October 2nd, 2007
07:06 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama: Clinton blurring distinctions between us

Watch CNN's Candy Crowley interview Barack Obama Tuesday.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - White House hopeful Barack Obama told CNN Tuesday his early opposition to the Iraq war proves he has the judgment to lead the country out of the conflict, and said the reason polls show voters think rival Hillary Clinton would better handle the issue is because the New York Democrat has successfully blurred the distinctions between the two candidates.

"Everybody had difficult choices to make and these were difficult choices, I made the right choice, and I think that's relevant not to the past, but to the future," Obama said in an interview with CNN's Candy Crowley of his decision as an Illinois state senator to come out against the war in 2002.

Back then, five months before the U.S. invaded Iraq, Obama said publicly that Saddam Hussein “poses no imminent and direct threat to the United States, or to his neighbors,” that he could be contained, and that “even a successful war against Iraq will require US occupation of undetermined length, at undetermined cost, with undetermined consequences.” Obama added that such a war would “strengthen the recruitment arm of Al Qaeda.”

Full story

Related: Obama raises at least $20 million in third quarter

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Iowa • Iraq • South Carolina
soundoff (81 Responses)
  1. Lioness, Washington DC

    Obama should not be so shy about saying what he really thinks of Hillary. He is being unnecessarily cautious.

    He must get more direct. He can do that without making personal attacks.

    Also, Barack, wrong move to call Hillary successful" in blurring distinctions. You have been working hard to make them; this characterization is like a concession of defeat.

    October 2, 2007 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  2. DCJoe, Washington, DC

    Sen. Obama, you yourself have repeatedly conceded that, if you were in the Senate at the time of the Iraq war authrization vote and had access to all of the information senators had access to, you might very well have voted differently. Since you have been in the Senate, you have voted exactly the same as Senator Clinton on every Iraq-related vote. And at the last televised debate, your answer about whether you would guarantee that all troops would be removed from Iraq by 2013 if you were elected President was indistinguishable from Senator Clinton's (or from Senator Edwards'). Senator Clinton is not blurring distinctions between you and her on this issue because there are none. Your so-called new politics of hope is a bunch of hooey. Your just obfuscating and attempting to create distinctions that don't exist. I don't know where you've been for the past twenty years, but there's nothing new about a politician who does that.

    October 2, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  3. Colony 14 author, Mount Prospect, Illinois

    What distinction? Socialism in the first term versus socialism in the second term?

    October 2, 2007 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  4. A. Thomas, New York, NY

    Hey Obama, You should blame yourself, not Hillary, for your failure to communicate or convince the democratic voters. Blaming others and poor communication skill do not sound presidential at all.

    The bottom line is that the dem voters, and also the most american public voters, do not think you are electable, ie., (a) the election platform is fussy without substance; (b) you will not be able to do what you say; and (c) you will not beat the republican nominee.

    In addition, the dem voters think Hillary has more experience and heart (passion) for public service than you.

    She also has (a) the best campaign strategist to guarantee her successful presidential bid and more importantly to deflect all republican attacks, and (b) she has a close very experienced presidential advisor to make sure things go smoothly at the white house – Bill Clinton.

    Hillary 08!

    October 2, 2007 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  5. pam Eugene Or

    Joe Stebbins, "experience..She has lots". If you must support Billary please do your home work. She does NOT have"lots" of experience. That is the weakest of the many reason not to support her. Please Joe, list her qualifications. Being the presidents wife is not being president. Not even close. She will raise your taxes, support big government, lie, cheat and steal from you.
    Don't just repeat talking points. Find out who and what this woman is. She is not EXPERIENCED!
    Obama or anyone but Billary 08

    October 2, 2007 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  6. Darrius, AR


    I don't really think Senator Clinton is trying to blur the lines of distinction between herself and Obama. Only a fool would think the experience he has would somehow justify him as being a worthy candidate for President. We have had enough of those who require on the job training to do the job of President. Obama needs a lot more experience before he should consider himself as a serious contender. The reason Democrats have not responded to him; experience.
    He has little, Senator Clinton has lots.
    Posted By Joe Stebbins : October 2, 2007 4:56 pm"

    Joe, Hillary Clinton doesn't have as much experience in political office as Obama does. Hillary has been in elective office for 8 years Obama has been there for 12 years.

    October 2, 2007 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  7. Greg, Brattleboro, VT

    Brianna, McEwen, TN,

    I think you don't understand the whole issue. You just want to write probably because you like writing but you are away from the track. I'm sorry to tell you that. As honest as you may be, i want you to go back to Obama's opposition to the "Dumb" war; you could have a clue that will help understand Obama and support him.

    October 2, 2007 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  8. Daniel, NY

    Check out Dodd's response to Obama's speech today. They uncovered a ,a href="http://www.campaigndiaries.com/2007/10/iraq-politics-obama-hits-field-and-dodd.html">2004 quote from the NYT in which Obama declares he "doesn't know" how he would have voted were he in the Senate in 2003.

    October 2, 2007 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  9. Conservative James, Phoenix AZ

    Lisa – Ann Arbor, Mi,

    I know where you're coming from about Obama wanting to genuinely be the candidate of change – including how he campaigns (staying above the fray).

    What I don't understand is – how does telling the TRUTH ever make him playing "dirty politics"?

    Truth: Hillary has the highest negative ratings of any US Presidential Candidate.. EVER.

    Truth: Norman HSU contributed $850,000 to Hillary's campaign and was a Hillraiser. Granted a few dollars went into Obama's campaign but come on... a couple thousand for Obama versus almost a MILLION for Hillary?

    Truth: Hillary gladly accepts money from Special Interest Groups.

    Truth: Hillary counts her "experience" as being 1st Lady (US and Ark)

    Truth: More scandals have been charged against the Clintons than ANY Presidential couple in history!

    Truth: Republicans are calling Hillary the candidate (before the first primary has been completed) because they would rather run against her than Obama. Hillary is MILES ahead in "swiftboat" material.

    Obama needs to do more than make speeches... he needs to make headlines! Most people in this country never get past the headline to find out what was really said.

    October 2, 2007 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  10. Kim, Sacramento, CA

    I want one – just one – Hillary supporter to explain to me exactly how they think that she has more "experience" than Barack does? And, please picking out the White House china does not count.

    I'll tell you right now she can't judge him in the wisdom, common sense or judgment department. That is no more evident than on the Iraq war issue.

    October 2, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  11. Rodney Dallas TX

    Obama made the right choice by voice only. He was NOT a US senator at the time of the vote so therefore, he could NOT have voted. Obama was elected in 2004. The Iraq war started in 2003 which means the votes were in 2002. Can't you people see that he did not do ANYTHING for this war. He did not vote for it and he did not vote against it. I'm so sick of hearing him say I voted against it because he's lying. HE COULD NOT VOTE! Talk about a one act show. That's all we'll get out of Obama if he's elected. A one act show.

    October 2, 2007 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  12. Ryan, Edmonton Alberta Canada

    From someone who does not live in this country and is not subject to the right-wing brainwashing of Fox news and the hypnotising liberalistic views of CNN, PLEASE VOTE FOR THIS MAN!!!

    The people of the United States voted for the dumbest politician for President (twice!). Why not buck conventional wisdom and try voting for the smartest? Please.

    October 2, 2007 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  13. therealist

    Hillary will win the democratic nomination because George Soros and the other billionarie liberal donors of MoveOn.org want her to win, PERIOD.

    October 2, 2007 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  14. D., Elkhart, IN

    Those 20 Million, wonderful Illegals, and the attorney punks who hide behind all the claims, who have suddenly grown kahunas for protest in American Streets for demanded changes in American Law, should take the lessons they have learned on American Protest Streets and take those lessons back to Mexico and begin those very same protest in Mexico and Mexico City!!! America would support your efforts to no ends...

    OH! Let me guest? No Balls in Mexico Huh?

    That’s what America thought... Don’t be Puntas all your life!!! Want American support? Grow American Kahuta’s in Mexico, first Punta... Bottom line, you will send a lot of historic democratic voters to vote Repuplican for the 1st time in their or thier familie's history... don't be stupid on this issue... you are on the wrong side of the corporate issue on immigration... I gurantee, this issue wil cost you or Hilary the election... Here com3es another Republican President... because Dems don't have the balls to state the American Position in 2008...



    October 2, 2007 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  15. wilson

    ILL take hillary anyday over any of them.the current 2013 is she said you have to wait until what you find when you get in the white house...obama says everything and repeats everything after her he has no clue no long resume to fill a position, you go back of all the debates hillary reponses were first..he is a follower and not a very judgement guy,with uhh's and hmm;s especially if bush wagers another one with iran.and if hillary wins i know bill will help,with foreign policy.we have lost so much grace in this country you cant even travel abroad.

    October 2, 2007 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  16. Larry, West Covina CA

    Barack Hussein Obama starts with the mudslinging! Good job Senator, a real change, a real 'Audacity of Hope'. YEAH RIGHT! Twenty-five percent of the country opposed the war! We can't all be president based on that now can we. NO! Stop making that the purpose of your campaign; it's petty. We need to have exprerience and true leadership skills. The leadership of HILLARY CLINTON!


    October 2, 2007 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  17. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    There _are_ differences between the two "frontrunners" but the trenchant similarity is their unelectability in a general election.

    October 2, 2007 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  18. jerry

    hes messed up..shes not blurring anything..
    Courageous or calculating? These are the facts:

    In 2004, while getting ready for his star-making address to the Democratic National Convention, Obama gave presidential nominee John Kerry and other leading Democrats a pass for backing Bush on Iraq.

    Noting he was not privy to intelligence reports shown to Kerry and others, Obama told The New York Times, “What would I have done? I don’t know.”

    October 2, 2007 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  19. Jen, Gainesville, FL

    If anyone promises that our troops will be fully pulled out by 2013, she or he is either irresponsible or lying. Goal and promises are two different things. Goals help you achieve things but promises bind yourself and thus limit your options. Obama is the real thing. He should run as independent if the democrates do not appreciate him.

    October 2, 2007 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  20. Maria, Houston

    This is the story of David and Goliath. "Everyone was afraid of Goliath. He seemed invincible..."

    Barack is a man of great faith and principles. He will do what needs to be done.

    October 2, 2007 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  21. Ralph. Austin

    Seems to me that Obama is basically a coward. When the vote is tough and it might come back to bite him, he doesn't vote. Recent examples are Move-On censure than Liebermann-Kyl.

    According to Lynn Sweet of the SunTimes that's a long standing pattern of behavior. I've yet to see one shred of leadership on anything that isn't a 90% lock in public opinion.

    I don't give a rat's ass what he said in 2002. He's done squat since he's been in the Senate to change anything.

    October 2, 2007 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  22. David, Encinitas, CA

    mountain man,

    The right decision was not to have gone to war. The fact that Obama stood up for what he believed speaks volumes about his character.

    Seems the democrats have learned from the republicans. By not bickering and attacking each other the party has a much better chance of winning in the general election. Those who say "the gloves should come off" are not looking at the bigger picture.

    October 2, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  23. lloyd

    GO Hillary!!!Bill oreilly just called obama a pinhead
    Obama’s claims to fame have been his Iraq vote, his fundraising, and his online support. Today the AP torpedoed his Iraq history, Hillary trounced his fundraising and Josh Orton, Obama’s “blog outreach” guy quit (apparently unhappy with the Obama campaign).

    It’s another trifecta disaster day for Obama.

    And third or fourth tier Chris Dodd issues a press release mocking Obama:

    “Today, the Obama campaign is celebrating the 5th anniversary of the speech that then-State Senator Barack Obama gave opposing the invasion of Iraq. But unfortunately, they forgot to celebrate another anniversary. July 26th marked the 3rd anniversary of the New York Times story in which Obama admitted that he did not know how he would have voted on the Iraq resolution had he been serving in the United States Senate at the time of the vote.”
    Hes having an off day,hes ashamed a woman beat him...

    October 2, 2007 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  24. Jerry, NY

    I could not understand why CNN is giving so much publicity to Obama. He does not need to be on the pedestal. He knows nothing about the war and the foreign policy.

    October 2, 2007 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  25. Ed, NC

    I certainly hope a good third party candidate emerges. It would scare me to have to vote for any candidate we have now, Democrat or Republican.

    October 2, 2007 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
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