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. President Hillary !

    well said GiGiovanna


    *:• •:*¨¨*:•.* HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON*:• •:*¨¨*:•.*

    January 9, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  2. Senator

    Please stay away from that snake oil salesman of "HOPE" and "CHANGE". He is only talk and no substance. We are better off voting for a candidate with experience and who can get advice from the people who gave us 8 Golden years of great economy and peace.

    January 9, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. judy Robinson

    Even the New York Times Editorial talked about Bill Clinton's "hurling himself over the edge on Monday with a bizarre and rambling attack on Mr. Obama. " It is a sad day when a Democrat uses the Swift Boat mentality to try to win an election. Barack Obama, a man of integrity, would never stoop to Bill and Hillary's level of negative campaigning. I hope the American people will recognize the lies, racist undertones, and deceptions that Hillary and Bill Clinton are using. The American people were fooled by Bush and his campaign tactics. Please don't be fooled again by Hillary and Bill's!

    January 9, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. Cyndi

    This strikes at the heart of Obama's message. Does this country still want war? If the answer is "yes", Hillary's experience is perfectly clear. She has sided every time with the President.

    I first met Obama at his now famous 2002 "this is a rash war" speech. His position has been very loud for very long to anyone who will listen, and very clear and consistent. If the answer is “no”, the country does not want war, Obama is the clear choice.

    I'm saddened that our country is distracted by the fear and warmongering moving forward. I had hoped our country was beyond this. Please people - move past your bitter war lust. Our country bleeds yet again.

    January 9, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  5. Jack in upstate

    Whats the point of having more experience if the experience is bad experience?

    Listen to what people from Hillary's state are saying about her. Rochester is losing record numbers of jobs, but she promised a 200,000 person increase in jobs for upstate NY in 1999. It's not just Rochester it's the whole of upstate NY. Farmers are losing there farms; 600 farms were lost in 05-06. For an area that prides ourselves on local farming that is a very depressing statistic.

    BobW from Rochester made some interesting points as well.

    People please do some fact checking on what this woman has done as a NY senator. As far as I'm concerned her experience is that of NOT coming through on her campaign promises, and if experience is such a BIG factor then we should all expect the same from a Hillary presidency.

    January 9, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. Damien

    I think the majority of you should learn politics before you comment. Wasn't it slick willy who gave us NAFTA how many of your family members or friends have loss job due to that policy, didn't he give China a cruicial nuclear chip, wasn't he jocking or hinting about making a run as the UN secratary. How patriotic can that be.

    By the way Mrs. Billary universal health plan looks real good.

    Drug and device makers have donated about $275,000 to Mrs. Clinton’s campaign, making her the top recipient of money from that sector, followed by Mr. Obama, with $261,400, and Mr. Romney, with nearly $259,000.

    It's all politics they all lie dem and rep at least Obama is trying to to bring the American people into the lying process, by lying to ourself saying we want change. Same old song different group same old song, I rather sing a new tune with Obama or vote for a Rep then hum along with the Clinton's.

    Funny all Clinton's fan are shouting how good the economy was when Bill was in office learn your politics it was a pay/go policy forged by G.W. Bush Sr. LEARN YOUR POLITICS PEOPLE .

    January 9, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  7. me

    Lou Dobbs hit it on the head with his column about this election!

    Instead of the political pundants sitting there predicting who the next President will be, they should get out there and do their checking on the candidates fully like reporters are suppose to do and then ask the hard questions to every candidate and be hard on them for loosey goosie responses and do what they are suppose to do in asking the candidates what the public voters want to know!

    After all, since when was it the Media became the decider of who the people want to elect? The Meida has be very petty this year in how they have conducted the coverage of the campaign trail, focusing on meaningless and trivial things and placing smoke and mirrors over substance and realizm!

    Time to go beyond the smoke and mirror feel good preaching, tears, religious rhederic, this persons likeability and so on rediculous campaigning that has thus far consumed the campaign trail! It is time to confront each candidate and ask the tough questions such as first 100 days in office what will you do and how will you impliment your plan of....

    How each will answer and what will be the answers will show what to expect in the next White House!

    January 9, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  8. Gobama, NY, NY

    mabepko January 9, 2008 2:29 pm ET

    You know how to use your computer to reach Obama.com?
    Everything is there concerning Obama's plan for America.

    You can't believe that a highly intelligent, highly educated and highly competent University lecturer wouldn't know to have specifics on his national subject matter; do you? LOL

    Please, Obama is not a high school drop out. LOL

    January 9, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  9. martha

    It take more than good speeches, promises, to be president. if we want change we will have the first woman, we need experiencia she has, vison for future , smarts, comun sense,and good advise she has all. Do you remember the surplus that we have, respect and amiration for this Country ? we can get all that back and more. We are more, we are going to make happen.

    January 9, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  10. louie

    It's very difficult to me to believe that Obama will bring changes if elected president. He seems to freeze when faced with a difficult decission and that's why he avoids voting yes or no and just indicates present as his record states in the state senate of Illinois. my question is what is he going to do when he gets a bill to sign if elected president, is he going to just put it aside and let it drag until time for reelection comes, that way he can't be blamed for either signing or not signing the bill. I was actually leaning toward Obama but there's a lot of open questions that he can't answer because he's been too calculating all his life in order to preserve a clean voting record when running for president. As of right now I'll follow the other candidates to see what they have to offer.

    January 9, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  11. peter

    Sen. Obama, I would suggest when you make comments about our former president, you address him properly. He is President Clinton.

    January 9, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  12. L, Williamsburg, VA

    " Hey, Obama, you said it, you snorted it. Be a man and quit whining because you're starting to sound like George Bush." POSTED BY SHARON.

    Sharon, what are you talking about? If there is anyone that has not whined after all the slander, name calling, and viciousness, it is GWB. You may not like the man or his politics (and that's fine, it's your perogative), but he has conducted himself with class without resorting to the gutter politics of the Democrat Party.

    January 9, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  13. ratt

    I'm an independent. If the democratic party is foolish enough to elect clinton as their nominee they will invite Nader to make another run pulling the liberals away from the Clinton machine and push the independents toward a republican or third party candidate. The dems will once again snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I am woman, hear me roar. Go Hillary Go. LOL

    January 9, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  14. Ann

    Hard questions are starting to come to Obama, thanks to Bill. Sure enough, he tried to wiggle out of the obvious contradictions.

    It's going to be a long week for him.

    January 9, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. William Wicks

    Why did Hillary win? It's the polls, stupid?

    January 9, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. Peg

    I'm sick of the word "experience" more than I am sick of the word "change."

    What makes all of you think that in order to be a great leader or to be qualified to be President of the United States, you need to have "experience"? GWB had lots of "experience" in government and in leadership roles...... before and while he has been President ......... SO THE MORAL IS.........


    January 9, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  17. Chad Butler

    Apparently she came back but what has actually stricken me after New Hampshire is the confirmation of how poor candidate Hillary actually is.

    Otherwise let's just compare the tone and content of both her's and Obama's speeches. Barack made a positive address, charged with emotion and power, stressed his political views and displayed an apparently genuine predisposition for change. Clinton made a shy speech more focused on herself and on how thanked she was to New Hampshire as it has, apparently, saved her campaign. And Hillary made an amazing revelation: that New Hampshire made her found her voice. That can only mean that she didn't have one before and makes me believe even more that her candidature is more a result of a personal ambition and less from desires of serving and changing the current status quo.

    January 9, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. jack, ny, ny

    For the first time Obama sounded fake last night.

    January 9, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  19. ratt

    Obama needs to question why Rupert Murdoch, the owner of Fox News is having fund raisers for clinton. Talk about being bought and paid for by the vast right wing conspiracy. The clintons are disgusting and their supporters are dumb as dirt.

    January 9, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  20. Scared for our country

    That's it. All this has affirmed that I am either voting for Edwards or I am turning republican. So what, he had a pricey haircut. I am sure Obama or Clinton have ridiculous expenses somewhere along the line, suits, shoes etc. I am so SICK of the Obamamainia and the Clinton Haters that I am going to back Edwards all the way while those two tear each other apart. Feel free to join me.....

    January 9, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  21. Roger Evans Colorado

    Who is running for the office of president? is it Hill or Bill, maybe it's the hillbilles. There is still time to put our country back on the right path. But it's not the Clintons that can do it. I have to give the Clintons credit, they know how to make people feel sorry for them when they are losing. Maybe we should feel sorry for the people in Iowa when they put Clinton in third place. Hillary loved the people in Iowa, untill they didn't vote for her, now they are losers and hick farmers who know nothing. Now look at Bill he is mad and up set because people are not treating is wife with the respect she is due. Was Bill mad and up set with himself when he was having all those affairs behind Hillary's back, or maybe he was in frount of her, either way she didn,t care, so don't worry now Bill, it will be ok. The polls say that president Bush has lied to the people, is hard headed will not listen to reason, does what he wants. The name of the game is change, so why would we want to replace this president with the great Clintons who are the best liers, cheaters, corrupt people we have seen in along time. Just look at the ninties all the lies cheating and corruption having two good friends killed, because they were going to go public about the Clintons. Do we need this again, even having the Clinton mob take out some more of their friends. I am a democrat, but I could not vote for the HILLBILLIES

    January 9, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  22. Jim G

    Imagine Bill Clinton twisting someone else's words or not telling the truth! This man of honor, oops, dishonor.

    January 9, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  23. Mary Hagar Santa Barbara Ca

    We're all going to suffer having two Clintons sharing (?) the White House.
    Whose the boss?
    Oval Office antics?
    Where's Dr. Phil.
    Hide the Red Phone!

    January 9, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  24. Nalla

    For those of you coted or will vote for Hillary, I guess you are all just dumb enough to be ruled by two families for almost 24 years. For god sake, this is US and not a nepotic middle east where a sheik and his cronies rule until the line dies off. Barack is the face of this country to the world and for every intellectual with hope. without Bill, Hillary amounts to nothing. But Barack has risen from grounds up. Give him credit for that.

    My only fear is that if Barack loses the nomination race, all those of us, who believe in him may lose any respect for this politico-electoral process and stay out of this mess for ever.

    I hope Barack gets nominated and eventually wins the general and I can go around the world with my head up and confident that we are the leaders of this free world again. But until that happens, I will arise, awake and will not stop supporting the revolution across this nation.

    Join in folks, be part of the history and say good bye to same-old same-old.

    All for Obama

    January 9, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
  25. paul

    Why can't people just let Obama defend himself from false attacks? Bill Clinton knew his wife's campaign was on the ropes and said biting remarks the night before the election in the hopes that Obama would not have time to fully defend himself. It worked. Bill Clinton is a master politician, and we should certainly give props to the Clinton ticket as a whole. While Bill undermined Obama's credibility, Hillary answered the charges against her lack of personality with a well-timed performance. They did exactly what they had to do in a state that strongly supported Bill during his run. If you are Obama, defend yourself, but dont worry – the longer you are in the race, the better. Edwards will run out of money and steam eventually, and with his votes will come more support for the Obama campaign. In addition, Hillary will have to start distancing herself from Bill. She cant expect him to keep doing New Hampshires and legitimize herself in the face of such a charismatic, uplifting figure like Obama. Hillary has the social grace of a can of mase. I think undecided votes will realize that she is such a polarizing figure around this country that a more universally accepted candidate like Obama will be preferable. In the meantime, Obama should continue to defend himself, yet maintain his positive, partisan message.

    January 9, 2008 03:03 pm at 3:03 pm |
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