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. Linda J.

    Instead of listening to whatever the newsmedia has to say about Obama, go to his website and look into his policies and stand on the issues before making such comments about flowery words.

    Hillary sheds a few tears and everyone is ready to follow her. Come on, that is the height of idiocy. She didn't win in NH statistically speaking due to the unbelieveable amount of airtime she received leading up to the primary. What an unfair platform.

    Follow the person who can pull this country together and actually get the people behind him. Not someone who will invite you to "dinner" then when you arrive, tell you that the table is already full. Come back next time. The table will be full of Hillary's "old boy network", the people who are supporting her now. Do you think that those millions of dollars were given without expecting something in return? How naive can you be?

    At least you know Obama is really getting money from the people, he does not accept money from political groups with agendas that will sell the people down the drain. Hillary does and she will continue to do that because after 35 years in politics thats all she knows how to do. You should be glad that Barack is not coming from that type of background.

    January 9, 2008 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  2. Barrister4Hillary

    This is the "real" Barack Obama...petty, whiny and inexperienced. He's only human when the cameras are ON. Barack Obama took advantage of ALL the lies and slander of Hillary for MONTHS, knew it was wrong but never spoke up.

    Even Mitt freaking Romney spoke up against the media attacks on Hillary. If Mitt Romney has more decency than you, Mr. Obama, that tells the smart voters in this country who you really are.

    Hillary beat you last night because New Hampshire votes a LOT more like America than some random head count in a middle school classroom in Iowa that you could pack with 17 year olds.

    Iowa picks corn, New Hampshire picks Presidents.

    You had a nice run Sen. Obama, go back to the Senate and get some experience.

    January 9, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. Kerry

    Seriously, I have been a supporter of Bill Clinton's in the past, but it does seem that Hillary is resorting to some pretty sad tactics. Not taking her victory in New Hampshire away.....truth be told, a black man should not win in a state that is 96% white......but between Hil "crying" and Bill's bashing, this is not pretty. For all of Obama's "faults" and inexperience, I commend him for not stooping to his opponent's level. Leave the backbiting/backstabbing to the Republicans. Because, rest assured, they will attempt to roast whichever Democrat wins the primary. Especially Mrs. Clinton.

    January 9, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. Bob - RFO, Florida

    Becky January 9, 2008 12:45 pm ET

    Becky – Very nice analysis!!

    260,000+ democratic votes and the difference was approx 7,800! That's not a landslide and from a delegate point of view it was a virtual tie!

    It really bugs me how the press play up what was a very close race and turn it into some type of landslide or major comback! Hillary is the virtual incumbent!!

    Also there's NO reason for race baiting or harping on about the "Bradley" effect on the New Hampshire election. Remember New Hampshire has an African-American population of "0.7%" therefore the difference would have been far greater. (That's not to say that it does not happen and has not happend in the past!)

    If voters changed their mind about Barack at the last minute then it was because, if in doubt, e Americans tend to default to the known verses the unknown.

    Unfortunately I don't think we took a single Ward in Manchester, NH. That coupled with the 6% that Richardson and Kinuch took between them made the difference!

    Go Obama '08, onto Nevada, South Carolina, Florida and the other states!

    I was an American Soldier, I am an American Soldier, I will always be an American Soldier and I support Barrack Obama for President of the United States of America!

    January 9, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. lolo

    Get over it Obama! You lost! Go back to school and get some experience!!

    January 9, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  6. Marie Antoinette

    to: billary bush bush

    whats that saying... fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.
    anyboby but hilary.

    January 9, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  7. lolo

    Get over it Obama! You lost! Go back to school and get some experience!!

    January 9, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  8. Virginia from San Francisco

    My Friends,
    I would agree with Becky my horse is in the barn until I hear specifics. What is wrong with stating "I am a woman running for President?" I also heard from a female in the media say "I don't wish to play the gender issue but I will" so when is it that as women we need to excuse ourselves for being just that. Folks it was not too long ago (80 or so years and there folks older than this today) that women where not allowed to vote...something the young generation has forgotten. It was not that long ago (50 years or so and there are folks older than this today) that non-whites where not allowed to vote.

    Senator Obama wanted to run for president so his voting record is up for us to view to seek his records and no one "twisted" those words. The fact that he has missed so many sessions did someone "twist" him then that he couldn't be in attendance. I find that Senator Hillary Clinton is sincere though I would agree that she needs to be captain of her own ship and allow her hair to hang down. I have been involved with change and politics since the UFW (before the letters existed) and I was in middle school. I don't need an inspirational speaker as I can always seek this what I need is a leader who is willing to lay out there plan for our country.

    Let me just end with this inclusion means ALL citizens not just black/white...so what happen to Native Americans (also known as First Nation since we where here first before Europeans came over), Asian Americans, Pacific Islanders, Latino Americans are we invisible.

    January 9, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. Ralph

    Hey wf, whats wrong with a little DNA all over the place, I think you had a little too much for breakfast this morning. The DNA wasn't why Bill left office, his term expired you moron. The DNA was just fun times for Bill, certainly not an atrocity. If Hillary doesn't care, why should you. The only thing Bill did wrong was to lie under oath. Obama has no plan, no record, and no loyalty to his country. He has been trashing America in his ads, I don't trust him.

    January 9, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  10. Diane

    NH reject Obama and all his empty "I have a Dream" speeches. Obama thinks he can stand on the stage and just say over and over again "Change, Change, Change".

    Can he say how he's going to do more specifically? I bet better not. He once said if he'd be elected as the president, he'd ban the import of Chinese toys. Sounds so great, make everybody happy. But, does he know that America imports 80% toys from China? If we stopped abruptly importing toys from China, it'd create servere shortage of toys, then, things like black market would emerge, that would be more dangerous, at 10 times more, than importing from China. Any economist would tell him it's not feasible!

    So that's the change he's going to promise?

    January 9, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  11. lilarose

    And the sniping continues.

    Time for me to tune out on the presidential run.

    I will tune back in in November on election day.

    Actually, it will be sooner than that, because here in Oregon we VOTE BY MAIL!

    What a concept!

    January 9, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  12. Mark Wichita KS

    Earth to Obama

    Welcome to Politics Clinton style.

    January 9, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  13. sandy

    I hope the American people take a long,hard look at both Obama and Clinton before we decide who we want to represent the Democrats in the Presidential election. If we get Hillary,we really get Bill. Do you honestly think he is not going to have input into a Hillary presidency? We've had enough of both the Bush's and the Clinton's. Let's move forward America!! I have not been so inspired by one speaker (Obama) since John Kennedy's days. America needs someone who can inspire us, who is eloquent, and who will make us all proud again. I truly see this in Barack Obama. Enough of the petty stuff,lets get some substance from both of them and then let the people decide,but we better get it right this time America. Hillary boasts experience in foreign policy. I want specifics! She can't give us any specifics. Thus, Clintonish untruthfulness!! Vote right this time America or we will all pay the price.

    January 9, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  14. Santosh-Phila

    President Clinton really has behaved unPresidential, stooping to low levels in his post-Presidency getting invovled in petty politics. Once your Presidency is over, you are held to a higher standard by the public above the fray. I think Clinton likes the fray.

    You never saw the first President Bush get invovled in the small stuff when his son was running, nor will you see current President Bush stoop to petty levels after his Presidency is done.

    Clinton's behavior throughout this campaign has been bad but the real despicable thing he did was right here in Philadelphia back in 2003. Our mayoral election was going on at the time as incumbernt John Street (D) was staving off a difficult challenge from challenger Sam Katz (R), a moderate and ex-Democrat who was leading in the polls with less thana month to go. In the meantime, Mayor Street's office was being bugged by the FBI, as many in his administration were being investigated for what later turned out to be serious corruption in our city's politics. But what the local Democratic Party in conjunction with the Street campaign did was make up a story that the Bush administration was supposedly was framing Mayor Street to help the Republicans pick up the mayorship in the city. Congressman Bob Brady, the local chairman of the Dem. Party long after the election admitted in an interview that he knew that there was no such conspiracy, that it was all made up but "I was just spinning the sh**.....and it worked." Never mind that the Philly voters were stupid enough to fall for this conspiracy as Street won re-election overwhelmingly by playing this made-up "Bush" card and that we've come to expect no better in Philly politics. But what is still unbelieveable to this day is that PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON CAME TO PHILLY AND JOINED THIS PROPAGANDA at a rally saying how they're not going to let the Bush Administration get away with it....etc etc.

    It's perfectly normal for ex-Presidents to simply campaign for people in their party but for someone to stoop that low is just so unbecoming of an ex-President and really does an indignity to the office.

    January 9, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  15. Lita

    Get over it Obama! Take your medicine like a good fellow! This is Hillary's day! Girl Power!!!!

    January 9, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  16. Maureen

    My thing is people keep saying Obama is not experienced my big question is what experience does Hilliary have short of being married to someone who's been in politics all those years – if that's a record of experience than I guess all the woman he slept with could run on his years of experience also – don't mean to be so negative, but enough is enough – I'm sick of the negative stuff till me what you're going to do I'll make up my own mind on what your opponent will do or not do – People aren't that STUPID

    January 9, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  17. GROW-UP

    In response to LINDA: Your comment about Hillary not being woman enough to standup for her child and walking out on Bill. First, I would like to add what Bill did was indeed a terrible thing to do, but don't we all go through some type of wrong doings throughout our life-time? Are you without fault? I don't endorse what he did but I actually endorse Hillary's standing with her man (family) and getting past that ordeal.

    If she can get over it...why are you still harping on it? I happen to be an African-American person who fully endorse Hillary getting the nomination and eventually becoming our next President.

    My advice to you would be to get out of Hillary and Bill bedroom.

    January 9, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  18. rabblerouser

    To JT: Thank you, you're the only one who seems to understand what that vote on Iraq was really about.

    January 9, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  19. guest

    I think it's funny how the Hillary fans love to point out that Obama lacks experience.

    At least Obama has legislative experience in Washington. That's far more than Bill Clinton had in 1992 - he was governor of a state that fell consistently close to last place on many issues, including education, health care and per-capita income.

    January 9, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  20. henna jan

    GO BILL, GO HILLARY AMERICA NEEDS GREAT LEADERS.

    I WAS SICK WITH CNN COVERAGE OF ELECTION.

    HERE'S TO THE WORST NEWS TEAM IN THE NATION, EVEN LOWER THEN FOX NEWS.

    January 9, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  21. DriveAMclaren

    Hillary cried on National TV and there goes the primary. How did it all come to this?

    January 9, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  22. Voter in New Hamphire

    Bill Clinton's comments had little to do with Obama losing the primary. He's just not ready to handle politics rough atmosphere as evidenced by these actions.

    January 9, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  23. Kerry

    All this talk of "experience". Besides being married to a former Govenor and President, and moving to a state so she could run for office herself, what experience does Hillary really have?? Not to say I couldn't support her, but folks act like the divide between the two (Clinton and Obama) is as vast as the Grand Canyon. We are by no means talking about career politicians here....either of them.

    January 9, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  24. Colie Brice, Asbury Park, NJ

    Bill is an established liar..

    January 9, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. Linda

    Out of desperation, 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 decided it was time to ":investigate "Obama more. I wasn't surprised by this tactic-I knew it was coming sooner or later. But,I was amazed at how the newscasters 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 Democratic primary, I thought the strategies of the campaigns were primarily respectable. I'm so proud of the way Obama 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 any indication of how Hillary will handle difficult situations in the White House?

    January 9, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
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