May 13th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
12 years ago

Schneider: Will West Virginia keep Clinton alive?

 Sen. Hillary Clinton talks on a mobile phone while walking to the Senate chambers Tuesday.

Sen. Hillary Clinton talks on a mobile phone while walking to the Senate chambers Tuesday.

(CNN) - What are we looking for tonight in West Virginia? Whether the state’s Democrats will keep Hillary Clinton's campaign going.

If Hillary Clinton wins big in West Virginia, it will send a message: that she has something to say, and Democrats better listen. Clinton's strength all along has been, not just with women, but also with older, rural and blue-collar Democrats. The kinds of voters who predominate in West Virginia.

Are they Reagan Democrats? Not exactly. West Virginia did not vote for Ronald Reagan in 1980, and it did not vote for his vice president in 1988.

But the state did vote for George W. Bush. Twice. They're Bush Democrats, and the Democratic Party wants them back. Obama has had trouble reaching them. He has a message of inspiration and unity.

"We've got to open up our arms and say we want everybody - black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Native American, young, old, rich, poor, gay, straight - we want everybody,” Obama has told crowds on the campaign trail.

But a lot of West Virginia Democrats are hurting. They're not bitter. They're not turning to guns and religion for solace. They're looking for hope.

"I think the message that Barack Obama takes from West Virginia and states like West Virginia, at least from our experience, is that he's going to somehow have to convince older, socially conservative voters that he can make their life better, and he's going to have to stick to the issues of economics and health care " says Kenny Bass, a political reporter in West Virginia.

Hillary Clinton seems to know how to reach those voters. Listen to what she's been saying in West Virginia: "We need a president again who's going to be solving our problems and begin to once again take care of the american people and all the challenges that we face.”

She says she delivers and says she’s a fighter: "It's going to take somebody who gets in there and rolls up her sleeves and gets to work for you!"

Senator Clinton may not win the nomination, but she's sending a valuable message to Democrats: show more fight!

You know, sometimes it takes a woman to toughen up a man.

"Screw your courage to the sticking place, and we'll not fail," Lady Macbeth said.

Not that Lady Macbeth is a role model, but still.

soundoff (295 Responses)
  1. fred

    OBAMA HAS NEVER REPRESENTED “CHANGE” IN POLITICS. IF YOU DARE, SEE HOW OBAMA OBTAINED HIS FIRST ELECTIVE OFFICE: Chicago Sun-Times�A close examination of Obama’s first campaign clouds the image he has cultivated throughout his political career: Obama, who runs on a message of giving a voice to the voiceless, first entered public office not by leveling the playing field, but by clearing it. Alice Palmer, friend and mentor to Obama, served the district in the Illinois Senate for much of the 1990s. Decades earlier, she was a community organizer in the area when Obama was growing up in Hawaii. She risked her safe seat to run for Congress and touted Obama as a suitable successor. But when Palmer lost the congressional race, her supporters asked Obama to fold his campaign so she could easily retain her state Senate seat. Obama not only refused to step aside for the woman who was his friend and had recommended him for the seat, he filed challenges that nullified Palmer’s hastily gathered nominating petitions, forcing her to withdraw. Had Palmer survived the petition challenge, Obama would have faced the daunting task of taking on an incumbent senator. “He wondered if we should knock everybody off the ballot. How would that look?” said Ronald Davis, the paid Obama campaign consultant whom Obama referred to as his “guru of petitions.” Davis filed objections to all four of Obama’s Democratic rivals at the candidate’s behest. All other candidates were disposed of by Obama’s challenges. He then went on to win the election.

    May 13, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  2. Ro

    just because 'your' nominee doesn't win, doesn't mean anything was 'stolen'.....in a contest with two people, one comes out as the winner and the other one is......not the winner.

    It's plain to see for most people, that Obama is going to be the winner. We need to start working together people. The time has come.

    May 13, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  3. Barbara, San Jose

    Go Hillary, keep fighting on.
    I am going to continue to support Clinton in this nominating process and beyond. As for Obama – I will NOT vote for him.
    He is unelectable, a racist, and inexperienced to lead our country.
    Period.

    May 13, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  4. J.Onofre -CA

    It's so sad to see the Clinton Machine go into the Machine of Denial.

    May 13, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  5. Tommy

    No! Why do CNN and other MSM insist on keeping Hillary in this thing? It is OVER. Deal with it and let's move on to the real race. Hillary is out! Go Obama!

    May 13, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. A.K.

    Hey "Loi" - it wasn't Obama that said MI and FL shouldn't count; the states' leaders violated DNC rules and moved up their primaries. Oh, and in case you don't "believe" that, it was Hillary who rejected MI's plan to seat the delegates (62 to 52 more or less, if I remember correctly).

    May 13, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  7. Little Hitler in W.V.

    Looks like little Hitler Hillary didn't want to take questions from the media especially with her rallying Hitler's followers in W.V.

    It surprises me Hillary wouldn't give a RACE SPEACH in W.V. to caution them not to think racist, but it works in Hitler Hillary’s favor. All those racist..... hard working Americans.... WHITE AMERICANS are voting for Hillary because her alignment with Hitler and Hillary didn't blink an eye......

    The more Racist they are the better Hitler Hillary likes them.

    Hillary and her bag of Gimmicks are Pathetic.

    Schumer, Rangel and Hillary, pack your trash because you will NOT be re-elected in 2010 and 2012 in NYS!

    May 13, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  8. Tech Recruiter

    Come on CNN- get real! It's you the media that has kept this going. You are to blame for all of this division! The twisting and exaggerations of the truth are out of control.

    Dems- let's come together and not allow the 'pundits' and media to ruin and divide our party.

    Let's care more about our country, the Dem party, and our children's future than our own self interest and whether or not our "pick" was chosen. Remember Hillary and Obama are not that different policy wise.

    Democrat 2009

    May 13, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  9. robert

    If Obama loses in the general, he'll lose with grace, unlike GLEN CLOSE.

    May 13, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  10. Debby

    Unfortunately NO but thats okay I am voting for the other typical white person if she doesn't make it.

    May 13, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  11. FactCheck

    Nothing I would love more than if the Clinton cult votes in McCain and he starts the process to repeal Roe v Wade and nullify gender pay equality. You all deserve as much.

    May 13, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. AoA - Seattle

    The rules change yet once again! Whoever wins the a majority of the next 3 contests should be the nominee. Right CNN?

    May 13, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  13. Hillary-ious

    Nope. The media will probably try to blow W. Virginia out of proportion, as if the whole tide of the campaign has suddenly shifted, but don't believe it. The truth is that Clinton is heavily favored to win W. Virginia by a large margin. Likewise, Obama was projected to win NC big. This is just part of the give and take that happens in any election. The actual "game changers" are the swing states which could go either way. Unltimately, a candidate needs to win more of those states than their opponent in order to win an election. Obama has done this, which is why he will ultimately win the nomination. It is just like in sports- you have to win the ones you're supposed to win, and then you need to win a lot of the ones which are a toss up.

    Of course the Clinton campaign will try to spin W. Virginia and Kentucky to make it seem like Obama has suddenly hit a wall, or come off the track, or something equally catastrophic. But truthfully, this is just playing itself out the way everyone expected it to. The real catastrophe happened to the Clinton campaign back in February and March when Obama was reeling off 11 wins in a row, in contested states like Wisconsin and Virginia.

    May 13, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. Helene

    Dead woman walking !

    May 13, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  15. Uncle Joe

    Clinton/Huckabee 08

    May 13, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  16. why hillary why

    just think if she would have did what was best for her, i mean our party a few months ago, millions of those voters would have voted for our democrat along with our nominee, I do believe all this talk about voting for mccain in November would have been a win in november.

    when she thought she was the nominee. since we see she’s will not win does that mean hillary will support obama and her supporters will follow lead since she has such a hold on her (uneducated, hard working white voters)?

    May 13, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  17. David, Santa Rosa, CA

    I'm sure the people of W. Virginia are good folks and I support them 100% and agree they need to be included in this primary. BUT... that doesn't change the math. The nice thing about math is there is no ambiguity. It is, what it is. Ergo, a wipe-out for Clinton won't change the fact that Obama leads in all counts.

    May 13, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  18. Rob

    Hillary 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 13, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  19. Jeanne

    It doesn't matter. Even if she lost WV, she'd stay in through to the convention (my prediction), arguing all the while that she's the most "electable".

    May 13, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  20. George

    Hey What's Real...There was not a black candidate running when Bill Clinton won the black vote. I'm sure if there was the black candidate would have gotten 95% of the black vote...Let's just admit that the black community should be proud to vote for a black candidate but that doesn't stop it from being racism.

    May 13, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  21. LR Dallas

    The american people don't want a fighter, we want a winner. Someone you can be proud of once they win and not have to be ashamed of just winning no matter what.

    May 13, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  22. bill in Oklahoma

    I did not respect her too much before she started her presidential bid. You know the war vote. I do have tremendous respect for her now. YOur character is tested when you are down, not while your ahead. She has shown a lot of character. She would make a great president.

    May 13, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  23. CWatson

    Hope CNN enjoyed the ratings of the Democrat Primary. The "Best Poltical Team on Television" ought to have figured it out by now. West Virginia and it's five electoral votes isn't going to turn back the tidal wave crashing down on Hillary. It's over.

    May 13, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  24. RB from NH

    Somebody pull the plug on her!
    WV is one of the poorest, dumbest states in the Union (sorry, its true).
    Hillbilly will declare victory and show the "weakness" of Obama with a win in WV. I guess all the rest of the country didn't matter.

    If she ran as Hillary RODHAM she would have been gone by New Hampshire!

    May 13, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  25. Delores

    Why continue to "plant sees?" Let things go and move on. Yes! Big win for Hillary. And??????? Let us remember how many states she has won verses Obama. Let us remember the delegates, super delegates, etc. Who still dominates in the Primaries? Let us NOT fan a fire and cause trouble. We have too many things in these United States which are in dire need of attention. We should be concentrating on how we can improve the economy; lower gas prices...bring our boys and girls home; put folks BACK inside their forclosed home. The list abounds with many issues. Enough already!

    Why pose such questions and make such statements?

    Bottom line: Hillary WON WV because there are quite a few folks there, who are TRULY, TRULY racist. I know. Over 40 yrs. ago, I attended undergrad school (outside of Charleston). Yearly I return for Homecoming. There has been some growth...however, wv, CONTINUES to exhibit racism.

    She won because of SKIN coloring and a dislike for African Americans–PERIOD!!!

    Been there...seen that!

    A Native Harlemite–New York City African American ( with 2 DEGREES )Senior Residing in the SOUTH

    May 13, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
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