July 27th, 2007
10:47 AM ET
7 years ago

Clinton calls Bush-Cheney comparison 'silly'

Watch Clinton’s latest comments on her spat with Obama, only on CNN.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic presidential hopeful Hillary Clinton sharply dismissed Thursday a recent suggestion from chief rival Barack Obama that she is “Bush-Cheney light,” telling CNN the comparison is “silly.”

“You know, I have been called a lot of things in my life, but I have never been called George Bush or Dick Cheney certainly,” Clinton told CNN’s John King.

“You know you have to ask whatever has happened to the politics of hope,” Clinton added, in reference to the Illinois Democrat's familiar campaign theme.

The two leading Democratic presidential contenders have been locked in a war of words following the CNN/YouTube debate Monday, when Obama said he would be willing to meet with controversial world leaders during his first year in office. Clinton, in response to the same question, said she would only meet with such leaders after a set of preconditions.

“I don't want to see the power and prestige of the United States president put at risk by rushing into meetings with the likes of [Venezuelan president Hugo] Chavez and [Cuban president Fidel] Castro and [Iranian president Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad,” Clinton told CNN Thursday. “I think we have to be absolutely clear that we are going to engage with the world, that we are not afraid to have diplomacy.”

The New York Democrat also brushed aside suggestions the Democratic primary race was getting overly negative too early.

“I think that we do have some disagreements, and those are obviously going to start coming out because this is a very intense period, for the primaries,” she said. “But I welcome that debate, because I think that we want Democratic voters to get to know as much about each of us as possible, to know where we stand on issues, how we would approach the important concerns we'll face if we are president.”

Defending his debate answer earlier Thursday, Obama said, “I’m not afraid to lose the P.R. war to dictators. I’m happy to look them in the eyes and say what needs to be said… I don’t want Bush-Cheney light.”

- CNN Chief National Correspondent John King contributed to this report

soundoff (278 Responses)
  1. Joel (Durham, NC)

    You know, my assumption has been all along that if Hillary Clinton wins the nomination, she would choose Barack Obama as her running mate.

    Now I'm starting to think that that ain't gonna happen – or that Obama will decline if asked.

    July 26, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  2. Wallace Young Montgomery, Alabama

    Well said President Hillary Clinton.

    July 26, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  3. Will, Oklahoma City, OK

    Let the traditional Democratic cannibalization begin!

    July 26, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  4. lavelle

    Well why didnt anyone ask her about her war vote and why she was irresponsible for not reading war documents that were presented to her. She rushed to judgement and agreed to go to war. But she wanted to bush it under the rug and try and say the disagreements are going to start because of the primaires. She see's obama right up on her and she's starting to feel the pressure. She wont answer that war vote question and that right there will be her down fall.She's not ready to lead Obama is

    July 26, 2007 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  5. Jonathan

    The answer Mrs. Clinton gave was an obvious one that every body knew. Off course every president meets with foreign leaders after the ground work has been laid. Obama actually hit the nail on the head when he called Hilary Bush-Cheney light. How can she run for presidency when the war she knowingly voted for has tarnished America's image around the globe?
    The so called in experienced Obama voted against it. Does this not give him foresight? I surely think he is going to bring America back to her position in the world.

    July 26, 2007 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  6. John, Oak Lawn, IL

    She started the whole fight, and now she's saying she's getting tired of it? Typical of her!

    July 26, 2007 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  7. Jake, Syracuse, NY

    The politics of hope refers to Americans' hope for improvements and changes to the way things are run in Washington – the exact changes Obama will deliver. An example of this change would be Obama's willingness to engage with leaders of adversarial nations.

    July 26, 2007 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  8. Chadd Christiansen, Ocoee, FL

    WHO CARES! Stop touting these two as the only two candidates in the race. Stop reporting squabbles between the two 'front runners' as real news. Talk more about the real issues that are important to the majority of Americans and make less noise about how these two candidates collecting the most money, or how they can't get along or whatever... The American people are in desperate need of serious change, not more garbage news.

    July 26, 2007 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  9. josh, columbus ohio

    "You know you have to ask whatever has happened to the politics of hope?"

    hillary, so the politics of hope means obama isn't allowed to defend himself against an attack from you?

    dont forget, hill...you started this thing.

    July 26, 2007 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  10. Rachel - Helena, MT

    It's refreshing to see a candidate that isn't afraid to "say what needs to be said". It's time for "politics as usual" to end in Washington.

    What we currently have isn't working. It is time to elect someone like Obama who brings a perspective on foreign policy, the economy, the war in Iraq and a way to mend this country.

    July 26, 2007 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  11. Janet, Orland Park, IL

    I was giving both candidates equal consideration, until Obama made that ridiculous remark...Bush Light indeed! Hilary has my vote now- I am not willing to endure another 4 years of fear mongering and trash talk.

    July 26, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  12. Guy, Atlanta GA

    actually Hillary is silly. Bush's no-talk, no-results foreign policy was retarded and ineffectual. a slew of foreign ambassadors have said so over the last few years. even condi rice after years of stubborn rejections for talks, has started to talk with iran. why would we want to go back to bush's failed foreign policies? hillary has always been weak in foreign policy. she got us into this war, for starters. and has kept us in it for the last 2 terms. thanks for nothing!

    July 26, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  13. James

    This shows Obama's inability to be a major player in a national campaign...
    He is a loser going down...
    Now I would never vote him!!!

    July 26, 2007 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  14. Lyn, MD

    There is an old saying "don't start no s- won't be no s-". She started it by going out of her way to call him naive on the radio the next day. She was going for a "cheap shot" and it backfired.

    July 26, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. Don, OP, KS

    You took it negative, Hill. It was only a matter of time until you started to turn the party machine on the only person capable of beating the Republicans, and you.

    Get out of the way so this country can get on with the future. You and your kind are the past.

    July 26, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  16. Chris, Staten Island, NY

    Jonathan: Obama did NOT vote against the war. He wasn't a US Senator at the time. Hindsight is 20/20, huh.

    July 26, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  17. Marc in TN

    Well Hillary is starting to get a little testy. I think this whole thing is starting to get under her skin and her true personality is beginning to show. Way to call a foul the moment your opponent starts swinging back.

    July 26, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. Jack, Madison, WI

    Never called Bush/Cheney Light before? Nonsense. I been saying that since she threw her hat in, because it is the obvious truth. She even has the same corporate backers as Bush/Cheney.

    Obama said nothing even mildly insulting or inapropriate, whereas she called him a few unwarranted names.

    Obama is the Politics of Hope personified. Hope that we can get rid of these corporate tools that have been running things far too long.

    I'd like to ask her how his comments reflected anything BUT hope, and how hers and her stances represent said same hope.

    July 26, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  19. hebba, grand rapids,mi

    first i would like to say i like both of them a lot. i belive both of them is right and wrong.obama of course there is no need for that name, and of course we need to be in contact with every country because we never know when we are going to need whom.

    July 26, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  20. Dave, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

    Clinton is not advocating an isolationist approach. She is advocating wise foreign policy. She said she would visit with rogue leaders only if the advance work done by envoys and the diplomatic corps pointed to a "way forward." Otherwise her presence could "make the situation worse." How is this an unreasonable answer? I think many Americans fail to grasp just what it means to deal with a weak or failed state like Zimbabwe, North Korea, or Iran. When the president of the US meets face to face with the illegimate dictators of these states, he or she runs the risk of giving internal factions within these states the idea that the US is endorsing, or recognizing, the legitimacy of the ruler. There may be pro-democratic forces in, say, Zimbabwe, that would be discouraged from pressing for change if they got the idea that that the mighty United States of America was actually on Mugabe's side.

    When Richard Nixon went to China he scored a major diplomatic breakthrough a took the country in a more open direction with communist states. We still see the positive effects of his decision today. But Nixon did not visit China and meet with their leadership without first laying the groundwork through years of diplomacy done by presidential envoys. He didn't visit without preconditions. He came with a "way forward," with a set agenda. In short, he practiced wise foreign policy, which both Clinton and Obama are espousing.

    Obama made a minor mistake in the debate and Clinton pounced on it. In response to the question of whether he would pledge to meet, without precondition, with leaders unfriendly to the United States, he said, "yes, I would." Having actually watched the debate (based on many of the comments on CNN.com I wonder if I'm the only one who did) I thought Clinton made a very valid point, but she should have left it at that. Calling Obama's response "naive" was a shot over the bow that need not have been made. Unfortunately a modern presidental campaign is just about the worst venue for a reasoned debate on the nuances of international relations, and now the spin machines are engaged in silly "he said, she said."

    July 26, 2007 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  21. CW Montgomery, AL

    Interestingly enough, she avoided addressing how her "experience" and "leadership" resulted in her vote for the Iraqi war authorization. Good to see someone finally challenge her position, politics, and policies on this. It is a question she will have to address in the coming months.

    July 26, 2007 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  22. Antonio, Union City,NJ

    Mrs. Clinton says, if elected president, that she will not meet with the likes of Hugo Chavez and Fidel Castro among other U.S. enemies so as to not put the power and prestige of the president at risk. What a joke. If elected, she will have her husband to do that for her. Lets not forget the disgrace and shame her husband Bill Clinton, brought to the U.S. presidency.

    July 26, 2007 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  23. Lee Ann, Salt Lake City, UT

    Obama and the Youtube questionner and those that think the same are simply wrong. To think that our president would engage unconditonally with radical tyrrants is very weak. Obama comes across to me as a light weight that just wants to be liked, even by terrorists.

    No thank you.

    July 26, 2007 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  24. DJ, Los Angeles, CA

    This is the battle we knew would happen.

    It was just a matter of time, they are the 2 heavyweights in the polls trying to position themselves.

    This still is far more civil than the Republicans slandering Ron Paul and especially Newt Gingrich calling ALL the candidates "pygmies".

    July 26, 2007 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  25. Erik

    Why is she trying to spin this as if it was Obama's fault? She's the one who (as much as I hate this slogan)...Flip Flopped! She picked the fight calling him naive and irresponsible now the debate is "Silly". It’s silly to debate where the candidates stand on the future of America?

    Obama was right! He wasn’t saying he would open the door to anyone at any time. The reality for all of the arrogant Americans out there is we exist on this planet with other countries that have different beliefs and point of views than ours. Isn’t this the reason why we live in such a great country in the first place? To respect others and come to some common ground for the greater good? America is a melting pot of cultures and families in different countries. Do we close the door of discussion with our neighbors, families and friends? Giving peace and understanding a chance is not a sign of weakness or in experience Mrs. Clinton and the Republican baby boomers. It’s a sign of wisdom and true character. May God bless America and Obama in 2008

    July 26, 2007 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
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