November 19th, 2007
04:00 PM ET
11 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. Keith, Chicago

    Can Clinton (or someone else) please tell us how exactly she has more experience than Obama, in terms of economic issues? Her being First Lady for 8 years? Well then, maybe Warren Buffett should sign on Laura Bush to be his successor at Berkshire Hathaway.

    November 19, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  2. Ron, IN

    I havent always voted for Democrats, but in this case, Barack has far more real world experience than Hillary and I really hope that people start to see how great he can be for this country. Just with Indiana wasnt so late in the primary season! Come on early states, make America proud. Vote Obama and change the world!

    November 19, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  3. Reggie, Germany

    "Obama's experiance as a scout leader for 15 years does not mean he can be commander-in-chief"

    Ann don't be so hard on Fred after all he's right on this one Obama's experience as scout leader is not relevent ..... Which is why he doesn't campaign on it Fred!!!!

    Hillary on the other hand does!!

    November 19, 2007 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  4. Paul,derry,NH

    I think Hillary will be another Bush that will slice and dice this country into pieces. There is alot that I am disliking from her. Now she is using her white house occupation as experience.The time she became a senator in New York was when Barack became a senator. The two had prior experience. But just being with Clinton when he was a president doesn't make her think she is any smarter or electable than Obama. I just don't get. it

    November 19, 2007 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  5. Jennifer, Savanah, GA

    Will HRC please share her resume with America? Definitely not. This will give us a reference of her experience. Is this why she would not expose this to the public? She doesn't understand the definition of experience, just as she does not understand her reasons for voting on the issues of leading this country into more disarray. As Americans, do we need such "a critical mistake in history"?

    November 19, 2007 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  6. Adam, Plano, TX

    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??
    Posted By david, Cherry Hill, NJ : November 19, 2007 6:09 pm

    you actually feel you can trust hillary? thats a scary though.

    November 19, 2007 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  7. Jason the man from NY

    Dazed and Confused in DC writes : "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."

    Does that mean that your wife or husband or girlfriend or boyfriend or whatever person you have or have had a a long term relationship with gained your total knowledge and experience of having been to Law School?
    This shows why you are not a good lawyer. Keep supporting Hillary until she turns America into Ancient Rome. War, and more wars! Before she was cheerleader for the war. With your blind support and that of many more like you she will become POTUS. And after that you are history. Is that what you call democracy?

    November 19, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  8. susan giroso

    Of course Hillary won't need "on the job training" she's got Bill to tell her what to do.If you think he won't have his fingers in the pie you are sadly mistaken.
    So far the only skill I've seen out of her or Obama is there ability to say "I'll fix that when I'm President" No explaination how,no plan.Just–that needs fixing and I'm the only one who knows how to fix it so pick me.

    November 19, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  9. Reggie, Germany

    So, Obama fans, listen up: she has 16 years of experience to his 3. The world respects her as an international politician. The party respects her as a national politician

    GGB what 16 years of experience are you talking about? Are you like so many others refering to the 8 years she spent in the Presidential Suite? Heck Laura Bush has that.

    If you can tell me position she held in Bills administration what it is exactly that she did aside from failing on health care in the FIRST year. Then MAYBE I agree with you she has those years of experience.

    But if your basis and those of so many others are that just being in the house constitutes experience. And if your saying that the one job she given to accomplish which she failed at amounts to the type of experience you're looking for. Then I'm sorry but I'll pass on that.

    BTW Hillary is NOT a respected politian overseas, Bill! is respected. Hillary, is just his wife! Trust me I'm over here and I know.

    November 19, 2007 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  10. susan g ellendale DE

    Of course Hillary won't need "on the job training" she's got Bill to tell her what to do.If you think he won't have his fingers in the pie you are sadly mistaken.
    So far the only skill I've seen out of her or Obama is there ability to say "I'll fix that when I'm President" No explaination how,no plan.Just–that needs fixing and I'm the only one who knows how to fix it so pick me.

    November 19, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  11. John , NC

    Being First Lady and being President are like apples and oranges.

    November 19, 2007 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  12. Jimenez - Texas

    Obama has bombed on every debate. Every candidate is a better candidate than he is. And, I mean every candidate. To think that this country has individuals that think he can lead this country. How can anyone in there right mind think that he is better than Clinton? Biden? Richardson? or even Edwards? People gotta snap soon – you're backing a guy who has no chance. NONE.

    November 19, 2007 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  13. Diamond

    I am EXTREMELY HAPPY that Hillary Clinton is claiming to be the experienced candidate because when voters start questioning WHAT EXACTLY IS HER EXPERIENCE, it helps reinforce the fact that she's insincere, dishonest and untrustworthy. No amount of advert will change her image. Sophisticated voters are always suspicious of a mean-spirited politician trying to change her image when there's an election, in order to look kind, sincere and nice. A fox is a fox is a fox !!!!!

    Spineless Biden, Dodd and Richardson can go ahead and just watch as Hillary steals away their only strength.

    Way to go, Obama. You're leading in Iowa with 30%. If we add the un-polled Obama Republicans and the un-polled 'facebook' as Mark Penn calls them, that would be at least 45%.

    November 19, 2007 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  14. John Sexsmith

    Even if somebody cares about Washington experience which has not brought us anything good antway, Bill Richardson or Joe Biden would be his choice not Hillary Clinton with one term Senate record.

    November 19, 2007 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  15. Joe, Luton - Bedfordshire (UK)

    Am I uninformed?
    I've heard Hillary taut her "experience". Could the former First Lady be more particular about where exactly her experience lies when it come to matters of the American Presidency. Or, is she trying to hoodwink the public by putting across such blanket statements on experience?
    Let me see... I think the first test, her true test could come in terms of managing the nucleus of society, family. As a married woman, she gets a big F. One big project (health) that she attempted with all resources at her disposal was another big F. Now, again what experience is she trying to push down people's throats?

    November 19, 2007 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  16. AT, new york, ny


    Few question that Clinton gathered relevant experience when she traveled to 78 countries as first lady, in addition to being the first lady in Arkansa and White HOuse, and 7 yrs as a senator. Theodore Lowi, a senior professor of American Institutions at Cornell University, said the Clintons worked as a team for decades: “They’re a political couple.” Ross K. Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University, said, “ I think that most of Clinton’s claims on experience are not outrageously inaccurate.”

    According to the NATIONAL polls of dems voters, Clinton commands her lead over Obama is the perception of experience. Seventy-six percent of Democrats surveyed in the poll give Clinton high marks for being knowledgeable and experienced enough to handle the presidency. By comparison, just 41 percent of Democrats say the same about Obama.
    Similarly, 63 percent give Clinton high marks for her ability to be a good commander-in-chief. That’s compared with 43 percent to Obama on this question.

    A recent Los Angeles Times/Bloomberg poll of over 600 NEW HAMPSHIRE Democratic primary voters showed that 47 percent believe Hillary has the right experience to be president. Former Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) and New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D) were tied for a distant second, with 10 percent each. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) attracted 8 percent.

    In addition, according to the latest Washington Post/ABC News Poll of Nov 18, 2007, Clinton retains a comfortable lead among IOWA voters who consider strength and experience more important, with 38 percent compared with 19 percent for Edwards, 18 percent for Richardson and 12 percent for Obama.

    November 19, 2007 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  17. xtina - chicago il

    The ONLY thing Obama is right about in this article is that longevity in Wash. doesn't mean cr#p. However, neither one of these candidates lowered taxes and that's what the average American needs to see – less taken out of their paychecks.

    November 19, 2007 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  18. Frankie, Los Angeles CA

    Republicans are playing the Anti-Hillary, Pro OBAMA move so they can get him to snag the nominations ... and pfft in the General Election Obama will loose to Huckabee...

    These rupublicans arnt leaving the White House without a fight...they "Suave" Obama to pounce on....

    I like Obama and think he would make an excellent Vice-President under the Biden Administration....

    But lets get real....American is brain washed by the MEDIA and is lead to support the top tier candidates CLINTON-OBAMA-EDWARDS

    So if we democrats wanna win, we need to rally up behind Clinton-It is really are only chance because Clinton puts up a hella frken fight.....

    November 19, 2007 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  19. larry fort wayne. indiana

    8 years experence as first lady makes her experience to be the have got to be kidding..she didn't even do that very well...that's why Bill cheated.

    November 19, 2007 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  20. Eric Palmieri

    Obama is now leading in the Iowa Polls, getting 30% of the vote, while Hillary is polling at 26%.

    Is this a trend? Or a blip on Hillary's radar screen?

    Could be just a blip...but it's probably more than that.

    -Eric Palmieri

    November 19, 2007 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  21. David Branch, Waco, Texas

    Excuse me? Hillary's experience of being President is what exactly? Hillary didn't have a clue what was going on in the Oval Office – Monica is testimony to that.

    But of course this whole campaign is just a ploy to get Slick Willy back in the White House. If it's his experience she is promoting, then we just don't need it again. Lies and deception, government strikes, the ATF gunning down or incinerating innocent Americans, impeachment, paralysed foreign policy (apart from NAFTA), the list just goes on.

    November 19, 2007 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  22. James Bridgeport CT

    It seems the media is pushing four candidates maybe six, three for both parties and like always not nearly enough coverage or exposure of independents. My comment here is that there are more qualified and perhaps better candidates that are running for office than the top big names (Clinton, Obama, Edwards, Thompson, Giualani and McCain) such as Ron Paul and Sen. Joe Biden even Sen. Dennis Kucinich, most Americans as we know do not watch debates and are politically well turtles to the issues and the candidates themselves. Is it not the media's job to not repetively give the big names constant coverage like it is some type of soap opera's tit for tat game and give the public a non biased un objective perspective on the candidates. It is the medias unaccepted responsibilty to help make this country bipartisan.

    November 19, 2007 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  23. Ann Oriadha, Houston, Tx

    Obama has the experience, good judgement and integrity to be President that America needs right now. He is the best candidate and the only one that will bring about real change in Washington.

    November 19, 2007 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  24. B T A, D.C.

    To Dazed and Confused in DC and all the people out there saying Clinton has 8 years of experience as US senator.

    Please, go get an education. Hill and Obama have been in the senate for about the same time now, which is 3 years. Please, stop channeling false information to people.

    November 19, 2007 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  25. Demiano, ATL, GA

    Is this Hilary's idea of motivating small children?

    When Clinton asked Andrea Allen, 10, of Waterloo what she wanted to be, the girl answered: “A surgeon.”

    “Wow. You know I thought I wanted to be a doctor when I was a lot younger but I never could get over blood,” Clinton told the fifth-grader. “Are you OK with blood? It doesn’t bother you?”

    The next girl who raised her hand, Pertiyah Bruce, 10, told Clinton she wants to be a lawyer.

    “That’s what I decided to do,” Clinton said, as a couple dozen reporters watched from the edges of the classroom.“You like to argue with people?”

    November 19, 2007 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
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