January 9th, 2008
03:25 PM ET
5 years 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. herold aubourg/boston/ma

    WATCHING THE ELECTION IS WHAT AMERICA IS ALL ABOUT. THERE WAS NO FIGHT, NO SHOOTING AND IN SPITE OF ALL BUSH DID TO GOVERN THIS COUNTRY, HE IS STILL ALLOWED TO STAY IN THIS COUNTRY AND THAT IS THE FABRIC OF AMERICA. NO MATTER WHAT THE POLL SAYS, THIS ELECTION IS A GIVEN AND IN 2008 THE PRESIDENT WILL EITHER BE HILLARY OR OBAMA BECAUSE WE ARE SIMPLY TIRED OF REPUBLICAN. JOHN MCCAIN CAN NOT BE PRESIDENT BECAUSE OF HIS HEALTH. THERE ARE A LOT OFISSUES IN THIS RACE: THE ECONOMY(BOUNCING BACK), WAR IN IRAQ(SPENDING TOO MUCH MONEY MAKING IRAQI POLITICIANS RICH/ PULL ALL THE TROOPS OUT AND LET THEM SOLVE THEIR ISSUES), ABORTION(NOT A POLITICAL ISSUE BUT A SPIRITUAL ISSUE), GAY MARRIAGE(SAME AS ABORTION), EDUCATION, HEALTHCARE, SOCIAL SECURITY AND RACE(KATRINA), IMMIGRATION(NOT A SPANISH OR A BORDER ISSUE AND ANYTIME ANYONE WANTS TO HAVE AN OPINION ON THIS SUBJECT, CHECK YOUR ROOTS AND WE ARE ALL IMMIGRANTS WHO HAPPENED TO BE AMERICAN). I DID NOT LIKE WHAT FORMER PRESIIDENT CLINTON SAY TO ABAMA ABOUT HIS RUN FOR PRESIDENT, HE CALLS IT A FAIRY TALE AND IF THIS DOES NOT SOUND BIAS. SOMEONE TELLS OTHERWISE AND NO ONE TOLD HIM TO FORGET ABOUT RUNNING BECAUSE HE WAS AGAINST ALL ODDS. I BELIEVE THAT HE NEEDS TO APOLOGIZE TO THE SENATOR BECAUSE EVERY HUMAN BEING HAS TO HAVE HOPE AND BECAUSE OF HOPE WE WAKE EVERY DAY HOPING THAT THE VISION WE HAD SET BEFORE US WILL COME TO PASS.

    JUST A NOTE

    January 9, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  2. Jr., California

    Last night Hillary said "I listened to you. I found my voice."

    So I am saying to you today "please listen to me, and find your 35 years of experience."

    January 9, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  3. Middle America

    All I will say is Hillary will not be the first female president because I'm pretty sure Edwards and Obama supporters will not vote for her. You can't win without the Democratic base, be very very careful what you say Bill and Hill to win the primary races because you do have to come back to us to win the Presidency.... Oh yes I have a very long memory :o)!!! I'm sure Obama are Edwards for that matter will not except the V.P. post next to Hillary. Thanks N.H. voters for lying to the polsters, now we the people know who you are. A bunch of FLIP FLOPPERS. I was still trying to choose between Hillary and Obama well thanks for the help, I finally made up my mind. OBAMA 2008!!!!

    January 9, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  4. Adam T.

    Take it to the poll and "VOTE" for the candidate that will do the greater good for the american people as a whole. Dont be blinded by empty promises, we have had enough and have suffered almost 8 years of agony and the will of the people not being heard and soaring gas prices. Dont make a decision now that you will be sorry for later.

    January 9, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  5. ao

    now imagine republican hate machine and obama's appeasing response. OK. now imagine republican hate machine again and clinton's "over my dead body" comeback. OK. Now think about 8 more years of republicans in WH if there is no STRONG and BATTLE HARDENED candidate. Choice in this ideal world is simple: give in to republicans WHO WANT WH A LOT (and will do anything to retain it), or get it to dems, but don't expect to have a rosy walk for it.

    January 9, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  6. Gbryant

    TO: Joe in Idaho

    If Obama is nominated, I will stay home.

    January 9, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  7. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    If Obama would speak clearly without nuances, and his actions were consistent with his statements then they could not be misinterpreted or "twisted."
    If you state that you are against the war before you became a senator, and then after you become a senator, you vote for funding for that war then you have embraced both sides of the issue. You mouth took one side, and your actions took the other side.

    January 9, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. Leon

    Bill Clinton has lied before and he will do it again. He has lied about his affairs in the office and I can't believe Americans still likes and supports this guy. As far as Hillary, she calls herself a liberated woman but is willing to stay with a lying and cheating husband so that she can become president (and the crying thing, we don't believe it one minute). Obama, you can do this no matter what anyone says. The Clinton's has had their turn, let's give someone else a try PLEASE!!!

    January 9, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. Scott, Royal Oak, MI

    voting to fund the war (i.e. not leave our soldiers in the lurch) after the war has already began is NOT inconsistent with being opposed to the war from the beginning.

    Bill Clinton is a disingenuous sleaze.

    January 9, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. av3

    can someone please define hillary's experience besides getting taken along for a ride?

    HILLARY HAS LESS ELECTED EXPERIENCE THAN OBAMA. stop letting these politicians spin spin spin.

    i cant believe people are even considering putting the clintons back in office.

    incumbency breeds complacency and corruption. there are the same people with the same ideas making the same decisions for this country and thats why we are going backwards.

    BUSH-CLINTON-CLINTON-BUSH-BUSH-CLINTON???

    does anyone else see this as a problem?

    January 9, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. Sarah

    It was printed in the Aurora, IL newspaper about Obama's voting record as a senator. It was ranked as one of the worst. He has missed 15 or more votes in congress. How will he do as president is he can't function as a senator? Also, what exactly is he going to change. Change sounds nice, but we need evidence to back it up!

    January 9, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  12. Elly

    Well, this is getting us all somewhere isn't it. It is what it is. Hillary won – Obama lost NH. Many more states to go. Super Tuesday is coming up in less than a month. Get out there and vote your candidate for President of the United States.
    Stop looking at the various polls, obviously they are not always right.

    I watched the winner McCain give his speech. I watched Obama give his speech and I watched Clinton give her speech. McCain was the best. I found myself mezmerized by Obama and thought Clinton was unprepared. When I got up this morning, it hit me that Obama was sounding more like he was running for the head of the NAACP than a Presidential Candidate. Yes we can, yes we can, in different tones of voice. Mr. Obama you will never, ever be Martin Luther King. Is this how he plans to speak at his upcoming rallies? Hope not, most will see right through the rhetoric. You almost had me there, nothing like sleeping on a decision that needs to be made in my near future.
    Mr. Edwards, I don't think you will get the Vice Presidency no matter how much you align yourself with Obama. In fact, I think you shot yourself in the foot. And please, stop with the millworker's son stuff. It is old, old, old.

    A few posts back mentioned Cinton was trying to scare us with terrorism. Well if anyone is not scared, there is something wrong with them.

    I am all for ending the war "the right way." Lets get this over with and bring our troops home. Dollars to donuts our present Commander in Chief will do something just before he leaves office so he can take credit. But, as someone else alluded to, only one year to go.

    I don't know how so many people can make a decision based on religion, color or gender. You must vote for the candidate that will lead us in the right direction on immigration, healthcare, education and the war in Iraq. Figure out who is the best to do this and then vote with your head and not because you "hate" the others.

    January 9, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  13. Femi Akinnola

    I am a black Nigerian man living in England; I like Obama and would definitely want him to win if Hillary wasn't in the race. So I was pleasantly surprised to learn of her victory in New Hampshire after having been written off by the polls. I know it's early days yet, but I hope she goes on to become President. Can someone please advise Obama to stop claiming he represents change? Both himself and Hillary represent change of one form or the other – either the first black President or the first woman President! But so long as the seat of government remains in Washington, you will be bettter of with a change that still offers a Washington experience (spell Hillary). Come on Hillary! All the very best my sweet Lady.

    January 9, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  14. jim

    I'm for Edwards for a better US

    January 9, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  15. Gil - California

    Anyone that believes a word that comes out of the mouth of any Clinton or Bush deserves exactly what they get.

    The lesson for Obama is that you can't afford to relax and get comfortable. Keep pushing full tilt until November. Obama may not be the best person for President this cycle, but he is clearly better than Clinton.

    The lesson for Clinton is that there are some extremely gullible people out there who will believe your every lie.

    January 9, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  16. robert

    Bill Clinton lied? I can't believe it. 8)

    January 9, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. mike

    I am not against any candidates, but Obama, you need a lot to prove that you have experience to lead the country. I still remember during campaign season last fall you skip immigration bill vote, where others candidates went for vote. You have to explain where were you that time? hiding at your home? Why you didn't vote or may be you are are not sure to make a decision..

    January 9, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  18. KT

    I was a BIG Hillary Clinton supporter until the recent shenanigans in New Hampshire. The Clintons seem to have no integrity. They accused Obama of trying to say he's another JFK or MLK, which was a lie, then spun his words on Iraq, as reported on CNN. If they are willing to spin, lie, and twist words for votes, I doubt that we can trust them to tell us the truth when it matters the most. I wish we had ONE politician who was truthful and honest with us. Not sure who I'm voting for now, but Obama and Edwards seem to be the most honest of them all. I'll never vote for a Clinton again. Can't trust them.

    January 9, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  19. jinishans

    Guys give a break.

    "The national media must wait until the rest of the nation hears their voice to declare the winners in the 2008 presidential campaign. And now they must find the guts to press all these candidates for answers on these critical issues, or they'll assure the American people will again be the losers."

    Read this first: http://www.cnn.com/2008/US/01/08/Dobbs.January8/index.html

    Well said Dobbs. Change Likability Speech do not make things happen. Common candidates, debate on the issues and win the election.

    January 9, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  20. RICH

    Hey Mike in Waterbury...where did you see/find Obama's quote that in "2004 – you state that your position on Iraq is similar to that of George Bush"?

    January 9, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  21. Frank

    N.H = One more for the good guys.

    January 9, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  22. Cathy

    Hey, I against the Iraq war from the start too. Unlike Hillary. I knew it was a bad idea when I saw it coming, I didn't believe ANY of the intelligence about WMDs, and I protested against it.

    So if Obama's opinion doesn't count, mine doesn't either? I supposed that is why my representative and my senator both sent ugly form letters when I begged them not to authorized the war. Nice to see democracy in action.

    Obama saw this coming a mile away. That's not a change in position, it's reading the writing on the wall before the sentence is even finished.

    January 9, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  23. obaid achekzai

    When I watched Senator Clinton crying I knew the poll will change due to women sensitivities and emotional.

    January 9, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  24. Karen

    This is too precious. Did he think no one would figure out he's a politician. His machine needs to review everything citizen's have access to. They are behind the ball on this. The guy loves to give speeches. What is wrong with them that they don't know there are recordings and transcripts of every word out of his mouth. It is easy to find the change in his words. He refused to talk about the war, he didn't state he was against the war originally. The interviews he had are on the net. He was against timelines before he was for them. His statements are on the net. The guys voting record is on the net. These politicians are ALL a bunch of whiners.

    I thought he was supposed to win by over 10 points. MSNBC got it wrong and now they bring out the race card. What was this...... the best slap down by the American people of the MSM. (Yet another special interest group). Maybe now they will cover the issues.

    CNN focuses on Hillary expression. Was she crying or was she faking? Did you get a load of the faces of Sean Hannity, Cris Matthews and Jack Rafferty? I'm loving it!

    January 9, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  25. Brian

    It's amazing what some people will do when they are desperate. Obama's message of change so resonated with voters in Iowa, that Hillary adopted it. But, voters in New Hampshire weren't buying it according to preprimary polls. How can she pass herself off as an "agent of change" when her campaign is still bogged down in the "politics of personal destruction" that she's always saying we need to get away from. Witness Bill parsing words and using insinuation. That's a tactic right out of the GOP playbook. It appears that win this election is more important to the Clinton's than the future of this country.

    January 9, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41