January 14th, 2008
11:59 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama calls truce with Clinton

ALT TEXT
Obama is calling for an end to the heated back and forth between the two campaigns. (Photo Credit: Getty Images)

RENO, Nevada (CNN) - Barack Obama is calling for a truce of sorts with rival Hillary Clinton following days of a heated back-and-forth between both the Democrats' presidential campaigns over Clinton's record on civil rights.

“I may disagree with Sen. Clinton or Sen. Edwards on how to get things done or how to get there, but we share the same goals, we're all Democrats, we all believe in civil rights, we all believe in equal rights," Obama said told reporters in Reno, Nevada.

The comments follow several days of heated rhetoric from both campaigns following Clinton's remarks to a reporter last week on the legacies of slain civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. "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 said, in her continued argument 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. The criticisms were amplified by Obama's campaign and Clinton later said she was "personally offended" the campaign was "distorting her words."

Meanwhile, speaking at a Clinton campaign event Sunday, BET founder Bob Johnson lashed out at Obama's campaign over the criticism, and seemed to take a swipe at the Illinois senator's admitted drug use as a young man.

"As an African-American, I'm frankly insulted that the Obama campaign would imply that we are so stupid that we would think Bill and Hillary Clinton, who have been deeply and emotionally involved in black issues when Barack Obama was doing something in the neighborhood that I won't say what he was doing, but he said it in his book," he said..

Johnson later claimed he was not referencing Obama's past drug use specifically, but was referring rather to his time as a community organizer.

Speaking Monday, Obama said he wanted to end the current "tit-for-tat" with Clinton.

"I don't want the campaign in this stage to degenerate into so much tit-for-tat back-and-forth that we lose sight why all of us are doing this," he said. "If I hear my own supporters engaging in talk that I think is ungenerous or misleading, or in some way is unfair, then I will speak out forcefully against them, and I hope the other campaigns take the same approach."

Shortly after Obama's comments, Clinton released a statement saying it's time to "reach common ground."

"We differ on a lot of things. And it is critical to have the right kind of discussion on where we stand. But when it comes to civil rights and our commitment to diversity, when it comes to our heroes – President John F. Kennedy and Dr. King – Senator Obama and I are on the same side," the New York Democrat said. “And in that spirit, let's come together, because I want more than anything else to ensure that our family stays together on the front lines of the struggle to expand rights for all Americans.”

– CNN's Alexander Mooney and Chris Welch

soundoff (390 Responses)
  1. Yolanda, MA

    Obama is a charismatic speaker (probably has every MLK speech memorized), but experience AND change is what this country needs most to win the support of the world at this time. Frankly, I'm tired of just hearing the words "change" with no explanation as to how he plans to achieve it. We all want change. Hillary has worked hard for healthcare and has the experience and vision to lead our country from DAY ONE. She's been under attack for years and is still standing. It's Obama's camp that is sadly playing the race card and dividing us again. It's really shameful. However, I think a Clinton – Obama democratic ticket would be unstoppable. Truce?

    January 15, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  2. Gobama

    Is rabid Rangle on crack? lol
    And the Clintions desperately wants a THIRD TERM.

    The Clintons started the furor.
    After their loss coming out of the box in Iowa, the Clintons decided and declared to GO NEGATIVE AND PERSONAL on Barack!

    Every time the Obama 'fairy tale' gets neck and neck with the divisive Clintons, they go personal with their attacks instead of staying on issues they don't have.
    All the heat and no light coming out of the Clintons.
    How dare an African American compete with their Black President and First Lady? LOL

    January 15, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  3. Wilhemina

    Obama has demonstrated his ability to tame the beast . Hooray!

    January 15, 2008 12:31 am at 12:31 am |
  4. Bam Bam Vs Hillarious

    Bam Bam Vs Hillarious is getting more amusing everyday are they running for town clown or President.

    January 15, 2008 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  5. Mike O Plano, TX

    If you think calling a truce will stop the Clinton backalley knife fighters, you are sadly mistaken. She was hoping to save her more viscious commandos for the GOP, but now she's running scared. They will continue, just using other avenues of attack.

    I'm in the GOP, but- as more difficult as Obama would be to beat- I hope he puts an end to the Clintons and starts the Democrats down a new path. I probably have more disagreements with Obama's positions; however, he is honorable and has shown a willingness to entertain bipartisanship to some degree. I can't say the same about Hillary or many of the people around her.

    January 15, 2008 12:46 am at 12:46 am |
  6. woody

    have to admit... i'm impressed by his actions on this... good sign of what may be to come... - never heard any politician... take a stand and call a truce, like this before..... lookin up!

    January 15, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  7. Theresa

    When someone like Barack Obama stands there and lectures his colleages on how they voted on the Iranian issue and he wasn't even there for the vote because he was out campaigning, says a lot about his charactor!

    This happen during one of CNN's debates.

    January 15, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  8. Charles in Salt Lake City, UT

    Carl Smith wrote: "I prefer Clinton over Obama because she's a 2 term Senator from New York. Also she was First Lady when Bill Clinton was President, so she knows how the White House works. This gives her an advantage over Obama a 1 term Senator. And I think Hillary would make a much better President than Obama due to her experience. And Bill Clinton will become our First Husband In U,S, History. Go Hillary in 2008!!!!!!!!!"

    Carl, you sound like you are about twelve - or you THAT old? Do you also want a pony for your birthday because it would be "cooler" than a puppy?

    Do the rest of us all a favor and stop experimenting with drugs. Or start; whichever will help.

    January 15, 2008 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  9. sly

    Anonymous:

    You are living in a fantasy world. Obama has NEVER played the race card in this campaign and if Sharpton said that, he's an idiot. The only thing Obama said that was even remotely related to race was when he said that Hillary's words concerning MLK and LBJ was "ill advised". That's it...and that wasn't accusing her of being racist, it was a fact.

    January 15, 2008 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  10. Biggdawg

    Thank you Senator Obama. The race card worked against you, I know. But your gesture to save face in the face of a budding race war that you enabled is appreciated nonetheless.

    January 15, 2008 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  11. Robert M. Reidy N.Y.

    It's as simple as this – Barack Obama is a uniter !

    It's as simple as this – Barack Obama is leading the way !

    Fired up and ready to go !

    January 15, 2008 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  12. Jose Velasco

    Obama is no Kennedy. He is more like Bill Clinton than Kennedy. His campaign fueled that ugly "tit for tat" and then you all are giving him kudos for taking the higher ground? Now I know why bush won twice – you guys fell for it. Gullible! Its called politics. I would hope you have more sense and do better analysis before you decide. I have had an open mind and listened with an open mind. After all the smoke and mirrors everyone has tossed around, Clinton is still the best option for America by far.. think about it, watch and listen closely before you render your opinions.

    January 15, 2008 02:34 am at 2:34 am |
  13. Sal......Illinois

    Obama tried to play the race card but realized that his strength is not in the black voters but in the ill-informed......surface level......ignorant.......not very smart....easily impressed....and blind from the facts..... white votes...... Now he is trying to please them and they are buying it.......C'mon people wake up......the guy has no agenda....no back bone......and he tries to please everybody....That won't win him the nomination.......substance and depth will and he totally lacks that.....talker not a doer.......Go Hillary....

    January 15, 2008 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  14. dffdf

    Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
    Enough said.

    January 15, 2008 02:49 am at 2:49 am |
  15. stevefallon

    There is only one African-American serving in the United States Senate now. This incovertible fact should serve as a predictor out the outcome of the general election for president. Americans are fond of appearing to be liberal and in favor of civil rights, but when the curtain is drawn and the voting takes place, they tend to be much more conservative than their public face might lead one to believe. This political phenomena has been dubbed the "Bradley effect"–voters who say one thing in order to appear liberal, but vote the other way. If nominated, Senator Obama will suffer the most crushing defeat in American history. Senator Clinton won't fare much better. John Edwards was already part of a losing ticket.

    Indeed, with Joe Biden out of the race, there is absolutely no one in the Democratic camp with the depth of experience and proven leadership to take on and defeat John McCain.

    Unless Joe Biden gets the nod from Mayor Bloomberg to head up the Third Party ticket with Chuck Hagel as his running mate, the American people will be left no other viable option but to elect John McCain their next president.

    January 15, 2008 02:52 am at 2:52 am |
  16. B. Ambrose

    If you were sure of what you were saying (the last commentator) you would be brave enough to sign your name. If you cannot be man enough to stand by your comments, please donot waste the space here. Congressman Rangel's time is gone, Bob Johnson cashed out and no longer relevant, Al Sharpton will take sides when it is convenient.........Obama never started any of this. It is part of the hidden strategy of the Clintons "to be divisive"........you must know this strategy has been in the making for some time..............Wake up everybody, wake up

    January 15, 2008 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  17. Anonymous

    Liar. I watched Al Sharpton on Hannity and Colmes. He never acknowledged what you assert. Stop spreading rumors and lies.

    Obama = Class personified

    January 15, 2008 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  18. Sidney madsen

    It's always amusing that no one can play the race card like the black man. they can call one another all kinds of things but when it's done by some one other than a black person its racism. Why aren't Al Shramptons remarks called racists?
    So lets keep feeding the fire everyone and keep on promoting the stupidy of it. The same goes for the religion card. I tell my kids no one can make you feel bad unless you let them. So kids grow up don't let these be the issues in this years election. Have we not progressed at all? There are far too many more important discussions to move on to.

    January 15, 2008 03:15 am at 3:15 am |
  19. ES

    Obama have resorted to attacking Hillary and together with Senator Edwards piled up on Hillary during the NH debate. He started this race card after losing NH. He is a sore loser. Winning NH was over his head after Iowa. Hillary was focusing on positive campaign but Obama and his campaign were obviously picking story lines and attacking Hillary but Hillary stood firm. These attacks were left on the wayside and not covered as much by the media. The Clintons remarks were factual and Obama distorted the facts to imply racism. Many voters are smart enough to know that Obama is making every effort to cover his shortcomings on the issues. He is a copy cat on plans for healthcare and jumpstarting the economy. Just scrutinize his voting record as a state and US senator. He is supposed to exercise his responsibility and vote on political issues as an elected official for the state he represent but have not done so and has been "Present" only over 100 times, as reported . Why is this so? Does he shuns from responsibility and accountability or is he ill-informed about the issues? We do not want another president who 's been a drug user and a boozer who speaks of unity. Let us not get fooled.

    January 15, 2008 03:22 am at 3:22 am |
  20. shaun

    Here's the deal in a nutshell...In the beginning clinton thought she was a shoe in for the dem nomination which in her opinion would then give her the white house unchallenged. Then Obama comes into the race and stills her shine, connecting with the american people in a way only she could only dream of doing for her self. Obama wins Iowa and this puts the clinton team in turmoil. They decide to unleash every dirty trick in the book to discredit obama and in the latest ploy depict him as playing the race card. They knew if they can make obama be precieved as bringing race into the contest that he'd lose the almighty white vote, so even though it was there comments that recieved the backlash, they tried to plant it on him making it seem like he was the one egging this battle on. Then obama, knowing this fight would only hurt his campaign with alittle of saddness over the divide it could cause in the country decided to take the high road and reach out to the clintons to stop the bickering. next hillary as part of her political skem decides to copy obama to look as if she also felt sorry...My goodness Obama..This is the crap you have to deal with, so I hope you have tough skin because these people are masters at this

    January 15, 2008 03:33 am at 3:33 am |
  21. michael, grand prairie tx.

    dqc
    Charlie Rangal accused Barack of playing the race card today and called him dumb and stupid.
    Barack Obama never commented on Clinton's remark, Rep Clyburn did. His high profile in the Dem party made his comments potent. Obama had nothing to do with that.Clyburn D-SC. interviewed with the NYT's on his on. Now i feel its his responsibilty to come out and let America know that he's not Dumb or Stupid.It's obvious that what Charlie's saying is that any one who who was offemded by her comments are dumb and stupid This was not a mistake by Hillary, these people are gutter politicians who will do just about anything to regain the power that they feel belongs to them. Please don't fall for the hype-its not the first time this tactic has been used.I feel that she's accepted a defeat in SC. So why not take Obama down on the one issue he's strongest on(swiftboat)lets make him seem divisive like us, See first they try and convince you(american people) there better for the country, but you(american people) dont fall for it, so know we'll make him look like us.DIVISIVE. We Want Fall For It Hill/Bill.

    January 15, 2008 03:40 am at 3:40 am |
  22. Ross Lippincott; Davenport Iowa.

    NewChicagoan aj huntington ny

    OK guys check this out, voting present on a bill doesn't show cowardice or slight of hand.
    But it does indicate that some ones using judgement.
    When a present vote is cast it simply means that the bill is unacceptable in it's present form, much like returning a nice steak to the kitchen to have it cooked some more. You're not saying you don't want it you're saying you don't want it like that.

    January 15, 2008 03:56 am at 3:56 am |
  23. Ross Lippincott; Davenport Iowa.

    carlo

    THANK YOU!

    January 15, 2008 04:05 am at 4:05 am |
  24. HILLARY RULES THE SOUTH , MEMPHIS TN

    LOL JUST WHAT WE WANTED TO DO VERY WELL NOW THIS REALLY SHOWS HOW NOT READY OBAMA IS TO BE PRESIDENT LOOK AT ALL THE OBAMA SUPPORTS SCRAMBLE AT THERE MAN NOT BEING ABLE TO HANDLE THE POWER OF THE CLINTION I GUESS WHAT THAT FOR GET IS BLACK AMERICA GAVE THE CLINTONS POWER AN IT AINT OVER TIL WE SAY SO ...... GET A HALF BLACKMAN TO RUN IF U WANT IT AINT OVER TIL WE SAY SO CUZ WE HAVE MANY MANY MANY ACCOMPLESHMENTS MADE UNDER THE CLINTON YEARS WE AINT LETING THEM GO YET FOOLISH ONES WE KNOW WHAT THEY HAVE DONE FOR OUR CAUSE AND MANY OF US ARE TEACHING IN AN ATTENDING MOSTLY WHITE COLLEGES BECAUSE OF WHAT THEY DID FOR US THAT 8 YEARS SO SAY WHAT YOU WILL ABOUT HILLARY WE AINT !!!!!LET ING THEM GO YOU FOOLS NEVER!!!!!!!!! NOW THE NEXT GUY U SUPPORT THAT SOUNDS WHITE MAKE SURE IS IS ACUTALLY BLACK THAT MEANS THE SON OF A FORMER SLAVE AN BELIVE ME THERE IS A DIFFERENCE.. HILLARY 08

    January 15, 2008 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  25. HILLARY RULES THE SOUTH , MEMPHIS TN

    "He should have shown better judgement in not attacking Hillary, who since her days from Wellesly College has been a civil rights advocate and her husband is called the "First Black President of US".

    January 15, 2008 04:18 am at 4:18 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.