November 4th, 2007
10:04 AM ET
10 years ago

Drivers hit by illegal immigrants speak to Clinton

Clinton spoke in Des Moines Saturday.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - At least two people spoke up in front of Hillary Clinton on Saturday in support of driver's licenses for illegal immigrants, an issue Clinton said relates to a larger problem "we have to solve."

The senator from New York had just finished speaking to a group of Polk County, Iowa, field staff in Des Moines and was getting ready to leave the room when Clinton supporter Lee Jolliffe started yelling over the crowd noise.

"There are two of us here," Jolliffe said, "who have been hit by those unlicensed drivers. It's not a privilege, it’s a protection."

Jolliffe was pointing out that drivers who can have licenses are more likely to have insurance.

"Thank you, thank you, thank you," Clinton responded. "I appreciate you raising that because, you know, the federal government has failed. The federal government has failed, and states are trying to figure out what to do."

She continued, "But two people right in this room have been hit, have been hit by people who are here and undocumented."

That prompted one man to shout, "More than two!"

"More than two," Clinton replied. "So, you know, at some point we have to solve this problem because we're seeing all sorts of consequences. So thank you for being a witness to that. Thank you."

Jolliffe later told CNN she wanted to give Clinton an opportunity to defend herself on the issue, one that created some heat at Tuesday night's debate.

Asked about New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's controversial plan to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, Clinton said it "makes a lot of sense" but stopped short of endorsing the plan.

"We want to know who's in New York," she said. "We want people to come out of the shadows."

Former Sen. John Edwards, D-North Carolina, claimed Clinton's answer was inconsistent. And Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, called the plan "troublesome," adding that "a license is a privilege, and that ought not to be extended, in my view."

Sen. Barack Obama later said, "Senator Clinton left us wondering where she stood on every single hard question from Iran to Social Security to drivers' licenses for undocumented workers."

-CNN's Chris Welch and Steve Brusk

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Iowa
soundoff (252 Responses)
  1. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    RT 52-avenger-you better be careful about who you call a liar.

    November 4, 2007 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  2. Hugh Jass, Atlanta, GA

    Typical lib position. Change the law to accommodate the criminal. Lower education standards, force quotas for college entrance and employment. It's called reverse discrimination.
    Can anyone post a list of Clinton's accomplishments as a senator?

    November 4, 2007 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  3. BeProudAmerica, Kansas City, Mo

    Fine, Hillary keep that attitude, it will make it easy for the Republicans to win the general election in 08. Liberals love hearing this talk, 'the man' holding you down, not giving you a chance which will give her the Democratic nominiation, but the majority of Americas have spoken that they are against giving ILLEGAL immigrants rights afforded to AMERICANS. By keeping this stance will help guarantee a Republican winning the White House in the Fall or 2008.

    November 4, 2007 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  4. ed

    boy talk about a setup plant to have a subject brought up that never would have normally been talked about.. mmm I remember this was pulled int he past with another Dem and was busted for that

    November 4, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  5. Rose, Stanford, Ct

    Ladies– this woman doesn't represent us. She's a twisted and distorted politician who doesn't have the capacity to be our president. I'm all for a woman president, but not HER. She's not a truthful person, she's not honest, and I wouldn't trust her to watch my dog. She has no position on the issues and has demonstrated that she'll do anything to achieve power. I can't figure out who the real Hillary is.. the truth is, I don't think she wants me to know who she is. Unfortunate, I wanted to vote for a lady. She's not a lady.


    November 4, 2007 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  6. Lee, Des Moines, IA

    Dudes, I was not a frigging "plant". I'm sure the campaign would like to strangle me right now for bringing this issue up again. I'm just a noisy woman out $1000 bucks from being hit by an unlicensed driver. But yeah, even if we "give" licenses (wouldn't that include passing a DRIVER'S TEST??), no illegal in their right mind would "take" them anyway, b/c I for one would send those here illegallyl right back where they came from. Let's straighten up Bush's godawful immigration mess, and then let in some of these folks who've waited years to come here–or re-legalize people like the one who spoke up here–legally here but "declared" illegal by Bush!

    November 4, 2007 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  7. sevens7777 Frisco, Tx

    Here's what we need to do, just like the Sheriff did to OZZY. Tell the illegals they can come in and get a license, get there names and photos, stick them on a bus and send them back. Don't ya like this plan??????????

    November 4, 2007 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  8. Hi! Flint, MI

    "The federal government has failed," well, isn't she part of the federal government? So, is this like a confession of fault, or did she only mean the executive branch–because we all know congress can never seem to get anything done 😉

    November 4, 2007 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  9. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Thank you Lee, This issue was just an annoyance until this summer when my bank decided to make me an "unknown financial entity" and cut me off from my assets. Despite having a birth certificate,marriage license,business license,expired passports and permits(that cannot now be renewed)medical insurance,homeowner's insurance,tax records(both federal and property),credit cards,utility bills,and membership cards,and yes voter registration, I am being called "undocumented." This is insanity that this administration is engaged in. It's time to end it now by requiring fingerprinting for real ID,my prints have been on file at the pentagon for over twenty years. I'm not afraid to give them.

    November 4, 2007 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  10. Joe Buffalo NY

    Neither Hillary nor Elliot Spitzer have cleared up how New York's motor voter law will weed out illegals from registering to vote when they sign up for driver's licenses.

    But then isn't that their real intention to get illegals to vote for them?

    November 4, 2007 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  11. Elizabeth, Mt. Kisco, NY

    The illegal immigrants should not be on the road to begin with because they are breaking the law. My suggestion to the drivers that were hit, get compensation from the State. They are allowing ILLEGAL people to drive on our roadways. We have existing laws that are not being enforced. DO YOUR JOB HILLARY and SPITZER NOW! Enforce the existing laws.

    November 4, 2007 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  12. Montie Arkel, US Army Ret. Lawton, Oklahoma

    Mrs. Clinton indicates that "the federal government has failed." So, who's she pointing the finger at? I believe she's a member of the Federal Government. Where has she been all these years? I guess the Republicans are the only ones that pass Laws and make things happen. She sure is a winner!?

    November 4, 2007 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  13. Raman, Plano TX

    "For an American citizen to vote as a German-American, an Irish-American, or an English-American, is to be a traitor to American institutions; and those hyphenated Americans who terrorize American politicians by threats of the foreign vote are engaged in treason to the American Republic." - Theodore Roosevelt, 1915.

    Since Theodore Roosevelt did not include African-American, Latino-American, Undocumented-American in his list, all these hypenated Americans can enjoy the privilege of being Patriotic-American and can continue to support Illegal-American.

    November 4, 2007 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  14. Repeal the 17th amendment - Memphis, TN

    What BS. You know Hillary's campaign seeded those people in the audience. Anyone who thinks that drivers licenses are going to make illegal aliens more responsible or accountable is an idiot.

    November 4, 2007 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  15. Robbie, La Mesa, CA

    You know what illegals do? They get driver's insurance, get their driver's licenses, and then cancel the insurance. Yeah, that solves the problem!

    For the first time ever, I won't be voting for a Democrat for president. I want someone who is going to serve the citizens of this country, not someone who is going to kowtow to the lawbreakers who entered here illegally.

    November 4, 2007 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  16. Linda Peterson, Reno, Nevada

    This is Geo. W. Bush's problem for letting them in the country.

    This is not Hillary Clinton's problem (anyway not yet).

    November 4, 2007 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  17. Larry Kinnan, Stow, Ohio

    As many have pointed out, this is a clear catering to illegals to garner votes via the motor voter registration in New York and other states.

    Illegal is still illegal. Democrats when faced with enforcing the law shrink away from it or pervert it to their own gains.

    November 4, 2007 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. Keith, Greenville, SC

    Ed from Ellenville.
    I'm a little curious as to how you can have a valid birth certificate showing you were born in the USA and still be considered and illegal alien. Would you please explain that a little more?

    November 4, 2007 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  19. David, Fort Myers, FL

    My blazer was destroyed by a hit and run of an illegal immigrant. I was able to tell the police where she lived but then the other men in the house told the officer no female lived there.... I watched her go in. The law is a joke.

    November 4, 2007 11:03 am at 11:03 am |
  20. Rex, Toledo, Ohio

    Illegal Immigration wasn't even an issue with most Americans until the Government told them it was. Sheep.....

    November 4, 2007 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  21. Wayne, Greenville TX

    Obama has missed 80% of the votes since September. He's not doing his job. What makes you think he'll do his job if he gets elected president.

    Posted By Rodney Dallas, TX : November 4, 2007 12:55 am

    JOhn McCain has a worse voting record than any other Senator except Tim Johnson, who's been recovering from a brain hemorrhage. In short, John McCain is not doing his job. What makes you think he'll do his job if he gets elected president???

    November 4, 2007 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  22. David, Encinitas, CA

    This is truly a difficult issue. However, the idea of providing illegal aliens with benefits of any kind is not satisfactory. I think we as a nation need to face up to the fact that we need immigrants in this country, and need to change our immigration policy to meet the demands of certain industries such as agriculture. But providing drivers licenses to illegals, or free health care, or housing or whatever at the expense of the taxpayer is NOT ok. Change the system to make them legal taxpayers, only then provide the perks that go with residency.

    November 4, 2007 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  23. Jeff M , Plano, TX

    This is unseemly. The illegals should not have the opportunity to drive, have insurance, or to run down US citizens.

    November 4, 2007 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  24. TheInsider

    But then isn't that their real intention to get illegals to vote for them?
    Posted By Joe Buffalo NY : November 4, 2007 10:23 am

    I don't know about illegals, but it looks like the republicans have the, didn't pass civics class", vote locked up.
    Illegals understand the constitution better than this fine example of arrogant, opinionated, ignorance.

    November 4, 2007 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  25. Martin, Redwood City, CA

    Somebody should change the title of this story. This was hardly a confrontation. It shows Hillary is connecting to people to whom this issue is truly important, opposed to other candidates. Life is not always black and white, issues can be difficult to talk about simply because they are complex. The last person who tried to make difficult issues simple was George Bush,...talking about axis of evil, saying countries are either for us or against us etc. I prefer somebody who see both sides of an issue with an open mind and then make a decision when it is time. And actually show up for that vote!

    November 4, 2007 11:31 am at 11:31 am |
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