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. r.e. lowe allons, tn

    sen.chris dodd,and sen.barack obana i would rather have my president change her mind than a president that stays the course quit criticizing hillary clinton you guys just sound stupid we have stupid in the white house now g.w. opinion again!

    November 14, 2007 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  2. Tom, Scranton, PA

    I don't care who the candidate is – if they don't have a STRONG stand against illegal immigration – they won't get MY vote!

    November 14, 2007 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  3. Dave, Laguna Hills, CA

    Typical Clinton...just like Billie: If you don't like his/her answer, just wait a while, it may change.

    November 14, 2007 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  4. Pit ironik Denver Colorado

    HIllary Clinton Camp threathens Wolf Blitzer – Cnn – No gangning up on Hillary

    Is the pressure really getting to Hillary Clinton this much already? A report from Matt Drudge appears to suggest that the democratic "annoited" frontrunner is still reeling so much from her disastrous performance at the last Democratic presidential debate that her camp is reaching out in what sounds like a threatening way to CNN and their host Wolf Blizter.
    Clinton stumbled in the previous debate in Philadelphia, over whether illegal immigrants should be awarded drivers licenses, and faced a wave of subsequent assaults from rivals who had failed to land a glove on her all year.
    Claims that Clinton aides had planted questions at her campaign events further fed the media beast and provoked the Clinton campaign's first serious wobbles.

    November 14, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  5. Randal, Birmingham, AL

    People are bashing her up for nothing...she never endorsed the spitzer plan during the debate..she only said she understands where the Gov is coming from.
    Go on Hillary! Don't listen to all the other idiots. You have my vote and the vote of enough sane democrats to win the nomination and ultimately the President of United States.

    November 14, 2007 08:44 pm at 8:44 pm |
  6. J. McKinney SW MO

    This is a complete non-issue. Hillary didn't flip-flop. She said she wasn't for issuing the licenses, but understood why Spitzer was doing it. She still says she isn't for it.
    I think that Obama and Edwards are so desperately eager to find some little thing to nit-pick that they will make a mountain out of a mole hill on every issue they can. Their only idea for winning the election is to pick at Hillary. No one knows their ideas, just that they don't like Hillary's ideas. They are a couple of little jokes. We need Hillary, desperately!

    November 14, 2007 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |

    I really hate the term flip-flop and here is why. Politicians don't work for themselves. They work for us. The only true way that politicians will know what we–their employers are thinking is by opinion polls and for the more archaic of the group, sending letters through the US MAIL or by making endless calls on the telephone. Each day we the American people change our minds on several of the different major issues that face the nation. When we vocalize this to our employees, the politicians, they are forced to "flip-flop". If we had politicians that "stuck to their guns" and didn't flip flop back during the civil rights era–America would not be the same nation it is today for many in the African American community.

    We all know that having conviction is a good thing. Elliot Spitzer had conviction in his belief that drivers licenses be given to migrant workers. However his employers, the people of NY state saw differently, and he was forced to change his position based on what they demanded.

    I really wish that people would STOP making it appear to be a bad thing when a politician changes their position on an issue because WE DEMAND it. Remember they are paid by us and they work for us. Let's face it America–we are an instant gratification society. Why do we expect our politicians not to give us what we demand INSTANTLY?

    I really wish people would understand that being a politician is much harder than the everday struggles we face trying to make your husband or wife or life partner happy. Politicians have to please hundreds of millions of people and that is not an easy task to do. Please don't alienate Hillary just because you don't agree with what she says right now. True supporters don't do that. Doing so and electing someone you believe may be better based on one emotional issue could be disastrous for America. Just look at what we just ENDURED the last seven years.

    Hillary 2008

    November 14, 2007 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  8. David Gower, Iowa

    hillary will say and do anything to get the nomination, anything to win. What does she think! Are we stupid? It's pathetic, I guess this is the experience she is talking about, experience of flip-flopping. Waiting for all her supporters to come up with an excuse... It just makes me laugh, fools being fools.

    And for the comment that, "she can run with the big dogs!", does that make her #####, I rather not say!

    November 14, 2007 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  9. Rex, Toledo, Ohio

    For those Democrats that can't in good conscience vote for Hillary Clinton (with good reason) I would suggest you take a good look at Ron Paul. He is the ONLY candidate that stands for what we truly believe in. Some of his ideas may be a bit different, but by the grace of all things good, he stands for the Constitution, and wants to give us our liberties back. You know. The ones that Bush and company swept out from under us, and the ones that a Fred Thompson, Clinton or Giuliani will further remove.
    I'll say it point blank. I despise her, and everything she spouts off about. I hate a liar.The woman has no moral objective other than to continue the status quo. Mark my words......she gets elected.....80% of the American people will be wringing their hands just like they are now with the Bush/Cheney gang.

    November 14, 2007 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  10. Anonymous

    These other candidates are being disingenuous in their attack on Hillary Clinton. She is not the Gov. of New York and originally was only showing some support of Spitzer, not his policy. There are already seven states with a policy similar to this one, including my state, New Mexico. Something must be done and it has to start somewhere. The DEMs are so desperate that they are viciously giving the GOP the swiftboat fodder they can use in the General election. Obama and Edwards can't beat Hillary on merits.

    November 14, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  11. Grasshopper Phoenix, Arizona

    What will her position be in 2 weeks? or did she change it already in the same sentance and we didn't get the whole story.

    November 14, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  12. Steve, Denver, CO

    Abdullah: he knows about bold text, but not about "not voting."

    November 14, 2007 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  13. John Henry Billings, Montana

    I am tired of the pandering! ARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGHH!

    she wears me out trying to figure out her real position.

    November 14, 2007 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  14. Mike, Houston, TX

    Hillary is betting that the democrats are too stupid to remember the lessons of Kerry, Mondale, and Carter. She's following the Karl Rove strategy of division to try and sweep the primaries before the democrats realize that it is Hillary Clinton, not Bill Clinton.

    If Hillary gets the nomination, I hope President Guillani does a good job.

    November 14, 2007 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |

    Obama and Edwards can't beat Hillary Clinton on merits so they will try to make her look like an equivocator. They are giving the GOP the swiftboat material to use in the general election. These gentlemen are being so disingenuous. It won't work because the majority of Democrats are able to see their desperation and ignore the clamor.

    November 14, 2007 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  16. john williams san diego, ca.

    14 months from now, a person will be asked "do you promise to uphold the constituion of the United States?" and the answer will be 'this is a sort of gotcha question, i'll have Bubba get back to you' NEXT question

    November 14, 2007 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  17. Art Salazar, San Antonio, Texas

    Everybody has planted questions. But nobody talks about them until "Gotcha" President Bush has planted questions all the time. How come you don't complain about them.
    Everybody has records but they all have "good reasons" for not delivering them. I don't see anything wrong with Hillary's reasons either.
    I always thought as humans we could always change our minds. How come Hillary is not allowed to do so? It seems like nobody complained about "Bush/Clinton/Bush cycle but you add another Clinton and there's complaints on a cycle? And on and on. In the end Hillary will get the Democratic nomination and will be elected our next president and I will be glad to vote for the woman. End of story.

    November 14, 2007 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  18. John

    I'm very sad to see that people say "Oh well, it's normal for a politician. I'll vote for her anyway!"
    What's wrong with you? This country needs real leadership from real statesmen (or women). Stop the cycle of underqualified and corrupted officials, vote for someone real.

    November 14, 2007 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  19. Brenda S, Waseca MN

    I hope immigration reform gets fixed fast. I am a U.S Citizen and my husband was sent to Mexico to wait for his Visa appointment, when we got there the embassy agent refused to see any of his paperwork. He has been in Mexico for 1 year and 11 months this November. He was denied and was asked to go again with paperwork he had with him. I went out there to support my husband and had to comeback empty handed. From the time he left til now I have lost my house and was on the verge of losing my children, I have to work 2 to 3 jobs to try to keep afloat. Who ever is making these decisions are not thinking about the mothers and the children that are left trying to struggle without another income. He has another appoint on 1/2/2008, That would make him absent from the role of father for his son and his 2 stepsons. Since I don't make that much money the only time me and his son got to see him was when we went to his appointment on 10/3/2008, I can't stop working and go with him because we have to live somehow.

    November 14, 2007 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  20. Lynn, Durham, CT

    Hey, last month I thought it was a good idea as well. Now, not so much. What does that make me? A flip flopper or someone who realized after more thought and analysis that it just won't work correctly? At least she can say, 'yeah, not a good idea' and not dig her heels in like Mr. Bush and not budge. She has sound judgement and it's EXACTLY what the White House needs!

    November 14, 2007 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  21. Dustin, Trenton Nebraska

    I believe that flip flopping sides on the issue of giving illegal immigrants is one of the worst things Clinton could have done. No one will want a future president who is unstable and sways on important issues. The public wants a president who will have a view point and stick by it through out any decisions to be made. While I do think her position now is better, she still should have thought out her alliance before commenting back in September if there was any doubt. This issue will also draw more attention to her in the future, which could cost her in the long run.

    November 14, 2007 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  22. Ernest R. Pilkinton, dallas, texas

    what do you think she would do?
    she is a clinton, that is known for flip-flopping.
    i wouldn't for her for any reason. i'm not stupied.
    ray, dallas

    November 14, 2007 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  23. Daniel ~ Longview, WA.

    She's getting T i r e d . . . .

    I don't sleep well when I flip-flop all night either!

    November 14, 2007 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  24. Sharon, Robbins, NC

    Oh Hilary Clinton is against this issue but she's all for gay marriages and she supports gays and lesbian rights, which is against Gods Laws. God made Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve. For the sake of our Nation I hope Hilary you don't get the Presidency!!!

    November 14, 2007 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  25. Richard Shivers, Griffin ,Ga

    Clinton is compassionate to those who want a better life here. This is something that Americans have lost. I see most Americans as greedy and selfcenterd, they are afraid that they may have to give up something they value to help others that are less fortunante.

    November 14, 2007 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
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