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. jak

    No self respecting woman would vote for Ms. Clinton. She did herself in when she opted to stay in an emotionally abusive relationship for the prospect of future celebrity, thereby validating her approval of amorality. Now she folds under the pressure of campaigning, only to be "rescued" by her preening and verbally intimidating mate....an indicator of her (their) future performance(s)... Insulting. I think we've enjoyed about as much of this political couple as we can stand!

    January 9, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  2. d

    I personally feel insulted as a woman to see Hillary almost cry like a baby on TV .
    I value and respect her as a strong woman and did not expect to see such a breakdown on national TV. I am asking Hillary advisors to do a better job than that.

    She alos said the country will go backwards if she does not get the votes ,not sure what that means.

    Hillary behaviour is a sign of weakness and I hope this does not continue going forward by having Bill speaking for her does not help her.

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

    I am not surprised at the lack of respect for truth displayed by Bill Clinton. "He" will say anything to return to the oval office. God save our democracy from the twenty-eight year and still trying to count dynasty. Keep fighting for democracy.

    January 9, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  4. Barbara

    Again...from an 'outsider's' perspective, it seems that a good number of the 'pro Obama' comments would be better described as 'anti Hillary' or 'anti Bill and his Oval Office adventures', rather than 'pro' anything.

    If anyone's wondering why a Canadian would even take the time to pay attention to American presidential primaries (alright , our politics aren't as rip-roaring as yours are...), in case you haven't noticed – 'your' decisions about which characteristics/experiences/vision should be considered when selecting the 'most' competent, strong, compassionate and 'informed' leader affect the rest of us, whatever our addresses might be. This is no slight against America or its electorate, it's an inevitable outcome of being the lone superpower in the international mindset. Fair enough. However, your unique positon (in terms of world 'history') demands that you think 'clearly' and with great consideration about the future when you vote.

    Bearing that in mind, is it really 'important' to determine whether infedelities committed by one's spouse at any point in time should be considered in determining who the 'best' leader of a nation would be??

    Or, who plays the 'dirtiest' type of politics? Don't ALL politicians and/or their advisors (remember Karl Rove people) 'think dirty' when it comes to winning a national election? Do you think Senator Obama's advisors are fallen angels just here to get him elected in a pure and holy fashion...and then trod off to whence they came?

    And, by the way, Lou Dobbs' comment about the NH results providing a 'kick in the teeth' to the 'professional' pundits is well noted. Many comments seem to suggest that 'many' Americans are finally beginning to accept that many of the so-called professional pundits are operating along one of the fundamental rules of human/political interaction – "where you stand (who you support) is usually related to where you sit". Democrat or Republican, African-American or non African-American, male or female, evangelical or non-evangelical – they all came out in the 'Politcal Show Biz' polls and punditories before NH.

    Hats off to Lou Dobbs!

    January 9, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. Ryan, San Mateo

    Emotion didn't make me a Hillary believer. Her experience, knowledge, preparedness to lead and her promise to help every one of the American people did! She is the only chance we have to bring back America's respect around the world, get us out of this unwarranted war, bring back American jobs, support the environment, and give health care to the middle class, not just the homeless and unemployed.

    January 9, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  6. C Benegal

    Hi,

    I have a suggestion for Mr.Obama.

    How about putting on act
    He should go before the TV and while replying to allegation of Billy boy, he could shed a few tears and claim Billy is targetting him because he is an african american and having got the attention of the the sensible and the so far indifferent voters, and manage to get some support from the fans of the daytime soaps who seem to have come out for Hilary having watched her performance.
    wHAT LAUGH..SHE HAS SO MUCH TO OFFER ?

    January 9, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  7. irritated American

    Sorry but I won't be voting for anyone who got sworn in on the Koran rather than the Holy Bible.

    January 9, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  8. Harouna Samura

    Obama is the future for America give him a fair chance.

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

    Hillary simply does not have much experience either. She's been a lawyer, the first lady, and a Senator for 5 years. That doesn't amount to much experience when you running for president no matter how Slick Willy tries to spin it. Hill is the consummate politician who would say and do anything–anything, including fake tears, to get elected. Go Obama.

    January 9, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. Nick A

    Hey Joe,
    Get your facts straight. The two knot heads with the Iron My Shirt signs were sent by a morning drive time show in Boston. The woman who asked Hillary the question, according to TPM, voted for Obama.

    January 9, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. Karen

    Barack says he is all about change. What does that mean? He is riding the coat tails of Oprah, hoping that she pulls him through to a victory. Americans will not bullied into having a talk show host be the one to tell us who to vote for. He wants to be the first african american and that is terrific but that is not a good reason for me or anyone else to vote for you. This our country...and we need somebody with some experience, know how and intelligence. Unfortunately Mr. Obama your time is not now, however perhaps in 8 tears you will be back again.

    January 9, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  12. wf

    Ralph, call me a "Moron" if you want, but those fun times for Bill are pretty much what is wrong with this county in my opinion.

    ( Ralph's Statement: "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.")

    The President of the United States lying under oath is a pretty big atrocity to me, and when you are President, breaking your marriage vows bu committing adultery and lying under oath become big moral and ethical dilemmas! I'm sorry you don't feel that way. I hope you aren't married and thinking that adultery is "just fun times".

    January 9, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  13. Patricia

    Clinton you should have a shame on your selve, You discopaigned Barak out of anger. It doesn't seem very clear what your internal motivation is. Crying is not a solutions to solving all the probles may be it worked for you this time but if elected president of the future, you just showed how weak you will be in handling very intense situations when there is a crisis. you didn't have to cry just show the people that you can.

    January 9, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. karl

    shock, shock but once again i no it is america. lou bobbs, wolf and copper where very happy last night and that was all they wanted and they got it with their dubious critisim, am a republican and do not watch cnn any way but i still believe we can.

    January 9, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. rodney domineck

    Only when the country pull together as one body, this is when we can move forward. Obama has this vision, we need this newness not the old way. If this doesn't happen this country will fall like all mighty countries do. It is time for unity and i think he would be the best one for this. Change must happen for the goodness of all mankind

    January 9, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  16. Hillary Billary, BOO! No third term for you!

    Karen,

    I have not heard Obama use the race card as much as Hillary uses the gender card. "I'm your girl!" (gag!). And then the other night she acted like just being a woman running for president is change enough. Well Barrack didn't say it, but the same logic could be used to say having a black president would be change as well.

    Hillary stinks. Blow your noses people so you can smell the REAL Hillary, whatever that is.

    January 9, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. joseph pierre

    The N.H. election results smell like fish if you consider the pre-election polls.

    January 9, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  18. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    "Sorry but I won't be voting for anyone who got sworn in on the Koran rather than the Holy Bible."

    -------------------------------

    How can this incredible ignorance stay alive? Get your head out of the sand. Do some research. In you refusal to look for truth, you have confused Barack with Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison. Wake up and stop spreading such ignorant statements.

    January 9, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. Amanda B.

    What experience? HRC has held public office for fewer years the Obama. Her job before that was to be the President's wife. Clearly she wasn't very good at that because he had to outsource some of her responsibilities.

    January 9, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  20. joli

    Actually she's been there for 7 years. ahhh... 5..7... not a huge difference there... Obamas been there for 2. ahh 2.. 0 not a big difference... 😛

    "He hasn't any experience in foreign policy. Give me a break," – Rep Ohio Sen. George Voinovich when asked if Sen. Barack Obama has the foreign policy chops to be the next president. Voinovich serves with Clinton and Obama on the Foreign Relations Committee.

    January 9, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  21. Damien

    I'm still waiting for a Hillary supporter or Hillary herself to tell me what 35 years of experience she has. It's fair game to ask Obama to give specifics on what he mean by change. Equally Hillary should be telling the American people what her 35 years of experience consits of, if you're going to attack Obama for talking out the side of his neck Hillary is doing the same not once had she gave a resume for all this experience she suppose to have, Obama been a sen for 2 years Hillary 3. Would a Clinton supporter please define her experiences.

    Other then Bill having sex with other women

    Let me say again the only thing note worthy (positive) Bill did when he was in office was bring down the deficit and stimulate jobs and financial growth...sounds good huh... IT WAS A PLAN THAT G.W BUSH Sr. pioneered during the end of his term and the great pretender I mean great contender implemented.

    .

    January 9, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. Hillary Billary, BOO! No third term for you!

    The only time Barrack lied was when he said Hillary was likable enough.

    January 9, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  23. Dave

    Hillary can't even run a state – how does she intend on running our Nation?

    Is she going to have Bill fight her battles if somehow she was unfortunately elected President?

    Is she going to cry and get emotional when she has the Russians or Iranians in her face?

    January 9, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  24. Cathi

    I truly appreciate those of you who provided real facts and numbers on Hillary's time as a senator. These are the real facts we should require our candidates to be debating – not slogans and open-ended promises that lack substance.

    January 9, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  25. joli

    irritated American wrote January 9, 2008 3:24 pm ET
    Sorry but I won't be voting for anyone who got sworn in on the Koran rather than the Holy Bible

    You may think the above is funny ... and for all I know it was a joke...but many people think this way...

    January 9, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
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