January 9th, 2008
03:25 PM ET
4 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. Exo

    Thank you New Hampshire. Your state stands as the guardian of decency and fairness. Your light has shone the way forward for America.

    January 10, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  2. Justin, Houston, TX

    Obama says he fundamentally opposed the war but funds it over and over and over again and Bill Clinton is twisting his words. How?

    Obama says he "No lobbyists in my White House". But it's okay for them to co-chair his campaign to get to the White House and it's okay for them to help him purchase his house.

    You people are just setting yourself up for a huge disappointment if you actually believe Obama is as squeaky clean as he wants people to believe.

    January 10, 2008 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  3. Tom, Boston Ma

    Obama detracters are one or more of the following categories: 1) too racist to stand a black man as our leader, 2) too zionist to change our / israeli immoral policies in middle east, 3) dumb enough to vote any day for anyone who claims to have a direct line with "God", 4) too greedy to admit they can use their money for common good like Oprah and others have done, etc....

    Obama supporters: please let Obama know that

    January 10, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  4. jack, ny, ny

    Rick- no one has to listen to you. Same way I think there are idiots like yourself who are living in fairy land. People this is free country...vote who you want to vote. DOn't worry about obama staffers who are all over this board writing lenghty message and belittling Hillary.

    January 10, 2008 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  5. MjF

    As a NH resident, "Glad they are gone now" I do have one thing to say. Why the hoopla about Ms. Clinton winning here? She and Mr. Obama split EVENLY the delegate vote. Sure it sounds great to say she won and that might give her a boost, but if things go as thy are now, it will be a brokered convension.

    January 10, 2008 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  6. Tom, Boston Ma

    (continue from the previous comment of mine that got posted prematurely by mistake)

    OBAMA NEEDS TO ARTICULATE THE SUBSTANCE OF THE CHANGE he's talking about in his daily media comments. it's not easy to do in soundbites, but he must find ways to get some specifics across to the voters during his precious mass media exposure.

    there is NO other way to convince the genuinely concerned voters who are his best potential supporters.

    January 10, 2008 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  7. Phlogiston

    Bill Clinton took liberties with Barack Hussein Obama's words? Did he make it sound as Obama actually said something?

    January 10, 2008 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  8. Kadri Walcott

    People dont be fooled, Obama was right and he is right.

    He was right to go against the war.
    He was right to vote for funding, obviously he cares about the troops thats why he voted for the funding.

    If Obama refused to vote for the troops that clearly will show that as a Presidential Candidate, he really dont care if the troops got what they need to fight a senseless war

    He is against the war, but he cannot stop it bcos he is not president, so he agreed to let the soldiers have what they need, that is what the funding is for, food, weapons, protection, vehicles and so on whilst they are on their missions.

    That game Bill is playing is stupid, as I see it, Bill is causing Hillary to lose, who knows, this might be a setup for Barack Obama to win too, I have checked Hillary's YouTube profile page and nothing there is convincing she wants the presidency, most videos on the main page are showing Obama is the man, actually i think he is too.

    I am looking forward to Obama/Edwards 2008 General Election.

    Here in barbados, our elections is on Jan 15th 2008.

    God Bless You America

    January 10, 2008 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  9. noid

    Funny, how people are complaining about Obama use of the word change while at the same time EVERY presidential candidate in each party has jumped on his "change" bandwagon.

    PS. being the first lady doesn't equate to more experience.

    January 10, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. jp/michigan

    I went on the internet and read an interesting article. See for yourself. THE ASTUTE BLOGGERS : JAN>7,2008 "OBAMA< THE COWARDLY LIAR"

    January 10, 2008 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  11. Kadri Walcott

    EXPERIENCE? how many sworn in presidents had experience before?

    Experience is just something to add to a resume, its about who can get the job done.

    I have seen more school leavers working better than many people who were on the job for more than 5 years.

    i worked as a medical records clerk for a year and was asked to stay on because i worked better than the ladies who were on for like 15 years and more, so what experience has to do with it?

    experience is just a resume catch, education and common sense to make decisions are what makes one noble.

    lol experience also is what have soldiers in war today so please refrain on the experience issue.

    January 10, 2008 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  12. Mr.Murder

    It is what it is.

    That's why Barack's head is spinning.

    By their words you shall know them.

    Barack said he was against the war in 2004 after the WMD canard was proven false. He still said his policy would match that of Dubya. If President CLinton points that out then it is a lie? Obama supporters have a hangup over what the emaning of "is" really is, it would appear so.

    Never mind he has no statements against the war from '02 or '03 to share with people. He ran as a Scoop Jackson Democrat, a war hawk, to get where he is. The Chicago School of foreign policy is where his backing comes from, home of the neocons.

    Bush was the change candidate, he radically changed America's direction, Barack is a stay the course guy. He's already talken Bush's unpopular mantle of radical Social Security reform. He's taken the advisory shortcomings of Colin Powell to heart. He's for continued occupation, the Hundred Year's War that John McCain loves so dearly.

    Those young voters better get ready for a draft. If we stay with Iraq occupation levels to even a moderate size we'll have to either close bases in NATO and SEATO(which would further hinder the supply chain) or we'll have to initiate a draft.

    Draft Obama = Obama Draft.

    Those young voters are certainly pro draft...

    January 10, 2008 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  13. Ann

    I've check out Mr. Obama's record as state legislator, and it's distinctly unimpressive in terms of leadership. What jumps out, frankly, is that he IS a waffler.

    Interesting that his persona differs from his real voting actions.

    He seemed to be a lackluster fellow in terms of real action.

    January 10, 2008 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  14. GB

    Carie – Why don't you check out Barack Obama's website? It's got tons of specifics about his plans for the future.

    January 10, 2008 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  15. georgre

    Obama ;you are destroying any chance of ensuring a democratic president for 2008. Please step aside and let Hillary, an experienced, proven candidate who is just as smart as you if not smarter move this country in the direction it must go- if you were smart you'd work with her and ensure an opportunity for 2012, but this way you can forget any real chance of becoming preseident ever!

    January 10, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. Realist08

    Discussing politics yesterday with my neigbours brought out some things i never thought about. My neigbour was of the view that Obama's native country is in turmoil and that he should have gone there to contest for the Presidency and help move that nation forward instead of spending more than a year to win the ticket for his party here.

    In a funny twist of fate i avtually thought about this and was suprised that the mighty America can't find anybody to be its President that it has to turn to the Black world (once touted by them as Bush / Uncivilised and babaric) Africa – Kenya to give them a President.

    Obama is not an African-American whose roots are entrenched in Slavery and passing through the activism period. This is a man who is a first generation emigrant of the 20th century.

    All hail Africa the motherland. Americans should henceforth respect and salute any African anywhere they meet them. Henceforth all forms of unciviclised manners of looking at Africa as a bush continent must cease. after all that continent is lending us one of their own to rule them

    January 10, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  17. adnaw6

    it is a time for change , time for the clintons to leave, lets take a chance on someone different . we will get the same old stuff from the clintons. I lets get some new ideas, fresh young ideas. also the tears were planned, Im not nieve she was told ,you have to show some emotion and her timing was cunning the day before the primaries! well you get what you vote for Bill clintonwill cheat again and embarrass the American people we will once again have a scandle in the white house, why take that chance, I truly believe out withe the old over 60 presidents, hillary is from a different generation and she repeats everything Obama says he says change, she says change, if you listen carefully she almost quotes him word for word, and she still uses the word I, I I this is a personal victory NOT for the American people , but for her, and her husband he got kicked out the whitehouse, it should be a law once your kicked out ,you cant come back in, the other countries are probably laughing at us for picking a woman to even try to run the white house,I cant see her dueling wtih osama bin laden or the president if Iran? tell hillary to go home and cook. It makes our country look weak. Im democratic and would vote republican before I vote for a woman, even the Bible says God put man over a woman.

    January 10, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  18. Tim

    I choke everytime I hear Hillary mention "experience"! The only experience I can see is that of being the victim of a lying, cheating amoral husband. Until she speaks of that which she knows, I have no use for her. Please stop embarassing yourself Hil, your non-experience is showing!

    January 10, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. CWHACK

    The Clinton's in office behaved as if they had just came out of the "Hills". I forgot they did...Hillary should have tossed the Pervert years ago. By her staying only shows they are both sick people and need extensive therapy. Is that the kind of person we want to run our country? Don't forget that if Bill Clinton had done something about the terrorist while he was in office, we would not have had 9-11 and we would not have had to clean up Afganastan and Iraq. Obama has promised he would not shame the U.S.A. Can Hillary say the same thing?

    January 10, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  20. russ

    did Barack say in a 2004 speech that he does not know how he would have voted on the senate resolution supporting bush's incursion into Iraq, as bill clilnnton has said....and has that speech been removed from barack's web site?

    January 10, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  21. Duane

    Anyone that believes anything Bill Clinton says is a fool! Bill always lies and Hillary always spears to it!

    January 10, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  22. Walter Whitfield

    I have not decided who I will support or endorse for this upcoming Presidential election yet, be it Democrat or Republican. I am entirely pissed off at the Imperial posturing of George Jr. I however did support his Dad in both of his presidential bids. Obama todate is an interesting and appealing candidate solely because he represents generational change in National Politics. He has about as much experience at this point in his career on the national level as Bill [ 'I never had sex with that women'] Clinton when he ran for the Presidency. If you look at all the missteps that administration had during their eight years. It reads like a comedy novel. Yet learning in office, Bill[ don't ask , don't tell'] Clinton surrounded himself with some good people, as Presidents tend to do and letft office with a positive legacy of seeing the budget balance. [ sorry Newt]. As a former President he should hold himself above the fracas and not engage in partisan politics. What turns me completely off about Hillary[ after her tearful shameless whining ] after Iowa is that now I have a pretty good idea of who will be shaping her policies if elected President. Enough of the Clinton's- Enough of the Bush's. Enough of the Reaganesh 'trickle down' bull manure. The World around us has changed. It is time for this country to change. Obama has not proved in my mind yet that he has the 'hupsa' [phonetic spelling -forgive me], but he is getting it right about what the American people; I think ,want. The next President will be an agent of change regardless of who ultimately is elected. Let's all pray it's not Hillary. God, please bless America.

    January 10, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. ryan

    i see that donna brazzile and michael erik dyson (professor at Georgetown University )have started to bring out the race card since obama's loss. is this what we have to look forward to whenever he loses a primary? hillary didn't play the gender card when she lost iowa

    January 10, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  24. Walter Whitfield

    I have not decided who I will support or endorse for this upcoming Presidential election yet, be it Democrat or Republican. I am entirely pissed off at the Imperial posturing of George Jr. I however did support his Dad in both of his presidential bids. Obama to date is an interesting and appealing candidate solely because he represents generational change in National Politics. He has about as much experience at this point in his career on the national level as Bill [ 'I never had sex with that women'] Clinton when he ran for the Presidency. If you look at all the missteps that administration had during their eight years. It reads like a comedy novel. Yet learning in office, Bill[ don't ask , don't tell'] Clinton surrounded himself with some good people, as Presidents tend to do and letft office with a positive legacy of seeing the budget balance. [ sorry Newt]. As a former President he should hold himself above the fracas and not engage in partisan politics. What turns me completely off about Hillary[ after her tearful shameless whining ] after Iowa is that now I have a pretty good idea of who will be shaping her policies if elected President. Enough of the Clinton's- Enough of the Bush's. Enough of the Reaganesh 'trickle down' bull manure. The World around us has changed. It is time for this country to change. Obama has not proved in my mind yet that he has the 'hupsa' [phonetic spelling -forgive me], but he is getting it right about what the American people; I think ,want. The next President will be an agent of change regardless of who ultimately is elected. Let's all pray it's not Hillary. God, please bless America.

    January 10, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  25. Ben

    I believe the campaign being waged by the Clinton's against Sen. Obama has been very low class, and to be honest, disgraceful. I hope most people around the country will examine their slashing the most energizing candidate we have had in years. Go OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 10, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
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