June 27th, 2007
10:38 AM ET
4 years ago

Obama: Bill, not Hillary, prepared to be president on 'day one'

Watch Obama's comments on the Clintons.

CHICAGO (CNN) - Presidential contender Barack Obama says he's not questioning rival Hillary Clinton's qualifications, though he notes only her husband is "prepared to be president on day one."

His comments came Monday night as the two leading Democratic candidates both raised money in Chicago in the final week of second quarter fund-raising.

A reporter asked Obama about the Clinton campaign touting her experience at recent events.

"The only person who is probably prepared to be President on day one is Bill Clinton, not Hillary Clinton," Obama said. "I think we're all very qualified for the job. The question is who can inspire the nation to move beyond the politics that have bogged us down in the past."

The Illinois senator claimed his candidacy would be stronger at "bridging some of the divides that have blocked progress on health care, blocked progress on energy. That's what we're interested in - not repeating the same old fights but trying to bring about a new consensus that move this country forward."

Meanwhile, former President Clinton sent a fund-raising e-mail Tuesday for his wife's campaign that used the same "day one" phrase. In the message, Clinton wrote, "America is ready for change, and we need a president ready to lead on day one. Ready to end the war in Iraq and restore America's standing in the world." Later in the message, he said, "Hillary is the best candidate for president because she'll stand up for them - she already does every day in the Senate."

A campaign spokesman said the e-mail was pre-planned, and was "absolutely not" a response to Monday night's words. Asked about the Obama remarks, the spokesman said, "no comment."

– CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk

soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Mike, Farmington CT

    All we hear about is Hilary Clinton...guess what, we still have a year until the DNC elects their nominee. In the '04 election, Howard Dean was the leader of the pack early on, just like Hilary. She will fizzle out just like Dean did in "'04.I will NEVER vote for Hilary. We have had a Bush or Clinton in office since 1980....apparently America wants a dynasty running the country.

    June 27, 2007 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  2. Tashni, Houston, TX

    I think Obama's comment is being misinterpreted. The reason why he is saying that Bill would be prepared to be president on day one is clearly because Bill has the experience. Unless one has done a job before, one seldom knows what the heck to do on day one!

    June 27, 2007 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  3. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Obama said We all are qualified, you don't get it yet. There are 5 levels of qualification of the presidential candidates so far. Hillary is on the top level, you belong to 5th level qualification. Why? you proved yourself as inexperienced candidate. You don't need to attack others like child, you just do your campaign, we will decide and we will vote. You open your mouth, just make more mistakes. Beginners of sports or politics need an inspiration, experienced President use their WISDOM through their experiences. I couldn't believe you and Edwards talk about Universal Healthcare? Hillary made this Healthcare 14 years ago, when you were looking for the job. You are very cunning(using war vote as bait), hypocritical(you didn't answer how do you use Clinton if you are elected on the debate and now you said Clinton is only one ready), shamless(I have enough experience and I am ready) and dirty player(Anti-Hillary video and memo). Someone said "this child lost my vote" I like it. You are not even qualified as VP, you need to learn politics and world for long time, till you have the gray on your head.
    If you don't a great deal in self culture you can't have the promising future. Listen to what people are talking and looking at the situation closly, you are dreaming, wake up Obama. Don't embarrass yourself anymore.

    June 28, 2007 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  4. Josh, Bellefontaine, OH

    You know, I really believe that the only democrat who wouldn't easily win in the general is Hilary. I think it's funny that that's who it looks like the Dems will nominate.

    June 28, 2007 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  5. Tony, Mount Vernon, NY

    Hey Matt and all you Hillary bashers, here's some of what she has done as Senator for New York.

    After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Senator Clinton worked with her colleagues to secure the funds New York needed to rebuild. She fought to provide compensation to the families of the victims, grants for hard-hit businesses, and health care for front line workers at Ground Zero.

    She continues to work for resources that enable New York to grow, to improve homeland security for New York and other communities, and to protect all Americans from future attacks. She has introduced legislation to provide for direct and threat-based homeland security funding to ensure that first responders and high-target communities have the resources they need.

    In 2004, Senator Clinton was asked by the Department of Defense to serve as the only Senate member of the Transformation Advisory Group to the Joint Forces Command. She has visited troops in Iraq and Afghanistan; at Fort Drum in New York, home of the 10th Mountain Division; and at Walter Reed Military Hospital to learn first hand the challenges facing American combat forces. She is an original sponsor of legislation that expanded health benefits to members of the National Guard and Reserves.

    In the Senate, she has continued her work for children and families by leading efforts to ensure the safety of prescription drugs for children, with legislation now included in the Best Pharmaceuticals for Children Act; working to strengthen the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which increased coverage for children in low income working families; and helping schools address environmental hazards.

    Senator Clinton continues to work to increase access to health care. She authored legislation that has been enacted to improve recruitment and retention of nurses, to improve quality and lower the cost of prescription drugs, and to protect our food supply from bioterrorism. She sponsored legislation to increase America’s commitment against Global AIDS, and is now leading the fight for expanded use of information technology in the health care system to decrease administrative costs and reduce medical errors.

    To encourage business expansion, Senator Clinton co-sponsored legislation enacted in 2004 to extend tax credits to communities in regions designated as Renewal Communities. She has sponsored conferences and business development tours throughout the state aimed at attracting new investment; introduced legislation to increase access to broadband technology in rural areas; and serves as chair of the advisory board for New Jobs for New York.

    Senator Clinton has spoken clearly about the importance of protecting our constitutional rights, respecting such landmark Supreme Court decisions as Roe v. Wade. Her commitment to supporting Roe and working to reduce the number of abortions, by reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, was hailed by the New York Times as “frank talk… (and) a promising path.”

    Strongly committed to making sure that every American has the right to vote in fair, accessible and credible elections – and that every vote must be counted, Senator Clinton introduced the Count Every Vote Act of 2005, to provide a verified paper ballot for every vote cast in electronic voting machines; set a uniform standard for provisional ballots, and require the Federal Election Assistance Commission to issue standards that ensure uniform access to voting machines and election personnel in every community.

    So what has Obama done again? Oh yeah, he wrote a book and made some over-hyped speeches about pretty much nothing.

    June 28, 2007 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  6. Steve, Hartford CT

    Hey Tony from Mount Vernon, guess what, If Hilary's last name wasn't Clinton, she would NEVER have been Senator of NY. She is riding on Bill's coatails. That coat tail ride will end when she does not recieve the democratic nomination next year. GORE '08 baby!!!

    June 28, 2007 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  7. Tony, Mount Vernon, NY

    Hey Steve, I'm from New York and we voted Hillary into office by an overwhelming majority both times. She's been a great Senator and even those Republicans that work against her say she's a hard work. She's made a difference because she is who she is, not because she's Bill Clinton's wife. Hillary campaigned all throughout New York both elections, even in parts of Northern NY that are Republican strongholds and she won them over too. Don't mess with Hillary, she's a smart, capable, caring leader that delivers results.

    June 28, 2007 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  8. Steve, Hartford CT

    Hey Tony, I guess you fail to remember the HACK job she did with Health Care back in the 90's.

    Feel free to vote for Hilary, I guess the fact a presidential dynasty is in the making...seeing there has been a Bush or a Clinton in office since 1980.

    I'll make sure there are plenty of tissues to catch your tears when Hilary doesn't receive the nomination. You seem to be alone in your principles.....

    June 29, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. Frank, NJ

    Obama's fine, but he's one to talk!
    The OBAMA File: 2 yrs. in the U.S. Senate; a few in the Illinois state legislature
    The CLINTON File: 7 yrs as a U.S. Senator, 8 yrs. as U.S. First Lady holding prominet positions such as chairing important legislation (health care, Adoption and Safe Families Act, ect.), opening up offices in the Justice Dept. to better American families, serving as a U.S. diplomat to nations all over the world (by herself) and as a U.S. delegate to the U.N., being appointed by Pres. Carter to Chair the National Legal Services Corporation, Chair of the Childrend's Defense Fund, Chair of the National Barr Association, Attorney for House Judiciary Comitte for Watergate and Nixon impeachment, ect., ect., ect.
    Obama Schooling: Columbia, Harvard Law
    Hillary Schooling: Wellseley, Yale Law, 2 yrs. Oxford in England
    2004 Dem Nom Convention – Obama always praised for keynote speech – Hillary giving Nom Convention speeches for years, and that night voted to most popular Dem in the United States w/ Bill.
    Obama's getting despearate – he needs to watch himself – he doesn't want to divide the party – or ruin his best political shot – running mate, and 8 years as VP to get him the White House in '16.

    June 30, 2007 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  10. Tony, Mount Vernon, NY

    Actuallly Steve I'm not alone. Hillary's polling numbers have steadily increased ever since she entered the race. She's now not only polling ahead of all the Democrats, but all the Republicans as well. Further, I think it's interesting that if you watched the coverage after the Howard University debates you'd have found that the African Americans interviewed went into the debate supporting Obama and left supporting Hillary. In terms of her failed attempt at health care reform, she admitted her mistake even back when she was in the White House. She's grown and learned from that experience to be able to put forth the most all-encompassing, universal plan of any of the candidates running for President. Save your tissues, you may need them when Hillary is elected President by an overwhelming majority.

    July 2, 2007 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  11. Steve, Hartford CT

    Tony – Her polling numbers might be increasing but as for her war chest, I believe Obama won that battle. I'd like to meet all these people you claim are supporting Hilary. Money turns into votes, the common person wouldn't give anyone money unless they are committed to voting for them. So if that point is true, I ask you, How is Hilary leading these "polls" if Obama is raising all the money? Maybe I'll save the tissues for the both of us because deep down, I don't think Obama or Hilary will be the Democratic nominee. The only good thing I can say about Hilary is that Bill Clinton is her "husband".

    July 2, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  12. tony, Mount Vernon, NY

    First, Hillary is still raising a record amount of money Steve. Second, remember that Howard Dean went into the last primary with the most money and he fizzled out. Obama will be no different. I respectfully disagree, money doesn't always equal votes. After every public appearence Hillary climbs in the polls. She's the common sense candidate and more and more people are recognizing that.

    July 3, 2007 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  13. Steve, Hartford CT

    You reference Howard Dean....interesting. He had the early poll lead and the most money and he fizzled out (as you stated above). The same will happen with Hilary. But since you are a Clintonesta, I am sure you'll come up with some polling number or statistical tidbit that will somehow show me that Hilary won't fizzle out like Howard Dean did. This die hard democrat will break with the party if she is nominated. I am sure many more will follow.

    July 6, 2007 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. Tony, Mount Vernon, NY

    Steve, the numbers don't gel with your point of view:
    In most of the key early primary states where the candidates are spending the most time, where voters have the opportunity to get up close and personal, Hillary's lead is growing while the other leading contenders continue to lose support. (Only leading candidates shown.)
    New Hampshire Primary (Suffolk University)
    June 20-24: HRC 37 / Obama 19 / Edwards 9 / Richardson 9
    Feb 24-28: HRC 28 / Obama 26 / Edwards 17 / Richardson 2
    South Carolina Primary (ARG)
    June 26-30: HRC 37 / Edwards 22 / Obama 21
    May 23-26: HRC 34 / Edwards 30 / Obama 18
    Nevada Caucus (Mason Dixon)
    June 20-22: HRC 39 / Obama 17 / Edwards 12 / Richardson 7
    April 30-May 1: HRC 37 / Edwards 13 / Obama 12 / Gore 9 / Richardson 6
    In Iowa, Hillary is locked in a competitive battle.
    Iowa Caucus (ARG)
    June 26-30: HRC 32 / Edwards 29 / Obama 13 / Richardson 5
    April 27-30: HRC 23 / Edwards 27 / Obama 19 / Richardson 5
    Strategic Vision
    June 22-24: Edwards 26 / Obama 21 / HRC 20 / Richardson 11
    May 18-20: Edwards 29 / Obama 24 / HRC 16 / Richardson 9
    Mason-Dixon June 13-16: HRC 22 / Edwards 21 / Obama 18 / Richardson 6
    And in the primary states with the most delegates (Florida, New York, California, Texas, Pennsylvania and Ohio), Hillary has an overwhelming lead.
    Florida - Quinnipiac June 18-25: HRC 43 / Obama 16 / Edwards 11 / Richardson 2
    California - PPIC June 12-19: HRC 41 / Obama 25 / Edwards 12 / Richardson 3 http://www.ppic.org/content/pubs/survey/S_607MBS.pdf
    New York - Siena June 18-21: HRC 43 / Gore 19 / Obama 11 / Edwards 9 / Richardson 1
    Ohio - Quinnipiac June 18-25: HRC 40 / Edwards 12 / Gore 12 / Obama 12
    Pennsylvania - Quinnipiac June 18-25: HRC 32 / Obama 18 / Gore 16 / Edwards 7
    Texas - Texas Lyceum April 26-May 7: HRC 33 / Obama 21 / Gore 10 / Edwards 8 / Richardson 3

    In terms of the General Election every major poll now shows Hillary leading Rudy Giuliani. In the Real Clear Politics average of recent polls, Hillary has a 2.4 percentage point lead, an improvement of 7.8 percentage points in the last three weeks.
    CNN June 22-24: HRC 49 / Giuliani 48
    (No tracking)
    Cook/RT Strategies June 21-23: HRC 45 / Giuliani 44
    June 15-17: HRC 42 / Giuliani 42
    Fox June 26-27: HRC 39 / Giuliani 37 / Bloomberg 7
    June 5-6: HRC 39 / Giuliani 41 / Bloomberg 7
    Gallup June 4-24: HRC 50 / Giuliani 45
    June 1-3: HRC 45 / Giuliani 50
    Newsweek June 20-21: HRC 51 / Giuliani 44
    May 2-3: HRC 49 / Giuliani 46
    NBC/WSJ June 8-11: HRC 48 / Giuliani 43
    March 2-5: HRC 42 / Giuliani 47
    Quinnipiac June 5-11: HRC 45 / Giuliani 44
    April 25-May 1: HRC 40 / Giuliani 49

    July 9, 2007 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. Karen Curtis, Vienna, VA

    Ms. Venus Smith...please take a moment to pose a distinct and intelligent comment. It's women like you who make it harder for a WOMAN like Hillary to become president.

    August 23, 2007 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  16. JUAN CARLOS TELLO

    Hillary Clinton will be our next President,
    she have millions of merits,
    she will be the first woman in the white house as president,
    She will be the simbol the American Freedom,
    She is not using religion,origen,race or sexual orientation to gain votes,
    she have sufficient wisdom to deal with with our economy,
    she protects our social security our physical and mental health,
    she love peace,she is very diplomatic and act according to her roll,
    she always keep is acts in well mannners.
    Hillary Clinton
    Is facing the reality of our country,
    she will give documents to every body working in America,
    she understand that our country is a country of immigrants,
    she knows how to help all the workings classes in America.

    Barack Omaba he is playing a good roll in this elections
    but he don't deffend the illegals aliens,
    he doesn't know nothing in economy or international arms conflicts?
    he is going to create same divisions among minorities?
    Personally,
    I believe that barack omaba
    Will fit as a good vice-president for Mrs Hillar y Clinton.
    Our country will finally be in white and black Democracy.

    January 5, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. JUAN CARLOS TELLO

    GOD BLESS AMERICA
    HILLARY CLINTON
    WILL BE PRESIDENT
    WITH OUT
    IOWA!

    January 5, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  18. JUAN TELLO

    GOD BLESS AMERICA
    HILLARY CLINTON
    WILL BE PRESIDENT
    WITH OUT
    IOWA!

    January 5, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
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