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BLITZER’S BLOG: “Florida, Florida, Florida” – tonight and in November
January 31st, 2012
03:25 PM ET

BLITZER’S BLOG: “Florida, Florida, Florida” – tonight and in November

By Wolf Blitzer, CNN

(CNN) - Florida is the fourth largest state in the United States. President Obama and the eventual Republican presidential nominee will be spending a great deal of time campaigning in Florida. That’s because this state goes back and forth between Democratic and Republican candidates in presidential elections. Obama carried it four years ago; George W. Bush carried it in 2000 (but just barely, as we all recall) and again in 2004.

That makes Florida very different than the three largest states in the United States: California, New York and Texas. The presidential candidates won’t be spending a lot of time in those states. They will drop by occasionally to raise some money, but they know that New York and California always go Democratic in presidential elections, and Texas always goes Republican.

That makes Florida the biggest competitive prize.

I love Florida because its demographics are just like the rest of the country. The northern part of the state is like the southern part of the United States. The southern part of the state is like the northern part of the country. The central part of Florida has tons of transplanted Midwesterners. In addition, the state has large African-American and Hispanic populations.

In watching the results come in tonight, I will be looking for hints about the November 6 election.

Turnout, for example, will be one significant indicator. If it’s large, that will bode well for the Republican nominee. Voter enthusiasm is always very important in a close presidential election.

My old friend and fellow Buffalonian, the late Tim Russert, used to say: “Florida, Florida, Florida.” He was right.

CNN Live: Tune in to CNN on Tuesday night at 6 p.m. ET for CNN's live coverage of the Florida primary results and follow real-time results on CNNPolitics.com and on Twitter at #cnnelections. Stay up to date with CNN apps for iPhone, iPad, Android or other phones.

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Filed under: 2012 election • Florida • Wolf Blitzer
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Tom

    Now that the Florida Primary is over,maybe CNN will go back to covering the news instead of spending all their time promoting their sponsored debates. They still refuse to mention the Wisconsin recall election and scandle. I guess that isn't sponsored news.

    February 1, 2012 at 4:25 pm |
  2. ....

    Liberal CNN will be there in Florida hoping for an Obama victory.

    February 1, 2012 at 7:13 am |
  3. Barbara Forth

    I was sickened by WB's sycophantic behaviour towards Ann Romney this evening. He all but licked her boots. I cannot imagine WB saying anything remotely like this to Michelle Obama, and I speak as a caucasian, English-American, btw.

    February 1, 2012 at 1:18 am |
  4. Name*Maggie

    As a Mormon I asked myself the hard but honest question...would I vote for Romney or Huntsman just because they are Mormon or will I vote for who I honestly think is best for this country at this time? My vote will be an honest evaluation...and I encourage all voters to be as honest with themselves.

    January 31, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
    • jsal

      Wish more people were as honest as you but that would be asking for too much.

      February 1, 2012 at 10:53 pm |
      • Siya

        Perhaps make one of the daily topics be long the lines of "Write an avemrtisdeent for a fellow blogger's site that you really enjoy/appreciate/etc." – and then encourage readers to check out that site (as a way to both share some love and drive some incremental traffic).

        October 13, 2012 at 12:00 am |
  5. Jim S

    Sorry Wolf, couldn't get past the first paragraph...
    "Florida is the fourth largest state in the United States." Fact, it's the 22nd largest state.
    "...Florida very different than the three largest states in the United States: California, New York and Texas. ". Alaska is the Largest, then alifornia, Texas and Montana.
    or, are you referring to measurement by another form such as population "size".

    January 31, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
  6. susan brooks

    Thanks Wolfe, Floridians love you too! It is a beautiful state.

    January 31, 2012 at 9:25 pm |
  7. Griff

    "Ron Paul/Romney for the ticket!"

    January 31, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
  8. Mf

    If only the elderly in Florida on fixed incomes understood the impact of recent American monetary policy and the Fed on their standard of living, they would have selected Ron Paul. They don't, so most voted for Romney. In other news, do Floridians even recognize a conservative when they see one?

    January 31, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
  9. Mf

    "That makes Florida the biggest competitive prize."

    Ugh. The least Florida could do is stop making the same wrong decisions over and ov....oh, nevermind.. Romney wins Florida....Welp, they did it again.

    And thanks for the chad counting episode of 2000, Florida.
    It's 12 years later and it still makes a great PUNCHLINE! Badump Bump!

    January 31, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
  10. Griff

    "How he marriaged to win??|

    January 31, 2012 at 8:19 pm |
  11. Lynn Luckeroth

    what about the 600,000 early voting ? were they considered in the count?

    January 31, 2012 at 8:14 pm |
  12. Floriduh

    ...and I hate Floriduh because I've lived here for 31 years, and its completely changed. Overrun by illegals and violent crime, pedophile central, and the rudest people you'll find anywhere. Paradise (lost)!

    January 31, 2012 at 8:07 pm |
    • Jim Weix

      Guess it is time to either change your attitude or change your address.

      January 31, 2012 at 8:27 pm |
  13. Griff

    "Yes ir would be a blessing Wolfi, if we never heard the word Obama ever again!"

    January 31, 2012 at 8:02 pm |
  14. Nicco (NYC)

    What if we got rid of the electoral college? Then this kind of crap would be irrelevant...

    January 31, 2012 at 7:51 pm |
  15. Ann

    I LOOOOOOOOOVVVVEEEE Florida, especially Windermere, just 5 miles north, of DW! Love the friendliness, the tropical air and FUN.

    January 31, 2012 at 7:30 pm |
  16. AZIndependent

    The four largest states in the country are Alaska, Texas, California, and Florida. Tsk. Tsk. He may have meant largest in delegates, but that isn't what his first sentence said.

    January 31, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
  17. insight iowa

    Listening to the Republicans down in Florida reminds me of a con artist ripping off the elderly... they don't know it now but they will down the road.

    Iowa Republican voting straight Democrat Ticket in 2012.

    January 31, 2012 at 6:56 pm |
    • jsal

      I can't agree with you anymore. They're are in for wild ride with this lunatic in office.

      January 31, 2012 at 10:02 pm |
  18. Luke

    When will Newt the Grinch leader of the Immoral Minority drop out of the race?

    January 31, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      One suspects he's hoping for a Vice-Presidency spot on the ticket with Mr Romney. Newt's desperate for anyone to dance with at the ball.

      January 31, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  19. Tracy C

    Heard today: The problem with political jokes is that they get elected.

    It's too bad we don't have a better system that the super pacs and the negative ads. Ugg.

    January 31, 2012 at 6:47 pm |
  20. Joe

    No mention of beautiful beaches, flip-flops, or mullets?

    January 31, 2012 at 6:32 pm |
  21. Joshua

    The southern part of Florida is like the northern part of the country? Hello, have you ever been to Miami? You can make a case for the Naples/Ft. Myers side, but that's it. The major population center of South Florida is Miami. And, Miami is nothing like any city in the northern United States.

    January 31, 2012 at 6:14 pm |
    • Tim O

      I think he probably meant or should've said Northeast instead of North.

      January 31, 2012 at 8:47 pm |
    • Laura

      Lots of transplants from New York, Philly, etc in South Florida.

      January 31, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
  22. Rossum76

    Or at the very least distinguish that you are talking about electoral size when using the word largest states.

    January 31, 2012 at 6:13 pm |
  23. Patty60

    That Semi-Conductor Engineer from Texas who has been un-employed for three years. Maybe he should try looking for work. There are dozens of jobs available in Texas for him without the President's help.

    January 31, 2012 at 5:50 pm |
  24. teepee

    I grew up there...and I can't stand the place !!!

    January 31, 2012 at 5:40 pm |
  25. Richard

    What happened to Alaska? New York is Larger than Florida? I wonder if Wolfe meant population size.

    January 31, 2012 at 5:36 pm |
  26. Mose

    I thought Montana was the 4th largest 😛

    January 31, 2012 at 5:31 pm |
  27. JacsinJax

    As a transplant who has lived all over the world, I didn't understand when I moved to Jacksonville, FL and they said it was the Buckle of the Bible Belt. After being here a couple years–I get it. Now I just have to learn to live with it. Jacksonville is the largest city per square foot and has more registered Democrats than Republicans but seems to go for the Republicans. If Obama wants to win he has got to excite the base or we could see another season of hanging chads. Getting a headache just thinking about it.

    January 31, 2012 at 5:26 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      We no longer have chads when we vote in Florida. We fill in bubbles with ink and we have since the 2000 fiasco. Have you not voted since then?

      January 31, 2012 at 9:17 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      We no longer have chads when we vote in Florida. We fill in bubbles with ink and we have since the 2000 fiasco.

      It sounds like you haven't voted for a while.

      January 31, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
  28. Ken Thompson

    I was just watching your progarm and it was suggested that in Nevada and Utah Mormons would vote for Romney because they are Mormons. I mean to tell you that you far from correct on the reasoning. I am a Mormon and I would vote for Romney because of what he offers the nation, not because he is a Mormon. If your statement would be correct, then all Catholics would naturally vote for Gingrich because he is Catholic, or a candidate because he is Lutheran or a Methodist. How wrong you are. This is weak. Because he is offering the best solutions for the USA is why people would vote for him. He just happens to be a Mormon. I would vote for him regardless of what he was.

    January 31, 2012 at 5:25 pm |
    • tom

      I think the pundits grasp at straws like these and form illogical conclusions such as you have so nicely debunked, because quite frankly, nobody really understands why people vote for whom. I doubt we ever will because each vote is an individual decision based on different factors. Some people analyze and vote accordingly while others vote emotionally based on how they "feel" about a candidate.

      So dear pundits, please stop over-analyzing. It holds no water.

      January 31, 2012 at 5:39 pm |
    • LWZRGHT

      But you said you're a Mormon, and you are voting for Romney. You would only have a strong case for your point if you were voting for one of the other candidates. Now you just sound defensive.

      January 31, 2012 at 5:49 pm |
    • CK

      You're right in that there is no clear "Catholic vote." That has been demonstrated in some demographic research (although large numbers of Catholics rallied around JFK in '60 and around Al Smith in '28). However, it seems that LDS people do indeed favor LDS people. In '08, 80% of UT republicans chose Mitt in the primaries–80%! That's not solely based on his platform. Would an LDS person vote for a Muslim? For an atheist? For a WICCAN? For a Navajo Shaman? I doubt it: Religion is central to their self-concept and with the in group/out group mentality of the LDS culture, it makes sense that they vote for fellow group members. UT will go for Mitt. NV will go for Mitt. AZ will go for Mitt. ID will go for Mitt. If I am wrong, I will stand correction, but I think my predictions will be correct, and it's not based on people reading a platform, it's based on "he's one of us."

      January 31, 2012 at 7:26 pm |
      • Debbie

        I don't buy the stereotype that Mormons only vote for other Mormons. I'm a Mormon. Harry Reid is a Mormon. If I lived in Nevada, there would be no way I would cast a vote for him (and know many Mormons who think the same way). Some of my cousins, who are also Mormon, are democrats and aren't planning on voting for Mitt. I haven' made up my mind yet who I will vote for but am giving consideration to Romney and Paul. By the way, I would vote for a Muslim or an atheist or any of your other examples if I thought the candidate was the best one for the job. I will admit that there probably are Mormons who would vote for Romney with a bit of a bias towards his religion, but most of the Mormons I know are educated people who are concerned with whether or not someone would lead our country well and fix our problems, not what the candidate's religion.

        As far as UT skewing so far for Mitt before, it might just have something to do with Romney swooping in and turning around the nasty situation with the Olympics there. He did it very well and earned the respect of the people of Utah.

        January 31, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
      • LVUSA

        CK – you hit the nail on the head. You couldn't be more on the money. And your predictions will pan out Im sure.

        January 31, 2012 at 9:20 pm |
      • soccerdave

        Although it is true that Mormons typically vote in large blocks for other Mormons its not always the case. I live in Nevada for a few years and there were a lot of conservative Mormons (like myself) that wouldn't vote for Harry Reid. I have no problem voting for someone who is of another faith (or no faith) as long as I think they are the best option.

        January 31, 2012 at 9:58 pm |
  29. Jack

    Soft ball questions... Looks like the current President will have a hard time winning reelection...we need a president that believes in the constitution and will work hard for all Americans...

    January 31, 2012 at 5:21 pm |
    • Jparker

      I want a president who works for the 99% & that is NOT Romney or anyone else the GOP digs up.

      January 31, 2012 at 5:48 pm |
    • Floriduh

      Like George W. Bush? Mr. Patriotic Act? LOL. Dont worry, Jeb Bushie is coming to save us in 2016, because his mommy said he should run, and the Bushies are the best America has to offer. I'm sure the Chinese will root for the Jebster to win, that should just about finish us off for good...I keep hearing how he left a surplus when he left office. He also left us with the unbelievably high property taxes and Homeowner insurance, and he couldnt have cared less. And that surplus...he gave it to his business buddies who contributed to his campaign.....Careful what you wish for...

      January 31, 2012 at 8:11 pm |
    • Justinstl

      No republican is willing to work hard for ALL Americans. America is a nation NOT A BUSINESS!

      January 31, 2012 at 10:48 pm |
  30. GreenHornet

    C'mon Wolfe, you like Florida because of the delis.

    January 31, 2012 at 5:11 pm |
    • bannister

      Yes, delis and "diversity"

      January 31, 2012 at 6:17 pm |
  31. Michael Cusato

    Wolf Blitzer just opened his 5 PM segment with another SCARE piece about Iran... to wit: that Iran, including its Supreme Leader, al-Khameini, is planning surprise attacks on AMERICA, even INSIDE our shores!!! This: at a time when IAEA are conducting an on-site inspection of ALL Iran's nuclear facilities and will, undoubtedly, find... nothing nefarious going on (as the clearest heads on the IAEA have been saying in their reports all along – in spite of the erroneous and unnuanced reporting done by CNN et al. With the case for war ever-waning, others in the Administration abetted by media, whip up such scare tactics so that, at least, America's citizens equate IRAN with OUR ENEMY. This puerile, dangerous game is being played again by the neo-cons inside and outside the current Administration. America: beware – we are heading to war once again!!! On our heads be it!

    January 31, 2012 at 5:10 pm |
    • Tracy C

      Beware indeed. We should not be playing Uproar with international developments. They are fragile enough without whipping up the flames.

      January 31, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  32. Perry Fritz

    This Country is suppose to be the land of the free but look around our government seems to care about Oversea's issues...We can't even control what's happening in our own country. the Government is spending money like there's NO tommorrow...the Money can be used to make our country a better place to live..but we open our borders to just about everyone No wonder american's are out of work..jobs headed to Oversea's....the National debt appears to be a I DON'T CARE subject...

    January 31, 2012 at 5:05 pm |
  33. Keith Travis

    Mitt should be on America's got talent for his rendition of america the beautiful and Edith Bunker should be one of the judges.

    January 31, 2012 at 4:57 pm |
  34. jon

    Goof-balls in Florida. If they vote again for a Republican President, he will promptly rip them a new one just like before.

    January 31, 2012 at 4:52 pm |
    • Chartreuxe

      Most of us didn't vote for W. His brother was governor of the state at the time of the election, Jon. Some of us suspect the election was dirty. Bush played dirty tricks in order to win the election. It was deplorable.

      Enron sent their interns down to Dade County to interfere with the recount process. They were flown down in the Enron corporate plane. They started a riot, preventing the completion of the recount. Those votes have never been counted. They're still locked up. We still don't know who won that election fair and square.

      January 31, 2012 at 9:46 pm |
  35. Big Wilster

    A lot of different people live all over in different parts of Florida. So many people are voting and then others will vote depending on others voting, but we wont know how they do until the big vote. Florida has lots of people so there are a lot of people to vote, but how they vote is up to them.

    January 31, 2012 at 4:50 pm |
  36. Ken

    How can you say something like this and keep a straight face? Have you taken a really good look at the GOP field? The Ego-Lizard with 1000 lives, the Vulture Capitalist with no scruples, a champion of social conservatism who brazenly feeds at the K-Street trough like very few others, and Dr. Death. One of these fine examples of America then gets to run against He-Who-Cannot-Lead. Goodness, you people in the media need to get a life. And, we bemoan the fact that most Americans do not participate in the national elections. Goodness! You should be writing about how you pity the state of Florida. Actually, you should be writing about how you pity this country and its corrupt Plutocracy.

    January 31, 2012 at 4:49 pm |
  37. mike Bartel

    thanks for signing my book in the florida airport. that will be first in our trip scrape book, my wife and I watch your show alot keep up the good work mike

    January 31, 2012 at 4:39 pm |
  38. Rick

    How is this news worthy?

    January 31, 2012 at 4:38 pm |
  39. Pedro Anderson

    It's ever maddening that we still employ the long-outdated electoral college. A presidential election should not be decided by the voters of a single state. It's insane that our country continues this practice. Every election there's talk about abandoning the archaic idea, and no one ever does anything about it. I suppose if we support it, then we deserve what it gives us.

    January 31, 2012 at 4:35 pm |
  40. Brian

    Can someone please stop showing Mitt Romney singing. Isn't there such a thing as noise pollution?

    January 31, 2012 at 4:30 pm |
  41. us1776

    Florida is a microcosm of the whole country.

    .

    January 31, 2012 at 4:21 pm |
  42. Joe - Plant City, Florida

    You are correct Wolf.............................and more's the pity.

    If the balance of power is to be decided, here, you could flip a coin and get as good a prediction as any of your models and pundits might conjure.

    January 31, 2012 at 4:07 pm |
  43. Ed Sr of Dallas Tx

    Wolf...........you love Florida because they have great pea soup and you are getting older than Sam Hill and you love older women with lots of money who can't run very fast! I have your number, Wolf, you're not kidding anyone!

    January 31, 2012 at 4:02 pm |
  44. JEANETTE DALGADO

    Piers Morgan seems to be encouraging his guests make dispariging remarks about President Obama. Jack and Suzie Welch commented on Romney singing "America the Beautiful" versus our Prez singing the Al Green song. Did the two idiots know that Al Green WAS IN THE AUDIENCE hence Obama sang one line of that song? I mean we all know that Suzie couldn't have fallen for baldie for his looks right? Also, WHY did Piers go to commercial break the minute Seal spoke glowingly about Obama. Hmmmmm! Piers, go back to where you came from . we cannot understand your accent anyway. I have close captions on when I turn you on. Larry still reigns!!!!!

    January 31, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
    • Barbara Forth

      Yes, I noticed how the Welch segment was like a commercial for Romney. Surely, and I speak as a fellow Brit, you Piers must have felt somewhat uncomforable when you heard your guests rabbiting on about Romney's strengths with little attempt at balance from you..or am I going to see an equivalent democrat bias one day soon? I hope so.

      February 1, 2012 at 1:33 am |
  45. joesmith

    you like it because when you lobbied for AIPAC, Florida was like found money..

    January 31, 2012 at 3:50 pm |
  46. Aldo Martinez

    Please don't remind me of Bush (Florida) 2000 - anyway Q. What is better than a 3 ring circus? A. a 4 ring circus - Rick, Mitt, Newt & Paul - let's rumble boys, don't bother to suggest anything constructive or that makes sense.

    January 31, 2012 at 3:40 pm |
  47. Jim Thomas

    Flordia had aproblem with honesty in counting ballots before.Is this going to go on again.It very well could happen again.Jim Thomas Phx.Az.

    January 31, 2012 at 3:35 pm |
    • Ron

      Jim, as I recall, it was a problem with some party members trying to steal an election by redefining it's method. A hanging chad became a questionable vote, thereby aborting the whole electoral process. That was the nastiest corruption of our election process. There will always be a question when the vote is close. I must say Romney handled the reversal admirably this year.

      I hope you guys do the right thing in Az.

      January 31, 2012 at 6:08 pm |
      • joshua

        and what caused the hanging chad? 1 theory was that multiple ballots were stuffed into the voting machine in order to get more votes for a certain candidate. The voting machine wasn't strong enough to punch through multiple ballots leaving hanging chads on the last 2 or 3. Guess who wanted to count the hanging chads and who didn't?

        February 1, 2012 at 2:26 pm |
    • walkthetalk

      Flordia? Are you serious? Wow.

      January 31, 2012 at 7:36 pm |

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