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April 21st, 2008
10:55 AM ET

Why Can't Obama Close the Deal?

Eric Bloom
360° Producer

For the past six plus weeks the media and most political pundits have given Senator Hillary Clinton little chance of winning the Democratic nomination. Headlines like “The Long Defeat” and “The Clinton Myth” have portrayed Clinton’s hopes as dwindling and nearly extinguished. The numbers appear to back this up. Senator Barack Obama has a commanding lead- some might say insurmountable- in delegates, popular vote, and states won.

The Clinton campaign faced similar dire straits leading up to the March 4th contests in Ohio and Texas, and showed her campaign’s resiliency by winning Ohio and the popular vote in Texas.

Now one day before Pennsylvanians vote, Clinton appears to have abated Obama’s momentum in the polls and perhaps is increasing her lead.

If she wins by at a comfortable margin, the real question might not be whether Clinton should drop out but why can’t Obama close the deal? Why are Democratic voters so resistant to embrace Obama as their nominee? Not only is Obama not pulling away from Clinton as he continues to outspend her three or four to one in advertising, but is outright losing.

So the question is, despite what most perceive as an almost certain path to the nomination, why can’t Obama seal the deal and end the race?


Filed under: Barack Obama • Raw Politics
soundoff (77 Responses)
  1. jkr

    He can't seal the deal because he keeps letting his mask slip giving people a glimpse of the real BO. He is unable to debate because he can't think on his feet. He has so much baggage that it makes Hillary look like she has nothing but an overnight bag. But, most of all, anyone who is smeared all over YouTube subtlely giving the finger when speaking about a U.S. Senator and former first lady during speeches that may have children in the audience, is too immature to ever be the President of the United States. This is not just one video in front of one audience but multiple videos in front of multiple audiences. This guy was not vetted properly from the start and now HIS chickens are coming home to roost.

    April 22, 2008 at 3:09 am |
  2. DJ

    Senator Obama has won more delegates and is ahead in the popular vote by 700,000 + American voters who believe in change. Prop up your CNN Clinton News Network anyway you wan to slice it the American people no longer look to a closed media for news.

    April 22, 2008 at 2:11 am |
  3. John from NJ

    Kent from Illinois – Sadly comments about Bush’s intelligence is so very true and we have all suffered because of it.
    We are truly headed in a similar direction if Obama gets into office on the basis of a, granted large, group of supporters chanting “change, change” With McCain you know there will be change a lot of change in the growth in the economy, a reasonable approach to end to a war that should not have begun, and change in the way senators and congressman get away with waste and over spending.

    April 22, 2008 at 2:08 am |
  4. Amanda in NY

    If all Obama's ties would have come up last December, or even before Super Tuesday, today we would be talking about Hillary vs McCain. And Obama would have not been a big deal, or a deal at all. Be that as it may, even if he closes this deal, or if he wins this battle, it's a Phyrric victory. He will loose the war, because many in the democratic base, yes the typical democrats, typical white men and women, typical grannies etc will not vote for him in November.

    April 21, 2008 at 11:26 pm |
  5. Lisa

    Hey! Didn't Obama just say the person who got the intelligence right? Or, words to that effect. Did he in fact see any intelligence? He wasn't yet elected to vote one way or another. Did he see any intelligence, or is he distorting? Just curious.

    April 21, 2008 at 10:51 pm |
  6. Cathy

    Obama can't seal the deal because no one knows what "change" means. Obama has shown several versions of change.

    He 'changes' his answers.

    He 'changes' his stories.

    He 'changes' his preacher'.

    He 'changes' his mind.

    He can't seal the deal because he is all talk and no substance.

    April 21, 2008 at 10:44 pm |
  7. Stephanie L. Dominguez

    For Barrack to shorten the 20% lead that Hilliary enjoyed 2 weeks prior to this election is a gap closer. To me and others that have been following this campaign this reality speaks for itself.

    April 21, 2008 at 10:40 pm |
  8. Herman

    Barack Obama is certainly the better choice in the Democratic Party and can compete with the Republicans in the upcoming election.
    However it's difficult to compete againt the news media when certain so called political experts continue to favor Clinton in their reporting.
    It seems to me that Candy Crowley is attempting to single handedly put Clinton in the Whte House. Her coverage has been on one side, and that's the Clinton side.
    The other curious issue is, on the eve of the PA. vote, so much positive attention is being given to Hillary.
    What ever happen to impartial reporting and coverage?

    April 21, 2008 at 10:31 pm |
  9. LeahD_Charlotte

    Obama hasn't closed, because he hasn't said enough to convince all of us he can win. And the Democratic constituency is— above all else— so afraid of continued Republican devastation of the public trust, destruction of our honored place in the world, and disregard for an ailing country, ailing world and ailing planet. He hasn't said enough not to make me afraid he just isn't the person to bring us through. He has depended too much on prose and not enough on policy. It's time to walk the walk. I hope his steps are sure.

    April 21, 2008 at 10:29 pm |
  10. bkrd, chicago

    a blowout is too easy- it's all about the slow wooing of clinton supporters which has a more powerful effect on the people observing this primary...

    April 21, 2008 at 10:25 pm |
  11. PA

    Tomorrow PA is the day for you to send Hillary to the White House. We the states to follow you are ready to give Hillary our support and the final push to bring the superdelgates down to her support. We trust Hillary and think she is a PATRIOT. Hillary 08 or a mistake.

    April 21, 2008 at 10:18 pm |
  12. June

    What do you mean...he's already closed the deal...the egotistical Clinton's just don't get . Also, CNN don't want the deal to appear closed......IT'S ALL ABOUT RATINGS STUPID!!

    April 21, 2008 at 10:00 pm |
  13. Florida Hussein Michigan

    You have to run an open, transparent campaign to be considered a closer.

    Barack Obama, who takes poor notes, has meetings with people he's claimed never to have seen before, has campaign staff contact consulates about "campaign bluster" but reassures that none of his words against NAFTA are real, and who has lost swatchs of archives from his days in the Illinois Senate, is no closer.

    For those and many more reasons.

    Two states not being counted, and Cook Co. are the only thing keeping him ahead in the vote count.

    April 21, 2008 at 9:57 pm |
  14. Kevin Leo from Jonesboro, GA

    The media is inflating Clinton's chances in the campaign to keep selling papers and increase ratings. Let's be honest, if the situation was reversed and Obama was trailing Hillary at this point, the entire weight of the media and Democratic party would be bearing down on him to withdraw.

    April 21, 2008 at 9:49 pm |
  15. Mrs. Beasley

    The reason is simple:

    No one really knows WHO or WHAT Obama stands for.
    He talks a good story. But it's just a story.

    He still might win : ) Americans are surface voters... we dont really look real deep into issues do we?

    April 21, 2008 at 9:46 pm |
  16. Joe

    Obama can seal the deal. It's the media that doesn't want him to. For some reason unknown to most of us the media never runs the bad stuff about her over and over like they do Obama. This is not the first time Hillary has tried to envoke fear with her campaign ads. The 3:00 am ad was a joke. Hillary started the negativity, but she can't remember that she did. She isn't experienced or ready. If she wins it will be because she rode in on Bill Clinton's coat tail, hoping he will have her back.

    April 21, 2008 at 9:11 pm |
  17. Michelle

    Obama is withstanding the onslaught from the Clintons, McCain, the Rebulican party, the corporate old guard, some media outlets, and a covey of other attack dogs. The fact Obama is still leading in this race is amazing. It is testiment to the strength of his message, his campaign strategists and the loyal volunteers who are behind him 100 percent.

    April 21, 2008 at 9:09 pm |
  18. wordsseldomsaid

    oohhh...obie can close the deal....when he realizes who he is...

    the world was made for him....he just needs..."the bull"...to pull his plow is all...then he will be unstoppable...

    April 21, 2008 at 9:07 pm |
  19. Ijane

    why can’t Obama seal the deal and end the race? Anderson, for the simple reason that you can fool some of the Americans some of the time but you can't fool all of the Americans all of the time. He's an empty suit who's running to be the first black president of the United States rather then running to lead the United States. If he didn't have the kind of money his campaign has, he wouldn't have been able to buy his popularity to the degree he has. The thing is, when there's no substance, you can only buy so many votes before you hit the cap. I know you college kids all think he'd make the best president because he plays Jay z and acts out the crude lyrics but that just isn't a good enough reason to decide who'd make the best president. You kids will understand when you're older.

    April 21, 2008 at 9:01 pm |
  20. Kathy, Chicago

    I tried to watch most of the political shows Sunday morning. For the first time I heard doubts about Obama winning the election. I think people don't know much about him and are worried about what else might leak from his campaign. On ABC, Cokie Roberts said Obama talks change. What is he going to change and how is he going to change it? Maybe people are hearing words with nothing to back them up. I think that he is an intelligent man and a great orator ,with a bright future, but I don't think he has the experience or toughness for the job just yet.

    April 21, 2008 at 8:56 pm |
  21. Christine

    Obama "can't close the deal" beacuse he is not electable. He has no experience and can not unite the country. The longer this goes on the more people realize this as fact.

    April 21, 2008 at 8:53 pm |
  22. Jennifer

    As a long time Democrat I can honestly say that I would not vote for either Obama or Clinton. I do not believe that either candidate is being honest with the voters. They are both concerned with only one thing and that is winning- winning at any cost. They will both do or say what ever is necessary to achieve that goal. It has become clear that they would both do or say anything that is necessary to achieve their goal including lying or saying what ever they believe the voters want to hear just so they can win. Neither candidate cares what the voters want and they do not feel any obligation to follow through with any of the promises that they make during the campaign. Trying to choose the lesser of two evils is very difficult, but in this case I think that Obama has less dark hidden past than Hillary Clinton has, there seems to be a lot of skeletons in her closet- a lot more than Obama's closet has. So the lesser of two evils in this case is Obama, partly because he has not played the "dirty Politics" game as much as Hillary has, Hillary is good at that game and really seems to enjoy participating in it.

    April 21, 2008 at 8:51 pm |
  23. Molly

    GO HILLARY !!!
    IF IF IF Obama was so great – he would of knocked her out by now – game over – BUT – HE HAS NOT WON!!!!! Even with all the $$$$ millions he has spent on ads – he still has not won. Everyone now knows that Hillary is the best candidate – so – maybe now obama should step aside – for the good of the party. He will not win due to his radical friends and very questionable background. The DNC only wants to win in November – they do not care which candidate is the nominee – and – they know who can beat McCain – HILLARY CAN!

    April 21, 2008 at 8:40 pm |
  24. Helen

    One reason, he will not debate and that does put him in the "elitist" status. The NC debate was cancelled because Obama would not commit, and what about Wis. WA, and so on. Come out Mr. Obama and stray from your writers, let's hear you speak and not your speeches, Bush only gave speeches

    April 21, 2008 at 8:35 pm |
  25. Gerry Waldman ,Vancouver, Canada

    Funny thing , Obama is ahead in the Gallup Poll today by 7 points over Hillary. This is after a week of been beaten up by the media types like you and the Mc Cain and Clinton campaign.

    I think the question can be why can't the most famous woman in the world with the most powerful political machine in the US beat a novice Senator ?

    Why is Clinton' s campaign in debt and Obama awash in cash?

    Why do Hillary" negatives keep getting higher the more Americans see of her?

    Those are the quesitons you should answer.

    April 21, 2008 at 8:35 pm |
  26. cathy

    He can't close the deal because" he's all huff,puff and fluff" but does not have the right stuff. He has the money...she has the brain!

    April 21, 2008 at 8:09 pm |
  27. Annie Kate

    Why can't Obama close the deal? He lacks experience having only served a mere 2 years of his federal senator term; as time goes on more things are known about him that divert him from the issues; even when he talks about the issues he just says we need change but he doesn't define what that is.

    Mostly, though, Obama and his campaign staff whine every time someone (whether it be Clinton or McCain or some one else) says something about them that they would rather not be discussed In the general election the GOP will slam him and his campaign just like they did John Kerry and Al Gore – if Obama can't withstand the barbs from the primary how can he handle the ones from the general campaign? Hilliary can withstand the GOP because she has had to do it for years now. Voters want someone that has experience and can win and it may be that a lot of them are now deciding that Obama isn't the one that can do that.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    April 21, 2008 at 7:43 pm |
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