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. Pete, Washington

    Since Rudy and Mitt can 'flip-flop'. Hillary thinks that it has not hurt their campaign, so she might as well do it too. It looks like the American voter either doesn't care, or can't tell the difference between a 'flip-flop' and an honest position on a real issue. Boy, America is in real trouble.

    November 14, 2007 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  2. Ella

    HOORAY FOR HILLARY CLINTON! She runs a brilliant campaign! We all believe that she is the only person that the Republicans can beat! Hooray for Hillary! We are your Stepford followers!

    November 14, 2007 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  3. Colin

    At the debate Hillary said the she UNDERSTOOD why Spitzer wanted to have special DLs for Aliens BUT, I repeat BUT, she said that she could NOT endorse or approve of the proposal as it was contrary to Federal law. She said that the subject should be first considered within comprehensive immigration reform.
    Her position has not changed. She STILL understands why Spitzer proposed these licenses. She is STILL against issuing them because they conflict with Federal law.

    November 14, 2007 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  4. Alicia Bronx, NY

    If she can't be decisive on this issue what makes you think she has the right judgment to be president. I guess she took a poll and found a position. Flip floppin Hill Strikes again

    November 14, 2007 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  5. Jackie

    Changing her mind and spinning it around, swindling all of you and making you think she knows what she's doing is all Hillary's ever really done. Campaigning and cheating in investments, hiding records, firing innocent employees, this woman is full of much worse than flip flopping. I for one hope she gets the nomination, she's the most beatable of all the Democratic hopefuls. I'm an Independent and see right through Hillary; she's going to try to ride the coattails of her husband into the White House and then he's going to make it look as though she's got the leadership. Yeah, right. Suppose the 21 yr old male interns should be watching out for themselves?

    November 14, 2007 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  6. andi h., wilmington il

    HA HA ! Just when Hillary takes her finger out of the breeze and takes a position, it all falls down around her.

    Nice leadership skills she displays. NOT !

    November 14, 2007 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  7. Troy

    I bet the blogger Abdullah is for Obama. Pretty obvious, huh. I'm a Democrat but would vote for any Republican if Obama is the Democratic candidate, which would not happen anyhow. Go Hillary!!!!!!

    November 14, 2007 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  8. Mhm

    Are Edwards and Obama ignorant or desperate? Perhaps both?

    It wasn't that hard to understand her position the first time she said it, if you still don't, read the last paragraph in this article. She has said that since the beginning.

    Ignorance or desperation, what fitting choices for the 2 non-frontrunners.

    November 14, 2007 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  9. Ken, San Diego, CA

    This is one of those instances where it's best to take the "flip-flop" flack rather than maintain an ambiguous or pro-license position. Frankly, ALL of the Democrats need to jump off of the license train as soon as possible. This is a hot-button issue for many people - across all party lines.

    Frankly, the simpliest illegal immigration solution is to: 1) actually abide by the laws as they are already written (especially with reference to employers), and 2) strengthen the border. As far as the 12 million illegal aliens in the U.S., here's what you do....nothing.

    November 14, 2007 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  10. Colin742

    This is a message to CNN. Every comment I post on CNN Sticker stories displays on my computer preceded by the message “Your comment is awaiting moderation. Due to the volume of comments we receive, not all comments will be posted”. I know that my comment does not show on other users computers.

    I know that the explanation “Due to the volume of comments” is a lie. The message shows whether mine is one of two or two hundred comments. I know that you have CUT ME OFF for some other reason.

    I have never used profanity so it must be because you do not agree with the content of my comments and I assume it must be because I usually support Hillary Clinton. It may be because I have sometimes shown that your story clearly contains some error and that you do not want your other readers to become aware of your mistakes.

    It is sad to see CNN opposing free speech, engaging in censorship and knowingly making a false statement.

    November 15, 2007 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  11. my911call, North Carolina

    Tough times for Clinton.
    But I still believe she would make the better president. The illegal issue is very complex. That is why no one have been able to do anything about it.
    I would still bet on her to solve the complex issues in a fair and just manner.

    November 15, 2007 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  12. Cheryl Keeler,Denver,NC

    I changed my voter registration to independent,hoping someone with some real common sense and ideas that are good for America and not big business decides to run. Watch Hillary...everytime someone says something she wishes she had said she looks like a grinning bobblehead.I don't think the woman has an original idea..her handlers come up with some doozies.

    November 15, 2007 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  13. Rick, Chicago Illinois

    Shawnie – Grants Pass, OR,

    "Flip-flopping cubed" is right!"

    And this is coming from someone who is supporting WHO again ... ROMNEY? LOL!

    Feel free to step up and list as many flip flops from Hillary as I have from Romney.

    Got game? Here we go ...

    A (probably only PARTIAL)list of Romney's flip flops:

    1) He was a liberal in Massachusetts, where he TWICE ran for statewide office as a pro-CHOICE candidate but now says he opposes Roe v. Wade;

    2) he was dedicated to "full equality for America's gay and lesbian citizens" and now describes himself as "a champion of traditional marriage";

    3) he signed a no-new-tax pledge (that he once mocked) in an attempt to hide his tax-raising record;

    4) in Massachusetts, he bucked the National Rifle Association by supporting the Brady Bill and an assault-weapons ban, boasting, "I don't line up with the NRA.", yet (in August of 2006) he bragged that he joined the gun-rights organization as a life member;

    5) he was FOR gays serving open in the military before he was AGAINST it;

    6) he endorsed federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research in 2005, but now claims he opposes it;

    7) he may or may not be an avid hunter since he said "I purchased a gun when I was a young man. I've been a hunter pretty much all my life," he told a man sporting a National Rifle Association cap – even though he’s been on a total of TWO hunting trips in his 60 years!;

    8) Romney said he doesn’t believe in overturning juries, yet he fully supported Dubya’s commuting of Scooter Libby’s sentence before a single day of jail time was ever served;

    9) thinks that his sons driving around in SUVs to campaign for him is equal to, or better than, serving his country helping patrol the streets of Baghdad then said he doesn’t;

    10) flip-flopped on amnesty for illegals when he criticized cities that offer sanctuary to illegals via a radio ad saying: "Immigration laws don't work if they're ignored. Legal immigration is great, but illegal immigration, that we've got to end. And amnesty is not the way to do it.". But this was AFTER he said he supported selective amnesty (to those who have ignored and BROKEN those same immigration laws by coming here and staying here ILLEGALLY) in the March 30, 2006 Lowell Sun, saying: “I don’t believe in rounding up 11 million people and forcing them at gunpoint from our country …Those that are here paying taxes and not taking government benefits should begin a process towards application for citizenship, as they would from their home country.”

    Well Shawnie? I'm waiting ... for at least ELEVEN Hillary flip flops on her campaign!

    Let me guess, like most repubs, you'll never actually put up when called out right?

    Or will you duck my challenge entirely and reply with the usual "But .. but .. it ... WASN'T a ... flop flop!"

    From past experience, I'd say the smart money is on you doing BOTH!

    I'll be watching and waiting ...

    November 15, 2007 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  14. Mary, Beaver, PA

    Well, today, Clinton doesn't support giving drivers' licenses to "undocumented people." Yesterday, she did. What position will she take tomorrow?

    I hope that everyone who is undecided is taking a good look at her vague comments and shifting stands on important issues. As for her die-hard supporters who won't be moved regardless of how many times she's moved, they are as obtuse as the die-hards on the other side of the aisle.

    November 15, 2007 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  15. Anonymous, Newport News, VA

    Just another example of saying what people want to hear. Someone once called her a "wind sock"...sounds appropriate to me.

    I recall Hillary recently blasting the current administration (no surprise there), but the issue was "outsourcing" and how Bush had shown a lack of leadership to stem the tide of outsourcing. Well, from the archives comes this:

    Reference: Online Asia Times

    From Article Entitled: "HILLARY WOOS INDIA", dated March 1, 2005

    "...Hillary Clinton made it apparent where she stood on outsourcing during her India visit, in an attempt perhaps to clear the Indian misgivings received during the Kerry campaign. "There is no way to legislate against reality. Outsourcing will continue," she told an audience of Indian big-wigs. She pointed out that there were 3 billion people who feel left behind and are trying to attack the modern world in the hope of turning the clock back on globalization. "It is not far-fetched to imagine ... if the Indian miracle would be the one of choice of those who feel left behind," said Hillary.

    Hillary has been at the forefront in defending free trade and outsourcing. During the height of the anti-outsourcing backlash in the US last year, she faced considerable flak for defending Indian software giant Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for opening a center in Buffalo, New York. "We are not against all outsourcing; we are not in favor of putting up fences," Hillary said firmly, despite inevitably invoking the ire of the anti-free trade brigade."


    November 15, 2007 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  16. Russ Fitzgerald, Lexington, SC

    Daniel; "Massive leads?" What poll are you reading? I think people are realizing that another Clinton administration is not what this country needs.

    November 15, 2007 08:19 am at 8:19 am |
  17. Dave in Tampa Bay, Florida

    Well. That's. Finally. Decided.

    Hillary – the Saran Wrap candidate.
    Tough but toally transparent.

    BTW CNN – deleting or 'moderating' my comment last night ( the same one I've just reposted) was inappropriate considering the kinds of screeds I've seen tossed at other candidates and the president in general.

    November 15, 2007 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  18. Ivelisse

    I don't see what's the big deal... I'm not a fan of the woman, but she asnwered the question like the LAWYER she is... she like the idea of somebody doing something (the governor thinking about it and trying to do something) but will not compromise to the actual legislation, because she HAVE NOT read it.... Lawyers do not sign without reading!!!!!!

    November 15, 2007 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  19. Bill (Washington, DC)

    Wait, what doesn't anyone understand? She said she supports a governor making a state decision on illegal immigration because the federal government will not fix the problem. But as president (which is different than a governor) she would not support such a plan at the federal level (federal and state being different also). Seems to make sense to me.

    If your a Democrat and don't vote for Hillary if she wins the nomination, don't complain during the next four Republican years.

    November 15, 2007 08:54 am at 8:54 am |
  20. Barry (Chicago, IL)

    It absolutely not flip-flopping. It's a shame our candidates are stooping to these Republican attacks. Chris Dodd was losing to Stephen Colbert in a national poll, I think it's time he drops outs!

    If you don't like Hillary, that's fine. But if you're a Democrat, don't smudge the facts to try and beat her.

    November 15, 2007 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  21. Steve in SC

    First she supports, then she doesn't. Lady, can we get just ONE straight answer to anything?

    November 15, 2007 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  22. Kevin

    Bill, she never said that. First, she said that the governor's plan (giving licenses to illegals) "makes a lot of sense" and then when Spitzer abandoned it, she said that she "against giving licenses to illegals." If that isn't flip-flopping I don't know what is. Why are people so blindly supporting her?

    I really don't like Bush, but I think that if Hillary is elected this country has a lot farther to fall than it already has. Hillary would be a disaster for this country. Please do not vote for her!

    November 15, 2007 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  23. Ryan Indianapolis

    Clinton has been exposed so badly this could essential take her down in the general election if she makes it that far. So many of my collegues that are democrats are so upset with her from her performance in the last debate and showing how vulnerable she is on this issue that they are thinking of voting for Obama. Hillary if your people are reading this , you really screwed up and the Public has caught on to your game. You are not fooling anyone.

    November 15, 2007 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  24. DMW, Roeland Park, KS

    I would think we'd want a person running for President who can change their mind. I have gone through 8 years of a President who will stay the course do matter how wrong it is. Is that a good thing? No it is not!!!

    I think it is of good character to say I've changed my mind. Personally, as a human being, I've changed my mind around many issues as time goes by based on more experience and exposure to situations. It is a sign of maturity.

    Hillary is a good person.

    November 15, 2007 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  25. Linda - Albany, NY

    And this is surprising, how? Hillary has a long record of flip-flopping, so it should be expected. Changing your mind on a stance is one thing, but changing direction like the wind is quite another.

    November 15, 2007 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
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