July 29th, 2007
08:30 AM ET
7 years ago

Obama comment fires up senior Clinton official

The war of words between Clinton and Obama continued Saturday

(CNN)–Former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack said he is disappointed with Senator Barack Obama's comments earlier this week about Senator Hillary Clinton. In a stop in Concord, New Hampshire on Thursday, Obama referred to Clinton's approach to foreign policy as "Bush-Cheney light."

"Not only is that not correct, it is a distortion of Senator Clinton's comments and her record," Vilsack said. "But it flies in the face of the promise that Senator Obama gave to all of us when he began his campaign of avoiding negative politics and campaigning with politics as usual."

Vilsack, a Democrat, is the national co-chair of Clinton's presidential campaign.

The Obama and Clinton campaigns have been involved in a war of words over how they would engage rogue governments if elected president. At last Monday's CNN/You Tube Debate, Clinton said she would not meet with leaders of Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela without precondition. Obama, invoking John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan's diplomacy during the Cold War, said that he would meet with leaders of those countries during his first year in office..

Clinton said she did not want to see the power and prestige of the office of the presidency used for what she called “propaganda purposes.” .

"I'm not afraid to lose the P.R. wars to dictators," Obama said Thursday. "I'm happy to look them in the eyes and say what needs to be said..I don't want Bush-Cheney Light."

In a press conference call Saturday, Vilsack took issue with Obama. "Those comments are so wrong, one could say certainly audacious, but honestly they are not particularly hopeful. And I am disappointed in the Senator."

"This is a substantive debate during which she called Obama irresponsible and naive," said an official with the Obama campaign in response to Vilsack. "Obama has been entirely consistent - he never said he would invite dictators over for a cup of coffee and he said he wouldn’t let these dictators use him as a propaganda tool. What he did say was that he would be willing to meet with them."

Obama campaigned in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday.

–CNN Political Desk Editor Jamie Crawford

soundoff (118 Responses)
  1. Hashem Noah

    Its a campaign people!What do you expect? Someone has knock the other somehow .What is really surprising is it took a bit to start the war of words.

    July 28, 2007 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  2. Patrick Johnson Miami Florida

    People think about this. This shows who has the real experience. Obama has been an elected official way longer than Hillary. 1. in the State Senate 2. in the Us Senate. The only experience Hillary has is 2 years as New York Senator. Being a wife to a Governer and President doesn't count as experience.

    July 28, 2007 11:28 pm at 11:28 pm |
  3. Michael, Des Moines, Iowa

    Hillary is a coward to attack Obama first by calling him naive and then seek refuge behind Vilsack, Albright and Holbrooke.

    Now, she's playing the victim. Sounds like a little girl in kindergarten. What a coward!!!!

    July 28, 2007 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  4. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    I'd just like to know why –

    Elizabeth Edwards is in the Media touting her husbands' fine Presidential qualities, and giving advice and slurs on her own, McCain's wife is in the Media vouching for her husbands presidential qualities. SO why is it that Bill Clinton gets such flack for doing the same? And how come Senators in the race don't get called for their aggegious affairs paid and non, drug purchases, DUI charges, etc. etc. but everything Bill Clinton did ten years ago is now Hillary's conquest and fair game!

    I'd just like to know why the double standards with Hillary and Bill?

    I'd also like to know why the parties at CNN responsible for this Blog site
    puts this stipulation for posting in bold:

    "Comments that do not include your name, city and state will not be posted." YET allows posts from ANONYMOUS no city or state, and other ficticious handles the liberty to post
    under cover?

    July 28, 2007 11:37 pm at 11:37 pm |
  5. Marcy, Provo Utah

    Seriously!! Just stop Hilary...Obama stood up and said what was in his heart and mind when asked. You would do well to learn from the Jr. Senator..this is the second time you and your ilk have tried to blow a mole hill up into a mountain...youre reaching and I honestly believe that you would so suck as a president so in the words of Aurthor Fonzorelli"put a cork in it"

    July 28, 2007 11:42 pm at 11:42 pm |
  6. Bill, Herndon, VA

    Cry me a river Vilsack! The country does not need four more years of Clintonian nuance, spin and dirty maneuvering; this attack lauched by Hillary is a perfect example of why. Obama IS rising above the fray. He has HRC scared out of her mind.

    July 28, 2007 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  7. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    We live in the same land, how come people understand so much differently. Obama supporters ask what Hillary did for our Country? She has done too much to write here, but what Obama did for our Country? None of you said one example of his dedication or accomplishment for our Country because there's ZERO. Obama said he is the most experienced and smart candidate(overestimation) to be the President than all of 18 candidates. I watched him a lot, but I found that he fell into expansive delusion.

    July 28, 2007 11:53 pm at 11:53 pm |
  8. Kip

    I cannot believe that someone (i.e., Michael) would actually be so stupid and probably bigoted to even suggest that the only reason anyone is paying attention to Obama is because he is black. Talk about playing the race card! The man is brilliant, full of wonderful and promising ideas for the country, and was one of the few who actually didn't support the war, and the ONLY reason people are paying attention to him is because he is black. Get real. Thanks for adding ignorance to the mix.

    July 29, 2007 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  9. derrick nash miami florida

    Enough of this inexperienced nonsense: Barack has more experience as an elected official than Hillary, Edwards Guiliani, or Romney. Check your facts before declaring him inexperienced.

    July 29, 2007 12:07 am at 12:07 am |
  10. Nancy Dallas, TX

    Obama manages to make himself look worse and worse. I hope there are enough intelligent Democrat voters to discern that this opportunist is anything BUT fresh and different. His manner is thoroughly politics as usual. Couple that with his obvious inexperience and propensity for thoughtless comments and you've got an unqualified candidate. That is the LAST thing we need! Its almost embarrassing to listen to this flimflammer. It is highly unlikely he will be the Dem candidate, but if he is the GOP will be enjoying another 4 years of the White House – with the help of my vote!

    July 29, 2007 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  11. joe rebholz san francisco,california

    my comment on this is simple. by imposing preconditions on partys before meeting is like going to play a ball game with a bunch of people and imposing your rules before every one can play. the only way you can do that is if you have the ball and threaton to go home if you don't get your way. everyone thinks those people are jerks but if you want to play you either give them what they want or go out and get your own ball. Obama recognizes this , he dosen't want to be the jerk dictating how the game is played but will bow to the rules of inpartial referees. he recognizes that we don't need to cheat because we still have the best players on our team anyway. the politics he talks about are spoiled brat politics. thank you for your consideration

    July 29, 2007 12:35 am at 12:35 am |
  12. Hector Kissimmee,Fl

    I'm a supporter of H. Clinton who does have more experience than Obama. Having been 1st lady doesn't give her direct experience but gives her great insight into the job. Not to mention if she ever needs advice she has her husband who happens to be former president Bill Clinton to lean on. I like Obama but now is not the time to have someone in office learning as he goes along.

    July 29, 2007 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  13. Dave, Cotati, CA

    Clinton struck first blood with the "amatuer" comment. Obama was forced to respond in kind or be perceived as a softee.

    July 29, 2007 01:01 am at 1:01 am |
  14. Fallon Massey, Los Angeles, CA

    Clinton is ENTIRELY in the wrong. It's ok for her to disagree with Obama about how to handle foreign leaders, but quite another to characterize it as irresponsible and naive.

    She started it, and it would be bad if Obama backed down one inch. It's up to Clinton to apologize for her rude comments.

    P.S. I was leaning toward Clinton, but this has moved me closer to Edwards.

    July 29, 2007 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  15. jamal, san diego ca.

    Hang on guys, Mr. Obama knows that he wouldn't be elected as U.S president, then please do me us (democrats). Shut up and let Ms. Clinton to lead the road to the white house.

    Posted by Jamal : san diego

    July 29, 2007 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  16. Lynn, Sparks Nevada

    Apparently Hillary is flip-flopping on this. Last Winter she critciized Bush for not talking to enemy nations such as Syria and Iran and then criticized Obama for wanting to talk to them. I think she should apologize for starting this. Obama is not naive and he has more experience than her in elected office making decisions on legislation (11 years versus her 7). I don't think she will win on this.

    July 29, 2007 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  17. nogibbons.blogspot.com

    If Clinton gets the Dem nomination, she'll choose Vilsack as VP. Too bad for the Democrats if that occurs.

    July 29, 2007 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  18. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    The ONLY reason this person is in the running for president is because of her husband. NOONE would dare try to dispute that fact and once people realize that it is NOT Slick Willy they are gonna get come next year, they will promptly move off of her. Obama should just keep it clean and wait for her to self destruct because she most definitely will.

    July 29, 2007 02:22 am at 2:22 am |
  19. Greg, Phoenix, AZ

    Hillary's true accomplishments:

    1) getting front runner status on the Democratic ticket BECAUSE of her husband

    2) getting elected Senator of NY BECAUSE of her husband

    3) spearheading an ill-fated healthcare initiative DURING her husband's presidency


    5) sounds like a GREAT choice for president!

    July 29, 2007 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  20. Mark, McHenry, Illinois

    Obama white or black has what it takes to be the next president of this country. He is not afraid to say what is on his mind and he does it with class.

    July 29, 2007 03:34 am at 3:34 am |
  21. Marsha, Portland, OR

    I'm so sick of hearing about Barak Obama. All he does is talk about the war on Iraq. He doesn't give us any hope about anything else. He inspires the same fear as Bush. All Bush ever talks about is Iraq. All Obama ever talks about is Iraq. At least Hillary cares about other issues. Obama can't even stick to his own word, i.e. NOT to use negative politics, and his original statement about foriegn dipolmacy. I'd rather not vote at all if he gets the primary bid.

    July 29, 2007 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  22. Kevin NH

    Oh poor Vilsack, After having his campaign debts paid off by the Clinton Machine has now been relegated to doing Clinton's attack jobs. What a loser. I bet he is holding tight hoping that he'll get a cabinet position. A test of leadership is how a candidate stands up to would be Bullies. The Australian Prime Minister, McCain, Romney and now Clinton have all attacked Obama and each time he hit back with on point ferocity.

    July 29, 2007 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  23. rosemary, Anaheim, CA

    people are merely confusing a verbal discussion over an important issue with campaign and political slandering. can't obama comment on negative things being said about his response to a question?

    July 29, 2007 04:05 am at 4:05 am |
  24. sarge, Gv south carolina

    the surge is now working! do not support obama or clinton. be patriotic and support your commander in chief!

    July 29, 2007 06:07 am at 6:07 am |
  25. Jim

    This is just a well orchestrated circus act neither will bring any change to America just more social programs that makes our government deeper in debt. I find it hard to believe either of these people don't have hidden agendas against Iran. I am voting for the honest man let the Revolution begin. Mr SPeaker please let Ron Paul take the floor he has something he needs to say to the American people!

    July 29, 2007 06:25 am at 6:25 am |
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