June 20th, 2008
03:20 PM ET
14 years ago

Blitzer: What's wrong with a politician who changes views?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/16/art.blitzeriowa.cnn.jpg caption="Blitzer: Obama, McCain are at odds over tax policy."] WASHINGTON (CNN) - There’s nothing wrong with people changing their minds. We all do it – all the time. But as Luke Russert reminded us at his father’s funeral this week, politicians have a hard time admitting that they ever change their minds. They are apparently afraid that they will be accused of flip-flopping, which supposedly is bad for a politician.

Luke said that Tim Russert would also point out that the Americans are a very forgiving people. They will certainly accept politicians changing their minds as long as they are up front about it. What’s wrong with political leaders simply saying they’ve had a change of heart? “I used to think one way, but now think another.”

I was reminded of this when Barack Obama announced this week that he was opting out of the public financing of his general election campaign despite earlier expressing support for the public finance system. His decision certainly made financial sense, given that he could probably raise at least $300 million for the campaign compared to the roughly $85 million available in public financing.

In explaining his decision, Obama insisted the current presidential general election finance system was “broken,” something Democratic Senator Russ Feingold, a leader in campaign finance reform, denied. Would it have been so bad politically for Obama if he would have just said: “The country needs me in the White House and this decision will help make that happen. We can’t take any chances. As a result, I changed my mind”?

Filed under: Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. It's a done deal

    It depends whether changing views is an improvement for Americans or not. Obama not taking an $85 million dollar free hand out of tax payer's dollars in lue of raising his own doesn't hurt anyone I know. Drilling off our coasts, which Bush is now for, is obviously has a downside.

    June 20, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. Jen, CA

    Nothing's wrong with that, Wolf. Except when such a politician ruthlessly destroys his opponents with his previous views - and then, voila! suddenly espouses new ones - which were, incidentally, the views of those ruthlessly destroyed opponents to begin with. I would call that intellectual bankruptsy and moral decay! But that's rapidly becoming the norm for most Americans, it appears - so, of course Obama is their man!

    June 20, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  3. Michael

    Looks like the only "Change" we are going to get from Obama is from his "MIND" as in " I have changed my mind". That you suckers fell for this con artist, I can't stop laughing.

    June 20, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  4. Linda Feldman

    Changing your mind and admitting it, as Abraham Lincoln frequently did, by saying "I'm more intelligent today than when I made that comment is a good thing for government. The Bush doctrine of staying the course in the face of the truth is simple-minded.

    June 20, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  5. FactCheck

    This is a logical funding choice. McSame has flip-flopped on actual ISSUES that affect ACTUAL PEOPLE. Look at the list:

    Bush Tax Cuts
    Offshore Drilling
    Estate Tax
    The Environment
    Oil Taxes


    Obama 08!

    June 20, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  6. Jeanie

    Wolf, Obama needed that extra money to hire Hilliary Clinton to help him capaign in order he may gain her followers. Jeanie-Austin, TX

    June 20, 2008 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  7. Joel

    Hey Blitzer, where were you 4 years ago when this was an issue?

    June 20, 2008 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  8. Chris Lee

    Obama's strength is his fluidity and ability to meet changing conditions. I have a problem with politicians flip-flopping to manipulate, deceive or pander. This is neither and I could care less that he has changed his mind.

    June 20, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. DeVone

    we pay taxes so why ask us for another $3.00 to pay for
    the presidential election , a nother scam so Senator Obama
    allow you to give or not give Senator Obama is saying
    he is working for his supporters not the government
    you democrates for McCane we know your minds

    June 20, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  10. Bulldog

    Why didn't you ask that question when John Kerry was hammered as a flip flopper Wolfe? You are an idiot.

    June 20, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  11. Eric

    Wolf Blitzer must be supporter of John McCain because I have not once heard him stick it to McCain for flip-flopping on the other issues. McCain used to oppose Bush’s tax cuts for the very wealthy, but he reversed course in February to accommodate a more republican a point of view. The other inconsistencies of John McCain can be laid out.

    If you know Obama wants to cash in on these issues, then do you complain.

    June 20, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  12. DC

    I'm happy Obama changed his mind about federal matching funds. He doesn't need it – I'm funding him, like millions of others like me, a little bit each month. It doesn't bother me that he changed his mind about this – it doesn't actually affect me.

    McCain has changed his mind on IMPORTANT things, from offshore drilling to torture to immigration to campaign funding. He's just bitter because he doesn't have a base like Obama's who are willing to send money even if they cannot afford it because we want CHANGE.

    Yes, we can.

    June 20, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  13. Chris Lee

    Will Obama's decision save taxpayers $80 million?

    June 20, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  14. Robert Graham

    It is amazing to me that people complain about Obama want ing to use private money instead of public money. By not using tax payers money he is showing that he's looking out for the public's dollar. I think some people just want to complain about every thing. If you said they could get free gas, but they had to drive 50 miles to get it they would complain instead of finding a way to bring something positive out of it. I don't like to call people stupid, But they are making it hard for me not to call them stupid.
    I would plan the trip even if I had to make a family outing that saved me the gas for the trip.

    June 20, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  15. stephen

    Only Barack Obama is allowed to change his mind, no one else too, if anyone else decides to change their mind, we are not allowed too – Because according to the Obamabots, Barack Obama is God and he is Perfect.

    The DNC bet on the wrong horse, I cannot believe Obama fans believe they do not need Hillary Voters. Ridiculous.

    June 20, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. sharon y Miliam

    YOU are making an issuse about nothing. There is nothing wrong with him changeing his mind. Why should he use the governments money, when he has more of his own Via donations. Please ! People use some common sense. The TRUTH IS SOME PEOPLE DON'T WANT CHANGE. McCain is whinning.

    June 20, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  17. Haas

    Who cares why he changed his mind, just as long as he beats McCain! Let's try something new for once and get out of the old way of doing business in this country.

    June 20, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  18. Debbie, ND

    As Tim Russert says "nothing". I want someone who can change his mind for a better idea and not have the Spanish Inquisition fall upon him/her.

    June 20, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  19. Eric


    June 20, 2008 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. Chris11

    What happens when we all vote for him based on his iraq war position and then... you guessed it... he changes his mind and decides that we actually do need to be over there for the next 100 years too! Then what? Do we finally get mad? Do we finally hold him accountable? Or do we just say he is the great one who knows all!!!! Give me a break... he is calculated in everything he does... unfortunately his judgement lacks and eventually the veil of ignorance will be lifted from the eagles eyes.

    June 20, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  21. Didi

    Obama is getting his money from oversee thru internet!!!!
    Everybody thinks that it comes from small donors from USA,
    Think twice!!!
    Most of them are virtual reality!
    Somebody to check the donations! It is not easy, I know!!!

    Obama is a new Mafia!

    June 20, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  22. lil

    You are just trying to kick up dust, this is not a double standard.

    I am happy he is letting the people fund his campaign and not
    lobbist, that way he only owes favors to the american people and
    not lobbist.
    I dont see anything wrong with it. As a matter of fact I wouldnt want him
    to do it any other way.

    This way we the american people will be his boss and not the big companies.
    let john maccain say what he want to I want hear him I will change
    the channel because john mcain make me sick...../.

    June 20, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  23. Lynn, Missouri

    I think Tim and Luke Russert had the right idea. I agree with you 100%, Wolf. I wish Bush and Cheney had learned that 8 years ago. I have a hard time making up my mind so changing it comes easy to me. By the way, great reporting on the Russerts, Wolf. Your a very good reporter yourself.

    June 20, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  24. S King

    What if no one ever changed their mind???????????????
    Sonora Ky.

    June 20, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  25. Angela, WA

    Obama is American and he wants what's best for America. He is American. He is American. I didn't trust Bush who everyone loved. The GOP just had a bushfest promoting this guy. And look what we got–zero brains and $4. gas prices.

    Obama is my choice and the best choice for America. I can not wait to vote for him in November and I'm over 30 years old. November seems so far away. That's just how excited I am.

    June 20, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
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