February 21st, 2008
04:25 PM ET

Lone Star state Clinton’s last stand?


FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

President Clinton says if his wife doesn't win Texas in a week and a half, it's over. And in case you've forgotten, Bill Clinton knows something about campaigns and elections.

At the moment, polls show Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama practically tied in Texas.

And while she hopes to get a big share of the Latino vote, there are factors in Texas that actually might tend to favor Obama. For example, Texas has its own unique system where two-thirds of the delegates are decided on the primary results. The remaining one-third are based on the results of caucuses that take place that night. Obama has killed Clinton in every caucus state but one.

Texas is also an open primary, which means independents and Republicans can vote. We've seen this type of contest work to Obama's advantage time and time again. Think Wisconsin.

And Texas Democrats have set up a system that rewards parts of the states that have voted heavily Democratic in the past with more delegates – places like Dallas and Houston, which have lots of African-Americans, and Austin, which has lots of white liberals. Advantage Obama. On the other hand, low Latino turnout for Democrats in the past two elections means some of those districts are awarded as few as 2 delegates each.

Here’s my question to you: Bill Clinton says if his wife doesn't win Texas, her candidacy is doomed. Is he right?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Democratic Race • Hillary Clinton • Primaries
February 19th, 2008
02:45 PM ET

Is Wisconsin make-or-break for Clinton?


FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Hillary Clinton has her eyes on the monster, March 4th contests in Ohio and Texas, but today's Wisconsin primary could prove to be a crucial race for her.

A win could reinvigorate her campaign and perhaps grab back some of the momentum that seems to be all Barack Obama's at this point. A loss could raise some serious questions about whether she has anything left.

Wisconsin is made up of lots and lots of voters who you'd think would support Clinton. It has been described as "practically tailor-made to resuscitate Clinton's campaign."

For example, 9 in 10 of Wisconsin's Democratic voters in 2004 were white. Clinton has so far been holding an 11% point advantage over Obama among whites. Also, working class people make up a larger proportion of Wisconsin's population than the rest of the country's Democrats. And, the state's voters tend to be a bit older than the national Democratic average.

One Democratic pollster even says Wisconsin is a place where Clinton should do better than everyone expects her to do.

But there are some wild cards out there. Turnout could be larger than in 2004, throwing off some of these estimates. Plus Wisconsin is an open primary, meaning Republicans and independents are free to vote in the Democratic primary. With McCain all but a cinch for the GOP nomination, that could happen. And from what we've seen so far, that would tend to favor Obama.

Here’s my question to you: Is the Wisconsin primary a make-or-break race for Hillary Clinton?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


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

After New Hampshire, will you trust the polls again?


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?


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

At debate, an angry Clinton?


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?


Filed under: Hillary Clinton • New Hampshire • Primaries
January 3rd, 2008
05:45 PM ET

A 3rd place finish for Clinton?


FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Remember when all we heard from Hillary Clinton was, "When I am the president… when I am elected president… etc.? Funny how things change. Don't hear that from her so much anymore. These days it's more like, "If I am the nominee…"

Ever since Hillary Clinton was asked if she favored giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens, she's been struggling.

And it couldn't be more obvious to anyone who is paying attention. Quick… Get mom and the kid out on the campaign trail. Try to convince the voters I'm all warm and fuzzy instead of the cold calculating political machine many of them think I am.

Is it working? We'll know if it's working in Iowa in a few hours. But going into tonight's caucuses, Hillary is nowhere near the juggernaut and presumed nominee she once was. In fact, one major national poll now suggests Clinton could finish third in the Hawkeye state behind Barack Obama and John Edwards.

Granted losing Iowa isn't like losing California, but consider this. Momentum's a funny thing. Have it and you can do no wrong. Lose it and you can lose everything. Hillary still has the lead in some New Hampshire polls, but Barack Obama is now leading in others. New Hampshire votes next Tuesday. That's where that momentum thing comes in. And what if she doesn't just lose in Iowa. What if she finishes worse than second, behind both Obama and Edwards?

Here’s my question to you: What would a third place finish in Iowa mean for Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


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

Surviving Iowa & New Hampshire?


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?


Filed under: Elections • Iowa • New Hampshire • Primaries
January 3rd, 2008
03:42 PM ET

Does $ talk in Iowa?


FROM CNN's Jack Cafferty:

Money can buy a lot of things, especially when it comes to politics... but the Iowa caucuses may not be one of them.

The Los Angeles Times reports today that although the presidential contenders have poured tens of millions of dollars into the contest there, history shows that the candidate who spends the most in Iowa doesn't always win.

We don't know exactly how much candidates have spent in Iowa this year. But we do know this: both Mike Huckabee and John Edwards are threatening to win Iowa despite being overwhelmingly outspent by their opponents. For example, Republican Mitt Romney spent about $52 million running for president through September of last year, much of it in Iowa. During that same period, Huckabee spent $1.7 million.

On the Democratic side, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have reportedly spent about $20 million each in Iowa, compared to about $4 million for Edwards.

For years ago, Howard Dean outspent both John Kerry and John Edwards before Iowa, and we all know what happened to Dean. In 1988, Pat Robertson outspent several other Republicans in the running, but failed to win Iowa.

Here’s my question to you: What does it say about the Iowa caucuses that candidates who spend the most money don’t necessarily win there?

Interested to know which ones made it on air?


Filed under: Elections • Iowa • Primaries