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. Dan

    CHANGE, CHANGE, CHANGE....Mr. Obama is there anything else you know how to say?

    January 9, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  2. LJ

    In reading the comments on this blog, it is evident that we need CHANGE. There are bitter and viscious attacks against Barack. It is absolutely amazing, that everyone wants Barack to have ALL the PLANS, but asks NOTHING of Hillary or John Edwards.

    To have dissenting opinons is fine, that what makes us a Democracy, but the bitterness with which Barack is attacked is that which is based NOT on his rhetoric, plans but perhaps to something else in the air.

    Hillary is as phony as they come, I voted for Bill and I once respected him, but no more. Hillary's true colors will come again.

    Hillary's campaign now says that they are going to lay it on the line when Barack speaks, but that is not going is negative it will be up o the people to decide. I find that good, then that means that she should be ready for the screening...what actually is her record as a senator and what is her experience.

    Will she pretend to cry, will Bill twist words again, what will she change NOW? If you don't see it now, then you should the Reps will always help get her elected so we can lose the WH again.

    January 9, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  3. Joy Broadhurst

    Sympathies to the gullible women of New Hampshire–how could anyone believe that Hilary's "watery eyes" was real emotion? Then there was the debate where "her feelings were hurt". The Clintons are sinking to new lows–anything to win.

    January 9, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  4. Elie H.

    I really LIKED the Clintons , but after that BiG FaT lie by Bill, now i see why conservatives hate them. They're power mongering people. I'm going to volunteer for Obama's campaign, get everyone I know involved, donate and I promise this man with great character will be our future President!

    Obama 08!

    January 9, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  5. Tom Davie

    Face it.

    The Obama camp has no SUBSTANCE to draw on. Re read all the posts.

    There whole camp is WE HATE THE CLINTONS.

    Its never about what Obama can ACTUALLY DO thru his RECORD.

    Why would you stick a guy in office who has never made a case he can do the job for crying out loud.

    Is your HATRED for the Clintons WORTH sticking a 'forrest gump' in office when we need strong leadership? We just had a forrest gump for 7 years. He CRUSHED the whole country due to his inability to lead the nation.

    All this HYPE about Obama will not last. The country is going into recession, and as more negative headlines come up, voters are going to SWEAT BULLETS about the state of the nation and rally behind someone who can DO THE JOB .

    If you HATE Bill and Hillary Clinton so much then please:

    Please for the love of God, vote for Edwards or McCain or Guiliani or even the idiot Romney. THEY HAVE THE EXPERIENCE TO LEAD US at least.

    January 9, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  6. Thewatcher

    Hillary claims to have experience. Experience doing what? Getting us into a war and then backing it. She hasn't done squat since she has been a Senator. Even McCain fought Bush on the war. He never liked it. Yes he followed his party and went along with it, but you could tell he did not like it. Remember the interview when he said he did not understand why voting on the resolution was necessary. Hillary, that is a different story, she was cool with the killing innocent Iraq citizen, when she thought there might be WMD, but didn't really have proof. Once we were in there and didn't find any WMD, she wanted to keep the killing going. She doesn't care about people. She is a fake.

    When she ran for the NY Senate she told the people of NY that she wanted to be a Senator and fight for the people of NY in that role. She denied having eyes on the highest office in the nation. You folks that don't follow politics close don't understand this. Yes, she just wanted to become a senator so that she could run for the office and claim that she was a Senator. When we needed her to fight the hard fight against the tyrant Bush. She did nothing. Pelosi didn't do anything either. None of those powerful gals did squat. Think about that. None of those Present Dems did Squat! Let Bush just run things like a King! Great! just Great! Now we have Americans dead and mamed. Citizens of Iraq dead by the millions. Oh Hillary is doing a Great job! She should elect her as President! Think people.

    I am not saying Obama is great. He is better than the rest in the field, because the field is not that good. We do need someone who can talk rather than drop bombs. We need to send this Clinton crew packing. I am beginning to feel bad that I voted for her hubby twice, even though the nation was in better shape than it is now, when he was in office. But that may just be because Bush is crazy.

    January 9, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  7. Calvin Preddie

    Wolf Blitzer displayed (on the Situation Room of 09/01/2008) more about Mr. Obama's response to Mr. Clinton's questions about his constancy regarding the Iraq war. He is reported to have stated in 2004, that even though he stated in 2002, before the vote in Congress, that he did not support the war with Iraq, he did not know how he would have voted because he did not have access to the intelligence report.

    Is a "judgment" about an important and critical issue as the war on Iraq, that was made at any time by a candidate for the presidency who did not have access to the intelligence report, really a case of "good judgment" based on careful analysis of facts that are pertinent, relevant and important to the making of the decision?

    This might be an appropriate question for your file.

    January 9, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  8. Boo Hoo Obama Democratic Nomination ...Not 4 You

    Justin....would you bend over if a terrorist asked you too? You probably believe we should negotiate with them. Your thinking is quite scary. Oh by the way the terrorist union of the world endorsed Obama a few weeks ago!

    January 9, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  9. Gina

    People keep saying that Obama has no experience, that he was just a junior senator, and only for two years. Obama may have only been a junior senator for 2 years in the US Senate, but he's been in the Illinois State Senate since 1996. He left the Illinois State Senate to become the junior senator for Illinois for the US Senate. Also remember that HRC is also 'just' a junior senator, and I'm sorry, but being married to the president doesn't really count as experience on my part.

    (I also have to say, that as a native New Yorker, I'm personally annoyed that she decided to come into our state, get elected as one of our senators, just to use us as a stepping stone for her own ambitions of becoming president. I knew this was happening as soon as she ran for the senate seat. The only thing that surprised me is that she actually waited for the 2008 elections instead of the 2004 elections. My guess is that she wanted to avoid looking 'inexperienced', which is exactly the the charge she repeatedly hurls at Obama. Clever, calculating snake she is.)

    January 9, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  10. Lina, Montreal, Quebec

    I am from Montreal and watched CNN everyday and followed the day to day outcome of the election campaign. I think the media and the pundits are very hard on her. They should be ashamed of themselves with Hillary's victory in New Hampshire. With her experience and strong foundation and ability on economy and other important issues, I think she is the right person to run the White House. I will be very proud if she win the election and become the first WOMAN PRESIDENT of the United States. LONG LIVE, HILLARY!!!!!

    January 9, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  11. Jason of Indianapolis

    I was Obama I would be interested in a Hillary Obama ticket! I would only choose a partner with morals!

    January 9, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  12. Heather, Nashville, TN

    LJ, What type of change do you believe Barack is going to bring? Have you read about his home church's beliefs. How that even black conservative Eric Rush has stated that they choose things African over things American. James Cone a much admired figure at Trinity COC has declared that, 'The time has come for white America to be silent and listen to black people." What about in the Audacity of hope where Obama speaks of hispatriotic resentment and frustration when he feels as if he needs a translator to speak to a mexican mechanic. Is this the type of change you are looking for because you are certainly trying taking us down the road that will send us all down the River..........

    January 9, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  13. Angi

    What is Hillary's experience? She has been a (junior) senator from New York two years longer than Obama, as far as I can tell. Obama has both state and federal experience. My husband has been a CPA for twenty some years, and he calls me his career coach, does that mean I have auditing experience?

    January 9, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  14. LC

    Here's the ticket:
    HRC President/Obama Vice President – 2 terms then.....
    Obama, President/Any one of the Clintons, Vice President – 2 terms

    Sweep the war-mongers out of DC for 16 years. It's going to take that much time to make a dent in the mess Bush is leaving behind.

    January 9, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  15. Ron S.


    Here's a tip.

    Clintons always lie.

    January 9, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  16. greenpaz

    Yes, what a whiner Barack Obama is for trying to set the record straight. BIll Clinton twists Obama's words in a craven attempt to get his wife elected (you know, so she can help the people), and now Obama is just supposed to shut-up and take it. Okay...

    Bill and Hillary will lie, cheat and steal to get back to a position of power.


    January 9, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  17. Beans

    I hope that Obama will not waste his time defending comments made by the Clinton campaign. It's not worth the time or energy to get off-track, and frankly the public doesn't want to hear all the bickering and negativity. Clinton's know how to get nasty–they are polished politicans and play the game well. How could anyone believe Hillary's tears were genuine. They are nothing less than "players."

    The NH returns are being treated as more fabulous than the Iowa returns. Iowa has more electoral votes than NH, and the percentage split between Obama and Clinton was far greater than the 2% she had over him in NH. And what's this BS that the "granite state" puts out...the Iowans pick corn but they pick presidents? Get real...in the 2000 caucuses and primaries, Iowa picked Bush and Gore. NH picked McCain and Bush. Enough said, right?

    Keep on keepin' on, Barack! Rise above the Clinton CRAP! We're all behind you. I'm an independent, and this is the first time in my life I've been enthused about a candidate...to the point where I've done volunteer work and am donating $$!

    January 9, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  18. Roger Evans Colorado

    I heard or read that the people in N H were educated people, God help us all if this is a sample of educated people. I don't feel this is a bad mark for education, I feel it is a lack of common sence. Who in their right mind could vote for a Clinton they cheat, they lie, they kill off people who get in their way or try to expose their crimes. If these are educated people voting for a Clinton God please help us we are all lost.

    January 9, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  19. Scared for our country

    Thank you Karen! People, do your research. Please do not rely on campaign sites for your information or glossed up rally speechs. Our country deserves more than the blind leading the blind! See Karen's post for some great sources.

    January 9, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  20. grover89

    Wow, the ignorance of people posting on this board is astounding. Way too many people spend way too much time reading from the Hillary website, and far too few people actually researching it and knowing what they are talk about. The Clintons went very negative and very slimy against Obama in those last 5 days before NH.

    False attacks on abotion
    False attacks on raising taxes
    False accusations of flip flopping
    Implying that if you don't vote for the opponent, terrorists may attack again.

    Who does that sound like? A Republican. I'm ashamed of Hillary and especially Bill Clinton as a former president. This has destroyed my opinion of Bill. The Clintons know they are being disingenuous, they know they are distorting the truth, and they assume that the majority of voters won't know any better. That is a classic Republican ploy, and it is disgusting to see in the Democratic party.

    January 9, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  21. James Sloh

    Crying is not gonna help you Hillary. it mean you are weak.
    it's also mean you doesn't have the strengh to be President.

    January 9, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  22. Brad Glisson

    How about you go read the comments Barack originally made, and then listen to what Clinton said, and you will see it is a FACT that Bill twisted Baracks words. Just like Hillary did with this whole abortion mailing that was sent out accusing Barack of being FOR abortion. Underhanded and shady, I hope Barack comes out swinging and levels the Clintons.

    Also need we forget that the Clinton campaign accused Barack of being a crack dealer and a muslim? Also they are already exploring setting up a 527 style 'swift boat' attack ad.

    January 9, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  23. grover89

    And I will say, that people who buy this "experience" argument from Hillary do a disservice to human capacity for critical thought. Give me a break. How about you spend less time repeating Hillary's campaign arguments and more time actually LOOKING at your own candidate's purported experience. Her resume is fluff, she has no more executive experience than Obama, she has less legislative experience than Obama, and her time in the Senate has been strikingly unproductive (unless you call naming a bunch of buildings after people productive). Obama has a lot more experience fighting for change than the Clintons want to let on, they just expect people to not compare the records. Obama has done plenty legislatively, he has taught constitutional law for ten years (which after our last president should be a prerequisite for setting foot in the Oval Office) and he can bring people together, while Hillary divides. Hillary supporters are the most stubbornly blind people I have ever heard, aside from maybe those last few Bush supporters. YOU NEED TO ACTUALLY RESEARCH THIS FOR YOURSELF, QUIT BEING LEMMINGS!!

    January 9, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  24. john turner

    Those of you who claim Barack has no experience have obviously not taken the time to look at his record of accomplishments. Hillary has been riding Bill's coattails her entire life, and when she was put in charge of spearheading health care reform, she squandered it. This is the "experience" we need? Hillary has taken the most money from corporate lobbyists that continue to dictate our political process. Obama has tons more legislative experience than Edwards or HIllary, and to top it all off, he did it without having being tainted by Washington lobbyists. Face it folks, you can't get anything achieved without building a broad coalition, any legislator worth his mettle knows this. If Edwards the "fighter" or the ever divisive Hildabeast is elected, expect years of partisan gridlock without the turnaround we so desperately need.

    January 9, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  25. guitarzan

    Can't support the establishment candidate. Not this time. Not after 28 years of Bush/Clinton/Bush. The next 4 years are going to be about fixing all of the damage inflicted on this country by 8 years of Bush. I just believe that Hillary and Company are too entrenched in the Wall Street/Corporate/Military Industrial complex that has been running this country for far too long.

    January 9, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
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