January 9th, 2008
03:25 PM ET
4 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. joke

    Clinton stole the win by using Edwards' line of "it's personal..." and manipulated NH women by crying. I don't want to see my presiden chokes up in the international court if things don't go well. That shows weakness. Clinton has no past track record to lead. Our country will go into socialism if another Clinton were to get in. People, wake up! Edwards actually trully showed some decent leadership and will to make a real change.

    January 9, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. cynthia

    i hope don't none of you fools vote for that lying family the Clintons – i'm from Arkansas – and bill has a baby here by a black news anchor woman – and everyone knows it – except, the woman and her husband both will lie to your face and say it isn't so – Hilary knows – and I am not ready for her to be president at all – I prefer Hucabee over anyone else but if not it will be Obama for me because he is a vote for change and i feel he can be equal to all races because he really doesn't identify totally with the African American experience – he was raised by a his mother in Hawaii and overseas thus he has been in diverse atmospheres – i'm sure he has experience some racism but who hasn't – as a white woman i have experience racism – we all have – someone always looks at you and say i don't like you b/c of how you look or who you are – so i think Obama can bring more people together – what i hate is that he may not be president b/c of how he looks on the outside....and we mess up and put Hilary there – THAT WOULD BE A BIG MISTAKE....however, I am a republican more than a democrat but I like Obama's policies as they are not completely "democratic" – for that same reason I really like Huckabee whom I plan on voting for if he gets the nod – but if he doesn't and Obama does – i will vote for Obama – but never for Hilary...i'm a woman and i don't feel comfortable with a woman in the white house right now – not in time of war – i'm sorry – and that is sexist but we are not the same as me – bottom line – people see a man and they have more respect

    January 9, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  3. Christina Andersen

    Hey, if we put the Clintons back in the white house, maybe they'll clean up the mess they started.

    January 9, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  4. Eric-Houston, TX

    This is what gets me. What -if anything- has Sen. Obama actually changed during his public service career? He's barely sponsored a bill in the 2 years he's been in the Senate! Lord knows what he did in Illinois–what's all this with the non-voting (voting "present" instead of "yea" or "nay")?

    To say that because he doesn't have experience that means he is the candidate of change strikes me as silly and twisted. By that logic I could take anyone - and I mean anyone - who has no resume in politics/accomplishment and say that he/she is the candidate of change! Susan Sarandon or Tim Robbins for President, anyone? How about Michael Moore? Change? Hmmpf.

    I'm not taking sides in the Democrat race and have no axe to grind, but Hillary's right...slow down, people. Don't be so caught up in fancy speeches and rhetoric that you overlook the fact that they contain vapid meaning and nothing concrete. I have nothing in particular against Sen. Obama, just that instead of foie gras I'm seeing liverwurst; instead of Barbra Streisand live I'm watching a karaoke performance of the real thing.

    January 9, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  5. BAMZS Fan

    Go away Barack! We don't want to listen to your same empty suit day after day. The media might prop you up under a false guise but America knows the truth.

    GOODBYE!

    January 9, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  6. Todd

    Well I am happy to say that Hillary pulled it off last night, and I hope she continues to. Obama can sit and cry over what Bill did or did not say. He is just mad that someone is finally calling him to the carpet. How many times did this Jr. senator even vote on policy. Isn't it amazing that the times when America needed him most, he was not available to vote. It sounds to me like he did not want to be termed a flip flopper like that of Kerry, so he avoided votes that may make him appear as such. If that is the case, then what interest was he really looking after, his own, or that of the American people. Obama is a joke.

    January 9, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  7. rw

    As they say, Iowa picks corn and New Hampshire picks presidents.

    By my calculation, Obama is finished. The polls predicted 8-14% Obama over Clinton. The results were 2% Clinton over Obama. That is a 10-16% gain Clinton over Obama......that is HUGE.

    No amount of closing your eyes and chanting "yes we can" will resurrect the dead.

    January 9, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  8. Thomas

    We're screwed either way, both of them want to talk down the war but neither will make a single move to stop it. If they were willing to stop it, then they would have both already tried as senators.

    January 9, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  9. Marie Antoinette

    Obama '08

    I personally dont want some crying emotional woman to lead me. Did Bhutto cry? Did Sirleaf cry? Please ...she won, NARROWLY. This is a contest. May the best MAN win.

    January 9, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  10. Ada

    Femi from Nigeria,

    I bet your family from Nigeria are involved in corrupt politics too, and that's how you got to London.

    January 9, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  11. Erik

    So, has anybody realized that the last time the Clintons were in the White House, Bin Laden was planning his every move to destroy the US due to his hatred for the United States and its government? Oh, no thats right, he only started planning his attack the day Bush took office. Ya Right.
    I dont know about you, but I certainly do not want to return to that era, ie: the Clintons in the White House.

    January 9, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  12. scott

    finally they're attacking obama. for some strange reason, he's been completely off limits up until now. (seriously, george bush's alcohol issues were everywhere when he ran but obama's admitted hard drug yes has been completely overlooked.) i hope the gloves truly come off from all the candidates. just because he's black does not mean he shouldn't be subject to the same scrutiny and political attacks as any other candidate.

    i'm glad president clinton started the challenge. obama made the remark that his views were similar to bush's views. there is no distortion there. he said it...what's to distort. (not to mention, he wasn't around to vote so really he could say he would've done just about anything. the fact is, he has no record. well, he did vote the same as hillary for a deadline for troop withdrawal despite not supporting earlier troop withdrawal deadlines.) i guess the real shock is that once upon a time he actually said something of substance because now his words are like cotton candy...just full of sugar and air. he says nothing other than "change". and even he has the audacity to even take credit for offering up "change" as a campaign strategy. note to obama (and his easily influenced sheep): unless you're the incumbent in an election, every candidate in an election serves up a platform based on some kind of "change". i find it funny that obama wants a "new" kind of politics and that he claims the old way just isn't going to cut it with having special interest and lobbyist being involved in washington. yet a chief campaign advisor is a registered lobbyist. hmmm, i guess special interest shouldn't be involved in how things go in washington, they should just be involved in helping obama get to washington.

    obama's appeal to the youth is not surprising. they can be impressed easily and quickly distracted by his siren songs of emptiness. these 18, 19, 20 year old college kids have no clue of what the real world is like or what they're military peers are really fighting for overseas while they sit in they're liberal schools listening to the fluff peddled by obama. its easy for these college kids to argue that there should be greater government spending and more taxes when they pay so little into the tax system to start with. do they have any clue who's going to pay for the foolish statements that obama makes like students should not have to go in debt for higher education? sorry, but the old saying "nothing's free" is actually true.

    whether you're political leanings are liberal or conservative i just hope you lean to a politician that actually has something to say...real ideas and positions...and not just hollow, albeit eloquent and flowery, words like obama's.

    January 9, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. Karen

    What is with this guy? He said he was not privy to Senate Intelligence reports. What would I have done? I don't know. He's also expressed that he thinks the war is dumb. These are the strongest beliefs with regards to a war ever expressed? He doesn't get why all the people aren't with him? These were inspiring words? Is this the best his machine can do for him?

    Audicity of hope, the urgency of now, the wave, and today.... yes we can.

    His machine needs to quit with the commercial slogans and get on to issues and policy. I understand this is not his strength. I understand his record is variable and he hasn't been in office long but they have got to come up with something. This is getting ridiculous. I know he's fired up (another slogan) but they are going down in flames if they don't knock it off.

    January 9, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. Jeanie

    I am really trying to understand why so many voters want the sleaze machine back in the White House. Bill Clinton was impeached. He's running for his 3rd term and using his wife as a front. 33% of the NH voters said that if Bill Clinton was running on Tuesday, they would have voted for him. That means only 66% of the people who voted for Hillary were actually voting for her.

    It is very, very strange that OBAMA had a 12 point lead over Clinton the day BEFORE the primary and then suddely lost 14 points on the DAY of the PRIMARY. I am looking forward to seeing how the pollsters make sense of that. A poster on another board suggested that NH voters simply lied about who they were really going to vote for. Don't know if that's true but it will be interesting to find out.

    January 9, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  15. Jeff from Jersey

    Nah,Clinton just straightened them back out.

    ATTENTION OBAMA:

    YOU ARE A PHONY AND A LIAR!

    YOU ARE NO DR.KING!

    YOU AREN'T EVEN LARRY KING!

    YOU ARE A DRUGGIE CON ARTIST THAT IS RUNNING ONE OF THE BIGGEST SCAMS THIS COUNTRY HAS EVER SEEN!

    IT'S A GOOD THING THAT THE PEOPLE OF NEW HAMPSHIRE FINALLY WOKE UP TO THAT FACT!

    THE BEST THING ABOUT THE AMERICAN PEOPLE IS THAT WHILE YOU MAY FOOL THEM FOR A LITTLE WHILE,MOST OF US ARE SMART ENOUGH TO CATCH ON TO A SCAM ARTIST LIKE YOU BEFORE IT'S TOO LATE!

    NOW IT IS TIME FOR THE REST OF THE PEOPLE TO SEE YOU FOR THE FAKE THAT YOU ARE!

    YOU WILL HAVE THE SUPPORT OF THE DELUSIONAL,THE IGNORANT AND THE DUMB BUT ANY AMERICAN WITH ANY INTELLIGENCE AT ALL WILL PUT AN END TO YOUR SCAM WHEN YOUR TRAVELLING CON GAME GETS TO THEIR STATE!

    January 9, 2008 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  16. Ralph

    Spot on JT, Spot on, nicely said, couldn't have said it better, great stuff, and all that.

    Glenda you ingorant wretch, the fairytale Bill was referring to, was Obama's distortion of the facts and rewriting history which created a land of fantasy and magic. Nobody has implied that Obama being black has anything to do with Bill's statement. He has an office in Harlem for Christ's sake.

    January 9, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  17. Jack in upstate

    A real hard look into Obama's background? How about a real hard look into Hillary's background? How bout some people posting on here do some real research?

    In 1999, Hillary promised 200,000 jobs to upstate New York as part of her campaign.
    Since her election in 2000, 1 out of 5 manufacturing jobs have been lost in upstate New York. The damage is mostly seen in Buffalo and Rochester. In Buffalo, 34,000 households have departed since Hillary was elected in 2000. In Rochester, jobs in the manufacturing department fell by over 30%.

    What kind of change is that?

    Is anyone here from Illinois? If so, what good or bad has Obama done for your state? I'm very curious.

    January 9, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Pete

    HILLARY IS THE MOST EXPERIENCED CANDIDATE TO DO THE JOB.

    CHECK THE PROFILE OF TWO CANDIDATES AT:

    http://clinton.senate.gov/about/biography/index.cfm

    http://obama.senate.gov/about/

    See the difference yourself. Hillary has a long record as compared to Obama

    January 9, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  19. adams

    The respectable Obama, is a good man and a patriot but this is'nt amature night at the Roxbury.

    Political rookie, and amature Obama should have waited until he had more experence to get in to race.

    Vote Hillary we all know she has the real chance to win the white house.

    Vote Obama we will lose the white house to The Neo cons

    January 9, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  20. Michael

    I have withdrawn my support from Hillary and placed it behind Obama because of Bill Clinton's actions. I have always supported the Clintons but the curtain was pulled back for me one too many times revealing their slimy tactics. They are no better than Bush and Karl Rove.

    January 9, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  21. Hailey

    Are we surprised at either response?!? We should be accustomed to the empty statements of politicians by now. Oh the horror. We have the two biggest campaign spenders of this election butting heads. Honestly, I am sick of hearing about both of them!
    There should be a cap on campaign spending so these cnadidates wouldn't be able to buy their way out of their conflicts. Maybe then we would get a clearer view of the truth.

    Ron Paul fan of the south

    January 9, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  22. Pat Gordon

    Barack Obama has so much class. The Clinton team on the other hand does not have enough. Has anyone remembered he was impeached.
    To me Hillary makes Bush look really good as I watched him in the middle east today.
    Comparing Hillary's tears to Bush's tears is like comparing a naval orange to a granny smith.

    January 9, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. Ohio

    Anybody catch in Obama's speach last night about health insurance and drug companies having a seat at the table?

    January 9, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. Billy in Ohio

    Speaking of spin and experience.....shouldn't the Clinton campaign be asked what true "behind the desk" experience she has? Having access to or proximity to the Oval Office for a number of years is quite a bit different than sitting in that powerful chair..... but those running against Hillary cannot openly say that. At the end of the day aren't they both just senators? I believe that the spin of the administration of the 90s is one of the key contributing factors to the country feeling that the far right was a better alternative for the past 7 years.
    I believe that the high voter turn out proves that what we want as a nation is honest, fresh, non-polarizing change and because all of the candidates have fairly equal experience, the best new ideas combined with the best action plan will create a winner....as long as the spin is minimized. Keep up the heat on all of the candidates. Start asking specific plan proposals. Make them put it out there.

    January 9, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  25. Disgusted

    Has everyone forgotten all of the lies Bill and Hillary told during their White House years? How can anyone trust anything they say? Isn't our country in enough trouble without having the liars back in the White House? No country on Earth will believe anything they say. They have caused many, many troubles throughout their years in politics–maybe that's the reason they stayed together through all of his affairs.

    January 9, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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