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. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    I believe the past few days have demonstrated EXACTLY the kind of person Hillary Clinton is. FIRST, the day after the debate she goes on the offensive against Obama for one of his answers during the debate (an answer that was favored by a large percentage of the public). She calls him "naive" and "inexperienced." SECOND, after he defends his statement and comes back asserting that Hillary was the naive one for her complete support for the Iraq war and her hesitancy to stand up against the Bush administration until she knew for sure that she had the needed public support, she then has the gaul to act like she wasn't the one who started it. She starts bashing Obama for not being positive!

    This is a PERFECT example of the kind of person Hillary CLinton is. A vindictive, political opportunist who will do ANYTHING to get elected. I sure hope the American public is wise enough to see it. Based on her unprecedented negative ratings I would say that the American people are seeing through it just fine.

    July 27, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. Josh, Bryan Ohio

    As an independent voter who has recently voted Republican I find myself likely to vote for the Democratic nominee this time around. That being said, Republicans should pull for Hillary Clinton to win the nomination as I will almost certainly vote Republican should that be the case.

    Obama gave a direct and honest answer. While never conceding to foreign nations, it nonetheless makes no sense to rule out meeting with leaders from the outset.

    Most voters I feel are sick of Bush and Clinton and we've had one or the other, in some form, in the office for 20 years!

    July 27, 2007 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  3. John, Worthington, OH

    "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."

    Posted By La’Goro, Albany, NY : July 27, 2007 2:13 pm

    No. it does not constitute experience per se... but it does give Obama a lot more insight into how the rest of the world percieves our country...which quite frankly, is not very well. His childhood experiences are something he can always draw upon.

    July 27, 2007 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  4. Mark Seward, Burlingame, CA

    The only precondition to speaking with any leader of any country whether they disagree with us or not should be - knowing the phone number.

    All this talk about low level meetings and pre-conditions is what is silly and so 'cold-war-old-school'. Other countries will use any contact for their own political theater no matter how much pre-planning is done. This first also sends a message that we "fear" meeting or speaking with certain leaders, or worse, the the US has a superiority complex.

    July 27, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. Edward, Los Angeles, California

    Should Mrs. Clinton be elected President, other than that of First Husband, what will her former President husband's role be in shaping our nation and the world? Will he step aside and just be "First Husband" and let her make choices/decisions based on her own judgment and experience? Like a wife doesn't tesfify against a husband in court, I think NOT. Hence,will this be the second three-term Presidency in our Nation's history? Is Mrs. Clinton's experience including that of her husband's? Food for thought!

    July 27, 2007 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  6. Taka, Windhoek, NAMIBIA

    It makes no difference whether engagement of an "enemy" is at the level of an undersecretary or president if the objective is to genuinely make a significant change. It only makes a difference if the objective is to not "lose face" or to "take the credit". A President's ambition should not be to avert the creation of new foreign press caricatures which is an occupational hazard.

    What good would it do to engage in a campaign to make peace late in your term of office. Admittedly it may be a long drawn out process and the substantive steps that must be effected are best overseen by the sitting President as opposed to the next President who may not exert ownership of the initiative. No-one can set a program of action on how long it takes to resolve a crisis with other adults. That would be immature, naive, irresponsible and presumptive.

    Akilok, if your theory that only Obama supporters posted in daylight hours made any sense then why are you suporting Hilary between 10:23 and 11:24 A.M. ?

    Whilst not completely agreeing with Charlie's 11:52 post that America is the biggest perpetrator of terrorism in the world his post brings home the point that America has varied its unflinching square-jawed defiance of engaging with supposed rogue/terrorist states when the "price is right".

    Don't disparage Obama for suggesting to do the simple and obvious things, which children and adults and some Presidents understand. Meeting an enemy is in no means an endorsement. Mark Seward's post is very correct about avoiding an old-school-cold-war scenario. To support John from Worthington every positive international experience and trait and origin that you can draw from will eventually improve one's ability to have a worldy outlook. But as one person mentioned the domestic policy should probably be the foremost consideration in the minds of your voters.

    July 27, 2007 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  7. Robert, Edwards AFB, CA

    Hey Akilok,

    before you start deriding other people for being 'unintelligent', you might want to hop off your high horse and check your spelling. It's capiche or capisce.

    July 27, 2007 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  8. Vince Los Angeles, CA

    What I find absolutley amazing is the people supporting Hillary Clinton seem to be mired in "the way things SHOULD be done".....ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? Why shouldn't we meet with enemy leaders without preconditions??? Exactly HOW would that be used for propoganda???? We are going to hold out a meeting with the U.S. president as a carrot for enemy leaders to do what we want??????? HOW WELL HAS THAT WORKED IN THE PAST?????? You HRC supporters are the very reason the U.S. is screwed up today....you people have no vision, can't think OUTSIDE THE BOX and are comfortable with the status quo....Hillary Clinton is not Bill Clinton....OBAMA '08

    July 27, 2007 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  9. Stuart, chicago

    These post are soooo crazy. I cant believe that people are just attacking Hillary without any facts. The same thing with Obama. Look he said he would commit 1 and ½ years before the election to meeting with the 5 leaders of different countries and Clinton said you can not make that kind of commitment this far in advance.

    Go back and watch both of their responses. While I like Obama too me this shows inexperience he doesn't understand the job of President yet. I bet if he does get elected he will realize how impossible it is to predict 1 and ½ years in the future let alone what is going to happen next month. This kind of reminds me of Cindy Sheena's pledge to run again Nancy Pelosi if she does not impeach the President. While I support Cindy and she has ever right to run for office if she is elected she will find out that Washington will not bend to her will.

    People have this idea that new candidates are going to change the way Washington works when all that is going to happen if Obama is elected is he will learn that it is unwise to commit to meeting with 5 leaders 1 and ½ before he even got the job during his first year in office. He will learn what Hillary Clinton already knows.

    Also I liked the posting for Mitt Romney. Someone said that Hillary is a flip flopper and we should vote for Romney. thats rich. Romney is the biggest flip flopper on either side of the ticket. At least Rudy is holding true to his beliefs.

    July 27, 2007 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  10. Simeon, Indianapolis, IN

    This so called "spat" started when Ms. Clinton called Mr. Obama's comment on the diplomacy question, naive and irresponsible. Why didn't CNN cover that "spat"? This so called experience that Ms. Clinton claims to have is because of being a wife of a president for 8 yrs? Does a wife of a president make executive decisions?
    Nobody would have voted for Bill Clinton against George Herbert Walker Bush if experience and caution were the only values that mattered. To end an era of stagnation and decline, our newly elected policymakers will need a touch of audacity, too.

    July 27, 2007 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  11. Edward, Los Angeles, California

    Reading the plethora of comments in this Blog, it is once again affirmed, that with all the faults this great Nation may have, I believe it is the best system in the World! Having been born in a Communist country; controlled by a Tyrant(s), I say May God Always Bless America and may we always value and protect our Country!

    July 27, 2007 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. John Reading

    It is pretty simple. Obama has not been around long enough to have the corporate support to get into office. VOTERS cannot get you into office. Its the ELECTORAL COLLEGE. For example, Al gore won the popular vote but the electoral college put him on the skids. Let Hillary in...she at least is a woman.

    July 27, 2007 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  13. Al Villa

    I just read some of the rediculous comments on both sides. That is what turns people off politics. The media takes comments out of context and starts sensationalizing them to create news for better ratings. The idiots, swallow the bait, get excited and start acting like real dopes. We all know the candidates records. Why not just listen to the debates and make your own decision, instead of the rediculous remarks. Any of these fine candidates would be a better choice than any Republican. I happen to like Hilary. I also like Richardson, Edwards would be fine and Obama would be all right. But Hilary is my first choice. Make your choice and quit trying to smear any of these fine people.

    July 27, 2007 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  14. Daniel, Pittsburgh, PA

    Is Hillary willing to meet these guys in the 1st year. NO. Whats lacking here is the "will".
    Anyway, if Hillary is going to call these guys names like "naive" and "silly", then she definately needs more than 1 and 1/2 years to do ground work and heal wounds.
    Name calling and bad blood between two presidents rather than fundamental issues is the biggest stumbling block currently facing Amerca's effort to resolve world crises with these rogue nations.

    July 27, 2007 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  15. Jordan, NY NY


    Your comment: "To me, it shows that Obama supporters are the lazy, remote-control flicking, chip snacking no-gooders of WELFARE receipients who spend their time on tvs. and browsing the web with no intellectual ability to analyze, then tired, they retire in the evening."

    I don't know but it sounds like you are trying to make a stereotype of people who support Obama. This isn't very liberal or progressive. Then I recall how Hillary and Edwards discuss how to cut down the debates but leave Obama out of the conversation.

    Hummm.....I could be jumping to conclusions but it sounds like some may not be ready for a black President...

    July 27, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  16. Skip. NC

    A note Jonathan, Obama did not vote against the war, he was not even in Congress at the time of the vote. Obama says that "he was against the war from the start", but there is not any public record to varify the statement. It is possible that he has been against the war from the start, but he was not on the spot to vote against it.

    Obama does not have the experience to be President; most of the canidates have more experience than he will ever have. Obama does not have the expirience in fighting the big insurance and drug companies, and winning I may add, than John Edwards. Obama also is misleading when he speaks, in the Bush in 2000 tradition. He is spilting hairs when he says he hasn't taken money from PAC's and special interest groups.

    Obama will lose, be a do nothing Senator for a few years, and then quietly fade away.

    July 27, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  17. David, Los Angeles, CA

    I see why so many people like Obama - they are as naive and immature as he is. Mrs. Clinton should practice the Powell doctrine? Yes, let's get in front of the UN and give a big long lying speech about about how Iraq has WMDs. This is what passes for integrity in the minds of Obama voters.

    It is easy for Obama to criticize when he wasn't even in the Senate when the war votes were cast. Here's a guy who has never had to made a tough national decision in his life, and he wants to be President? Please.

    I was no fan of Bill, but Hillary looks more and more qualified every day. The more people attack her baselessly, the more sympathetic she looks.

    July 27, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  18. Christian, Boston, MA

    The sad fact is that Hillary Clinton is no better than George Bush. She is clealy living in a Cold War Mentality! JFK said many years ago "Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate" We are in desperate need of a president who understands that principle. Even Richard Nixon understood the value of communication with nations we have differences with (his visit to China in 1972) It befuddles me to think that we are considersing Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Nomination. She never takes a position on anything, everything she says has qualifiers in it. Now, I ask you, is that leadership? Don't even get me started on her disingenous explanation for her Iraq war vote. Go Obama, Go!

    July 27, 2007 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  19. Kevin NH

    FOX news must be licking their chops. They think Hillary will win the nomination so that they can make more money off of the Clintons like they did in the 90's. No wonder Rupert Murdoch is holding fundraisers for Clinton. He knows his investment is going to pay back 20 fold if all goes according to plan. Problem is...For all the positive coverage the media has afforded Clinton so far, The people are hungry for change this time. No more Bush- Clinton

    July 27, 2007 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  20. Richard, Austin, Texas

    Hillary and Obama are both basing their campaign on withdrawing from Iraq. They both like the fact that Iraq can keep the invasion into our nation and rewards for the invaders on the back burner because like, Bush and all the Media identified "front runners", want amnesty for illegals. Hopefully all Americans will reject them both as well as the republicans the media are pushing. We do not need clones of Bush on immigration. Everyone should change to Independent and demand our next president cares about the American people and reject the Greed factor and their lobbyist.

    Obama at least showed his true colors by saying he was happy with the Hazelton Pa ruling while just hides her opinion behind that devious smile.

    July 27, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  21. McEmtol Fat, Lagos, Nigeria.

    Hello all, I am not an american but a serious lover of the america nation. I have been opportuned to travel relatively across the world and have met with people of various nationalities. One thing that stands clearly out is the deep hatred people have for america. The next america president must work on improving the national image of america. America is a great nation but her giant status in today's world is not an excuse to determine how and what other nations should do. that is why we have an institution called the UN. The UN then was against this war so the question is why would america insist other nations must do what the UN says but not herself.

    Since I am not a stakeholder in your country's election. i have wathced the debate and have found Joe Biden wonderful. Edwards is equally fantastic. I have loved Obama's outing and have got nothing against Hillary Clinton.I think Obama's candour and sincere answers to questions is a great quality. I have always admired Clinton's position on stage whenever she talked about other candidates but she fell far from this in the last interview she granted. My question was such comments and action a stage show? I recommend strongly Joe Biden...but I think this great country should give Barack Obama a chance.

    July 27, 2007 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  22. Josh, Chicago, IL

    Obama "voted against it?" In what Senate?

    Certainly not the national Senate, where IT MATTERED.

    Obama's voting record is IDENTICAL to Hillary Clinton; anyone assuming he'd have voted differently while under a National spotlight, after 9/11 is naive.

    July 28, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    On immigration they are both Bush-Cheney.

    July 28, 2007 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |

    Obama was not a Senator when the vote took place, the question is: Why is he attacking other senators for supporting an itervention with IRAQ based on what they were told! It is better to be safe than sorry? I believe the Media and the people are missing the BIG picture...WHY DID OBAMA NOT SUPPORT A MILITARY INTERVENTION WITH A COUNTRY THAT HAD POSSIBLE WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION? Today based on what we have LEARNED, we now know that there were no WMD, but then we did not know that and he is clearing stating that he has been against this war from the beginning? Why? If there had of been WMD he would have gotten us attacked and possibly killed for not supporting a military intervention! I cannot vote for any candidate that DID NOT support this war...yes now we need to conclude the war as it was started on falsehoods...however at the time NO ONE KNEW THIS! Instead of attacking the SENATORS that supported keeping us safe...we need to be attacking the SENATORS that actually want us to believe that thru (I guess their ESP) that they knew there were NO WMD...NO ONE knew that and I praise the Senators that voted for intervention as they were Prepared and I am sorry..but...experienced enough to make the best choice for our national safety!

    July 28, 2007 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. Michael James - East Peoria, Illinois

    Why do so many people think Clinton is the most electable democrat? A great number of people absolutely loathe her and if she is the nominee, the Republican base will turn out in droves to defeat her. Also, be ready to revisit every scandal there ever was related to the Clintons. Whitewater, the travel office firings, Hillary's billing records from the Rose Law Firm. Just think "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" to the tenth power. She is not inevitable and she is, frankly, not as electable as a lot of people seem to think.

    Obama is the most dangerous threat to her being the nominee, as well as the most electable Democrat in the general election. He appeals to a broad spectrum of people, has many Republican colleagues who speak highly of him and there is no doubt he would have a landslide vote from the black community. Thus, Hillary is going to attack him whenever she thinks she has an opening.

    The main worry for Obama is the fact that there are so many other candidates splitting the anti-Hillary vote. He needs to point out her flaws without seeming like just another politician, which is certainly a tricky task, but I think he is up to the task. Also, I wouldn't put too much stock in who is leading the national polls at this point. Howard Dean was looking pretty good at a similar point in the cycle.

    The bottome line is that Obama should have more money to spend in the primary than anyone else, so once we start getting to the stage where TV ads really start making a difference, he should be able to come out on top. In addition to having more money, he also has the superior message and superior leadership skills, at least voters should reach that conclusion if they take the time to study the issues rather than rely on sound byte politics and believing everything Hillary says.

    July 28, 2007 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
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