November 19th, 2007
04:00 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama brushes back Clinton criticism

Obama reacted to Clinton's allusions that he is inexperienced on fiscal issues.

FORT DODGE, Iowa (CNN) – Sen. Barack Obama fired back Monday at Sen. Hillary Clinton, who said in a speech earlier in the day that the country can’t afford a president in need of on-the-job training, especially when it comes to fiscal issues.

“I am happy to compare my experiences to hers when it comes to the economy,”

Obama said when asked about Clinton’s veiled criticism of him. “My understanding was that she wasn't Treasury Secretary in the Clinton administration.”

Clinton said in a speech in Knoxville, Iowa, that “every day spent learning the ropes is another day of rising costs, mounting deficits and growing anxiety for our families. And they cannot afford to keep waiting." She noted that electing someone not ready for the task “could be the costliest job training in history."

Obama countered, “If she has specific differences with me with respect to economic policy, I'm happy to have those debates. But this sort of general notion of experience based on longevity in Washington I don't think is sufficient to make the case to the voters of Iowa or the American people."

Clinton of New York and Obama of Illinois are competing for the Democratic presidential nomination.

- CNN’s Alexander Marquardt and Chris Welch


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Iowa
soundoff (90 Responses)
  1. Mark Billingsley, Sacramento , Calif.

    SNAP! Obama wants to have a debate on relative experience because he knows he'll win. He has twice as much elected legislative experience as Hillary. As an aside CNN, I came across this info on your polling boy Vinod Gupta from ABCNEWS.com"

    Vin Gupta, CEO of InfoUSA, was also on the list of donors giving $1 million or more (to Bill Clinton's presidential library).

    His ties to the Clintons came under scrutiny earlier in the year when a lawsuit filed by InfoUSA shareholders accused Gupta of wasting millions of dollars of the company's money to "ingratiate himself" with the Clintons and other personal friends.

    Separately, a New York Times article in May revealed that InfoUSA was involved in an investigation in Iowa for selling mailing lists of elderly Americans to criminals. In response to the investigation, the company released a statement saying, "While InfoUSA can not manage what a client does with the publicly available information InfoUSA provides, the company has a strict policy about not selling data to companies who act illegally."

    Gupta has donated and raised millions of dollars for the Clintons' political campaigns and charities over the last decade. InfoUSA spent millions more paying the former president as a consultant and flying him and his wife to events around the country and family vacations in Hawaii and Acapulco, Mexico on the company's private jet, according to the court documents.

    InfoUSA officials have stated that the expenses were "legitimate business expenses."

    This is the guy you have polling people about Hillary Clinton. Don't you folks see just a hint of bias there? Especially after your network's poor performance Thursday at the debate? It would go a long way to regaining some credibility if CNN fired InfoUSA and that sorry sack Vinod Gupta

    November 19, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. Mike

    For Hillary to talk about on the job training is ludicrous think she has experience.The fact of the matter is Hillary isn't running for President,she is running an undercover campaign for Bill.All she will have is the title of President.Show us your RECORD,stop lying on the premise of having a record.

    November 19, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. Fred, Reston VA

    Obama's experiance as a scout leader for 15 years does not mean he can be commander-in-chief. HE WILL LOSE IN THE GENERAL. Stop all of this blind support for Obama because he can give a speech. The last time dems were this passionate, and this stupid, was when 97,000 idiots voted for Nader in Florida 2000. I don't care what Obama SAYS, he has not DONE anything and will lose.

    NObama 08

    November 19, 2007 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  4. SD, NY, NY

    Obama's experience: 15 years Chicago City council Chicago. Yes, we trust this guy to run and protect the country.

    November 19, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  5. Fern, Duluth Iowa

    Obama has no experience. He has already missed 80% of his senate votes. His only legislative experience is in the Illinois state senate. He was not a leader in that body. Its amusing how the republicans try to get him nominated. They can't wait to use his lack of experience against him. So they pretend to be democrats to help his desperate cause.

    November 19, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  6. J Houston, TX

    Hillary has experience as a background player in Washington. Same old trash we've been complaining about for years.

    November 19, 2007 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  7. Mike,Panama City,FL

    Obama doesnt have any fresh lines , he keeps reusing the same lines over and over , the same notion yada yada have heard it before .

    Obama is starting to struggle you can see it , in espacially nevadas last dem debates .

    Remmember when they were asking the questions of drivers licenses for illegal immigrants ? They came to Obama and it was yes or no , by wolf blitzer and obama was like no but , and wolf was like yes or no dude , no but and everybody laughed in the audience , and he tried to make a point but , everybody kept laughen , point none taken

    November 19, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  8. Dazed and Confused in DC

    I don't care how many years experience you have as a community organizer. It has nothing to do with being president. Ditto for Illinois state legislator. Exactly what international or national issues was Obama dealing with as a state legislator? None. I mean, how important could the job be when, according to Obama, he had no staff and kept no papers. Please. Ditto for a law school professor. I've been to law school, and that Ivory Tower BS has nothing to do with being president. In his three years as a U.S. senator, Sen. Obama may have been required to address a few relevant issues. But that is, at best, the full extent of his relevant experience. Sen. Clinton, on the other hand, has been a U.S. senator for eight years. She has served on the armed services committee. As first lady, she was as close to the president as you could be without being president. Does anyone doubt that she was at least as involved in the first Clinton Administration as the vice president or any cabinet officer? That's sixteen years of relevant experience versus three. Obamaphiles, stick to your he-can-change-the-world-better-than-she-can argument. You have no credibility at all on this experience issue. Don't take my word for it–check the internals on every poll that's been taken this year. On leadership and on experience, its Clinton way over Obama. For obvious reasons.

    November 19, 2007 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  9. SS,Chicago,Illinois

    Hillary has 9 years of experience as a U.S.Senator and 8 years as a first lady. She is a woman of great stature and well known through out the world. She is the most deserving candidate of all candidates, Democrat or Republican. She will do a great job, no doubt about it.

    November 19, 2007 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  10. Dan, TX

    What's Clinton's economic experience? Obama walked the walk as a community activist and saw the "economy" at eye level with real people. He also has enough in common with people like Warren Buffet to understand both sides of the economic coin.

    Obama has a better understanding of the world than most of the candidates. If Clinton can stand there in front of us and say that human rights are less important than national security that tells me that civil rights are less important than national security to her. Sounds an awful lot like George Bush to me.

    November 19, 2007 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  11. john halverson DC

    Obama is absolutely correct. Just because she lived in the White House doesn't give her experience. Did she have a position in the Clinton Administration that nobody is aware of? simply being around somebody doesn't give her experience. Her grounds for "on the job" training is ridiculous, we get a new president EVERY at least 8 years sometimes 4 so we always have this and have done so for hundreds of years, what a baseless claim!

    November 19, 2007 06:03 pm at 6:03 pm |
  12. david, Cherry Hill, NJ

    As a loyal democrat I am really dissapointed in obama! he actually took novak's word over hillary! I mean really he trusts NOVAK over HILLARY?. what is hapenning to this brilliant man.
    1st he takes advise from chris mathews -"hit her hard" then advise from carl rove and now from Novak. who is next Dick Morris or Kenneth Starr? any bets??

    November 19, 2007 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  13. Zack,boston,ma

    Hillary has 9 years of experience as a U.S.Senator and 8 years as a first lady. She is a woman of great stature and well known through out the world. She is the most deserving candidate of all candidates, Democrat or Republican. She will do a great job, no doubt about it.
    Posted By SS,Chicago,Illinois : November 19, 2007 5:54 pm
    I have a Hiring manager position if interested...

    November 19, 2007 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  14. Reggie, Germany

    Now let me see if I got this right. Hillary has 8 years experience waking up to Bill in the White House this gives her the experience to be President.

    Hmmm I would imagine many of those making these comments here are either married of have a relationship with someone the wake up too in the morning.
    and that you to one degree or another discuss you day and your job with them.

    Question! How many of you think that your significant other would be hired by someone fill your same position based on that argument??

    November 19, 2007 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  15. ann,worcester,ma

    Obama's experiance as a scout leader for 15 years does not mean he can be commander-in-chief. HE WILL LOSE IN THE GENERAL. Stop all of this blind support for Obama because he can give a speech. The last time dems were this passionate, and this stupid, was when 97,000 idiots voted for Nader in Florida 2000. I don't care what Obama SAYS, he has not DONE anything and will lose.

    NObama 08
    Posted By Fred, Reston VA : November 19, 2007 5:34 pm
    Thank you but keep your attitude growing....will feel better when you see him in the white house....

    November 19, 2007 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  16. Tammy, Denton, Maryland

    I agree with Hillary. That's why she is such a poor choice for Democrats.

    Hillary doesn't have fiscal experience. Hillary's fiscal experience is giving away billions of taxpayer dollars in earmarks. We don't want that kind of fiscal experience.

    Hillary would have to join a 12-step program to learn how to resist giving away our hard earned money to her corporate buddies and for pet projects like the Woodstock museum.

    We don't have time to wait for Hillary to complete a 12-step program on how not to waste taxpayer money.

    Every day that Hillary would spend learning how not to waste taxpayer money is one less day President Obama would have to clean up her mistakes.

    Let Sen. Clinton stay in the senate where President Obama can encourage her to be watchful of wasting taxpayer money.

    If Sen. Clinton refuses to accept the fact that she had an earmark addiction, then a one-one debate would be called for.

    Is Sen. Clinton so certain about her "fiscal experience" that she's willing to put it to the debate test?

    November 19, 2007 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  17. Len, Fallbrook, CA

    "Now let me see if I got this right. Hillary has 8 years experience waking up to Bill in the White House this gives her the experience to be President."

    Would that mean Chelsea has the qualifications to be Sect'y of State because she was in the same household?

    November 19, 2007 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  18. Ruth Bethinger, NYC

    Biden is the clearly the most experienced candidate, not Hillary Clinton. She continues to attempt to deceive the voters in her claims of being the "experienced" candidate. She also ignores the fact that the only candidate she has more experience than is John Edwards.

    I would like to see her answer a simple yes or no question: "Are you more experienced than Joe Biden?"

    November 19, 2007 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  19. Linda, Chandler AZ

    You know, as bloggers we can go back and forth critizing each other forever....and that won't change the fact that Hillary Clinton will NOT bring us together as a country, no other candidate is so polarizing, so hater. Hillary Clinton does NOT have the judgement to lead...her votes on Iraq and more recently the Kyl-Liberman Iran fiasco. Hillary Clinton will NOT stop the game playing in Washington. And, last but not least, Hillary Clinton will NOT win a general election. Open your eyes people...there are better choices.

    November 19, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  20. GGB - NY, NY

    Democrats: Lets get it together. We need to vote for the Democrat who has the absolute best chance at getting elected - there is no room in this election for decisions to be made on any other basis.

    So, Obama fans, listen up: she has 16 yeasrs of experience to his 3. The world respects her as an international politician. The party respects her as a national politician. Get behind her now, stop making our party look like a divisive bunch of liberal die-hards, and stop giving the Republicans gift-wrapped attacks on Hillary to use in the real election.

    November 19, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  21. Karsen Rumpf, Iowa City, IA

    Hilary Clinton has no experience. That is why she is so sketchy to release her white house documents. She takes money from criminals and oil companies. I don't want a president who only looks out for the powerful corporations. It's the same old stuff. I want a person who is honest with me and doesn't treat me like an idiot. Hilary can't even answer a question truthfully. I live in Iowa and everyone I talk to is voting for Obama. I don't know where Hilary is getting her votes. Obama is truthful, honest, smart, and respected. That is why he is going to win Iowa, take edwards votes, and win the general.

    November 19, 2007 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  22. Glenn,Birmingham,Al

    Hard for Hillary to look good against Obama. He has backed a policy that most democrats are in favor off. Hillary is more in line with moderates on both sides of the isle. Is it a winning strategy?

    November 19, 2007 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  23. Jim, Milwaukee

    The truth is that neither Hill, nor Obama have enough experience to be president.

    Hillary's only "experience" was making a dog's breakfast out of her first try at government medicine, stealing FBI files (pretty Nixonian) sealing Vince Foster's office and firing the hapless travel office staff. That ain't much.

    Obama is a cypher.

    If these two are the best the Democrats have the Republicans have nothing to worry about.

    November 19, 2007 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  24. Chris Willowbrook, IL

    You know, I'm remember another guy from Illinois who ran for president who everyone said had no experence. Turns out this guy was one of the, if not THE best president we ever had. Last name was Lincoln. Have you heard of him? I'm just saying...

    November 19, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  25. Mary,NY

    Get Ann Coulter to sought this one for us...just suggesting...

    November 19, 2007 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
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