June 4th, 2008
03:30 PM ET
15 years ago

Blitzer: As the race comes into focus, the gloves come off

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/03/13/art.blitzer.jpg caption="CNN Anchor Wolf Blitzer"]
NEW YORK (CNN) - One of the most memorable lines of Barack Obama’s speech Tuesday night in St. Paul involved his opponent in the general election: John McCain, a man “who has served this country heroically.” Obama then pointedly added: “I honor that service, and I respect his many accomplishments, even if he chooses to deny mine.”

It was consistent with Obama’s oft-stated praise of McCain’s military service, who was a POW during the Vietnam War. But it also included a polite dig.

McCain, for his part, pointedly noted that “the American people didn’t get to know me yesterday, as they are just getting to know Senator Obama.” It was his way of suggesting that the presumptive Democratic nominee is still a blank slate for a lot of Americans.

Just watching and listening to their respective speeches highlights their many differences including their backgrounds and age. Obama is 46 and McCain is 71.

Obama and McCain have offered near-daily criticism of each other since it became clear both would be their parties’ respective nominees, though I suspect the worst attacks of the campaign season will come from surrogates who in contrast will take off the gloves and hammer away, on personal and policy differences alike. The biographies of the two men could not be more different. And there are major policy differences between them on a whole host of foreign and domestic policy. They strongly disagree on Iraq, taxes, health care and a lot more.

I suspect all of us are about to learn quite bit about those differences, and that is good.

soundoff (240 Responses)
  1. Wise White Guy

    STAUNCH CLINTON SUPPORTER: First of all, Hillary had a 3000 pop lead going into SD. Obama destroyed it and took it back after Montana. If you are going to use made up information then you discredit yourself right way. There were not enough pledged delegates to win so the supers had to make the choice. If they had chosen Hillary you would not feel the way you do i bet so that again makes you look foolish. You correctly stated that Obama had more pledged delegates which is really all that matters anyway. And in case you have not stepped out of your bubble i will point out that nobody knows what this woman is truly like but these Superdelegates have a better idea than you do. They moved away from her like she was on fire when they had another option. Maybe you should think about that. If they do not believe in her then why do you? Maybe actually research Paul V Clinton. They know about it, I know about it, you don't. Maybe its time you did.

    June 4, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  2. Addis - observer


    Would u please analyse how many of Hillary's supporters are turned off by her conduct yeterday (June 3, 2008) – not only for not conceeding but also for not congradulating Obama knowing the fact that he clinch the magic number?

    Thank you

    June 4, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  3. Dissapointed

    Hillary supporters…only the ones who are threatening to vote for McCain…take your threats and vote for McCain…who do you think your intimidating…We will win inspite of your pathetic threats…

    It's borderline childish…"waah waah, if you don't pick our candidate, we'll vote for McCain, waah waah."


    June 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  4. Diana Anderson

    As long as Hillary is alive CNN will treat her the way they did at the beginning of this campaigne. Unfair! Give the lady a break and allow her to figure things out . Sweet little Obama has won do we continue to baby him into the national election. Retoric is great but he can't win without us, the following of senetor Clinton. She's not on the ticket I"m with McCain he's liberal enough for me.

    June 4, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  5. Wise White Guy

    I get such a kick out of these ignorant Hillary supporters. They believed her when she lied to them daily. She said she was fired on by snipers in Bosnia....ok Hillary we believe! I never supported NAFTA....ok Hillary we believe you. We know these are lies but we will believe what you want. Then she says...A vote for McCain over the Democratic nominee would be a huge mistake.....and you say No we don't believe you. So you are her legion and yet you are not following her? Or do you think she is lying to you and you are ok with that. Think about it people!

    June 4, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  6. Lynn, Missouri

    I hope they stop digging at each other and talk about their platforms or the issues that Americans care about. I don't need the bickering. I want answers and to know what they plan to do and how they plan to do it. Give me the truth, not putting each othe down. I don't care about what they say about each other. Tell me about you and why I should vote for you. That's what I think.

    June 4, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |

    Christopher Dodd is a smart man. Thank you for having him on.
    He makes sense and he is a fair man. That is what we need, politicians that makes
    sense!!!!! I liked what he had to say tonight.

    June 4, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  8. Sue


    There is a God after all !!!!!

    June 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  9. G Smith

    If you're going to vote McCain just out of anger over how Hillary did not get the nomination and he actually beats Obama, then you defectors have no right to complain about ANYTHING he might pull in the next four years. You vote for 'em, you got 'em; If that's the case, I'd better not see ANY of you complain about the how he handles the economy, or the war in Iraq.

    Don't people actually THINK about what the candidates plan to do before they vote, instead of being occupied with petty differences?

    June 4, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  10. Tracy

    Wolf, you disenfranchise caucus voters like me everything you open your mouth with Hillary's ridiculous claim to the popular vote. Why is is that Michigan and Florida's votes should count and mine shouldn't? I say we take up a petition to get Wolf Blitzer fired. He is another old guard dinosaur who needs to lay down and become extinct. I am SURE this will never be posted.

    June 4, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  11. uchujin

    If Hillary runs as an independent, November 4th 2008 results:

    McSame 37-41%
    Obama 32-37%
    Her Highness 22-31%

    Write it down.

    June 4, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  12. KR

    To Staunch Clinton Supporter:
    That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard.

    June 4, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  13. Elliot


    Your threats to either forfeit your vote or support McCain in the general election if Mrs. Clinton is not on the ticket is a prime example and illustrates why Clinton lost the nomination and should NOT be on the ticket. This is not about YOU or HER. It is about what is best for the country.
    If you truly think McCain's stated policies would be better for the country, you must have been asleep for the past 7 years, but you should vote for him. If you would vote for him out of spite and because you didn't get your way, you are as selfish as your candidate who LOST the nomination but refuses to concede. Obama won the nomination not because he is 1/2 black but because he ran a better campaign and is the better candidate. Period.

    June 4, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  14. Diane

    STAUNCH CLINTON SUPPORTER, where did you go to school and did they teach math?

    And Debby, you need to get better background information on McCain's military service which was mostly chaotic and miserable. I see nothing in his service history that suggest he would make a good leader for this nation. True he became a popular POW of a failed mission, and his release made headlines, leading to his notability to seek public office, and family ties did the rest. However getting in the thick of real life concerns on the home front was not his strong suit, or was it. Educate me!

    June 4, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  15. Ron

    Wolf, abandoning all pretense of journalistic integrity, your breathless adulation of Sen Obama on Tuesday evening was a bit over the top. We know you're excited, but try to remain calm. It's o.k. – your man is going to make it. And don't worry about McCain news, if anyone is interested, they can get it from those others guys. By the way, I'm not opposed to you – I'll probably vote for Obama too and remain your fan.

    June 4, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
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