November 6th, 2007
07:15 PM ET
7 years ago

Clinton on debate: 'I wasn't at my best'

Watch Sen. Clinton's entire interview with Candy Crowley from CNN's Election Express Tuesday.

NEWTON, Iowa (CNN) - Democratic presidential frontrunner Hillary Clinton told CNN Tuesday her performance may have been lacking at last week's presidential debate, but brushed aside criticisms she has not been clear on where she stands on the issues.

"I wasn't at my best the other night - we've had a bunch of debates and I wouldn’t rank that up in my very top list," Clinton told CNN's Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley during an exclusive interview on board the Election Express in Newton, Iowa. “But I’ve answered probably, I don’t know, more than 5,000 questions over the last 10 months and I have been very clear about where I stand and where I want to do for’the country."

Clinton came under intense criticism from her Democratic opponents during and following a debate last Tuesday in Philadelphia when she appeared to evade a question about New York Governor Eliot Spitzer’s policy of offering driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

"I understand the necessity for criticism, Clinton continued, "we're getting toward the end of a very long presidential primary process."

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (230 Responses)
  1. Michael, Tampa FL

    She did okay at the debate. I'm still voting for her.

    November 6, 2007 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  2. red white and blue Cincinnati OH

    Mrs. Clinton, it's okay to slip up in a debate once in awhile.

    Why did you vote for the war in Iraq? Why?

    You are the senator from a liberal state, and you would have had no problem getting re-elected if you had opposed the war.

    You have star power in the Democratic party- if you had publicly opposed the 2002 resolution, maybe other Democratic senators would have followed you.

    Are you really proud of the judgement you showed at the time?

    November 6, 2007 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  3. Troy Olroyd Phoenix, Az

    Another 4 years of Clinton's No Way they left the White house in disgrace the last time in office .
    My vote goes to Ron Paul 2008

    November 6, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  4. Kate, Aurora CO

    I disagree Ms. Clinton. You were at your best and I hope all supporters saw through your failure to take a stand on an issue for fear of losing votes on either side. You waited 4 days to clarify a position on one of the most important issues facing our country today. If Clinton supporters cannot see through that, then I don't know what it would take. If Hillary's last name was Smith, I don't think she would be getting half the support she is getting.

    November 6, 2007 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  5. Curtis Hill - Dallas, Tx

    Good grief. "where i want to do for the country" ? Please tell me this is a typo. I am a CNN supporter, much to do with the fact that I despise fox, but everytime I log on and read stories I find SO many errors. I am a college student by the way. Please edit your posts because it is kind of embarassing to read sometimes.

    November 6, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  6. Anonymous

    You understand nothing Hillary. You find everyone else to blame but yourself. You were off because of your gender, because you're the winner, because it was an off night.

    Bottom line, your ego is bigger than your ears. You don't listen, you preach.

    November 6, 2007 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  7. T.J., Seattle, WA

    It's preposterous that Ms. Clinton would say that we are getting toward the end of a primary process without a single primary vote having been cast.

    It's presumptuous of her to assume that the latest polls will be reflective of the final primary results (and previous elections cycles have reflected this). It is precisely this type of presumption that will lead to further foreign and domestic policy problems.

    November 6, 2007 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  8. Jaik , chicago, IL

    She has alot in common with Mondale. In that she can win the primary, and has no hope of winning the election. Just like Kerry, she's a spoiler. Get ready for a entirely extremist fundamentalist right wing supreme court.

    November 6, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  9. eddy, norfolk, virginia

    She is strong ,but not strong enough to stand out on something she believes in. she is too phoney for my vote..

    November 6, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  10. Olivia - San Antonio - Texas

    I support Ms. Clinton like I have never supported any other candidate in my life. I support her with my heart and my soul. Men we gotta love them. They have been running our country since it's beginning. But c'mon guys lets all support a winner and that is Clinton. I admire her for still standing after being attacked not only by the other candidates but also the two dumb ***** who were asking the questions. After all the dust settled she was still standing and standing stong. That's the type of person we need to run this country. Clinton 2008!!!! Clinton give us back the America we knew before George Bush.

    November 6, 2007 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. bob

    No one wants you as president

    November 6, 2007 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. Ellis, Providence RI

    "Wasn't at her best" – further proof that she views this a forum to perform and display the 'correct' stance on issues.

    You would never hear Senator Obama use a phrase like being "at his best" at a debate, because he is honest and sincere and doesn't need to "perform" well.

    I want a candidate who can comfortably and assuredly speak his mind and his heart. Obama '08

    November 6, 2007 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. Maurice, Washington, DC

    They've been how many debates so far? Too many to count I am sure. The lady wasn't at her best on one of them, so what? Cut her some slack.

    She is one tough lady I've got to say. She will come out of this just fine. It's very interesting to listen to Barack Obama and John Edward speak. They all attack Clinton but they don't offer their own vision for the country.

    Please give me a reason to vote for you, not just why I shouldn't vote for Hillary clinton.

    November 6, 2007 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  14. Jay

    Girlfriend you were caught in the act. Please stop saying you did not at your best. Well if you mean you were not at your best at lying on that day, then, that makes sense.

    November 6, 2007 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  15. Lance in Monrovia CA

    Dear Hillary,

    I've been noticing for years that its pretty much impossible to get you to give a straight answer. This is a major, major reason that so many people don't trust you. At your heart, you're a career politician that has stock answers and will say whatever it takes to get elected. You try to please all the people all the time by going back and forth to either side on an issue without taking a stand.

    Your victim mentality is exactly, exactly what is wrong with the current Bush administration. You refuse to take responsibliity for anything. It's never your fault. It wasn't your fault that your healthcare proposals tanked in the nineties. It wasn't your fault that the right wing attacked you. It wasn't your fault that you voted for attacking Iraq in 2002 or Iran in 2007. It wasn't your fault that you lost the debate.

    C'mon now. You need to start taking personal responsibility for your mistakes and stop blaming everyone else.

    I have never trusted you because I can never really understand where you stand on any given issue. I am a hardcore Democrat, who would work tirelessly to make sure that a Republican doesn't spend another eight years destroying this country.

    You're not the answer to that. I simply can't get inspired enough to support you. I fear that much of the country feels the same way and that outside a few bogus polls you will never build a consensus in this country.

    Barack Obama has already done this. He's garnered more individual donors than any other candidate and matched you toe to toe for money even though you're using lobby money.

    He's got events in every community in Southern California while I'd have to drive almost a hundred miles to find the nearest event sponsored by your campaign.

    Obama is a great communicator, that can affect people emotionally and logically to the positive, while you only possess the ability to affect people negatively.

    You are a divider, while Obama is a uniter that has sponsered more bipartisan bills in the Senate and in IL than you could dream of.

    While you harp on your victimhood, Obama passes the first meangingful ethics reform in a generation, which is why, if you haven't noticed, you can no longer use the wall mart supplied jet to get from campaign stop to stop.

    There is a movement afoot in this country and you are the antithesis of this movement. You represent the establishment candidate and that is not where Democrats such as myself want to be right now. There is a thirst for change in this country and no matter how much you vaccilate back and forth, by trying to please all the people you will please none.

    You're dangerous to your party and you're dangerous to this country Mrs. Clinton. Regardless of how well intended your ideas may be, you will never have the political will to impliment them.

    If you are the nominee, down balloting will result in more Republican right wing neocons in the Senate, the House, and the governerships.

    I do not want revenge on the right by getting a Clinton back in office. Time is too short and there is too much to be done for that. I want a consensus amongst all parties and I want a leader instead of a politician to bring this country together.

    I want Barack Obama and I'll work to see that happen. If for some reason I cannot imagine he doesn't gain the nomination I fear for our country, because I simply don't see the passion for you as a candidate that we need to succeed.

    The media may be able to crown you the winner, but they cannot give you the ability to lead.

    November 6, 2007 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  16. Ken, San Diego, CA

    She is right. She did not bring her "A" game at the last debate. However, she is also right that she HAS BEEN CLEAR on the issues in question (including Social Security, Iran, Iraq, etc.). You might not like her position, but she has been clear:

    1) Social Security. Fiscally responsible first, then deal with numerical fixes, such as tax bases (if needed). You CANNOT "fix" a program until you've dealt with fiscal responsibility. Otherwise, everything changes.
    2) Iran. Diplomacy with sticks and carrots. There has been NO vasilation. She's been saying the SAME EXACT stuff since February (if not earlier).
    3) Driver's license. Edwards gave the nearly identical answer to the question this past week as Hillary gave at the debate! It's NOT a "Yes/No" question. Either way, she gave a clear answer.
    4) Iraq. She will start troop withdrawl immediately. She will leave troops behind to protect an embassy and/or fight Al Queda. Guess what, Edwards is saying the SAME EXACT thing!

    The only one "double-talking" is Edwards and Obama (and the Republican candidates) trying to make the general population believe Hillary is saying one thing when in fact she is not. If you buy the political argument of your respective candidate, you are nothing but a lemming. Can't we have a thoughtful electorate for just once!

    Because many of you people bought the "Swift Board for Truth" BS we have a president whom is less than thoughtful and intelligent. You want to blame someone for Iraq, Iran, etc., etc., then blame yourself.

    Start thinking and stop being a talking point for a person or party!

    November 6, 2007 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  17. Christy, Raleigh NC

    She is the strongest Democrat we've got. Obama can't win because of his race, Edwards can't win because he is a hypocrite, and the rest are a joke.

    If Hillary isn't the nominee, I'm voting third party.

    November 6, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  18. Steve, Lyons, CO

    "It's preposterous that Ms. Clinton would say that we are getting toward the end of a primary process without a single primary vote having been cast."

    She's indicating, Dense As Lead, that we are about to begin voting in the primaries.

    You Hillary Haters are Humorous. Keep it up. You're making my election.

    November 6, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  19. MaryElaina

    Hillary, you were not 'at your best' because, for the first time ever, they demanded that you respond to their questions. The only time you, and your followers, think you are at your best, is when you 'sidestep' and avoid answering the questions.
    By the way, when are you going to demand that ALL the HillaryCare papers are to be released?

    November 6, 2007 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  20. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    It's preposterous that Ms. Clinton would say that we are getting toward the end of a primary process without a single primary vote having been cast.

    T.J., Seattle

    We ARE getting to the end of the primary season process. The first vote will be cast January 3rd. I don't understand your objection to what she said.

    As far as the rest, hang in Hillary, don't let the turkeys get you down!!!!

    November 6, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  21. therealist

    First it was the "politics of pile-on".
    Then it was because she was "a women".
    Next came because she was "a winner".
    And then somehow Bill started pointing fingers again.
    Until now, when it wass because she wasn't at her best..

    Having a bad hair day Hillary??

    November 6, 2007 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  22. james,boston,ma

    It looks like Cnn is bringing pictures of Hillary having some physical support by other old cronies...You are not getting it right Hillary. We just want our country back and we want a real deal!
    O8 for Obama!

    November 6, 2007 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  23. Steve, Lyons, CO

    "She has alot in common with Mondale. In that she can win the primary, and has no hope of winning the election. "

    Ha ha! As if there's other than complete losers running for the Repubs.

    If Hillary is so unelectable, why is the Repub party encouraging Repub voters to switch parties and vote for Obama in the primaries?

    Hee hee. Hillary is shocking the fascists as much as Oedipus George scares the reasonable.

    November 6, 2007 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  24. NoWorry

    Go, Hillary! You will win! No one can beat you in this presidential election next year.

    November 6, 2007 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  25. Brian, Garnerville, NY

    Hillary Clinton, to me, seems like the "Same stuff, different day." I see absolutely no difference between her and every other president who does not DEMONSTRATE any obvious changes to this country. I look back on Bush...what has he done? Even Clinton? What did he do? The fact is, that even if they made changes DURING their presidency, they made no lasting changes. Crime went down, then it went back up...illegal immigration, the environment. Don't have a 20 year plan to REDUCE emissions...eliminate them. Don't say it's not possible...it HAS to be possible, we MUST do it. I want a president who is actually going to DO something and ensure it STAYS that way...not just a plan of action on how to address an issue but also a plan of action on how to KEEP "IT" that way. Clinton doesn't seem to do this. I want an actionable president...someone who not only disagrees with taking baby steps but who sees the negative impact it will have. We need someone to jump in the driver's seat and drive. Republican, Democrat...which one of these candidates wants to stand up and say, "I"m going to do it, this is how, and this is how we will continue to ensure it is taken care of..."

    November 6, 2007 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
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