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. black republican

    i hope this bickering goes on until august!!! mccain is looking presidential, and fighting among the democrats amusing to say the least. i see the party is pushing for an obama-clinton tkt. i personally hope it happens because the dislike for hillary will surely send many of the democrats to mccain!! to all the republicans, sit back and enjoy the TRAIN WRECK in the democratic party!!!

    May 13, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  2. gary

    YOU OBAMA SUPPORETRES AND CLINTON HATERS DONT GIVE UP HATING DO YA. THATS ALRIGHT ,BECAUSE WE WILL GET EVEN IN NOV. YOU HATERS AGAINST THE CLINTONS HAVE DIVIDED THIS PARTY AND WE WILL VOTE REPUBLICAN. THIS RACE HAS BEEN FIXED FOR OBAMA FROM THE BEGINING.THE MEDIA AND HATERS HAVE SO MUCH BIAS AGAINST A WOMAN LEADER.HE PLAYS THE RACE CARD WHEN HRC FIGHTS BACK. THIS RACE HAS BEEN NOTHING BUT RACIAL AND BIAS. THE SUPER DELIGATES ARE ONLY GOING TOWARD O.B. BECAUSE THEY DONT WANT A WOMAN LEADER. HRC LOOSES ALL DEMS. LOOSE.I WOULDN'T TAKE VP. IF I WAS HILLARY AFTER ALL THE HATE AND BIAS AGAINST HER FROM YOU LOST MINDED YOUNG O.B. VOTERS. RACE VOTING FOR RACE, YOUNG VOTING FOR A UNKNOWN PIED PIPER ,YOU CALL THIS RACE FAIR.WHAT COMES AROUND GOES AROUND. YOU KICKED HRC TO THE CURB, AND SHE IS YOUR ONLY PRAYER. OBAMA WILL LOOSE IN NOV. ALL YOU HATERS AND O.B. SUPPORETERS HAVE WASTED YOUR MONEY. US CLINTON SUPPORTERS WILL GET THE LAST LAUGH.

    May 13, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. bigben

    Not really. He is ripe for the republicans to beat like a red-headed step-child.

    May 13, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  4. Ken from Atlanta

    To ALL!!! those white harworking blue-collared americans that just LOVE Mrs Clinton and for overt reasons say that you will never vote for Obama, google "Hillary Clinton Screw 'em" and see what you candidate thought of you when she felt you had shorted here husband. I was like you completely in love with the Clintons until I took a closer look at how they operate. I can not say I am a man of principle and then say I am a Clinton supporter; the two just don't go together. Obama is a blank slate, I grant you that and one has no idea what to expext except for what he says on the campaign trail but you can bet you sweet bottom that the Clintons will do as they have always done. LIE!!!. America does not need another power hungry person in the white house; we need change.

    May 13, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  5. BIFF, BIFFINGTON...

    As a former chicagoan... I saw this "I'll leave the party and vote for the other guy" before... It was Harold Washington. Chicago is the most democratic of democratic cities... It is also one of the most racist. So when Rich Daley Jr, and Jane Byrne split the white vote,(i think back in '83) and Harold came up the middle (with blacks and progressives) to win the Democratic nomination.... it was utter political chaos...

    People who voted Democratic their entire lives suddenly and literally said... "I'm voting for the white guy..." (and he republicans had a shot at the mayors office for the first time in over 60 years)...

    like I said... I've seen this movie before.....

    By the way... Harold won.....

    Enough open minded people voted on issues and brought real change until Harold's death one year into his second term (which was won by a landslide). Real change CAN happen.

    May 13, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  6. Ernest

    The best of Obama is yet to come. History will prove him the best President. Remember blacks were prevented from sports and other activities, but they have turn out to be BEST. Obama for 08.

    May 13, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  7. Stephan

    Hillary supporters better to accept the defeat And stop crying. world doesn't need another cowboy or republican in white house please make us all a favor and don't mess up. vote for issues not persons.
    regards

    May 13, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  8. Kelly

    Don't you think it would stop a lot of this hate talk if Barack was endorsed by Colin Powell? Have you been in the blogs attached to the Houston Chronicle? If not, you may want to avoid them. There are more than a few racist wearing hoods. Some claim to not be racist but "just don't trust a 'Muslim' in the White House". Crazy, right? These folks are being disengenuious of course. But this stuff has spread, most likely from FOX and friends.

    An endorsement from Colin Powell would shut a lot of people up. And Colin Powell has plenty of reason to endorse Obama. He really is a good man who only reluctantly joined the Bush administration. I don't think he had any idea they would pimp him out as they did. And after bing tricked into going before the UN with those lies the Bush administration cooked up, he should feel a duty to set the record straight. Just a thought.

    May 13, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  9. Proud American

    America needs Obama in the White House!!!

    May 13, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  10. gary

    HEY YOU STUPID O.B. SUPPORTERS AN CLINTON HATERS. OBAMA HAS ALREADY BROUGHT CHANGE. HATE, RACIST, DIVISION ,AND I DONT WANT TO SEE ANYMORE OF HIS CHANGES. BEST CHANGE HE CAN DO IS GO BACK TO SENATE AND LEARN SOMETHING.

    May 13, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  11. Michael Lewis

    Will somebody wake Hillary up and tell her the campaign is over. Apparently, she is losing sleep from all those 3AM phone calls from the snipers in Bosnia

    May 13, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  12. BIFF, BIFFINGTON...

    Remy, i have read many posts stating why a person will not vote for Senator Obama for this reason or that. 85% of them are petty. your rationale does not even reach the level of petty. everything you just said is COMPLETELY wrong and/or false. EVERYTHING..

    Senator Obama owes no one in the democratic party. Hillar (and bill) are the democratic party, which is why she started out with an over 100 superdelegate lead from the moment she announced)

    McCain has lobbiests WORKING "ON" HIS CAMPAIGN...

    obviously you were looking for a reason not to vote for Senator "O". but hey... whatever helps you sleep at night.

    May 13, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  13. Alex

    Why do people think Barrack Obama is going to make such a "wondeful" President? His battle cry is "Change." I ask two simple questions....1. Change to what? 2. Why should I believe you? Sorry! This ain't the time for "on the job training" and "change" doesn't happen overnight. Politics is politics and wishful thinking ain't gonna get it done either! Obama likes to talk in generalities but so far, other than the charisma and fancy talking, you haven't convinced me you're good enough to walk the walk!

    May 13, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  14. hanah abraham

    the only down side to this is that i would have enjoyed watching the clintons face barr.
    as to clinton being credited for obama's campaign capabilities, i would say get real.
    hanah

    May 13, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  15. neil04

    Obama/Edwards 08...

    Clinton cant manage her own campaign... $20 million in debt let alone her own state for as much earmarks she took, wh would i elect her president.

    How can she be VP when her job is to put forth and back the ideals of the President? SHe has smeared Obama's name int he mud worse than any republican will ever do in the fall.

    I can't believe some of the Clintonistas and how cloudy their vision is.

    May 13, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  16. Raghu

    Thank God,
    God knows how division amondemocrats wont be all it takes to tear him down

    OBAMA '08

    May 13, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  17. George J

    Missy M,

    the Fed runs the economy. Not the president. Presidents can only help the future of the economy by steering research and investments on a particular course or recognizing a segment as having a greater potential and let's say vying for deregulating it. Beyond that, I cannot think of much that a president can do. Mind you even the budget that the Predidency, as the executive branch, proposes every year is kind of already ear-marked for all the debt payments and existing programs that Congress had voted for. Barack Obama is not against business. What a silly thing to say. Typical of Clinton supprters, by the way – highly opinionated without an iota of research or expertise to back their opinions up. Please read his book and then argue. Or read any book for that matter. Anyway, I apologize for being as blunt.

    May 13, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  18. Drew, Central FL

    True enough, Wolf. Hillary has made him a better candidate. Quite ironic, isn't it? She sorely tested his mettle. Then again, that's what happens when you keep pounding on someone and the survive. They get stronger. Thank you Hillary. Thanks for giving us a stronger Obama.

    May 13, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  19. Irene Belles

    It is so disappointing to see the favoritism your broadcast continues to show Obama. It is Hillary's night and you are focusing entirely on Obama's speech and political pundits that have continually been biased for the Obama campaign.

    Hillary has such a formidable mountain to climb in submitting her ideas and programs to the American people while the pundits continually play the negative playing card against her.

    Count my vote as one who cannot in good conscience vote for Barack Obama.

    May 13, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  20. Melissa

    Sorry, Jack, your "golden boy" Obama isn't the only one who's become stronger in the primary race. Hillary is a much stronger campaigner now than when she started. She's been vetted during the entire race and had everything, including the kitchen sink flung at her. Obama's only felt serious pressure and vetting for a few months. Is that fair and balanced?

    May 13, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  21. An American in Canada for David

    CLINTON IS NOT IN THIS RACE TO MAKE A WEAK CANDIDATE STRONGER,

    SHE IS IN THIS RACE TO WIN THE PRESIDENCY IN 2009, NOT IN 2012 OR WHATEVER...

    SHE LIVES IN THE PRESENT NOT IN THE UNKNOWN FUTURE.

    THE EXCELLENT CONTRAST, THAT CLINTON DEMONSTATES BETWEEN OBAMA AND HERSELF IS HOW MUCH MORE INTELLIGENT, SUBSTANTIVE AND INTERNATIONAL SAVOIR FAIRE SHE POSSESSES.
    WHAT SHE IS A GREAT AMERICAN PERSONIFIED LEADER THE TYPE OF LEADERSHIP AMERICANS NEED IN THIS TIME IN HISTORY.

    THE MONEY AND THE MEDIA HAVE TRIED TO FORCE FEED OBAMA DOWN THE THROATS OF ALL AMERICANS.
    OBAMA ,AN EMPTY SUIT, A TRUE SCARE CROW AND THE WIZARD CONTROLLING HIS STRINGS IS PROBABLY GEORGE SOROS... OR AN EQUAL..

    BARACK WILL BE A PUPPET PRESIDENT, EVEN MORE THAN G.W. BUSH EVER WAS,
    SO THE CLINTON CAMPAIGN IS IN THIS RACE UNTIL THE END, UNTIL AMERICANS SEE THE TRUTH....

    May 13, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  22. libertyordeath

    Conservative judges take away our rights???

    Because their a judge or a conservative???

    A true conservative fights for individual rights (e.g. Sen Goldwater). Last time I checked, Democrats allied themselves with the Left (i.e. government in our business)

    May 13, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  23. happycanuck

    How does being a 1st lady count as experience for president?!? Would you take medical advise from me because my wife is a doctor? Seriously people give your head a shake.

    May 13, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  24. La Raza

    After reading some of the Clinton supporter's hate-mail toward Obama and his supporters, I am starting to believe that we are living in (2) Americas. My question to all of you Obama-haters:

    What scares you so much about Obama, that you would cast your vote for McCain? Please be real with yourselves.

    May 13, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  25. Chris from NY

    What doesn't kill you makes you strong.

    May 13, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
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