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. Tracey, Juliaetta, Idaho

    Well, this displays the political prowness of Clinton that Obama seems to be lacking. It would be great to be a "cowboy" in todays politics, but it just isn't going to work. There are too many customs that need to be addressed and diplomacy must work with patience and regard for the other parties. Being afraid is not what Clinton is known for...in fact she has beaten the odds because she hasn't been afraid to go out on a limb. Say what you may, but between the two candidates, by choice fall with the experience of Hillary Clinton. And this is coming from a Republican that knows the Democrates will take the White House.

    July 27, 2007 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. Michael - Stamford, CT

    This is getting stupid, it's time to move on and get to the important issues. Hillary has been flexible and understands there needs to be change in the Iraq war which is exactly why last time she voted against giving President Bush another blank check without an exit date and as far as Senatory Obama goes he is making a complete fool out of himself and showing everyone one he is the wrong person for President. Obama has almost no experience and it's starting to show by the things he is saying. I want someone who can show strong leadership and to me that person is Hillary Clinton. Hillary gets my vote.

    July 27, 2007 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. Stuart,Chicago

    "The “inexperience” of such Obama keeps popping up as if it’s a sin. How many other political giants had little experience before taking the Presidency? I never thought it was a prerequisite for the position."

    See George W. Bush. I think we just found out over the past 6 year how much experience should be valued in a President. I know it sounds like I don't like Obama, which is not true, I live in Illinois and vote for him. I also noticed that someone in an earlier posting said that some people are looking for a reason not to vote for him because he is black but don't want to admit they would not vote for a black man. Right now I am voting for Hillary Clinton, that could change we still have a 1 and ½ years too go but I don't care if people think I am racist because I didn't vote for the Obama. I know that is not true.

    Truth be told for me I think Obama can handle just about any domestic issue that he would face but I am worried that he is inexperience in foreign affairs. I feel that our next President should be the smartest and most qualified person for the job. I don't really care if I can have a beer with that person or not. Right now I feel that on the Democratic side Hillary Clinton should get the vote.

    July 27, 2007 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  4. Erik, New York

    Obama was right! This debate is a wake up call for America. Do we reject others with different stances and points of views because we deem them evil or do we open the door to diplomacy and change? Being of African American decent I am equally troubled by all of Mrs. Clinton's remarks. She debases a good male leader in our community as naive, irresponsible and silly. This is the respect she shows someone who is at the same level as her. I remember a time in this country when our government officials saw leaders like Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Thurmond Marshall, Harriet Tubman as naive, irresponsible and silly for their points of views. If we as African Americans do not stand up for everyone in the world as equals then we are no better than the bigots and oppressors that exist in this country. Equality should be for everyone. If not for change and sitting with others who disagree with you would the movements for Gay rights, Immigrants rights and WOMEN'S rights been achieved. Remember, American officials thought those concerns and struggle to be naive, irresponsible and silly too. If the African American vote is crucial to this election we need to evaluate and think hard about who we want to represent us and the type of morals and values they hold. By no means is this playing the race card but all of the people this country deems "evil" don't look believe or look like those in power. I as an African American we need to remember there was a time when my people were looked upon the same! My vote is for Obama not because he is black but because he stands for hope, which makes me proud to say... I am An American!

    July 27, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  5. John, Worthington, OH

    obama lived abroad about 1/4 his life... he would be great for international affairs.

    July 27, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. Steve Wittlake Blaine Washington

    Anyone who thinks a Democratic ticket including either Clinton or Obama could carry the South has never resided in the South and needs do some research.

    July 27, 2007 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. kansas city, MO

    I think that Ms. Clinton's is contradicting herself by saying that she does not want to rush to meetings but she is not afraid of diplomacy. I think that the attitude of our leaders that they are above or better than all the others is one of the main causes of hatred to the US around the world. It is the responsible and brave thing to do to meet other leaders whether they agree with us or not.

    July 27, 2007 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. Brenda; Annapolis, MD

    The American people–you've got to appreciate our diversity. However, some of you are completely nuts. Do you not recall that the majority of the people supported the Iraq War in the beginning. You personally might not have, but the majority of this country did. As an elected representative of the people, Clinton cast her vote for the War (in 2003, Obama was not a part of the U.S. Senate. He was still a state senator. As a state senator, you don't carry the leveridge of a U.S. senator. His vote was not a vote.). Had she not voted for the war, she would have been chastised for it; much like she is being chastised now. You people are putting these politicians in impossible positions at times. They don't obtain superpowers–they can't see into the future, they can't take us back to the past, and they are HUMAN.

    Do I think Obama made a sound comment? No. He didn't. Educate yourselves about the political system. Diplomacy is great. We need more of it–which Clinton advocates. However, the country can't be put in jeopary. So what do you do? Clinton isn't saying no to diplomacy–she's saying we have to be prepared. Obama is saying, "who needs preparation?" Unfortunately for Obama he had to answer that question first and without getting a chance to think about it. Fortunately for Clinton, Obama had to answer that question before she did.

    July 27, 2007 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. AZ Jersey City, NJ

    Hillary is starting to show her true colors. For as intelligent as we presumed her to be, she is starting to prove otherwise. Using belittling language like 'naive' and 'silly' is unnecessary and lacking weight in political discourse. In fact, it is a very Republican response. So, Obama was correct in calling her Bush-Cheney light. I have always thought of Hillary as a moderate Republican. It is easy for these types to transition onto the Democrat side because they don't have to changed their stripes.

    It seems like the mud slinging has come after some election outcome conversations. Meaning, if Hillary wins would Obama accept the VP position. He must have finally decided that he didn't want to. Now, the fight for first is on.

    OBAMA '08!!!

    July 27, 2007 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. Michael, Minneapolis, MN

    Hillary is demonstrating that she is the voice of experience, something we really need at this complex time in our history. Obama is just not there yet.

    July 27, 2007 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. Suma John Bettlach Solothurn

    My question to Mrs. Clinton (The WAR lady) is this.

    What are the causes of WAR?

    Arrogant characters just like the one
    she posses.

    She is not worthy a leader.

    A true leader must be humble not arrogant.

    Suma John


    July 27, 2007 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  12. Stuart, chicago

    Does living abroad really give you insight to foreign affairs. I can see how you can get a different view of the U.S. by living aboard but unless he was involved politically I don't understand how this would give someone an expertise on foreign affairs. Lot's of rich kids get sent overseas to study or live overseas because of their parents employment. While I do agree this will give you a different perspective on U.S. politics I don't understand unless you where involved in diplomacy in someway how this gives you insight to being a better President.

    July 27, 2007 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  13. Eustace, New York, NY

    Please take a look at the YouTube Video. It highlights why Hillary Clinton has a problem. She went on the offensive and with no good reason...while doing it she showcased why she would not be a good president. This is a story worth covering. Historical precedent has shown that talking forcefully and frankly with opposing leaders can be positive. How did the cold war end? Why did Nixon go to China? Why was the UN created? It takes a forceful and unconditional approach to solve world problems.What the Hillary CLinton campaign is acting like is analogous to a child wanting to be spoon fed. Obama's answer was right. Hillary's was one of a perpetuation of a foreign policy that has been counterproductive. People need to realise that she is wrong for the job. The question asked if one would be willing to, Obama said Yes and Clinton said no. When you have a candidate that says no to willingness to resolve world problems, it indicates that she has little faith in interaction and dialogue at any level of governance.

    Please see the link below


    July 27, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  14. John, Salt Lake City, Utah

    I think they both made pretty big fools of themselves. All this childish bickering is enough to drive me crazy. I am switching my vote to the Republican side.

    July 27, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  15. Ron, Honolulu HI

    “I don’t want to see the power and prestige of the United States president put at risk by rushing into meetings"

    After eight years of Bush how do you think the world sees the power and prestige of the president? We need to try some tactics that will erease the knuckle dragging bully image created by the current administration.

    July 27, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. jeff austin tejas

    obama is certainly on point with those comments. it can be said with a fair amount of accuracy that the clintons are wolves in sheeps clothing and offer very little in terms of real democratic ideals. the irony however is that no matter how "bush/cheney light" the clintons actually are, the conservative base has a hatred so deep for these two that the polorizing effect they generate will inevitably be the death of them at the polls. i have lived in the south and I can honestly say that no figure in politics today, produces more contempt and ill will that HRClinton. if she wins the Democratic nod, it will be the death of the democratic resurgence.

    July 27, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  17. Daniel, Pittsburgh, PA

    “I don’t want to see the power and prestige of the United States president put at risk by rushing into meetings”

    If Hillary sees the power and prestige of the United States "people" rather than her prestige then she will agree with Obama.

    I agree with Ron, there is need to change tact. The next American president can decide to "save their face" or "save lives". Be with the Corporate world or with the people.
    We all know where Clinton and Obama belong in this divide.

    July 27, 2007 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  18. Anonymous

    You guys are all brainwashed. You also are going to vote. Sometimes I wish the end would already come.

    July 27, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  19. Pavan, Los Angeles, CA

    I am not yet sure who is better – Clinton or Obama. However, I can't say Obama's reply was the smartest. I have never heard of any country's Prime Minister or President meeting with the head of a country they are at loggerheads with, without prior meetings between the respective lower-ranked dignitaries. It just doesn't seem prudent enough for a President of the USA to meet tomorrow with, say, Ahmedinejad of Iran when the latter is an outright US hater and Jew hater. What does Obama aim to accomplish from such a sudden meeting? It would just send the wrong signals to the allies of the US. Wouldn't it be better to first send the secretary of state or the defense secretary to hold some primary-level talks and prepare the foundation for the talks between the two Presidents? Is it worthwhile for a US President to jeopardize relations with US' allies by holding a sudden meeting like what Obama is suggesting? He should be following the political protocols. Most comments on the board here seem too naive!

    And to all the naysayers of Clinton who claim she is evil, sleeping with the devil, she is cold-hearted etc, it would be better for everybody if you provide some evidence to back those ridiculous claims.

    July 27, 2007 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  20. Joseph Seely Sandy Utah

    i dont understand why any body would want this flip flopping lady to run our country, her husband sucked so why would she do any better? i dont think any of these democrats have any morals, so why would you vote them in? i really think that Mitt Romney is the best choise for our country..

    July 27, 2007 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  21. Craig form her NY home town, New York

    Well we HOPE that Mrs.Clinton is taken to task for practicing the Bush Doctrine, Act then ask questions later. Is'nt she kind of late having given Bush the Authorization to go to war without inquiring an exit strategy then? She should practice the Powell doctrine. She dropped the ball in her Vote so now she has to own it even if she does not become the next President of the United States. We need politicians with integrity. She may be bit lacking

    July 27, 2007 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  22. Kris, Minneapolis, MN

    People need to STOP taking about Hillary and Obama and START talking about the Dem's running for president that have a chance. Maybe Biden should give and interview bashing Dodd, and Dodd could make a remark about Richardson, and Gravel could announce he will run for vp on any ones ticket, and Kucinich could go Independent, that would make some news, oh, wait no it wouldn't Rupert Murdoch owns the news. Darn

    July 27, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  23. Vince, L.A., CA

    You know Janet....your comment tells me that you have been waiting for ANY excuse to dismiss Obama and justify your decision to back Hillary. That tells me the ONLY reason you're backing her is because she's a woman. Her stance on not meeting with the enemy is MOST DEFINATELY Bush-Cheney Light....get a clue!! I love Bill Clinton more than anything...but Hillary Clinton AINT NO BILL!!!

    July 27, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  24. La'Goro, Albany, NY

    John from Worthington, OH writes:
    "obama lived abroad about 1/4 his life… he would be great for international affairs".

    John, I pity Obama if he has to resort to voters who understand and define him like you. Incredible that living abroad for many years tantamounts to experience in international affairs – and Obama was just a kid then.

    July 27, 2007 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  25. John S. Chicago, Illinois

    What is silly is that UGLY BANANA COLORED 60's frock. I also believe that is the exact same hairdo that Kevin Bacon was sporting in the first Tremors movie from 1990. Symbolic of her outdated, oldschool, political mindframe? You bet. Someone get this old lady a new douchebag cause she is stinking up the joint with her pettiness and her pathetic attempts to discredit Obama are also what is making her look silly.

    July 27, 2007 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
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