July 27th, 2007
10:47 AM ET
4 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. timmy dallas tx

    These twist and spin tactics don't wash with me at all. Obama gave a straight answer - something that someone who never told the truth when a lie would suffice cannot see as anything but an opportunity as a cheap attack.

    Kucinich, in the South Carolina debate, said: "Furthermore, I don't think that it's sufficient to say that if we had the information at the beginning that we would have voted differently.

    That information was available to everyone. And, if you made the wrong choice, we're auditioning here for president of the United States. People have to see who had the judgment and the wisdom not to go to war in the first place, and I made the choice not to go to war."

    Kucinich can spot a phony when he sees one. I think Barack Obama can, too. That's why I'd trust him with foreign relations long before I'd be willing to give control of the FBI to Hillary Clinton.

    Bush has been running a policy of fear and scare tactics to take away our civil liberties in every facet of life. He now issues National Security "lettres de cachet" as an imperial prince. Can Hillary be trusted to roll back these unconstitutional powers? Hardly. Just like Obama's straight answer, she'd only see this as another opportunistic chance to grab power and list her enemies.

    Not only Bush lite, this woman is Nixon-lite, too.

    July 26, 2007 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  2. DJ, Los Angeles, CA

    I agree with Neil...it is insulting that Hillary is considered the front runner, as she is nothing more than a bully always looking to stir-up controversy and get her sound-bytes on the news.

    She has been that way all the way back to '92 when Bill was in the primaries against Jerry Brown. Back then she did the same thing.

    Obama is right...we need to move forward and pick a new candidate of change. Especially someone not afraid to use diplomacy. P.R. Wars have worked very well in the past. It can work again in the future.

    July 26, 2007 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  3. Ryan, Oak Hill WV

    I agree with Senator Clinton. We should not degrade the authority of the presidency by being open to propaganda purposes. If Obama is elected that is exactly what he will be used for. Also, if Obama is running on a nice, clean, fresh platform he should start looking for it again.

    July 26, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  4. oklabubba, tulsa, ok

    Spin your wheels Barack...you aren't going anywhere.

    July 26, 2007 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  5. Susan, Flemington, NJ

    I have always been a Clinton supporter. Used to like Obama, although I don't think he's ready for "prime time" just yet. Would have considered a Clinton-Obama ticket, however, until now. There are nuances for leadership that are important. Clinton never said she wouldn't sit down with these leaders, just that she would not commit to doing so the first year without knowing very important details. She has always said she would have a strong diplomacy policy to open lines of communication, and never once subscribed to anything near the policy of Bush and Cheney. Sorry, but Obama's blanket statement is naive for a presidential candidate and his attack on Clinton is a real stretch of the truth.

    July 26, 2007 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  6. Adam Frazier, San Antonio, TX

    Obama has it right here. We have to stop isolating ourselves from countries that we do not see eye to eye with. The abscence of dialouge between the United States and our "enemies" only breeds contempt, hatred and misunderstanding. This course of action has been shown to be flawed throughout history.

    July 26, 2007 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  7. Touley S, Lowell MA

    To all those people who thinks Hillary started this, it's not true. Go back to the CNN debate and checked out the part where Obama cut off Hillary when she mentioned the withdraw plans from the Pentagon. Yes, she did vote for the War and so what almost every senators voted for it.

    July 26, 2007 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  8. A. Thomas, New York, NY

    Obama is silly and naive, and he shares the naivety of George Bush when he didn't know the name of a foreign country when asked by a reportor during his first election.

    Obama is now desperate and red-faced because his comment on meeting with foreign dictators has exposed his inexperience to international protocol and politics, in comparision to Hillary's. After George Bush's fiasco bankrupting the american reputation abroad, america needs someone strong in international politics, and Hillary is a strong one of the democratic candidates.

    Distance may lend enchantment; but all that glitters may not be gold. The fact is that Obama is new, inexperienced, untested, fluffy, and a monday-nite quarterback. God bless america if he gets nominated and elected.

    Hillary rocks!

    July 26, 2007 10:15 pm at 10:15 pm |
  9. Rex, Toledo, Ohio

    I cannot believe that any of you would vote for either one of them. Why is that we Americans keep making the same mistakes over and over again. Why on earth would you even consider voting for Hillary Clinton, let alone Obama. Folks, these people are puppets, just like the goon that runs the country now. I truly hoped that America was indeed ready for change, but you all watch this fiasco like a bunch of bar flies watching Big Brother.
    Check the issues, and then, after all the rhetoric has cleared, give your vote to a real Constitutionalist-Dr. Ron Paul.

    July 26, 2007 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  10. A. Thomas, New York, NY

    OBama is naive and silly, because his comments on meeting with foreing dictators reminds me of George Bush when he could not name a foreign country when asked by a reported during his first election.

    Obma is now red faced and desperate in attacking Hillary because that shows clearly to the democractic and american voters of his inexperience in international protocols and polictics.

    Distance lends enchantment, but all that glitters may not be gold. The fact is that Obama is comparatively new in federal and international politics. He has lots to learn, and we should not have another George Bush who was (and still is) silly and naive in international and domestic politics.

    July 26, 2007 10:24 pm at 10:24 pm |
  11. Gavin, Merrillville

    Barry Obama: such a NAIVE, silly little inexperienced boy you are. You probably won't be elected, but if you did, you would quickly see how your unconditional dinner parties with Chavez et al. would fail, fast.

    July 26, 2007 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  12. Kyle, Columbus, Ohio

    1980- BUSH VP
    1984- BUSH VP
    1988- BUSH
    1992- CLINTON
    1996- CLINTON
    2000- BUSH
    2004- BUSH
    2008- CLINTON?
    2012- CLINTON?
    36 YEARS????

    1. People say Obama never voted against the war, but although he was not in the senate, HE DID openly speak against it.
    2. Obama IS Christian, not Muslim. This shouldn't matter anyway, but apparently for some ignorant fools, it does.
    3. For those who say Obama is inexperienced.... George Bush was very experienced.
    4. Hillary Clinton represents old politics...that which dates back to Vietnam when the country became so deeply divided. The money mongering politics that have torn apart the country and that have eventually driven people to hate politics and begin ignoring their civil duties.
    5. She started this little fight by pubicly jumping on Obama and calling him naive and irresponsible. When she practically gave the same answer as him.
    6. Obama answered the question correctly... saying he would be WILLING to meet with rogue leaders.. Hillary falsely interpreted this as a promise and tried to use it for political leverage.

    Vote for something different.

    I'll be voting Obama or Biden
    if not I will vote Republican.

    July 26, 2007 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  13. Gina, Chicago, IL

    Obama is definitely a loser. He can't seem to accept the fact that his answer on the you tube question, made him look like a dimwit/ nincompoop as opposed to Hillary Clinton's answer. It was truly a shame and what a pity to be embarrased that way in front of millions of Americans.It shows that he surely knows nothing about foreign policy. He is just an overly ambitious, trying-hard, wanne-be President. Doesn't he realize his running against a Clinton? How could you call him smart?

    July 26, 2007 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  14. Jonathan Koontz, West Salem, OH

    Did all of you catch the interesting fact that the Clintons made 50 million frickin dollars last year?? It's a fact, jack. I have a hard time being convinced that ANYONE that made anywhere close to 50M$ can come anywhere close to identifying with my family's needs and issues. Hillary is the common politician, and though she seems to put on the "tough girl" act well, she is bought and paid for like most other politicians....how can everyone forget the whitewater scandal??? Did everyone think that was just Bill involved in that one? I support Mr. Obama because of the facts, because I've read ALL of his books, and I can't say I've come across a public representative that is more interested in representing the PEOPLE more than he is. I challenge anyone to point to a candidate that is less politically-motivated than he is.

    July 26, 2007 10:54 pm at 10:54 pm |
  15. Hong, Trumbull,CT

    I totally agree with Obama's answer, that's what a great leader do, to proactively making a affort to unite the world. A normal leader will need to test the water first. We need a great president not just another political leader!

    July 26, 2007 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  16. Ralph, San Deigo, CA

    I agree with Fed up American, but unfortunately a viable third party candidate is nowhere to be found. This is politics as usual and is exactly why turnout on election day is so poor. The Democrates need to be careful here. With the attacks so early and within their own camp, I wouldn't be surprised if even fewer Americans end up voting this next election. In the end providing another Republican victory with less than 50% of the popular vote. Wouldn't that be great! :)

    July 26, 2007 11:07 pm at 11:07 pm |
  17. Kaseam, Philly PA

    The news Media has really gotten to a lot of people. Based on most responses I've read about Obama, you people are ridiculously ignorant. Stop being afraid of the real possibility that an intelligent black leader will someday be President. Ya'll need to fall back.

    July 26, 2007 11:10 pm at 11:10 pm |
  18. Deb San Francisco, CA.

    This is why my choice is John Edwards. He embodies all the positives in each of these respective candidates, in addition to being the most electable in the General(read all the polls). He is Hope+Strength+Brains+he's on fire... for us, the underdogs who justhappen to be the American working class, in addition to the less fortunate. Edwards has a proven track record at taking on the Corporations Drug & Insurance industries
    and winning. Thats why the MSM and all the fat cats don't like him. He can't be bought off.

    July 26, 2007 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  19. Gilbert

    If Obama sees Hillary is "Bush-Cheney Lite,"

    I think OBAMA is "OSAMA-Lite."

    July 26, 2007 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  20. Kristoph, Seattle, WA

    I think it is clear that a US president cannot meet with the likes of Ahmadinejad 'without preconditions'.

    Ahmadinejad has essentially denied the Hollocaust for goodness sake. It is in no way appropriate for a US president to engage diplomatically with such a person 'without preconditions'.

    Whatever you think of Hillary at this point you have to at least accept that Obama fumbled that.

    I appreciate he may not mean it and he should come out and say so.

    July 26, 2007 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  21. joe

    Clinton/Edwards 2008!

    July 26, 2007 11:36 pm at 11:36 pm |
  22. Lance, Los Angeles, CA.

    Obama is absolutely correct. To pick apart his statement is trival semantics. Of course he'll lay the ground work. I love, love, love the fact he's coming out guns blazing, arms swinging against Hilary on this issue. It speaks to his command of the issues and his strong will not to allow the media or Hilary to twist his words. Clinton was doing what she always does, speaking in halves, speaking in maybes, in the same way Bush does. Obama is taking a stand, is sticking to his guns, is telling things truthfully and simply from his gut. We need this so badly. We've had a belly full of politics as usual. Obama is the next president.

    July 26, 2007 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  23. pat, St Paul, MN

    Please, let the first woman to be elected president be one with conviction and depth. I'd rather not elect a elect a woman who is merely riding her husband's coattails. Political shrewdness is Hillary's main strength.

    July 27, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  24. Anthony Perez

    It is interesting how Obama keeps putting his foot in his mouth and spewing words of a politician that just does not get it. He is showing more and more that he that he not only lacks experience but he also lacks vision. He seems ready to be more like Chamberlain a pacifist than a true leader with a strong vision.

    July 27, 2007 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  25. Charly W Redding CA

    It is naive to think that the strategically formulated YouTube question was at not a CNN setup and Clinton had not rehearsed her answer.
    "..., would you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration,..., with the leaders ..., in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?"
    Cooper asked Oboma to respond. Then Cooper ' checked' with Stephen who asked what Clinton had to say.
    Obama is right to point out that Clinton uses her experience to bring down hope and embraces politics as usual rather than change with this "nice fabricated controversy".

    July 27, 2007 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
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