October 11th, 2007
04:15 PM ET
7 years ago

Obama: Clinton vote on Iran shows 'flawed' judgment

Watch portions of Wolf Blitzer's interview Thursday with Sen. Barack Obama.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama criticized Sen. Hillary Clinton Thursday for her vote in support of a resolution calling an Iranian group a terrorist organization, saying it exhibited the "flawed" judgment she used during the vote to authorize the Iraq war five years ago.

The resolution, which declared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, could be used by President Bush as a "blank check" that he interprets as authorization to take military action against Iran, Obama said.

"We know in the past that the president has used some of the flimsiest excuses to try to move his agenda regardless of what Congress says," Obama told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

When asked by an audience member at a campaign event Sunday why she voted for the resolution that the questioner said authorized military action against Iran, Clinton said, "The premise of the question is wrong," and went on to argue that the measure calls for the terrorist label so that sanctions can be imposed.

The sanctions, Clinton said while campaigning in New Hampton, Iowa, will in turn "send a clear message to the leadership" and lead to stronger diplomatic efforts.

Full story

– CNN.com Senior Political Producer Scott Anderson

soundoff (124 Responses)
  1. andy

    Obama is too honorable to be a politician, he tells the truth and he doesn't pull the little back door deals like was obviously done for Hillary by Harry Reid! I mean, the night before this vote, plus the important Joe Biden amendment which Obama had ALREADY stated he'd vote for, Reid cunningly said it had been postponed and wouldn't be scheduled. Then bam...Obama goes way to New Hampshire, where voters were waiting and Reid schedules it anyway!!! I saw him pull that in the beginning right after Obama announced but I can't remember the vote. And,...look how Hillary cynically waited until Obama voted against funding for the first time and then she voted NO too. And people defend this kind of backstabbing!!! That's why I hate politics. Now this man was obviously against the war, no denying it and he has EVERY RIGHT to compare his judgment against hers. Esp since she's got the bigwigs on tv, like and EX PRES, Charlie Rangel, saying Obama is NOT EXPERIENCED ENOUGH. ASnd then Ms Clinton in a statement which was vaguely racist, or like saying you boy...said Obama was NAIVE AND IRRESPONSIBLE for saying he'd meet without preconditions with leaders of Iran, etc (another short way of saying he would pursue a different policy than Bush, and Clinton knew what he meant). She is sooo slick and she tagged him with the very aspect which black men get knocked down with all the time, that's why it took off so well, The so called Democrats will soak up black votes like mad, but they have NO problem going crazy over a white woman who calls the FIRST VIABLE BLACK PRES CANDIDATE NAIVE AND IRRESPONSIBLE. And who's one of the biggest demos of her supporters??? Black women, go figure.
    But guess who said "I would engage in negotiations with Iran, with no conditions, because we don't really understand how Iran works. We think we do, from the outside, but I think that is misleading,"
    Yep...you got it. Ms. I am too smart to talk to anybody in my first year Clinton. She said that today. Will the media call her out for a week like they did Obama on it, and ridicule her???
    Don't hold your breath.

    October 12, 2007 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  2. James, Hollywood, CA

    You are right TC, they are all idiot liberals who always keep blaming the President without knowing the facts first.

    October 12, 2007 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  3. Tapera, Toronto

    It's funny how people say that they were misled into believing the Iraq lies before invasion. Everyone else in the world seemed to now the truths except us in America.
    People from around the world protested and tried to form human shields to no avail.
    If you were fooled then, it means you could be fooled now. We don't think for ourselves. Look at the gun violence that's happening in schools. Soon enough we will be our own terrorists making car bombs.

    No wonder why we are becoming Fatter and Dumber

    October 12, 2007 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  4. Michael James -- Illinois

    All this vote did was serve as an opportunity to grandstand and look tough, but with no actual benefit to the interests of the United States.

    If you want to ratchet up the diplomatic pressure, how about engaging in some actual diplomacy? I don't think any reasonable people disagree that the Iranians are causing trouble and supporting terror in Iraq and elsewhere, but the name-calling is not very helpful in putting a stop to it.

    All the Iranians did in response is pass their own resolution declaring the CIA a terrorist organization. Okay, what's our next move? Say "I know you are, but what am I" and "na na-na na-na na" while we stick our tongues out at them?

    You don't need to declare an organization to be part of an axis of evil or a terrorist organization to enact sanctions.

    While it may be a stretch to interpret it as full authorization to use force and invade Iran, no one should put it past Bush to provoke an incident that would give him cover to send at least some forces into Iran. After all, don't we currently have a policy to attack terrorists?

    So, if we always try to attack terrorists where we find them and we see some Iranians that we just declared to be terrorists, wouldn't it be okay for the military to start shooting at them and to follow them into their base, even if it meant crossing Iran's border?

    If that were to happen, do you think the Iranians might respond in some way? Do you really want to take this chance given Bush's judgment and history?

    Hillary Clinton - wrong judgment in 2002, wrong judgment in 2007. She does not have what it takes to effectively lead this nation.

    Vote Obama!!!

    October 12, 2007 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  5. Claude, Mesa AZ

    Hey, this is to all you stupid ignorant Hillary Clinton supporters out there...now she says she will negogiate with Iran without any pre-conditions (see CBS news website under politics). She called Obama naive over a month ago at the debate for this position. You guys need to do your research on this chick. She will be devastating for this country because she is clearly lacking judgement. She is inconsistent, a crook, and can't be trusted and she lives in a web of deception!

    October 12, 2007 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
  6. ProudLiberal, Sacramento, Ca.

    People are also forgetting that Reid's son works for Hillary's campaign in Nevada. That's convenient too huh? And that stupid MoveOn.org vote? Strong Senate leaders wouldn ever have allowed that vote to happen. You think an anti-Fox News vote would have ever seen the senate floor when Frist was in charge? Reid and Pelosi have to be the two worst examples of leaders I've ever seen and I'm a freaking Democrat! Of course their poll numbers are dismal! They have the congress voting on a toothless MoveOn.org issue and then back that up with a meaningless "sense of the senate" thing. When are they going to pass some legislation with some teeth in it...like impeachment proceedings? To the person who wrote Obama/Islam...do some research will ya? Obama has never been a Muslim. He's a Christian and his faith is very important to him. And to the other idiot who said he voted FOR partial-birth abortion. Man, no one votes FOR abortion. Obama voted for a woman's right to choose. That's a huge difference. Hillary is pro-choice too, unless they're an Obama supporter. Just kidding. And to the rest of you Hillary supporters...do you really think Bush is now required to listen to congress before attacking Iran? He's already got his war powers act working. He's already got the hardware in theater so funding isn't an issue. That vote offered him political cover. Hillary gave the worst president in history political cover. Since she already feels that she's going to be president, she must be planning on pardoning Bush and Cheney in 2009 just like Bill pardoned all those criminals in 2000. The Clinton's take care of their friends...and their enemies. Just ask the Foster family.

    October 12, 2007 04:27 am at 4:27 am |
  7. M. Seewald, Milwaukee, Wi

    The belief that labeling a foreign military organization or other governmental force a terrorist organization so we can more easily pursue sanctions in the hopes that this action will make Iran hold diplomatic talks, stop building nukes and be our friend? Very sound logical judgement Hil. Why, exactly, are we in Iraq? Afgahnastan? It is in our national interest. So...Iran labels the U.S. Army and CIA terrorist organizations. Our government believes that comment laughable. Why? Iran's forces getting involved in Iraq in the interest of their country constitutes terrorism, but not us We can get involved where ever we want. Now Turkey's forces are moving into northern Iraq for campaigns against the Kurds in the interest of their country, but they're not terrorists either. Now Turkey is upset and Bush disappointed that the Congress has actually done the right thing for once in passing a bill calling the Turk's slaughter of Armenians during World War I genocide. Cause now Turkey won't allow Bush to use their country to carry out his war. Wow. When was the last time Iran invaded anyone? Started a war? Who is really our frieind?

    Now maybe we can see Mr. Obama has the sound judgement we need. Maybe it is time to accet his idea that these same measures have not worked and it is time we try something different. MAybe we now realize that it isn't naieve to suggest we should just meet with these leaders face to face, president to president. Just because we meet with them does not mean we give in or are weak. It shows that we are not afraid, we are strong, we can make up our minds and move along.

    No one in this race is experienced enough to be the president–no of them have ever been. Exeperience means nothing,, look at Georgie. We need good judgement and leadership. We need a new direction and ideas. That is Barack Obama.

    October 12, 2007 04:42 am at 4:42 am |
  8. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    CLAUDE, MESA AZ.:

    Negotiating without preconditions with Iran is NOT the same as the President agreeing to meet with Ahmadinejad without having an idea in the world what he wants to talk about.

    Negotiations without preconditions means that Sen. Clinton wouldn't require that Iran take any steps, such as agreeing to give up nuclear enrichment, or dismantling their nuclear programs BEFORE talking to the United States. That's what they're going to talk about. It probably also means that the U.S. won't unilaterally dictate what the agenda for negotiations will be.

    But they're still going to HAVE an agenda LONG BEFORE the president sits down with anybody. The agenda related issues as well as most of the substantive issues will be pre-negotiated in long, detailed discussions at a SUB-PRINCIPAL level before there's a principal's meeting between the President of the United States and whomever the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council (?) empowers to negotiate on Iran's behalf.

    The President of the United States does not promise to jawbone with world leaders without first having State Department diplomats thorougly work out, at the very least, broad areas of agreement and disagreement with those foreign leaders as well as steps to be taken in resolving any thorny issues.

    Sen. Obama probably recognized the distinction between negotiating without preconditions on the one hand, and the U.S. President promising to conduct personal negotiations without doing any diplomatic spadework on the other, a little too late. Now, he's hoping that the rest of us will never figure it out.

    October 12, 2007 07:59 am at 7:59 am |
  9. Lakisha st.Louis, Mo

    Clinton Says She'd Negotiate With Iran
    By HOLLY RAMER – 7 hours ago

    CANTERBURY, N.H. (AP) — Hillary Rodham Clinton called Barack Obama naive when he said he'd meet with the leaders of Iran without precondition. Now she says she'd do the same thing, too.

    During a Democratic presidential debate in July, Obama said he would be willing to meet without precondition in the first year of his presidency with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea.

    Standing with him on stage, Clinton said she would first send envoys to test the waters and called Obama's position irresponsible and naive.

    But asked about it Thursday by a voter, the New York senator said twice that she, too, would negotiate with Iran "with no conditions."

    "I would engage in negotiations with Iran, with no conditions, because we don't really understand how Iran works. We think we do, from the outside, but I think that is misleading," she said at an apple orchard.

    She characterized her recent vote to label Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization as a way to gain leverage for those negotiations.

    Obama and other rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination have been criticizing Clinton's vote late last month in favor of the resolution, comparing it to her 2002 vote authorizing the war in Iraq.

    They have suggested that the Iran vote was the first step toward a military invasion there.

    http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5izJr4wFXhrXfr8mlCBthgtCZvMcwD8S7D9280

    That's right Hillary follow the leader Barack. MAybe he will allow you to become the VP

    October 12, 2007 08:13 am at 8:13 am |
  10. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    MICHAEL JAMES - ILLINOIS:

    It may interest you to know that Iran has ALREADY been declared a state sponsor of terrorism. If calling a country "terrorist" were enough legal justification to attack Iran in Iran, the president would already be entitled to use military power in that country.

    Furthermore, if Quds Forces were attacking our soldiers near the border and then running back over to Iran, you may rest assured that there was ALREADY border skirmishing BEFORE Kyl-Lieberman.

    Declaring a country part of the "axis of evil," does not entitle the State Department to enact sanctions against it because that term has no legal meaning. However, the State Department DOES need a legal basis for enacting sanctions, and labeling a country a "state sponsor of terror," or designating part of its government as a terrorist entity IS such a legal basis.

    Would you want the President to have the power to enact sanctions willy-nilly against other states WITHOUT having to give a legal justification for such action? If the President could just point his finger and sanction another state without giving a reason, this would go a long way toward bringing us under the rule of a king, rather than the rule of law.

    October 12, 2007 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  11. Pete, T.S. FL

    If you talk the talk you must walk the walk! Don’t attack those who fulfill their obligation as elected officials when you don’t even bother to vote.

    October 12, 2007 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  12. Ayyub, Richmond

    People are also forgetting that Reid's son works for Hillary's campaign in Nevada. That's convenient too huh? And that stupid MoveOn.org vote? Strong Senate leaders wouldn ever have allowed that vote to happen. You think an anti-Fox News vote would have ever seen the senate floor when Frist was in charge? Reid and Pelosi have to be the two worst examples of leaders I've ever seen and I'm a freaking Democrat! Of course their poll numbers are dismal! They have the congress voting on a toothless MoveOn.org issue and then back that up with a meaningless "sense of the senate" thing. When are they going to pass some legislation with some teeth in it…like impeachment proceedings? To the person who wrote Obama/Islam…do some research will ya? Obama has never been a Muslim. He's a Christian and his faith is very important to him. And to the other idiot who said he voted FOR partial-birth abortion. Man, no one votes FOR abortion. Obama voted for a woman's right to choose. That's a huge difference. Hillary is pro-choice too, unless they're an Obama supporter. Just kidding. And to the rest of you Hillary supporters…do you really think Bush is now required to listen to congress before attacking Iran? He's already got his war powers act working. He's already got the hardware in theater so funding isn't an issue. That vote offered him political cover. Hillary gave the worst president in history political cover. Since she already feels that she's going to be president, she must be planning on pardoning Bush and Cheney in 2009 just like Bill pardoned all those criminals in 2000. The Clinton's take care of their friends…and their enemies. Just ask the Foster family.

    Posted By ProudLiberal, Sacramento, Ca. : October 12, 2007 4:27 am

    You are absolutely right. They were just talking about this this morning on MSNBC. The Clintons did this with Al Gore after there was disagreement with Hillary and Al and after the mistakes in the Clinton administration that Gore blamed on Bill. So the Clintons did things like go to Gore's daughters wedding to suck up to him. The Clintons do this all the time. Mostly to get money out of someone or support buy sucking up, being overly gracious, and ,protaining to Hillary, not having an opinion of her own to fit to all crowd. That may be a good thing but you could never tell the truth from a lie. Even most republican I know support her for all the wrong reasons.

    October 12, 2007 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  13. Franky, New York, New York

    I don't think I've ever seen Obama this pouty, this desperate to cling to the one song he's been singing since the beginning of these primaries – that he would not have voted like Clinton to authorize the war..

    ...that's a tired, hypothetical argument Mr. Obama. The fact is, you weren't a U.S. Senator at the time, so coulda, woulda, shoulda, will buy you a piece or two of Bazooka chewing gum.

    Obama is starting to look desperate. I think he should start showing a little more class and sticking to his pledge of NO ATTACKS campaign – he was doing better in the polls when he stuck to his message.

    GO HILLARY!!

    October 12, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  14. Kristy, Chicago

    I have one more thing to say. There are so many of you in this blog who say that Obama has not talked about policy. Wow!! Really?!?! I've heard him talk a lot about his policies. Just because you are picking and choosing the speeches you wish to hear from him doesn't mean he hasn't talked about his policies. Sure on CNN and other interviews he doesn't talk about them. That's because he's not ASKED about them. It's an interview! He answers the questions that are asked. He has outlined several of his policies in speeches and very throroughly and eloquently I might add. Barack Obama has a lot more experience than Hillary and people don't realize that. She has only been a politician since 2000. Her time as a First Lady does not count, especially since her policies were refused by congress. Barack served on Illinois State senate for eight years before being elected a US senator in 2004. He has been in smaller leadership roles prior to that. His work as a community organizer shows how much he truly cares about the american people. Hillary cares about one thing, POWER.
    If you've missed the speeches where Barack talks about his policies, visit http://www.barackobama.com/issues/ where there is a very detailed outline of all his issues.

    October 12, 2007 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  15. Chris, FL

    jmaya, ihio;

    No not really. First of all I don't know that in the world you are talking about. You don't spell very well. Are you even legal to vote? Do you live in the US?

    October 12, 2007 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. Biggdawg, Chicago, Illinois

    This from one of those "stupid" Hillary supporters:

    For the record, Hillary never said during the debates that she would not negotiate with Iran without preconditions. What she said was as president she would not meet with its leader without preconditions.

    I know it may be a little too nuanced for all you "smart" Obama supporters out there trotting this out falsely proclaiming this a Hillary flip-flop, but there is a difference and it is substantial.

    October 12, 2007 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  17. Coach Haughton NH

    Now that the Obama Camp has won that debate and continues its undefeated streak lets get to work on emancipating some more prisoners from hillaryland.

    I recently won over my Father in law!
    that gets my count to around 20 I think.

    See you at the countdown to change in Newark.

    There is Still hope to end the Bush-Clinton Tyranny.

    It will really be Crazy if we can defeat the MSM and the Clinton machine.
    I'M FIRED UP!...READY TO GO!

    Obama 2008!

    October 12, 2007 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. Chris, Middletown, CT

    They are at it again....the liberals start by making up a fact "Bush and Bin Laden are allies" – then they feed off each other....its like a sick game of telephone....there have been some well written facts based pieces here...but the liberal bloggers were not among those. I hope that the anger they feel passes...and control of the Democratic National Cult is broken....then you feel played and foolish...not to say that you should want to vote for the ONLY moderate running....but Giuliani will accept your support..(as he will win in 2008)

    October 12, 2007 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  19. roger, conway sc

    Obama did not even VOTE on this issue he was on the campaign trail and could not make it to DC...he should not be critizing anyone regardless of how they voted...having it this way no one really knows how he feels or how he would have voted...he needs to let it rest....

    October 13, 2007 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  20. Mark, Beloit WI

    I am glad we finally have a person representing the majority of the people in the U.S. If Hillary does not see we are tired of the war and we don’t want her to be apart of the Washington good old boys then we should look at Bema. At least he is not bowing to every Bush agenda. Wake up Hillary we don’t want another four years of the same Bush ideas.

    October 13, 2007 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  21. Audrey Steiner, Austin, TX

    Both Obama (in his book) and Clinton have expressed a sort of trigger-happy mentality that can justify aggressiveness against other nations or political entities. The only candidate for president who has consistently touted commitment to peaceful diplomacy, even when he was the only one with the guts to do so, is Dennis Kucinich, but he's not "sexy" enough to appeal to an American public.

    October 14, 2007 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  22. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Obama has no confidence that's why he didn't vote. He has no right to talk about others because he is chicken, follower and a disqualified leader.

    October 14, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  23. Ryan Indianapolis

    I wish you democrats would stop just flat out lying. this vote in no way gives Bush authorization to start a war with IRAn,,,you people are idiots

    October 15, 2007 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. Informed

    Obama is right not vote for that Kyl-Liberman amendment. It is a disaster that is waiting to explode. I don't understand why politician in Washington will trust Bush with that amendment. I know Clinton campaign won't admit she made a terrible mistake with that vote.

    Here is the logic behind that vote.

    One of the reasons Obama disagreed with Kyl-Lieberman
    was that it called on Congress to designate the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization.

    Here is the language that Obama support:

    "The operative word is "Congress." The bill that Obama supported called on the State Department to designate the IRG a terrorist organization. He supported the bill - and opposed Kyl-Lieberman - in part because he understands, as Clinton apparently does not, that it is the role of State, not Congress, to make that designation"

    I think Clinton failed to realized the caveat in the language which as Obama rightly observed:

    "The amendment states that we have to "transition(s) and structure" our "military presence in Iraq" to counter the threat from Iran, and states that it is "a critical national interest of the United States" to prevent the Iranian government from exerting influence inside Iraq.

    Why is this so dangerous? The Bush administration could use language like this to justify a continued troop presence in Iraq as long as it perceives a threat from Iran. Even worse, the Bush administration could use the language in Lieberman-Kyl to justify an attack on Iran as a part of the ongoing war in Iraq.

    End of Post!

    October 23, 2007 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
1 2 3 4 5

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.