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June 27th, 2008
03:44 PM ET

How united are Obama and Clinton?

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Click the Play Button to see what Jack and our viewers had to say. (PHOTO CREDIT: GETTY IMAGES)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Today's rally with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton in Unity, New Hampshire, was the latest in a series of staged events designed to show that all is forgiven between two former rivals for the Democratic nomination. Like a children's fairy tale... if it doesn't have a happy ending, it won't sell.

Yesterday, Clinton praised Obama in front of two major interest groups that had supported her in the primaries. And the two Democrats appeared before a group of Clinton's top donors last night. Clinton told supporters that Democrats "are a family" and Obama hailed Clinton and her backers, for their passion. Both Obama and his wife Michelle gave the maximum $2,300 to help Clinton retire her debt.

But how close-knit is this family really? The fact is each is forced to rely on the other as the general election ramps up. Obama needs Clinton to help convince her supporters to vote for him in November. And Clinton needs help in paying down her campaign debt, plus she wants to know that she'll be treated as a top surrogate throughout the campaign and at the convention.

Fine, but there are sticking points. Aides describe the relationship as one that's "slowly thawing" with a lot of unanswered questions. As we told you in the Cafferty File yesterday – they're reportedly using a high-powered Washington attorney to negotiate some of these issues.

And then there's Bill. The former president and Obama have not spoken since Obama wrapped up the nomination. Wouldn't you think the last sitting Democratic president might want to talk to the party's presumptive nominee? There may be less here than meets the eye.

Here’s my question to you: How united do you think Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton really are?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • New Hampshire • Unity
January 10th, 2008
07:25 PM ET

After New Hampshire, will you trust the polls again?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It was one of the biggest misses by the polls ever. They all saw Hillary Clinton losing to Barack Obama, and they were all wrong. As late as nine o'clock the night of the New Hampshire Primary, people inside the Clinton campaign were still saying they expected Hillary to lose.

So what happened? Some possible explanations from the pollsters suggest record turnouts produced a different electorate than expected. There's the idea that while the polls accurately showed Obama's support among independents, they didn't reflect the large Democratic turnout helping Clinton.

Others point to the fact that almost 20% of voters made up their minds on primary day and most of the polling had stopped before then.

There are those who suggest race may have played a role. The head of the Pew Research Center says poorer, less-educated New Hampshire voters may not have wanted to admit to pollsters that they wouldn't vote for Obama, a black candidate.

And, of course, there were the last-minute events on the campaign trail itself, including Clinton's emotional moment in that diner on Monday.

Regardless of why it happened, the polling industry – as well as the news media which rely heavily on polls – were all left looking pretty stupid. And it raises the issue of how heavily anyone should rely on them to begin with.

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: New Hampshire • Polls • Primaries
January 9th, 2008
05:39 PM ET

An Obama-Clinton battle?

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Sen. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama (PHOTO CREDIT: AP)

FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The race for the Democratic nomination for president just got a whole lot more interesting.

Hillary Clinton's victory over Barack Obama in New Hampshire means there's no front-runner. What many initially believed would be a Clinton coronation, and then turned into Obama-mania, is now neither.

What is clear is that these two candidates are in it for the long haul. Both Clinton and Obama have lots of money, and the ability to raise even more. In fact, Obama's campaign says it's raised more than $8 million in just the first eight days of this month, and another $500,000 dollars online since midnight.

Clinton told supporters last night that in talking to the people of New Hampshire she "found her own voice." As the race moves on to Nevada and South Carolina, her challenge will be to prove New Hampshire wasn't a fluke. She will have to prove to voters there are reasons other than her "experience" that make her ready to be president. When it comes to Obama, he'll have to try to recapture the magic that was Iowa.

And, an interesting side note on this race: one Clinton adviser tells "The Politico" that it's President George Bush who should get the credit for turning this into such a long campaign, saying: "He has done more than anyone to get the people of this country involved again in politics. They now realize it is important who the president is."

Here’s my question to you: What will ultimately decide the outcome of the battle between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • New Hampshire
January 9th, 2008
01:29 PM ET

How did Clinton win New Hampshire?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

"Back from the dead."… "Who's cryin' now?"

Those are today's headlines in the New York tabloids about Hillary Clinton's upset victory in New Hampshire last night. Her surprising come-from-behind win proved all the pundits and the pollsters wrong. Polls released in the last two days before the election showed Barack Obama with a 5 to 13-point percentage lead over Clinton. Even her own campaign was expecting a loss; there were reports about staff shake-ups, you name it.

So how did Hillary stun everyone to become the second Clinton "comeback kid" in New Hampshire?

No one knows for sure, but the smart money is pointing to a diner where the former first lady was fighting back tears on Monday. No one that I talked to could ever remember seeing Hillary Clinton like that. Raw, real emotion that may have gone a long way toward countering her reputation as a cold, calculating political machine.

Whether or not the tears told the ultimate tale, New Hampshire women supported Hillary in a way they didn't in Iowa. One senior Clinton adviser suggested that John Edwards' unsympathetic response to Clinton's tears may have even pushed more women to the polls to support her.

Edwards made some stupid remark about "Presidential campaigns are tough business." Yes, they are, John. You finished third with a measly 17% of the vote and may be on your way to the same ending you experienced in 2004.

Here’s my question to you: Behind by double digits in several last-minute polls, why was Hillary Clinton able to come back and win the New Hampshire primary?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton • New Hampshire
January 8th, 2008
04:50 PM ET

A wide-open GOP race?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Compared to the Democrats, the Republican race is a demolition derby, and New Hampshire is not likely to change that much.

A new Gallup poll asks which candidate people think will win the Republican nomination: 33% say Mike Huckabee. John McCain and Rudy Giuliani are tied at 18%, and Mitt Romney gets 14%. While Huckabee won big in Iowa, he's not expected to do as well in New Hampshire.

In fact, the polls suggest a John McCain win today. According to "The Politico", McCain's goal is to be the "least unacceptable" Republican, in other words the candidate with the fewest negatives.

Mitt Romney was obviously hoping for the momentum from victories in both Iowa and New Hampshire. But even if he doesn't place first tonight, Romney insists he will continue. And with the wide-open nature of the race, who knows?

And of course, a race with no clear front-runner is also good news for Rudy Giuliani, who is counting on the later states to win big.

And finally, another indication that things are definitely going Barack Obama's way. Mitt Romney is now out telling voters he's best suited to go head-to-head with Barack Obama, and that a long-serving U.S. senator, meaning McCain who is 71 years old, is not the best match-up. McCain shot back, saying he'd let voters decide how well he'd match up with Obama.

Here’s my question to you: Who will ultimately win the Republican nomination?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: GOP • New Hampshire
January 7th, 2008
02:05 PM ET

At debate, an angry Clinton?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

It may be almost time to stay home and bake cookies... and here's why:

Listen to Hillary Clinton at Saturday's debate

Hillary Clinton said: “Well, making change, making - wait a minute. Now, wait a minute. I'm going to respond to this. Because obviously - obviously making change is not about what you believe. It's not about a speech you make. It is about working hard.

“There are 7,000 kids in New Hampshire who have health care because I helped to create the Children's Health Insurance Program. There are 2,700 National Guard and Reserve members who have access to health care because, on a bipartisan basis, I pushed legislation through over the objection of the Pentagon, over the threat of a veto from President Bush.

“I want to make change, but I've already made change. I will continue to make change. I'm not just running on a promise of change. I'm running on 35 years of change. I'm running on having taken on the drug companies and the health insurance companies, taking on the oil companies.

“So, you know, I think it is clear that what we need is somebody who can deliver change. And we don't need to be raising the false hopes of our country about what can be delivered. The best way to know what change I will produce is to look at the changes that I've already made.”

Ouch! Remind you of anyone? We've had seven years of a president who gets angry anytime someone disagrees with him or has the temerity to suggest he might not have all the answers.

That little outburst is not going to help her in New Hampshire where 45% of the voters are independent.

ABC News Senior National Correspondent Jake Tapper, on his blog, wrote Hillary got angry, "Not about an issue so much as about the fact that Obama is beating her."

Here’s my question to you: Will Hillary Clinton's angry response at the debate on Saturday hurt her chances in New Hampshire?

To see the Cafferty File video click here

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton • New Hampshire • Primaries
January 3rd, 2008
04:06 PM ET

Surviving Iowa & New Hampshire?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

The Iowa caucuses tonight could be a make-or-break event for some of the presidential hopefuls.

Even before Iowans make their choices, there are reports that Republican Fred Thompson may drop out of the race within days if he places a distant third, or worse. Sources suggest if he drops out, he will then endorse John McCain, which could shake up the race in New Hampshire. And Thompson probably won't be the only one to hang it up.

A piece in "The Politico" today asks if there really are three tickets out of Iowa. Although candidates like to talk about how winning "gold, silver, or bronze" is enough, a third-place finish in Iowa has almost always meant the end of the road for presidential wanna-bees. Sometimes, even a second place finish in Iowa isn't good enough.

Top tier candidates are likely to stay in the race if they don't do well in Iowa, but some of the others will likely vanish. The trick for candidates in the Iowa caucuses has always been to exceed media expectations, meaning if you can do better than expected, you're likely to still be a news story.

Here’s my question to you: Which candidates won't still be around after the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Elections • Iowa • New Hampshire • Primaries
January 2nd, 2008
02:19 PM ET

Relevance of Iowa and New Hampshire?

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FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Iowa and New Hampshire go along pretty much unnoticed most of the time, but every four years they get even. They are where the presidential first pitch is thrown out.

Some people argue that this is no way to pick a president, that the current system gives a few hundred thousand voters in these two early states way too much influence. At least one expert calls the system "foolish" and "outdated."

"The Columbus Dispatch" suggests Ohio would be a better starting place because it better represents the country demographically, economically and politically. Tell you what, when you fix your voting machines, we'll talk.

The McClatchy newspapers say Iowa is a foreign place to many Americans:

"Why should such a tiny state get such a big say in picking the president?... A state where the people are as white as the snow-covered landscape, devoid of the minorities who are changing the country's complexion. A place where people graduate from school in record proportion, and live long, healthy lives."

The article goes on to suggest that Iowa, which has the highest literacy rate in the nation, might be as good a place as any to start. It's small enough that candidates can meet people face-to-face. And, even though Iowa isn't representative of the rest of country, no other single state probably is either.

Here’s my question to you:
Are Iowa and New Hampshire the right places to start the presidential election process?

To see the Cafferty File video click here

Interested to know which ones made it on air?

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Filed under: Iowa • New Hampshire