February 13th, 2008
01:20 PM ET
10 years ago

Clinton, Obama open fire on the trail

(CNN) - Hours after Barack Obama captured the overall delegate lead from rival Hillary Clinton, the two Democratic contenders took aim at each other on the campaign trail.

Clinton’s campaign unveiled a television ad in Wisconsin that criticized Obama for his approaches to health care policy and the housing crisis, and his decision thus far to accept just two debate invitations between now and March 4, despite Clinton’s call for weekly faceoffs.

In Wisconsin – where voters head to the polls next Tuesday – Obama praised former opponent John Edwards, and returned fire.

At a Texas campaign event Wednesday, Clinton herself praised Edwards, and returned to a regular trail theme - that Obama wasn’t ready for the Oval Office.

“I am in the solutions business, my opponent is in the promises business,” said Clinton, who added that the primary season called for “comparing and contrasting.”

"I have solutions to these economic problems, but the question is: does Sen. Obama?" she said. “We need real results, not more rhetoric. We need to get back in the solutions business."

The Clinton campaign has said strong showings in Texas and Ohio, which vote March 4, are “critical” for her.

On the trail in Wisconsin, in a major speech on economic policy, Obama said that the nation should reward “work, not wealth” by reforming the tax system – an important theme in Edwards’ presidential run. Obama accused Clinton of supporting a loophole for companies that outsource jobs to other nations. He said Clinton had supported NAFTA and a controversial bankruptcy bill that he had opposed, and said that she would “require the government to force you to buy health insurance and she said she'd 'go after' your wages if you don't.”

He tied Clinton to Republicans like GOP candidate John McCain and President Bush, saying Washington is a place “where politicians like John McCain and Hillary Clinton voted for a war in Iraq that should've never been authorized and never been waged - a war that is costing us thousands of precious lives and billions of dollars a week…” He also linked Clinton with President Bush, saying their economic plans were ineffective.

–CNN's Chris Welch, Peter Hamby and Rebecca Sinderbrand contributed to this report

soundoff (234 Responses)
  1. Anna N.

    SlapStick, Florida February 13th, 2008 3:41 pm ET

    Signs of desperate measures. Will she bring out the CLAWS if she elected to the White House? This would be very belittling for the American people. other countries would look at our country and give us no respect.

    Excuise me? CLAWS? What a double standard! Would you be using such words if she was a MAN?

    February 13, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  2. Rick

    As a third year law student here in Boston I can tell you with certainty that becoming president of Harvard Law Review is the same kind of beauty contest that Obama is waging now. There are plenty of exceptionally talented law students who don't even get on law review who are better legal scholars and writers.

    Its about how close you are to the faculty advisor and how many people you can convince to vote for you. That process rarely involves substance.

    Don't be fooled.

    February 13, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  3. Jeff

    It's very simple: if you want the specifics of Obama's plans, you can see them on his web site. Obama understands a very basic principle that Hillary misses, namely that in speeches, inspiring people to action is the most important goal. She claims that giving speeches that aren't college lectures on the details of his economic plans make him unqualified for office. She says this because that's the only kind of speech she knows how to give and she lacks the ability to inspire. This blather that she's smarter, etc., because her speeches have more specifics about her plans is ridiculous. It's just a difference in campaign style and it's becoming clear which is more effective.

    Her health care plan, while laudable, is only different from Obama's in that it forces every American to buy health care. Obama prefers to put the emphasis on lowering premiums so everyone can buy it. Under Obama's plan, some people won't be covered, it's true, but why is that? It's because they're not being forced and their wages aren't being garnished. Why should we care that those people aren't covered? If they have every opportunity to do it and it's affordable and they choose not to buy it, why is that so terrible?

    And as for this CNN favoring Obama line of argument, it's pure nonsense. I don't see how anyone watching Super Tuesday coverage with pundit after pundit talking about how well Clinton was doing, how she was the front-runner, etc., could sensibly claim that CNN favors Obama. If anything, it was the other way around. They're beginning to see, though, that most people want to hear about Obama, as he's far more interesting, so he's getting more coverage. If Clinton supporters are upset that he's getting more coverage, perhaps she should try to win some primaries in smaller states and get the air time that comes to the primary winners rather than bickering about a bias that isn't there.

    February 13, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  4. Ito, Yokosuka Japan

    HRC is a rabid socialist that would mandate everything if she could. And her plan for mandating universal healthcare is to garnish wages?

    HRC would also need a bigger government to manage her socialized (er...mandated) plans. And that means higher taxes (or garnished wages) to pay for more government workers. We all know more government workers are the solution to our problems.

    Got a problem? Throw more government at it. Isn't the government just so good at solving problems and being thrifty?

    What a joke. How many trillions did Bush request to manage the current government? All these politicians do is take more money to support the ever growing number of way they find to waste it.

    A vote for HRC is not a vote for change, but a vote for more of the same.

    February 13, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  5. Desta G.

    I am not sure yet what the new candidates clinton nor Obama`s platform is, but one thing for sure, I am glad that the American politics finally becoming fair ground to the able elites regardless of gender and race as qualification factor. What is more shocking to me is that Obama wining the hearts and minds of historicaly conservative region of the south. Indeed, this changing political spectrum telling me, the greateness and glowing of America is a head of us.

    February 13, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  6. T Jones

    Dr. Feelgood...Clinton lies about campaign contributions...there's a long track record of it...(just google it) Obama does not...Clinton has no better plan for HealtCare than the same one that failed in the '90's...Obama has proven in Illinois that he will get folks, especially children insured...Clinton voted in favor of the war...OBAMA DID NOT! Why do you think our economy is in this mess? Because of all the so called experience...that's why...you take a drink of water...and stop drinking the Clinton Kool-Aid!

    February 13, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  7. c


    Come on and join the Movement my friend.

    February 13, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. Rick

    That war statement comes directly from Karl Rove. When Bush's war in Iraq began to fail, Republicans started blaming the Democrats who voted for the joint resolution.

    The resolution called for the use of force as a last resort, and after Bush went to the UN and got authorization. Bush broke the law you claim Hillary voted for!

    When will Obama supporters tell the truth? Oh yeah if you were honest you wouldn't BE an Obama supporter.

    And you might want to look at Michelle Obama's financial records if you want to see where Obama's lobbyist and corporate support is coming from.

    February 13, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  9. Christian

    The media today rips Hillary constantly but leaves Obama alone! This is something I don't understand. Obama didn't vote for the war because he wasn't there!! And if he was, he probably would've voted PRESENT!!! If Obama gets the nom, the republicans are going to have a field day. All the polls show that McCain will lose to Obama, but don't be so sure. He has endured nothing compared to what will happen because McCain and the republicans will be on the attack. Hillary can keep the country safe but Barack has no foreign policy. He wouldn't be a horrible president after some more experience. He could be Hillarys VP.

    February 13, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
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