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. Debra Allen

    Senator Obama,

    I am so proud of you and honored that a man like you has a chance of becoming the next President of this country. You are the ONLY one of the candidates that truly represents change and they know it. Any of the other candidates represents the same thing we've had, just a different name (in Hillary's case the same).

    Keep up the good work, I am praying for you and I believe God's word will prevail Romans 12:7-9. You do all of these beautifully. You are a born leader and you have as much , if not more experience than all the rest. Being a Black man in this country is an experience on it's on.

    Families in this country have suffered grossly because of the Adoption and Safe Families Act that Bill Clinton passed. That law was abused to the extent of it even being used in cases were no adoption occurred. Parents rights were terminated at an over-whelming amount, many of these parents were going through the court system to try to get their children back, most of them were not abusers and when the children were abused by the people that the state gave them to, the state and the courts looked the other way. Since Bush has been in the White House, none of these issues have been addressed. Hillary speaks of it taking a Village to raise a child, her idea of a Village for Children in this country is the Government. The Government makes for a poor parent. We don't have Villages in America, the next time she chooses to use an African Proverb, maybe she should try to understand it first. God Bless You Senator Obama

    January 9, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  2. Harold Bishop, NH

    Bill Clinton's antics have been disguting. He swiftboated Barack.

    January 9, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  3. Susan

    I refuse to hand over the keys to this country to someone lacking sufficient experience. The presidency is not a job in training. Go Hillary!!! This is a historical time-first woman president!!

    January 9, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  4. Boo Hoo Obama Democratic Nomination ...Not 4 You

    I want a president with the experience and intelligence and the true love of our great country. Not a man who has little to no experience and puts his faith in Oprah to get him elected. He doesn't love America...he would put his hand over his heart during our national anthem. Instead he loves himself and is using his fifteen minutes of fame to run for president!

    January 9, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  5. unCHANGEd

    you were looking for it- now you got it, It will sure come a time when you will ask yourself: why did I have to do it? why did I have to start up with the only Democratic President in the past 30 years? why did I think that I am smarter then him? but that will be way TOO LATE! before you know it this race will be over and you will have enough time to think this over and remember I warned you!

    January 9, 2008 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  6. Hillary Billary, BOO! No third term for you!


    "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."

    I don't know, I'd prefer a blow-up woman to Hillary actually. And why does it have to be just any woman just because "it's time?" that's BS and you know it.

    I think Hillary stands no chance if she wins the nomination. The Republicans have been ready for her all along. They laugh at her and throw up nuggets like "Hillarycare". But Obama scares them, which is why they all were talking about him during the last debate, and some *coughROMNEYcough* and Ron Paul are actually trying to compare themselves to him because they see his appeal. and don't forget how many "borrowed" the change buzzword. Not to mention so many people genuinely hate Hillary and/or the Clintons.

    January 9, 2008 05:07 pm at 5:07 pm |
  7. Matt

    Hilary Billary the media does glorify Obama and slams Hilary when ever they can. Case in point. Todays headline. "Blow to Clinton Campaign: Obama Gets Big Union Endorsements in Nevada". What they don't say is that the last person that ever expected to get thoes union endorsemnts was Hillary Clinton. Thoes endorsements were John Edwards to lose. But the media will spin anything around to work against Hillary.

    January 9, 2008 05:08 pm at 5:08 pm |
  8. Dan

    Experience (which Obama lacks) requires time, effort, and results, whereas most rational people are capable of 'change' where required (including Hillary). Therefore, Hillary is my clear choice .... besides, Barrack is beginning to sound like one of those wind-up dolls with every second work out of his mouth being "CHANGE". He needs to "CHANGE" his approach by putting a little more meat on the bone he's throwing you.

    Also, Obama/Edwards 2008 would be as close to Castro/Chavez as you could get. Keep dreaming....

    January 9, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  9. Justin

    To those who say Obama is all talk and no substance or proof of the change he will bring, here are some numbers:

    -Make Government Spending More Accountable and Efficient: Obama will ensure that federal contracts over $25,000 are competitively bid.
    -Provide a Tax Cut for Working Families: Obama will restore fairness to the tax code and provide 150 million workers the tax relief they need. Obama will create a new "Making Work Pay" tax credit of up to $500 per person, or $1,000 per working family. The "Making Work Pay" tax credit will completely eliminate income taxes for 10 million Americans.
    -Simplify Tax Filings for Middle Class Americans: Experts estimate that the Obama proposal will save Americans up to 200 million total hours of work and aggravation and up to $2 billion in tax preparer fees.
    -Boost the Renewable Energy Sector and Create New Jobs: Obama will create a federal Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) that will require 25 percent of American electricity be derived from renewable sources by 2025, which has the potential to create hundreds of thousands of new jobs on its own.

    Besides universal healthcare (which she has no reasonable plan for), HRC really doesn't have a strong stance on any issues. Obama has well reasoned and practical plans for every issue facing this country and if people do the research they'll find out for themselves.

    OBAMA '08

    January 9, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  10. Ken

    It's a Presidential debate you when some you lose some, the idea is to win more than the other guy, or woman, politics has an ugly face, maybe next time Obama will pump out some junk quotes just before the deadline.

    January 9, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  11. john

    Obama fell victim to the BILLARY double team ...Since he isnt running for president, Bill Clinton can basically say whatever he wants and nobody is fact checking. The BILLARY clinton camp knows this so they use Bill to call the possiblity of Obama being president a "fairytale" and the media doesnt jump on it simply because Bill isnt running, (though its hard to tell) . But have no fear, Obama will not be stopped because Bush Lite Billary can shed some tears in a coffee shop. To south Carolina. Yes We CAN..

    January 9, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  12. Benton Nelson, Indianapolis, IN

    now if he is crying about people twisting his words around now, what will he be like if he makes it to the general election. he should have known that people would twist his words around. its not like this is his first election. word of advice suck it in and move on to the next state.

    January 9, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  13. Fredrik

    >He swiftboated Barack.

    When did fact checking a candidate vote record and media statements become swiftboating ?
    Why dont you keep Barack and Hilary to the same level of scrutinize ?

    January 9, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  14. Ken, Suitland MD

    Hey David Anderson (4:33pm), so much for your crying....it looks like you were crying in anticipation of your intellectual demise, as you have bought into the repub-bot slime machine. This, merely because Hillary is in competition with your favored candidate, and Bill is supporting her? Get real. Barak and all the rest are also doing what it takes to get elected. No matter which dem wins, we will finally have a government again promoting the democratic platform.....but you want to slime-away anyway?

    Careful, or you will fall off the wagon altogether, and you will be mourning like "lightharry" (4:26pm) and "Chris, Seattle" (4:23pm) : they got the leader they deserved for the last 7 years. Do you want promote that kind of mistake again? These guys like so many other wing-nuts do not even see the problems, and wish them away in a partisan defense of abject failure. For these people the following applies: no brain, no pain.

    January 9, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  15. What

    "I skate where the puck is going to be, not where it has been."

    "An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything and in this
    lies the great distinction between great men and little men."

    You will never be happier than you expect. To change your happiness,
    change your expectation."

    "Every memorable act in the history of the world is a triumph of
    enthusiasm. Nothing great was ever achieved without it because it gives
    any challenge or any occupation, no matter how frightening or difficult,
    a new meaning. Without enthusiasm you are doomed to a life of mediocrity
    but with it you can accomplish miracles.

    Good Leaders make people feel that they're at the very heart of things,
    not at the periphery. Everyone feels that he or she makes a difference
    to the success of the organization. When that happens people feel centered
    and that gives their work meaning

    Go Obama keep it up.

    Yea of small minds have been warned

    January 9, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. Karen

    Candace, get over yourself. If you are looking to CNN blogsite for serious discussion you are deluded. There was nothing venomous in what I wrote. He is a politician. His campaign is doing him a disservice. I do not like his commercial campaign. His record is going to get looked at. and yes, Damien should site his sources if he wants a serious discussion of the handover to China.

    I notice there is no response when voting records are referred to. Of course, I don't use campaign websites for information. Why would I review the votes a candidate wants me to see. I go to the government site and look at all of a persons votes. I have Congress.org in my favorites.

    02/05 Obama voted with the Republicans for pro-corp anti-consumer Clas Action Lawsuit Legislation.
    03/05 Obama voted for pro-banking anti-middle class legislation when he voted with the Republicans against a 30% cap on credit charges.
    06/05 Voted Yes to nominate Thomas B. Griffith. Griffith disagrees with the tests if title IX and Griffith feels the courts got it wrong and is noted for using the words "morally wrong' in reference to these tests.
    09/05 Obama voted against laws protecting laws that provide safeguards from unfair trade. Do I really need to continue?

    Want a serious discussion about a serious discussion. I didn't notice your focus on the social security issue. Try ssa.gov. Want to discuss medicare? I have medicare.gov it's a good site for history and cahi.org is a good source for an understanding of cost.

    People rely on Iraq info from the media. In my favorites... Brookings.edu. It doesn't just have mortality info, but has information on reconstruction etc. It's updated frequently.

    I get information on immigration costs from Heritage Foundation but it is more of a right postion so take it for what it is. If you have other legitimate sites in your favorites that you would like to share, I am open to your resources

    I look up every interview and article I can find on the candidates to get a feel for what their positions truly are. I don't need campaign websites.

    What issue would you like to discuss?

    January 9, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. Chukwuma

    Both Hillary and McCain should have experience. Was it why the win in NH. My question is when is time to say thank you for Hillary and McCain for being in Washington all here life. When will they allow the young generation to get the need experience in Washington. Am more interesting in both issuing the respective candidates advice. Washington is no home it is a place to render service to the nation.

    January 9, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. Snake





    January 9, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  19. Erik

    Must I remind the world that the collapse in the econmony (deficit) and the planning for the 911 attacks took place when the Clintons were in the White House? You have to be pretty special to drive the economy into the ground pre "War on Terrorism". No matter how you look at it, when Bush took over, he was left with the largest mess in US History. I don't see a problem with sending the empeached couple back to the oval office.

    January 9, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  20. Laton

    Obama is all about Africa!…..hasn't anyone been to HIS church's website? Haven't you gone to You Tube to listen from Fox News about what comments HIS church says!!!!!!! BLACK THIS, BLACK THAT….AFRICA THIS, AFRICA THAT!!!!!! C'mon Americans do you not know how to do research? Look at G.B. Everyone thought he was GREAT!!! How many people do you have to kill before we realize we MADE A HUGE MISTAKE electing him. After 9/11 and all of the soldiers killed in the Middle East, NO MORE! He CHANGED NOTHING but the POPULATION!!!!! How many people did Billary intentionally kill? What church do they go to? Who cares if she cried, Obama is a SMOKER!!! He is polluting our air. GLOBAL WARMING! I am moving to another country if he gets elected president, God help us. America will now be called AFRICA!!!! PLEASSSSEEEEE AMERICANS!!!! We will never be FREE! Stop complaining about Billary, and do your research on OBAMA!!!!! What do you have to lose, that you made a mistake? Don't do it when it is TOO LATE!!!!!! Don't vote at all if you don't want to educate yourself. Good luck America!

    January 9, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  21. Helen, Boston, MA

    It's ALWAYS a conspiracy against the Clintons, isn't it? If someone disputes their claims, or challenges their integrity, they get hostile, biligerent and ultimately resort to name calling. I find their demeanor disgusting, confrontational and sooooooooooo tiring. ENOUGH OF THESE TWO %$&%$&^&s ALREADY. I am so sick of these two I could spit.

    When Hillary and Billy are you going to release the White House papers? Or are they just going to show up on the coffee table a few years from now?

    January 9, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  22. nevadamuley Las Vegas, Nevada

    Mr. Obama,

    First of all you've got to say something MEANINGFUL!

    If you think the kitchen's gettin hot now, you better go home now, you ain't seen nothin yet Barak.



    January 9, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  23. Justin

    What will the terrorists will think when a woman is the leader of the most powerful country on the planet? *NEWSFLASH*: Terrorsits are from countries where women are viewed as weak-minded and vastly inferior to men. And she wants to go to Iran and North Korea and attempt to talk to these men about peace?? Its an inconcievable and extremely dangerous proposition.

    Even if she was the right person to lead this country, that fact alone is enough reason not to vote for her.

    OBAMA '08

    January 9, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  24. enlightenment

    Obama is just a kid who wants to be the king. As of now, he is just George Bush, with a much better command of English vocabulary and diction.

    And he is not smart either. If he was, he would have parlayed his promise into a VP candidate after Hillary is nominated. That would have given the WhiteHouse for the Democrats for the next 16 years. Another scary prospect indeed:-)

    January 9, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  25. Jesse, Burnsville, MN

    I agree Harold Bishop. I CAN"T BELIEVE OBAMA WAS SWIFTBOATED BY THE CLINTONS, WHO ARE SUPPOSED FELLOW DEMOCRATS FOR CRIPES SAKES. The Clinton's are disgusting and it make's me sick to think that some of my so-called fellow Democrats are sticking up for the Clintons politics of personal destruction (remember this is primary/caucus season, not the general election).

    I would vote for Democrats at the local and state levels, but the Clinton's can eat dirt. If my fellow Democrats believe it is important to nominate a divisive agent of status quo, they can reap what they sow with having a Republican president. What would be the difference?

    January 9, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
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