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. Jon Richard, Virginia

    It is a beautiful thing. A person running for the presidency can say 'It is the current administrations fault AND the fault of the Congress'. Let me see, this person is a member of Congress. Where did this person stand on the issue when it was actually pushed by the White House and debated in 'Congress'. Interesting to say the least.

    November 14, 2007 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  2. jim, new york

    are u KIDDING me??

    somebody please explain to me how senator clinton STILL leads in the polls. the american people don't make any sense.

    first, they complain how there are no honest politicians and that they're sick of the system that doesn't work for them, then they don't do anything about it and continue to support the very politicians they are against in theory.

    how can we be so uneducated?

    November 14, 2007 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  3. Common Sense, Washington, DC

    "Oh my God a politician that changed their position on an issue. What a shocker."

    Carl, there is nothing wrong with a politician changing their position on an issue. The problem here is that she was non-committal on the issue, then clarified her position by saying she was for it, and then today she says that she supports withdrawing the legislation and blames Congress (which she is a part of). She's spinning around so much on this one little issue that she's making herself dizzy.

    November 14, 2007 09:18 pm at 9:18 pm |
  4. wanderink, san francisco, ca

    Clinton's position just doesn't seem like a flip-flop. She was lukewarm about the NY driver license issue, recognizing that it might solve a problem locally but conceding that it wasn't a fully supportable as a general solution to the problem.

    Now, she's saying that she wants to solve immigration problems in ways that operate at the federal level. Her initial hedging about Spitzer's plan really makes sense, given that it was state plan addressing a state issue where there wasn't adequate federal governance.

    Not that Clinton is so perfect or anything. And, sure, sometimes she is too vague in her positions. But, this driver license is really overblown!

    November 14, 2007 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    It's apparent that she influence Spitzer's decision to let go of his driver licensing illegals plan. The public needs to be aware of her lies and distortions. So far, it seems that only the well informed have been aware of this. Very sad for America's future.

    November 14, 2007 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  6. ryan t. , allentown, pa.

    So, everybody who was for the illegal drivers' licenses last week is against it this week.

    That's not too hypocritical, Dems.

    November 14, 2007 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  7. Ron, TX

    The winds have shifted, and so has Hillary Clinton's position on illegal immigrants with drivers licenses...

    She agrees with it when it's politically opportunistic. Then she disagrees with it when the going gets rough. Typical Washington-style poll-politics.

    We need REAL change in the White House. A NAME CHANGE just isn't good enough.

    November 14, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  8. Walt, Belton, TX

    "We're going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." A Hillary quote from 2004. Couple that with the likes of Pelosi, Reid and political scum like Murtha and you have anarchy closer than you think!

    There's a lot of the same kind of garbage in the Republican Party, but not many anarchists, thank God.

    Wake up America!

    November 14, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  9. Martin Golson, Clarksville, TN

    She votes for the war before she is against it. She supports giving driver's licenses to illegal aliens before she supports not giving them licenses. She has questions planted so she doesn't have to answer any real questions. Please tell me that people are going to wake up and realize how crooked she really is!

    Anybody but Clinton in 2008

    November 14, 2007 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  10. Michael, Jacksonville, Florida

    Hillary goes as the wind blows…

    I can’t imagine how anyone can take this woman seriously. She and her husband are political animals who care about only one thing, getting elected. You can actually see her forming her position on driver’s licenses for foreign invaders living illegally in America during the debate and then reshaping her position four times in the following weeks as the polls helped clarify what she “intended” to say.

    This should tell you everything you need to know about Hillary. These are serious times that call for serious leadership. Our Nation’s future hangs in the balance and we cannot afford to elect a president who does nothing more than pander to whichever special interest or group who can help keep her in power.

    I voted for Bill Clinton twice, Al Gore in 2000 and John Kerry in 2004. Last week I reregistered as a Republican and urge my fellow Democrats who love America to consider the issues and do the same.

    November 14, 2007 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  11. Robb, New York

    So NOW she comes out and states her "opinion" on the failed plan. Leave it to Hillary to take a stand when the issue is withdrawn. Sorry, Mrs. Clinton– that answer should have been given when you were asked that question three weeks ago at the debate.

    It makes you wonder just who would want this kind of decision-making in the White House. Where are all these people who have supposedly made her the frontrunner and "the one to beat" in 2008? Who have they been polling in New Hampshire and South Carolina to have given her such "giant leads" in both states? Relatives? Close friends? Campaign contributors? Republicans?

    As John McEnroe says, "You cannot be serious." To believe that a majority or even a plurality of this country would choose her over any other candidate is completely mystifying. It's just not believable.

    This can't be what the majority of this country wants. This can't be what the majority of the Democratic Party wants. You'd think after eight years of Bush, eight years of Bill Clinton, and four years of Bush's dad we would have wised up and preferred someone completely different than what we've had in the last 20 years. Come on, America– we need to turn the page. We've gotta have turnover.

    How many times are we going to keep making the same mistake one presidential election after another presidential election? Why can't we find a decent politician in this country anymore? Forget honesty and trustworthiness– they no longer exist in American politics. Where are the politicians who can think and speak and make decisions on their own, without following the instructions given by their advisors or "textbooks"? And, presuming that they're out there, why aren't they being pushed to the forefront? Why are we being forcefed these glorified paperweights who overanalyze and procrastinate and purposely avoid answering tough questions and making tough decisions in fear of reprisal just because people might not like what they do?

    In short, isn't there anyone out there qualified to be the next president who has any guts to lead?

    Where have all the leaders gone?

    November 14, 2007 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  12. A. Harrison, Atlanta Georgia

    Changing ones mined due to circumstances being called "flip flop" is ridiculous. We were wrong about Iraq so our President refuses to "Flip flop" because he'll be called a "Flip flopper". Americans are smarter than this. Aren't we?

    November 14, 2007 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  13. Duncan, Richmond, VA

    I am absolutely stunned that anyone would vote for Hillary. She represents everything that is bad with the government and is little different from Bush.

    Truly, this countries voters are politically stupid

    November 14, 2007 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  14. Bill, Rockville, MD

    Oh please, a 10 second answer to debate question thats part of a complex problem catching her off-guard shouldn't be portrayed as the end of the rope.

    If there's anyone that flip-flopped, its the Bush administration that campaigned on non-intervention, energy security and tax reform and is now ending with a plop.

    November 14, 2007 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  15. James, Phoenix AZ

    OH GOODIE!!! It's Christmas at the James house.


    Yes, I have a pathological hatred of assertive women in power.

    It's the Irishman in me.

    November 14, 2007 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  16. Charles from Saint Augustine Florida

    I don't hate Hillary. I just want her to take a side on an issue right or wrong and stick to it. The next president will have to make unpopular choices about leading the country. I just don't believe being the first lady for 8 years and being a senator from a state that your not really from is having enough experience to lead the most powerful nation in the world.

    November 14, 2007 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  17. Daniel, Dallas, TX

    "I was for the war before I was against it."

    With a few changes to that quote, I could almost hear Sen. Clinton saying that. Haven't the Democrats learned anything from John Kerry's run?

    November 14, 2007 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  18. waffle ,la.

    she can't do anything wrong in some peoples eyes. voting for hillary is the same as voting for the pillsbury dough boy. he bounces left right and up and down.

    November 14, 2007 09:52 pm at 9:52 pm |
  19. Anonymous, Williamsburg, VA

    "Oh my God a politician that changed their position on an issue. What a shocker. What will we do? So what, Mrs. Clinton continues to prove that she can run with the big dogs."


    Sure, a politician is entitled to change positions, but the obvious lack of conviction on her part is what's apparent here. She says whatever it takes...and THAT is unacceptable. She is NO LEADER...and THAT's the ONLY thing she proved.

    November 14, 2007 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  20. Lee Paul Columbus Ohio

    GO HILLARY!!!!!
    The reason she a front runner because she didn't have to put any body down, she give a clear plan another good reason why she a front runner, She give awesome answers to what people want to know another best reason why she front runner, I mean really wow, Look how well she standing up with so many people trying to take her down, If only the other men runner could come up with better plans, then only then could they take her down, Hillary hang in there you are doing awesome job

    November 14, 2007 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  21. terry , baltimore md

    Spitzer's about-face is very bad for Hillary. . . her campaign appears to be sputtering

    November 14, 2007 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  22. Matt, Texas

    Hillary is so shady. The reason Clinton avoids answering questions is because her TRUE views are so unappealing and even frightening to the public. She wants bigger government, socialized everything, open borders and amnesty for illegals. Don't let her fool you, just look at her past.....oh yeah, her records are off limits until 2012. Don't you think that's a little suspicious?

    November 14, 2007 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  23. Joe D

    Sorry, but all this flip-flopping destroys her credibility. How can anyone believe anything she says if she's always "changing her mind". Face it, she's just not credible. She lacks consistency and therefore cannot be trusted.

    November 14, 2007 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  24. Wesner, Miami Beach, Fl

    This thing name shrillary is suffering from a really bad amnesia..The funny thing is she does not hide it. Her flip-flopping is all out there...Please America is that the type of leader we want for four years...It took her 2 1/2 weeks flip-floppin on one issue. Planting questions....i am tired of her wasting people time. I think she got Bush beat when it comes to lying, flip-flopping, and planting questions..

    Obama 08!!!

    November 14, 2007 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  25. Tom Dedham, Mass

    These Republicans are swift boating her.. oh, they are Democrats.

    It's because they are mean lying men.. oh, they are telling the truth.

    It's because she is winning..oh, she hasn't won bleep yet.

    They are part of the vast right-wing conspiracy.. oh, I mean the left.

    It's because she is such a smart woman..oh, she plants qusetions.

    Here's an oldie but a goodie, I was for the licenses, before I was against them..oh, that was used by Kerry.

    I will just send my "husband" out to wag his fat lying adulterer finger and blame someone, anyone.

    See you in 2008 Sillary, I can't wait and either can those "mean" Republicans (Rove is at work as we speak).

    November 14, 2007 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
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