January 14th, 2008
10:45 AM ET
4 years ago

Bill Clinton compiles 'list' of Obama attacks

 Bill Clinton appeared on Roland Martin's show Monday.
Bill Clinton appeared on Roland Martin's show Monday.

(CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign came out swinging Monday against the latest complaints from her rival, with former President Clinton announcing he has "a list of 80 attacks on Hillary" by Senator Barack Obama's campaign.

In a nationally syndicated radio interview on WVON, Bill Clinton said Hillary Clinton's way of handling attacks showed a clear difference from Obama. "She didn't complain about it," he said, citing one in particular that he considered "appalling."

"She just said 'I disagree,' and went on."

Clinton's remarks on the Roland S. Martin Show - which has a largely African-American audience - came amid a flare-up over remarks by Black Entertainment Television founder Bob Johnson, who appeared with Hillary Clinton on Sunday at a church in South Carolina, site of an upcoming primary.

Many believe Johnson made a veiled reference to Obama's drug use as a young man, though he insists that was not his intention.

"I think we have to take it at his word," the former president told Martin, adding that "nobody knew" what Johnson would say, and "it wasn't part of any planned strategy."

Johnson was rejecting the controversy over a recent remarks by Hillary Clinton, who noted that it "took a president" to make the Voting Rights Act a law after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had led the struggle for it. Some interpreted that remark as dismissive of the civil rights movement. Obama on Sunday called the remark "ill-advised."

Full story

– CNN's Josh Levs

soundoff (617 Responses)
  1. John Karsten, Virginia Beach, VA

    Did any of you really read that story. Here is the quote that almost made me projectile vomit across the room.

    "I think we have to take it at his word," the former president told Martin, adding that "nobody knew" what Johnson would say, and "it wasn't part of any planned strategy."

    JUST LIKE I TOOK YOUR WORD THAT YOU "DID NOT HAVE SEXUAL RELATIONS WITH THAT WOMEN" AND YOU ALSO WANT ME TO BELIEVE THAT YOU "DID NOT INHALE".

    Is that you want the American people to do Billy Boy, take your word as the bottom line truth and NOT question anything that comes out of your mouth.

    That to me is the true colors of the clinton's. DO NOT QUESTION ME. TAKE OUR WORD, WE WOULD NOT LIE TO YOU.

    January 14, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  2. Out of Context !

    Reporting news without context. Context isn't just important, it's everything — especially in these days of insta-pickup by blogs and online news sites, where just a snippet of text is enough to launch a million clicks.

    Bill Clinton's quote, was part of a larger comment on Obama's representation of his Iraq war position not his campaign or its message!

    The conflagration over Bill Clinton's "Fairytale" comment, made on January 7th at Dartmouth College, before the New Hampshire primary, explodes over the past few days as an issue of race. Yes, race — that scary third rail of politics around which everyone tiptoes — suddenly an issue around a comment made by a guy once known as "America's First Black President

    Here's what it morphed into in the media: BILL CLINTON CALLS OBAMA'S MESSAGE OF HOPE AND INSPIRATION A FAIRYTALE! HE THINKS OBAMA'S DREAM FOR BLACK AMERICA IS A FAIRYTALE!

    New York Times, Jan. 11th: "[Former President Clinton] described Mr. Obama's campaign narrative as a fairy tale."

    The Politico, Jan 11th: "…Bill Clinton dismissing Sen. Barack Obama's image in the media as a 'fairy tale'"

    BreitbartTV, Jan. 8th, which hosted the full clip yet chose to headline it in the most inflammatory (and inaccurate) way possible: "Bill Clinton Fumes About Obama: 'Biggest Fairy Tale I've Ever Seen'"

    Same NYT article, quoting someone else incorrectly framing the comment: "[Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC)] saw the remark as a slap at the image of a black candidate running on a theme of unity and optimism. "To call that dream a fairy tale, which Bill Clinton seemed to be doing, could very well be insulting to some of us."

    Maureen Dowd, NYT, Jan 9th: "Bill churlishly dismissed the Obama phenom as 'the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen.'"

    Donna Brazile on CNN, Jan. 8th: "For him to go after Obama, using a fairy tale, calling him as he did last week. It's an insult. And I will tell you, as an African-American, I find his tone and his words to be very depressing."

    I've got a feeling CNN won't post this either. (ARgh!)

    January 14, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  3. Jr., California

    No!!! Bill No!!!

    January 14, 2008 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  4. Valdez

    "I'm just a Bill, yes I'm only a Bill and I want a vote for my wife named Hill". Well, Well, Well. Look at what we've come to. A former President of the United States of America willing to say anything just so he can payback his wife for embarassing/humiliating her while he was in the White House. Ain't the something?

    January 14, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. saintholyman

    clintons equal controversy .

    January 14, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. Eric Evans

    Hillary was just trying to articulate the importance of selecting good Presidents. Barak knew that. I was voting for him. Now, I don't know.

    January 14, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  7. Oscar, Rio Vista, CA

    Hilary is now personally offended by people misinterpreting her remarks about Martin Luther King. Well, Hilary please tell me what Johnson had to do with the civil rights? You brought it up... now explain exactly what you mean. Don't go on TV saying you were misinterpreted without explaining exactly what you mean.

    I heard your words in your stump speech and I heard them again on FOX. I know what you were saying because you made it pretty clear.

    January 14, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  8. Lauren

    From the point of view of a registered Independent, I see this whole thing as incredibly sad. The Democratic party is going to be ripped in half before the general election race even begins. If the Clintons don't want it to be about race, then stop talking about race. Stop blaming the other campaign for their "attacks" and "distortion" of your remarks. Just set the record straight, clarify what you meant to say, and move on. All political campaigns attack the other campaigns. That's the way it works. I'm sure Obama and Edwards could come up with equally long lists of the "attacks" the Clinton campaign has put forth. Barack Obama never raised the issue of race before this point because it clearly will not help him or anyone else. So why would he start now? He never even commented on the Clinton's comments until yesterday. It's not in his control if people in the community voice their opinions on Clinton's statement. This whole thing is brining out the worst in people–including the people on these blogs. Let's just move on, stop playing the blame game. Nobody needs to be "proud" of anyone else–they are all adults with incredible political and personal achievements who are doing something incredibly difficult in running for president. And whoever wins the nomination, the others are going to need to step up and support that person so the Democrats can stand united and beat the Republicans. All this spin is divisive and pointless–and it gives the Republicans ammo. Is that what the Democrats are really trying to achieve?

    January 14, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  9. KFB

    Edwards looks better and better every day!

    January 14, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  10. Wen

    Obama hasn't done anything yet, how could he compare himself to Dr. King and JFK? That's bluffing.
    The Americans can not afford screw-up another 4 years by choosing a wrong president.

    January 14, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  11. James Martin

    We are being led down the wrong path by allowing the media tell us who are strong in this process. There has been little mention of the real force for change JOHN EDWARDS.

    January 14, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  12. Right Wing

    Hillary is not complaining. She has Bill to do that for her. Does he cry also or will Hillary have to do her own?

    January 14, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  13. charlotte

    This is going to be a loooooooong 9 mos. At least maybe Super Tuesday will put to rest the in-fighting, we will be able to consentrate on taking back the white house, as united democrats!

    January 14, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  14. Sue in Raleigh

    Come on folks. Although this started when Obama denied his uncondititonal support of the war in Iraq. His record is not different from Hillary's. You can check out their voting records online. In fact, it is of interest that of the many, many numerous votes Obama missed, he never missed the opportunity to vote to continue funding the war in Iraq.

    I don't want the war funded and I am not happy about Hillary's vote on it. But, when it comes right down to who voted how, their voting record is identical. And, that is the fairy tale Bill Clinton was talking about...not Obama's campaign or drive to get to the White House, it was about Obama denying his voting record....it is a fairy tale if he denies what it is.

    January 14, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  15. Jean, Sacramento

    Good! Someone needs to stand up for integrity and call down the Obama campaign for their dirty politicking.

    Hillary has run a clean campaign, never twisting or distorting Obama's record. She doesn't have to. Anyone looking at it carefully can see his entire political career has been lackluster and driven more by ambition than anything else. During his one term as an Illinois senator, he repeatedly voted "present" to avoid taking a stand on issues that might be deemed unpopular later when he made his bid for the presidency. He spent most of his 2 years as a U.S. senator campaigning for president. Now he has to rely on poetic, soaring rhetoric, along with lies and distortions about Clinton's character and record, throwing out mud and hoping some of it will stick. What a way to run a campaign!

    When Obama pretended to be above receiving money or help from lobbyists, Hillary called him on it by mentioning that the Chair of the Obama Campaign in New Hampshire is Jim Demers, a lobbyist for the pharmaceutical industry. Yes, she stands up for herself against his smears and to show the disingenuous nature of his campaign. Her criticism of Obama is based on truth, not distortions. It is her right and her duty to keep it honest.

    Many of us think it is great when wives and husbands go out on the campaign trail in an attempt to get their spouse's message out. Bill Clinton has been doing a good job of that and saying it like it is. On the other hand, Michelle has been delivering an even dirtier campaign message than her husband by blatantly playing the race card in southern states. Notice that there is no coverage of her appearances there; we never hear about them because they are so potentially damaging to her husband.

    January 14, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  16. Lisa

    Bill thought that Hillary's teary eye was effective – so now he is going to cry. How is Hillary going to handle people like Castro, and Chavez if she needs Bill to defend her by the "nice" guy Obama? Do you remember Hillary accusing Obama as being too nice to be President before he won the Iowa primary?

    January 14, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  17. mountain man

    So much for the politics of hope. I guess we all knew Obama couldn't live up to his hype.

    January 14, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  18. NO Hillary

    I am so sick of the Clinton campaign throwing these kinds statements out there then saying they didn't mean it...... it was taken out of context........poor Little Miss Sunshine Hillary is being attacked for no reason. I cannot see how voters can fall for this crap.

    I hope Obama can keep it together and remain above all of this. They are trying so hard to get him to snap and say something that will destroy his campaign then Clinton will sit back , wide-eyed, and say "Who me? I didn't mean it that way".

    These people are evil – they will do anything for power. I am not just against her being elected, I am AFRAID of her being elected. Honestly, I would keep Bush in the White House before I would ever support HC. I am a Democrat, but if Hillary is the nominee, I will vote Republican no matter WHO it is: Huckabee, Romney, whatever.

    Hillary is disgusting and anyone that would vote for her is "living in a fairy tale".

    January 14, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  19. Jason, Wilmette, IL

    anonymous wrote:

    "I'm a democrat and would vote for McCain over Hillary in a heartbeat, if it it weren't for one thing. . . .The Supreme Court."

    Very good post. That is the dilemma that I, like many democrats, will have.

    Clinton's attacks on Obama are pathetic. Anyone knows that Obama was against the war and Clinton voted for it. What is more unbelievable is Clinton's explanation of her vote (the one called "Resolution Authorizing the Use of Force") – IHer explanation – I thought we were just helping Bush with the inspection process. I din't think Bush was going to invade. Thus, her whole defense is essentially I was naive. Please, who is she kidding? I've heard people say a lot of things about Hillary – but I've never heard anyone call her naive.

    January 14, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  20. Katy Hill Prescott Az.

    The Clintons, who seem to be running for office as a team, are becoming exceedingly ugly in their attacks and their efforts to unify a divided country while they divide the Democratic party are going down the tubes. If they don't stop they will assure a Republican win in November.

    January 14, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  21. Gabe Polson, The Woodlands,TX

    If Obama is going to do this much whining during the Democratic primary just imagine how much he will complain when he has to go up against a more seasoned republican. He does not have the strength to win a general election. He is like the kid in the sandbox who won't share his toys. He proves his own point that it takes a leader to win the White house. Yes, his campaign,not his race, is a FAIRYTALE!!!!

    He is trying to split up the Democratic party. How will he unite the country when he is destroying his own party.

    January 14, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  22. john williams san diego, ca.

    Bubba, quit promoting Hillary. You'll get enough 'free time' after she returns to the Senate.

    January 14, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  23. Leo, TX

    C'mon, Bill. You come across as a big whiner. If you and Hillary hadn't been involved in the past in so much seedy behavior, there wouldn't be any ammunition for your adversaries to use. Truth be told, YOU are your own worst enemy.

    January 14, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. Philippa Durst

    Meanwhile Mrs Clinton's husband seems campaigning more than she does, and for a Billary presidency. I would prefer that he wouldn't get involved at all, so the voters at least can feel or hope, that she is strong and can do the job and make out what she herself has to say, and concentrate on her. Bill Clinton doesn't help her that much after all, because of his well known charisma that makes people feel, if it wasn't for him, she wouldn't be able to reach the so much cherished White House.

    January 14, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. Linda~n~Wisconsin

    Why can't people stick to what the story is above that they are commenting on? Without knowing any of the above players in person, I don't feel I can comment honestly on their personalities. Without seeing the entire speech that was given on Sunday I can not comment on what was said. Without hearing the entire conversation that was given on the radio show today, I can not comment on what was said.

    Are you sure you are just not getting the pundits and media's take on these issues? These people are just giving comments that are taken out of content to make headlines, AKA ratings, and money.

    We all want a change in our country, a change that any new president will bring.

    January 14, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
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