October 11th, 2007
12:15 PM ET
11 years ago

Obama: It's time to show the differences

Obama told CNN Thursday it's time to show where he differs from Clinton.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama told CNN Thursday he will step up efforts to clarify his differences with rival Hillary Clinton, in what the Illinois senator is calling the "next phase" of his campaign.

"There's no doubt we are moving into a different phase of the campaign," Obama told CNN's Wolf Blitzer in an interview slated to air on The Situation Room later today. "The first part of a campaign is to offer some biography and give people a sense of where I've been and what I am about. (Related: Obama: Clinton vote on Iran shows 'flawed' judgment)

"In this next phase we want to make sure that voters understand that on big issues, like the decision to go into the war in Iraq, I had real differences with the other candidates and that reflects on my judgment," he continued.

In what could easily be seen as a direct shot at Clinton, Obama also suggested he could better unite the country and offer "something new, as opposed to looking backwards and simply duplicating some of the politics that we've become so accustomed to that frankly the American people are sick of." (Video: Watch key excerpts of Wolf Blitzer's interview with Obama Thursday)

The Illinois Democrat would not say whether he would consider Clinton as his running-mate should he become the party's nominee, saying, "I think Sen. Clinton is a very capable person. Right now my goal is to make sure I am the nominee and she is still the senator from New York."

Catch the full interview tonight on The Situation Room, 4, 5, and 7 p.m. ET.

TIME.com: Clinton Selling Substance Over Style in Iowa

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (61 Responses)
  1. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    "and surrounds herself with experieced election and political people"
    A. Thomas

    Yeah, people like Sandy Berger, who should be in prison right now rather than an "unpaid political consultant"

    The man corrupted the history of this nation, not to mention covering up for Clinton.

    October 11, 2007 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. Mike Longview, TX

    Originally, I was hoping Hillary would select Obama as her running mate. I was even hoping that he would succeed Hillary as President in 2016. But in light of his constant criticisms and snide remarks and digs at Senator Clinton, my new attitude is . . .


    October 11, 2007 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. Daniel slc ut


    Clearly America likes Hillary more. Get over it. You will make a great president after two terms of HILLARY.


    October 11, 2007 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. Aaron, Chicago IL

    It's time for Obama to rachet up the differences between him and Hillary! I think more Democrats are excited about getting Bill Clinton back in the White House in some form or fashion than about Hillary being "the Commander-in-Chief". Bill was a popular president but what he accomplished was due to his democratic Presidency and a Republican Congress. When it comes to Hillary, I simply don't trust her. She's very calculating, robotic, and uninspiring. I believe her last minute run to become a NY Senator in 2000 was based on her future decision to run for President. Her judgement is very much at question, from remaining with a man who's been publicly accused of infidelity at least three times to authorizing Bush to wage war in Iraq (and perhaps the Middle East...see Iran Revolutionary Guard vote). I like Obama (or Edwards as second choice) for the Democratic Presidential Nominee.

    October 11, 2007 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  5. RuthieM

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE achieve your goal, Senator Obama, and make sure you're the nominee and she is still the senator from New York.

    October 11, 2007 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  6. Joanne, Des Moines, Iowa

    I like Clinton. I believe she would make a decent president. But making Clinton the Democratic nominee was be a catastrophe. Her polarizing effect will cause the Democrats to lose both the Senate and the HOR. No bills will be passed. The Iraq war will continue, forget about universal health insurance, not to mention any education or economic legislation. That's why I'll be voting for either Obama or Edwards. This country needs to unite and stop fighting internally if we are to ever make any progress and be respected by the rest of the world.

    October 11, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  7. Paul D, Los Angeles, CA

    Barack is NOT running for second place or vying for a VP slot. So the differences need to come out AND at a time when voters in early states will be most influenced. History shows that some caucus/primary voters don't make voting decisions until as late as a week before the polls open. So you want to make those strong impressions gradually. Why push to rally after the opening kickoff when you can gain strong momentum during the 4th quarter?

    October 11, 2007 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  8. Heather, Nashville, TN

    I think it's a very good idea to show the differences between you and Senator Clinton. For one, she has never stated that she will always look at the world through the lens of a white woman. Whereas you Mr. Obama stated int he Audacity of hope that you would look through the lens of a black man. You also admitted to former drug use in your first book published right after you graduated law school. As well as attending a Church that only supports the rise of the African American. Did not Jesus die for all? You can find the above information on his home Church in the Century Christian May 2007 edition. I know who I will be voting for.

    October 11, 2007 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  9. Eric, Chicago

    This is going to be great! I can not wait to see Obama take on the Clinton machine. Hillary has been riding the Clinton name for years and it's only her name that keeps her ahead in the polls. When Obama makes waves people will start noticing him and when they do they will like him. That will be the first difference he can point to. When people look at Obama they like him when people actually pay attention to HRC they don't like her. Boy, am I looking forward to this.

    Obama '08

    October 11, 2007 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. Frank Denver CO

    the more I hear Obama talk the more I think he out of his mind. He should focus on the republicans and not try to tear the dem party apart. I think he's working for Bush

    October 11, 2007 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  11. G. Michael Kent, Wa.

    Easy to be different, just be honest.

    October 11, 2007 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  12. Providence, RI

    Obama is becoming desperate, like Edwards- poor showing in the latest polls, poor fund raising in the 3rd quarter- So now he embraces mud sling-shame, shame, shame... And he says he is a "fresh breath." Pathetic.

    October 11, 2007 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  13. laurinda,ny

    THOMAS..I enjoy reading what you write. You are one of the smarter people who make comments.

    October 11, 2007 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  14. Mark Jefffery Koch, Cherry Hill, New Jersey

    If Obama continues to refuse to take the gloves off and criticize Hillary he will lose, and she does not need him to win the Black vote. The Black vote, the female vote, as well as California, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and New England are going to vote for her no matter who she picks as her running mate. If she's as calculating and smart as she appears to be she will pick someone from the midwest or south who's a Democratic moderate, not a liberal like Obama. He doesn't bring any voters to the table who were not going to vote for her anyway. The far left self absorbed bloggers can criticize her all all they want but the absolute truth is that America is not left wing nor is it right wing and the overwhelming majority of the voting public is moderate and will vote for a middle of the road candidate in 2008. They don't want a Hollywood Liberal or Daily Kos candidate and they also don't want someone from the religious right or a candidate who appears intolerant of others which both the left wing and right wing most definitely are. Hillary definitely does not need Obama to win.

    October 11, 2007 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. sonya, atlanta, ga

    If you watched Cspan you would see how things played out with that ammendment. Reid did pull the ammendment off the floor the day Obama was present saying that it was on idenfinate hold. 24 hours later Reid put the ammend on the floor for the vote, he clearly told staff to inform senators who were not present. An hour later the vote happen. Obama was already gone after the senate session the day before. Obama released his position as soon as he was informed on that a vote would happen. So, the Obama bashers get your facts straight. It makes no sense for Obama to not vote against the ammendment.

    October 11, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. Uvia, El Paso, TX

    Yes, go for the Change, go for the Unity, Go for Obama. Enough with issues that trickeled down from eight years of the Clinton Administration into the Bush Administration. Enough with the Soap Opera. Go for Change!

    October 11, 2007 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. lavelle Rochester,ny

    Keep this up Obama and you won't be Vice President either! Hillary will be the next president of the U.S., and this is one middle-American Democrat that is looking forward to it!

    Posted By Dave, Alpharetta GA : October 11, 2007 1:11 pm

    Who wants to be Vice President to Hillbill? Bill Clinton will be the real Vice President and Some smuck will just have the title and be a puppet for there agenda. Republicans will rally against Hillary and like it or not She needs Obama more then Obama needs her. Stop denying the fact that she is not as electable as CNN wants her to be.

    October 11, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. Lavelle Rochester,ny

    I like Clinton. I believe she would make a decent president. But making Clinton the Democratic nominee was be a catastrophe. Her polarizing effect will cause the Democrats to lose both the Senate and the HOR. No bills will be passed. The Iraq war will continue, forget about universal health insurance, not to mention any education or economic legislation. That's why I'll be voting for either Obama or Edwards. This country needs to unite and stop fighting internally if we are to ever make any progress and be respected by the rest of the world.

    Posted By Joanne, Des Moines, Iowa : October 11, 2007 2:19 pm


    October 11, 2007 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  19. John, Seattle WA

    Yes, Hillary has experience, but unfortuanatley for us, it's the wrong kind.

    It's the kind that has created and strengthened the current 'government' in DC. Big business gets access through their lobbyists and we 'the people' do not. Hillary is a part and parcel to this garbage – She has been since 1992.

    Didn't most of us just vote against this very THING? That's 16 years of the same experience we just kicked out of Washington! C'mon!

    It's more of the same BS, more of the same run around, more of the same Washington that no one but Washington wants.

    What has she ever done or decision she ever made has ever worked out in our favor? (Her being a PUBLIC servant and all)

    That's right...nothing. Heath Care. Nope. Marital Fidelity. Nope. IRAQ. Big, Big, Nope. Name one thing. Nothing.

    Elect someone who COULD pass the BAR Exam. We are a country of laws after all.

    Elect someone who inspires the country and hopefully the world.

    Elect someone who can make a difficult, unpopular decision and come out on top in the end.

    Elect someone who beieves that the people, not interest groups, get the government we deserve.

    Go Obama.

    You inspire us and make us realize we can make this country right again one vote at a time.

    October 11, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |

    I can't seem to understand why it is that Barack Obama feels he should be President of the United States simply because he wasn't in the Senate to vote on the resolution to use force against Iraq. I simply don't see how this one issue allows him to bypass the fact that he has no other agenda to run on. I have been watching the Obama campaign closely and I haven't seen any new fresh innovative ideas. He only speaks of hope and change and how America is tired of the same old politics but he has not explained to the American people what he will do for them.

    It's fascinating in a land of intelligent people like the USA no one else can see this point. How is he any different than Sen. Clinton? The only thing that he constantly hammers home is his alledged opposition to the Iraq war. I use the word alledged simply because he has publicly stated in many interviews that he is unsure IF he would have voted use force against Iraq if he were in the US Senate at time the resolution was passed. It is very easy to criticize someone for their actions if you weren't in the same situation. John Edwards frequently uses this tactic with Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. He is not a sitting Senator, yet he has many ideas on how to end the war. Ideas are easy to come by when you are in no position to implement them.

    Personally I wish Americans would shoulder some of the responsibilty for the Iraq war as well. We all know that after 9/11 and before the invasion and even nine months into the invasion, support for the war and President Bush was very high. When the war started going badly Americans support started going south and they started demanding answers. I compare this behavior to your favorite baseball team is the team the wins the World Series. I believe if there was a more positive outlook on the war, Senator Clinton would not be villified for her vote. I believe her vote to use force in Iraq was not politically motivated and she honestly believed she was making the right decision.

    In the land of Hillary haters even if she didn't vote for the war it would be another reason why they can't support her. Democrats need to wise and realize that they are still being played by the Republicans. They don't want Hillary and a Democratic majority in Congress because they know major changes will happen. They know she has the will and political power to make this happen, that's why they are doing everything possible to try to speak negatively of her.

    If America really wants change vote Hillary 2008. I don't see what everyone is so afraid of.

    October 11, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  21. Bradley Schaubs, Greeley, CO

    Obama, you da man! Show Hillary that experience and sacrifice is more than being First Lady while Billy is sleeping with another woman in the Oval Office!

    Obama '08

    October 11, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  22. Erina Jacobs, Mill Valley, CA

    It appears that the 2nd and 3rd place democrats and front runners from republicans are trying to discredit Hillary rather than giving americans new policies of their own. Republican hoefuls one and all except Ron Paul are still following Bush's disasterous policies. All of these men are desperate to get into the race and catch up with Hillary.

    October 11, 2007 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  23. Coach Haughton NH

    The amendment was on the floor when Barack was present and then put on idefinate hold.

    Instead of sitting in washington waiting to vote in protest to things Barack went out to talk to americans in his undying effort to bring change.

    Senator Reid announced that the vote was going to be held and ordered that the senators who were not present be notified. The senate...already knowing they had the votes...voted an hour later. Barack immediately issued a statement of his oppinion on the bill.

    The spin about "hiding" or "escaping" the vote is not going to work.

    Senators always miss votes during a presidential campaign for similar reasons.

    Get the facts straight.

    October 11, 2007 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  24. Ross, Libertyville, IL

    Mark my words–If Hillary Clinton wins the Dem nom, there will be another Republican redecorating the white house in January '09. Not sure which one, but it won't matter.

    The general election will become a vote against rather than a vote for the next president of our United States. Much as we'd like to deny it, the presidency is a popularity contest, and frankly, polls have proven Mrs. Clinton is not particularly well-liked.

    October 11, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  25. Alice Jardine, Sidney , BC Ca

    Who is Senator Obama working for? Himself on the campaign, or the voters who pay his senatorial salary. We the people pay him to be in Washington to vote on all...yes, all legislative matters. We do not pay him to stay out on his campaign trail. He's raised enough money to hire a private jet to get back to Washington to vote.

    October 11, 2007 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
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