November 14th, 2007
07:40 PM ET
11 years ago

Candidates criticize Clinton's reaction to Spitzer

Clinton said Wednesday she is against a program that gives driver's licenses to illegal immigrants.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - After New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer ended his bid to provide driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, Sen. Hillary Clinton's rivals came out swinging against the Democratic presidential hopeful for her reaction.

A spokeswoman for Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Connecticut, called her action "flip-flopping cubed."

Bill Burton, a spokesman for Sen. Barack Obama, D-Illinois, also sharply criticized Clinton for switching her views on the issue.

"When it takes two weeks and six different positions to answer one question on immigration, it's easier to understand why the Clinton campaign would rather plant their questions than answer them,” Burton said.

Clinton received flak for saying that his plan made "a lot of sense" during a debate in late September. But on Wednesday, she said she is supporting Spitzer's decision to withdraw the proposal and blamed Congress and the White house for failing to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

"As president, I will not support drivers' licenses for undocumented people and will press for comprehensive immigration reform that deals with all of the issues around illegal immigration including border security and fixing our broken system," Clinton said in a statement.

- CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich

soundoff (136 Responses)
  1. Daniel, NY

    Meanwhile, new early state polls have Hillary Clinton up with massive leads in the key primaries of South Carolina and New Hampshire....

    November 14, 2007 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. Sue in Michigan

    Give her a little slack, boys! the debate question obviously caught her off guard (if she knows the answer to everything, she's too rehearsed; if she doesn't have a substantive answer, she's unfit; if , heaven forbid, she changes her stance, my GOD, it's another flip-flopper!) Personally, I find it refreshing to find someone who is honest enough and flexible enough to change their mind. Do we really want another DECIDER in the Oval Office,m who makes up his own mind without regard to advisors or public opinion, and then is too stubborn to ever consider the people who supposedly put him there?
    GO HILLARY-all the way

    November 14, 2007 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. AJ, IL

    WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW! WOW! Hillary at it again. At the Philly Democratic Debate (Oct 30) she mumbled and fumbled over the response to NY illegal immigrants getting driver's licenses. Then 4 days later claims she supports the NY Governor's proposal. And now today she claims she supports Spitzer's decision not to pursue the NY driver licenses for illegal immigrants. She has just given the Republican Party machine more ammunition to use against her if she becomes the nominee. She is quickly becoming known as a "flip-flopper" and looking ever some much weaker as a candidate.

    Obama in '08!

    November 14, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  4. Terri Tacoma, Wa


    "As President, I will not support drivers' licenses for undocumented people and will press for comprehensive immigration reform that deals with all of the issues around illegal immigration including border security and fixing our broken system"


    Gee – Hillary, will you articulate a different position for each state you campaign??

    If you can't get "drivers license for illegals" right the first time .... what makes us think you can handle a TOUGH issue??

    Flip-flop, dodge and waffle – Does anyone REALLY want to return to the era of wind-driven ethics of the Clintons?

    November 14, 2007 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  5. Bob, Seattle


    November 14, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  6. Dan, TX

    How about States having the right to choose for themselves who to grant driver's licenses to. Keep the Federal government out of my life.

    I know a lot of folks would rather just round up illegals and toss them out of the country. FINE, do it, THAT is the federal governments JOB. If the feds won't do their job, that's not the States' problem. The States have the right to decide who to give licenses to or who to refuse to give them to. NOT the federal government. So Spitzer can propose what he wants and if the State wants to do it, they should. But it is also fine for Spitzer to decide not to do it. But Clinton's position of the moment to not support drivers' licences for undocumented workers is unconstitutional. Didn't she criticize Edwards for proposing to get rid of Congressional Health insurance because it wasn't constitutional.

    The Feds have no right to prevent States from giving undocumented workers drivers licenses. The Feds DO have the right to deport every illegal alien. Let's get this straight. Something Clinton just can't seem to do.

    November 14, 2007 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  7. Ellis, Providence RI

    So... what is her stance on this issue? Is she seriously now speaking universally against licenses for illegals when last week she said it was "too complicated" for a simple answer?

    She's in way over her head, Bill better defend her some more.

    November 14, 2007 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  8. Dave in Tampa Bay, Florida

    Well. That's. Finally. Settled.

    Hillary – The Saran-Wrap candidate.

    Tough but transparent.

    November 14, 2007 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  9. utah

    Hillary 2009!

    November 14, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  10. Shawnie - Grants Pass, OR

    "Flip-flopping cubed" is right!

    November 14, 2007 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  11. JB Boston MA

    Come on!

    Even you Hillary lovers have got to admit this is ridiculous. So much for taking a stand even though the voters don't agree. Opinions that come and go with the wind.

    This has got to be a joke. How to ruin your campaign 101.

    November 14, 2007 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  12. Lev Klinemann, Redondo Beach CA

    We're all allowed one flip-flop a decade...


    November 14, 2007 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  13. Tom Sullivan, Bedford, TX

    Our immigration system is not broken, Clinton's brain is. A vote for Hillary is a vote for amnesty.

    November 14, 2007 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  14. Ann Memphis, TN

    Good God Flip Flop Hill make up your mind. You were for it before you where against it. You can't trust her to answer a simple question what makes any of us think you can trust her to make hard decisions.

    November 14, 2007 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  15. Marshal Phillips, Wichita, Kansas

    Sen Clinton's position has always been that the Federal government needs to address the issues surrounding illegals working in our country.
    But I always wonder why we don't also call those who hire illegals also law breakers?
    Illegals are here to do our dirty work and yet we have done nothing to legalize the situation.
    We need to work together as a country to find a solution to this issue!

    November 14, 2007 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  16. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Lack of understanding an answer is not flip-flopping,Romney's pro-choice then pro-life certainly is. Mitt's support of gay rights is also something of concern.

    November 14, 2007 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  17. Ben

    Can you imagine a president who makes a policy decision and then takes it back a couple of weeks later when faced with criticism? What a chaotic way to lead our country.

    November 14, 2007 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  18. MarkieBee, Sacramento, Calif.

    Keep watching the polls Hillary people, the ones that are either woned by Vindo Gupta (Hillary and Bill's best friend) or the ones that call 450 likely voters and extrapolate that the whole state is leaning one way or the other. I'll watch the exit polls and an Obama victory

    November 14, 2007 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  19. Carol, MD

    Flip flops? Changing you mind? It's still better than "There really isn't any WMD's," but Whoops, we're in a war!

    November 14, 2007 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  20. sk, NY, NY

    doesn't matter what she says...both Obama and edward attack her bulldogs.

    November 14, 2007 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  21. Jason, Washington DC

    Great punch...That's what we've been waiting for!

    November 14, 2007 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  22. Belyn

    All I gotta say is GO CLINTON. 08 is our year. A remarkable woman an exceptional leader.

    November 14, 2007 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  23. sean, Priden, New York

    The Obama reaction is pitiful. This is a man who can locate no records from his days on the Illinois senate. Thats because he did nothing. He has no experience–just empty words.

    November 14, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  24. Christopher

    Since when is it wrong to think about something and come to a different conclusion?

    Is leadership based on believing everything out of your own mouth is music?

    Maybe people should refuse to answer questions until they have had time to think about the issue at hand. But, I guess that wouldn't work in "sound bite" world.

    November 14, 2007 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  25. Brittainy, Washington, DC

    Meanwhile, new early state polls have Hillary Clinton up with massive leads in the key primaries of South Carolina and New Hampshire….
    Posted By Daniel, NY : November 14, 2007 6:20 pm

    "Massive leads"?

    Did you even read the polling yourself, Daniel?

    November 14, 2007 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6