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. The First is Squashed

    What a baby! Took him long enough to cry to CNN he was being hammered by facts.

    Ride the wave!! Ooops! It just Crashed!

    January 9, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  2. Patrick, New York,Ny

    The truth is coming out. Starting NH, Americans are beginning to understand that in politics, endogenous is more important than exogenous – that reality and fact are more important than rhetoric and body language or charisma without substance. Americans are beginning to understand that Hillary stands for what the President of the USA should be and not Obama with his empty promises. Obama's leadership leaves a lot more questions to be answered but foremost, how can he be an agent of change without experience? How can he change what he does not know? How can he change what he does not have? Experience in economy, healthcare and security are all in Hillary's bag and Hillary can change them for the good of all America. Obama has a bag of experience but it is empty. He has nothing to change.

    My prayers and Best wishes to Hillary and I urge all Americans (black, white, oriental, hispanic) to support Clinton because they will never regret their votes. They did it in NH. NH understands that it is issues, not body language, which stands out in this campaign and Hillary is all about issues. Listen to her carefully instead of cheering at her and you will understand just like the people of NH did – the issues matter,

    January 9, 2008 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  3. What

    "Maturity begins when we're content to feel we're right about something,
    without feeling the necessity to prove someone else is wrong."

    "Some men see things as they are and say why. I dream of things that
    never were and say why not."

    "The game of life is the game of boomerangs. Our thoughts, deeds and
    words return to us sooner or later, with astounding accuracy

    When you judge another, you do not define them, you define yourself."

    "Everyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea. It's the person
    who gets out of the shower, dries off, and does something about it that
    makes a difference

    I didn't want to come off bias and leave Hillary out

    Doesn't all this sounds like Hillary, you go girl. .

    January 9, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  4. The First is Squashed

    Matt- ITAWU. CNN was a joke last night covering the election. They were the last to call it and kept saying wait wait wait we have to wait for this area and that area and and and. Funny when I looked online at my interactive map, those areas had 4-400 votes only! Obama was going to catch up with a 5k loss? Pfffft!

    January 9, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  5. Tom Davie

    I am still crackin up at why people want to vote for Barack Obama

    He is VERY intelligent, and personable. I like him too.

    LIKING the guy and making him PRESIDENT of the most powerfull country on the planet are TWO DIFFERENT THINGS.

    I believe folks want obama for 2 reasons.

    50% they somehow think a junior senator with vitrually no experience can somehow bring Republicans and Democrats together cause he says so. They think a 'fresh start' is going to give him magic powers to fight the Chinese, and a host of countries that HATE us. They think Obama can somehow magically stabilize the economy and bring GLORY to America when the truth is that the county is sliding into recession and has a LOT of problems.

    They put blinders on when asked how a guy with no experience dealing on this kind of national stage and with the stakes this high is going to magically pull all this off.

    the other 50% want Obama because they HATE Bill and Hillary Clinton or they are secretly Republicans whom want Clinton out so they can win the election.

    January 9, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  6. Douglas

    Tell Bill to relax...have a cigar !!!

    January 9, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  7. What

    Laton I'm convince you're the one smoking.

    Let see a black man whose parent were white and black whose father left when he was 10, never sees him again; child mothers dies and is raised by his white grand parent in Hawaii.

    Take your unsubstantiated comments to another site you know what site I'm talking about.

    January 9, 2008 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  8. LJ

    Why is my first comment that was posted at 4:23 not posted?

    Why did Fox News release exit poll data in the AM when the polls had NOT closed?

    Could that have had an impact on the race, because it showed that Barack had 7 out of the 17 votes cast with 4 going for McCain.

    Could it be that Murdock is really helping Hillary, because he thinks that the REps can beat her versus Barack.

    Can Hillary pull out more tears and hide the real demeanor.

    What tactics will the Clintons now pull?

    January 9, 2008 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  9. SJS

    Senator Obama.

    What are you proposing to make our country energy independent? What is going to happen when our troops are pulled out of Iraq? Are we going to ask the help of Iran to run our economy? Oh! You will request a meeting with the High Ayatola and reason with him!!!!NICE!!!!!
    Good luck to you Mr Obama. I hope you would not do that.

    January 9, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  10. Dan

    And another thing.....

    Journalists, so called political experts are complete idiots! They need to keep their mouths shut and let the voters decide who will be elected. Go Clinton!

    January 9, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  11. Pamela in FL

    ....please, go to the John Edwards website and email him...tell him to not become the "Ralph Nader" of 2008!

    January 9, 2008 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  12. Gobama

    Tracy Michaels January 9, 2008 3:10 pm ET

    Your thinking is noble but naive.

    The low down Clintons ARE THE ONES WHO DRAW FIRST BLOOD UNPROVOKED!

    Instead of seeking to convince Americans what the shameless and self-destructive Clintons will do for the country (not much), they attacked Obama's person and campaign for America, and why?

    Last time we check, SELF-PRESERVATION & SELF-PROTECTION is an essential for ANY human being or group?

    The overly ambitious and SELF-ABSORBED Clintons were unable to connect with Americans (and rightly so) in the furtherance of their PERSONAL Clintonian AMBITIONS!

    Failing to TRICK AMERICANS, the Clintons sought to APPEAL TO THE LOWEST IN US.

    Unfortunately, some Americans do not want CHANGE; through spite, the Clintons are willing to fuel divisiveness, STAGNATION and recession!

    STATUS QUO MUST GO!

    January 9, 2008 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  13. Richard, West Palm Beach, FL

    "No matter how you look at it, when Bush took over, he was left with the largest mess in US History."
    -------------------
    Clinton left a huge surplus for Bush who has increased our national debt by 50%. Do research.

    January 9, 2008 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  14. Glazed, Detroit metro

    Again, Every one is wrong but Mr. Obama. Stop crying and take it like you dish it out.

    January 9, 2008 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  15. alli2

    Everything about this election is about change!!! We have candidates who are not just white men. Having a woman and a black man running is historic. The change has already started. Anyway you look at it, there WILL be change in this country whoever is elected.

    Just heard some Kenyans interviewed on CNN saying if Obama gets elected they might be able to get a visa easier. Where does Obama stand on imigration??

    January 9, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  16. Oscar

    Can Someone please tell me HOW Obama will make a CHANGE?

    He keeps saying change but I have not seen how he plans to back up that change...

    Talking nice and looking good on TV does not make a President.
    What does he stand for??
    Who IS Barak Obama????

    January 9, 2008 05:56 pm at 5:56 pm |
  17. garnet

    Even though i supported Bill Clinton when he was in office (most of the time), his words cannot be taken for certain any longer. He lied once to the entire nation and lost all credibility with the American people. Just because 8 years have passed since his "lie heard 'round the world" doesn't make him a changed man. Why people are buying into his false accusations i don't understand. This too shall pass....

    OBAMA '08

    January 9, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  18. anonymous

    Hello People,

    Did you forget that Hilllary also voted for more funding for the Iraq War?

    Obama, you keep up the good work and get your people to work hard on finding Hillary's record and everyone that is running against you. So that you are prepared to respond to the issues that they may bring up.

    Also, know that I am praying for you everyday...because I am praying for America, and I think you are good for the American People and will do more to inspiring US (The American People) to fundamenal change.

    Believe me when I say I have a direct connection with the Lord... he answers all my prayers. Be bless!

    January 9, 2008 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  19. Ida Lula

    Maybe Oprah can hold your tissues while you whine about how rough it is to play politics with the experienced boys and girls.

    January 9, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  20. fair,washington, DC

    It shouldn't have taken Pres Clinton to call Sen Obama on his questionable stance on Iraq. When Obama appeared on "Meet The Press" Tim Russert put 3 or 4 quotes on the screen that Mr. Obama had to eplain "what he meant" because at face value they all sounded like he wasn't so against the war as strongly as he likes to tout now. Don't worry , we'll all get to see it if he wins the nomination, because the Repubs definitely have that interview cued up and ready to roll.

    January 9, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  21. Scott, California

    Senator Clinton has STILL not condemned that statement. Nor has she condemned President Clinton's slander inferring Obama and his supporters are in "fairyland." We've heard nothing from her. As a result, she implicitly approves both statements (she knows what her husband said, it's been all over the airwaves).

    Is this kind of politics what we're going to get the rest of this campaign? This was a former President engaging in the dirtiest kind of slime politics.

    If voters implicitly endorse, rather than penalize, this type of politics, we'll continue to get more of it. Isn't anyone sick of this already

    January 9, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  22. Gerald, Jacksonville, Fl

    Go Hillary you did a wonderful job. Sorry Obama you loose.

    January 9, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  23. Black Pride

    Sorry, but as a Black 60 years retiree, I will never vote again for a Democratic candidate just because. Hillary, you have lost this Black vote. Also, do not think that other Black will vote for you because you are a woman and a Democratic. Your true colors are shinning true. Look for Blacks to start campaigning aganist you and to leave the Party. We need a third party in this Country.

    January 9, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  24. DAVMON

    American wants a new president who has nothing to do with the white house, and they see Hillary Clinton is the same person who has special interest for the lobbyist and that is the reason, we are not going to vote for her.

    January 9, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  25. Erik

    Richard,
    On paper, there was cash, but it was where the cash was going as the Clintons were on their way out that set the scene for a Broke Bush. Now, you can sit there and say that Bush himself increased National Debt by 50%, or you can praise the fact that you dont have an airplan wing in your livingroom. That 50% could have been 0% if you looked up at the towers and said "Oh that sucks, oh well, life goes on, hope they dont do it again tomorrow!"

    January 9, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
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