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. LA

    I think Edwards said something about being attached by the "status Quo" when they get behind. Who has fallen behind now? Look Obama, stop talking fluff, and start talking issues and record...oh I just remembered...you, don't have much of one. If you are "not clear" buy what Bill Clinton said, then you need to cut your losses and drop out now.

    January 9, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. Michael

    Margo, is English your first language?

    January 9, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  3. Michael

    Margo, is English your first language?

    January 9, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  4. Jack Snow

    Why are women not criticized for voting for a woman because it is a woman?
    Why are evangelicals not criticized for voting for someone for religious reasons?
    Why are blacks not criticized for voting for a black candidate strictly because of race (as they will for Obama)
    Yet whites ARE criticized if they choose NOT to vote for a candidate based on race.

    January 9, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  5. J Williamson Buffalo, NY

    Barack, saying that you "haven't been convinced" about the neccesity for war (to the NY times, some years back) and then (in the same sentence) saying you were "not sure" how you would have voted (had you been in congress) is called hedging your bets. There are no free rides to the White House and you should accept that your previous statements will be scrutnized – just like everybody else's.

    January 9, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  6. looking

    Barack Hussien Obama. Now that's a name to fear. What better way to destroy our country than being the leader of it. Is Obama really a black man, or is he just using that to get votes. I know Musliem's look darker but are not actually black. GIVE ME SOMEONE WHO LOVES THIS COUNTRY, FLAG, AND WANTS ALL PEOPLE BLACK, WHITE, YELLOW, ETC... TO GET ALONG. WE DO NOT NEED A WORLD WAR 3 IN THE UNITED STATES!

    January 9, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  7. teresa miller

    Unite WOMEN....don't let the media or polictical junkies decide who wins. ALL the media has been absolutely a disgrace......boy are the male ego's coming out now....who is obama.....a young inexperience man.not yet ready to be president.its about time a woman is president.in turn maybe then all the male ego's will finally come to rest. i can't believe the bad things that are being said about hillary...if anything you (or we as a country)need to show respect...she was after all a first lady. the media had egg on their face last night..it was funny!!!!! the media thinks once again it will or can decide the next president...i think NH showed them differant.wolf blitzer has been terrible these last several days in his comments about hillary...shame on you wolf. if the male's and media don't have a clue by now...that us women will only take the trashing of hillary for so long then we will fight back,they better get use to the idea. you go hillary......let us women show the media and male's of this country how its going to be.....

    January 9, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  8. Letha, Sioux Falls, SD

    If you really want to know where each of these candidates stand on issues, check the Thomas Roll Call and see where they stand. You can read what each Senator has sponsored and voted on to make a difference to the people of their state or this nation. Don't just listen to the news, read the facts as they are recorded for The Library of Congress, then decide who will make the difference. Here is the link: http://thomas.loc.gov/

    My vote at this time is for Senator Clinton and it is based on her record and not on what I hear.

    January 9, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  9. charles risner

    He lost by 3 not 2% and how narrow is almost 8000 votes? Any body want to have 8000 people over for dinner? Sour grapes is what I hear. Cnn and msmbc are so Anti- Clinton, It is un-real. Chris Matthews and Joe are whining about the race card. The best canidate won and they lost, end of story. By the way Joe, there is a reason you are not a congressman anymore. They found out you only have ears for yourself.

    January 9, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  10. Scott, Madison, WI

    Classy and direct. Keep your focus Barack. I believe you will change the dialogue in politics. To bad the Clintonistas and their gang have such contempt for the truth. But, then again, when has either of them ever spoken truth to power.

    And thank you for not pulling "the oldest traffic ticket ploy" like your main competitor to set feminism and the intelligence of the American people back two centuries. I can guarantee that the misbehavin' women in history rolled in their graves when they saw her hair and fashion crisis breakdown.

    Haven't we already heard "how hard it IS" too many times from the current Dynasty boy? We know that; it just happens to come with the job. And, I guess it also depends on what the meaning of "is" is. We already know the the Hill and Bill meaning of personal. In Clinton doublespeak that means pander at any cost.

    January 9, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  11. Cathy

    Yet another example of negative campaigning from the Clintons. Obama will rise above with grace and class again. He is still ahead when you include Iowa, and he will get the nomination! Obama '08!

    January 9, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  12. Nelson, Colorado Springs Co

    Sen Obama is right , Mr Clinton did twist his words to help his wife, he is a very good speaker people listen. To bad Sen Obama couldn't reply

    January 9, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  13. Gerry Ca

    Oh my, poor Obama. Yesterday his foreign advisor was on CNN giving a different version than what Obama is implying today. Get your stories straight, Kids, if you want to have any credibility. Clinton was not off the mark on what he said but this sore-loser is now whining about being somehow wronged. Boy, is he desperate! Oh, wait a minute, he's just laid the ground work to ask for more donations from his supporters. Everytime someone says something that shows him for what he is, he runs crying and asking for more money. How long before they catch on to him?

    January 9, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  14. Chris, Middletown, CT

    I think thats a nice way for Obama to say "the Clintons lied(again)" –

    Bill with his "depends on what is...is" – and Hillary with her support and non-support for the Governor of NY's plan to license illegal aliens...

    Do any of the "go girl" supporters actually follow her campaign...or vote strictly on gender??

    "Experience" in politics means you have been elected to a position....she has 6 years – Obama has 10 years of "elected" experience.....if you believe that hanging around someone with experience is experience...(first you're dumb) and secondly why not hire the plastic surgeons wife for that nose job....oh wait...you wouldn't – what a dopey argument

    January 9, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  15. Tony

    There seems to be a great deal of attention paid to the "victory" of Hillary Clinton in New Hampshire. But I don't see the point (outside of "coming from behind" in the polls.) She got more votes, but the delegate totals are exactly the same for NH. Similarly, in Iowa, her delegate total was only one behind Obama's and actually AHEAD of the second place finisher! Aren't the candidates vying for delegates, not raw vote count? Why isn't the media focused on that aspect?

    January 9, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  16. Neal Wilson

    Gary Lemmons:

    You said a mouthful! Obama is truly not ready to run this country. It's going to take more than eloquent speeches to stand up against the GOP machine. He must have said the word change 100 times last night after conceding to Hillary. My question is simple, what does he mean by change? what is he going to change, and how does he plan about doing it. Just because you give a few speeches on change doesn't make you eligble for to president. I'm a black man, and I'm throwing my support behind the most experienced and electable candidate. Not the most excitiy and charismatic. GO HILLARY! HILLARY 08!!!

    January 9, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  17. Sonny

    Bill Clinton say what he did to help his wife. She can't win this on her own.

    The whole Iraq invasion could be viewed as illegal and now the occupation is leading to permanent bases which mean continued presence in a country the U.S. bombed into the stone age till whenever. So the troops would need some funding to continue what Bush Jr. should not have started given the search for WMD was not complete at the time...

    January 9, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  18. Matt

    Tomorrow he will apologize for upsetting Billy Jeff.

    January 9, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  19. greg,new york

    I get this is what you'll get with women making the dicisions.
    Good luck america. realllllllly good Luck it looks like if this holds up his country will need it badly.

    January 9, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  20. Kim, Sacramento, CA

    Some of the hate evidenced in the comments here are exactly why this country needs a united like Barack Obama as President. Come on people! We do not need to be divided like this. We need to come together. Why is it that we can only do that in the face of "disaster"? Remember how this country came together after 9-11, Katrina? Well, I have news for you – if we do not come together now we will be facing disaster. As you all saw in the 90's a Clinton Administration will, not by any fault of theirs, continue to divide the country. WE CANNOT HAVE THAT! WE MUST elect a President who will unify our country and Barack Obama is the only viable candidate with a track record of bringing people from different sides of the aisle, different walks together and finding a solution.

    For the sake of our country, the sake of our children – stop the hate, stop the negativity and come together for the common good.

    January 9, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  21. Columbia, SC

    Would SOMEBODY please just post a list of all of the candidates' voting records and previous failures and successes side by side and let us choose for ourselves? Isn't that what really matters?

    All of these personalized attacks on candidates that NONE OF US HAVE any personal affiliation with but are just venting is somewhat frivilous since we need to ELECT a Presidential candidate.

    We do not know these folks personally. But at least we can look at the record and go from there. The division in all of the parties is simple: too many opinions not based on FACTS (print the FACTS when you comment and make personal jabs at these presidential candidates!)

    If someone who can get to the facts would print the FACTS then maybe we could make informed decisions.

    Looks like CNN has a great start on lining these candidates up with their stand on the issues. Stop being opinionated, attacking and just mouthing off and be responsible.


    January 9, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. wordslinger

    What is the "fundamental change" that Obama is promising? Certainly, "fundamental change" must manifest itself in something specific. Have I missed something?

    January 9, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. Richard, Memphis, TN

    McCain is a senile.
    Giuliani is a crook.
    Romney is a phony.
    Huckabee is a simple-minded preacher.
    Edwards is a slow southerner.
    Hillary is a crying dinosaur.
    Thank GOD or OBAMA.
    The rest is wasting their time.

    January 9, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. Brian Nancoo - Trinidad

    Can the media not produce the actual statement that Senator Obama made rather than just give us his say-so?How come we always get the actual statements made by the other candidates-video/print/etc,especially Senator Clinton,when there are contradictions,but never on Senator Obama?Start treating everyone equally or you'll cause a backlash against the perceived favorite of the media!

    January 9, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  25. shanna

    Bill Clinton was only telling the truth.Lets see .do you want a president who refuses to wear the American flag on him. Voted against english as our official language.will not put his hand over his heart for our national athem.A major network reported on air that obama is anti-American and was right.He does want to change the world! but it has nothing to do for the good of the American people! He talks a good talk,but put him in a debate and he has no answers,his speech last night after the election,if anybody noticed, on health care ect. sure sounded alot like what the OTHER candidates said at there last debate.Obama is not an American, just a U.S born citizen on a long planned mission.I cant trust him. To many unanswered questions.....

    January 9, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
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