May 13th, 2008
10:45 PM ET
12 years ago

Why West Virginians turned out for Clinton

Clinton’s West Virginia supporters say they weren't swayed by grim pundit assessments.

Clinton’s West Virginia supporters say they weren't swayed by grim pundit assessments.

CHARLESTON, West Virginia (CNN) -There was never much of a question about who would win the West Virginia primary. The electorate is made up of older, white, blue-collar voters that have become Hillary Clinton's base.

But they've also been hearing a week of speculation that Obama's path to the nomination is inevitable. So why turn out?

"I think she's got the experience to get us out of a deep hole," said Johnny Nance, a preservation contractor who owns the building in Huntington where Clinton has a campaign office. "You can't win this country's [presidency] without winning West Virginia. We've picked them the whole 20th century," added Nance before saying he'd support whomever the Democratic nominee is.

"She's brilliant," said Veda Hughes, 58, joined by three friends at Clinton's victory party Tuesday night.

Does the impression the New York senator can't win bother her? "Heck no! No! We're in this 'til the end, it doesn't bother us at all!"

"I think Obama is a wonderful speaker and I love what he says but I think Hillary has the experience, she knows what's going on. She tells what she's going to do," added companion Amy Wade, 35.

Several people pointed to potential baggage Obama could carry into the general election.

"I don't think his wife has been a credit to him, I don't think his minister has been a credit to him," said Diane Givens.

Surgical technician Jeremy Elswick, 30, agreed that Wright was a negative and said Obama didn't do enough to woo the voters of West Virginia. "He just seemed like he had his nose up in the air. She seems like she's for the blue-collar people of West Virginia."

Clinton heads to Oregon - considered Obama-friendly territory - on Friday before campaigning in Kentucky, a state whose demographics are very similar to West Virginia's.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • West Virginia
soundoff (270 Responses)
  1. Denise

    I'd blog Anonymous too, with that satement. Obviously WV's have no sons or daughters in Iraq/Afganistan.

    May 14, 2008 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  2. ammananda

    1881 stars for the new president, wake up everybody. The world is changing, be happy, be a real american. Love yourself, love the world, love God...
    Obama brings america back in the hearts of all humans, tell your children and grandchildren this beautiful story of hope and glory.
    Open your eyes and hearts, so peace will do the rest. Time for the colors of real promise.

    God bless you all.

    May 14, 2008 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  3. Maxine

    O.K is time now for Obama to beat Hillary in these next states coming up. Obama close the deal it is time beat her Obama close the deal. Shut Hillary Clinton down. Beat her.

    May 14, 2008 03:14 am at 3:14 am |
  4. Keshia from Florida

    I think WV voters and all states should have a chance to vote. Count all the states including Florida and Michigan. Then at the convention with all the votes in, it should be clear who the winner is. I feel Obama will win in pledge delegates, superdelegates, states won and popular vote. Then the democratic party should come together and support Obama. For all those the Clinton supporters who would rather stay home or vote for John McCain I leave you this thought. If McCain pulls out a victory because you would not help support a Democrat who by the way share many views as Clinton. Then don't complain when gas prices keep going up, there is no change in healthcare, and lets not forget that our soliders will be still fighting and dying in Iraq. This country is drowning in debt because of this war. It is time for change and I feel Obama is a start in changing America. It is time to come together. I think this is the message Obama is trying to get Americans to hear. We are The UNITED States of America. It's time to act like it.

    May 14, 2008 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  5. Bitter Tommy Hussein in St. Louis

    I've seen the "big state" argument and its many variations and thin disguises so many times in this Ticker now that I could puke. This has never been an issue in previous election seasons, but now it is just used as a weak-minded attempt to put Obama down. It is absolutely a fallacy to believe that one's ability to win a state in the primaries is somehow a reflection of his/her ability to win that same state in the general election. Carrying this theory to its logical conclusion makes it completely implausible. For example:
    – Hillary lost Illinois, Minnesota, Vermont, and D.C. Does anyone think for a minute that those states might go red in the fall if she is the nominee? Apparently you do or else you wouldn't make this argument the other way around. But they are true blue, guaranteed. Okay, then, same goes for New York and California, states that very rarely go for the Republican candidate.
    – McCain has lost states such as Iowa, Wyoming, Nevada, Maine, Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Montana, North Dakota, Tennessee, Utah, West Virginia, Kansas, and Lousiana in the Republican primaries. Does that mean the Democratic candidate has those states in the bag? Not at all. We know they are red states, swing states at best.

    The fact is, the general election is a whole different ball game with a wider pool of voters. With some day-to-day variations that go both ways, polls consistently show Obama running neck-and-neck with McCain. It would likely be a very close race. So let's call the "big-state" argument what it really is – a big load of B.S.

    May 14, 2008 03:24 am at 3:24 am |
  6. Brian Jackson

    How many times do you think the Clinton Camp will change the rules? First, they sign the pledge to not count Florida and Michigan. Then, when they fall behind, they think both should be counted. Then their campaign manager, who threatened to take half the delegates from Michigan in 2004 for moving their primary, suddenly backtracks and insists they be counted in full.

    When they can't win the delegate count, they say popular vote should count. But they can't win the popular vote either. What's next? Only Arkansas and West Virginia should count?

    Obama leads, and cannot be caught, in:
    popular vote
    pledged delegates
    super delegates
    states won

    What exactly is the Clinton argument? Please inform me.

    May 14, 2008 03:27 am at 3:27 am |
  7. Denise

    Gabriel, some folks rather eat bread and butter for dinner, than vote for whats the right thing to do. quote: I'd rather pay $5 a gallon for gas, $4 for a gallon of milk, loose my house that I worked for 30yrs, my children and grand kids grew up in, than vote for someone of color that has my best interest in heart! WV he's been there done that. It's deplorable, your unconsiousness. Good luck with paying your gas bill this winter!

    May 14, 2008 03:28 am at 3:28 am |

    Its only the blind that cannot see for you to deceive.I admired bill clinton alot and not hillary.In the first place she lied that she was under cross fire last time,she keeps on attacking Obama thinking it will weigh him down.She voted for war in Iraq where our loved ones,billions of dollars are sinked in vain while some people are leaving under the bridge in the United states.What experience is she deceiving herself about for christ sake?Obama has the agenda that American needs at this time,God bless OBAMA,God bless the United states of America.
    We want a united America,the leader of the world,God has positioned Obama to lead, and nothing will stop the will of God.

    May 14, 2008 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  9. David

    One of Clinton's spokespersons made the arguement that a win in West Viginia for Clinton is a revelation that she is the more apt candidate to challenge McCain and that Obama is so inferior because he should be able to overtake her in West Virginia with his deep financial resources and recent, glorifying press, regardless of the overwhelming base of typical Clinton supporters there (i.e., uneducated, white, blue collar persons). Conversely, one could make the argument that with all of Hillary's clout and popularity, versus Obama being virtually unknown to the public at the start of his campaigning, she should have been able to secure the popular vote of the whole nation; but she has not. Something else noteworthy is the description of her support base: they tend to be UNEDUCATED. That suggests that the majority of people who support her are people who do not have the academic capacity or interest to perform research to be familiar with serious issues and make informed decisions, rather they make uninformed decisions based on superficial information gleaned from the meaningless rhetoric publicized in the media and hearsay from friends. I definitely would feel more confident about having a president who was voted in on the basis of his true ability and the contents of his character rather than a president who was selected for superficial, insignificant and unintelligent reasons.

    May 14, 2008 03:33 am at 3:33 am |
  10. Mybama

    And WV's point was? Please, I'm ready for November, enough with the Clinton's getting in more debt....You believers are more pathetic than the racial division of people who can't get over OLD WHITEHOUSE WAYS!!!! GOODNESS, EVERY BODY WILL BE ABLE TO DRAW THERE SOCIAL SECURITY AFTER OBAMA BECOMES PRESIDENT!! HE'S NOT GOING TO TURN ON YALL....THE NERVES TO SAY YOU'RE SCARED, Being in this war is scary enough, we will never resolve this under BUSH LOVERS!!

    May 14, 2008 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  11. Shannon

    Maybe you Hillary supporter's should take a look at the margin of victory in Senator Obama's wins over Hillary. Obama's percentage on the left and Hillary's on the right!

    Idaho 82.2% 17.8%
    Hawaii 76.2% 23.8%
    District of Columbia 75.8% 24.2%
    Alaska 74.6% 25.4%
    Kansas 74.2% 25.8%
    Washington 68.4% 31.6%
    Georgia 68.1% 31.9%
    Minnesota 67.4% 32.6%
    Colorado 67.3% 32.7%
    Illinois 66.3% 33.7%
    Virginia 64.2% 35.8%
    North Dakota 62.6% 37.4%
    Mississippi 62.2% 37.8%
    Maryland 61.9% 38.1%
    Wyoming 61.9% 38.1%
    Louisiana 61.7% 38.3%
    Vermont 60.6% 39.4%

    I wouldn't EXPECT a Hillary supporter to know these things because the average Clinton supporter is not very bright. They don't even remember the rules argeed too at the beginning of the primary, and they are not aware that HRC plans on changing the rules AGAIN. Simply put I am sure you were NOT aware that McSame congratulated HRC on her win, but never congratulated Obama. Why did this happen? Because HRC is a POWER hungry, fatal attraction, republican tool. If she causes us to loose in November, her senate seat is TOAST.

    May 14, 2008 03:42 am at 3:42 am |
  12. Fred

    How is someone who's campaign is in debt pull us out of the national debt? Hillary has the millions to float her own campaign, but not the trillions to ballast U.S. GDP. How did Obama stay so far ahead fiscally, when Hillary was the one taking corporate and multi-national lobby dollars? I'll tell you how: Barack Obama has the real support of the American people. Hillary at best has manufactured support, probably from companies like Diebold.

    May 14, 2008 03:49 am at 3:49 am |
  13. John Diefendorf

    America needs someone that can lead, that can unite the country and that can get the country back to work, sadly, good rhetoric and the support of an elite few as well as minority sections of the population, will only serve to fragment the situation further. An Obama presidency, reminds me of a Jimmy Carter presidency, a one term disaster, with no focus, no pragmatism and only good deeds in mind.

    May 14, 2008 03:51 am at 3:51 am |
  14. colene mitchell

    no president of the us has ever co me to office with experience. you have your advisors and some presidents take their advice and some like bush just do whatever they want and fire you if you disagree. i also believe their is a first time for anything like winning the nomination with out winning west virginia. so let's all just go out and vote and put an end to the bush madness!

    May 14, 2008 03:52 am at 3:52 am |
  15. Al, California

    The answer to this question is simple: they are mostly under-educated. It is easy to sway them to support war in Iraq (or a candidate who voted for Iraq war), or to vote for president's son, even if by one look on him you see a disaster. Now for president's wife...

    Progressive democrats must improve education – that is best and reliable hit against our religious extremists and crooks.

    Obama 2008

    May 14, 2008 03:55 am at 3:55 am |

    Let my ask my democrats friends question, "are you a true democrats" for someone with a real sense of mind to say he/she will vote for Rebublican if the Obama wins show that he/she is a fake democrat.Whoever wins the nominee,i will certainly vote for democrats.White or black.Democrat's are leading the United states comes November 2008.God bless Obama,God bless the united states on America

    May 14, 2008 03:55 am at 3:55 am |
  17. christy, rph

    I would just like to say that I am an over-educated pharmacist born and rasied in West-by-God-Virginia!! I CAN read and write like everyone else in the country. I do not appreciate the insinuations that West Virginians are ignorant hillbillies that cannot read or make informed decisions as well as other people in this country. To me you are the ignorant and abusive racists that you claim us to be!! To be so prejudiced tells me who the elitists are!! I am highly offended by the descriptions of my fellow West Virginians. If you don't like the outcome of our primary, then move to West Virginia so you can vote against us in the next election. Otherwise, let it go!! Your state had their moment and it's our turn. Be an adult and learn to play well with others, even if you don't agree with them.

    By the way, as a democrat I will in all likelihood vote for Obama should he get the nomination, but he abviously has some weaknesses and needs to address them quickly.

    May 14, 2008 04:01 am at 4:01 am |
  18. annie

    I must laugh at all of the BS that comes from the Obama supporters!
    You think it's over for Hillary and maybe it is! But Obama will never be president of this country, and here is why:

    I am a person that runs a small business and I come into contact with
    many people all over the country. In November When the majority go to
    the poles and they close the curtain behind them they will not vote for Obama, they can say what they want in public to other people but in truth when the curtain closes if Clinton is not the nomimee McCain will be Pres. Many people I deal with are from t he bigger states,
    Cal, NY, PA, and let's not forget FL. I talk on a regular basis with these
    clients and I hear the same thing over and over, these people are concerned about their investments they are concerned about their future and they all have the same concern. That Obama is not experienced enough to clean up after Bush. They also think his loyalties are to other countries and may send too much aid to places such as Africa. I even had a 32 yr old client of mine from CA fax me over an interview from 2007 in which Obama states he thinks we should be sending more aid to Africa. People will be even more scared once McCain gets his hands around Obama and his american
    hating wife Michelle.

    May 14, 2008 04:14 am at 4:14 am |
  19. Charles in Phoenix

    I find it sinful the way the media and the Clintons have relentlessly tired to slander a young, black Presidential candidate who is honest, intelligent and inspirational. Lord have mercy on them.

    May 14, 2008 04:22 am at 4:22 am |
  20. Peter M.

    i think she's fighting a loosing

    May 14, 2008 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
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