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. I

    I would like to make a very simple observation about Wolf Blitzer's blog entry: It's a well-crafted opinion piece! This has NOTHING to do with media bias, and in fact is a window into one American's thoughts about a contest with which he's been quite close for the last year. The whole point is to get us talking; you can accept or deny Wolf's argument, but don't do him the disservice of claiming his reporting is biased when he, like the rest of you, is simply offering up his opinion! Thanks for your tireless reporting, Wolf!

    May 13, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  2. 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 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  3. Jack

    You are in west Virginia Doing exit poles asking white voters if they think west virginia voters are racest because of thier support of Clinton
    You guys at CNN with your blatent support of Obama have been making me sick. 92% of the black population can vote for obama but you don't see any racism in that. I guess you just think that 92%are sure he is most qualified to be President. It seems to me it's simply because he is black and thats ok just don't call the white voters racist I wonder what would happen to that percentage if obama was a white man, so where is the racism

    May 13, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  4. al

    First of all I am not surprise with the majority of clinton voters supporting a gas tax holiday after all a great deal of lesser educated and poor families supports her and its up to abama to educate them properly. Secondly cnn please do the math. If 35% of wv clinton supporters and she is carrying the state by over 40 points then obama is doing quite well.

    May 13, 2008 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  5. Wisdom

    I would never vote to MCSame. How can you continue a war that has seemingly no end? A war that is costing lives, growth of our economy, has tied into our housing market, has tied into job loss, and especially high gas prices. Gas affects everything in this counrty and the Middle East will never let you get a hold on it. But I will support an honest person, who truly cares about the people and truly wants to see things get done. A person who can stitch ties between group and/or people. If clinton wins the democratic nod fair and square she has my vote.

    But, if she plays some type of crooked game and takes the nomination anyway, me and millions of other democrats will not vote. And that is not a threat but a promise. As far as McCain. The man who was and still is against the Rights Of All People. One Nation, He doesn't even believe in the constituation. LOL... Not a chance in hell. He just wants to start fights with MiddleEastern people and gain control of crude oil like Bush. This is why he is called McSane. Some of you are living outside of reality and need a check.

    May 13, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  6. Mrs E

    These posts on CNN just shows that this country has not come that far after all. If you dont vote for Obama you will continue to have your lives guided by fear and the lies and hate that this country has been built on and run by for centuries.

    This man has dealt with everything that has been thrown his way. How many of you would have the constitution to stand so long. Not for himself but for the HAVE-NOTS America has produced by the Bush- Clinton-Bush era.

    Get out of the line of followers and make a decision on your own, with your own intelligence. Stop the generational curses that your prejudiced forefathers have past on to you.

    Make a choice based on doing whats right for the right reasons. Stop the ignorance that caused so many of the plights this country suffers from.

    May 13, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  7. No way VP Ms. Pantsuit

    No way for President or VP .
    Perhaps Mc Clinton is on McShames short list since we all know
    Hillary Rodham Clinton is a Republican in a Pantsuit .

    Isnt it a stretch how she started counting votes that are no counts but not untill she started needing a higher count ?So what else will she come up with another Bosnia ?They just keep coming so plug your ears.
    Go Obama you are our Hope Yes We Can .

    It is Wolf B. /Clinton supporters,Republicans spreading this Vp B.S.

    May 13, 2008 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  8. HJ

    As a CANADIAN watching your elections, I am truly inspired by Obama.
    He's progressive, without the Clinton baggage. Do you guys really want another Clinton?
    God bless America!!

    May 13, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  9. Latina por Obama

    WE are in this all together. our votes will decide who wins. We ought to each other as Americans to be respectul and not hateful.
    The clintons to many of our disapointment, have shown an ugly side, and wheter you like them or not, there are things that have been done and said that are unacceptable no matter which party or nominee you support.

    This is a great country where we can agree to disagree where we can talk without being persecuted, and where posibilities are greater than any other country on this earth.

    Let Hillary run, after all is her right. however, to use the race and gender card pursposedly and as she and bill continue to do so, it is very destructive and it shakes the very fundatmentals of this country. we dont have to like each other however, we ought each other tolerance and respect, and the clintons have shown they have none of that.

    in the universe there is that law which is not man made but just universal, " what goes around comes around," and justice even if slow it will always show itself at the end..........

    thank you to every AMerican who has voted, regardless of whom they voted for, thank you to every soldier who went to war, even so they never asked for to go or like war, thank you to the superdelegates who are in a dificult position because of the status quo and because of some people feelings and sense of entitlement, but we must think of our country.

    think twice, this is our country, our future our children's future. We do not deserve liars, and people who encourage racism, and enable all the possible isms..

    the world has had enough of those dictators.........

    May 13, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  10. Patrick, NY

    To John in Oregon,
    I believe you meant ANWR, not Anwar... ANWR stands for Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. It is in Alaska. Just a heads up.

    Good report Mr. Blitzer. Obama has a long road ahead of him, but he is more than capable of handling himself.

    -Obama '08-

    May 13, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  11. Luis Melendez

    What really makes Obama so great is that he reaches out to the American people in a way that Hillary cannot. He makes jokes during his interviews, admits to the things he's done (more than any politician, from what I've seen, lol), and is juat more human than any presidential candidate I've seen. I'm just a small Puerto Rican hoping for big things from this guy.

    Obama '08, son! ^_^

    May 13, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  12. Ed

    I can't believe the racism that still exists in your country ...

    I was supporting Hillary under she lied about the shot on the airfield in Bosnia..then the Republican-style attack ads and then the divisive comments she makes on a daily basis only drives your country not only the Democratic ppart further apart even when it is plainly evident she has lost..

    Obama will win and it is disgusting to see how low Hillary has gotten in her remarks about "white Americans"..she is only dividing her party further.. if she runs in 2012, people will still remember how childish and inflamatory she is being..

    And for those that say they will vote for McCain rather than Obama for whatever reasons they can to mask their racist attitude is absolutely disgusting...

    Think about the future of your country and set aside your prejudice and racist attitude cause if McCain gets in, there will only be an even worse economy, more deaths in Iraq for a war that is only being fought for oil and not a valid cause
    Do you really want a guy like McCain with his finger on the button..

    You think the USA is not looked upon favorably by the rest of the world..if McCain gets in..USA will be looked upon as a nation of racist prejudice fools...

    May 13, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  13. Linda

    Will Cnn be able to call the WV race early?..........or will it take all nIght?

    HA HA HA

    If you pal Obama was the winner you would be able to call it early...2 min.. after the polls close..................

    May 13, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  14. Missy M

    A better campaigner? Are you kidding? All that means is that he has become more skilled at saying what people want to hear – it doesn't mean that he has become a better candidate. At this point there is little that Obama can do to mend the democratic party – the party has simply lost its way. I'm a lifelong democrat, but can not, in good conscious vote for a candidate who is so openly opposed to our capatilist way of life. He has no plan for strengthening the economy at a time when we so desperately need businesses to grow and prosper. McCain, at least, is pro-business. No one is talking about it, but that's what we need right now, a strong, pro-business leader.

    May 13, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  15. Remy

    I voted for Hillary at out state caucus and I am supporting her till it is over. She might not get the nomination but I will never vote for Obama who is a lame puppet of the powers-that-be of the democratic party.

    I'd rather vote for McCain. At least I know he would actually be the president because he is obviously not indebted to anybody in the Republican Party, having won his nomination with hardly any party 'scrimmage'.

    May 13, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  16. ovitshio Branco from New Mexico

    There is a diffrence between being "educated" vs. being "learned."
    After reading 95% of the notes (blogs) on CNN, here are some conclusions:
    1.Hillary's supporters may be learned, but they are not educated. That is, they show gross negligence in doing research to uncover the truth.

    2. Majority of Hillary's supporters write using "uppercase" letters, suggesting that they are rude, bitter, and inconsiderate.

    3. Like their candidate, most of Obama supporters are very humble and put this nation "first". Wealth and greed are seen as secondary or remote issues

    4. All of the lies and disinformaiton about Barack is going up in smoke as past political propaganda. We are now witniessing history unfolding before our very eyes, as the nations' first Democratically elected black man gets voted into the highest position of authority in the country. I can honestly say that I am proud to be an American again. Thank you Barack, for being a true leader.

    May 13, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  17. Linda

    If Obama gets the nomination.........I will vote for McCain and I am a Democrat.

    May 13, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  18. Tulllalol

    Oh Wolf, Wolf... Here I thought for a brief moment you had changed to the better and become a somewhat less biased. But you just had to add that last paragraph, right. Does one call that being phony and oh so transparent, little man ...

    May 13, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  19. Bob from Iowa

    Clinton voted for the war and now wants to pull out immediately. She recently threatened on National Television to OBLITERATE IRAN. Obama has no experience to be the President and Commander in Chief of the U. S. Military. John McCain has the experience and would eventually create a stable region in Iraq like we did in Europe, Japan and S. Korea. If we can not commit to spreading freedom and peace worldwide what is our existance worth. When the Dem's declare defeat in Iraq we will only strengthen those who hate America and enable them to spread that hate onto generations to come.

    May 13, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  20. B. Reagan

    I must say that it is with great regret that I realize that I do not expect or want to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2008. I think having a woman president would be a WONDERFUL milestone for our country, as women are historically THE minority, regardless of what state or country they live in. And, I very much understand why her supporters are so enthusiastic in their support of her. She is a very effective politician, and she demonstrates great intelligence, tenacity, determination and skill. Furthermore, I believe that the vast majority of her supporters support her not because she is white or because she is a woman, or both – I believe the majority of them support her because they honestly believe she is the best candidate.
    My only major criticism of her, other than her historic support of the war in Iraq, is related to the tactics of her campaign against Senator Obama. Her tactics have caused me, and a great number of her former supporters, to realize that Senator Obama is a much more uniting figure. Obama offers hope and inspiration to such a broad and varied population, a huge number of Americans who see the greatness and hope that has not been manifest in a president since our country was robbed of JFK. Huge numbers of Americans, of all ages, races, and backgrounds support Obama at this point, and it saddens me to hear the things that I’ve heard from Hillary about him. Her words on, “hardworking Americans“ and “white Americans” were the most disgusting thing voiced in the campaign so far. I hope she comes to her senses and offers Senator Obama the support that the majority of voters and delegates have already given him. I would love to see her share in or follow 8 years of an Obama administration, and thereby unite the Democratic party and allow it to heal the deep wounds and divides cause by 8 years of the Bu$h Administration.
    Come on Senator Clinton, you are arguably one of the most powerful figures in the country right now – don’t squander your chance to make a positive difference for this great nation of ours! Show us you’re still the woman we all grew to so greatly respect and/or admire! Our pledges and votes, fairly counted and recorded, are showing you the way. Please join us!

    May 13, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  21. ovitshio Branco from New Mexico

    My dad also was an officer in the Navy in WWII, my Uncle Tommy a west point graduate and decorated war hero in Korean and i served from 63-65. My dad was republican chairman for our county, everyone in my family thinks it's a sin to vote for a democrat but i have to say this time I AM BITTER ABOUT THE WAR YOU AND BUSH AND CLINTON GOT US IN WHEN THERE WAS ZERO REASON AND NOW WE CAN'T GET OUT WITHOUT A WORSE PROBLEM. I AM BITTER that there are families welcoming their loved ones back from iraq in a casket, I AM BITTER that we had a republican president and congress and did not help the people who the Bible says we are supposed to. I am voting for Obama and I am not a kid—I am old enough to see what you have done to this great country of ours and I am so ashamed. If you meet St. Peter in Heaven please explain why the greatest country in the world is so self serving and why we have babies going to bed hungry—-in this country. I AM BITTER AT WHAT YOU AND BUSH HAVE DONE TO THIS GREAT COUNTRY and see a young Ab Lincoln in Obama who one day will have students studying his works as we do Lincoln. SHAME SHAME SHAME

    May 13, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  22. Chris

    Much of the publicized vulnerabilities are actually brought on by media and clinton campaign who persist to position Obama in that light. I don't see media voraciously positioning Clinton as a candidate who cannot win affluent educated white americans, black voters, and college young voters as if they don't matter ??? If Obama is the nominee for democrats and by some mircacle (long shot I think) the final election should name McCain for presidency, then we all can point to Hillary as the vindictive spoiler for her party, with her persistence to drag out a long primary race despite all mathematical odds. It goes to affirm and show Hillary is not a trustworthy person who is bent on her self serving agenda rather than genuine interest in the future generation of America.

    May 13, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  23. Mrs.L

    The only reason many will not vote for Obama for one reason. He is black and still this country fears that because of the sins this country has committed against blacks for over 400 years.

    Those of you to whom this applies, would rather go through 4 more years of high sucide rates, poverty and dispare, economical, societal and political. Rather than to vote for a black man.

    This is a sad state of reason, How much longer will we allow these types of injustices to continue?

    SAD SAD SAD What happened to character and standing on that????

    May 13, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  24. Scott

    If Hillary were to win the nomination it would just make it that much easier for me to vote for McCain. I'm Libertarian and Hillary is not a moderate she would get nothing done as president. She is as Democrat as Reagan was Republican. With one major difference. The Democrats were scared Sh–less of Reagan. Republicans and independents hate Hillary.

    May 13, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  25. Dana in Maryland

    This extended race has cost Obama supporters a lot of money. Between the candidates we have wasted a half billion dollars. If Hillary still had a real chance, I could see the expense as possibly worth it, but for her to stay in the race with next to zero chance to win just to let a bunch of voters have their day in the sun will see another 100 million down the political drain feeding advertising agencies and not helping those who need it. Thanks a lot!

    May 13, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
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