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. ashley

    Is it me or whenever obama talks he sounds like he is preaching. lol. i was lmao lastnight during his speech. he would say something and then say "yes we can" like this..... can we go to the bathroom, yes we can, can we sound anymore annoying, yes we can. anyways i just think that NH spoke out for something that it very important, b/c we NEED a leader who can be ready on day 1. that is hillary clinton. her experience and track record in the senate speak volumes as to how much more qualified she is than any other of the democratic candidates. Experience is neccessary otherwise anyone could go run for president. It would be like a waitress going into an attorneys office wanting to be a lawyer. Two terms in the senate is not enough (obama)! Hillary is ready to lead, and will make one of the best presidents, if not the best, that we have ever seen! Good Luck HRC and you have people all around this great country with support for you!

    January 9, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. Rick

    Maybe now people will start examining Barrack's positions on issues and stop being entranced by his silver tongue and slippery dialogue. Anyone can say "I want change, it's time for change, change is what we need." But he hasnt said what needs changing or how he will go about changing it, nor does he have the political experience and saavy to even know how to go about starting the change process. He needs to get in the ring for a few more years and get some skills before he starts claiming that he knows how to make change happen.

    January 9, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  3. Tunstall, Barbara

    I AGREE THAT WISDOM IS THE KEY WHICH OBAMA HAS IN LARGE MEASURE.
    I QUAKE WHEN I HEAR ABOUT EXPERIENCE ESPECIALLY FROM THE CLINTONS I CAN'T BELIEVE THAT USA THE LEADER IN THE WORLD IS SO
    STUPID, OPEN YOUR EYES, WHAT KIND OF A COUNTRY DO YOU WANT?
    VOTE FOR A PRESIDENT JUST BECAUSE SHE IS A WOMAN? MY GOD, VOTING
    FOR SOMEONE WHO'S EXPERIENCE GOT US IN THIS MESS, YES THEY HAVE
    EXPERIENCE HOW TO HELP THEIR AGENDA, FOR THEIR POWER AND GLORY AND SCREW THE PEOPLE, AND TO THINK, CRY A LITTLE, HUSBAND LIE AND POINT A FINGER AT A DECENT YOUNG MAN WITH A GREAT VISION FOR AMERICA AND THE PEOPLE FORGET ABOUT THAT SAME FINGER THAT LIED TO THEM AND NEARLY DESTROYED THEIR COUNTRY AND VOTED FOR THEM.
    I KNOW THAT THE WORLD IS SAYING.........LOOK AT THE DUMB STUPID AMERICANS. I FEEL LIKE LEAVING THE COUNTRY. NEVER, AND I'M 69 YEARS OLD, HAVE I FELT THIS WAY ABOUT AMERICA.

    January 9, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  4. JJ Jax,FL

    Hmmm...Bill Clinton, of all people, calling someone else a liar....Anyway, whenever I heard Bill speak, it becomes hard to tell who he is campaigning for, himself or Hillary? Furthermore, I truly detest how in the my fellow African-Americans identify this guy as 'our President'. Last time I checked, marital dishonesty is NOT a hallmark of the African-American people.

    January 9, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  5. Linda Dillard

    Out of desparation, Hillary and Bill Clinton and the media resorted to unfair tactics within the last few days of the New Hampshire primary campaign. Because of Obama's lead in the polls several newscasters at CNN and MSNBC decided it was time to "investigate " Obama more. I wasn"t surprised by this tactic- I knew it was coming sooner or later.But Iwas amazed at how the newcasters solemn demeanor of previous days improved as they saw the primary results come in- Obama's downfall. Bill told his own "fairytale" about Obama's war statement and Hillary gave the performance of her life. In the Democractic primary, I thought the strategies of the campaigns were primarily respectable. I'm so proud of the way Obama has conducted his campaign. But I think the respect for Hillary and Bill has been lost. In the face of difficult times, our character is tested. In this situation, Bill and Hillary failed. Is this an indication of how Hillary will handle difficult situations in the White House?

    January 9, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  6. Wendy

    Obama has engaged twisting truth, personal attacks, and character assassination for a long long time and got a complete free ride by the press. Bill is correct " give me a break!" This is what NH voters told the press: GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!!!!

    January 9, 2008 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  7. AW

    What I'm finding most sad, is in reading the responses from candidates and citizens alike, just how hateful a people we have become...criticism and name calling, and no one has a constructive word to say.
    I pray it's not true, but in the end, most likely, we'll get just exactly what we deserve.

    January 9, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  8. JJ Jax,FL

    I wonder who will be the first to correct me on my grammar? Hmmm...

    January 9, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  9. George

    I am way more upset than I need to be over this Billary Clinton Saga. It is not a Fairy Tell for Barack to be our candidate of choice for President and to go on and win the Presidency. I am appalled at Bill Clinton for how and what he insinuated. We have come along way baby but we still have a long way to go as a nation. Obama is the man to help heal this dis-ease that is affecting so many. I am heart broken because I wasn't against Hillary I was for Obama. Now I am against Hillary … and Bill I am plain old disgusted with him. How dare he think that he can just say and do anything and BLACK people will have this undying loyalty to him? Shame on you Bill Clinton, shame on you! Ohhh please don't bring out the black choir when you go to S. Carolina. We are not stupid nor that naïve and gullible Althea Dixon - I will define my role, scope and aspirations. I will charter the course of my life, relationships and career. I will have the power to make decisions. Last but not least, I will be creating a success story. ~Alfie "Harmony doesn't happen when all notes are the same, it happens when different notes come together and create a beautiful sound."

    --------------------------–

    January 9, 2008 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  10. Andy L.

    And the game is now afoot... the Clintons are using their experience and guile to outflank the energetic junior senator from Illinois. Watch out Senator... there are more tricks in that bag! I suspect when the dusk clears that Senators Clinton and Obama will be on the same ticket... the question is who will get first billing!

    The Clinton team will make every effort to court the African-American vote in South Carolina to win that primary but also to paint Senator Obama as unelectable in the general election (the race card?). Senator Obama needs to remain focused on his message of change while also being mindful of the young woman segment of the voting block. He clearly captures intrigues the young voter but can he sustain that spirit of inquiry in young women.

    South Carolina will be a repeat of New Hampshire unless Senator Obama remains mindful of the lessons learned from that primary. This progression to the nomination will be most interesting.

    All should be mindful of the large number of “Super Delegates” which still remains… We have gone from Advantage Obama to Advantage Clinton!

    January 9, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  11. John

    What a fairy tale, how could Ohama say that Bill Clinton is twisting his words. Obama said what he said and he should not try and make excuses. Being arrogant has caught up with him. That is what experience gets you.

    January 9, 2008 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  12. joe

    Why is no one talking about the fact that the lady (Marianne Pernold Young) asking the question when Hillary teared up was a plant who worked for the Clinton's during Bill Clintons 1992 campain ?

    Or that the two guys that held up the sign that read "Iron my shirt" both are hillary clinton supporters! Both have clinton 08 stickers on their cars! And the media asks how Hillary got the woman vote to switch back to her in 48hrs ?

    Shes a fraud.................... Agent of change think not... just same old dirty tricks !!!!

    What does it say about America that if she wins Bush...... Clinton....... Bush...... Clinton ????

    Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein

    The second time is always worse !! Bush Snr then Bush Jnr !!!!! B.Clinton.... H Clinton ???

    Time for Change is now................. please think of voting for anyone else

    Obama , Edwards or McCain

    January 9, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  13. Azar

    Shanna:

    What is the source of your information about Obama? By the way, is English your first language? You need to check your spelling and grammar.

    January 9, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  14. Deborah

    Obama's words were skewed, and they will be again by the Clintons. I've been watching this race with great interest. I'm an upstate constituent of Hillary Clinton's, but my support for her has eroded over time as I've listened to her plastic, talking-points non-responses, her weird defense of the war vote and the Iran-characterization vote, and her mule-like one-sided view of the Middle East. At one time I was a Clinton contributor–small contributions, to be sure, but I was a supporter. I have switched to Obama, and my entire family and neighborhood has as well. As a footnote, we've been in recession-like conditions up here for years, and we still are. We'd love to see some of the celebrated economic accomplishments she keeps talking about, but they're invisible from my home and workplace. If she does not win the presidency, maybe she'll work on New York problems a little harder. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

    January 9, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  15. MinuteMan

    Ron Paul Votes Not Counted In New Hampshire District
    http://www.blacklistednews.com/view.asp?ID=5219

    January 9, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. Dave, Milwaukee WI

    Wow....you Hillary supporters are some of the most unpleasant people I have ever seen and make me embarrassed to be a Democrat. If you think folks like me who have dedicated the past year supporting Obama will turn around and work for Clinton in the general election (Obama will still win), you are crazy. The reason why she is unelectable is because of you and her campaign. Congradulations, slime balls.

    January 9, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  17. Mark, Chicago, IL

    He's going after Bill? Shouldn't he be going after Hillary? Looks like Obama can't take the heat.... now let's talk about who is in desperation mode?

    January 9, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  18. Bonnie O., Raleigh, NC

    Further proof that the Clinton's continue to play politics as usual and will stoop to anything–especially distorting someone else's viewpoint. I guess they haven't figured out yet that this is precisely what the people are so tired of.

    Hang in there, Mr. Obama; truth will win out!

    Obama '08!

    January 9, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  19. Jay Graham, Dallas, TX

    Obama or his supporters don't understand that getting to the white house is all politics. When Obama was slamming Hillary on her vote and various positions in the debate, media gave a big publicity and no one came on her defense. During the debate Tim Russert never bothered to ask Obama the kind of questions Bill raised. If you were not the senator at the time of Iraq vote, your positions and statements against Hillary are irrelevant. That is what Bill had pointed out and there is nothing wrong. Remember when McCain won NH, Bush and company "swift boated" him in SC. With that in mind McCain still considers Bush as the greatest leader and praise him on everything. Why? Because, he wants to win the republican nomination. This is politics! Edwards sided with Obama in the debate. Why? Because, he still wants to be a VP in case he looses primary, which he will. Obama is a smart person. But, he can wait 8 more years in case he looses against Hillary. When a 72 year old McCain waited for this moment for 8 years, there is no reason why Obama can't.

    January 9, 2008 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  20. Paul

    Let's see; scandal, obfuscation, misleading (he doesn't understand the word lying). Bill & Hillary have always taken the low road, so what's new?

    January 9, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  21. Shawn

    The fact that Obama's Co – Chair is a registered LOBBYIST only goes to prove that he's all TALK.

    Change, Change, Change....... Let's change from FANTISY to REALITY OBAMA!

    January 9, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  22. Mark

    Bill and Hillary are just as bad as Bush and Rove. I lost whatever respect I once held for them during this election. I'm a democrat but Hillary will never get my vote! Ever!

    January 9, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  23. Ken

    We the American People for the last 20 years had in office Bush,Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush and WE don"t need another Clinton.It time for a change. I think the only one for a change is Obama. Let stand up and throw away the old and bring in the new.

    January 9, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  24. Brandon

    Come on people, Bill is absolutely right.....there is just no way you can come off as mr. anti-war when 1. you weren't there to vote for or against the war and 2. as senator if you were so anti-war there can be no excuse for continually voting to fund the war. you can make up all the excuses you want but ultimately the bottom line is that if you are against something you will not support it. that's what matters- taking a stand. it's easy to look good when you're monday morning quarterbacking. and as for the idea of change. obama talks a big game but unfortunately he has nothing to show for it. people are so quick to forget that it was hillary clinton in 1994 that tried to get this country universal healthcare and that shouldn't be dismissed. ultimately, she failed but the fact that she stuck her neck out there back then should count for something because that's what really matters. it's easy for obama and edwards to tout the idea of univeral healthcare now because the country is in such a mess and there is no risk involved. but i'd rather put my money on the person who was looking for that type of change more than ten years ago– sticking her neck out then when she and bill had everything to lose. whether you like hillary or not there can be no mistaken that she has always been on the democratic side. and it is the democrats (clinton, obama, edwards) that truly represent change. the democratic party would never have let this country fall to the standing it is currently in.

    January 9, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  25. Nando, Florida

    Don't worry BILLARY OBAM has his own FIREWALL its CALLED SOUTH CAROLINA and I think you KNOW WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 50 % AA DEMOCRAT VOTE , AND when you Her what TOM JOYNER has in store for you tommorow you will Be crying!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 9, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
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