January 9th, 2008
03:25 PM ET
5 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. Johnny

    Gary,
    You emphasize Obama's status as "Junior" senator. Lest no one else has mentioned it, so is Hillary. Most of the experience Junior Senator Clinton has going for her involves being the WIFE of a leader, as an elected official she only has four years on Obama. Now, admittedly she worked hard and did good things during her husband's terms in Washington and Arkansas, but to get the thirty-five years she goes on and on about, you must include the dubious distinction of being the only first lady in history to be served a federal subpoena.
    On another note, am I the only one who finds the "cry baby Obama" posts to be a bit ironic after Hillary's "tearful" moment? Incidentally, while "choking back tears" she said "I don't want to see things slide backwards". Backwards to what? Bush? Her husband? Frankly I think way too much was made of her "emotional moment". All I saw in that footage was a person who had been campaigning thirty hours a day for a month and was ready to crack, a situation all of the candidates on both sides are in. I'm amazed none of them have really snapped yet. I doubt the average person could handle that much pressure for so long

    January 9, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. sm

    sounds to me like Bill is running , not Hilary

    January 9, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  3. Matt

    Bo Ho Barrak. You lost because people saw that you had a one word/one issue platform. The hollow promise of "change" lost, experience won. Big Bad Billy Boy didn't "take liberties with you". You lost because you stand for nothing and people saw right through the smoke and mirors.

    January 9, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  4. Kerri, Archbald PA

    Bill and Hill doing what they do best -lie lie lie. Obama opposed the war from the get-go... But anyone with common sense knows that even if you oppose the war, you can't ignore our soldiers...I don't want our soldiers over there either, but they need to eat, and they need to arm themselves!! DUH! The only way I will continue to believe that we actually do live in a democratic society, is if Obama wins. There is just too much that goes on behind closed doors that us "little people" don't know about. Obama will make everything transparent. I just pray that our system isn't that tampered with so that the people's voices will be heard and we are screaming OBAMA!!!

    January 9, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. joli

    HolliA calm down... Jeez. I was merely giving you a taste of what Obama is going up against. The fact is it doesnt matter what the facts are... it doesnt matter where he put or didnt put his hand. The Reps took an honored Vietnam vet and turned his whole military carrier upside down. Obama doesnt have a clue... of whats to come

    January 9, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  6. Andy, Woodbridge , VA

    Are Clinton's the only smartest people in America ? Can't we do without them? They need to leave us alone .No way backwards to the scandals.

    January 9, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  7. Kelly

    I think Bill Clinton's sour grapes extend beyond this primary season. It is clear that regardless of how this turns out, Obama is the new superstar of the Democratic party. Their future rest on his shoulders. Worst case scenario for Obama is Hillary gets the nomination and wins the election while Obama becomes a star in the senate, further solidifying his stature, 4-8 years from now he will be unstoppable. He wins either way really. Hillary can't really survive a defeat her, she has more at stake. Bill gets to repair his shaky legacy through his wife. Barack Obama is the spoiler, he overshadows anyone around him, including the former president. If you ask me, Bill Clinton is so vehement in his attacks of Obama because his ego can't take someone else being held up as the savior of the party, like he was back in the 90's.

    January 9, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  8. EdinNC

    I have to laugh at all of "experience mongers". I don't buy the motto that "experience" makes you right or better! Don't we hear that every year? Experience is shallow nowadays - you learn how to lie, cheat, and steal your way to the top. It is not difficult to barely show up to work , barely vote half of the time, and then deny any culpability for something that you actually did or said. Again, what does experience have to do with anything? I just want someone else besides the Bush's and Clinton's runing the White House for a change.

    January 9, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  9. Rick

    Once again I see the Clinton's are normal with their comments and once again I see the media is listening to a Clinton whine, tears and spill of untruths. Bill and Hillary ; please grow up.
    The people of this country want change, we do not want the STATUS QUO, we are tired of inside washintgon politics, we are tired of those who will not protect the dignity of this country, we dont want someone who calls our generals liars, we want someone who will support our troops, we want someone who wont tear up when she doesnt get her way, and we really want someone who has a vision for the future of this country, not someone who thinks she has experience because she was the presidents wife.
    Why is it that the Clinton's can not run a professional campaign, maybe they can throw in with Romney.

    January 9, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  10. Sara - Florida

    Obama and the rest of the "boy's club" have spent the past few months ganging up and attacking Hillary in their ads and on the public debates.

    Hillary is a strong candidate and proved last night that she has what it takes to win above all odds. The media wants Obama to win so much that after his win in Iowa all you saw was his face in the news, with no equal time for Hillary, only comments about how she was losing ground in New Hampshire. Well, Hillary stood strong and showed them all, the stuff that she is made of. "Way to go girl!"

    I normally would not even consider a female for President, but in this case,
    I feel that Hillary is the best person for the job of President of the United States. She is as strong if not stronger than any man, and she has a woman's brain. Wow, what a combination.

    As first lady she visited many countries and made her mark on them so she is the best equipped to deal with foreign policy of those running for the Democratic nomination.

    Hillary has my vote, and I hope the vote of the majority of the women in this country.

    January 9, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  11. r k martin, New York, NY

    Clinton and Bush have divided this nation. Their policies and politics have driven the country into two halves. Neither of these halves can solve all the problems. The partisanship created by these two families has ruined the nation.

    We need a change. Fresh blood. Fresh ideas. Obama graduated first in his Harvard law school. I'll put his intelligence and judgement up against Hillary any day

    OBAMA 08! The revolution has begun!

    January 9, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  12. ashley

    funny how or ironic.... as soon as a woman runs for president, so does a black man. face it, she is more qualified, with actual plans on every issue. unlike he who only wants change but has never stated how to bring that about, other than taking Hillary's plans and passing them off as his own. She is the best candidate for the job and does not have to bring Oprah along to get people out to see her. before oprah spoke of obama, no one knew who he was. Also when he came to iowa, people there even said i can't wait to see oprah, and i came to see oprah. what does that say? Madonna and Angelina Jolie support Hillary but you don't see them you see Her. Hillary may have Bill, but I assure you that he does not tell her what to do, but probably she tells him. We need her as our next president, and can't afford not to have her.

    January 9, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  13. Sharon in FL

    NOBAMA! I'm an Independent who always votes Democratic but I would NEVER vote for Obama, master of political weaselocity and the cliche hope speech. So for the first time in my life, I'm checking out Republicans just in case. In the meantime, I'm working hard for a Hillary victory.

    January 9, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  14. sally

    I would love to know when someone is going to talk about the people of the USA. I am so sick of hearing about overseas crap I could spit! What about us? Quit spending OUR money elswhere in other countrys that coat their leaders pockets and keep it at home! We have REAL problems! No jobs, housing market, no social security, homless men,women and children, crime (a war at home if you will with our own terrorists) illegal imm's – why even call them illegal if you are going to open the door for them? Loss of jobs, high intrest and tax and home& property tax tax, tax, taxes for ever...... scams, credit fraud that WE have to pay for.....and thats not even the half of it! When are these people going to pay attention to the USA???? The people really have no voice anymore, we are sheep and congress are fat bloated power sick hearders. ECH!!! No wonnder so many people are moving out of the country!!!

    January 9, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  15. Ryan, San Mateo

    Obama is a nice enough man, but no way near experienced, knowledgeable, or prepared enough to battle this mess the next President will have to deal with. We need someone who is for the people and we finally have a chance with HRC. Don't believe the hype.

    January 9, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  16. William Wicks

    The message of hope that Barak Obama brings to us is expressed well in Marianne Williamson's book, "The Healing of America." On page 241, it is written, "The magic people haven't been invited to attend the party in America, for fear that they might dance. They haven't been invited to speak at the party, for fear that they might sing. They haven't been invited to run the party, for fear that they might change it. They would have, and now theyre going to."

    January 9, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  17. diana

    TALK ABOUT 'FLIP FLOP' ! HILLARY DIDN'T WIN BY ANY LANDSLIDE IN NH. SO NOW WHIS LIKEABLE, VULNERABLE, HUMAN AND MORE ELECTABLE BECAUSE SHE BECAME TEARY EYED AND THE WOMEN OF NH FELT SORRY FOR HER? WHEN THE MEDIA SAID SHE TALKS ABOUT 'ME' AND 'WHEN I'M PRES' AS COMPARED TO OBAMAS 'WE WILL WORK TOGETHER' SHE CAME OUT WITH 'WE' AND WHAT 'WE' WILL DO. WHEN THE MEDIA NOTED THAT SHE WASN'T PERSONABLE, DIDN'T ANSWER VOTER QUESTIONS, DIDN'T LINGER AFTER SPEECHES, SHE STARTED ANSWERING QUESTIONS, TRIED TO SMILE AND APPEAR FRIENDLY AND LINGERED. WHEN HER STERN DEMEANOR WAS MENTIONED AGAIN , SHE CRIED AND BILL DEFENDED HER. SHE SHOULD BE ASHAMED! SHE WONT BE ABLE TO KEEP THIS STANCE, SHE WILL REVERT BACK TO THE STUBBORN, UNFRIENDLY, NEGATIVE, ABOVE US ALL , ATTACK WHEN QUESTIONED POLITICIAN. ;SHE WOULDN'T BE AT THIS POINT IN HER LIFE WITHOUT HER HUSBAND. DO WE WANT ANOTHER BUSH FOR OUR PRESIDENT? DO WE WANT ANOTHER NEGATIVE, STUBBORN UNAPPROACHABLE, VINDICTIVE UNCOMPROMISING, OLD SCHOOL POLITICIAN? OR DO WE WANT A PERSON WHO IS OPEN TO CHANGE, POSITIVE, DOESN'T OWE THE ESTABLISHMENT, HAS A GENEROUS OPEN HEART AND CARES ABOUT ALL PEOPLES. HIS MIND SET, INTELLIGENCE AND OPEN HEART WILL GUIDE HIM TO LEAD, COMPROMISE AND BRING OUR NATION TOGETHER.

    January 9, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  18. r k martin, New York, NY

    as for the media, it's a fact that over 40% of the citizens in this country despise the Clintons.

    If Hillary gets the nomination, the voter turnout against her will be unbelievable! So if Cnn's coverage is negative on Billary, it's only because 2/5ths of the country wants to see negative press on those snakes!

    January 9, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  19. James Bond

    I'm just tired of you Obama haters. On one hand people claim he does not have the experience to become president because he has only served about a couple of years as a Senator. My question to you people is this: Is the senate, the only place to get the experience to become a president? Obama has done a lot for this country even before serving in the Senate. He just didn't graduate from College yesterday. Because you are not used to seeing him so much on the news till now does not mean he lacks experience. I love the Clintons but besides her serving in the US Senate, does serving the white house as a First lady counts as experience too? or are we just using her husband's work to reflect her experience? All I'm saying is America needs a fresh start, and a uniter, and that's Obama. I would like to see Hilary as Vice. This country is not a kingdom. We don't want a Bush, a Clinton, then a Bush and Clinton again scenario. Bill Clinton has done a lot for this country, but it"s time to move on people.

    January 9, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  20. sally - Houston, TX.

    Oh yeah.. and how can you not fund the military???? you putz you sent them there!!!!!!!! Are you just going to say sorry kids, no more money?? the whole idea is so stupid

    January 9, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  21. Tracy

    NH win is not by a huge margin people!!! America wants Obama. The common American wants Obama as president.

    Trust me Clinton will not go all the way. And I respect her.

    January 9, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  22. Kris

    Well, it sounds like Obama is whinning just like he acusses Hillary of doing. Poor baby. He needs to just shut-up about the start of the Iraq war. Good decision or bad, it was a decision based on what at the time was good intelligence and what her constituents wanted. Give it a break.

    January 9, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. Amy

    Senator Obama, its not the end of the world. Go and do your work and earn votes or whatever you want to earn, don't complain. Bill Clinton is right: You have to be scrutinized more! why are you scared of this?

    Even if only at 2% difference, Hillary Clinton had a significant victory last night.

    1. She proved that media was biased!!! and is trying to influence the public.

    2. She proved to all of us, that there are still Americans out there who believe in her message that a good life is possible in America if you do the hard work.

    I was started to think that ALL Americans are some mall-based concert-oriented people who are falling for sensational. Some might be (as so many posts show), but NOT ALL. There are still people in America one can count on for taking things seriously. This is an incredibly positive message, so after media and bloggers treating her like dirt, Hillary and the New Hampshire women (Thanks God you women were there) sent us a good message.

    Back to work...

    January 9, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. manupop

    to b. jones tulsa,ok., if there wer no gender issues, then we would have hada woman president a long time ago. how many women CEOs do you know???
    I don't know any. I am talking about the real high power positions. you do not see that many women in extreme high places. these are exciting times for us women and I am so proud to be one. and I am supporting Hillary all the way. yes, these are the times when men and women are both going for the top positions, and women should be given the change and the opportunity to get them, just liek men do. i don't think men are quite there yet to accept women in extreme power positions. maybe if Hillary wins we women can establish the equality that we always wanted. Once we did that, then we don't care so much anout the fight to the top. It is just to get there now that it counts. the women pioneers in the top positions will always be remebered. yes, these are exciting times and I am proud to be a woman supporting another one into the fight to equality. You go Hillary, I am with you all the way, and I will fight all the way for total women equality and recognition for hard work. Women out there, please do me a favor and unite and vote for Hillary. these are exciting times for us to prove that yes we can do it and maybe better than men.
    Hillary is an excelent candidate, one smart woman. anyways, politics are dirty and to be part of it you have to get dirty. and noth candidates for Hillary and Obama do get dirty. However, the media is behind Obama and they crucify Hillary, which is not fair. i think if they crucify one candidate, they should crucify the other. in the last week, the media has been nothing but cruel to Hillary, and for what?? please if you want to prove equality between the genders, then do the same for Obama, crucify him in the media! now that is gender equality!

    January 9, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. Dee

    Boo! Hoo! Hillary showed emotions! Bravo! Did you all forget who helped Bill deliver his speaches when he was President. (Steven Spielberg). Another Clinton well scripted. Where was the emotion when Bill said "I did not have sex with that woman", and disgraced the highest office in the land. Not to mention his marriage.

    I don't buy it! I'm a white 64 year old female, and not impressed, and did not forget the lies, disgrace, cheating, and minuplations of the 8 Clinton years!

    January 9, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
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