November 20th, 2007
04:55 PM ET
11 years ago

War of words between Clinton and Obama

Another foreign policy spat has broken out between Sens. Clinton and Obama.

WASHINGTON (CNN) – The war of words between Sen. Hillary Clinton and Sen. Barack Obama over foreign policy experience continues to escalate.

The latest salvo came Tuesday from Obama spokesman Bill Burton, who accused Clinton of supporting the Bush administration on matters of foreign policy.

"Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld have spent time in the White House and (traveled) to many countries as well, but along with Hillary Clinton they led us into the worst foreign policy disaster in a generation and are now giving George Bush the benefit of the doubt on Iran,” Burton said in a statement. “The real choice in this election is between conventional Washington thinking that prizes posture and positioning, or real change that puts judgment and honesty first."

Burton was responding to criticism by Clinton, who knocked Obama for saying earlier in the week that his experience living in Indonesia taught him how “ordinary people in these other countries live.”

In criticizing Obama, Clinton said that America needs a president with more foreign policy experience than he has to offer.

“Now voters will judge whether living in a foreign country at the age of 10 prepares one to face the big, complex international challenges the next President will face,” Clinton said. “I think we need a President with more experience than that. Someone the rest of the world knows, looks up to, and has confidence in. I don’t think this is the time for on the job training on our economy or on foreign policy.”

–CNN Associate Producer Lauren Kornreich

soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Lance in Monrovia CA

    I find it amusing that now Clinton is lashing out at Obama in a desperate, silly fashion. To critique Obama for his experience living in another country is not an effective tool for her and will not help her with voters.

    If she was smart, she'd ignore Obama and concentrate on the Republicans. the fact that Obama has drawn her personal attacks is a signifigant, signifigant turning point in this campaign. It says that Hillary is afraid and believes that her "inevitability" is in trouble.

    There really is nothing substantial that Obama can be attacked on. He has far more legistlative experience than she does, with over 15 years in public office. (Being first lady doesn't count as experience, regardless of what Hillary's spin miesters say.)

    Obama has passed a long list of bipartisan legislation, something Hillary hasn't done. Obama has passed the first meaningful ethics reform in a generation (the reason Hillary can no longer use her Wall Mart provided jet).

    Obama worked as a community organizer in Chicago, turning down 700 corporate job offers, while at the same time Hillary was on the board of directors at Wall Mart, known as "our little lady" there. She was the walking poster girl for NAFTA loss of jobs and cheap products from China.

    Obama is the real deal with real world experience while Hillary is a paper tiger in the extreme.

    I'm tickled that she's resorting to cheap attacks. This means her campaign is showing the troubles it's been trying to hide from the American people for so long.

    Need more proof... go to her website at, and type your zipcode into the events finder, within a hundred miles. You'll find next to NO EVENTS listed. Maybe one or two in each area. I've done this in Iowa, Nevada, South Carolina, and California.

    Then, go do the exact same thing on Obama's site, within a hundred miles. I'll tell you as of today, there are precisely 60 EVENTS listed on Obama's site, meetings, parties, canvasses, phonebank parties, all going on currently. In the same hundred mile radius in Southern California, Clinton has precisely TWO EVENTS and maybe four HILLSTAR trainings sponsored by the campaign.

    That should tell you exactly why Hillary is going on offense and getting panicky. She should be. She's badly losing the primary and all the bogus polls and CNN love fests in the world can't prop up her failing campaign much longer.

    Obama 08. Obama rising.

    November 20, 2007 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  2. stan pitts p.a

    I will be donating more money to the obama campaign because Americans need and deserve a president who will tell them the truth the first time and always, obama has enough experience and a good political team to make sound judgements in the white house as president, he has enough experience to lead this country as long as he continues to surround himself with a lot of respected and experienced foreign relations experts, good judgement and genuine love and care for the american people is what this country desperately needs and obama is the man!!! we need to go back to caring and looking after our own people especially our vets obama 08!!!

    November 20, 2007 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. Laura Tulsa OK

    Neither of these people can state specific achievements they've had in their political servitude. Notice how both Hillary and Obama speak in generalizations.
    Time's UP for Hillary to stop talking trash: WHAT HAS SHE DONE in foreign policy that has been a great success? Please be specific.

    November 20, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  4. Lee, Red Bluff, CA

    Let's see – living in Indonesia from the age of 6 to 10 gave Obama unique insight that led him to oppose the war in Iraq some 30+ years later.

    What unique insight does Mr. Obama bring from his teenage years spent screwing off until his Junior year in college, drinking, smoking dope and "doing some blow when I could afford it"?

    What judgment does Mr. Obama bring when he walks right into the Bob Novack trap in the last couple of days and then jumps on the Clinton campaign to cover how stupid he looked.

    I guarantee you Democrats – if Mr. Obama wins the Democratic nomination the Republicans will eat him alive. Democrats will have zero chance at winning the White House.

    November 20, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. mountain man

    For all Obamas talk of hope he sure does like to tear down other democrats.

    November 20, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. Del Boise Idaho

    the only thing Hillary has a lot of experience with is dodging truth, malipulating, denial on every issue she is confronted with. Straight forwardness is not in her character no matter how deep you look , it's not there. All the others are more honest than she is. Why is it that no else will admit it. the clinton clan has gained it's power to controll by all the black side if life and back alleys has to offer. wake up people.

    November 20, 2007 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  7. JOE B

    This is so simple its stupid: since when is living in a foreign country from ages 6 to 10 relevant foreign policy experience to be president? No, let me make it even simpler: since when is anything a person did from ages 6 to 10 relevant experience to be president? Is there anything you media types and Obamaphiles won't buy from this fraud? I mean, where's your dignity man?

    November 20, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  8. Paul, OH

    What Obama says has a lot of credibility> It always helps to understand how a particukar culture and religion works. Once you understand that, you can talk in a level playing ground. No one likes to be talked down. HRC has no idea what she is talking about. Imagine for a moment that there was no Bill Clinton. Would anyone even know HRC. She has barely had any PUBLIC OFFICE position where she has dealt with people's problems and issues. I have never seen a person who has been such a FLIP-FLOPPER. Cant she ever be straight with the people and speak afcts to people instead of SPEAKING DOWN. No wonder she has to PLANT QUESTIONS to GET AWAY from hard questions. God help this country. DEMOCRATS MUST BE DUMB to put her in.

    November 20, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. KD, cherry hill NJ

    Yes barack HUSSEIN obama knows alot about growing up in indonesia the largest muslim country, the middle east and SADDAM HUSSEIN'S iraq he has a lot of experinece in this area. He can relate to them so well it is easier for him to unite usa and the islamic world.

    November 20, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  10. Tevin, Raleigh NC

    And exactly what experience does Hill have? If you're going to critisize someone else, please provide us with exactly what experience you have and how it'd help you relate to the world. Does anyone think that the leaders of the Middle East, particularly Iran, will "look up" to Hillary? I don't think so!

    November 20, 2007 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |

    I believe Clinton and Obama both have something to offer in the category of experience and the need for change. Hillary with her experience as a Senator do offer the experience of working with fellow senators and though some might disagree, the eight years of being first lady does help her resume. Change just for the sake of change isn't always a the best move. Hillary would offer the nation a new approach, any Democrat would. She is our best choice.

    November 20, 2007 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  12. KickOutTheNeoCons

    Another ridiculous Hillary-ism:

    “I think we need a President with more experience than that. Someone the rest of the world knows, looks up to, and has confidence in."

    Maybe I'm just misinformed but I think the rest of the world would like a President that would stop US aggression towards other nations in the name of "national security" or "pre-emptive defense". What a total crock! Why do people still buy this crap?

    1) War damages national security because it incites hatred toward the US and destablises the world.

    2) The immense cost of war is only doing more damage to national security because it severely damages the economy.

    3) The US military empire is unsustainable and will ultimately fail.

    The US should only go to war when war is declared by Congress and when national security is immediately threatened. If any nation posed a real threat to the US, the US would nuke them into history. The "national security" label has been abused far too long for justifying foreign intervention in the interests of oil, Israel and the military industrial complex.

    November 20, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  13. Brennan Colbert, South Lake Tahoe, California

    I AGREE! I am not a Clinton supporter usually, but I DO have to give her props. She is very right. Obama lacks experience.

    November 20, 2007 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  14. Ian, Eastham MA

    CNN has the lamest titles and pictures. Judging by the pair, it looks like their war of words went:

    BO – "My clap is more soulful"

    HC – "My clap is better, I look like a robot"

    When it was more like:

    BO – "Your foreign policy is like GW's"

    HC – "Well your foreign policy is vague"

    OMG, they're both right for once.

    November 20, 2007 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  15. Scott, Royal Oak, MI

    First Lady is not an elected office, Hillary! You truly do not have the "on the job experience" that you criticize Obama for not having.


    November 20, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. Len, sparks Nv

    Clinton was not ambassador to any country. She just jetted in and out. That does not prepare her to lead on foreign policy on Day One. And considering she did not see the potential for disaster in Iraq before the War, then I don't see her as being ready to lead on Day One on that count either. She really messed up. Obama had the vision to see what would happen in Iraq before it happened. He had some innate wisdom to know how to read that situation correctly. Yes perhaps living in a foreign country, even at age 10, can be a valuable experience when making decisions.

    November 20, 2007 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  17. Heather, Nashville, TN

    Clinton is right we do need someone in office that has the experience and the know how to fix the situation we are now in.

    November 20, 2007 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. anonymos

    I can belive she said this... because If I were clinton I will be embarace to say this since it will back fire at her... well let's she has foreing expriance where did she have used it, how come she didn't used when it was needed so badly before Bush send our troops with out having enough evidance. where was she, were was her expriance? this is something I don't like about conventional thinking politics becasue they think American people don't know who is what and what they have accomplished when they were in a position to make a difference? Because we Will Senetor Clinton?

    November 20, 2007 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  19. John, St. Louis MO

    I will be glad when one of them, EITHER of them, is out of the race. It kills me how, on both sides of the aisle, they are tearing each other apart. Then all of a sudden when each party has one nominee, they will again all be buddy buddy. That's why it should be Bill Richardson against Mike Huckabee!!!

    November 20, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  20. Tex Mex, NYC, NY

    Voters yet have to see exactly what sort of experience Mrs. Clinton is running on. Of course, we will not find out, as Mrs. Clinton said, until after January 2009 the earliest she claims her husband's presidential library will release her White House records.

    Hilary Clinton and her cronies wants to dupe the American people by selling the "experience pig" in a bag. Mrs. Clinton, it is time you level with the American people and take responsibility for your "experience".

    Mrs. Clinton, disclose your White House records and "let's have a conversation" about your "experience" after that!

    November 20, 2007 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  21. Jeremy

    All these Obama hype and bull, somehow the Clintons always pull a victory. I feel this rookie is going not only going to loose to Clinton, he is going to be eviscerated.

    November 20, 2007 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  22. Len, Fallbrook, CA

    "Clinton said. “I think we need a President with more experience than that. Someone the rest of the world knows, looks up to, and has confidence in. I don’t think this is the time for on the job training on our economy or on foreign policy.”"

    I agree! You are not that person.

    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 20, 2007 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  23. Tired of Corruption

    Clinton helped Bush send our young men and women to Iraq to be killed or injured without reading the 90-page NIE report. She gave no thought to our soldiers lives. Her only consideration was her political career – how can this war advance my standing when I run for president.

    Now she blames Bush for fooling her.

    She then continues her lack of judgement by again voting with Bush to endanger our troups even further by voting for the Iran resolution.

    How can anyone look at these disasterous votes that she has cast and believe she has sound foreign policy judgement. Do we want someone as president that was so easily "fooled" by Bush. Every time Hillary shows poor judgement – it's someone elses fault . She never takes the responsibility for her decisions. Sounds a lot like Bush to me.

    November 20, 2007 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  24. Harry,Iowa

    I think Clinton is wrong on this one. I am a Kenyan. I am not saying this because Obama has some Kenyan connection but I know he has been in Kenya several times and he actually understands how Kenyan politics and people live. He was an adult when he was there. He was in Russia with some Congressman( I can not recall his name). I don't think Hillary taking two days excutive flights during Clinton Administration can qualify her to diminish Obama's understanding on how other countries operate. I am glad he is so diverse in his family and represent most people.

    November 20, 2007 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  25. Jose, New York, NY

    I regret that Obama still does not understand that he is not electable. He is the main subject of the republicans political play book. If he is the democratic candidate then the republicans will retain the White House, because 20% of democrates will not vote for a black American. I'sorry but this country is not ready yet for a black president! Descrimination is still hunting us around! We have enough with Bush.

    November 20, 2007 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
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