October 13th, 2007
08:23 AM ET
3 months ago

Obama: Clinton doesn't know where she stands

Watch Obama go after Clinton Friday in Iowa.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Illinois Sen. Barack Obama attacked New York Sen. Hillary Clinton on Friday for saying earlier in the week that she would negotiate with Iran "with no conditions."

"A couple of months ago, Sen. Clinton called me naive and irresponsible for taking this position," said Obama. "[She] said that we could lose propaganda battles if we met with leaders we didn't like."

Obama was referring to Clinton's criticism of him after he said in a July debate that he would meet with controversial world leaders without preconditions.

"Just yesterday, though," Obama continued, "she called for diplomacy with Iran without preconditions. So I'm not sure if any of us knows exactly where she stands on this."

That wasn't the only shot Obama took at Clinton in a speech marking the fifth anniversary of congressional authorization of the war in Iraq. (Related: Obama: It's time to show where I differ from Clinton)

He also went after Clinton for being the only Democratic candidate for president currently supporting an amendment that contains strong language against Iran.

The Kyl-Lieberman amendment, according to Obama, provides another blank check to the current administration. The Illinois senator claims it could give President Bush an excuse to keep troops in Iraq "as long as they can point to a threat from Iran."

Responding to the criticisms, top Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson said, "When Sen. Clinton used the term "no conditions," she was referring to meetings between the United States government and Iran, not personal meetings with the President. She was striking a contrast with President Bush who has refused to allow the U.S. government to talk to Iran about its nuclear weapons program. Senator Clinton has repeatedly said throughout this campaign that she would re-engage the world diplomatically and end the cowboy approach to diplomacy that has been used by the Bush administration."

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– CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Iowa
soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. Maddoxx, NY, NY

    Osbama is absolutely wrong. He he trying to win favor by twisting fact. He is a twisted fender-bender of facts. Clinton was clearly referring to meetings between the United States government and Iran, not personal meetings with the President. She was striking a contrast with President Bush who has refused to allow the U.S. government to talk to Iran about its nuclear weapons program.

    Anyone who believes in what Osbama is twisting is an idiot.

    October 12, 2007 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  2. Erica, IA

    Hillary is a smart, capable person and I want to see a woman as president. I want to see a woman president because I believe it will open the doors for more women to become president. Hillary is polarizing. As much as democrats hate G.W.B. republicans hate the Clintons. The problem is she is running not as a democrat but as a woman "the first female president" – look at her website and read what her supporters say. A lot of it is about her gender. All negativity of her presidency (and there is some for any president)will be focused on her being a woman. She will close the doors on future woman presidents more then she will open them. I am not voting for Hillary because I want to see more women in the White House. The first woman president needs to be more moderate. Now is the time, this is the place, Hillary is not the one. I wish she were.

    October 12, 2007 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    I don't know how much more proof all you Hillary supporters need to know that she will say anything to get elected. To think John Kerry was labeled a flip-flopper, Hill makes him look like a rank amateur in that department.
    To Heather from Nashville: Obama can't help but be opposite Hillary due to the fact that she stands on both sides of every issue.
    People, please get a clue. She is Bush Light and if elected will make Bush look like the lightweight. She will absolutely NOT be good for America.

    October 12, 2007 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. Vik N, BH

    What Clinton said:

    [youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T-DVmkAAZHA&w=640&h=390]

    Her actual quote: "So there's no doubt that we've got a difficult relationship with Iran, but here's what I would do as president. I would engage in negotiations with Iran with no conditions, because we don't really understand how Iran works....so that's what I would do, I would negotiate with them, no conditions but with some sticks that we can use as leverage etc...."

    If that isn't flip flopping I don't know what is.

    Don't be bamboozled by the same Clintonian tactics of trying to define what 'is' is.

    October 12, 2007 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  5. Sonja San Francisco CA

    Hillary is only half a presidential candidate when she's by herself. She HAS to have Bill with her to be a whole candidate. And you suckers are singing her song? There's one born every minute. Stupid, non-thinker, go along with the crowd kind of guys.

    October 12, 2007 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  6. Randy S. Lawton, OK

    One other point. Folks are nitpicking about talks with Iran not with Ahmadinejad. Well, guess what, he is Iran, if as the President he wishes to join these talks who's gonna stop him. If Hillary as President will talk, than Ahmadinejad as President also has that right.
    Get real, people.

    October 12, 2007 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  7. Michael, NYC

    A few things. First, Daniel, I see you have moved your website-shilling, Clinton-loving operation from Politico to CNN. Please stop shilling for your website. It's kinda gross.

    Second, we all know why Sen. Obama missed the Iran vote – becuase Sen. Reid moved the vote after he told Sen. Obama that he wasn't going to bring the vote for the foreseeable future. Remember, Sen. Reid's son is running Sen. Clinton's operations in Nevada.

    Third, pointing out differences between he and Sen. Clitnon's positions, even doing so forcefully, is not abandonig "the politics of hope." Slamming people for personal reasons. Getting dirty with mud-slinging. Leaking lies. Those are examples of abandoning the politics of hope. Calling Sen. Clinton out on her flipping is not.

    Lastly, for those of you that keep crying that diplomacy with Iran is "negotiating with the enemy," so what? If you believe (like I do) that the U.S. is the greatest country in the world, why not negotiate with those beneath you? Why does the U.S., no matter its might, get to stomp all over the map? If we believe in democracy so much: 1) we have to be willing to recognize the legally-elected democratic president of Iran (no matter how much of a lunatic he is), and 2) we have to recongize self-determination in all people in their own spheres. Democracies don't war with other democracies. They talk. Imperialism doesn't work anymore. We need a new direction, lest our reputation, and with that, our strength, be further diminshed.

    October 12, 2007 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  8. John NC

    The trouble with Hillary being President is that she would bring that snake in the grass with her.

    October 12, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  9. Grant Lee

    TO MADDOXX

    You wrote:

    Osbama is absolutely wrong. He he trying to win favor by twisting fact. He is a twisted fender-bender of facts. Clinton was clearly referring to meetings between the United States government and Iran, not personal meetings with the President. She was striking a contrast with President Bush who has refused to allow the U.S. government to talk to Iran about its nuclear weapons program.

    Anyone who believes in what Osbama is twisting is an idiot.

    Posted By Maddoxx, NY, NY : October 12, 2007 3:31 pm
    =======================================

    You are one of the hypocrites I'm talking about. Please learn to spell correctly. If the President of Iran insists on direct talks only what will Hillary do? Strong Presidents of Strong countries should not be afraid to negotiate. The whole middle east is not bigger than America not to talk of Iran. Hypocrite you are, the title of idiot you obviously crowned yourself for your stupid comments in calling other people idiots. Now thats what i call politics of hope, calling a spade a spade.

    October 12, 2007 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  10. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Anything which Joe "Thrown-from-the-Nest" Lieberman supports is presumptively wrongheaded.

    October 12, 2007 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  11. Candice, Boston MA

    The pencil-neck speaks again. Why isn't there more coverage of Michelle's recent crash that severely hurt another vehicle driver? Why don't wealthy politicians ever have to pay for their mistakes?

    October 12, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  12. Marie

    Thank you Senator Obama for your consistent judgement and words and actions..

    October 12, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  13. Jim Bremer

    Barack HUSSEIN Obama doesn't like anyone talking about attacking the Islamic state of Iran – I wonder why

    October 12, 2007 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  14. Jon Schenkemann New York, NY

    Quote " Why isn't there more coverage of Michelle's recent crash that severely hurt another vehicle driver? Why don't wealthy politicians ever have to pay for their mistakes?

    Posted By Candice, Boston MA : October 12, 2007 3:51 pm

    Michelle Hussein Obama was wearing a veil and hence was found innocent of the accident – Koran 101

    October 12, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  15. HAN XIAG

    THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL HILLARY CAN SPIN THIS ONE. YOU CAN'T DICTATE TO IRAN HOW THEY WILL MEET WITH YOU, HILLARY JUST DOESN'T GET IT. WHAT IF THE IRANIAN PRESIDENT SAYS NO TO SENDING HIS ENVOYS AND WANTS TO MEET. Please someone tell me what she will do because i want to know the substance of her Judgement.

    October 12, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  16. Fred Thompson, Somewhere, TN

    Unfortunately Hillary is going to be it. The liberal press has been tauting her for years now. Socialize our medical service, raise our taxes, put Bill back in the White House for a shot at another intern. A vote for any democratic candidate will be the start of the end of this country. Fred Thompson rules!

    October 12, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  17. leo, LA,CA

    Honestly I don't think either one of them should win. But then sorry to say almost all the democrats wanna take our money. So no matter what their beliefs are unless they actually attempt to kill off income tax like some of the independent's would like to do then I pay them no mind. I pay the republicans no mind because they are against too many things, that need to be fixed... prochoice, gay rights, drug war just to name a few. And not a single one of them has said they will attempt to get rid of income taxes. Just try to give tax cuts. Where all the single people will be left out. Only people with children get tax cuts. Single people have to take on more just because the house market is super expensive now and is automatically set up for a two people income not one. So you tell me where any of the democrats or republicans are actually helping us. I do not want our first female president to be Hillary Clinton that's for dang sure!

    October 12, 2007 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  18. Maria, Houston

    Daniel, you like to refer to polls, here's my question:

    Recently Hillary was reported at 50% to Obama's 20%. Minutes ago I overheard on MsNBC news that the difference between the two is now 19 points, 11 (ELEVEN) points less. Does this mean that

    a/ polls are grossly exaggerated

    b/ Obama is closing on Hillary

    c/ Hillary is loosing her support?

    Eleven points is a lot in just few days, don't you think?

    October 12, 2007 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  19. BajanLuv, Newport News, VA

    Politics of Hope–hope that he will call her on all her flip flops. He must respond to all of her jabs. Has nothing to do with hope. He can respond, just doesn't have to be nasty about it. Did she cite a poll as the reason for him cathcing her flip flop? I can't believe she did.

    October 12, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  20. Jasica T., Hicksville, NY

    The very fact that everyone is attacking Hillary on whatever her statements come from her mouth indicate that these people don't want want to recognize her lead in the polls. By whatever means they want to erase her poll numbers. Its not that the statements made now are firm and cast forever. If Obama, Clinton, or Edward say something, these are not going to be a law if one of them become a president. (by the way statements made by republican hopefuls don't count). If that is true, then Bush had promised several things in his campaign. Except for the Tax cuts, he hasn't achieved anything. In short, there is no need to disect all that is been told to us on campaign trail.

    October 12, 2007 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  21. Grant Lee

    YOU WROTE:

    THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL HILLARY CAN SPIN THIS ONE. YOU CAN'T DICTATE TO IRAN HOW THEY WILL MEET WITH YOU, HILLARY JUST DOESN'T GET IT. WHAT IF THE IRANIAN PRESIDENT SAYS NO TO SENDING HIS ENVOYS AND WANTS TO MEET. Please someone tell me what she will do because i want to know the substance of her Judgement.

    Posted By HAN XIAG : October 12, 2007 3:59 pm
    -------------

    Take it easy Bro, Clinton is coming around little by little. Hillary will have no option than to belong to the Obama school of Strong Presidents of Strong Countries should not be afraid to meet and negotiate. Bullies are never scared of the skinny kids because they know they can't be harmed when the talks go wrong. When Ahmadinejad demands face to face meeting, Clinton will have the option to act like George Bush or Obama. What the hell am i talking about she will never be POTUS?

    October 12, 2007 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. BajanLuv, Newport News, Va

    For the last time, the motorcyclist was at fault. Yes, his name is Hussein, but he told you that from the beginning. Talk issues, please.

    October 12, 2007 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  23. Matt B, Los Angeles, CA

    Where do people get off saying that Obama doesn't have a plan? He's had plans for Energy, Health Care, and Iraq all before HRC.

    ~Matt

    PS: TALKING IN CAPS LOCK DOES NOT MAKE YOU RIGHT.

    October 12, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  24. Arturo Universal City,Tx

    Hussein Obama is just contributing to the dirty tactics of the Republican Party. This is just last gasps of a drowing man. There is no doubt in my mind that Hussein Obama is just the hope that the Republican Party had for him become the nominate so that they can tear him apart. Why doesn't anyone starts looking at Hussein's record.

    October 12, 2007 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. Rodney Dallas TX

    Joel browski

    You say get ready to borrow money just to put gas in your car for 4 years, don't you know that Bush is the one invested in oil. Bush is friends with the saudi's. Keeping this ridiculous war going on. He's the one keeping the gas prices high. You should be happy a dem will be in office. Gas prices will lower.

    October 12, 2007 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
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