November 6th, 2007
07:15 PM ET
11 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. Terri Tacoma, Wa

    PLEASE admit that YOU were in the debate – that YOU were giving honest answers.

    The fact is, Hillary, America got to see YOU slip-slide double-talk your way through most every question. It might not have been your best debate – but it was AMERICA's best view of who you are.

    November 6, 2007 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  2. Robert, Shelton, CT

    Clinton might have been off, but Obama and Edwards are playing the negative campaign card which will hurt them in the end; Clinton will be left standing with a war chest to crush any Republican.

    November 6, 2007 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  3. wale azeez Boca Raton Florida

    Clinton just disqualified herself...america needs a president that is at their best 24/ when someone attacks her for this statement she would say she didn't sleep last night because she found monica's number on bill's cell...Hilary there is no way you are going to rule america!!!!

    November 6, 2007 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. Mike, Warren

    I didn't get a chance to see the debate, but it hardly makes a difference. I would vote in the worst possible Democrat before I considered a Republican.

    I was sad to see how unintelligent the voters were the last two elections, but I cannot imagine they would be dumb enough to vote in another Republican.

    November 6, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  5. Mike ,Panama City, FL

    Im sick of people saying she didnt do good , I think she did great considering everybody was against her in the debate even moderator tim russert , who I had great respect for until that debate aired . He seemed to much buying into the conservative agenda , Talking about releasing records . The only thing the records will reveal is that she was a very active first lady perhaps the most active first lady in history , and it shows she has the drive to get things done

    November 6, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. tom yoder, horseheads, ny

    hillary, 'i wasn't at my best'..maybe, maybe not..
    the problem is..'hillary' was just being hillary..political consultants and political polls aside..
    the basic message got through nonetheless, 'trust me, vote for me, it's all about ME'..
    voter beware..

    November 6, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  7. Michelle LaCrosse, WI

    Compared to the incessant name calling, fact spinning and finger pointing by the other presidential hopefuls, I believe that Hillary Clinton continues to far outshine the other candidates.

    November 6, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  8. Tobey, San Diego, California

    Let's try something realistic: everybody in this campaign has been evading direct answers, so you cannot point fingers. Don't single out one candidate and argue that it's a specific moral deficiency. Rather, let's use this example to force real answers to real questions.

    Ultimately, I'd rather have a president like Clinton who can admit mistakes and downfalls than one who cannot even keep their own administration in check (e.g. Bush).

    November 6, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. Colin742

    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
    Troy Olroyd Phoenix:Nov 6,07 4:40 pm

    On leaving office, Clinton's approval rate was 65%. The people disapproved at the Republican's politically motivated unconstitutional Impeachment stunt. Vote for Paul. I agree that he seeems ethically different than the Republican scoundrels who have trashed a great nation.

    November 6, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  10. Davis, NJ

    YOU THINK ....?

    November 6, 2007 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  11. Wynter, Loudon, NH

    The vultures are out today it seems after reading these few comments. It's bad enough when the candidates do it to other candidates. But reading the whining in the comments is a bit useless.

    Clinton is where she is in the polls because she is saying the right things. So many people complain about her name, that she's a woman, or that she once tried to work the healthcare issues. Give us all a break and say something new willya? Just because she is a woman that has the strength to face up to the GOP and other political cronies is scaring the hell right out of some politicos. I think it's impressive that she got this far in the race with all that has been arrayed against her. Don't play dumb to the fact that so many people besides those she is running against are targeting her candidacy. She has a good many deep pocket enemies in the GOP that are working every angle to run her off this path. And for that stubborness I applaud the lady as a class act.

    I've waited for the candidates to all say where they stand before deciding where I would vote. And I have to say that compared to all the others she has shown the most strength of character and will to do what is right for this country. Obama and Edwards are good, but being good is not enough. You need to be willing go all in to win. And they don't have the same will power that she has shown.

    Telling it like I see it,

    November 6, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  12. Monte Brown, New York, NY

    Hillary is such a modest person. One would think that she would be upset by the lack of professionalism displayed by the other candidates, mainly Brooklyn Bridge, Hope selling Obama, Edwards and mealy mouth Benedict Arnold Chris Dodd. These guys are willing to compromise the true beliefs of the Progressives for their own personal gain. Are these guys Democrats? It is bewildering why these guys would attack Hillary on Immigration for some cheap sound bites. If the other Democratic candidates had any integrity they would have joined the Hillary team a long time ago. But noooo, they would rather join the haters, the liars and the demagogues. Obama and Edwards know darn well that Hillary Clinton has the better vision for America than they do.

    And to the people who continue to attempt to distract people from Hillary Clinton by constantly saying that she is unelectable, I would like to challenge you. I foresee that the only people who will not vote for Hillary are those few haters who try to influence people’s minds with the absurd notion that Hillary is unelectable. These people listen to the reactionaries too much. They will need a big fork to eat their words at Hillary’s inaugural ball. We, the people of the United States, will take our country back from the reactionaries, and be, as Steve Winwood sang, “Back in the High Life Again”.

    Hillary Clinton is the most experienced candidate, the most qualified candidate and she’s READY TO LEAD.

    November 6, 2007 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  13. John, Detroit, Michigan

    Hillary, you silly lady, you did just fine at the debate. It's just those republicrats Obama and Edwards trying to twist everything you said as if to make you seem like you're trying to lie to the american people, when they wouldn't even answer the questions being asked. Just keep on trucking.

    November 6, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  14. A. Harrison Atlanta Georgia

    She did well. That debate night had soup cooking long before they graced the stage.
    It's amazing how policies not written into law yet gets more attention than the rediculous vetos from the white house. Can we have some laws signed in already, hurting the country by trying to paint the new congress as laxed is bad business.

    November 6, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  15. The Wood Wizard L V, NV

    Democratic opponents, CNN, You are wimps! Rather than censoring all our comments and deleting what you do not feel is in your own party benefit, you can use more spiking of this news with why not use something more neutral like “honesty”. If you always prefaced campaign news for all of the candidates with the distracting issues in doing this or that, you would never get any story reported clearly.

    November 6, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  16. Cathy M in Tn

    I sure hope this Hillary wave has worn off now. We need to see her for what she is and get over THIS woman for president ( maybe ANOTHER woman later).
    Time to look at the issues and choose a real leader WITH OUR BEST INTEREST AT HEART. She is on an ego trip and saying whatever it takes to make herself pres.
    Please say we all see through this mess now before it's too late.

    November 6, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  17. Rod Burnette

    Shrillary – the spoiled brat. She is either going to sink the democratic party as their nominee or get elected as President and totally destroy the country.

    November 6, 2007 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  18. M, Hanahan SC

    is there a typo in "where I stand and where I want to do for the country." a I hope so. Otherwise this is up there with a beauty pageant response...

    November 6, 2007 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  19. JC, Ohio

    WOW!!! A presidential hopeful who is honest about her humanity and admits to an off night (even though I must respectfully disagree...I thought she did well enough considering she had a bulls-eye painted on her forehead)! She is what America needs people! Someone who is NOT afraid to say she is imperfect and wants to be better and better. 'Mr. Missed Votes Obama' and 'The Hair-Do Kid Edwards' both try to hard to look perfect and it is this inability to be honest, and their desparate attacks on Hillary, that will be their demise.

    November 6, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  20. Irene, Liberty City, Florida

    No one asked Hillary to run for president. If she cannot stand to be challenged by other candidate, how is she going to stand up to World leaders? In order to run for president, tough questions are going to be asked. She is not ready for the job. I despise it when she has to call on Bill to bail her out. I just don't trust this woman.

    November 6, 2007 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  21. Steve, San Diego, CA

    How about learning to quote, Mooney.

    She clearly said "...and what I want to do for the country", not "...where I want to do for the country."

    She's not Bush.

    November 6, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  22. annonomous, fresno, ca

    if ms clinton is for licensing illegal immagrants then she will lose my vote and many others. what does she not understant about illegal!!!

    November 6, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  23. Jon, Pittsburgh, PA

    The 2nd post from Troy in Phoenix shows exactly how stupid Americans can be. They will believe anything said to them that they want to believe. The rest of the world is laughing at us because of this sort of stupidity that allowed a major intellectual lightweight like GW Bush to win 2 terms – not 1 but, 2 terms.

    November 6, 2007 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  24. Lenny, St. Louis MO

    She has about as much chance of winning the Presidency as the Rams do of winning the Super Bowl.

    November 6, 2007 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  25. Mike ,Panama City , FL

    Its all attacks for Obama but yet he doesnt offer any plans , I have yet to hear any CLEAR propositions from Obama , Same goes to Edwards , all he does is attack he doesnt have any specific plans out lined clearly , he is all talk no walk .

    The sealed documents that Tim Russert aggressively inquired the Clinton's to reveal will only show that she was the hardest working first lady ever in the history of the US !

    November 6, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
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