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. Jack Frost, Fort Smith, AR

    Hillary is by any objective measure a total lightweight for the job of President. But then in a world where Al Gore is a acclaimed scientist (OK he did invent the Internet), well... Frankly none of the candidates other than Rudy G has ever been responsible for so much as a hot dog stand. Incredible!

    November 6, 2007 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  2. Mike Griggs, Naperville, IL

    Although I think she is a strong democratic candidate at best, she still has not convinced me that she is the best. If she can't take the rigors of a long primary, how is she going to hold up with a 4 year term?

    November 7, 2007 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  3. Tyler, Boston

    The Clintons are liars, and thieves. They STILL belong in prison for the White Water Scandal (now tell me again why everyone else went to prison except for them?). They weasel out of EVERYTHING, and its almost like America loves that fact. And the only shame is Bill should have been expelled from office after infamously becoming the FIRST IMPEACHED PRESIDENT in United States HISTORY. Hillary is a communist, and to see her YET AGAIN weasel out of answering a SIMPLE question put to her twice was mind numbing. We KNOW she is FOR giving licenses to illegals, but she is LYING!

    November 7, 2007 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  4. Claire, Paris, France

    Hilary Clinton should learn from french Segolene Royal's Failure. Take advantage of beeing a woman. Could you, once elected, be more than the president of the United States ? Fill the breach between Europe and the United States...

    November 7, 2007 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  5. Ian M., New York, NY

    To all the Hillary supporters, please elaborate on her experience?

    November 7, 2007 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  6. RMRN.Y.

    She has those dead eyes – like a dolls eyes...

    Even her laughter is scripted!

    Contrast her over rehearsed style with that of the clear eyed authentic spontaneity of Barak Obama's.

    Barak Obama oozes self assurance and charisma born of intelligence and purpose!

    I am for the smartest guy (I mean person) in the room!

    November 7, 2007 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  7. Beto, Seattle

    I believe Ms. Clinton was at her best, unfortunately it wasn't good enough. I'm neither Democrat or Republican, so it doesn't matter to which prospect either party selects as their candidate, but if she is selected as the democratic candidate, seeing as she's so transparent she can't even lie good, it only shows how stupid democrats are. She should look to her husband if she wants to learn how to lie and cheat people. He mastered the technique.

    November 7, 2007 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  8. Carolyn Walker Anamosa Iowa

    At one point it was hard to decide who I thought would be best for president.After watching Hillary getting ganged up on it even more pushes me toward Hillary.
    Why is is the news so quick to report her dropping in the polls???
    Hillary I think shows she has alot of strength and she will need it.

    November 7, 2007 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  9. Dorelia Rivera, Melrose Park, IL

    Hillary Clinton is the most viable Democratic Candidate. Otherwise, why would she be attacked so hard? Honestly, they (the boys) SHOULD be afraid. A woman is about to make history! Why not play “both sides”, she’s a woman AND the best candidate.

    November 7, 2007 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  10. FV, Tampa, FL

    She's still the best of the whole pack... Dem. or Rep.

    Get used to saying Madame President Folks.

    November 7, 2007 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  11. Lance in Monrovia CA

    We're at the end of the primary process Hillary?

    Uh... it's just beginning baby. People are just starting to figure out that Barack Obama is by far the better candidate to run.

    He'll be one of the greatest Presidents ever. You on the other hand, are a good legislator but a very, very poor leader.

    A real leader takes responsibility for their mistakes instead of hedging and blaming others like you did on Iraq, Iran, and a bunch of others.

    November 7, 2007 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  12. Melinda, Indiana

    As a lifelong democrat, I am so dissapointed in Hillary and her support for the NY govenor and his illegal immigrants drivers license plan, that for the first time in my life I am turning my vote Republican. I took at look at Ron Paul's website tonight, and I am voting for him. Thanks Hillary for clearing the unanswered questions up for me, you lost my vote.

    November 7, 2007 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  13. Dave, Cheverly, MD

    IF the excuse "I wasn't at my best the other night" was the real reason for not answering those questions in the debate. Then Hillary would have said so the very next day. NOT on her 3rd attempt at an excuse, a FULL week later. After each excuse offered kept falling by the waste side.
    WHAT would she do as President when confronted with a serious issue that needs her to be at her best at that time? Such as a Cubin Missile Crisis type of moment. As President YOU have to be able to make tough decisions and stick with what you feel is correct. You may not have time to do a POLL or ask Bill

    November 7, 2007 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  14. Paula, Juneau, AK; Truckee, CA; central NV

    Thanks for your courage Dennis! I still have your bumper sticker on my car from last round.

    November 7, 2007 01:52 am at 1:52 am |
  15. Sharon Claghorn, Ingleside, TX

    Hillary obviously has been preparing for public service all of her adult life. God has opened doors of great opportunity to her, and she has consistently embraced each challenge. She has been overwhelmed with adversity and she has handled it all with dignity, courage and commitment.

    To date, Hillary is the most experienced candidate on the presidential stage. As a woman, she will bring a unique perspective to governance, looking at the world through a much longer term perspective.

    Our government is in decay, our national policies are too often unjust and disgraceful. Our standing in the world is at the lowest ebb and our heroic young soldiers are dying at the hands of religious zealots. America is up to her earlobes in debt and our overall situation is critical.

    Seems to me it is long overdue for a woman to have the opportunity to set new priorities for this great but troubled nation. I am filled with hope that a woman will lead the way in changing how our nation responds to all our citizens and that she will prioritize managment and conservation of our great national resources.

    November 7, 2007 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  16. Z. Davison, San Diego, California

    Like the Debate revealed, Hillary Clinton is trying to have everything both ways. I think the tag "Slick Bill" given to her husband truly describes her playbook for this election. When attacked and exposed for inconsistent statements make sure the reply message is "its only because I am a woman". When ahead and looking strong on the issues NEVER commit to any position of substance and blame all problems in the world on Bush. Speaking directly to you, here is some truth the polls will NOT show you, but there is the reality as Chris Dodd pointed out and that is there are millions of Americans from all walks of life who will never vote for you!!! The reason has NOTHING to do with whether you are or are not a woman, but rather your integrity as a person who is asking to be the leader of our country! You have earned the nickname "Slick Hill just like Bill"!!!!

    November 7, 2007 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  17. AJ, Chicago IL

    It is very disturbing to hear all the Hillary supporters blowing off Hillary's poor debate performance without pointing the blame at Hillary! At that debate, Hillary was at her best, vague, uninspiring, and confused by the direct questions asked of her. Now Hillary and her campaign-spinners are coming out with more flip-flopping: first playing the gender card and now saying the men are not picking on me because of my gender; secondly taking other candidates statements and specifics as their own. At the debate Obama said he would raised automotive mileage standards and then Bill Richardson got specific and said he would raise it to 50 miles per gallon. Now Hillary one week later is quoted as saying she would raise automative mileage standards to 55 miles per gallon. Hillary is follower, not a leader. She followed Bill Clinton all the way to White House. She followed him after his infidelity allegations and admissions and she's trying to follow on his coat-tails to the US presidency.

    November 7, 2007 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  18. Wangari,boston,ma

    You have to be at your very best in such a time like this. Do you understand! This is not a nanny's job that you are looking for....YOu were looking to be the next president but I think it is already too late for damage control!

    November 7, 2007 02:17 am at 2:17 am |
  19. Z. Davison, San Diego, California

    When you forget to blame all the problems in the world on Bush, whose dumb policies you voted for I guess the "slick bill" playbook calls for you to play the "its only because I am a woman" drama and why am I am being attacked?. What is even more pathetic as you play the feminist gender card is that if Obama should happen to beat you one might also call that a historical event (which you seemed to have forgotten during your interview unless you count his cousin Dick Cheney)! The problem you have is not that you are a woman but rather you have been working on your own nickname, "Slick Hill just like Bill" !!!

    November 7, 2007 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  20. Ann, IL

    Mrs. Clinton, what those guys did at the debate was not criticism. Obama and Edwards are trying desperately to get attention. None of them looked presidential in the debate - a bunch of guys advised to go 'macho'.

    November 7, 2007 02:48 am at 2:48 am |


    November 7, 2007 02:51 am at 2:51 am |
  22. alan St Louis MO

    That was her best

    The only thing she could do better was to practice lying more. I can understand tring to keep all those lies straight a challange.

    It be a lot easier to tell the truth.
    Tell the truth and it shall set you free
    But in her case if she tells the truth we will reliaze what a phony she is.

    So keep up the Clinton SPIN MACHINE GOING

    Biden or Obama for 2008

    November 7, 2007 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  23. ladyluck1120

    Hillary withstood some massive attacks from "the others", and continued to stay balanced & focused in her stance, while continued "pot shots" from those intimidated by her – to knock her down. There were no – yes or no answers to the questions on Immigration; and anyone who thinks their is, is either lying or telling people what they want to hear to get elected. Hillary's my GAL, and will make a GREAT President of the United States!!

    November 7, 2007 04:00 am at 4:00 am |
  24. Mo, New York, New York

    Shes been surprisingly ineffective at countering the criticism that she says only what will endear her to the listener, taking few risks and raising questions as to what she actually believes... Sorry, but that's not the kind of leadership I'm looking for... Barack Obama strikes me as both more personally accomplished, and more straight-forward.

    November 7, 2007 04:29 am at 4:29 am |
  25. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    George, Denver and Monte Brown, NY, thank you for your true comments. Hillary will bring our Country back and get back the highest respect from the world. Republican and their media will not success this time like Al Gore and John Kerry, because Hillary knows how to handle, Hillary and her team is ready for dirty trick. I am sure Obama and Edwards have no idea about Hillary's hard work, Obama and Edwards are busy to attack her, so there's no any political preparation at all. No matter what Hillary got my vote all the way to White House.

    November 7, 2007 06:50 am at 6:50 am |
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