November 6th, 2007
07:15 PM ET
10 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. Andy Robert, Indianpolis, IN

    John of Detroit MI – It seems that you are the smartest republican in your state. Why don't you elect your Rudy or Romney and bring us the same misery to this country for another 8 years and loosing another 1million manufacturing jobs from your state. If you are Obama or Edward supporter, just vote for them. But, we don't need your Clinton hater bigmouth without any substance. Just shut up!

    November 6, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  2. Steve, Lyons, CO

    This was Hillary's first real dud of a debate.

    Obama and Edwards, on the other hand, are repeated boring and off-target in debates, since they don't enlighten us as to what they'd do in office; they'd rather attack the frontrunner out of fear for their political lives.

    November 6, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  3. JC Ohio

    Steve, Sumter SC:

    So when did you want her to comment on her performance...2 seconds after? She spoke about her performance when it became a 'news item'. Why comment on something if its not under scrutiny? Would you? She talks about what people challenge her to talk your point is moot. You are digging pretty deep in a dry hole to try and make her look bad and it only makes you look desparate. Come on , admit it, Edwards and Obama, had they been likewise critisized, would have blamed someone else for their performance and not fessed up to being HUMAN! Have yourself a real nice day.

    November 6, 2007 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  4. Steve, Lyons, CO

    "[Hillary] is on an ego trip and saying whatever it takes to make herself pres."

    And, um, the other candidates AREN'T trying to say anything to get elected? Mitt Romney, Giuliani and McCain have all totally re-dfined themselves as knuckle-dragging, far-right, misogynist war mongers.

    You sound like a naive child.

    November 6, 2007 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  5. Mark R. Fort Lauderdale FL

    One bad debate performance doesn't erase all the excellent debates and the clear vision for America. It's dumbfounding that Obama criticizes her for not answering questions when all he does is take platitudes and fluff. He didn't even vote on sanctions for Iran and now criticizes Clinton's position. What a hypocrite. I've lost alot of respect for him in the last month. I'm voting for Clinton- and a running partner other than Obama.

    November 6, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  6. TJS, Omaha, NE

    Nice incorrect use of "their" instead of "there". That's why spellcheck isn't perfect. =P

    "The governor of New York has a lot of immigrants, many of whom we know are not _their_ legally; [he] has to worry about security. A governor of another state where that's not a problem doesn't.

    November 6, 2007 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  7. doggie boss, louisiana

    I would not trust Hillary to care for my 3-dogs!!

    November 6, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  8. Daniel, NY

    Given how much Clinton has slipped in national polls since the debate, there really is no question that the debate has hurt her.

    November 6, 2007 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  9. Michael James -- Illinois

    The defenders of Hillary really seem to be getting desperate to stop the spread of the crack in her veneer of inevitability.

    I’m sorry, but when she says one minute that she has put out a very specific plan for Social Security and then a few minutes later talks about how she does not want to put out any specifics, that is a textbook example of doubletalk. Which is it? You either have a specific plan or you do not.

    Oh, by the way, “fiscal responsibility” is decidedly NOT a specific plan. Even if the budget were balanced tomorrow, we still have the demographic problem of the growing imbalance of the ratio of retirees drawing benefits vs. workers paying into the system.

    It is most certainly not a personal attack, nor should anyone feel bad about asking Ms. Clinton to tell the nation what she intends to do about the important issues of our time.

    She is not ready to lead anyone if she can't tell us where she wants to go.

    Vote Obama!!!

    November 6, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  10. LinnieFB, Corona, CA

    Well let's see...

    She's played the GENDER card: 'They attacked me because I'm a woman'

    She's played the CONSPIRACY card: 'The guys were piling on.'

    She's played the CONFUSED card: 'I didn't say what I said.'

    She's played the HUSBAND card: 'My wife is being swift-boated.'

    She's played the FRONT RUNNER card: 'They're attacking me because I'm winning.' she's playing the WEAKNESS card: 'I was not at my best.'

    Way TOO many excuses....

    November 6, 2007 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  11. Ed NC

    Hillary is a divider. If you don't believe it, just read all of these comments.

    November 6, 2007 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  12. pam Eugene, OR

    That is worth saying again! Hillary is a divider.
    Why do you think there are so many Hill haters? No one is indifferent about her. Her supporters have blind faith in her and her detractors have blind hate for her. She will never heal this country. I am a confessed Hill Hater. She just drives me crazy. She is dishonest, fake, false and not to be trusted. And it teffifies me to think she might lead this great nation.

    November 6, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  13. Karl, UT

    Ed NC:
    By YOUR standard, ALL the candidates are 'dividers'. Wake up and smell the coffee.

    November 6, 2007 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  14. Chuckles

    Obama has told the American people what he'd do in his first term every day since he announced he was running. It's Hillary who hides and doesn't tell the American people where she stands on the issues. It's the MSM media who is more enthralled with poll numbers than the actual candidates and where they stand. It's as if Obama is standing firmly on the ground on every issue and Hillary is playing twister...left hand immigration dot, right leg energy policy...oops, she fell down.

    November 6, 2007 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  15. Adam, Plano, TX

    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.
    Posted By JC, Ohio : November 6, 2007 5:45 pm

    this being the first time she's been honest totally excuses her from all her dishonesty in the past right?

    November 6, 2007 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  16. Matt, Canoga Park CA

    Awww Boo Hoo Hoo Hillary. "I wasn't at my best" Losers always said they were not at their best. They tried hard. It's not my fault.

    You can make all the excuses you want Hillary it won't change the fact that you are a idiot and only fools follow you.

    You can't take a stand right or wrong and stick by it? That's like saying I smoked pot but didn't inhale. Or Oral sex is not really sex. Have the courage of your own convictions lady.

    Ronald Reagan did not want weapons sold to Iran. But that is what happened. But he at least had the courage to stand before the American people and said I'm sorry, the blame lies with me.

    America does not want a president that is perfect or right all the time anymore than we want one that makes mistakes and makes excuses instead of owning up to them.

    What we want is someone that makes a choice and stands by it. And you Hillary will never understand that. That is why you are going to lose.

    November 6, 2007 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  17. mark wilkes barre pa

    hillary,,,You were not at your best ??? You seemed the same as any other debate. I think your rederick and failure to answer the tough questions IS as good as you get

    November 6, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  18. Uwe Warkholdt, Elliot Lake, Northern Ontario, Canada

    As an observer from Canada, I feel privileged to be able to respond.

    Maybe Mrs. Clinton was not at here best during that debate. But right now your economy etc. is not in very good shape.

    Perhaps she is the best choice. If she wins the presidency, as an observer from Canada, I will be pleased. I also believe, the American People will think that too, with time.

    November 6, 2007 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  19. hsu the bundler, san mateo , ca.

    How could - and why would any person who wants MORE of their paycheck to remain after taxes, vote for Hillary Clinton? And, her liberal stance on immigration means MORE illegals streaming over the border, more money from government in social services, free doctors' visits (also known to us regular Americans as "going to the emergency room") and more lawsuits. More Americans will get into car wrecks caused by illegals, further putting us into bankruptcy and further increasing our taxes.

    I disagree with almost everything this person stands for. Exception: she would continue military action in Afghanistan and Iraq I believe.

    November 6, 2007 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  20. ronnie knoxville ,tn.

    i agree with commentor who says, Hillary is a divider, just read the comments.

    so true, so true

    November 6, 2007 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  21. las vegas nv

    more flip floping , first because iam a woman ,i am winning, now this?????

    November 6, 2007 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  22. Jen, Gaineville, FL

    We have all seen how Hillary tried to spin after the debate. Her campaign tried different ways, but failed to answer:
    1. What her positions are on the issues raised?
    2. When the public can see the record that shows her contribution as a First Lady?

    She argued that the files are pushing through as fast as they can and faster than any other presidents'. This comparison is inappropriate.

    There is no urgency for the public to know other First Ladies' contribution to their husband's administration, becasue these former First Ladies have not tried to run for president or any other election on the expericence of being a First Lady!!

    It has been 7 years! What speed is it? Who else to blame if not the Clintons themselves?

    November 6, 2007 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  23. colony14 author, Mt Prospect, Illinois

    Hillary Rodham said, "...we're getting toward the end of a very long presidential primary process." Excuse me, but inasmuch as no votes have been cast yet we're at the BEGINNING of the primary process. I know her Royal Thighness may think she's already won the prize, but there's still a lot of time for someone to actually ask her a tough question. Oh, wait, her handlers won't let her near the reporters with brains.

    November 6, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  24. jeff, talahassee, florida

    I honestly cannot see why people think Hillary is so great. I'm not saying any other's are great either, but Hillary has to be the worst. Im sick of this election process period. Stephen Colbert for president!!!

    November 6, 2007 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  25. dslc

    Hillary sees both sides, and I like that. Obama and Edwards are playing the War hungry pervert game of bashing Hillary.
    Hillary will be President!

    November 6, 2007 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
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