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. Karen

    Obama's machine was just on saying Clinton's tears need to analyzed. It's nice to see them focus on a real issue of importance to the American citizens. Finally! I was beginning to think this guy had nothing to offer. Do you think he'll get in there and get to the truth. Should we have a plan to get out of Iraq or do you think she had her hair done that day? How would you deal with Iran or was she tired? Was there five Iranian boats around US ships was there one tear or two? I wonder if his machine knows what shoes she wears? The American people need to know now before our country goes down the tubes.

    January 9, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  2. Wendy

    Both these candidates make laugh hysterically. Obama is going to provide change in politics. How? By hoping? He still has to operate within the existing system of
    government IF elected. You can't change the whole system right off the bat. And Hillary has experience. Well, I've been married to a dentist for over eight years...decorated the office for the holidays, went to dinners with the staff...with all that experience I guess now I can start doing root canals! Please. The only project she ever attempted was an abysmal failure-healthcare. If we start socialized medicine, where are all the Canadians going to go to get their healthcare?

    January 9, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    hmm. i remember a couple of days ago, that people praised obama like no other. now the tides have changed how amusing, you democrats always amuse me

    Mccain 08

    January 9, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  4. GB

    Obama and Clinton will NEVER run together.

    January 9, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  5. Anonymous

    Hillary or Obama? What's best for the country? Trick question. Unless sweeping changes are made to the entire democratic process you want the lesser of all the evils. Maybe Obama's inexperience hasn't rotted him to the core yet. Depending on where Hillary is giving her speech, she is either for or against the offshoring of hundreds of thousands of US jobs. Don't believe me? Look it up on YouTube and let her do all the talking. Edwards was the only one to mention that a study showed 10-20 MILLION jobs are at risk to being offshored in the next 10 years. That issue has grown beyond low paying jobs, has entered the high tech market and is moving into HR, accounting and so on. What do you do for a living? Very soon someone in another country who can and will work for 80% less than you can do your job. This goes beyond the ideas of free trade or a global economy. This allows companies to move their factories to countries without pollution control or all the labor to a country with no labor laws. Bill Clinton turned us onto this path the most recently and George W. Bush ran down it with full force. Another Clinton administration will further destroy American sovereignty and the middle class but it will help the poor. It's simple actually. Once all of our jobs are gone the middle class BECOMES the poor, you just need to change the definition of poor to middle class and, ta da, we made all of the poor middle class. We're at a point in our economy that is the start of every sci-fi movie that describes how the oppressive government and big business took over the world to leave most people in a state of X. What will the next chapter be?

    Don't take my word for it though. What do I know? Do your own homework and find out where all of these candidates stand. That in itself becomes truly unAmerican. Why research to find out what's best when a crocodile tear or popular talk show host can tell me better. I'm not for any particular candidate on either side except I am strongly against Hillary Clinton because I did my homework and did what she told me to; looked at her track record.

    January 9, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  6. Dozirulf

    The statement Bill Clinton keeps twisting is one where Obama was asked about backing John Kerry (who voted for the war) though he himself was opposed to it. Obama, not wanting to rip on his own candidate's past vote, compromised by saying that had the vote come to him personally he's not sure which way he would have voted. That's all. No big deal. Bill Clinton is desperate. HE'S the one living in a fairy tale.

    January 9, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. greg,new york

    America welcome to politics clinton style.

    January 9, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  8. Jake, California

    Hillary Clinton can never become president of the United States, shy may only win a few states.

    1. She boasts of experience but plants question so that she gives calculated answers
    2. She cries for votes when she's not getting them
    3. 50% or more of the country already hits her to start with..could get bigger with time
    4. she has a promiscuous houseband who is also notorious at lying and twisting information.

    Wait....is she going to sit on round table with Al Queada and leaders of the Middle East and say if you don't become friends of America I'll cry right now?

    That's really going to work...
    Let her just enjoy these few moments which will encourage her to spend more wasteful money on her bogus campaign. In the end she'll be crying even harder.

    January 9, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. Val

    Obama is probably the clearest orator we have heard in a long time. To publicly misconstrue his words is an apparent attempt to misguide voters. For the Barack campaign, I do not think they have anything to worry about, but for Hillary, I think Bill was "reaching" to help his wife's cause - behavior characteristically typical of some of the "seasoned" crew from Washington.

    January 9, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. Don't Mess With Texas

    Lisa Hampton–you are part of the problem that helps put this country on the wrong path. Simply voting on the basis of ethnicty is absolutely crazy, BUT many voters will do just that and not examine the issues. Keep in mind that the president has the power to sign an veto legislation. Some will probably affect you personally so I would suggest you be careful how you vote. Get informed. What research have you really done on your candidate? You may want him there because of ethnicty but he may vote opposite of your belfiefs. What "slimy tactics" did the Clintons use to win NH? It's called POLITICS–the game can change at any moment. People have hated the Clintons for a very long time but strange how Bill got elected twice and the very people who voted for him and have benefited from important legilstation that he passed are the very ones to bash him. But bashing and trashing him for the Moncia thing has nothing to do with what he accomplished as President. Um, I wonder how many of you on this thing both male and famale have never cheated or been cheated upon by your spouse, girlfriend/boyfriend. And I wonder how you would have handled if your dirty laundry had been played out on national TV? Would you have had the psychological strength to endure it? Probably not. People in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

    January 9, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  11. Tom

    Obama is as big a bag of hot wind as Romney, both talk talk talk and say nothing. Wind bags...absolute wastes of time, both of them.

    January 9, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. henna jan


    January 9, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  13. MIKE



    January 9, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  14. GB

    If Obama won I wonder if he could coax Colin Powell into being his running mate? Not likely, but talk about a dream team. Colin Powell had quite a few positive things to say about Obama yesterday. That would be a great bipartisan duo, and would stop any fears about Obama and foreign policy.

    January 9, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  15. warren vidrine

    Good job in New Hampshire. I knew you could do it with out a doubt. You are on your way now. I know you have a lot on your plate. Just don't push yourself too hard and make yourself sick. We still have a long way to go. My family and I are behind you 100%. I hope after the New Hampshire election the media will back off and start treating you like a human being as they are the rest of the canditates. As far as you Hillary haters, stop the bashing and accept it because she will be you next president.

    January 9, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  16. henna jan



    January 9, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  17. Candace

    Obama refused to attack Kerry and Edwards on their Iraq war vote when prodded by New York Times on July 26, 2004. This is also the time when on behalf of Kerry, he gave the now famous speech during the Democratic National Convention (July 26-29, 2004). His generous statesmanship is now being twisted by someone who supported the Iraq war then later claimed that he opposed it from the beginning:

    On November 27, 2007, while campaigning for his wife in Iowa (whose Iraq war vote she refuses to apologize for), Bill Clinton said he had been against the Iraq war "from the beginning."

    "Even though I approved of Afghanistan and opposed Iraq from the beginning," said Clinton, "I still resent that I was not asked or given the opportunity to support those soldiers."

    In 2003, while delivering commencement remarks at Tougaloo College in Jackson, Miss., he said:

    "I supported the President when he asked the Congress for authority to stand up against weapons of mass destruction in Iraq."

    January 9, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  18. Lisa

    The reason that Obama will win is that he is not polarizing, and he is very relatable to the American populace. Hillary Clinton is very, very polarizing and could be the poster child of the "establishment" in Washington (at least IMHO). She will NOT get Republican voters and probably will not get a ton of Independent voters (both very important constituencies, I might add). I am a female, Republican historically, and she sure as heck will NOT get my vote, ever. Hillary is extremely condescending when she speaks about Independents and Republicans...in Iowa she said, "Republicans who have seen the light". That oozes condescension and turned me off big time (though I was not a fan of her before that comment either). Obama, on the other hand, very much embraces Republicans and Independents (not to mention Democrats). His message is positive (about hope, change...which has become a much overused term by all nominees, and coming together by all Americans). Moreover, since Obama is relatively new to Washington politics, he probably does not owe favors to lobbyists and supporters like the Clinton's do. Look at Clinton's remarks. Her message is pretty much always about division and negativity...which is something that our country does not need after George Bush (again IMHO).

    January 9, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. jack, ny, ny

    It is funny to read some of the remarks from Obama supporters. They sound like 5 year old. What is better choice? Billary who could make difference to US as it was done in 90s or Obama who could be potentially another bush- guy you can have beer with.
    Hillary can have all the marital problems it is her choice how she wants to deal with it. As for Obama, I have friends to have beer with.

    Go clinton 08

    January 9, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  20. Mike Ferguson

    Obama should not be suckered into responding to every comment the Clinton's make. We should all know they play the game to keep their opponent on the defensive. Tim Russert has used the analogy of Ali verses Frazier, Obama can't fall for "rope-a-dope" and make statements that make him appear to be worried about Hillary or Bill. For someone who doesn't know what the meaning of "is" is, Bill Clinton should not be interpreting anyone's statements. Obama's positive message is like a breath of fresh air. I vote Republican, but, Obama has a good message and should stay on the offensive. The past 16 years of politic opponent bashing is getting real old.

    January 9, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. Heya

    Other than being a good speaker, I can't see anything good in Obama. He keeps talking about change – but he is so vague abut the changes that he is talking about. He does not give any details whatsoever. But man, he is good with words.
    Also him saying that he has opposed to Iraq war is meaningless, becuase he did not have to vote on this.

    January 9, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  22. Andy

    Hilary is a Fake and takes money from Lobbyist and special interest. How can she help us change this nation and she has already sold her soul the lobbyist and Special interest in Washington.Obama and Edwards did not take any money from special interest and lobbyist.She stands for the Status Quo, the old guard and this is not what the nation wants.

    January 9, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. CC

    Darre, Are you sleeping with Bill and Hill? Do you really think Bill Clinton and in that case Hillary, has told the nation the turt? Come on now. Bill Clition cheated on his family for years (check the records) and no one has questioned that during this election year.

    Their daughter works at a hedge fund so I do not think that Hillary would go after her daughters pay-check like they whent after her boyfreinds.

    Check your facts dear.

    January 9, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. Larry H

    This election is all about one thing and one thing only–WOMEN.
    Period. So Mr. Obama, please realize this and tell Mr. Edwards NOT to gang up on Hillary because WOMEN will not like that. Period. If you want to win this thing, you MUST win with WOMEN. Period.
    Now for the women voters out there...If you like slick men like Bill...If you admire egotistical, slick women like Hillary who only have 'history' on their minds and NOT you, and if the characters of people you elect don't matter to you as much as their genders, by all means, elect your Hillary. Get your woman up there. Make her history for her. Just don't come crying when you find that she hasn't helped you or your family in your life. Or when she hasn't provided a good, honest, unself-centered role model for your daughters to follow. Or when she reminds you how great she is, greater even than MLK, while you're still struggling to make ends meet. Don't worry, it's all good. You'll have Bill's oh-so-truthful chuckles and smiles and the establishment-for-'change' to tune into for every state of the union....and of course, let's not forget, you'll have your WOMAN.

    January 9, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. stan pitts pa

    hrc crying or breakdown was because someone mentioned something about her look, and she wept wow, i didnt see her weeping when our soldiers were getting killed in iraq, and katrina e.t.c they are a selfish power-hungry couple, its all about what they want!

    January 9, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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