October 14th, 2007
08:22 AM ET
7 years ago

Obama: Clinton thinks more 'conventionally'

Obama took questions Saturday after canvassing door to door in Des Moines.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, said Saturday that he and Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-New York, differ on a "range of issues." Specifically, he said Clinton thinks "more conventionally" on the international scale.

"On foreign policy I think that she tends to think more conventionally, at a time when we're facing a series of unconventional threats," the Illinois senator said.

Speaking to reporters in Des Moines, Obama implied that Clinton may be more willing to "go along with Bush policies that could provide a rationale for keeping troops in Iraq longer or engaging in aggression towards Iran."

Related: Obama: Clinton doesn't know where she stands

He also said the two differ in how aggressive they are in direct diplomacy and the kinds of messages they're sending to the world with respect Iraq, but he admitted that "there is overlap in terms of our positions on healthcare or some other issues."

When asked if he felt the campaign could be getting ugly, Obama responded by saying his campaign is not undergoing any fundamental transformation in their approach.

"We continue to offer a hopeful and optimistic message about where we want to take the country," Obama said. "Obviously there are going to be differences between the candidates...and the voters are going to need to know where those differences are."

"None of these differences I think rise to the level of personal attacks or gratuitous attacks, and that's the kind of politics I think people are tired of."

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

-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Iowa • New Hampshire • Race to '08 • South Carolina
soundoff (124 Responses)
  1. William Moore Plano Texas

    Sometime he has to stop attacking and have some original ideas. The country can not change as fast as he would like. Just not ready. Also lets show up for some votes. Still getting paid to be a senator.

    October 13, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. matt

    Canvassing door-to-door and hammering Hillary incessantly? The beginning of the end...


    October 13, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  3. Lakisha st.Louis, Mo

    Sometime he has to stop attacking and have some original ideas. The country can not change as fast as he would like. Just not ready. Also lets show up for some votes. Still getting paid to be a senator.

    Posted By William Moore Plano Texas : October 13, 2007 5:32 pm

    He is the one with the ideas Hillary just bites off of everone else. Dude get a mind

    October 13, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  4. Mandy Johnston, Iowa

    I keep thanking the Lord that I didn't vote for this man for senator. There is nothing here. There is no politics of hope. There is only empty rhetoric. Maybe Hillary isn't a perfect candidate, but at least she isn't an empty shell. What has he ever done? And if he is so annoyed with her vis-a-vis the Iran vote, where was he during the debate and vote?

    Posted By Barry, Chicago, IL : October

    When you can figure things out. Come back.

    Obama 08

    October 13, 2007 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  5. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    I am still waiting for a reason to vote FOR Senator Obama.

    I do not want to hear any more reasons to vote AGAINST anyone else.

    No sale here.

    October 13, 2007 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  6. Tim, Madison WI

    TheInsider: "Real political insiders" don't brag about being "real political insiders." Any analysis and "conclusions" you have drawn from these statements mean basically diddly-squat right now. This campaign is far, far, far, from over, and if you were a "real political insider," you'd know that. Hillary's increased attacks on Obama are a sign that she's worried about his momentum. Press releases that highlight "it's unfortunate," "stagnating campaign," etc, etc, are only a sign of her desperation to stay ahead.

    October 13, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  7. Providence, RI

    I am getting tired of Obama-Clinton-Obama-Clinton-Obama-Clinton. Obama is desperate, nervous, and vicious–he has a "zero" chance in winning the nomination. Sorry, my friends, Obama fans! Deeply sorry.

    October 13, 2007 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  8. Chuck, Phoenix, Arizona

    You should vote for Obama because he has integrity, is highly intelligent, and is a mainstream centrist who won't drag the country into petty partisanship like W has. We need a president who can navigate us through a very complicated foreign policy mess inherited from the W administration. Hillary has already proven what kind of president she will be from her past actions, namely voting to approve the Iraq war (28 US senators voted against; why wasn't she one of them?), and voting to approve the Patriot Act.

    October 13, 2007 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  9. Lee, Boston, MA

    Sen Obama and Sen Obama supporters, those of us who are honestly trying to make up our minds are begging to hear what substance you have. What policies you'd like to implement. What changes you'd like to see made. Not what attitude you bring. Not what makes you a different personality from your opponents.

    Please, please, tell us what you are actually about.


    October 13, 2007 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  10. Coach Haughton NH

    Its over! its all over everyone! Barack has won it all. A poll on people with cell phones gave Obama 68%. WOW! Hey bring it on. We have won, we have won, thank god Americans have seen it all. Let the parade begin its all over! national polls are wrong again this coming election.

    Posted By Elizabeth Jones : October 13, 2007 5:14 pm

    I need a link to that poll please.
    Just keepin' 'em honest

    October 13, 2007 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  11. timbuck, houston, texas

    Who cares, as long as they both see it different than bush.

    October 13, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  12. Jamal Warmer

    Thats why your slipping quickly, give it up obama.... CLINTON WILL BE PRESIDENT IN 2008

    October 13, 2007 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  13. Lee, IA

    "MOSCOW, Russia (AP) - The Russian government under Vladimir Putin has amassed so much central authority that the power-grab may undermine Moscow's commitment to democracy, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Saturday.

    "In any country, if you don't have countervailing institutions, the power of any one president is problematic for democratic development," Rice told reporters after meeting with human-rights activists.

    "I think there is too much concentration of power in the Kremlin. I have told the Russians that. Everybody has doubts about the full independence of the judiciary. There are clearly questions about the independence of the electronic media and there are, I think, questions about the strength of the Duma," said Rice, referring to the Russian parliament."

    Substitute 'Administration' for Kremlin and 'Congress' for Duma.

    October 13, 2007 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  14. not a blind follower

    It is a shame that Obama criticized Clinton for vote on Iranian’s revolution guards. Where was he? HE PURPOSELY ESCAPED THE VOTE (HE DID EXACTLY THE SAME IN THE VOTE TO CONDEMN THE AD BY MOVEON.ORG TO CRITICISE GENERAL PATRIAS). No matter how one voted, he/she will be criticized by others. If one voted yes, he/she will be criticized by some as helping Bush; if voted "No", will be criticized by some as helping terrorists.

    Obama defended his absence, saying he was running for president. Who doesn’t? Other presidential candidates were all there voting, except Edwards, who was no longer a senator (so he can criticize anyone’s vote he wants, depending the climate). Obama purposely missed several important, yet controversial, votes, to save him trouble. THIS IS NOT WHAT PEOPLE IN ILLOINOIS ELECTED HIM TO DO!!. Obama escaped the vote so he can watch the wind and say whatever he wanted to say depending on which direction the wind blows. What an irresponsible yet dirty politician. Who gave him right to criticize anyone while he is a biggest coward? He should not be elected to the Senate in the first place, let alone to run for president!

    Now we know how Obama would have voted for Iraq-escape the vote by making some excuses (either that he was sick or that he was running for office, blah, blah, blah…). So the fact that he can say he was against the war is simply a sheer luck that he was not in Senate at that time. We know very clear now that Obama is not someone has judgment but someone who will be the first to hide when there the things gets rough, the first one to run when the situation does not look good. How can someone vote him as the leader of our great country!

    CNN has deleted several messages that disagree with Obama. Let's see whether CNN will delet this message again. If so, all people diagree with Obama must act to let the world know what CNN is doing behind the door.

    October 13, 2007 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  15. David, Los Angeles, CA

    Obama FTW!!!!

    October 13, 2007 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  16. Q. Christian Atlanta GA

    The fundamental problem with Senator Obama's campaign is he doesn't effectively vocalize his own agenda well enough to the American people. Simply criticizing your opponents record or positions is not an agenda.

    I am wondering why Obama supporters haven't demanded a more concrete platform from him. As I read these postings, most of them read the same way. Most are from his supporters who are green with glee that he is making a contrast between Hillary Clinton and himself. My biggest problem is they should be asking him to make the differences known with him and Senator Clinton known by coming up with actionable plans not by comparing her positions.

    I believe in political contests politics should distinguish the candidates. The Obama campaign wants to say Hillary has flip flopped, but it is quite obvious that this is no flip flop. The questions presented to the candidates were similar but different. Senator Obama was asked would he meet within the first year of his Presidency with the President of Iran, Cuba or Venezuela with no preconditions. This question was not posed to Senator Clinton. She was asked if she would negotiate with the nation of Iran. Senator Clinton has NEVER SAID she would not negotiate with Iran even on the night of the debate. She didn't even outright say that she wouldn't meet with the President of Iran. She just said before she would meet with the Iranian President, she would send a Presidential envoy. This position is totally understandable.

    Most reasonable non-partisan people can clearly see that these are two different questions, but the Obama campaign is purposely distorting this fact. I believe that it would be a bit naive for the President of the United States to meet directly one on one with the leader of a hostile nation before knowing what their intentions are. This type of meeting would be nothing more than a propaganda tool.

    Senator Obama is trying to make his inexperience a virtue and sadly I must say it is working. In the end I believe most people will understand the situation America is facing and they will also come to realize that Senator Obama has not come up with one actionable solution to any one of these problems. This will hurt him and help Hillary.

    Reasonable people will prevail.

    Hillary 2008

    October 13, 2007 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  17. Sharon, Maryland

    Thank you for reminding me that I need to make another donation to the Obama Campaign today.

    Fellow Obama supporters, would you care to follow suit?

    October 13, 2007 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  18. Ayyub, Richmond

    I want to say something to all the Clinton Bedroom supporters.
    HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MINDS! Please you all sound desperate to get this woman in to office to the point you would blindly protect her if she's being called on something she did wrong. And if you're going to bring up where was Obama on the day of the vote you should have watched CSPAN! If you know all that match about politics at all. I hope Hillary doesn't tell you people to jump off of a bridge because right now I truely think you would do it.


    October 13, 2007 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  19. Evan, NYC, NY

    I'm sorry but both votes you are mentioning have absolutely nothing to do with governance, and were merely symbolic. The stupid moveon.org vote was just that, stupid. Free speech– you can pose an unfavorbale opinion if you want, even against a military man ( i know its unheard of, but still very constitutional), and it was a valid opinion considering Patraeus is in Bush's back pocket. And the Iran vote passed by like 75 votes, so him being there doesnt make any difference, and he would have voted against it if he were there. That is not a difficult measure to vote against– completely unecessary and only something that further fans the fire.

    October 13, 2007 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  20. Joseph

    "On foreign policy I think that [Hillary] tends to think more conventionally, at a time when we're facing a series of unconventional threats," -Quote from B. Obama

    The above statement and others like it exemplify why I cannot take Obama seriously. Clever, but naive, general, and always idealistic phrases like these, full of theoretic notions like differing 'worldviews' and such, mean nothing until this man gives ordinary Americans reason to believe he can handle the Job of being President of the Unites States of America.

    Ironically, Obama implies unconventional threats exist (I guess that's good,) and that he would fight these threats "unconventionally." But what does that mean down here on planet Earth? Vague and general phrases that sound good, but need explication, is what it means to me. Any suggestions from Obama on what we actually do differently from the norm? I guess it must be an unconventional approach, whatever the answer is. But, what I still boggles my mind is, what gives anyone confidence that Obama has the experience necessary for the job, because he has no record of job performance (executive experience) anywhere near analogous to being President of the United States.

    October 13, 2007 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  21. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Obama is kidding, Clinton doesn't know where she stands? Oh my goodness, how dare Obama think that way? I think his IQ is not even three digit by his speech. He doesn't know what he needs to say or not, I am sorry for his supports, they wasted money and time. Obama mentioned about difference between him and Clinton, no kidding, the difference is very clear, Clinton is smart mover, Obama is stupid follower. I am glad that Obama's foolish talk made voters leave him. Obama is fresh and saucy fellow.

    October 13, 2007 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  22. evan, NYC, NY

    O, and, NOT A BLIND FOLLOWER- very ironic name for the following reason. Obama didnt criticize clinton for the Iran Rev. Guard vote- he criticized her for saying just yesterday that she would meet up Iranians leader with no preconditions, which is the exact same thing he said 2 months again and the exact same thing HRC called him naive and irresponsible for ON NATIONAL TELEVISION.

    October 13, 2007 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  23. PollM, Dallas Tx

    It starting to appear as if Hillary made a big mistake. She's trying to back track some of her poorly crafted decisions. i.e Lieberman & Kyl Amendment.
    Not sure if she's playing a fine line to make all people happy or is she truly Hawkish. One thing for certain is it seems to me that she Unfortunately, she has no specific plan to end the war in Iraq. Instead, she refuses to commit to a specific timeline for withdrawal and has made it clear that she will continue 'combat missions' in Iraq."
    Obama made a big mistake by reversing on some of his statements on foreign policy and that showed people that he was either wrong or weak. Now he is having to go on the offensive to insist that his policies are appropriate ones.

    In your opinion who do you believe has a better Foreign Policy?
    --> http://www.youpolls.com/details.asp?pid=684

    October 13, 2007 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  24. Maria, Houston

    Amy, WA:

    You're trying to smear Obama, but you don't have a clue what you're talking about.
    Communists were not selling "hope or light at the end of a tunnel".

    Their No.1 slogan was: "Trust,but verify." No.2 : "Lear,Learn,Learn".

    Another one: "Proletariat of the world,unite." That one I'd like to paraphrase for you: "Special interests of the world, unite." Different principals, but the same idea of globalization that Bush/Clinton promote.

    Give it some thought and learn-learn-learn before you'll try to ridicule Obama with such nonsense.

    October 13, 2007 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  25. Brad, Salt Lake City, UT

    "Look for this to be a bad week for Barack. The FEC filing of cash on hand, his alarming burn rate, slipping even further in the polls, and some kind of staff, "reorganization", will all contribute to the sense that the wheels are coming off the Obama-wagon."
    Uh oh... good thing I just threw another $50 at Barack! I don't believe a word of this, but trust me, Barack need not worry about cash flow.
    Obama '08!

    October 13, 2007 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
1 2 3 4 5