January 9th, 2008
03:25 PM ET
1 year ago

Obama: Bill Clinton 'took liberties' with my words

Watch Sen. Obama's interview on American Morning.

Watch Sen. Obama's interview on American Morning.

(CNN) - Barack Obama accused Bill Clinton of twisting some of his early remarks on the Iraq war in a speech the former president gave the night before the New Hampshire vote.

"Bill Clinton was taking some liberties with my statements," Obama told CNN American Morning anchor John Roberts Wednesday, after his narrow loss to Hillary Clinton in the Granite State’s Democratic primary.

Clinton had alleged that the media had not properly reported on remarks the Illinois senator had made, saying that Obama’s policy stands on the war had actually been identical to those of his wife, New York Sen. Hillary Clinton.

"I'm not clear about what the contradiction is," says Obama. "I said from the start that Iraq was a bad idea. I also said from the beginning that if we were gonna go in then we would have an obligation to our troops and that's been a consistent position of mine. So, the notion that somehow that diminishes my clear unequivocal statement of opposition to the war even before the Congress voted to authorize it actually doesn't make much sense."

Obama won the Iowa Democratic caucuses by 8 percentage points over Clinton, but lost the New Hampshire primary to her by 2 points, despite showing a lead in most pre-vote surveys.

Obama says the record-setting Democratic turnout in Iowa and New Hampshire bodes well for his campaign. "What's pretty clear is that the American people are taking this process seriously. They want to bring about the fundamental change in how our politics works."

Related video: Sen. Clinton on her N.H. win

soundoff (1,012 Responses)
  1. RichVet

    KUCINICH IS ASKING FOR A RECOUNT OF THE VOTES IN THE NEW HAMPSHIRE PRIMARY ELECTION !!!!

    There was a BIG discrepancy between the hand-counted votes (which favored Obama, just like the polls did before the election), and the machine-counted votes (which favored Clinton enough to cause her to win New Hampshire's primary).

    Hilley and Billey have stolen the election in New Hampshire !!!! Remember, you heard it here first. This is going to be a big story.

    PLEASE GO TO: http://www.wdtn.com/Global/story.asp?S=7608868

    January 11, 2008 02:53 am at 2:53 am |
  2. michael

    One thing that is strange about the politics in this country is that people seem to treat it like a sporting event. They have so much team spirit, so much love for their team and hate for the opposing team, that they look away when their players are cheating just because they want their team to win.

    A lot of the comments on this list seem to be inaccurate and I hope that people stop to factcheck some of the things you see in the media before deciding on which team truly deserves your support.

    As someone else mentioned the media should be doing this themselves, and should not be promoting the smears and lies.

    Another person posted a link to a speech that Obama gave about a half year before we invaded Iraq that is on wikipedia. I urge everyone to read it. It clearly states that we shouldn't go to war, why we shouldn't, and a list of what we should be doing, like getting Bin Laden and al-Qaeda, and ending our oil dependency on the middle east countries. For all the talk about his vague speeches, posturing, and lack of experience, I think it shows a lot of wisdom and good judgement and is pretty specific.

    I am an independent voter by the way, and even though I have a lot of respect for what Bill Clinton did in his presidency, I also remember that he has lied to us all before.

    January 11, 2008 02:54 am at 2:54 am |
  3. Okon Effiong, Kyoto, Japan

    My advice to Obama is not to let Bill Clinton's remark upset him. Bill has been known to say one thing but really means something else. It was Bill, now Hillary and who knows, Chelsea might want a shot at the Presidency too. I think the Clinton fatigue is round the corner.

    January 11, 2008 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  4. Ajay Jain, Garland, TX

    Obama raising CASH:
    Obama is he getting SCARED AGAIN or is it a way to play the underdog after the Obama-Oprah hoorah? Who needs cash? Obama the greatest cash raising machine known in the democratic circle beating Hillary on raising cash! Who are we kidding now with mailings in NH , Nevada and South Carolina etc....

    Go Hillary44 08! http://hillaryis44.org/ http://facts.hillaryhub.com/ http://www.hillaryhub.com/ This election is a national campaign for the long haul till Michigan Primary on 1/15/08; Nevada Primary 1/19/08; South Carolina Primary (D)1/26/08; Florida Primary 1/29/08; and the most vital Super Duper Tuesday with 24 Primaries states voting on February 5th 2008, which will DECIDE the NOMINEE, then LA Primary 2/9/08; Maine Primary (D) 2/12/08; D.C. Primary, MD Primary, VA Primary 2/12/08; Hawaii Primary (D), Wash. Primary, Wis. Primary 2/19/08; Ohio Primary, R.I. Primary, TX Primary, VT 3/4/08; WYO. Primary (D); MISS. Primary 3/11/08; PA Primary 4/22/08; IND. Primary, N.C. Primary 5/6/08; NEB. Primary, W. VA. Primary 5/13/08; KY. Primary, ORE. Primary 5/20/08; S.D. Primary 6/3/08 not the early states! A pre-Iowa snapshot of the national election scene: http://uselectionatlas.org/2008.php

    January 11, 2008 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  5. age77male

    Bill Clinton made a good point.Obama paints himself as the disciple of change.
    But if that is true, how come his voting record in the Senate is the same as Hillary Clinton's?

    Bill Clinton is right. Obama's record of change is a "fairy tale."

    I have listened to Obama's speeches and interviews, and he has a marvelous way with words. But after it is all over, I have no idea what he was talking about.

    His main theme is that "WE can do it." Really? If that were the case, then the Iraq war would be over right now. WE can't do a thing until we elect a Democratic President and a Democratic congress.

    Only THEY can do it!

    January 11, 2008 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  6. Bill

    Senator Obama says "Yes We Can" but Hillary says How We Can. That's the difference between someone without experience and someone with it.

    January 11, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  7. IndependentVoter

    It's the "WE the PEOPLE" type thinkers that started this country on its way to greatness...

    Everyone needs to step away from the fringes ... Pleassssssssse!

    Too many people living on the LEFT and RIGHT fringes ... No one is willing to listen to anyone about anything that doesn't EXACTLY fit with their own thinking...

    Too many people listen to a sound bite from someone and think that's the answer ... it's been mentioned a few times in this string of comments ... We ALL need to do a little research ... away from the nightly news and the fringe radio shows ... TRY just once listening to someone else's opinion with an open mind... Now that would really be a CHANGE.

    Being President is NOT like being a mechanic ... he doesn't roll up his sleeves and rebuild the engine or knock out the dents ... He's the guy that orchestrates the process ...

    January 11, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  8. IndependentVoter

    It's the "WE the PEOPLE" type thinkers that started this country on its way to greatness...

    Everyone needs to step away from the fringes ...
    Too many people living on the LEFT and RIGHT fringes ... No one is willing to listen to anyone about anything that doesn't EXACTLY fit with their own thinking...

    Too many people listen to a sound bite from someone and think that's the answer ... it's been mentioned a few times in this string of comments ... We ALL need to do a little research ... away from the nightly news and the fringe radio shows ... TRY just once listening to someone else's opinion with an open mind... Now that would really be a CHANGE.

    Being President is NOT like being a mechanic ... he doesn't roll up his sleeves and rebuild the engine or knock out the dents ... He's the guy that orchestrates the process ...

    January 11, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  9. Julie

    Paul,
    You asked "Who made you the judge and jury when it comes to the Clintons past legal issues". The same person who appointed you judge and jury over me. With your vast experience, I am sure you can figure out who that is. Dang, there's that word 'is'. Who knows the meaning of that word! As for Obama, if you think the Clintons won't put him in his place, just watch. All politicians have two faces; the public face and the private face. The public face is the image they wish to project to others by which they hope to gain whatever they want. The other is the private face or the real person when he is not and does not expect to be exposed to public view. I never trust the public face , especially in this day of consultants, advisors and political strategists. They will manipulate images and emotions and beliefs, etc. to enfluence you to do whatever they want you to do. Try to get a view of the private person. Writings of their enemies, insiders, victims and slips of the tongue and actions. Thereby you will know who you are really dealing with. If the person has character in their private life, they most likely they will have character in their public life. If they are ruthless and deceiving in their private life, they most certainly will be so when they attain power. I dare say, most people would have not voted for Hitler if they had seen through his public facade. But, only through suffering do most people learn. I would suggest you wake up before you have to go through the fire to learn the pain of being burned. And please, don't be so sexist. No good will come of that.

    January 12, 2008 02:38 am at 2:38 am |
  10. Yen

    I used to support Mrs. Clinton until i saw her sheed tears because she didn't get the majority vote. Now i know how selfish she is!!! She does not respect the vote of that city, she'll never respect the opinion of the American people! What makes her think she's the best person for the United States presidency. What is it that she want to do this time and why didn't she help her husband do it for the eight years they were in the white house.
    God bless you Mr. Obama.

    January 13, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  11. Jowman

    Check the facts. Obama was always against the war. Bill's attempt to twist that fact is egregious. Stop being sheep and read the whole quote. Because Obama is running on a "clean" campaign, the Clinton's want to soil the race as much as possible so that he appears to be a hypocrite. Clinton's are running on the belief that it takes that "toughness" to win against the Republicans and opinions on them are more solidified so the dirt washes off more easily. -Of course, this highlights the "change" in politics that Obama offers.

    January 15, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  12. Ida (ATLANTA,GA)

    I am getting sick and tired of the Clintons trashing Obama!
    America the Clintons are not Gods! For Bill Clinton to now appear as though he was nothing but perfect is totally hilarious and suggests that we have developed some form of amnesia. This is the President who because of lack of self dicipline and control lied under oath and had highly graphic and sexual interactions in the White House whilst he should have been focusing on the country, the President who was almost IMPEACHED?
    I don't think the Clintons are better than any of the other candidates, neither do they seem appealing by their so called experience.
    We are the people who make the choice We are the voice and We make our statement clearly without any help from Bill Clinton. America will make a choice Bill, you are running too fast and leaving your own legs behind you. America wants to keep you in good books let it be that way.

    January 15, 2008 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
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