July 27th, 2007
10:47 AM ET
3 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. Mark, Virginia

    God help us if this hillary becomes the nomine. I rather vote for an alien before I vote another Clinton into power. She is such a cold-calculated person who will sleep with the devil just to get her way

    July 26, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. Thomas NY

    Clinton is obvously nervous about Obama. She is leading him in the polls so why even acknowledge him now? clearly Obama has her number. President Kennedy once said, "Don't be afraid too look your enemies in the eye" Obama is right. He demonstrates leadership and bravery, not cowardiness from Sen.Clinton. I am now switching my support to Obama.

    July 26, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  3. Todd, Richmond, VA

    Obama's answer was scary. Diplomacy 101 dictates exactly when to meet with rogue leaders, and Hillary got the question correct. Obama did not, and his attempts to keep justifying his answer are getting more and more twisted. He messed up, he knows it, Hillary called him on it, and quite frankly, his inability to admit a mistake shows a huge character issue for me. I hope she picks Mark Warner (D-Va)as her running mate, which I suspect she'll do since she called Obama "naive and inexperienced." That tells me that she and Bill have already decided not to pick Obama if she gets the nomination–because those carefully calculated comments would come back to bite her if she did pick him. So, he's out. Thankfully. He's all style and no substance, much like his followers.

    July 26, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  4. Ryan, New York, NY

    Why is CNN misrepresenting the comment and trying to further this dispute? Wasn't Obama's statement “I’m happy to look them in the eyes and say what needs to be said… I don’t want Bush-Cheney Light.”?

    I don't know where CNN and others are inferring that he said that Hillary is Bush-Cheney Light. The most that can be inferred is that he was saying that her METHOD of diplomacy is a light version of Bush-Cheney's, not that she, HERSELF, is a junior version of them.

    CNN did a poor job at the telephone game this time around.

    July 26, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  5. Alex - Kennewick, WA

    Hillary needs to take some midol – she's the one who started pushing this after the debate.

    July 26, 2007 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  6. Eduardo, Los Angeles, California

    Mr. Obama your are naive! Look at the enemy in the eyes and what? Bow to their unreasonable or undemocratic views, policies and/or demands? The Result will the same, an "Impasse," if you stand for Democracy and may I add not only for the benefit and welfare of your country but that of the free World!

    July 26, 2007 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  7. Ally, Portland, OR

    So Obama is just supposed to sit back and not respond to attack from Hillary? It is ridiculous to insult someone and then act so surprised when that person reacts. Shame on you Hillary for trying to act so innocent here. This type of behavior is why I will not be voting for her.

    July 26, 2007 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  8. Jonathan

    chris,
    I should have said he objected to the Irak war from the beginning while Hilary voted for it. Please go to this link to see what Hill had to say about the IRAK war.
    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYATbsu2cP8&w=640&h=390]

    July 26, 2007 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  9. JC, Baltimore, Maryland

    Look, clearly he was baited. The trap was set even before the debate began. The politics of hope comment here just confirms it. Obama gets better or equal marks coming out of the debate and what happens?....Team Hillary makes a decision to throw some cold water by calling him naive. Who can blame them? So Obama hits back, and, presto!, incredulously, Clinton wonders what happened to her opponent's signature theme, hope. Good question. What will happen to the politics of hope if she gets elected? The elegant machinations of the Clinton communications team confirm at least one thing: she is a pro. But Hillary's campaign is so concerned with winning the election that I fear they have lost touch with what the average citizen is going through. With jobs and work and school and bills and marriages and children and retirement and making ends meet all along the way, who among us has time for this kind of theatrics? This is precisely why people hate politicians so much. After this kind of campaign is the country is going to wake up on Jan. 21 elated and united behind Hillary Clinton? Anyone following the debate in Congress over the past 6 months and the continued gridlock that it has produced has to admit, even if grudgingly, that 4 more years of discord won't be a good thing for this country. If this election cycle tells us anything, it's that people are fed up with the bitter tit-for-tat that passes for politics in this country. People voted for Bush because they trusted his promise to be a compassionate conservative. Insiders may call them naive in hindsight, but I believe the majority of American people were right to expect leadership from their leaders. My advice to the Obama camp would be to let it go, to rise above the fray, to find issues that will force the other candidates to follow his lead, messages that resonate with Americans that are real attainable solutions to problems, that tackle immigration, and national security, insurance, agriculture, and the economy abortion, race relations honestly and fairly without the endless triangulations that only work until the next election. People in this country are losing their jobs, their farms, their dignity, the chance to make a better life for their children, their sons and daughters. They deserve something more than the stage directions from the Clinton war room.

    July 26, 2007 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  10. Ben Orono, ME

    For the last time, for all those who say "Obama did not vote against the war, he wasn't in the Senate". However, HE SPOKE OUT AGAINST THE WAR WHILE IN ILLINOIS AND SAID HE WOULD HAVE VOTED AS DICK DURBIN VOTED.

    Hillary broke out the slime first, and then when Obama merely raises a counter-point, Hillary lies and says he has abandoned "hope". Hillary is Bush-lite, engaging in dishonest debate and assaulting straw-men.

    July 26, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  11. Pat, Raleigh, NC

    I've thought long and hard about Hillary Clinton as President and, although I admire her for her early attempts to overhaul our miserably failing health care system, I also realize that she represents "more of the same" point of view regarding much that has gone terribly wrong with our nation. She is too unwilling to bring ALL the troops home from this immoral and corrupt war and too willing to support using them to maintain long-term American "settlements" in Iraq and elsewhere in the Middle East. Equally importantly, I cannot imagine she would even attempt to solve the problems of our lost jobs and industry and the disastrous IMBALANCE of trade, since they began with her husband's espousal of NAFTA! Me MUST solve these problems, dump the Free Trade Agreements, end trade with China and other cut rate, low quality producers of cheap, unsafe goods, and make a heroic attempt to return to self-sufficiency. If we fail in this, frankly the soul of America will be lost for good. You can't have a democracy without a thriving middle class and you can't have a thriving middle class without industry and jobs. If this does not change SOON, we will have a massive depression and a new set of foreign masters to control our lives.
    On both of these important counts, yes . . . I do indeed see her as "Bush-Cheney Light". We need MASSIVE CHANGE right now . . . the old corrupt guard (both Republican AND Democrat) must GO! This country needs new leaders who have the credibility to inspire Americans to retake control of this country, to assume responsibility for its problems, and to stand up and correct them no matter what sacrifices are necessary to do so. I simply do not feel Hillary has the credibility to inspire Americans to make and support the hard choices that face us as a nation. We need a new leader/President with the moral authority to spearhead this effort. Someone who is capable of reestablishing the trust and good faith Americans must have in their government to be willing to follow its lead. I'm a baby boomer female . . . one of Hillary's peers . . . and I'd love to see a woman become President of this country . . . but it can't be Hillary Clinton. At this point in time, I'd jump at the chance to vote for a ticket of Edwards/Obama or Obama/Edwards with, dreamer that I am, Al Gore named to head a re-energized, revamped, fully funded Environmental Protection Agency. That just might give us a chance to turn things around and reclaim that great potential and leadership this nation displayed roughly 30 years ago.

    July 26, 2007 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  12. Sandra, New York, NY

    Of course Obama didn't vote for the war–he was too busy making money off of his memoirs about how he did cocaine, and running back to pay parking tickets that he never paid when he decided to run. Great character and leadership!

    July 26, 2007 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  13. Mike, Cleveland, Ohio

    Go get 'em President Hillary Clinton. You are and charge and take it nice and steady. You now have MY vote.

    July 26, 2007 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  14. Touley S, Lowell MA

    What happen to the politics of hope.? Why is Obama always going back to 2002 vote?. He was against the war, because most of Iraqees are muslims. If 2002 happened to be North Korea, He wouldn't have any issued.

    July 26, 2007 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  15. Yadgyu, Harkeyville, TX

    Liberals are the scourge of the Earth.

    July 26, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  16. Fed up American

    This is precisely why the US needs a third major party. Clearly, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats can do the job.

    July 26, 2007 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  17. Marcia, San Diego, CA

    Maybe Sen Clinton said "no" about a meeting because she recognizes her own limitations.

    July 26, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  18. BERNARD, SCOTCH PLAINS NJ

    Hillary is such a politician, want to start a fight, then make it seem like someone elses fault, Obama all the way, tired of the same OLD tired politics Hillary!

    July 26, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  19. South Carolina, the 1st Southern Primary

    Most Democrats are not much better than the Repubs... HRH Hillary being the prime example.

    There are a few exceptions to the above statement ... like Obama, Edwards, and Kucinich (possibly Biden).

    The Repubs are an accident waiting to happen, and HRH Hillary is on the side of the road with her hood open, waiting for help, from anyone.

    Obama is a caring individual who is being forced to play the game of politics, just to get in a position to clean up the mess Bush and his cronies have made.

    Obama means hope. Obama means change. Obama is the future of America. He may have to get his hands abit soiled just to get TO the West Wing, but his integrity will win out.

    Obama will BE the next US President, and a damn good one at that !!

    July 26, 2007 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  20. Jenny. Gainesville, FL

    Obama raised a valid question and it is Hillary's turn to explain how she is different from the Bush Administration. Instead, she used name-calling like "silly." It was "silly" to call a fellow presidential colleague "irresponsible and naive" when there are perceived differences, in fact, a "fabricated controversy."

    July 26, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  21. Dave, Evergreen, CO

    OK, let me get this straight Mrs. Clinton. You criti starts criticize Obama for his answer in the debate, then find out most Democrats, if not most Americans, feel his response was the right direction, and now you are calling the whole thing "silly"?

    It's called leadership Madam Senator. Obama has it – you don't.

    July 26, 2007 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  22. Mel, Australia

    If you care about your reputation around the world (which is pretty bad at the moment), the last thing the US needs is another president who thinks he/she is too good to meet with other world leaders.

    July 26, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  23. L.Maron, Culver City, CA.

    Obama has been striking at Hillary for 3 weeks now way before any of this started...She has been restrained and easy on the poor guy...now she strikes back and he freaks out into a hissy fit- He’s acting like a silly girl-Hillary seems more mature on the whole matter-And to refer to a fellow democrat as Bush-Cheney like-is a HUGE mistake to do with democratic voters. This guy won't last long on the national stage...he doesn't know how....

    July 26, 2007 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  24. Sam, Dublin, Ca

    When we have asked our soldiers to put their lives on the line to defend Ameica, I don't see any reason for the commander-in-chief NOT to talk to a bad guy face to face and lay down our terms. I think Obama's answer in this case shows courageous leadership away from the status quo and I welcome that.

    July 26, 2007 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  25. Eduardo, Los Angeles, CA

    If I recall correctly, did we not go to war against Iraq based on the available information this country had on said nation in 2001 (primarily from the Clinton Administration)and by various national and international world agencies at the time?

    July 26, 2007 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
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