April 25th, 2008
11:10 AM ET

A House Divided?

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/24/art.demsplit.jpg%5D

Leslie Sanchez
spokesman and deputy press secretary at the Republican National Committee during the 2000 presidential campaign,
Author, “Los Republicanos: Why Hispanics and Republicans Need Each Other.”

For reasons it will take us a long time to sort out, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have both failed to connect with lower-income, working class rural and small town white voters in the Rust Belt. These are critical voters in swing states like Michigan, Ohio and West Virginia, even in blue or purple states like Pennsylvania and perhaps New York.

Six full weeks after we expected Hillary's Coronation, (remember on Super Tuesday, February 5), the battle between them slogs on, getting uglier and uglier by the day. Clinton has alienated two thirds of the black voters in the Rust Belt. Obama, meanwhile, seems unable to connect with females and working-class Democrats over 65.

Can either of these candidates, who seem to be alienating critical portions of their base, deliver these states against John McCain, who for the moment has independents all to himself? I'm beginning to doubt it.

Filed under: Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Leslie Sanchez • Raw Politics
soundoff (45 Responses)
  1. Robyn in Ky

    If Sen Obama wins the nomination, I will vote Republican for the 1st time in my life. All I've heard is Change! Well, what are you going to change, how do you propose to do it, how will you pay for it, and don't forget that pesky Congress you'll have to deal with. I see no foreign policy experience and very little domestic experience. Not exactly what the country needs right now. But don't dare question his judgement or ask for specific, concise answers...makes you a racist. Then again, why should I bother...I'm one of those "typical white folks" who was raised in a home with guns, worked and paid taxes since high school, raised a family, etc. etc. Is a conservative Democrat an oxymoron....am I just warped.....

    May 2, 2008 at 7:38 pm |
  2. Carmen McKines

    Sorry Tate, Reverend Wright does not speak for every black American, and clearly doesn't speak for Senator Obama as stated by the Senator.

    May 2, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  3. Tate

    Im a republican and I lover Wright, he is the only one who is honest about what Obama and most black americans think. Thank you for showing the world true racisim and hatred.

    April 28, 2008 at 4:15 pm |
  4. Michelle

    If this wasn't the Martin Luther King Jr. "I have a dream speech" for the next gerneration, I can't imagine what will be. I am a white, middle class Christian and probabily former Republican who listened to Rev Wright's speech this evening and heard my conscience loud and clear. We are different, not deficient. I also listened to his interview with Bill Moyer and though it was probably directed at an Anglo audience, it was powerful nonetheless. Tonight was the coup de gras. Powerful, direct and to the point.

    April 28, 2008 at 2:45 am |
  5. rasil

    Leslie, what are you reporting? You have totally missed the boat. Senator Obama connects well with low income working class people. Regarding rurals, I am not sure. Why not try and report honestly rather than failing to research and present the truth. You are out of touch with what is genuinely happening on the campaign trail.

    April 28, 2008 at 1:30 am |
  6. Sharon, Seattle

    Take a deep breath and use your head instead of your anger and hate and divisive behavior.

    Here is what is important and all that you'll ever need to remember in November. What is important is that the present Republican party is NOT to be given another 4 years to steer this country down the drain.

    The real God damning of America has been done by Bush, Cheney, Rove, Addington, Rumsfeld, Rice, Ashcroft, and countless others who have steadily taken large sh*ts on the Constitution and this country.

    If you stay home. If you vote Republican out of hate, fear, whatever kind of motion you'll use for an excuse to go Republican or sit on your arse instead.

    You will absolutely be the cause and deserve what you get for a President, for the Supreme Court, for the cost of food, for the cost of gas, for the cost of human life with no medical coverage.

    I'm not playing that game THIS year.

    April 28, 2008 at 12:49 am |
  7. Maggie in SC

    Your vote is your right that people fought for you to have. Do not discard your vote, by not voting. We are in the middle east to assist and I use the word "assist" lightly, so they can gave the rights we have. Dont throw it away...exercise it and get out to vote....

    April 28, 2008 at 12:47 am |
  8. Maggie in SC

    Obama can't keep Chicago safe, how can he keep America safe??? try this "Change" things in Chicago and let us know how it works out there, and get back to us in 4 years. No Go for Obamo...

    April 28, 2008 at 12:41 am |
  9. C Brown

    Thank you CNN for airing Pastor Wright's comments in their entirety!

    One of the many greart things about our country is our freedom of speech. Surely, people can choose to disagree, without being disagreeable. It is very refreshing to see people stand up for what they believe, even when comments are taken out of context and politicized and the individual messenger is being villified and demonized by the media and political foes. In this environment, the pressure alone might cause the best of persons to compromise and back down. I'm glad that he did not compromise and that he kept his integrity. I'm glad that he chose to use this opportunity to passionately, intellectually, boldly and articulately present himself and thinking that should cause all fair minded people to consider our own thoughts and how we view those that are different so that we can move forward in our effort to better human relations in America.

    For a perspective check, consider the Book of Daniel, 6th chapter, to appreciate the courage and integrity conveyed in this instance by Pastor Wright and by people everywhere who dare to stand up for what they believe in and for what is right by speaking out boldly about what is not right – even in this great, blessed land of liberty which we love. Thank God for Pastor Wright and may God continue to be merciful and bless America!

    April 28, 2008 at 12:37 am |
  10. Linda

    Divided we stand
    Divided we fall

    April 28, 2008 at 12:10 am |
  11. Herman LA, CA

    As an African American male age 48, former president Hillary and Bill Clinton has lost all of my respect. I use to like Bill Clinton and even voted for him and stood by him during his very tough times in the White House when he was going through his impeachment process with the Monica Lewinsky. Let me just say one thing that I was not in favor of voting for Senator Barack Obama until after his win in Iowa. I was strongly leaning toward voting for Senator Hillary Clinton and she had my vote locked in.

    However, after Senator Clinton’s loss in Iowa she seems to have lost some of true appeal that really had my heart as a voter. Then Bill Clinton starting playing the race card and bringing the country to a stand still on the issues and allowing race to dominate the presidential campaigns.

    In closing what a shame because Hillary had my vote if the Clintons had taken the high road to her presidency because she is a smart woman. However, I believe that after seeing her run her campaign it would only indicate just how dysfunctional her administration would be and it would be an administration that can forge our country ahead in the 21st century in regards to race relations. This is not only need in our own country but in the foreign world as well which is extremely important now because our planet is in pearl and we need a leader that can at least try to bring about some sense of peace through out the world.

    April 27, 2008 at 11:58 pm |
  12. Soonerman

    I'm having a hard time...

    As an american worker who was NAFTA-IZED (lost job due to plant closure and work moved to Mexico), I felt Hillary was totally dishonest about her support for NAFTA. If she had said, she had supported it at the time but, doesn't support it now, I would believe her. That was just a bold face lie. That really, really moved me out of her camp.

    As for O'bama, his experience is an issue for me (I'm Black and liberal). I get almost angry to tears when I hear people call Rev. Wright a racist and anti-american. So, Wright is not an issue for me.
    However, O'bama being black is a problem cause I know that his failures will be my failures as a black man also. In the eyes of a lot of conservative whites (and some liberal), one black man's mistake, paint brushes all black people. Why can I not be judged as an individual?

    As for McCain, if he's going to rough up members of his own party like the folks in N.C., then I like it. However, we cannot afford to spend 20 more years in Iraq trying to achieve "victory". I put "victory" in quotes because that's what all the conservatives say but, they can never define it. Also, the environment is a huge issue for me as well as health care. So, I just don't know which McCain will show up. The liberal one that likes to ruffle the feathers of his fellow conservatives or the ultra-conservative McCAin, that's just a clone of the previous President.

    Dilema, Dilema...

    April 27, 2008 at 11:53 pm |
  13. Rita McCarth

    why isn't the media bringing up the Peter Paul incident with Hillary and Bill? Enough of the media bias with Obama . Growing up white and attending Catholic Mass .... I wish I had the Rev. Wright for my Pastor. I would still be going to church every Sunday morning. he is very inspiring! Yes we are all different , that is America yet we are all the same and share this glorious planet. It is time for someone to bring about change and I believe Obama has us all on the right path.

    April 27, 2008 at 11:44 pm |
  14. Tony

    Hillary is only able to stay in because the Media needs the race to continue, so they focus on the absurd in their attempt to make the race continue so they don't run out of things to talk about for a few months.

    I have wondered why they haven't talked about Hillary's commutations for votes scandals that Time reported in 2001 to get her elected in the first place. I have wondered why they focus on the "race card" that Bill himself pulled out, but never say a word about Hillary and the "sex card" she pulls out in every single speech.

    I have wondered why they haven't focused on her complete lack of credibility from sniper fire to being against free trade WHILE she spoke out for it, and being against free trade while Bill and Mr. Penn made $1.1 million off of it.

    She is fortunate Barack is not the GOP attack machine or she would have ratings of GW. That is probably what bodes if she is nominated... a Mondale-like landslide for McCain over Hillary.

    April 27, 2008 at 11:39 pm |
  15. Bob

    I think if we were not being pulled away from the issues by the media to chat about something stupid like Rev. Wright "Is he running for president now"? Didn't think so! We could come togeather and get this done so that we wouldn't have even one more month of Republican rule. What a shame each of us don't own an oil company, only then could we imagin the wonderful life of continued republican rule.

    April 27, 2008 at 11:25 pm |
  16. jw

    I don't understand why CNN is following or airing Rev. Wright's speech. Are you going to follow and air all his future speeches/engagements?
    As he stated, he is not a candidate, he is a minister.
    Why is this speech or his sermon being taken out on content?
    Also, I don't know why this speech will hurt Obama's campaign. Did
    your analyst hear the same speech I heard?
    I agree with Roland, you hear what you want to hear and interpt it the
    way you want to.
    I think it's time for the media to move on to some real news.

    April 27, 2008 at 11:05 pm |
  17. William R. Eberly

    I was very pleased with the extended coverage CNN gave to the Wright speech tonight. I just finished listening to the two Superdelegates (one for Obama and one for Clinton) try to explain how the Wright speech would affect their decision on the election. Then I was shocked to hear that neither of these Superdelegates had listened to the speech! Was this the best you could do in securing important politicians who had actually listened to a speech that they were supposed to resond to?

    April 27, 2008 at 10:57 pm |
  18. norm

    The American people are doomed. We have three people running for president. One will follow in Bush's foot steps and ruin the country, if there is one left when he leaves. Another has no brain and has sat and listened to a nut case spew hate for twenty years. The other has so many lies, and garbage behind her she stinks. This country is in a mess and I mean big time.

    April 27, 2008 at 10:09 pm |
  19. Alex

    Clinton has lost so I dont understand why she is staying in it ?

    It is clear to me she is seting her self up for 2012!

    She wants Obama to lose she is hoping for McCain to win which mean many more Americans will die in this dumb war.

    It is so shamefull I voted for her here in NY I will vote for Barack in the General Election and will never vote for her again !

    Enough is Enough !

    Hillary you have lost do what is right for you party ! Face the facts YOU LOST!

    You only lost more by staying in !

    April 25, 2008 at 11:06 pm |
  20. Lonnie Williams

    I just watched AC360 which included Stefanie Tubbs Jones from Ohio. I am from Ohio and I must say that regardless of her comments, Blacks will not turn out if it is felt that Senator Obama was 'cheated' out of this election.

    If the man flops on his own, then that is a different story and the media would truly be justified in their continued 'barrage" of a small segment of Rev. wright's sermon that happened several years ago.
    It actually took a Republican (Mike Huckabee) who is a former Minister, put it in terms that every Christian knows. A Minister's comments will not be acceptable to everyone, nor are they going to influence" . Believe or not folks we in the Black community have a brain to read through anyone's comments.

    Speaking of which, somehow, we are all noticing that we do not see or here anything from CNN about Hilary/the clinton's past. If I am not mistaken, isn't there a lawsuit (Peter Paul) looming out there against them? Didn't it have a negative outlook on how Hilary/the Clintons have operated??

    Wasn't there some cloudy issues and situations surrounding the 'Whitewater' scandal? Why isn't that part of her past reported on repeatedly?

    Much emphasis has been placed on Senator Obama's inability to connect with older females? Could it be because of the pain and embarrassment we all felt with the reasons for the empeachment process during their administration?

    Blue collar workers also. This man worked his way through school, helped by his Grandparents. His mother and he survived on food stamps at one point in time, just like so many Blue Collar workers have to resort to today. It is absurd to accept the reports that he can't connect with them, because he can and has. The seed of using the race card was planted and that is the real focus.

    We need to wake up and correct those responsible. This race is not about 'making history' it is about making a change that will help all Americans.

    April 25, 2008 at 11:04 pm |
  21. David

    Obama will get the majority of the black vote and without counting Florida and Michigan Obama will be the nominee big deal- Middle America will not vote on race alone.

    April 25, 2008 at 10:59 pm |
  22. ani

    Hillery will be the best president why you can be fair to Hillary. lot of us we will vote only for her.

    April 25, 2008 at 10:45 pm |
  23. lavon k hummel

    Justin in Chicago. I read you blog. do you have a special friend telling you about the future? McCain will serve only two years huh, and this his vice will take over . If you ask me I think you have a bad case of wishful thinking going on there. from; white lady in NE.

    April 25, 2008 at 9:52 pm |
  24. Annie Kate

    Hillary is not Bill and she was just as much a victim if not more so of his behavior. I believe she is better behaved and that kind of behavior will not be a problems should she be elected. I'm working class and know many others who are the same – Hillary has done fine with them. I think the claim of not connecting with those groups is a bet of a generalization. Maybe the problem is not that the candidates don't connect with groups of voters but that they are so alike on their views that people just go with who they personally like and just as many like OBama as Clinton.

    Annie Kate
    Birmingham AL

    April 25, 2008 at 9:52 pm |
  25. lavon k hummel

    Justin in Chicago. I read you blog. do you have a special friend telling you about the future? McCain will serve only two years huh, and this his vice will take over . If you ask me I think you have a bad case of wishful thinking going on there. from; white lady in NE.

    April 25, 2008 at 9:50 pm |
  26. lavon k hummel

    Yes its a house divided. Thanks to the very very must have her place in history Ms Hilrod. She Get her memorys all googled up,. She can't recall when she was in the line of fire. Lets see was it in bosnia or pehaps her Grand pappy shot off a stray bullet I guess it really doesn't matter she a lier, and thats ok with her supporters and most of the media. Enough BS . Let me take Hilrod on . She takes on what ever personality that fits the situation. down home girl to world leader well she recalls all thoughs simples times when she with the simple folks. And shes Super Women When shes with the Super Delagates. There are none so blind . She plays The american people for simpletons. Throw white water all over her she still won't be Clean . She is self serving & condasending. Who should have step aside long ago. And how many Of her Supporters are really Supporting her husband. Thats alright, but remember he got a bad ticker, and if it skips a beat all were going to left with is Hilrod. May god Help us. I ask all HIlrod suportters to loose the egos amitt you are wrong and join us to win this thing . I Swear you folks are scared of Obama as much as McCain is. From a very white 51 years young women/.Oh yeh my daddys White and my son is white and his daddy white so I guess this makes it alright...

    April 25, 2008 at 9:38 pm |
  27. Marcia

    What I do not understand is that people seem to have forgotten the disgrace and dishonor Bill Clinton brought to the Presidency and the nation while in office. Hillary seems to totally ignore that fact....and touts the "holier-then-thou" attitude toward Obama and McCain. My gosh people, do you really want the Clintons back in the White House? How can they constantly fabricate, lie and deceive and still have people back them? To constantly degrade Obama for his associations with others, I say Hillarys' association with Bill is worse by far...he disgraced the office of the President of the United States.

    April 25, 2008 at 8:11 pm |
  28. Shirley

    It is sad that with all the problems we face as Americans, whether white, black, asian or latino we continue to focus on trivia.

    CNN failed to mention that president Clinton, frequently met with Rev. Wright, at the White House when he was fighting, and praying his way through the Monica Lewinsky scandal speaks volumes about their so called unbiased reporting. You spend two seconds on the truth, and hours promoting half- truths.

    Hillary's minister was indicted for child molestation, did she leave that church? Did she walk out of the White House when President Clinton
    felt the need to pray with Reverend Wright?

    The Democratic party will not recover after this bitter campaign. Their weakness as a party is very clear.

    Today, the verdict for the Sean Bell case was rendered. You sought out Senator Obama, for his comments. Hillary is from New York, wouldn't her view point be more important? Stop the bias, and deal with the issues. America is failing, as a nation. Race baiting and avoiding important issues will sink us all.

    April 25, 2008 at 7:01 pm |
  29. Sharon, LA, CA

    I'm a little tired of hearing that Obama cannot win the 'older white woman vote'. He's got mine – can we please stop generalizing?

    And regarding Rev Wright, I repeat a comment I made a few days ago. Is it more appropriate to leave a cherished friend when one disagrees with their sentiments – as Hillary has stated – or to allow one's friend their own opinion? I prefer to be able to disagree with my friends rather than be beaten into agreeing with them. Here we have a case of loyalty versus opinionism. I agree that the Rev's comments were very negative and very strong – but freedom of speech and all that. 1984 comes to mind. I choose to disagree with Hillary's walk out approach. Please let us also keep in mind that as President there will be a lot of negative comments thrown into discussion – especially when dealing with some less friendly nations. So does Hillary walk out on those as well?

    April 25, 2008 at 6:57 pm |

    The presidential race is fixed.... It is obvious that the nedia is continuing to assist Clinton in her mud slinging lies. Rev Wrigths' video is everywheree. Where is the lying Bosnia video .. HILLARY CLINTON LIED OUT OF HER OWN MOUTH.. BUT DO YOU CARE.. No .. This is your manipulative ploy to degrade Obama and manipulate the feeble minded white folk to vote for Clinton allthough you know she will not win the presidential election. You have divided many people and have no idea what this will mean after the elections are over. This mess will fall right in the media's back yard without any mercy..

    April 25, 2008 at 6:41 pm |
  31. Mark Ricotta

    Why are we (Democrats) worried that Obama can’t “win the big states” in the general election, after inevitably wrapping up the primary. Are we assuming that Clinton won’t campaign for Obama before the general election and work to convince her constituencies that he is the better candidate versus McCain. If she doesn’t campaign her heart out for the Democratic nominee, which is going to be Obama, the “Clinton brand” will and should be tarnished irrevocably forever.

    April 25, 2008 at 6:11 pm |
  32. Cindy Georgia

    The Democratic Party is in for a surprise. i went to a meeting to organize Blacks should the election be taken from Obama.
    At this moment there are only 7200 people signed and pledged NOT TO VOTE.and stay home, we are starting with a base of Frat and Sorority brothers and Sisters. Democrats have taken us for granted for too long! This will be the dividing factor. STAY HOME for Obama!!!!!

    Since, Obama is being chastised for what Rev. Wright says should I hold all Catholics responsible for not leaving the Catholic Church after all the highly publicized molestations that took place by beloved priests?

    From what I observed when the Pope was here there are many Catholics attending the church many attending the same parishes molestations took place!

    April 25, 2008 at 5:50 pm |
  33. veronica, Texas

    It is so ironic. I wonder what people would say if Hillary was ahead in delegate count and everyone was trying to convince Obama to get out of the race. I am African-American and I know what would happen. Most of the African-Amercian community (and Press) are in love with Obama and will vote for him no matter what. In the end, I think McCain will win the general election because there are too many bad feelings between the Hillary and Obama supporters. Hillary supporters are constantly being called racist (or sell-outs) , and un-educated by Obama supporters. The DNC lost the election when they decided to disenfranchise Florida and Michigan.

    April 25, 2008 at 5:48 pm |
  34. Christine

    What we really need is for the so called pundits to stop telling us who we should vote for, and the so called polls. I wonder who is all these people polled? No one I know anywhere is ever asked these questions. I also believe that more than not will lie to a person asking them questions because they will not want to be called a racist or biased against a women. So come November I really think McCain will win. Most men and blacks won't vote for Hillary and most whites won't vote for Obama. Just my opinion.

    April 25, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  35. Kim, Missouri

    Leslie why are you worrying about democrats, why don't you worry about what Mccains policies would do to further damage this country. Do you feel the America which is slipping into recession can afford another 4 years of the republican policies, I doubt it.

    April 25, 2008 at 2:16 pm |
  36. Kent, Illinois

    Clinton is hugging up to the majority of the voters, and the black voters are not part of this majority. She is relying on older voters, women and at the same time trying to bring white male voters to her. She is trying to add the fear factor to the mix.........you sure she isn't a Republican?

    She feels she could win the black vote against McCain anyway.

    Hillary.............Obama will get the majority of the votes and the black vote. She will have to try again in 2012.

    April 25, 2008 at 1:41 pm |
  37. KC, Texas

    Wish Lee Iococca would have run. HIM I'd vote for....either of these....no way!

    April 25, 2008 at 1:38 pm |
  38. Y

    Stereotyping the demographic make up of the different states and assuming that these people, whether they're rich, poor, black white, male, female sounds more elitist than what Obama said about rural America. Obama got so much flack for speaking the truth, yet the pundits have been undermining the judgment and intelligence of blue-collar workers assuming that all they think about is bread and butter and that they would not vote for Obama because he's black, or because he's educated, etc. There are thousands of them voting for Obama and I believe Obama�s victory over McCain in November is going to be the biggest victory in Democratic History. If the pundits were prophets I could understand their predictions but I�m sure most of the pundits have not even stopped to seek God and ask Him His take on this whole election. Don't count God out. He's the One who puts up and takes down.

    April 25, 2008 at 1:15 pm |
  39. pamela Turner

    The New York Times got it right. Mrs. Clinton is destroying the Democratic Party. The primary fight is costing millions. Her energy would be better spent doing her Senate job. The Clintons will stop at nothing to put themselves in the White House AGAIN.

    April 25, 2008 at 12:46 pm |
  40. Bob, PA

    FUNNY, both Hillary and McCain "CLAIM" to have "all these decades of experience" – –
    With ALL their so called "experience", NOTHING HAS CHANGED ! May be, just may be, ALL THEIR "EXPERIENCE" IS OF THE WRONG KIND!!!!

    April 25, 2008 at 12:41 pm |
  41. Pauline Viverette

    Begging your pardon, Ms. Sanchez. Barack Obama can connect with brown and white working class voters. However, his efforts to get through to these groups is drowned out by the loud, strident and insistent negativity of the Clinton and McCain campaigns. Plus, the media gleefully chortles in, happy to have some strife to pitch to get attention and sell the products of their sponsors. Then, too, negativity gets attention; negativity arouses fear, suspicion and hatred and most of all causes people to doubt their own goodness and their own power to function effectively without dogging their fellow citizens out. Then, too, for the past forty plus years, American politics has known nothing but god-awful pandering and race baiting, using code words that play to the fears and anxieties of the electorate. It's been going on since George Wallace. Remember, Ronald Reagan went to Philadelphia, Mississippi, to announce his candidacy for the presidency. Yeah! That very same Philadelphia, Mississippi, which boasts that its creeks are filled with the bodies of those heroic blacks and whites who challenged racism, segregation and Jim Crow. Just because politics in these United States has been this way for so long doesn't mean it has to continue being this way in the future! Let's get beyond our race hatred and get on with living, focusing on our problems and on our abilities to sit down with each and work it out! If we try, we can do it!

    April 25, 2008 at 12:13 pm |
  42. Johny

    Florida and Michigan have to count because every body have a right to vote so every vote should count. If don't count this time please cancel both state in general election too.

    April 25, 2008 at 11:59 am |
  43. Sam

    There is a hearing on the Peter Paul vs Clinton case in California today. This has a bearing on this election contest. Why has there been no news report? It is a major case. It will be used against Hillary by the Republicans if she is the nominee.

    April 25, 2008 at 11:51 am |
  44. Michael, NC

    Lesli, I feel the same way as you do. I honestly feel that Obama is not doing anything to appeal to these voters, and is only capturing the attention of African American voters and many of the youth. Hillary on the other hand, is possibly trying to reach out to these voters, but she isn't really hitting any hot spots with her message. I don't really feel that she has won over many lower-income votes, even though everyone thought she was going to win them over easily. Maybe that's it. She thought it was a given, but it most definitely isn't. She and Obama both need to change their plans around, because in the remaining states, there are lots of these voters, and I feel that they are up against the clock to win them over. I don't see that happening.

    April 25, 2008 at 11:30 am |
  45. Justin, Chicago

    McCain will end up being the president but he will not last more than 2 years. Whoever he picks as his vice-president will serve the rest of his term. Hopefully the 2012 election will look better.

    April 25, 2008 at 11:16 am |