October 13th, 2007
08:23 AM ET
2 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."

Click here to see CNN's new political portal: CNNPolitics.com

– CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch


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

    you people keep saying his judgement,what judgement he doesnt vote,missed so many critical votes,he isnt president yet,never will be..hes got you all fooled,he has visions and Hillarys laid out several plans on all kinds of issues.

    October 13, 2007 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  2. ZTL

    I sometimes wonder when fools play with Senator Obama's name on blogs. I don't know if it is a sign of racism or something else because I don't see people fooling around with Sen. Joe Binden's name for the same reason. Biden's name BTW has both names of Bin Laden engraved BIn laDEN

    October 13, 2007 04:36 am at 4:36 am |
  3. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Thank you, Not a blind follower. I am not a blind follower too. Obama supports are acting like an ONE EYE, DEAF AND BLIND. Obama couldn't change because he will use other people's brain like Bush, it is dangerous for our Country. We need the President who has a strong, intelligent and own brilliant brain which combinded with experiences. Hillary combined all of four characteristics. Hillary for 44th President of United States of America.

    October 13, 2007 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  4. Jen, Gainesville, FL

    There is a difference between attacking a candidate and drawing difference. Obama is not attacking but is drawing differences between him and the "me-too" Hillary. He was merely pointing out the facts instead of labelling people without justification, as Hillary used "naive" and "irresponsible". National polls are meanings at this point, merely a refection of name recognition. The fact that Obama is black and has a Muslim middle name (he is Christian) is irrelevant to the presidential run, just as Hillary is a woman. We are in the 21st century. For the sake of our future generations, we need act responsibly by reading, thinking, and making good judgment rather than reacting to fabrications and making decisions out of hatred and biases.

    October 13, 2007 07:57 am at 7:57 am |
  5. Katie Lynch, New York

    I used to be a die-hard Hilary supporter but now deep into the campaign her true colours are coming through.

    I really do believe Obama is the one candidate who has been consistent and principled right from before even declaring his candidacy.

    This country need Obama. You have my vote if you get the nomination!

    Obama '08

    October 13, 2007 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  6. ozark9812, KY

    Kyu Reisch from Radcliff, KY. If Clinton will be using her own brain, that would be a miracle. She is using Obama's brain now ny changing her position on talking to Iran, she used Edward's brain in her Health care proposal, used both Edwards and Obama's brain in saying she will consider social security caps on taxes. Cmon I am sure you are a smart kid who can read for yourself. Dont be so blinded and deaf in your support for Hillary that you forget to make sensible conclusions.

    October 13, 2007 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  7. JW texarkana

    Obama where did you leave tke high road could it be you are a flip---------flop--er

    October 13, 2007 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. PollM, Dallas Tx

    WHATEVER

    This is clearly a "switcharoo", call it what you want it is what it is.

    Any kind of distinction they're trying to make is full of you know what.

    Is Hillary Clinton making a clear and compelling distinction between meeting the Iranian

    President and Government to Government? http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=696

    .

    October 13, 2007 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  9. laurinda,ny

    I don't think that Obama really is religious. I think that he is a front for a middle eastern nation that plans to take us over if he ever got elected. Even Al Sharpton of all people doesn't trust him.

    October 13, 2007 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  10. Coach Haughton NH

    Coach Haughton:

    It's fine for Sen. Obama to point out differences with Sen. Clinton, but he can't twist her words to do so. The YouTube question was about unconditionally promising to meet with AHMADINEJAD in the first year in office, not about conducting unconditional negotiations with Iran, as Sen. Obama now seems to be claiming.

    Sen. Clinton has never rejected unconditional negotiations with Iran: she simply said that she wouldn't promise to meet with Ahmadinejad before knowing what he wanted to talk about, which would be established … in negotiations.

    For Sen. Obama to distort her words to improve his position is very much "politics as usual," not the "politics of hope."

    Posted By dawn — Gaithersburg, MD. : October 12, 2007 8:22 pm

    I appreciate your differing point of view because it gives me and intelligent perspective of the other side however it's obvious that you read nothing that I wrote. You saw my name a couple times on here and assumed that what be saying.

    If you want to refute one of my comments i suggest you read them first... because what you wrote has nothing to do with anything that I wrote.

    In fact I hope you get back to this one before it gets pushed under monday's news because I'm interested to see what you have to say about the lengthy one I wrote in response to buggie. Look for a couple sentences in caps.

    And in response to your response to nothing...

    No matter which way you spin it the Iraq vote was wrong.

    The Iran vote makes new military conflict an easier sell for an unpopular president in a time that we seek to withdraw from war.

    October 13, 2007 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  11. Ailene Indianapolis, Indiana

    Obama and McCain has been the only candidates in their respective parties that has been consistent and principled ...even when faced with criticism from their own party and low poll numbers. A leader should be to stand on principle in the face of adversity not be swayed like chaff in the wind of public opinion.

    October 13, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  12. Ayyub, Richmond

    Thank you, Not a blind follower. I am not a blind follower too. Obama supports are acting like an ONE EYE, DEAF AND BLIND. Obama couldn't change because he will use other people's brain like Bush, it is dangerous for our Country. We need the President who has a strong, intelligent and own brilliant brain which combinded with experiences. Hillary combined all of four characteristics. Hillary for 44th President of United States of America.

    Posted By Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky : October 13, 2007 7:51 am

    Where has your mind gone. OK, you can see your candidate flip-flopped and you want to ignore it because you want a woman in the White House as president that bad! C'mon! You shouldn't be supporting her for any reasons like that, but by what she does and says and then look at the facts. If you want a woman in the WH vote for an honest woman. A woman who doesn't call a candidate "naive" and than months later say the same as he did. Then act like "oh, it's different" because it's not different. Hillary is a hypocrite and a fool. Stop supporting her short comings.

    October 13, 2007 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  13. Tom Dedham, Mass

    Go for it Obama, expose this lying fraud for what she is.

    The MSM tries to cover up her "doublespeak" by either not reporting it or misreporting it.

    She is on record as saying the Bush admin should be holding talks with Iran (they have been for almost a year secretly) and then when Obama states it is a good idea, she screams GOTCHA and the MSM runs with it.

    Define "talks" right Shrillary?

    NAFTA was one of Bill's biggest blunders that he got through even though rightfully the UNIONS opposed it (but lets still vote for her?), are you aware that Monday she said "we should reassess these types of agreements every five years.

    No details if she was leaning towards more, less or doing away with it, just reassess.

    That is doublespeak and not only was it not in the news, nobody said WHAT DO YOU MEAN BY THAT?

    She was in Mass the other day screaming about about "bringing our troops home now", sorry Hillary, didn't you recently say that you can't look that far into the future to make that type of assessment?

    Haven't you been hammering Bush on a timeline, but yet, you can't provide one?

    Didn't you say last year that the President should have the right to use torture in certain situations, but now you say "Americans" should never torture?

    Just like your hubby, never takes a real stand, always gray area that leaves it up to your cult followers and the MSM to explain what you mean, and after they come up with something, "that's exactly what I meant".

    And if a rival takes you to task, if it is a Republican, it is the vast right-wing conpiracy and if a Democrat, they are attacking "little ol' you".

    No morals. no stances, nothing new.

    Obama is right to discuss your distortions and yes, "flip-flops".

    The ads are being made as we speak as that is why Karl Rove quit, he is in the "chamber" doing his evil.

    Anyone but Hillary – 2008.

    October 13, 2007 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  14. Lioness, Washington DC

    Well said, Obama. Once again he stands out as the best candidate by a mile.

    His criticisms are based on facts, carefully sourced, abd based on policy.

    What a refreshing break from the gratuitous mudslinging that involves name calling of the type Hillary resorted to when she called Obama "irresponsible" and "naive," (words that could more accurately describe her).

    Hillary's flip-flopping is as clear as daylight. Obama is merely pointing out the obvious.

    October 13, 2007 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  15. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    Sen. Obama provided the best illustration of how muddled his attack on Sen. Clinton is. He acknowledged that Sen. Clinton called him "naive" for agreeing to meet with WORLD LEADERS without preconditions. Then he implied that promising to NEGOTIATE WITH IRAN without preconditions was the same as agreeing to meet with AHMADINEJAD.

    Note to Sen. Obama and supporters: agreeing to face-to-face meetings without preconditions with world leaders is FAR DIFFERENT from agreeing to negotiate country-to-country without preconditions. In country-to-country negotiatiations, diplomats from both sides conduct the early meetings, hammering out understandings on what issues will be on the agenda, confidence-building measures to be undertaken on both sides, terms and conditions of preliminary and medium-term agreements, and what final status talks and agreements will look like.

    Principals (the Secretary of State in the first instance, and, in extraordinary circumstances, the President) get involved intermittently only to resolve roadblocks, urge on both sides to determine agendas, complete preliminary agreements etc.

    Face-to-face principals' MEETINGS occur when something has been agreed upon, NOT BEFORE. That way the President of the United States doesn't end up in a two-hour meeting with Ahmadinejad listening to him count off the homosexuals in Iran.

    If Sen. Obama DOESN'T know this, then he's indeed "naive and inexperienced." If, as I suspect, he does know it but made his statements anyway, then he thinks you are.

    October 13, 2007 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  16. Jen, Gainesville, FL

    Dawn,

    Please get your facts right. Obama did not promise to meet with anyone in his first year of office, but said he "would be willing to meet." Even a five-year old can tell the difference between the above two.

    October 13, 2007 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  17. Maria, Houston

    Clinton campaign operatives and her supporters mock and belittle everybody who dares to disagree. Hillay's niceties are gone when a person asks an inconvenient question. When things get rocky, she runs to her husband for help.

    Hillary's husband is calling to get her endorsments, her husband's old hired guns are working for her,she benefits from her husband's name and political power. That is what George Bush Jr. did in reference to his father.

    And just like GWB, Hillary has no clue how middle class women really live. She's never been one. Her husband gets for one speach more than what's an average middle class income per year. Hillary did not have to worry about her health insurance or colleage costs for her children. She was a highly paid lawyer who lived the life of privilege as a woman married to a powerful man. She tolerated his indiscretions and in the same time she was making condescending remarks about mothers who stay home and bake cookies. And now she is riding "The Middle Class Bus"? I don't think so.

    I voted for Democrats all my life, by this woman does not represent me and I found it offensive that she even tries to brainwash American women that she "feels our pain" or has our interest in mind.The only real interest she has is to further her political ambition.

    Go Barack and speak up.

    October 13, 2007 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    Senator Obama, we the American electorate are not listening to you anymore.

    Your actions and words have demonstrated a total lack of any sense of what is important. You cannot even make it to the Senate to vote against a measure that is "equal to a blank check for President Bush".

    Stuff and nonsense. Not only am I not voting for you for President, but if you were my US Senator I would vote for the other guy/woman next time around.

    Bye, bye.

    October 13, 2007 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. Peter B

    Its disturbing that Clinton admits she does not understand Iran

    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,” Mrs. Clinton said.

    Without understanding Iran, how can you vote against anything about the country?

    October 13, 2007 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  20. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    (1) Like it's possible to run for president and not point out disagreements with your opponent.
    – Coach Haughton

    (2) It's fine for Sen. Obama to point out differences with Sen. Clinton, but he can't twist her words to do so.
    – dawn

    (3) I appreciate your differing point of view because it gives me and intelligent perspective of the other side however it's obvious that you read nothing that I wrote. You saw my name a couple times on here and assumed that what be saying.
    – Coach Haughton

    I assume that when you wrote (1), see above), what you meant to say was that Sen. Obama was merely pointing out honest differences that he had with Sen. Clinton on the negotiations v. face-to-face meetings issue. I responded with my own opinion (see (2) above). If that's not what you meant to say, I sincerely apologize. In my defense, it's sometimes difficult to know exactly what you ARE trying to say because of your unique phraseology featuring the absence of crucial parts of speech, e.g., verbs, or, in this case, entire clauses and/or sentences that might explain to what exactly you are responding. Again, I apologize for any misunderstanding.

    P.S.: I've stated my views of Sen. Clinton's vote on the Iraq War Resolution many times. I think I'll wait to do it again until the next time it's the actual topic.

    But I will say that I think you mis-remembered one crucial fact. I think everybody thought that he still had SOME WMD. We just also believed that: (a) he'd never use them; (b) the weapons inspectors could handle it; and (c) the no-fly zone had him contained. I said as much to a Republican friend of mine a few months (I believe) before the war started. Nobody doubted that, after a quick ride through the desert to Bagdad, President Bush would be able to point to at least a warehouse or two of old biological or chemical weapons and hold up at least a few degraded vials of anthrax, botulinum, or ricin. And that alone would've been enough to change the whole political climate - we'd probably still be seriously debating whether the invasion was worth it.

    October 13, 2007 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. Ayyub, Richmond

    Hillary Clinton had no right to call Barack Obama "naive" because as we can see she's the real naive one in this race.

    Goodbye and So long Hillary. I won't ever vote for you and I hope your campaingn or foolishness, negativity and lies fails!

    October 13, 2007 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  22. Brian, Syracuse NY

    Clinton doesn't understand AMERICA. How do you expect her to understand IRAN?

    October 13, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. Greg, Brattleboro, VT

    Guys, "please educate yourself on the issues of the day before posting. Seriously...you have a computer, right? How hard would it have been to invesigate as to WHY Obama missed the vote? If you had taken a few minutes to find out by just using Google, you would have found out that Obama was in Washington on the day when the vote was originally scheduled, then Senator Reid tabled the bill and said it would not be coming to the floor anytime soon (you can see the video on C-SPAN.org). So Obama returned to New Hampshire. He was at a campaign event when he got word that Senator Reid had decided to bring the vote up within the hour, so what was Obama supposed to do?
    He obviously couldn't get back to Washington to make the vote, so he decided to issue a statement condemning the bill, and he also spoke out against in at the New Hamphire event, saying if he could have made it on time to vote, his vote would have been a "no".

    Again, just do some quick research on this topic before making up your mind....unless, of course, you actually don't want to know the truth and would rather remain intellectually lazy and therefore ignorant."

    October 13, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  24. Lance in Monrovia CA

    The facts about the Iran Vote in the Senate.

    Obama showed up for the vote as Harry Reid scheduled it but Reid cancelled it. Days later Obama was called precisely ONE HOUR before the vote to be told it would be happening. He was called by Harry Reid's son, who is actively employed by Clinton's campaign.

    Obama was campaigning in NH and there was no feasible way of getting to Washington in time to vote. He then released a statement saying how he WOULD have voted that same day and condemning Hillary for her vote to authorize Bush to GO TO WAR YET AGAIN WITH IRAN by calling them terrorists.

    End politics as usual and the petty games that these pigs play.

    Obama knows that todays pig is tomorrow's bacon.

    Vote Obama 08.

    October 13, 2007 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  25. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    (1) Like it's possible to run for president and not point out disagreements with your opponent.
    – Coach Haughton

    (2) It's fine for Sen. Obama to point out differences with Sen. Clinton, but he can't twist her words to do so.
    – dawn

    (3) I appreciate your differing point of view because it gives me and intelligent perspective of the other side however it's obvious that you read nothing that I wrote. You saw my name a couple times on here and assumed that what be saying.
    – Coach Haughton

    I assume that when you wrote (1), see above), what you meant to say was that Sen. Obama was merely pointing out honest differences that he had with Sen. Clinton on the negotiations v. face-to-face meetings issue. I responded with my own opinion (see (2) above). If that's not what you meant to say, I sincerely apologize. In my defense, it's sometimes difficult to know exactly what you ARE trying to say because of your unique phraseology featuring the absence of crucial parts of speech, e.g., verbs, or, in this case, entire clauses and/or sentences that might explain to what exactly you are responding. Again, I apologize for any misunderstanding.

    P.S.: I've stated my views of Sen. Clinton's vote on the Iraq War Resolution many times. I think I'll wait to do it again until the next time it's the actual topic.

    But I will say that I think you mis-remembered one crucial fact. I think everybody (with the possible exception of Republican former weapons inspector, Scott Ritter) thought that he still had SOME WMD. We just also believed that: (a) he'd never use them; (b) the weapons inspectors could handle it; and (c) the no-fly zone had him contained. I said as much to a Republican friend of mine a few months (I believe) before the war started. Nobody doubted that, after a quick ride through the desert to Bagdad, President Bush would be able to point to at least a warehouse or two of old biological or chemical weapons and hold up at least a few degraded vials of anthrax, botulinum, or ricin. And that alone would've been enough to change the whole political climate — we'd probably still be seriously debating whether the invasion was worth it.

    October 13, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
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