January 13th, 2008
03:45 PM ET
2 years 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. R. John

    "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."

    I suppose before MLK no blacks had such naughty dreams. otherwise the experienced presidents like HRC and LBJ would have caught on and done it much earlier.

    Elect soley HRC to catch any such worthwhile dreams blacks may occasionally have. Obamba monkey dope pusher muzzie has no experience.

    January 14, 2008 06:20 am at 6:20 am |
  2. jim

    why is it that the obama camp when gets alittle behind in the primaries that they bring race into the elections?

    January 14, 2008 06:48 am at 6:48 am |
  3. Change

    America wake up........ As a whole were sleep. Stop the fighting, Stop!!!!

    January 14, 2008 07:07 am at 7:07 am |
  4. Lewis

    Hillary is smarter and will make a better president, Obama makes a great speech and could help Hillary inspire the masses, but when it comes to actually doing the work needed, give me Hillary!!!

    January 14, 2008 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  5. PJ New York

    CNN, please just report the news! Stop trying to decide the 2008 elections and distorting news stories/headlines to stir up more controversy with the American people. It's obvious that CNN is anti Hillary Clinton. I have watched the Situation Room since it first started but now I find it appalling how Wolf Blitzer, Jack Cafferty and others attack Hillary Clinton. You may think the 'hidden' attacks don't show but they do. I have friends, family and co-workers that say the same thing too. Once again, just report the news, the truth, not distortions. Perhaps CNN should try to be more 'Fair and Balanced' like FOX NEWS. This is probably why FOX is the number one news network.

    January 14, 2008 07:38 am at 7:38 am |
  6. Chris, Middletown, CT

    The baffling thing is...for all the criticize Hillary (and rightly so) – if there are enough of you who fall for this – and she gets the nomination (I really hope you guys aren't that dumb) – you watch...the rest of you will be arguing for her on this blog....if thats the case...ask must ask yourselves "how can I be this dumb" (which ironically is what the rest of us will be asking too)

    January 14, 2008 07:42 am at 7:42 am |
  7. Godfrey

    You want to see another "REPUBLICAN Term" vote for OBAMA.If not VOTE FOR CLINTON.eitherway,you make the disition.My advice is Think well before you VOTE.Who you want in the OFFICE.RIPUBLICAN WILL SINK you.As you are already .

    January 14, 2008 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  8. nhairfield

    I' m not sure what all the fuss is about. The civil rights bill needed a president to sign it and it needed a voice to push it along. it got both in President Johnson and Martin L, KIng. or Visa Versa. to be "poltically correct" and spare hurt feelings. BOTH contributed to the pssage of the bill . sometimes i think the reporters push an agenda to stir the pot so to speak.

    January 14, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  9. Tim

    As great as a man that Martin Luther King Jr. is, he could not have done what he did alone. I believe people want to think that a black man saved them alone. It is hard too admit for some people that a white man helped in the civil right movement. It is sad that people want to make turn so many statements into a racial thing. It is time to stop pointing fingers.

    January 14, 2008 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  10. kathy - Urbana IL

    A president signed into law the abolishment of slavery with the emancipation proclamation. Isn't that a president's responsibility? Thank God it wasn't vetoed.

    January 14, 2008 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  11. mabel floyd

    i can vote for either candidate. i want to protect the supreme court so i can vote either way. my favorite was
    biden, but he is gone-so i will hope for clinton–but will vote the dems either way. if we elect a repub the supreme court will get another right wing vote and there goes Roe seperation of church and state and the freedom of information act will be stronger an spy on us even more.

    January 14, 2008 07:58 am at 7:58 am |
  12. HILLARY RULES THE SOUTH , MEMPHIS TN

    SORRY BUT TO THE AFRICAN AMERICAN THAT IS SO IN LOVE WITH OBAMA IM OFFENDED THAT U CANT SEE THAT AFRICANS DID LIKE , SALE US IN TO SLAVOR IN THE FIRST PLACE OBAMA IS PART AFRICAN NOT THE SON OF A SLAVE BUT THE ONE WHO SOLD U INTO SLAVOR NOW HE WANT YOUR VOTE YA THINK HE IS NOT A TRUE SALE OUT LOL AT ANOTHER LEVEL UM K U BE THE JUDGE . NOT GOING THERE WHERE GREAT WHITE FOLKS IN THIS NATION THAT HELPED ABOLISH SLAVOR AN HELPED TO FREE BLACKS IN THIS NATION OBAMA KNOWS NOT HOW MY ANSESTORYS FELT. I BELIVE IN MY SOULD THAT HILLARY WOULD HAVE BEN AN ABOLIUTIONIST. HILLARY ALL THE WAY .

    January 14, 2008 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  13. sairefgm

    TO HOPEFUL PATRIOT

    I agree with you about HIllary. I was going to vote for her but after these few weeks and the mess they pulled off in New Hampshire, I will not vote for her in she was running by herself. Her conduct and behavior are a disgrace!

    January 14, 2008 08:22 am at 8:22 am |
  14. Mike in Kentucky

    "Ron, TX January 13, 2008 1:10 pm ET

    Obama's not forcing you to belittle the civil rights movement, Hillary… you're not his puppet. You said some absurd things, and your campaign has done some absurd things in the past few months. Your actions are not his fault. They are your fault."

    I'm just curious which statements by Ms Clinton you refer to as absurd?

    Was it that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a great civil rights leader and an inspiration to her and our nation, or that President Lyndon Baines Johnson pushed through the legislation that became the Civil Rights Act? Neither statement diminishes the other in any way. Both statements are true.

    I'm not sure where your preceived absurdity lies in her comments.

    You also use the word "belittle"...where was that belittleing? Maybe you saw a different statement than I did, but I saw nothing more than a respectful statement of historical fact.

    If I am wrong about this, can someone link me to the racially insensitive parts, we should all be able to evaluate these statements if they exist.

    January 14, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  15. Nick ny, ny

    CNN is on purpose putting up only comments by Obama supporter so that it looks like there is outrage over this. Moreover Just remember NH, how voters kicked you in the gut with your false reporting.

    January 14, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  16. Xtina, Chicago, IL

    Wow, just wow, I'm surprised at all the Hillary cool-aid drinkers in here. Didn't anyone bother to read Sen Obama's offical response that he nor his campaign has responded to Clinton's NH speech?

    Yet, all the cool-aid drinkers are accusing the Obama camp of injecting racism into the race, all because Shillary said so. I'm disgusted to see how easily manipulated people are.

    January 14, 2008 08:42 am at 8:42 am |
  17. LMW

    I truly don't think that the Clintons, long time activists for the Black community, would slam Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I don't think any sane, intelligent person in this country would. He was remarkable man.

    I watched Hillary's interview with Tim Russert who seem to want to skewer her with every question. If you truly opened your ears and mind, what she said made perfect sense:

    She praised Dr. King for all of his tireless efforts for civil rights. Clearly she admired and respected him. She noted all of his efforts that came with jail time, gassing, and all the other horrors he went through to fight for what he believed in and what is only fair–fair and equal treatment for EVERY American.

    What Hillary pointed out was that even Dr. King realized that politics was needed to make civil rights a reality. And, the Civil Rights Act was signed into law by President Johnson. I truly don't think she was trying to disrespect Dr. King and say the "victory" belonged to Johnson. It is a fact that he was the President who made Civil RIghts a reality. Now, if anyone would belittle Dr. King's important sacrifice and work for his fellow man, it would have been at that time by snubbing him at the signing of the Act. No one did. His accomplishments have been well documented as they should be and well respected. He was a remarkable, gifted and intelligent man who did great things for this country at great risk to himself and his family. He paid the ultimate price for what he believed in.

    Hillary complimented Barack on this show. I think what people are failing to see is that talk is just talk. Yes, Barack is a talented and compassionate speaker, like Dr. King. But, Dr. King also acted. Hillary's question was "Has Barack acted on his words or is he just talking?"

    This is a question that voters must ask of every candidate from each party. Which candidate has done things for the greater good? A lot of politician's talk a good talk but where's the action? It would be nice if we had someone as talented and committed and passionate as Dr. King (who could do both) running. I'm not sure that we do.

    Let's look at the issues and let's force the candidates to stop their pot shots and negativity. This isn't a middle-school game. It's a debate as to who is the best candidate to become the leader of the free world. Who can do that and not just talk about it?

    January 14, 2008 08:47 am at 8:47 am |
  18. DOUGLAS JONES

    Let us be very careful who we vote into the White House for that person will have the high responsibility to lead the most influential nation on earth.

    January 14, 2008 08:51 am at 8:51 am |
  19. jaz

    PRESIDENTIAL hopeful Barack Obama claims to run a clean campaign, but someone in his camp took a swipe at Hillary Clinton through the candidate's theme song.

    As Obama and his wife, Michelle, strolled triumphantly into his victory party in Des Moines, Iowa, on Jan. 3, Jay-Z's "99 Problems" was blaring. In it, Jay raps, "I got 99 problems, but a B.... ain't one."

    January 14, 2008 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  20. S. Freeman

    Hillary's comments should not be taken out of context. She has every right to mention Johnson's contribution to Civil Rights. His legislation was a landmark for Blacks in America. And, all Blacks should recognize him as a leader for all people.

    Stick with issues and stop this petty racist and gender references. Democrats need to stand united and Hillary is clear and substantive on issues.

    When is Obama going to lay out his agenda and stop this petty rivalry? He claims to be someone who can unite the country. If so, start showing it. Do not use the race card to get SC votes.

    January 14, 2008 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  21. JC, Topeka, Kansas

    Martin Luther King had the power to bring a great injustice to the for front and bring it to the public view and national attention. Howvever he did not have the power to change laws, this was done by Johnson and the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Dr King was very important getting the bill written and passed, but it was Johnaon a Washington politicain that had the power to get it done. Where was Obama in 1964 can he remmber anything of this time frame.

    It is time we bury the so called race card and get a move on. Seems to me that we are Americans and should be concerned with America.

    January 14, 2008 09:03 am at 9:03 am |
  22. Anna

    Senator Clinton was not out of line.. Obama and his highly talented and aggressive advisers could have stopped his response immediately. President and Mrs Clinton have been , and still are , absolute friends of the black community. Those of you , who have now turned your backs on them, need to look back on their history and admit they would not , deliberately, offend or insult you. It just is not their style. Be honest with yourselves , would they? I wonder why his backers , the press, and the general public refer to him as the,"First African American Presidential Candidate?" His mother, being "white," means he is bi-racial. Read the book.

    January 14, 2008 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  23. Robert M. Reidy N.Y.

    Pillow talk with a four timing philanderer does not represent the kind of change or experience America is looking for right now!

    It is bad enough that my kids had to grow up with the sexual drama of the former
    Clinton White House but now you want my grandchildren to experience the Clinton
    sleaze.

    It is time for America to experience the role model of a fine and happy first family.

    Michelle, I look forward to you chasing the kids around the white house and
    Barack introducing his children to foreign dignitaries as they get under foot.

    The humanizing of the white house will be fun for us all.

    God speed Barack Obama ! – America – help is on the way !!!

    January 14, 2008 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  24. MARY GUZMAN

    ALL OF YOU MEDIA AND REPUBLICAN ARE DOING THE SAME GAIN OF 2004
    WITH MAX CLIVELAND AND J.KERRY,DIMINISHING THEIR HEROISM,
    YOU MEDIA AND REPUBLICAN WANT TO DOWN HILLARY NO MATTER WHAT,
    YOU ARE TAKE OUT OF CONTEND WHAT BILL AND HILLARY SAID AND PUT IN THE AIRE WHAT YOUR WANTTHE PUBLIC TO HEAR IT IS NOT FEAR, HILLARY AND BILL ARE WORKING TOGHETHER IN THE BENEFIT OF THE BLACK PEAPLE ,STOP ,STOP AND STOP............
    .
    OTHER THING YOU START AGAIN WITH YOUR FONY FAKE POLL

    YOU MEDIA AND REPUBLICAN KNOW VERY WELL WAHT HILLARY AND BILL CLINTON SAID, WHEN YOU REPLAY THE CLIP JUST STOP BEFORE IT SHOW
    THE REAL MINING OF THE SPECH
    ALL YOU KNOW THAT OBAMA IS PLAYING THE RACE CARD FOR HIS ON BENEFIT AND ALL OF YOU WILL COME IN HIS WAY .BECAUSE YOU WANT NEXT REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT, THAT IS INCREAVABLE.

    January 14, 2008 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  25. Ray

    So, Kyle G. of Columbia, since Hillary isn't black – is she not allowed to have an opinion, or is she just not allowed to state her opinion ?

    January 14, 2008 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
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