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. Billy J, Austin TX

    Let those two squabble offline or at one of their Washington soirees.
    Here's an idea. Vote for a ticket of John Edwards and Wesley Clark. Then you get the advantage of a great force for Americans and the rest of their sphere of influence (which is just about the entire planet) AND you get to confound all the talking heads who have no clue what ordinary Americans care about. Wouldn't it be great to have an America that lived up to the potential the rest of the world has respected and/or envied for so long, instead of sullying that vision with corporate greed, military misuse, failing schools, and low expectations of the character and intelligence of our citizens.

    July 27, 2007 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  2. fulanita de tal, Caguas PR

    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.

    Posted By Jonathan : July 26, 2007 4:49 pm

    HAHAHAHAHA – GET YOUR FACTS RIGHT JONATHAN: OBAMA NEVER VOTED FOR THE WAR, JUST BECAUSE HE WAS NOT IN THE SENATE AT THE TIME!!!! he has voted to fund-it ever since!!!!!
    :-)

    July 27, 2007 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  3. Rod, Media

    This is getting old. I hope people aren't naive enough to think that HRC or BO are nothing more than spinsters.

    With a population of 300+ million people in this country, can't we find some genuine leadership?

    The only thing worse than the choices being put forward by the Deomocratic party is what the Republican part can offer up.

    I'm sick of this country catering to the minority out on the conservative right and liberal left who care about nothing except furthering their own agendas. We need strong leaders who can keep the interested parties AT HOME in check before worrying about the world stage.

    July 27, 2007 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  4. Akilok

    I just saw a trend in posted comments that all who favour Obama input their comments in the day and those who support Hillary enter their comments in the evening. 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. Well-composed and intellectual comments come in the evening from those who have been working during the day. The difference is that comments in the evening that support Clinton are better argued and crafted than the silly, myopic ones that hoot for Obama during the day. Believe me.

    July 27, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. Akilok

    Jonathan,
    you are truely one of those naive and silly Obama supporters who say Obama voted against the war and you dont have a slight clue of where Obama was at that time. For your information, Obama did not vote anywhere. He was not in the US Senate that time. He was an Illinois state senator who merely expressed his disapproval at state level, not at the national level. Intellectually incapacitated like you, Jonathan, let America down by not understanding or delving into correct information and as such are gullible to improperly placing your vote. Obama did not vote anywhere, anytime because he was even a US Senator, kappish..?

    July 27, 2007 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  6. Isaac, Atlanta GA

    It's clear that Obama would send envoys or emissaries to meet with opposing countries first. No one in their right mind would just hop on Air Force One to an enemy state. America's position has always been arrogant in dealing with smaller nations. That is why we are hated all over the world. Electing Obama would be the best thing for America because he is not from the status quo mindset that has gotten American in this predicament. Hilary is from that mindset. She is offering nothing new. She attacked what she thought was a mistake and it backfired. Then she started the name calling the following day by calling him naive. He fought back and now she calls him silly. Her true colors are showing. She voted for that war without reading a page and she won't admit she made a mistake like Edwards has done. That is really Bush/Cheney light.

    All of that being said, even though I am not going to support Hilary, she could not possibly do worse than what America has currently. My 9 year old daughter would do better than Bush/Cheney. For those who think that Hilary would ruin the country I ask in what way? Lie to the American people to invade the wrong country. Torture prisoners. Fire US Attorneys for political reasons. Surrender power to a Darth Vader like Vice President. Hire her buddies to fill cabinet posts. Play the guitar while an American city drowns. Support and enliven a corrupt justice department. Spy on innocent Americans. Steal an election. I could go on for hours. Register Independent and vote for the best person regardless of party. In all honesty that only leaves democrats this go around because the repugs look awful.

    July 27, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  7. Richard Orlando, FL

    Steve from Indianapolis, I believe your message reveals a lot more than you anticipated. It exemplifies the fact that too many Republicans have traded hate over their traditional principle of compassion. Thank you for continuing to expose the fraud our society was sold.

    Regarding this issue, both Clinton and Obama answered the question in a similar manner. Both are willing to engage in strong diplomatic efforts even with our enemies, which is smarter and more intuitive than what we currently have in office. The decision for the Democratic primaries boils down to whether voters want a candidate that represents the experience of foreign diplomacy, or the candidate that represents a change in our foreign diplomatic efforts. Personally, I like the idea of changing our direction, considering that even Ronald Regean was able to demonstrate that it is better to engage our adversaries directly than to isolate them. Regardless, I would support either Clinton or Obama in the general election since they have better ideas and platforms than any Republican candidate.

    July 27, 2007 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  8. Billy J, Austin Tx

    Dear Akilok

    While I am NOT an Obama supporter, it seems his supporters might be the type of folks who have internet at work, or students. Not some toothless hillbillies or project rats. And what kind of argument is 'believe me'. That comes right out of a Gonzales testimony.

    July 27, 2007 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
  9. Kristy Sanborn, Dixon, Mo.

    Let Hillary and him fight all they want during this Presidential campaign, its not going to matter anyway, John McCain is going to be our next President anyway, and remember I said these words on July 27, 2007.

    July 27, 2007 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  10. NAguy Washington, DC

    I think this spat about foriegn policy between the two frontrunners hides the hollowness of both of their proposed foreign policies. I recommend reading The July/August issue of Foreign Affairs to learn, how empty Obama's policy is and look for Hillary's in the coming month. I assure you it will feature phrases like "building alliances", "restoring prestige" and alike.

    There is not really a Democratic contender who impresses me with a nuianced knowledge of the world, particularly the Middle East. It seems no one in Washington really has a thought out agenda, planning where America should be int he next 5 or 10 years. If any of them knew anything about the region they should realize that great powers, even super powers have struggled and failed to maintain control of the region, and even the hegemon, the state with the proponderance of power, the United States cannot avoid this trend.

    This rant isnt as focused as it should be, but here is my point: The Dems are reactionary, particularly with foreign policy. I would perfer someone to give some vision, then maybe news sources would have something better to report on than little verbal trists between the candidates, or how John McCain lost a consultant or something.

    July 27, 2007 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  11. Chris, Evansville, IN

    REPLY TO:Akilok : July 27, 2007 11:16 am

    Did you ever stop and think maybe these BARACK supporters that post during the day work DESK JOBS?!

    I have supported Barack Obama since before he had even considered running for President. I work a desk job and check CNN.COM daily, as I'm sure most do. I think you are just scared because you are starting to realize that Barack Obama is a serious contender. You can't cheapen our support by saying those ridiculous things. Seriously,.. wake up to the real issue here.

    Barack Obama is ready to roll up his sleeves, get his hands dirty and make a difference.

    Why do you think Hillary is attacking him? Why do you think the mainstream media is attacking him? Because both are 'owned' (literally/figuratively) by BushCo and they are scared because Barack Obama is about to become the new President of the USA.

    July 27, 2007 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  12. Mike, Mount Vernon NY

    The Clinton years were not great.

    1. NAFTA was passed and with that the beginning of the exporting of US jobs. Remember the false pretense of Bill Clinton? "Globalization will create more jobs in the US"?

    2. Unsigned Kyoto treaty. Sat on his desk for 2 terms. And Al Gore was his VP.

    3. The Laize-fare government style led to the dot com bubble bursting.

    It was an administration of "just enjoy the party" and ignore the problems.

    I personally don't think the Clinton Administration was that great. The "just ignore the problems approach" in part is why we are where we are today.

    Shrinking middle class, jobs leaving, now focusing on environmental issues, dealing with a downsized military (remember who closed all those bases?).

    Its time for some outside thought. Maybe the US is ready for a third party, as the current two have come so close together change is minimal when party control changes.

    July 27, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  13. Kevin NH

    Hillarys Top 5 Reasons For President

    - The New York times, Mitt Romney and the Clinton News Network(CNN) have endorsed me with their glowing coverage.

    - FOX news finally loves me, proof, Rupert Murdoch held a fundraiser for me.I never knew me and FOX had so many things in common. Like hating Liberalism(uuuugh its a disease)How dare Anderson Cooper ask me if i consider myself a liberal.

    -The Clinton years were soo prosperous with scandals, when we left office, we gave up the house, the senate and the alot of governorships to republicans. Me and Bill love to share.

    -I like making people feel good about themselves by telling them what they want to hear.I’m told its good for their health. Remember the twang i put on infront of black people.

    -I’m the only one who can end the war in Iraq. I should know because i voted for it. And after finally taking 4 years to read the intelligence report and the war not turning out like i wanted ,my experience tells me that what we need now is an exit strategy.

    July 27, 2007 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  14. Kris, Minneapolis, MN

    I can't believe Rupert Murdoch held a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton! Although Obama never said Hillary is Bush Cheney light, that fact that Murdoch has a fundraiser for her it proof enough for me! I'm voting Biden, Ron Paul, Gravel or Obama, If Hillary or anyone else who will continue to make this country a dictatorship wins I'll stop voting altogether, what's the point? We fall like Rome anyway.

    July 27, 2007 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  15. Michael Noonan New Orleans, La.

    I detest Hillary Clinton, but she is right about this. Obama is a suit, little more.

    July 27, 2007 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  16. Charlie, San Francisco CA

    Oct 12, 1999, Pervez Musharraf leads a military coup and overthrows Nawaz Sharif (the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan). The United States openly works with a dictator as it is “within US regional interest”.

    April 12, 2002, Democratically elected President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela is removed from office by a military coup. The United States backs the coup as a “change of government” and states that Chavez was ousted “as a result of the message of the Venezuelan People”. The Venezuelan People then take to the streets disrupting everything. Chavez is back in power two days later.

    President Bush met with Communist Country China’s President on a number of occasions. However, he will not meet Communist Country Cuba’s leader and continues to impose sanctions on that country. Why? Because American Capital Interest dictates that we do business with China to take advantage of cheap labor pushing American citizens out of their jobs but putting more money into the pockets of large corporations.

    I say this to say that American is not a Democratic state. If it were, Al Gore would be the President at the majority of the people voted for him in 2000. America is a Capitalist state. All we do is spread our realm of influence where we can make more money exploiting countries for their resources.

    To this end, the United States is the biggest perpetrator of terrorist activities in the world. No one else even comes close.

    July 27, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. Jessica, Nashville, TN

    Akilok,

    I am not some hill-jack Obama supporter? What the heck? I work a desk job. It's ppl like you, that vote for ppl like BushCheneyLite that ruin the free-world. Hillary won't even talk to foriegn leaders her first year as President!!!! As a Leader one should be willing to talk to everyone and anyone. We need to keep all our options open instead of slamming doors shut at every turn, like the current administration.

    IMPEACH BUSH!

    IMPEACH CHENEY!

    IMPEACH GONZALAS!

    This Administration is beyond help,, let's clean house!!

    July 27, 2007 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. J Hill

    Wake up people. Someone posted early on to look at the other candidates as well. Good idea. Hillery will not win because she is a woman. How did women vote in the last election. Voted with their husbands – for Bush. They knew the Supreme Court was at risk – but they ignored it and voted against choice. Obama can't win – why – because he's Black. Sorry America is not that progressive – those are the simple facts. One of these two needs to be the VP candidate with a strong male Presidential candidate. Don't get me wrong, I strongly support Hillery at this time, but from apractical standpoint I see Edwards as the most vialble candidate. Mitt Romny is very charismatic and the only charismatic/youthful candidate the Democrats have is Edwards. Obama has charisma also, but the bubbas in the south and mid-west are not going to vote for him. It really is a shame that our country is the way it is. We have fallen from the ranks of the most progressive country to somewhere down the list. I feel if Hillary or Obama were the VP they'd stand a much better chance of becoming preident eight years down the road.

    July 27, 2007 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  19. Stuart Chicago

    Something needs to be cleared up. People seem to think and I am not sure why but from what I can tell people have this impression that Hillary said she would NEVER meet with these people during her 1st year in office. At least that's the spin I am getting. What I think she basically said is that 1 and ½ years before she even gets the job is not the time to commit to meeting with the 5 leaders from different countries. I don't think she ever said she would not meet with them. In fact her answer had even mentioned sending someone else 1st to talk with them.

    Obama said that he would agree right now to meeting during his 1st year. I like the fact that he is willing to talk I agree that we do need to keep conversation going in order to make progess I just think its a little naive to make that kind of commitment this early. It just shows that he doesn't understand the difficulties evolved in the job he is running for. It is a statement of inexperience.

    I do like this debate thought. I think Americans should be asking these types of questions. This doesnt just happen in the democratic party. The Republican party will face the same thing soon enough/

    July 27, 2007 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  20. RAYMOND, CHESTER, PA

    Some of the commentors here are nothing short of amazing! I mean, it's only 2007, the election is a year and a half away, and they are allowing one "non-issue" phrase or point of view to stop their vote for Obama. Seems to me that some folks may be simply looking for a reason NOT to vote for this African-American without feeling guilty! Come on now, there are so many more important issues at hand that need to be flushed out by all of the candidates, and being "willing" to meet with the mentioned controversial world leaders is not a central one. I still haven't made up my mind on either Hillary or Obama. Yes, Hillary certainly knows her way around D.C. and world leaders. 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. I thought having a view, a plan, and the heart, and the votes from the American people was the way! I think anyone foolish to have made up their mind in July of 2007 for an election in November of 2008! There's bound to be many more gafflaws and sound bites within that time-frame – so, let's keep vigilant and keep the Democrats empowered to win!

    July 27, 2007 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  21. D Clemence, PSL, FL

    Come on people wake up! They were in a debate! Hillary wasn't trying to pick a fight with her different answer, thats what they are supposed to do! Tell us what they would do, show us how they are different. Then they do it, and everyone accuses them of starting a fight....

    And I'd like to add something about the people who voted to AUTHORIZE THE WAR! Not absolutely go to war. The President needs the power to threaten war, I know you peacemongers hate this but this is real life and this is how it works. Congress gave Bush bargaining power and he abused it. Now we democrats are blaming each other?? Why?

    July 27, 2007 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  22. Rose Hillrose

    To Akilok,

    While I do not agree with analogy of the ill-educated, flickers, and welfare receipients rooting for Obama during the day and the well-informed and employed rooting for Clinton in the evening, I do agree that some of the best reasoned and constructive comments do appear timed in the evenings.

    July 27, 2007 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  23. Rose Hillrose

    i do not no why but it is true the majority favor Clinton.

    July 27, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  24. Jason - Jackson, Wyoming

    Watch "The Fog of War" on DVD. This should clear up any misconceptions about the important role of diplomacy...no matter what the situation. If lives can be saved by talking, whatever the "current climate" as Clinton qualifies, it is always in the interest of the humanity and America. Diplomacy opens up the possibility of each side coming closer to understanding the other. So many times conflicts are the result of fear based on a misinterpretation of the motives and perspective of the other. It's time to stop "saving face" and start "saving lives".

    July 27, 2007 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  25. Chad, Durham, NC

    Obama's right. She votes with the administration most the time and she won't even apologize for giving the war authorization – she was so sure that she didn't even read the 60 some page intelligence report. She has her hand in the same jar as the Bushes and someone needs to point it out.

    July 27, 2007 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
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