June 27th, 2007
10:38 AM ET
7 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. doc75, fairfax, va

    I don't think either of these candidates have the ability to step into office on Day 1 and face up to their liberal MoveOn.org base with their bumper-sticker solutions and provide real solutions to problems like Islamic terrorism and immigration.

    June 27, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  2. KateL, Washington DC

    America needs a leader that can do more that "inspire" us all. I don't want to just "feel good" about Washington. I want Washington to do something and unfortunately Washington is complicated and as much as all candidates say they will weed out the bureaucracy and change the politics, they can't! So, lets be pragmatic, we need candidates that know how to work with the system to produce the best possible outcomes. I don't want a candidate who needs to spend the first year of his administration learning the Washington political ropes, b/c he's only been in the district for less than one term.

    June 27, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  3. RCP, Seattle, WA

    I liked Obama, but his comment that Hillary's husband is ready and the implication that she isn't seems sexist to me.

    June 27, 2007 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  4. Eddie, Los Angeles, Ca

    I believe Bush was never qualified to be President since Day 1. Look where we are now, the result; the lack of experience and common sense.

    June 27, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  5. Dan (Baltimore, MD)

    I think it's time we all realize that no senator and overall no legislator is going to be prepared for the stress and long hours of our country's chief executive position. The only one with chief executive experience among the dems is Bill Richardson who's governor of New Mexico. Let's be realistic about who had executive branch experience. Obama and Clinton are both unqualified (not to mention Dodd, Biden, Kucinich, Edwards, and Gravel).

    June 27, 2007 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  6. Lorraine, Memphis TN

    RCP, I think using the sexist card is just as wrong as using the race card. What Senator Obama said is true. Hillary Clinton's only claim to fame is her last name. Joe Biden is more experienced that ALL THESE CANDIDATES.

    Senator Obama has just as much experience as Senator Hillary Clinton. What they are trying to spin is "Washington Experience."

    I also wish people would STOP bashing President Bush's experience. He was Governor of Texas. That is experience! Also if I'm not mistaken, former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfield and Vice President Dick Cheney have ALOT OF EXPERIENCE in Washington. Look at were we are now.

    The problem as I see it is the constant bashing that both parties do. Hillary Clinton said this is "President Bush's War," yet she voted for the War. She continues to try and muddy the waters on her support of "President Bush's War." President Bush even though I really question some of his policies, he doesn't change his mind with the move of the polls, unlike Senator Clinton. I want the rest of his Presidency to be a success, he deserves it but more importantly we as Americans deserve it.

    Senator Obama is right.

    June 27, 2007 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  7. Providence, RI

    Obama already began to attack Hillary, because Obama knows very well he is not as experienced as Hillary is. He is behind Hillay in every single poll by double digit! Obama can try as much as he wants, but it is us we will decide!

    June 27, 2007 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. Matt Houston Texas

    And as I have asked in other Hillary threads...what exactly has she done?

    Obama is right on when saying that she isnt ready to lead. She has either follower her husband or used his popularity to get herself elected and influence. What has she done on her own? What can she claim to be hers?

    Obama worked up from teh state level to the federal level on his own. Not with the help of his wife.

    June 27, 2007 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  9. Venus M Smith, E.I.; Winter Springs, Florida

    I mean no disrespect to anyone in this country, especially the men...but what I have to say is as a wife, step-mother, environmental engineer and wildlife ecologist and conservationist...she didn't get a divorce after being humilated on a global scale...what can anyone say about that? Like I said earlier, I mean no disrespect to the men of the world, fighting with us or against us...but as women of the world...I think it is time that a WOMAN run the FREE WORLD and CLEAN HOUSE for real.

    Sincerely yours...so sorry if my words bring up a dominant or overbearing mother from your childhood but let's get real and have a cup of joe on the or in the ROSE GARDEN...decaf or reg?

    June 27, 2007 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  10. Longmont, CO

    Once again Obama shows he is just like all the other politicians attacking Hillary once again.

    June 27, 2007 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. Kendall, Mississippi

    God is watching the Clinton’s and He is taking notes.

    June 27, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  12. Kyle, Columbia SC

    Barack is right, look at it from which canidadte has experience to be president day one....BILL CLINTION!!! Why? Because he served two terms ALREADY!! That's almost a no brainer.

    June 27, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  13. Frances, Brownsville

    Once again Obama shows he is just like all the other politicians attacking Hillary once again.

    The fact that people seem to forget what the Clinton's did to ALL THOSE WOMEN is beyond me. I just don't get it at all. They ruined the lives of all those women for no reason whatsoever. Don't believe the hype this is coming around again. The lazy days of Summer is just that. No one is paying attention to this election yet, but you can count on the Fall bringing a new and different "love fest" for Mrs. Clinton and her "dear" husband.

    June 27, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  14. Jay, MA

    I can't believe Mississippi is using the "God is watching you" card..my mom used that guilt trip on us when Iwas 5 years old..

    June 27, 2007 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  15. DJ, Los Angeles

    I have to agree with "...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.”

    Clinton...who would call the shots? It seems somewhat of a conflict of interests to have a married couple with both either being a current or former President. How do we know who is really calling the shots?

    Obama would be more of a negotiator whereas the Clintons would be more of divider just based on the fact Republicans seem to hate them so much.

    Whereas Obama would be a fresh perspective and has the track record of working together with conservative voters.

    June 27, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Vincent, New York, NY

    Listen. Obama has no experience. Congress will wear him out like a cheap suit. Hillary is not much better but she's better than he is. Hillary voted for the war for the same reason that the majority of Americans supported it at the beginning. They were lied to by the Bush administration.I dont understand the defense of the Bush presidency or his administration. They have lied to the American people time and time again and trample all over the constitution. Where is it going to end?

    June 27, 2007 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  17. Matthew, Berkeley, Ca

    He only meant that because Bill has experience at being President, he is the only one that would be prepared.

    I don't think that he was seriously attacking Hillary, but trying to state that Hillary Clinton, Obama, and the rest of the contenders would never be prepared until they get there. In this way he is implying that all of the experience would never prepare you for the White house. He wants people to believe that because he has the least of any of the Democratic contenders.

    June 27, 2007 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  18. Wesley Stevens, Bradenton, FL

    Senator Obama's Comments are being taken out of context. His message to the American public was simple: He has the experience to lead this country and the only Clinton that is more qualified is the former President, not the Senator!

    June 27, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  19. RightyTighty

    Look where we are now, the result; the lack of experience and common sense.
    – Eddie

    Ummm.., let see:
    1)Largest tax cut in history
    2)Shortest recession in history
    3)Low unemployment
    4)Longest economic boom in history
    5)Highest home ownership in history
    6)Accountability in public schools
    7)Judicial legislating dead on arrival
    8)Budget deficit below 2%

    I could do this all day. But something tells me that Eddie just can't see passed his own nose..

    June 27, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  20. Pete, Tarpon Springs, Fl

    One should think before one speaks! Obviously Mr. Bush wasn't ready and still he tries to get ready just in case he ever is elected!

    June 27, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. Lori

    Is Hillary Clinton a Senator in New York? I think that she has worked in politics for many years.

    June 27, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  22. Kim, Mpls., MN

    Senator Obama is right and so is Lorraine, Dan, Matt, Kyle and Matthew listed above. I can't even comment on some of they others, it's too embarassing as a voter...

    June 27, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Paul, Saddle River, New Jersey

    Hillary Clinton has a lot more experience than Obama. Obama's one of the luckiest people in this world. He had no real challenger in 2004. If he had one, he might not be where he is today. Also, how does he think he is experienced for day one? Besides from being a state senator where he probably voted to aid townships in funding needed to fill potholes, he has not accomplished anything in the US Senate. He doesn't have any laws named after him or any passed that he's responsible for.

    June 27, 2007 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  24. Will - Miami, FL

    LOL – I love it when liberals/democrats rip on each other.

    Obama – you go boy!

    June 27, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  25. Jim, Providence, RI

    “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.”

    Sorry all you who are trying to spin Obama's words into an "attack" but this DOES NOT sound like an attack to me.

    Any with doubts about his SUPPOSED "lack" of experience, PLEASE watch this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YBBcHWw6ypE
    It does a pretty good job of dispelling this myth. The line at the end from Bill Clinton HIMSELF says it all!

    Obama 08!

    June 27, 2007 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
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