obama supporters, how do you find so much time to respond to CNN's articles? Shouldn't you be working (that's why you got your degree, right?)

    May 13, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  19. Dr. Z. - a female, a "whitey", and a Ph.D.

    It's nice to see you use Barack Obama's first name, Wolf, at least at the beginning of your comments. I am personally pretty fed up with many of the CNN staff (I think Cambell Brown may be the worst offender), always refer to Senator Obama as "Obama" while calling Senator Clinton "Hilary Clinton" and Senator Mccain "John McCain" – I wonder if there is a bit of subtle racism going on, maybe one or two generations up from when bigots called African-American men "boy" – now, just omit their first names?.

    Because of this, I have started checking out MSNBC political coverage (when that is available), to see if they might be more even-handed. (Watching Fox News is really just funny with their blatant anti- Dem comments! and their "objective" addition – Karl Rove.)

    May 13, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  20. LiLi

    Do you Hillary supporters read anything other than what is on the blogs? I suggest that you go out and read Obama's plans on issues that are important in this election and then make an informed decision that he wouldn't be the best president, don't make it on the fact that you don't like him because of his potential win against Hillary only, especially woman, because as you know if McCain appoints conservative Judges, Roe v. Wade could potentially be overturned, which could mean that a woman's right to choose could be taken away. Also, to all of those mothers out there that have children fighting in this war, we are in the midst of a mini Vietnam, where lives are being lost everyday over our government jumping the gun and starting this war. Both Obama and Clinton want to end it, McCain has never said he wants to the end the war. He's just like Bush, he doesn't want to withdraw at a time where our nation would see this war as a loss. I'm an Obama supporter and as much as I don't like Hillary, the Dems care more about women's rights and the protection of our young children that could potentially be caught in a situation where a draft could be instituted and our teens that are turning 18 in the next few years could be caught up in that. Think people think.

    May 13, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  21. donna

    I listened to a conservative radio broadcast today and the discussion was around how people wouldn't vote for Obama because of his name. Now that sounds like an informed, sophisticated decision.

    The reasons some people aren't voting for Obama don't make sense. I guess they really are not educated enough to know how to inform themselves on the candidates, and I know many of them are biased. So sad. Clinton is so dishonest, mean spirited, EGOCENTRIC and amoral, that it is beyond me how any informed, intelligent, unbiased person could possibly vote for her. GO OBAMA '08!

    May 13, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  22. KE

    This race didn't make Obama strong, the media did.

    There is slow surge of movement. Almost everybody in the media wrote Hillary off as a possible woman nominee after Indiana. Din't upset me though, there's life after media. Life goes on.

    We will endose the Hillary administration. Not Obama. Next choice, McCain.

    The only way Obama can win in November will be to have Hillary on the ticket. Anybody else with Obama won't work. Nobody can get Hillary's supporters. It's a mystery that some of you may not understand.

    Hillary is the only choice. There are many people willing to vote for McCain first time in their life, but not Obama. Obama has nothing to offer. Picking Obama is another Bush and Cheney.

    If your house is on fire, better pay attention.

    I also rememberd, we don't need to talk to people who we don't like.

    May 13, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  23. MP

    Those who have voted for Bush the second term now must reap the benefits... "Ask yourself are you better off today than 8 yrs. ago?" if yes, then vote Republicans again. You deserve it!

    May 13, 2008 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  24. Tyler

    Barack Hussein Obama or John Mccain? Which one sounds more presidential? Which one loves and is proud of this country more? Which one fought for this country and got caught as a POW? Which one does Hamas NOT support? Which one wants the family and the individual to make decisions, not the government?

    mccain 08

    May 13, 2008 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  25. Glenda MBUGUA

    Why do CNN editors continously keep on mentioning racistic Issues about the elections in the Democratic Campaign between
    Senator Obama/ Clinon.
    Please Elaborate on the issue that White voters and Black Voter
    No matter our Colours We are ALL Americans.
    Why not use......... American Voters.............. rather than Black and white
    voters what is your justification on this.

    May 13, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
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