June 8th, 2008
04:58 PM ET
13 years ago

Clinton adviser reflects on failed campaign

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/06/08/art.wolfson.cnn.jpg caption="Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson said Obama’s campaign can learn from their mistakes."]

(CNN) - Hillary Clinton’s communications director Howard Wolfson spoke about the New York senator’s failed presidential bid on CNN’s Late Edition - and acknowledged: “There are things that we would have done differently.”

“I think Barack Obama did a pretty good job of learning from whatever mistakes we made,” he told host Wolf Blitzer. “If his campaign wants to study ours and see what we did right and wrong, I'm sure they're going to do that.”

The outspoken adviser also defended the fact that Clinton waited until Saturday to give her concession speech.

“I know we live in the minute-by-minute media culture,” he said. “I think it's a little unrealistic and frankly unfair to expect somebody who's been running for president for 18 months and has done as well as Senator Clinton did – [she] was winning states in the last several months by 30, you know, 40 points to - on the last day of the primary - immediately come out and give a concession speech.”

Despite Wolfson’s admission that the campaign made some slip-ups, he insisted that not highlighting the history-making aspect of being the first female president was not one of them.

“It didn't seem to hurt our ability to get the votes of women who were Senator Clinton's strongest supporters. We overwhelmingly won the woman's vote in this race… African-Americans as a whole tended to vote for Senator Obama in overwhelming numbers, a great credit to him. But white women and Latinas did vote overwhelmingly for Senator Clinton, over 60 percent.”

And what about Wolfson’s immediate plans?

“I'm looking forward to a summer of some relaxation. I'll miss talking to you on a daily basis. But I'm going enjoy talking to my family more,” he said with a smile.

soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. WE all failed her in favor of Obama

    She did nothing wrong.

    She was always clearly the best.

    But manipulation of the public with the help of the media works. Then when the party and the DNC and the Superdelegates chose between AAs and youth and Older lifelongs and women.

    They gambled wrong that the youth and blacks would defect, but not the lifelongs and women.

    They were wrong. We have no more loyalty to the party that betrayed HRC, than blacks had. We will go, they will stay.

    June 8, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. ki-jana carter

    Howie, how will you ever make it throught the day without smearing and telling lies about Obama, and attempting to drive a wedge through the Democratic Party?

    No, I won't miss this animal. The only thing the Obama campaign could "learn" from him is deception and dirty politics.

    June 8, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |


    June 8, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  4. Bill from Cleveland, ohio

    Ed, SantaFe,NM

    You should shut up and go away, you sound like a jerk.

    Obama is going to loose in Nov. Ha.Ha.

    Hillary supporters are nevergoing to cross over to Obama because
    of disgusting people like you, and as for Obama "Birds of a feather
    flock together"

    June 8, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  5. Sara


    June 8, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  6. Carl29

    It's over guys. Look at Rasmussen and Gallup; democrats are uniting behind Sen. Obama. Stop the fighting; we won!!!

    June 8, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  7. Monica for Obama in Indiana

    Everyone, Please vote the way you want too. The Clinton's have not gone away, they are just resting. An Idle mind is the Devil's workshop

    NO Clintons and NO Evan Bayh for VP

    June 8, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. Truth

    Give the guy a nice break my fellow countrymen/women!.

    June 8, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  9. Voting Obama

    You know its real funny how some of you people are. I like that comment how someone said the media drooled over Obama.Please. Come up with something better than that. He has touched many people and you can't even give him any credit. Some people need to stop with all their hatred and come together for this country. HRC is well respected but lets keep it real. She ran a dirty campaign! She threw everything but the kitchen sink at Obama and he still speaks humble about that woman. I am still a HRC supporter but now its time to back Obama. Why because I know that he is the best thing for my future. I think alot of her supporters are prejudice and that needs to stop. It is getting old now. McSame is not any better. I think alot of you just don't want to see Obama in office because of your prejudiceness and if that is the case GOD please forgive them. McSame is going to take this country down. If you vote for him, only point the finger at yourself when you can't afford to live and lose your job.

    Hatred needs to stop. Obama speaks for himself. Some of you say you can't see yourself voting for him, ask yourself why? What President has experience!! Look at what Bush did to this country!! And you want to put his twin back in? Grow up and stop that BS people.

    June 8, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. Brian Knoxville, TN

    Josh, New Mexico–fair enough, but don't blame Howard Wolfson. Blame Mark Penn. The failed strategy was his. Howard, you have done a great job! Thank you for all your hard work.
    Go WomenCount PAC

    June 8, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  11. Linda K.

    CNN probably won't print this, but. . .

    When we fight each other and descend back into name-calling, we are fulfilling the dreams of the MSM. They thrive on conflict and controversy.

    If you want to fight, fight McCain. If you want controversy, talk about how we're going to avoid another depression. Stop being distracted by the media side-show.

    June 8, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  12. Oh Please

    What happened Howard, couldn't pull another race ad out your back pocket in time?

    Hillary lost because of poor planning, lies and unqualified staff. Her STAFF should have corrected her on some of those lies rather than trying to cover it up with race baiting. Bosnia will NOT be forgotten, especially to those American Soldiers KILLED by sniper fire.

    Next time try telling the truth, it obviously works for other candidates. And next time try running a primary race in primary season and be honest about the 10 Million Dollar man Penn, he got paid for NOTHING!

    Enjoy your summer and tell your family I said hello.

    June 8, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  13. OBAMA

    Clinton Surrounded Herself With A Group Of Loosers! Birds Of A Feather. . .

    June 8, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  14. Mantan

    She failed because she under estimated Obama, and that worked to his advantage. Face it Obama is smarter than Hillary and Bill Clinton put together.

    June 8, 2008 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  15. Belle

    Unfortunately, I think Clinton's top strategist should have been canned a lot sooner that he was. He is the one that put together the strategy of front runner.

    You could tell Hillary was uncomfortable with that role. It was only AFTER Cinton was able to be herself, that she started winning states by huge margins....

    Unfortunately, the Press did not do their job. They got so wrapped up in race, gender, and Wright, that they never vetted Obama.

    I am still waiting for explanations about Rezko, and he may very well turn into a bigger bomb than Wright ever could have been.

    June 8, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  16. Roger in the Virginia Valley

    I didnt much like Wolfson, I especially didnt like it when asked a questsion he would not answer the question but turn it into a Hillary commercial. Maybe thats what he was paid to do. He supported Hillary no matter what and for that he deserves credit. Nevertheless, I dont much care for him. I hope he has a great summer relaxing with his family. One final comment, he was not nearly as bad as Lanny Allen?.

    June 8, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  17. Linda

    What HRC did wrong.

    1) Hiring You
    2) Being HRC

    June 8, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  18. Linden

    Seem to be a lot of Republicans on here today.

    If you ARE Hillary supporters, you can't blame the media for Bill's mouth, or the lack of sniper fire in Bosnia, or the Clinton campaign's sense of entitlement. I thought for the most part it was covered fairly.

    June 8, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  19. Dora

    Her campaign didn't failed. She was soldout. I hope there is an investiagation. Starting w/the delegate that were stolen on the priamries to how she was robbed with the DNC.

    June 8, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  20. JT, AZ

    While I am an Obama supporter, I take issue with the headline.

    Senator Clinton did not run a "failed campaign"; she ran an unsuccessful one. The race was phenomenally close, and she fought hard.

    June 8, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  21. Matthew

    Im sick of how Hillary supporters keep on saying the race was unfair and bla bla bla, this is how the race has occured for the last dozen primaries. And people saying the democratic party was agains Hillary is just stupid since Hillary only lost the majority of superdelegates in the last few weeks of the race when it was clear that Barack Obama would win! and the media wasent pro-Obama. the media made a fuz about everything involving Obama! he won fair and square! GET OVER IT!

    June 8, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  22. GO AWAY


    June 8, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  23. Dan Wirick

    The news media got Obama elected. They never shut up about Obama being the first black American, giving the blacks all the reason to vote for Obama. He got at least 50% more freecoverage than Clinton.
    Next reason: If the whites were as prejudice as the blacks Obama would never have been elected.
    These are the reasons and the only reasons Obama beat Clinton, the news media doesn't have the balls to print the truth, nor does the Democrats.
    Every senator that backed Obama will get all the black votes next election, again dancing around the truth..

    June 8, 2008 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  24. enomisa

    She was WINNING....

    So the Democrats, the DNC with the help of the media, sabotaged her to eliminate her and give it to Obama.

    Did he EVER win the minimum number of pledged delegates that the RULES require? NO HE DID NOT.

    They could have dragged her across the finish line just as easily as they dragged him.

    But RACE trumps GENDER.

    BRO BEFORE HO was their nasty, sexist slogan. And so it was.

    June 8, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  25. Voting Obama

    Some of you supporters sound obssesed with Hilary. Look how you sound! There was no cheating. I believe that HRC was the one who said that MI and FL didn't even matter. But when she started losing and getting behind thats when she made a big deal about the votes. Below it all out of proportion. How come you choose not to look at that? Come on people stop this and grow up. I really feel sorry for you short minded people living in the old times. Today is a new day.
    Grow up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Vote McCain and we die. I can see this country dying......The War will never end and this country will go down in the gutter. Blame your hatred and prejudiceness.

    HRC was never miss treated. You are just made because you didn't get your way. Lets be real you'd rather see a white woman than a black man. You are mad because she didn't beat him. No you wanna holler that Obama cheated. Please. He played it fair and she didn't.

    Obama 2008! I am poud to be one of his biggest supporters

    June 8, 2008 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
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