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. Karen,ny

    The Republican party and the Democractic party are both run by corporations. We have no choice except to go with the lesser of the two evils which is the Democrats.

    November 7, 2007 08:15 am at 8:15 am |
  2. Collea-Devi

    I'm always amazed how terrific she is in these situations, but I think the main complaint – as I see it, is not that Clinton can't take care of herself just like a Commander-in-Chief should do but that a gang bang was not quite appropriate – As I say, I'm always amazed how strong and competent she comes out of these things. I will also say that the kind of behavior displayed by the other candidates does make me want to close ranks around her in an effort to protect the person that I feel is the ONLY hope of this nation – take the bullet so-to-speak – whether she needs it or not. My goodness the woman shines competence in all areas necessary for a President!! But let me tell you Why Hillary – from my pov, of course:
    1. To end the war in Iraq. To combat terrorism, strengthen our military and care for our veterans effectively. To restore America’s standing in the world and repair our alliances. To build a more tolerant, united America, working to achieve big goals again with a President who is ready for change and ready to lead from day one.

    2. She is a moderate and is experienced in working with all sides of the aisle; can work well with global leaders; is intelligent and has good manners where it counts. She has proven herself a diplomat when visiting more than 80 countries, working with Congress and all interests. However you view Bill, he is a global asset to this country. She is the only candidate with enough EXPERIENCE to lead this country.

    3. She is strong where it counts. She has learned from her mistakes, knows how to ask for directions and from whom, and has devoted her ENTIRE adult life to serving this country and its people. When she speaks she deals with the ISSUES not slimy muck and only responds ~ appropriately ~ when absolutely necessary to answer unfounded, erroneous and/or malicious gossip.

    4. To achieve universal, affordable healthcare. To create good jobs for middleclass Americans with the right investments in modern infrastructure and in new, clean, energy efficient technologies that reduce our dependence on foreign oil and combat global warming.

    5. To provide world class education from universal pre-kindergarten to affordable college for all. To promote 21st century scientific innovation, including stem cell research.

    6. To return to fiscal responsibility, move back toward a balanced budget and safeguard Social Security and Medicare for future generations. To restore competence and end cronyism in government with a President who cares about and works for Americans who have been invisible to this administration.

    7. MOST IMPORTANT TO ME. I believe that she will end our current “Disaster and War Economy” paradigm and replace it with a Universal Trade / Production / Scholastic / Artistic economy while making the other changes that will promote a NEW paradigm.
    For an America that works for ALL Americans – there's only one – Hillary Clinton – President 2008

    November 7, 2007 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  3. Neill C., Montgomery, Alabama

    "I wasn't at my best".

    That's putting it mildly. But, really, I think it was at her most honest. She's honestly a flip flopper and has no real ideas beyond, "Hey, I want to be President."

    November 7, 2007 09:06 am at 9:06 am |
  4. Sue, IN

    I'm a Democrat with no one I want to vote for. How sad.

    November 7, 2007 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  5. HH, Pittsburgh, PA

    Silly me. I thought that the chief "job" of the leadership of this country was to look after the interests of American citizens and to operate within the constraints of the US Constitution. Instead, we have "leaders" like Clinton who are looking after the interests of illegal immigrants and the rich people who want to exploit them.

    Clinton is acting as if she is already appointed the Democratic nominee, but, considering the way that CNN sucks up to her, it's only the media who have designated her so.

    The American people need to grow up and realize that people seek leadership positions because they crave power, not because they have a desire for "public service." That is why we have a Constitution to constrain them. Anonymous is right to point out that this woman doesn't listen; she only preaches. Like all socialists craving power, she thinks that she holds the answer to all problems and that there is no problem that isn't government's business to solve. She says that she has been very clear about where she stands and what she wants to do for the country, when she really has an allergy to giving a simple Yes or No answer to any question.

    November 7, 2007 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  6. JB Boston MA

    Devil be gone, I command thee!

    November 7, 2007 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  7. Mary, Beaver, PA

    This woman is totally self-absorbed.

    Ron Paul for President 2008!

    November 7, 2007 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  8. Peter,Manchester,NH

    Stuff like this you gat to be ready and be at your best...Do you understand Mrs Senator ? You are not looking for a nanny job, I think you are looking for the highest position in the face of the earth. Just trying to remind you if you are not at your best to remember that. Go home and come back in 2030 to try again!!

    November 7, 2007 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  9. silus,boston,ma

    Senator Larry Craig entered a guilty plea when he was in Gay sex scandal. He actually meant to enter not guilty, sounds familiar? I think this is similar to that!

    November 7, 2007 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  10. Bob, Alexandria, VA

    Oh, NOW we're giving politicians "MULLIGANS" for bad performance?

    November 7, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  11. hanna,andover,ma

    You were not at your best....You were picked on..Looks like you want to have it both ways here too!

    November 7, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  12. JB, NYC, NY

    Fortunately, that was her best

    November 7, 2007 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  13. Naomi,s.c

    You are still doing things Privately and saying one thing on the debate and another in Private...I have a word for you. Those good old days are gone...Tim for me to have my country back!

    November 7, 2007 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  14. Rita,Des moines,Iowa

    The media campaigned for her since March...Now the lady has put her own foot in her own mouth. Alittle late for damage control. Just ask if you can cash out for now because I don't think you are going to make the situation any better...

    November 7, 2007 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  15. deepak chulani neth antilles

    I think hillary clinton will be the perfect president since she has had a good run with her husband bill she has also learnt a lot and can bring this economy back. Those who fear of a women as a president should be ashamed of themselves and give al a chance no matter man or woman infact she will do much better than any other president with her charm.
    she is the right candidate !!!!!!!!!!!!!
    and the u.s.a. will make a big mistake not choosing her for presidency.

    November 7, 2007 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  16. HC, new york, ny

    New USA Today/Gallup polling conducted this past weekend shows few signs that front-runner Sen. Hillary Clinton’s standing among Democrats nationally was affected by the recent Democratic candidate debate. Clinton’s 50% of the vote, Obama’s 22%, and Edwards’ 15% are virtually unchanged from Gallup’s Oct. 12-14 poll. Clinton continues to have the highest favorable ratings of the three leading candidates.

    November 7, 2007 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  17. Sheine, Bowie, AZ

    I am amused by the comments of the Hillary supporters here. They remind me of the last-ditch Bush supporters. Facts are totally irrelevant to both groups.

    Hillary runs on experience which consists of a failed health effort and sleeping with the president. On all issues she is an artful dodger. At this moment it seems that the moneyed interests and party appartus will give her the nomination. Cry the beloved country.

    November 7, 2007 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  18. MIke,Panama City, FL

    Tim russert did a very poor job on that debate , I lost all respect for the man .
    Feeding into the conservative hatred for the clintons,how pethatic . Somebody should investigate him to see where he is getting the money from , cause he obviously is .

    November 7, 2007 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  19. Bill, Whitehall, MI

    Seven years ago, George Bush was elected (apparently), without public understanding of his work-habits, beliefs and limitations. The country has paid a high price for not knowing the candidate.
    This time, I want to see a rigorous examination of candidates' positions on issues. Hillary is refusing to clarify her positions. I don't think we should trust any more candidates who are unwilling to take very clear positions on issues.
    Finally, it is unreasonable to call those questions "Attacks". We should be looking for the differences between candidates' values and intentions. I resent that Hillary is trying to avoid clarifying her positions. It smacks of arrogance.

    November 7, 2007 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  20. sally,portsmouth,NH

    This isn't a nanny job you are looking for unfortunately.......

    November 7, 2007 11:01 am at 11:01 am |
  21. TransparentTrollop

    You just endorsed giving illegals drivers licenses and all you can say to the American people is you weren't at your best?

    What the h@ll does that mean? You would've been better if you had endorsed total immunity or no immunity??

    November 7, 2007 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  22. Bob, Roxboro, NC

    Oh Hillary,,,I believe you were at your best. You did one thing inadvertantly. You underscored the fact that you will pander to special interests and dodge the will of the people. I'm sure you didn't mean to allow the truth to escape. But, as I stated, it was your best.

    November 7, 2007 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  23. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Hillary supporters – what would she have to do to lose your support?

    Support licensing "illegals" – check

    Never answer one question...always three contradictory you can "choose" one

    Vote for the Iraq war...and vote to fund it everytime (except the last one) then claim its "Bushs War"

    Follow Saul Alinskys teachings – and propose huge government social programs that directly parrots her teacher (who btw was a grassroots marxist)

    So....would she need to choke an AIDS baby to death to get you guys thinking about someone else?? omg..

    November 7, 2007 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  24. Dave, Cheverly, MD

    Plan A: Let media crown her the victor from beginning of campaign season to end, all on National news & TV.
    Plan B: If Hillary stumbles cover it up by crying fowl the boys are attacking me.
    Plan C: Get women to feel sorry for her, recant in their own minds when they were TRUELY piled on/discriminated against. Then to have those women incorrectly use those experiences to justify Hillary NOT answering the questions or playing like the rest of the field.

    To ALL women. ALL Black or white women did NOT vote for Carol Moseley Braun. All Black people did NOT vote for Al Sharpton, Allen Keys or Jessie Jackson. NO MATTER WHAT CARD they did or did not play.

    This election is about picking the best person to lead the U.S. If ANY Candidate is whining already, then we should be wondering if that candidate can lead the U.S. in the real world were both male and female World Leaders certainly don't play fair.

    November 7, 2007 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. demwit

    Oh...., the debate. I thought she was talking about that picture!!

    November 7, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
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