November 19th, 2007
04:00 PM ET
10 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. Patrick, Newton, Ia.

    It's not that Hill and Obama don't have experience; it's just not the right kind of experience. All they've done is legislate, not lead.

    November 19, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  2. Cory, Pennsylvania


    November 19, 2007 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  3. proudamericancitizen, florida

    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: ... 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.

    Posted By GGB – NY, NY : November 19, 2007 6:45 pm

    I agree, we SHOULD vote for the Democrat that has the best chance of getting elected: BARACK OBAMA.

    Democrats should get behind OBAMA, who is neither divisive nor polarizing, who will undoubtedly BRING AMERICANS TOGETHER FOR POSITIVE CHANGE, and who HAS THE BEST CHANCE OF GETTING ELECTED. If we clean up our own house first, we can clean up the world. I wonder how Hillary would get legislation passed when Republicans DON'T like her? How can she be an EFFECTIVE President if she's so divisive? United we stand, divided we fall.

    P.S.: I'm not an Obama fan; I'm just an American who cares about the country.

    November 19, 2007 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  4. Douglas, Houston, TX

    My wife is a doctor (vascular surgeon) and I've lived in the same house with her for over 18 years. We sleep together every night...but guess what, I just can't bring myself to walk down to her hospital and ask for a surgery position on her hospital staff. Sure, I talk with her "doctor" friends when they come around and listen to her talking to nurses on the phone. At times I even read an article from some of her medical journals, but for some reason I can't quite get it. Maybe I'm not REALLY experienced at surgery. I just think I might be. Can I practice on any of you Clinton supporters?

    November 19, 2007 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  5. Anonymous, Washington DC

    "...So, Obama fans, listen up: she has 16 yeasrs of experience to his 3."


    PLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEASE, somebody tell us what this 16 years of experience is? My God, tell me it doesn't include the 8 yrs her husband was President.

    November 19, 2007 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  6. Mrs. America

    The front page nitpicking between Obama and Clinton have to be driving the Edwards people nuts. Edwards is the nastiest of all, and he gets hardly any coverage.

    November 19, 2007 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  7. anderson, savoy, il

    It's about time someone starts calling Hilary on her "experience". Every time she busts out that "35 years" line it makes me want to throw up. I guarantee the Republicans are just playing mum on this, hoping she gets the nomination, so they can slam it home over and over in the general election.

    P.S. Eight years being "comfortable in the kitchen" as first lady. If she wants it to come anywhere close to counting, maybe she should release the records in the Clinton library and show us how instrumental she wants us to think she was.

    November 19, 2007 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  8. john, NY,NY

    Please Obama it is in your best interest that don't do another debate. Whole nation saw you answering drivers licence question. You really sucked on that one probably worst than any terrible response that ever came from bush.

    November 19, 2007 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  9. Bill , Covington,LA

    Elect either one of these two people and this country will be history in the first year. These people are of the bettr red than dead generation, or are children of that generation. don't trust them with our freedom.Hilary's husband, if you remember was a draft dodger and she backed him. how sad to think there are some that would turn the office of the president over to such low lifes.

    November 19, 2007 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  10. Trang, Fremont, CA

    Yes, Obama. Challenge her to a debate. You come up with specifics and she comes up with specifics ... then I have a better understanding with both of you to make a decision. I predict that you would win in this debate because Hillary doesn't know where she stands let alone give you specifics. Saying you want to get us to a specific point is not good enough, you have to tell us how you are going to get us there.

    I have my bias however. I trust Obama more than Hillary. Her 180 U-turn on her stand in the driver license issue is another example of why I can't trust what this woman say. Politicians have promised us a lot of things, but then when they get into office – things are back to usual.

    If things go back to usually – Obama, I suggest you lead a revolution. Time is ripe for a revolution in this country if things don't change.

    After all, a leader is nothing without followers. Hillary maybe smart, but she is just not inspirational. Hillary has said many bad things about Republicans. If she get elected, it's just more gridlock – same thing.

    November 19, 2007 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  11. Jeff Rathdrum Idaho

    I agree with the post about living in the whitehouse not experance, I'm a carpenter, my wife could build anything.
    Now the experance Hillary does have is the reason I'm voting for Obama. Come on America, do we want a president because he/she is good at sound bites, doing the old political trick of answering a question without saying anything. Do we want the same old politics, if we do then yes Hillary is your girl, if we want some changes in Washington, maybe get started down the path to getting our Government back to a "Government for the people" then I feel our best hope is Obama.
    I'm sorry I will vote for almost any Dem but I won't vote for Clinton, I just don't see the point, to me thats a vote for more of the same.

    November 19, 2007 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  12. Robb, New York

    Hillary's experience in government is much more troublesome for her than Obama's inexperience is troublesome for him. He might not have much of a record, but Hillary has a very lengthy record– and a divisive one to say the least. Obama is in the right place at the right time– the most experienced politicians running for office are not the most fit to serve.

    There are those who will argue that Obama might very will win the nomination, but lose in the general election to a Republican. The Democrats must be willing to take that chance. Obama is not Hillary Clinton; if they nominate Clinton, they will instantly deliver the entire South as well as many of the "swing states" in the Heartland and Southwest to the Republican column. You can mark it down; there's no way she will win this election, not when her favorability rating nationally hovers at or below 50 percent. And once the Republicans sink their teeth into her record, forget about it; they could nominate a Richard Nixon bobble-head doll and that would beat Hillary.

    But if you take a chance on Obama, you can promote a clean slate, a new deal if you will for the American people. Reports have shown that Republicans in very red states are forming clubs supporting Obama. How many Republicans do you know are doing the same for Hillary? Or John Edwards? Or Bill Richardson? Not too many. He might not even win those states, but that should tell you something; people from all sides of the aisle hunger for change, hunger for something different. Maybe if we vote for Obama, we'll get that. The country's not going to fall apart with this guy; he can only improve the current situation we're in. America should give him the chance to lead. At least the Democrats should. And then win or lose, they can have a clear conscience on Election Day 2008 that they picked the right candidate, the one most qualified to lead.

    November 19, 2007 10:45 pm at 10:45 pm |
  13. Charles , Texas

    To Karsen Rumpf of Iowa

    You are absolutly right that it is hard to find a voter who says he is going to vote for Hillary. Because a new poll from ABC came out today around 5:00 PM showing that Obama is now leading Hillary 30% to 26 %. One of the questions was about honnesty and the people of IA found at ratio of 2 to 1 that Obama is more honnestt than HIllary. another question was about experience, the same poll found out that Hillary experience is not significant to claim her as someone ready to lead this Country. So Obama is right by questionning her experience.

    It is time for Obama to challenge that experience because the reality is that there is not. Being a first lady will never give the experience to be commander in chief. Otherwise a cook in the White house would also say he has experience or Mrs. Nancy Reagan, or Mrs. Carter or Mrs. Laura Bush would decide to run for Presidency because they have been First lady. That is the stupidiest argument I've ever heard in my life. Either you are a high school drop-out or ignorant to come out with this argument.

    Obama was a professor of the constitutional law at the Chicago University. Do you know how many students he translate the knowledge to?

    Some of who have been in college would understand what I am talking about. If you don't. it is time for you to go to College and get a degree. So you would have a better judgement that would prevent you from making stupids mistakes.

    November 19, 2007 10:49 pm at 10:49 pm |
  14. marcel, new york, ny

    So Obama's what? I think this country already elected one President on the basis of his "charm" because the other candidate seemed too robotic. I think we all know what happened. Obama has lots of great lines and virtually no chance of winning the general election. For those of you who are considering Obama in the primaries let me offer you a visual image...Imagine September 2008: Obama vs. Rudy in a debate...Now be honest! is there any (any?!) chance bullish Rudy won't wipe the floor with cute Obama? If Dems want to lose this election they will nominate Obama.

    November 19, 2007 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  15. Michael, Asheville, NC

    I don't think he was ever on city council but he was a community organizer for 15 years, then a constitutional law lecturer at U-Chicago, then a state senator for seven years (where he passed the most sweeping ethics reform since water gate) and now he is on his second term as a U.S. Senator... Might not be the most but it is certainly comparable to Mrs. Clinton's record

    November 19, 2007 11:25 pm at 11:25 pm |
  16. charles enoch

    if u want a divider....hillary is your girl... i'm a democrate and i want be voting for her....we need someone thats oin to bring the country together...someones thats new and has our interest...i think obama can do it..i even like biden..but not hillary

    November 19, 2007 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  17. Seth Hosko, Bangor PA

    Since when does experience make you the best candidate? Some of the most influential and successful people in the world have definitely not been the most experienced or most educated.

    The best presidents this country has ever seen are not remembered for their experience, but for their character, leadership, and relationship to the American people.

    Besides, the decision makers aren't the presidents – they're in the political system. I'm voting for a candidate that has shown good character, candor, aggressiveness, and a strong vision for the future. I think we all know who that is.

    Go Barak Obama!

    November 19, 2007 11:35 pm at 11:35 pm |
  18. Bernard, Scotch Plains, NJ

    Hillary doesn't even have enough experience to keep "Slick Willy" off of other women, give me a break already with the experience crap, sleeping with the President doesn't give you experience, if that's the case, why isn't Monica running.

    November 19, 2007 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  19. Tina in T.P IL

    Hillary has more experience than Barack if you are talking about experience in corruption and dirty politics. Bill and Hillary are dinosoers, America wants and deserves better. Obama 08.

    November 20, 2007 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  20. Mike, Des Moines, Iowa

    Senator Obama is leading in Iowa. Check out the Washington Post for the article.

    November 20, 2007 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  21. BullOfMizzou Willow Springs, MO

    Especially after watching the Democrats Debate in Las Vegas, its evidence that none of the so-called candidates have the experience needed to be Commander In Chief. The rhetoric about "experience" is all a joke, as none of them have it because they just dont "get it". These are very troubled times America is going thru right now, and we cant afford Social Experiments for the Presidency. None of the candidates believe that America is in peril of further attacks and a great campaign to bring us down, economicaly and culturally. Appeasing our enemies and their surrogates by offering "greater econimic and political aid" is sure not the answer. Our enemies want us dead or enslaved by threat of annialation to our greater cities, and an end to our freedoms and liberties. What is needed is a Strong Conservative Man in the White House who will bolster Americas strengths, continue to battle extreamism for our own security and economic wellbeing, tighten up our foreign trade imbalences, and start DRILLING FOR THE OIL WE ALREADY HAVE HERE AT HOME,as we have more energy sourses under our feet than even the countries in the middle east have, and we could eleminate wars for oil in the future. We need to think of the future for our kids and grandkids FIRST.

    November 20, 2007 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  22. J Thom Chicago

    Gee, all these HRC supporters seem to think that she took office in 2001 and it is 2007 and somehow that is 8 or 9 years...try math sometime.

    Hillary in her esteemed experience voted against restricting cluster bombs in civilian areas.. obama voted for restricting them.. kids pick them up and die.
    Hillary voted for the Iraq war. She voted for Kyle/Lieberman.. so we know what her experience will yield.. more of the hawkish ways of the current administation. I prefer Obama's experience of reconciling warring parties at every level.. HRC should stay in the senate.

    November 20, 2007 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  23. amy, Seattle, WA

    yes Obama, and you just explained us ignorants that when you were 6 years old and lived in Indonesia, you became an expert in foreign relations. What experience? you are a genius!

    November 20, 2007 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  24. alan St Louis MO


    What a good laugh.

    What is her job training consit of??

    8 years of failed WhiteHouse
    Voting for Bush warmonger policy as a Senator
    Voted for Iraq war
    Voted to authorize Bush Iran WAR
    Voted to fund Bush on his issues
    Voted for Blind faith follower of Bush
    Master of Lying
    Master of fraud
    Master of failed Family values
    Master of Greed
    Master of Spin
    Master of Courruption
    White Water
    Master of Being A Corpate Pawn

    SO I guess you are telling the truth Obama lacks the experance of the above stated for the last 35years of your dirty politics.

    NO swing voter or republican votes for you Clinton. you too Polarizing

    The only ones to steal the swing voter or mild republican votes are Biden, Obama, Edwards.
    A vote for Clinton in primaries is a vote for the republican in the Genaeral election

    November 20, 2007 03:08 am at 3:08 am |
  25. AP, New York, NY

    The whole debate over who has enough "experience" to be President is worthless. President isn't the type of job you have experience for. You can be in Politics for 50 years but that doesn't mean you'll be a good President. Dick Cheney has tons of experience in politics and he has amounted to one of the worst Vice Presidents ever. What matters are leadership qualities, sound judgment, and honesty. Clinton has none of those, Obama has all three. And people are starting to notice.

    November 20, 2007 04:01 am at 4:01 am |
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