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. SeanO

    Am I the only Democrat who is absolutely disgusted by the tone and rhetoric coming out of all these Clinton supporters? It's not just this blog either.

    These people sound like Republicans in '04. This is like Karl Rove pt 2. It just sickens me.

    January 9, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  2. gabld

    I was excited by the promise of Bill Clinton's presidency and tried to put the best face on his and Hillary's betrayal of that promise. However, I became totally disgusted by their behavior this last weekend. Hillary's crocodile tears for herself and us poor people who may not appreciate how she could save us and Bill's nearly psychotic behavior was appaling. I do not see how anyone can see her chocking up as "humanizing." I love New Hampshire but its voters let us down.

    January 9, 2008 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  3. Ed from Richmond, Va

    Barrack, I read both your book, you're okay but.....You started this fight and the Clintons will end it with Hillary in the White House. Quit crying and be a man. By the way, I'm African American.

    January 9, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
  4. Michael

    Iraq incident isn't war, it is a battle against to terrorist of Iraq. Reference what Mr Bush has said.

    January 9, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  5. scotty

    listen up people
    that tidal wave and the 12 point lead was dreamt up by the media to go after Hillary
    throughout this whole process it has always been acceptable to go after Hillary so visciously but not after pretty boy Barak how about their hairdoos and their ties or suits???? John Edwards wife had plenty to say so why can't Bill
    and if he wants change why does he want peeps from the Clinton administration including Hillary to join his cabinet if he would be elected – you know why? they were successful in achieving change and wow oh wow they have EXPERIENCE which he lacks- speeches are great but actions speak louder than words where are the plans????
    and what was so bad about the 8 years Clinton was in office
    the middle class was put back to work and prospered house values skyrocketed
    people respected Americans- and we were still manufacturing and new jobs – the U.S. never had it so good-were being created instead of being Chinas consumer
    and if you remember one of Bills inaguration speeches he said we needed vehicles to achieve 40 miles per gallon
    and the only reason why healthcare revisions failed for Hillary is because the Repugs threw her out and told her to go bake cookies that is how threatened they have always been from her and in spite of all that she has still reached across the isle to date and worked with them and you know what they actually like her
    this is the reality not the fantasy I hope all Americans are real happy with the Bush regime

    January 9, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  6. Concerned American

    I was searching on-line for some answers to what seem to be a lot of peoples concerns. I found a new web site by a new political author and radio host, http://www.shallsetyoufree.com. This guy seems to on the edge of answers.

    January 9, 2008 09:57 pm at 9:57 pm |
  7. pmoja

    i hope all the hillary supporters get hillary as president (the one term wonder) bill & hillary they are a lie they don't even like each other this is the deal they made he would help her be president and you folks hate black so much you would put a fraud in office before him.... wow thats ....
    "let's save pessimism for better times" stay positive, peace

    January 9, 2008 10:01 pm at 10:01 pm |
  8. Dana - New York

    How about we leave our spouses at home and run for president like big boys and girls? Let's take Bill out of the picture, and you're left with Hillary. Just Hillary.

    Let's say...God forbid but...on the second day of President Hillary Clinton's presidency, Bill suffers a heart attack and passes on. Still feeling OK about her running the country? Alone?

    January 9, 2008 10:05 pm at 10:05 pm |
  9. Anonymous

    The Clintons panicked response before New Hampshire just shows how low they'll go to win. What, with their false mailers about Obama's abortion stance, playing on the fears for Obama's safety. The way they ridiculed hope and idealism, Hilary using her gender to play on peoples emotions.
    We don't need any of that. Ever since Nixon this country has been all political games-power plays-. Let's end that tradition by stopping those who play the game.

    January 9, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  10. Ohio Democrat

    The Clintons panicked response before New Hampshire just shows how low they'll go to win. What, with their false mailers about Obama's abortion stance, playing on the fears for Obama's safety. The way they ridiculed hope and idealism, Hilary using her gender to play on peoples emotions.
    We don't need any of that. Ever since Nixon this country has been all political games-power plays-. Let's end that tradition by stopping those who play the game.

    January 9, 2008 10:07 pm at 10:07 pm |
  11. kobe

    wow,so finally wolf blitzer and the people at the clinton news network got something to be cheerfull about.so what's up with so called first black president's attacks on the junior senator from illinois?him and his family are the establishment,they own the democratic party!!and as for the former first lady,she crying because she loves the country so much that she thinks anybody else apart from her will destroy the country?gimme a break!!congratulations blitzer and cooper and oh when is cooper gonna do another story about the third world for some pain comfort for himself?!!

    January 9, 2008 10:11 pm at 10:11 pm |
  12. Michael

    Mr Bush has done all the Best for America.

    January 9, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  13. S.G.S

    The fact remains – The media includes cnn – played billy-boy's LIE all day long – before trying to correct that lie ....

    Let's don't forget all there life's – billy-boy been out-sorcing his willy and hillary has been lying about it ...

    So are we going to put the same-ole liars back into the white-house ????

    ........

    January 9, 2008 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Poor little boy. Get used to it!

    January 9, 2008 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  15. John, Honolulu

    To Mike from Waterbury: uhh, I think you should look at the context of what Obama said and when he said it. He was clearly referring to the fact that his position in 2004 was that the troops should not be pulled out immediately, which was obviously the same position Bush had. If you used your brain you would have understood this without me having to inform you. Try harder next time please.

    January 9, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  16. Michael

    Why isn't Bush settled to President election. Of course I would vote him instead of the other candidates. Is there somekind of official valid maximum time period for president's incumbent.

    January 9, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  17. Hank

    Poor little boy, get used to it.

    January 9, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  18. Michael

    I am sick and tired of all the whining and rationalizing today coming from the media who got it wrong. Calling Clinton's victory last night a stunning defeat for Obama is patently absurd. Has everyone forgotten he still leads her in delegates? He got the same number of delegates as her last night and that is hardly a "big win" for Hillary. Two percentage points is not even a landslide by Bush standards.

    January 9, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  19. John, Honolulu

    Wow, reading through some more of these comments, I'm struck dumb at the really appalling state of some American's cognitive abilities and apparent lack of civil discourse - it seems that to a lot of the Hillary supporters it's not enough to take on a competitor; one has to insult, demean, and try to utterly dominate and defeat them. Shame, shame, shame on you people. A (justified) hatred of Bush has poisoned your souls to the point that you can no longer treat an adversary as human.

    January 9, 2008 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  20. esad49 in Denver

    I believe there was a coordinated, mini-swift boat by the Clintons that took the Obama camp by surprise. He was mislead into believing he had an insurmountable lead and let both Clintons hammer away (I believe they are both running for the job now). Obama is smart enough to not let that happen again.

    Everyone should take a hard look at the opportunity we are being presented and reduce the pointless bickering about who says what. I do not want another 4 to 8 years of gridlock, partisan bickering, and endless BS. Does anyone truely believe the Republicans will work with her? We need new blood at the top to have any hope in breaking this gridlock.

    January 9, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  21. Mike

    Funny comment about Obama but Hillary Clinton was the one who cried her way to a win. Is she going to broker peace in the Middle East by shedding a few tears or perhaps having some other kind of tantrum?

    January 9, 2008 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  22. fred

    People, if you agree with free trade, NAFTA, and the WTO, then by all means, vote for Clinton, Inc. If you agree with energy company consolidation (e.g. oil), telecommunications consolidation, media consolidation, as well as defense industry consolidation, (Which all started under Bill's watch.) then by all means, vote for the Clinton political machine. I don't understand why experience is such a big issue in this election cycle, considering we have had probably the least experienced, as well as unqualified president in the history of our country. (and he was elected twice!!!!) I don't know if Barack Obama is the right man for the job, however he has not been in politics long enough to be corrupted by the system. I think what this country needs more than anything is not change, (They all say that.) but some different people in these positions of power. So even though he was not in the Senate to make some of the votes that are being debated currently, the bottom line is he didn't vote to go to war in Iraq, or the Patriot Act, or many of the other bills that infringe on our citizens civil rights. (Unlike Hillary.... ) I urge everyone on this blog to go out to http://www.senate.org and research both candidates voting records. I think it should be obvious who the most deserving candidate at that point....

    January 9, 2008 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  23. t.h.

    People here need to calm down and do some research. Obama just gave "vague" suggestions about being anti-war? Please. Read the speech!

    http://www.tnj.com/archives/2004/september2004/final_word.php

    It's amazing how much uninformed hatred this medium generates. I hope we all can be more responsible

    January 9, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  24. justwaitandsee

    THIS HAS GOT TO BE THE WORST BLOG IN HISTORY......I RETURNING BACK TO THE NYT AND FIRST READ....I SHOULD HAVE KNOW ALL THOSE SELF SERVING BLODS THAT APPEAR ON LOU DODD SHOW...

    MY GOD THIS IS ABSOLUTELY THE WORST BLOD

    January 9, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
  25. Paul

    here's an interesting take on how the new hampshire upset took place:

    Secret Strategy by Evil Boo

    January 9, 2008 10:43 pm at 10:43 pm |
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