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. Rambo

    Obama is not as great as he is hyped to be. Bill Clinton was 100% right, Obama loves to talk about his Iraq vote, but his voting record is no different than Hillary's. The press is not asking him the tough questions. They are more busy in manufacturing a story of a Black president. He has no substance to his words, he is all talk and no action. He will not unite the country, if somehow he wins and becomes president, his incompetency will be shown. He is the black Bush. Hopefully the press which wake up and will take him up on the issues, I have yet to hear anything other than the phrase "Change", change what, when and how have yet to be answered by Obama. He is being protected by the media who are too scared to ask him the real questions and question his qualifications. He makes a better story, shows their priorites.

    January 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  2. james, newport, KY

    I'm glad I'm not a Democrat.

    January 9, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. david anderson

    I cried in sorrow and anger the day the republicans impeached Bill Clinton.

    I now see why republicans hated the Clintons so much. The Clintons will do and say anything to get elected. Bill Clinton in my view is now an old pathetic womanizer. The Clinton's need to be careful with their attacks on Obama...right now their strategy looks like it will tear the Dems apart. Al Gore needs to endorse Obama tomorrow! And when will the media release the images they have of Bill with his new girlfriend?

    January 9, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  4. Hillary Billary, BOO! No third term for you!


    Backwards as to when Bill screwed it up (i.e. NAFTA)?

    And by "back to normal" do you mean back to corrupt politicians who do only what the highest lobbyist bidder wants and to hell with the American people?

    To me "experience" just means more time they had to become corrupt and make connections with lobbyists. Cliton keeps saying the president should hit the ground running on day one... yeah I'[m sure that will mean doling out favors for those who put money in their pockets

    January 9, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  5. Brad Burklow, Harrisburg, IL

    Hillary reminds me of the Ann Richards line about George Bush SR. She was born on third base (first lady) and thinks she hit a triple. If her last name were not Clinton she would be nowhere. The fact is that Bill and Hillary Clinton did massive damage to the Democratic Party despite significant accomplishments during HIS administration. This whole thing about being ready from day 1 is just stupid. From Day 1, Hillary Clinton will have at least 48% and probably closer to 60% of the country against her. Not just Republicans but hard core dems like me who are just sick enough of the Clintons and their BS to not vote for her in the general. From Day 1 it will be no holds barred for the lobbyists. From Day 1 we will have to listen to her screechy, phony voice AND Bill Clinton's narcissistic crap all over the airwaves. Bill is mad because Obama was out-Kennedying him. He can't carry Obama's jock strap when it comes to oratory, which, guess what Hillary supporters, is a large part of being president. You know that whole thing about being able to inspire people instead of pissing them off all of the time. I don't need any Clinton giving me a lecture on "false hope". She and Bill are perhaps the two most disengenuous people on the planet. If the Democrats are dumb enough to nominate the one person who will either lose the general or divide the country she wins, then so long dems and hello bloomberg and the independents.

    January 9, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  6. alli2

    Okay guys, if this was a football game each of these candidates would be making great plays. It's politics. It can be brutal and hard hitting. All these candidates have appealing points and characteristics. But you don't go into the superbowl with your rookie 2nd string quarterback.

    January 9, 2008 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  7. Matt

    Karl, CNN is anti-Clinton as is the rest of the media. John King looked as if he was going to be sick when they finally had no choice but to call the primary as a Clinton win. Wolf Blitzer was as white as a ghost and Roland Martin looked as if he had been punched in the gut. They tried to stack the deck in Obamas favor but the folks in New Hampshire voted with their brains and not their bleeding hearts.

    January 9, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  8. Hillary Billary, BOO! No third term for you!


    Actually the media isn't glorifying Obama.. They're leaving him for dead again when he's actually leading in delegates won, and wasn't even supposed to win NH to begin with (despite the polls saying he was a head a day or two before). The media was the ones who were buying Clinton's boo-hoo photo-op performance hook line and sinker

    and you're only hearing the word "change" because every other candidate of both parties started using it because after Obama

    January 9, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  9. Jack Jett

    He better get use to people twisting his word because CNN will not always be there with their lips implanted on his rear end.

    January 9, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  10. jerzee gal

    Irritated american, Obama is not muslim for one. READ before you make comments!!!!

    January 9, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  11. Margaret Curley

    Hillary Clinton has worked for the underdog her whole adult life. Her record of accomplishments speaks for itself. Hillary will be a great president because she has a heart. Are we ready for an intelligent hard working compassionate woman to be president of this great country? You might not be but I am! Hillary will be a great president and I can't wait until she takes office. Go Hillary Go!! God Bless you and keep you safe. The USA might not realize it yet but you are needed in the White House.

    January 9, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  12. corey

    Hillary Clinton hasn't made significant change in her "35 years" of "experience."

    I didn't see Obama teary eyed... Hillary Clinton is such a joke...

    January 9, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  13. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    "those fun times for Bill are pretty much what is wrong with this county in my opinion.....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".
    Apparently Republicans do not feel that adultery is important enough to remove someone from office, as shown by current Republican adulterers Senators David Vitter and Larry Craig. The 4-year adulterer Henry Hyde continued to get re-elected by Republicans and Bush gave him the highest award possible for a U.S. citizen.

    Apparently Republicans do not feel that being CONVICTED of two counts of perjury, one count of obstruction of justice, and one count of making false statements to federal agents is important enough to warrant even ONE MINUTE in prison. Libby was GUILTY of twice as many crimes as Clinton was charged with.

    Probable explanation: HYPOCRISY.

    January 9, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. Dan

    Obama is all about bs baffling brains. All show - no substance

    January 9, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. Experience IS OVERRATED

    If you haven't seen or heard any details about Obama's "Plans For Change" it's because you've already decided "you won't vote for him". Again, intelligent politics, hence the reason for the electoral college.

    So many Americans do not do any such research. Are you deciding what issues are important to you, then researching each candidates stance on those issues? This is the Technology Age people, go to any candidates website and there is a clear outline of exactly what they mention briefly in interviews and during debates. Common people don't watch a speech or watch a couple of interviews and commercials and with that detailed information make a INTELLIGENT decision.

    I've decided "my intelligent well thoughout and researched vote goes to"

    President = Obama, change is needed, he said it first!
    Vice President = John Edwards, his passion, experience and committment to taking Washington away from the lobbyist and big business...

    COME ON AMERICA!! Obama/Edwards 2008

    January 9, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  16. Marie

    May the Best Person Win to lead our Great Country and we are lucky and blessed to live here! God Bless The United States of America! Let all of us keep to the facts- stop condeming . We're adults and privledged to be able to vote.Open your eyes we're the best Country in the world. Give thanks and be kind.

    January 9, 2008 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  17. A. Doyle

    I believe Bill Clinton was a good president despite his immoral issues. However, I did not appreciate his speech against Obama which was contrary to what Obama has said was his action concerning the war and when he did not have a chance to respond. That, together with Hiliary's tears and words as if she is the only one that can save America and anyone else would have us on the wrong tack, is saying she is the only one capable to be the president. I don't agree with their unfair tactics. Each candidate that is put in that office for the first time is experiencing something new and unknown. The world and situations are constantly changing. Also, two people in the same family being president is like having one in office twice as long as any other president can be whether one or two terms. The tears were more than her caring about the state of our government and country. I think they were more concerning personal gains or obligations. She also couldn't live with being second to Obama, a Black man.

    January 9, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  18. tennessee gurl

    Irritated american is typical of Clinton supporters. Like the candidate they lie to get what they want.

    January 9, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  19. Mary

    No matter what people say Opera did help Obama in Iowa, and the young people should be careful what they "vote" for. Look what happened when so many people voted for Geo. W. Bush they were so sure he'd be a good President.
    We do need a strong canidate who will win the nomination , and Hillary has ALL the qualifications, includeing being a real woman.
    It's time people for the woman to be in charge.

    January 9, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  20. Jenny

    Wrong Kimdy, I'm a moderate republican, if it’s Hillary vs. any of the republican candidates, I vote Hillary… if it’s Obama or any one of the others, I’m voting red.

    Well said GiGiovanna, Hillary for 2008.

    January 9, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  21. Natasha B

    If you need an example of Hilary's divisiveness, just look at the blogs these past few days. There is no way she is going to unite the Democrats let alone attracting Independents. I hope McCain gets the nod and I'll be voting Republican for the first time in my life. There is still something to be said about dignity, honesty and class.

    I feel for Obama because all through the days before the election, he was the only dignified person. He refrained from geting into the mudpit when Hilary attcked him in the debate; he was respectful of Bill Clinton in the face of Bill's spiteful tirade; he responded honestly to the trash being mailed out by the Clinton campaign; and he was sympathetic when he was asked about Hilary's tearing up.

    January 9, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  22. Tree

    I'm curious do we live in a democracy or dictatorship, don't president have cabinet members and advisors to aid them in decision.

    I haven't heard either candidate explain how they are going to fund universal health care, stimulate economic growth or a plan to take us from being 29 globally in math and science to leading the world like we once did, or their plan to tackle green house gaseous ....nothing. Arguing over change vs. experience. We are all being bamboozled, Hillary I have 35 years of experience pause… waiting for her to tell me how she's going to use that to stimulate the economy Obama it time for change pause… and how does that improve our educational state in this country.

    Hillary has never stimulated an economy so how does 35 years of experience win her argument. America has been brinking on a recession since she became a senator and that's includes with a dem control congress and senate.

    Obama change I understand your message and where you are going, and since you do not use the word I but we I will give you a break and say you do not have a clear cut plan but are willing to work with the Rep and come up with one.
    I can live with that.

    January 9, 2008 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  23. Vick Clarkson with MediaGuide Resources Inc.

    “Obama said in 2004 that there was no difference between him and George Bush on the war...” Clinton said on the eve of the New Hampshire Primary. He claimed that the proof was once on Barak Obama’s website, but has since been deleted.

    Of course Bill Clinton was right to bring it up in such a timely manner, for the voting would begin in only a few hours–barely enough time for CNN to get the truth out. In fact it was on one of Obama’s many visits to the White House that he first said to George Bush: “You know George, your policy on Iraq and mine are in every way identical: we both support the war in Iraq, and everything else is pure politics.”

    It was, as Bill Clinton pointed out, Obama’s fairy tale that wooed us reporters to keep this vital bit of information out of the public eye. We’ve grown so jaded, you see, that we just didn’t have the heart to rain on Obama’s peace parade. So what if we let his lack of substance–the two books, the twenty years in public service, and the litany of policy papers that he’s written–slip by? After all, that kind of thing isn’t our real job these days: our real job is to expose the dirt on Hillary Clinton. Well, old Bill just wouldn’t it slide this time.

    Hillary–and you’ve got this coming–I know the media speaks with me when we say that we’re sorry we made you cry.

    January 9, 2008 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  24. Rudy, Ontario

    My Dear Mr. Obama. You have critisized others either personally or through your surrogates. Elections are brutta figura. The problem with your loss is because Mrs Clinton found her voice; she said what she stands for including the "ecomony, stupid" the midle class, trade, schools and yes health insurance. Your message is just like Jack Kennedy's. Mesmorizing as a thought for classroom purposes but not practical or with any meat. Because of this nothing happened during his presidency except to plunge America to a war with Vietnam. President Johnson, being practical with a lot of experience did so much more for the country and his legislative heritage cannot be denied. I just feel that you are selling a dream. The electorate is waking up and they will see it for what it is. There is no beef, no reality to your message.

    January 9, 2008 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  25. joe

    Hey Nick A

    It is you who should Get your facts straight !!!

    I checked mine she (Marianne Pernold Young) told CBS she was going thinking of voting for Obama but now shes voting for Clinton after the answer to her question…She never mentioned she worked for Carter Admin as a Photographer or Clinton election campaign in 92 did she ? You couldnt have plained it better could you ? Liked Obama but is now for Clinton!

    Google Marianne Pernold Young and read the cbs story.


    She told huffington post she voted for Clinton.

    She herself admits that she worked for Bill Clinton in 92

    She was a plant !!!!

    Yes the guys worked for radio station WBCN The Toucher and Rich Show both guys myspace pages said the are for Hillary Clinton until a story by journalist, Michael McAuliff of the NY Daily News who, followed the pranksters from the speech area and found they had "Hillary for President" stickers, causing accusations they were pro-Hillary plants.

    I talked to there friends on myspace who told me yes they are supporting Hillary Clinton! Have bumper sticker on there cars and are wearing Clinton08 pins in a couple of there photo pages.. After the piece by McAuliff one changed his myspace page to pretend he is/was a Republician.. His top friends say different!

    The Clintons have been at this game for years what better then to have someone that if its all brought out that you can dissmiss with there just radio station pranksters! Please.

    It really makes me sick.

    Didnt you find it strange that Hillary asked for the lights to be turned up to show the guys sign ? So every female or older man would say poor Hillary lets vote for her !

    "Iron my shirt" to get them all angry and vote for her funny how it wasnt dirty or anything I wonder if they polled women to see what made them more angry Iron my shirt or make my dinner ?

    I liked Hillary and Obama till this stunt now im for Obama or Edwards

    Change for the better !

    January 9, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
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