January 9th, 2008
03:25 PM ET
6 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. Dave

    If we could all just step back and realize that an obama – clinton ticket would be the best thing that has happened to this country in years we would be headed in the right direction. At this point we need a democrat that will stand up for the non-sense that has been happening in D.C. for the past 8 years....on both side of the isle.

    January 9, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  2. mARILYN

    Hillary, I can't believe you and your hubby bill can stoop that low. You act like a small child when Bill took your candy away. First, you shouldn't have let your hubby, the past President to get up to defend you. You should have been a strong woman. When a War breaks out if you becomes President, what are you going to do? Cry on Bill's shoulders and have him do the job for you. How can the American people feel confident that you can do this job. You showed on National television that you can't because of your teary eyes and your hubby had to come to your defense. Another thing, Bill gave you a job, when he was President to fix the insurance problems, this hasn't been done yet. Apparently, you failed at this mission. Both you and your husband need to use clean politics. Mr. Obama has yet put his wife on national televison to defend him. I am so ashame of the Clintons.

    January 9, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  3. Matt, IB, CA

    If people are seriously voting for Hillary because she's a cryer, it's as bad as the people that voted for Bush because 'Al Gore made them feel stupid'. I once repected Bill, but no more, the attitude they have come across with that anyone who stood in the way of Hillary's inevitability should be crushed by any means neccessary has completely tainted the Clinton name. No more Bush/ Clinton banana republic dynasty!! Let me guess what will be on the next election ballot, Jeb Bush vs.Chelsea Clinton..

    January 9, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  4. Dave

    I was disgusted when the Republicans indulged in a hypocritcal witch hunt in the 90's, exclusively for their own politican gain.

    I was angry when they exploited 9/11 and took this country to war under false pretenses, for their own financial gain.

    I was frustrated when Karl Rove expertly stoked the divisions in this country to get Dubya re-elected.

    And now...the Clintons are running a campaign that Karl Rove would be proud of... When her nomination unites an otherwise decimated Republican party, I'm sure ol' Karl will be ecstatic.

    January 9, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  5. Linda J.

    This is business as usual, and they will constantly misconstrue his words in order to confuse the public. Hillary can't even seem to realize the difference between her constant comments about what "I" will do, meaning Hillary as opposed to Barack's assertions that change is something "we" the people will do.

    January 9, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  6. Darre

    Bill Clinton always tells the truth–to his family, to the American people, and to the entire world. It's our fault if we misinterpret it.

    January 9, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  7. Linda~n~Wisconsin

    rybehr January 9, 2008 12:18 pm ET

    In response to Linda-n-Wisconsin…You need to check yourself. Barack Obama is a 46 year-old man who has many great accomplishments in his life. To call him a "little boy" is not only racist, it reflects poorly on you. Exactly what have you accomplished in your life that comes anywhere close to what Mr. Obama has done?

    Obama is 47 and great accomplishments are a matter of opinion. I see Obama as a little boy and it has nothing to do with being a racist. It has to do with his rude, cocky, and condescending attitude. You would be surprised at what I have accomplished in my life. So, please do tell me, just what this little boy has accomplished.

    P.S. I also call our so-called president today, baby Bush!!

    January 9, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  8. Cheryl Craig

    This is what constantly worries me about Obama. He continues to get pulled into a conflict of "he said, she said".
    Is this how he will be with world politicians? Will he get lost in all of the "he said, she said" distractions?
    He seems young to me in his responses. I like him, he just seems naive.

    January 9, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  9. Brett

    FIrst of all, Obama get so angry after he losing the NH. Because, he is TALKER, not act.... alike he will???? If he become president, he will be MORe anrgy if nothing be on his way or even, other attack on America. He must be his own way, nothing to make everything to be UNION! He will not make it...

    Plus, which i dont vote for him! He has nothing to proves that he has been successful during his senate time. Just bark to others, because he is lawyer.

    January 9, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  10. adams

    Obama a threat to national maturity.

    Political rookie and amature Obama puts his ego before our chances to win the white house.

    Ever notice how Obama basically lip sang every thing Edwards was saying in the Debates in N.H.

    January 9, 2008 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  11. joe

    Why ? Why ?

    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 !!!!

    This Experience line is such a load.... would you let your Doctor's partner operate on you ??

    Didn't think so ?

    No mater how many doctor or patients they'd met !

    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 sombody else..............anyone else

    Obama , Edwards or McCain

    January 9, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  12. Mary

    How can Obama claim to be the uniter when I haven't heard about him reaching across the Senate aisle to convince the minority Republicans to do anything, let alone end the war. How will that change if/when he becomes president? It's easy to use the word change to convince those of your same party, but what have you done in the past 2 years of your term to convince people like me that you have what it takes to play the real game of politics ... not the word game

    January 9, 2008 01:31 pm at 1:31 pm |
  13. agron--michigan

    I am hoping the folks at FOX-NEWS-MSNBC take a look at the video of Hardball ? Why does Chris Matthews have a job ? ...but its time ...media to ask Obama rally questions about ,what American people need to know about OBAMA...and not to try to destroy only Clinton...

    January 9, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  14. CA

    I amazed no Sharptan out and running with Hillary's slug at MLK. Johnson may have signed it but King did all the leg work on it. Gave his life for it. I was for her until she gave brushed MLK aside like she did. I am white but I grew up seeing the problems and stigma my colored friend had in many places. She needs to get her facts straight and give credit where it is due. Bill needs to quit complaining for her; he needs to shut up and let her take care of her own campaign. Are we voting for him or her???????

    January 9, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  15. wf

    So, all of you Slick Willy supporters, do you really want Hillary to run the Oval Office or is it Bills DNA you want back in there? Do you remember why we got him out of there in the first place? HIS DNA being all over the place!!!!!

    Evidently it doesn't take much to forget someone's atrocities when it is convenient. I wonder if Hillary really forgave him or if she just wanted to be a Senator and it looks bad to be going through a divorce when you are running for public office?

    Change does not come in the form of Bill Clinton. Oh that's right it's Hillary who is running. Sorry, I got confused!

    Let's try something new! Go Obama!

    January 9, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  16. Ceeyes

    People are not voting for Hillary because of Bill Clinton? Did Bill Clinton get us into a useless war with a 9 trillion debt? Wake up people! Stop getting so emotional!! Use your head! Experience does not count??? What is the world we live in? We need to be two steps ahead and that can only come from experience. We elected Bush and see what inexperience got us! If Bush had read some history books he would have been familiar about not wanting to go into Iraq and disturb a hornet's nest and he would have focussed on getting Osama, who may I add, is still out there altho' we are paying billions to Pakistan. Obama has a likable, fresh attitude, and how far is that going to get us out from the hole we are in? Please vote for Hillary or McCain. The rest are riding on hype and hope. We need strength, earnestness and experience with intelligence.

    January 9, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. yemi E

    I've been racking my brains trying to understand the so called 'experience edge' Hillary Clinton has over Obama, can someone please help me out? What has the experience of the Bush cabinet done for america. I wish u Americans best of luck!

    January 9, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  18. DriveAMclaren

    Looks like Obama supporters outnumbered on this forum. Sign of things to come? I hope not. If Hillary wins then for the first time I'll be voting Republican. Dont want another Clinton in the white house.

    January 9, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  19. alan in tn

    for all this talk about experience being spouted by "patriotic, well-read" americans, i have yet to her or see anything about another "inexperienced" presidential candidate from illinois – his name was abraham lincoln, and other that than the whole martial law in maryland thing, he seemed to do an ok job as chief executive (he did keep the country together – that counts for something, right?)

    furthermore, i would say that years as a community advocate in the poorest sections of chicago is a better qualification of experience to lead the real american public than a lifetime in the senate or in the white house. when did the word experience become so narowly defined as to only mean political experience? mlk wasnt "experienced" in the workings of large government, the baby boomers who took to the streets protesting vietnam werent "experienced" in politics, gahndi and the dalai lama are not "experienced" in the tricks and tools of campaigning – but only a fool would say that any one of them didnt or doesnt have the human experiences required to be a strong advocate for change. the most experienced people in this campaign year are the voters, and personally, my experience tells me that more of the same is nothing but more of the same

    it is said that the surest sign of insanity is repeating the same action over and over again while constantly expecting different results

    unite americans – stop the cycle – barack the vote!

    January 9, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  20. Gobama, NY, NY


    Remember, Americans, these contests should be about AMERICA, and bringing back our country from the abyss!

    By building and DESTROYING THEIR OWN LEGACY, the Clintons helped in the depressing defeat of Al Gore of a nobody, bush, in 2000.

    And by fowling their own nest, the Clintons set the stage for bush to continue the process of destroying American lives, limbs and the treasury.

    It is SUICIDAL for Americans to allow another Clinton White House!

    Anyway, the Republicans would be sharpening their long knives for Bill Clinton .. AGAIN! LOL

    January 9, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. Richard

    Again I ask, don't you think that Obamas' people need to be pushing Edwards' to drop out of the race????

    January 9, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  22. nick

    I an confuse who is running for president, hillery or bill. If it is Hillary i do not my president to sit and cry when she have national or international ciris.And i do not know if i want to put bill in the white house again espically when hillary will be busy running the country, he will be doing what? You know.

    January 9, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  23. RJ

    Bill Clinton taking liberty with something......Imagine that.

    January 9, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. Craig, Seattle, WA

    Hillary won NH.. move on. Obama has no experience except that of opening his mouth.. change change change.. blah blah blah

    January 9, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  25. JB Boston MA

    By the way-

    It is generally accepted that Hillary has the edge with the womens vote. It is generally accepted that Barack has the advantage with the black vote.

    GUESS WHAT FOLKS?????? There are almost NO black people in NH. I know, I am there everyday.

    You Hilliots better not get to mouthy. A State with a couple thousand blacks and Hillary is collecting her silver!!!

    January 9, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
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