January 13th, 2008
03:45 PM ET
1 year ago

Clinton: Obama 'distorting' my remarks

Hillary Clinton said Sunday the Obama campaign is distorting recent comments made by her and her husband.
Hillary Clinton said Sunday the Obama campaign is distorting recent comments made by her and her husband.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton accused Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign Sunday of distorting remarks that she and her husband have made in recent days which touched off concerns among some African-American voters.

Clinton and Obama are in a heated fight for the support of black voters, particularly in the South Carolina Democratic primary on Jan. 26.

Speaking to NBC's "Meet the Press," Clinton accused the Obama camp of "putting out talking points" about the recent remarks.

Obama rejected Clinton's complaints as "ludicrous."

Sen. John Edwards, also in the running for the Democratic nomination, stepped in with his own fresh criticism of Clinton. Speaking at a church in South Carolina, he accused Clinton of suggesting "that real change came not through the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, but through a Washington politician."

In an interview with Fox News last week, Clinton said, "Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took a president to get it done." She has argued repeatedly that her experience shows she can get more done as president than Obama.

Some African-American leaders criticized the remarks as denigrating the civil rights movement and Dr. King. Both Clintons have long been popular among African-American leaders, and have extolled the civil rights movement. On "Meet the Press" Sunday, Clinton referred to King as "one of the people I admire most in the world."

Full story

– CNN's Josh Levs

soundoff (530 Responses)
  1. sinna mani

    However hard Clintons try they can not get away with distorting history. I lived through the struggles and crossed the Atlantic to paricipate in one or two of the marches. I never heard of Johnson marching. No doubt Johnson conceded the minimum demand of the marchers. He knew there were people like Malcom X who were prepared to take the struggle to the next stage.A woman who shows singular lack of judgement in a matter like this is not fit to be president.

    January 13, 2008 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  2. Frank

    I almost cannot believe the two sided face of Hillary Clinton ... One hour she is trying to pull Barack Obama into the mud with her and the next hours she is praising him to African-American voters how proud she is of him.
    I am a Democrat and I would not vote for Hillary Clinton – She would never come close to a majority in the general election. If we Democrates take a pass on a person like Barack Obama we don't deserve to win the Presidency.
    I think people vote for Hillary Clinton for the same reason others drink Coca-Cola ... they heard in TV that they should. They feel famliar with the product because of the marketing. Although I would love to see a woman in the oval office (not that race or gender is a qualification in any way) but Hillary Clinton ? NO THANK YOU!

    Frank

    January 13, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  3. Soldier, Chicago, Illinois

    That's right, Emmy- just like Hillary, just keep blaming everyone else for your mistakes. She made the remark, she should apologize. But, see, Hillary doesn't apologize because Hillary is never wrong. It is everyone ELSE who is wrong. Hillary, like her husband, took African American voters for granted. 'Why, how on earth could they vote for anyone but us, Bill? I mean, we're entitled to their votes!' Keep assuming, Clintonites. I truly believe that you don't realize the depth of the anti-Clinton voting block in our party. It's as much OUR Demoratic party as it is yours- and we're changing the guard. The Clintons are OUT. No more familial dynasties. No more. No more Bushes. No more Clintons.

    And gender bias, huh, Emmy- yep, just keep pushing that idea out there. Nevermind that men are half of the electorate. You won't need them to win, right, Emmy? Right. We don't matter anyway- to a feminist, a man is just something that 'gets in the way' of a woman. Keep pushing, Senator Obama- you have the support of thinking Americans. The anger and shrillness of Hillary Clinton turns off many, many more voters than her supporters realize. Hillary will never win the Oval Office. Never.

    January 13, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  4. aware

    There will be no Washington change with Obama. He is just another big time politician who plays the game without authenticity or transparency. Rhetoric does not deliver a "Movement" – only a wave that will crash against the shore. He could learn from Hillary if he was ready to be VP.

    January 13, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  5. nadeem

    Obama nor any of his surrogates even commented on the Clinton missteps, to accuse them of such is a lie.

    The Clintons are not racist, they just made some innaproriate remarks, most likely unattended.

    The problem is as opposed to saying we misspoke, they some how want to blame Obama for what they said?

    Bill is reminding me of the time he argued over the meaning of "IS", and Hillary is standing behind her man, blaming it on some sort of conspiracy.

    Just say it was a mistake and not how you really fell and move-on.

    This was a one day story until the Clintons started to pretend it was somehow Obamas fault that people were offended.

    January 13, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  6. James D.

    Here is Obama showing what differentiates him as a candidate:

    Barack Obama:
    "What we saw this morning is why the American people are tired of Washington politicians and the games they play. But Sen. Clinton made an unfortunate remark, an ill advised remark, about King and Lyndon Johnson. I didn’t make the statement. I haven’t remarked on it, and she I think offended some folks who felt that somehow diminished King’s role in bringing about the Civil Rights Act. She is free to explain that, but the notion that somehow this is our doing is ludicrous.

    I have to point out that instead of telling the American people about her positive vision for America, Sen. Clinton spent an hour talking about me and my record in a way that was flat-out wrong. She suggested that I didn’t clearly and unambiguously oppose the war in Iraq when it is absolutely clear and anyone who has followed this knows that I did. I stood up against the war when she was voting for it, at a time when she didn’t read the intelligence reports or give diplomacy a chance. She belittled the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate despite the fact that she stood on the sidelines during that negotiations on that bill.

    I have to say that she started this campaign saying that she wanted to make history and lately she has been spending a lot of time rewriting it. I know that in Washington it is acceptable to say or do anything it takes to get elected, but I really don’t think that is the kind of politics that is good for our party, and I don’t think it is good for our country, and I think that the American people will reject it in this election.

    What I want to do is spend talking about how we are going to make sure that people who are losing their jobs get work. How are we going to make sure that our young people are going to afford college? How are we going to make sure that the subprime lending crisis does not lead to an all-out recession? How are we going to create the kind of foreign policy that allows us to bring our troops home and makes us safer and goes after a genuine terrorist threat? Those are the issues that we are going to spend time talking about in this campaign and if Sen. Clinton wants to be distracted by the sorts of political point scoring that was evident today then that is going to be her prerogative."

    Obama / Biden 08

    January 13, 2008 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  7. NextPresident

    For those who feel that Hillary has the black community at heart then why in the Hell would they make such racist comments. They are showing their true colors. And how in the hell can she say what DR KING meant or felt. She was privilegded and could never ever walk in the shoes of this Great man or any other black person.

    Peaches, what I find appauling is you are giving her a pass for saying that LBJ was the one who go it done when if fact Dr King was the won who endured the hate, racism, etc. You are the one who are blinded by the Clintons, They use blacks to get their votes peroid. I would vote for Obama, Edwards or Paul before these crooks get my vote.

    20 years of the BUSH/CLINTON crooks are enough.

    January 13, 2008 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  8. Coleman R. Brice, Asbury Park, NJ

    How many here are Clinton staffers?

    OBAMA 08

    January 13, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  9. jean

    JohnG said: "The sad thing is, electing a woman president could be a revolutionary thing. But not this woman. Hopefully, when we put a woman in the White House, it will be based on her merits, not her marriage."

    How eloquently you summed up my exact feelings on Mrs. Clinton. As a woman, I would rather be underrepresented in leadership and management than be represented by someone as conniving, underhanded, manipulative and contrived as Hillary Clinton.

    January 13, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  10. Tom Davie

    I tell you ALL THE TRUTH.

    READ VERY CAREFULLY.

    EVERY single attempt the Obama people try to TWIST Hillary and Bill into racists does NOTHING but tell anyone with 1/2 a brain that its just VERY LOW POLITICS.

    Nothing Clinton said is actually 'racist' . Nobody outside with real objectivity has thought so. Not one single person who is OBJECTIVE has said so.

    Remember what happened in NH?

    all the SUPER OBAMA HYPE from the media? It rallied people to hillarys cause.

    'PLAYING THE RACE CARD' is going to make people depressed way more than anyone angry, and they will vote AGAINST Obama just out of principal.

    How EMBARRASING it is for Obama or Edwards to try to paint one of their own democrats as a 'racist' when the clintons have NOTHING but a long long line of standing up for African American rights.

    i cant believe these people would stoop to this level.

    January 13, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  11. Natasha B

    It's amazing how Hillary can manage to cause division. She's dividing the Dems, she's dividing the Black community. I just can't wait for the Republicans to give her a taste of her own medicine.

    She can have five PhDs and 50 yrs of experience...but there's no way she's going to get people to work together to solve the massive problems in this country.

    January 13, 2008 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  12. Obama4ever!

    LOL HE LOST N.H. BY 2 POINTS HE WON IOWA BY 7 POINTS TO A WOMAN WHO THINKS ITS HER BIRTH RIGHT TO BE THE PRESIDENT!

    GO OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 13, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  13. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    She lies and he has nothing t o say other than some blather about hope. We are funktoid this election cycle. Someone save us from these buffoons.

    January 13, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  14. marie

    i agree with Hilary 100% you can deam as MLK did but if you have no power to bring that dream to frutition then a dream is all it remains. it took a president with the power to make that dream reality. you all can bash Hilary all you want but she is a force to be reckoned with, i guess that is why Obama tries so hard to demean her. as for me i am 100% democrat, if Obama or Edwards takes the nomination i will cross party lines and go republican. they will ultimately be worse than Bush ever was.

    January 13, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  15. Greg OH

    Eric in Massachusetts,

    "Mark from NC, you re being incredibly racist. This campaign is going to bring out the ugly in people….. I see it already"

    What did he say that was racist? He is saying how he feels he has been treated. I don't see anything racist about it ( i am white with a black wife). Unless this is not the America I has the constitution right to express his thoughts, whatever you agree or not.

    January 13, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  16. oluwole

    The clintons are being taken out of context by the press and Obama people.Everyboby voting should look beyond race and focus on who can deliver for the party and the country

    January 13, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  17. Kokou

    People stop buying into this dirty politic. The Clintons have played a dirty politic for a long time. The black people gonna have to wake up in this country. I am a black person and I am not buying into the Clintons dirty politic. The media also needs to stop giving them a free ride. She made a bad comment on MLK but at that time she thought that it was normal, but it is not normal to me. She thought that by diminishing MLK, she will be able to diminish Obama. The calculation did not work this lady. The American people can see through you and it is over for you.

    Thanks,

    Kokou

    January 13, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  18. Greg OH

    By the way to everyone, Obama is white and black, not just a black man.

    January 13, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  19. Anonymous

    Typical Clinton finger pointing for the screw up that THEY MADE! not Obuma. Gads people, when are you going to wake up! the Clinton's are the biggest liars that walk this planet right now. They have no change, just the same crap from 10 years ago.

    Failed health care that they want to try to reintroduce again, it will fail again! then when they cry to the country that they tried to get it again, then they will blame the republican party again. Don't waste your time with these losers. They have less experience than Obuma, I don't care what Hitlery says. They are not good for minority's, Hitlery wants to open the boarders for illegals to come across and we will just end up paying for there care in everything. Do what AZ did, that will keep them from becoming here illegally.

    She made a comment the other day, thre are no illegals in this country, Good heavens! What is up with the libs, she just wants the hispanic vote and do it like she did it in NH, bring illegals to vote for her. She has got to go!!

    Go Mitt!

    January 13, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  20. Jordan

    Obama will be our next president, the president of the United States of America!!! The best thing for Obama would be to stay away from the any racist subjects and comments made by Hillary and to ignore Bill Clinton all together. Clintons are getting desperate and what a better way to elect another Clinton than to stir issues of race and try to scare away white Americans from voting for Obama. Hillary does not have 35 years of politics, but if she insists that she has served that long, than in 35 years than she didn’t do much for people of US. Once you dig into Clintons past it does not look so hopeful for Clinton anymore! I guess Bill is an expert in off-loading attention from Clintons; after all he did literally perfect the off-loading term with the help of his secretary!!!

    January 13, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  21. Amy

    The Clinton campaign has tried for the longest to be divisive and bring race into this campaign. Shame on them. Obama never made mention of this and she is using her dirty politics of smearing to associate him with her words.

    Barack is above the fray of this kind of dirty politics. His response has been: "What we saw this morning is why the American people are tired of Washington politicians and the games they play. But Senator Clinton made an unfortunate remark, an ill advised remark, about King and Lyndon Johnson. I didn’t make the statement. I haven’t remarked on it and she I think offended some folks who felt that somehow diminished King’s role in bringing about the Civil Rights Act. She is free to explain that, but the notion that somehow this is our doing is ludicrous.

    I have to point out that instead of telling the American people about her positive vision for America, Senator Clinton spent an hour talking about me and my record in a way that was flat out wrong. She suggested that I didn’t clearly and unambiguously oppose the war in Iraq when it is absolutely clear and anyone who has followed this knows that I did. I stood up against the war when she was voting for it, at a time when she didn’t read the intelligence reports or give diplomacy a chance. She belittled the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate despite the fact that she stood on the sidelines during that negotiations on that bill.

    I have to say that she started this campaign saying that she wanted to make history and lately she has been spending a lot of time rewriting it. I know that in Washington it is acceptable to say or do anything it takes to get elected but I really don’t think that is the kind of politics that is good for our party and I don’t think it is good for our country and I think that the American people will reject it in this election.

    What I want to do is spend talking about how we are going to make sure that people who are losing their jobs get work. How are we going to make sure that our young people are going to afford college? How are we going to make sure that the sub-prime lending crisis does not lead to an all out recession? How are we going to create the kind of foreign policy that allows us to bring our troops home and makes us safer and goes after a genuine terrorist threat? Those are the issues that we are going to spend time talking about in this campaign and if Senator Clinton wants to be distracted by the sorts of political point scoring that was evident today then that is going to be her prerogative."

    January 13, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  22. nixbenoit

    I could not believe that Hillary Clinton said the following: "Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act. It took a president to get it done."
    This is totally unacceptable for Hillary Clinton to say. Black people across the nation should demand an official apology from her. She covers herself under the umbrella of the Democratic Party to gain African American support, and votes. However, she does not represent the party ideology. I am afraid that she is just a hypocrite and an opportunist who fooled the black community in the past. I am afraid that was clearly a racist comment. She was right when she said that she found her voice in New Hampshire thereafter. She does not even have a modicum of restraint for our most respectable hero – A man who gave his life for the freedom of back people. I could not believe that she said the following: "Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act. It took a president to get it done."
    Not only she is going to loose the votes of the black people in South Carolina, but also she is going to loose the black votes across the nation. The last time I remember checking the official US census, Black people account for about 12.8% of the population

    January 13, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  23. Robert Bell

    She said what she said. Let the spin begin!

    The Hillary apologists will say anything to justify her rude remark.

    Here's the deal: All the Presidents in the world could not have passed the civil rights act without Dr. Martin Luther King and the MILLIONS of supporters who backed the movement.

    The name of the President that introduced the legislation (he did not "pass" it, Congress does that) is irrelevant. Bozo the Clown could have been President and Civil Rights legislation would have passed.

    You can't stop an idea whose time has come.

    Typical Hillary – she thinks the President should take credit for everything that happens on their watch – and that the only good things that we have in life are a result of government intervention.

    The Civil Rights movement was a "private sector initiative" not a government program. The government (and LBJ) jumped on the bandwagon only after it was inevitable.

    January 13, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  24. Fred Lakey, Los Angeles, CA

    Hillary and her supporters, in their attempt to smear and belittle Barak Obama's campaign, missed the point of the Dr. King and other civil rights participants’ legacies. If it was not for the black, white and brown Americans who put their lives on the line to secure the rights for all Americans, there would not have been a bill for President Johnson to sign. It is unfortunate that during our country's history, Washington politicians, that Hillary places so much faith, have been reluctant to do what is morally and legally right until forced to do so. Fortunately, our country's history is filled with right thinking Americans who have risked their lives to make our country a great beacon of freedom. Senator Obama, keep your messages of “hope” and "yes we can" going and this so called fairy tale will become a reality.

    January 13, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  25. veronica

    I agree that her remarks are being distorted. She did a good job in clearing it up for those who are willing to listen.
    It makes logical sense–that MLK's vision would need someone important in the political world (in this case, LBJ) to help put his dreams into reality. MLK was a smart man who most assuredly knew and understood that full well. The two go hand in hand, and that's what HRC was saying.

    January 13, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
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