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. Lacy

    I believe in Obama. I defended Bill when Republicans went overboard with that impeachment effort. However, I use to always say that the reason the Republicans hated Bill so much was that he was just as down and dirty as they were and could beat them at their own game.

    They deliberately distorted (lied) Obama's record 24 hours before the voting and mailed out flyers suggesting he was NOT pro-choice. And the pundits wonder why "women" turned out for Hillary this time? Well go figure...

    For Hillary Clinton to sit there whining about she doesn't want to see the country fall apart, as if she is the only one who can save the country... Well, in Bill's words, GIVE ME A BREAK. In this country of three hundred million people surely there is someone who can run it other than a BUSH OR A CLINTON.

    20 years is enough! I want to see a different name behind the word President in 2009.

    January 10, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  2. Brittany Johnson

    okay, everyone saying she has all of this experience...WHAT EXPERIENCE DOES SHE HAVE BESIDES BEING THE WIFE OF A PRESIDENT? WHAT HAS SHE DONE AS A SENATOR THAT PEOPLE ARE RAVING ABOUT THAT WOULD TELL ME SHE SHOULD BE PRESIDENT. SHE HAS EVERYONE TOTALLY FOOLED AND I DONT THINK SHE HAS ANY INTEGRITY AND WILL DO WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN AT ANY COST. FRUSTRATED HOUSEWIVES ARE THE ONLY ONES VOTING FOR HER BECAUSE THEY FEEL THEY HAVE A VOICE. BUSH WAS SPECIFIC ABOUT THE THINGS HE WAS GOING TO DO AS PRESIDENT AND LOOK HOW THIS COUNTRY TURNED OUT. YOU ALL ARE BEING TOTALLY NAIVE AND I DON'T UNDERSTAND WHY PEOPLE DONT UNDERSTAND WE NEED SOMEONE NEW, WE DO NOT NEED THE SAME FAMILIES RUNNING THE COUNTRY FOR 20 YEARS.

    January 10, 2008 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  3. very concerned. OBAMA 08

    Hi Joanne,
    you say that you don't know where Obama stands on the issues. Well just for you, I searched long and hard and found this interesting little website that explains his stance on ALL of the issues: http://www.barackobama.com/issues/ it's quite a fascinating read. Also, I'm pretty sure that if you listen to his 'great speeches' you might learn a bit more about the brilliant ideas he has for this country.

    Seriously, people. Don't write off Barack Obama just because a few uninformed people try to portray him in a negative light.

    And can someone please explain to me what HRC means when she says that she has had 35 years of experience? Last time I checked, she has only been on the senate since 2000 (No, I don't think being the first lady counts. Sorry). In addition, no one can claim to have the most experience necessary to be the president of the U.S until they have served a term and are looking for re-election (exception to this rule: George W. Bush).

    Also, Joanne, my vote for Obama has nothing to do with Hillary's gender (I'm a FEMALE). Instead it is because of a steadfast belief that he truly has the best interests of our country at heart. I know that a woman can run this country, but I also know that Hillary Clinton should not be that woman.

    In reference to the article (although this seems redundant), Bill Clinton LIED and Barack Obama decided to explain the truth. Pretty standard stuff. The End.

    January 10, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  4. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    You bet former President Clinton didn't sound or look very presidential when he bombarded Senator Obama's campaign. I was embarrased for him (President Clinton) because of his grandstanding and proud that Senator Obama reacted in the way that he did.

    I just pray that our country will see beyond the tears and anger shown by the Clinton campaign who, in my view, just couldn't stand to be embarrassed by another potential Obama victory.

    Obama 08 all the way!!

    January 10, 2008 01:36 am at 1:36 am |
  5. Matt, Milwaukee, Wi

    Thank you Mark!!

    January 10, 2008 01:40 am at 1:40 am |
  6. paul donkor

    why does media hate hillary so much. It is a media hipe.

    January 10, 2008 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  7. John Smith,N.H.

    CAROL,YOU CAN STAY AT HOME ON THE ELECTION DAY IF YOU WANT. I AM AN AFRICAN AMERICAN TOO. OBAMA STARTS ALL THESE MESS WITH THE CLINTON CAMP. HE DID NOT VOTE FOR THE WAR BECAUSE HE WAS NOT IN US SENATE. DON'T CRITISIZE IF YOU DID NOT A STAND. BUT HE IS BEEN PLAYING POLITIC BECAUSE IT FAVORS HIM. HE HAS THE CHANCE TO VOTE IN THE SENATE AGAINST THE IRANIAN GUARDS. NOT HE CHOOSES TO BE CAMPANING KNOWING THAT WAS A CRUCIAL VOTE. HILLARY STOPPED EVERTHING CAME TO THE US SENATE AND TOOK A STAND. HE AGAIN WAS THE FIRST TO HARST ON HER FOR THE VOTE. AMERICAN SOLDIERS ARE DYING IN IRAK. SHE TOOK A STAND TO PRORECT OUR TROOP. OBAMA SAID SHE GAVE THE AUTHORIZATION TO BUSH TO ATTACK IRAK. HE DID NOT VOTE BUT HE IS TALKING ABOUT HIS SUPERIOR JUDGEMENT. WHICH ONE IS HE TALKING ABOUT? HE IS CRITIZED HER FOR TAKING MONEY FROM LOBBY BUT THE CHAIR OF HIS CAMPAGN HIS LOBBY FOR A PHARMACETICAL FIRM. COME ON! BILL CLINTON IS RIGHT. OBAMA NEED TO EXPLAIN HOW HE WILL GET THINGS DONE .I HEARD THE USED OF WORDS. EXPLAIN OR DON'T CRITIZED ANY OTHER CANDIDATS BECAUSE DO IT SO IS AN INVITATION OF SCRUTINIZED YOUR OWN RECORDS.

    January 10, 2008 01:53 am at 1:53 am |
  8. Karen

    Obama/Bloomberg 2008

    Can't take another 4 yrs of the Clintons' soap opera and the far left wing crazies fighting the far right wingers wackos We remain gridlocked and nothing ever gets done.

    Let them argue forever, while we ignore them and move on. We have a lot of work to do.

    January 10, 2008 01:54 am at 1:54 am |
  9. Joyce Allen

    Look if people do not believe Obama can get things done. They need to look what he accomplished in Iowa and New Hampshire. He helped those people to create a record breaking turnout. If that is not evidence of his abilities, then lets just pick him apart like we have done throughout history to prevent progress in this nation.

    January 10, 2008 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  10. depressed dem

    This my friends is the establishment at work. As much as people hate to admit it, the good ol' dems are just as vicious as the republicans only they're a little more polished. If this is how the Clinton's continue to campaign against Obama, then he has no chance, b/c he doesn't play as dirty(note that I did not say that he is completely dirt-free). His campaign is about optimism, so if he can't even legitimately respond to attacks without scrutiny and PR problems, then how is going to argue the issues without looking like he is raising his voice with Clinton. It's a no-win and paints a very dark narrative of America today. I'm not saying he's the best candidate, but I'm saying that being unfair and shady DOES pay off.

    I few things to consider:
    -The behavior of the some of the posters here and their inability to debate in a mature manner should be a concern to the people of this nation considering that they are most likely capable of voting. Scary prospect.
    -Who's running, Bill or Hillary?
    -If Hillary wins the nomination, Bloomberg will most like run. What then?
    [b]-If this election for the Democrats was to find someone truly experienced, they would've voted for Biden or Richardson, not the rock star or the one with name recognition.[/b]

    People please educate yourselves before you vote, even if you are strongly behind one candidate, do everyone a favor and thoroughly research all of them instead of coming on this blog and embarassing yourself.

    January 10, 2008 02:33 am at 2:33 am |
  11. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Bill Clinton is truly a disappointment to me, as well as Hillary and to think I admire"d" them. Since Bill wants to sling mud, we still haven't gotten a clear answer as why he didn't take out his buddy(bin Laden) when he had the chance as Commander in Chief. Until Bill can truthfully answer that he needs to take a hike because he is surely a big part of the problems in the mideast, and so is Hillary.

    January 10, 2008 02:37 am at 2:37 am |
  12. xo

    Why isn't the MSM covering the voter fraud. The Diebold machines gave Clinton the win. Obama actually won the election. Just go the BostonNow.com and roguegoverment.com. They did a story on it. They have proof. This election was stolen. The Diebold machines are there to make sure the Establishment gets the White House regardless of our votes.

    January 10, 2008 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  13. xo

    ABC is backing Clinton. During a PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE someone brings out the fact that people don't like Hillary (remeber the woman vote). Later the MSM reported that she was attacked by Obama and Edwards even though see actually attacked them and Obama did not really respond to her (remember the woman vote). Next, all of a sudden a woman ask Hillary a question that caused her to TEAR UP (remember the woman vote) and immediately afterwards she attacked Obama. Then Fox's newpaper (which backs Hillary) put out a harsh picture of Hillary on the front page along with other media outlets which the CLINTONS have a lot of pull with (remember the woman vote). Next she attacks Obama again (with lies) and Bill attacks Obama (with lies). All of a sudden Hillary comes back with the MAJORITY OF THE WOMAN VOTE. Now if you do research right now you will see there is evidence of VOTER FRAUD right now in New Hampshire. The VOTING MACHINES (Diebold) gave Hillary a 7% advantage over Obama. They have proof that Ron Paul's votes weren't even counted. He actually BEAT Rudy. And to cover there tracks they had to WOMAN who asked Hillary the question say that she voted for Obama. YEAH RIGHT. This is OUR DEMOCRACY that will be stolen from us again. Please do your research. Tell friends and family. The MSM will not report this. Bush is backing Hillary. The MSM is backing Hillary. They need her to WIN. Make a NOTE* Dick Morris (who was Bill Clinton Brain) told Sean Hannity on his show that the Clintons are going to pull a Sister Soulja Moment (look it up) on Obama. This is a stunt that Bill Clinton used to Beat Jesse Jackson. Dick Morris said it will be very subtle. NOW- If you listen to all the PUNDITS today, what are they saying. PEOPLE said they would support Obama during the polls but since this was a private Primary, they voted for Hillary because they did not want to vote for a BLACK MAN. Don't trust me, Look it up for yourself. You tube Fox and look up BostonNow.com and Roguegoverment.com.

    January 10, 2008 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  14. Ann Aloha, PA

    Same Ole...Same Ole
    Until we are treated equal and fair in every aspect of our agreement to be PEOPLE OF THIS FREE NATION, we will never be able to move forward. Senator Clinton is more criticized negatively for being a woman, seeking the Democratic Presidential nomination than Senator Obama is for being African American for seeking the same nomination..Why?, mainly because of a male dominated upper-tier of businessmen, along with the anti-feminist(most whom are married to these businessmen), where sexism is more noticeable and practiced than racism.
    The mistreatment of Senator Clinton by the media, after her loss in Iowa and the very fact that EVERY media branch called her out of the race for the nomination was unfair and misrepresented the journalism that is truly expected by we the people. Stop the one sidedness and you will gain more viewers for longer periods of time, therfore increasing you ratings with dignity and truthfulness. All these male commentators that continue to try to discredit Senator Clinton mainly due to them disagreeing with the former Bill Clinton years and the policies that it held. Well guess what...this is 2008 and time to move on and catch up to modern politics.
    Until the media as a whole respects more women in higher-teir business positions such as Senator Clinton and genuinely accept the fact that she EARNED her place in the Senate, we will continue to see this mistreatment. Darn if she does and darn if she doesn't, male candidates challenge other male candidates and they are veiwed as tough on issues, Senator Clinton challenges male candidates, she is considered non womanly or too tough.
    In my opinion, I feel the media should educate this group of people to update them on equality and fairness, not just for this election but for life in general.
    Ann

    January 10, 2008 03:01 am at 3:01 am |
  15. CaptainVideo

    "I don't know where Barack Obama stands on the issues"

    That can easily be remedied. Go to the Web site:

    http://www.barackobama.com/issues/

    You will find a detailed description of Barak's stand on the issues at this site.

    January 10, 2008 03:03 am at 3:03 am |
  16. CaptainVideo

    Bush, Clinton, Bush, Clinton = same old, same old

    We really do need change and no matter how she tries to sping it, she cannot represent change.

    January 10, 2008 03:07 am at 3:07 am |
  17. soms

    Repugs get the WH courtesy the moronic voters of NH...she and her husband are the sleaziest husband-wife team I have ever seen
    fear-war-mongering -check
    smear campaigning-check
    anti-Obama 527 plants -check(there are many here as I see)
    faking the emotions-check
    undermining MLKjr-check
    WOW America deserves them and later the repugs who'll champion their straight-talk express and laugh all the way to the WH.
    Hillary is the most divisive and manipulative candidate...some dems will stay home rather than vote for her.
    Even the woman for whom she cried a river and went spewing the agenda instead of answering the question saw her as a phony.
    America..be blindsided, conned and tricked in all fashions by your dem candidate
    ...and repugs congratulations in advance.
    See even Mac-boy has lesser baggage than Hillary-LBJ Clinton and he'll go to the WH

    January 10, 2008 03:12 am at 3:12 am |
  18. turnthepage

    All you Hillary supporters, it is not surprising that you complain about Obama not being specific about how he will bring change. Just like your candidate you are lazy. Hillary didn’t do her essential reading before voting for the disastrous war, and now you, her supporters, make up your minds without doing your essential reading. Obama wrote two books and there are pages and pages of information on his website explaining his policies and detailing how he wants to bring change. No wonder less educated folks mainly voted for Hillary – those are the ones unfortunately do not read much. They prefer getting all their information from TV, which constantly fed them a crying Hillary and a lying Bill every minute of the last 24 hours before the voting started. In my opinion, anybody who didn’t oppose this awful war from the very start should not even run for presidency. It is a disgrace.

    January 10, 2008 03:19 am at 3:19 am |
  19. Sam IA

    If you can't take it, don't dish it out Obama. Statements like that are the tip of the iceberg if you are nominated. Rush and Hannity and every local hate jock in America are waiting to unleash thier twisted innuendos and outright lies and as you can see by the posts on here they do work. To the Clinton haters, check and see where he rates amongst US Presidents. Perception versus reality. A few koolaid drinkers assuming everyone thinks like Rush and themselves.

    January 10, 2008 03:25 am at 3:25 am |
  20. soms

    RedSea Foreign National,
    I am sure Hillary plant that's what people say(ha!)
    Everybody in Germany , Japan and half the western world are fascinated and adulating Obama with fervor and you say the opposite...
    You are definitely a Hillary plant...I can see the entire comment has been copied and pasted from a document...
    That woman can go to any degree of manipulation...
    People...beware....don't believe everything you read...Carville is in their fold and they are running a Karl Rove style smear campaign as is evident from the sleazy remarks made by Bill 'moron' Clinton..Be careful...
    dems ...you are giving up the race by going for Hillary Clinton as the polls on CNN show that NH voters are pretty sure that HRC can't beat the three GOP candidates.

    January 10, 2008 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  21. greg,new york

    a lot of ou are spewing a lot hate towards Obama. making him sound like some dumb airhead that got to where he is jsut on charm like there is no substance to the man. I f that is what ou guys really believe good luck to you. I hope you get exactly what you want.( GOOD OLD DAYS).
    I wont say anythign negative about the Clintons because it is not the right thing to do and, I don't want to join this crazyness but I realize a lot of people have ahard time learning from the past. the clintong where great in certain ways but they also hep creat what we have now inthis country a great divide.
    I will submit to you if these people come back washing ton will break with partisanship. the republican will go crazy and nothing will get done.
    again

    January 10, 2008 03:33 am at 3:33 am |
  22. soms

    if Clinton is in,i am voting republican though I am a dem ...like me you'll lose a whole lot of people dems...congratulations on the achievement....I am a woman and I can see through their collective husband-wife manipulation....
    GOP....start prepping for a 3rd consecutive WH run

    January 10, 2008 03:35 am at 3:35 am |
  23. tea

    Obama while in Congress stated 150 times in votes not yes or no but PRESENT. What kind of desivise leader is that. He has been getting a free pass and he needs to answer in a more thruthful way. Is his father Islamic??? What religion is he. let the truth come out NOW. This was not done before Bush was elected and the World paid a wicked price. Question Obama NOW and get the answers.

    January 10, 2008 03:39 am at 3:39 am |
  24. Michelle Allen

    He did say it before the election. Stay informed! He was asked a question which he answered as he has since BIll started slinging the mud.

    January 10, 2008 04:27 am at 4:27 am |
  25. Danny Ross

    News Flash! Bill Clinton lied. Well, DUH! The news flash would be if he told the truth with the intention of conveying accurate information. Both he and Hilary are sociopaths who will say or do anything that furthers their path to power.

    January 10, 2008 05:11 am at 5:11 am |
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