February 27th, 2008
09:08 AM ET
7 years ago

Clinton hits Obama over Farrakhan

 Clinton criticized Obama for not outright rejecting Farrakhan's support.
Clinton criticized Obama for not outright rejecting Farrakhan's support.

(CNN) - Hillary Clinton criticized Barack Obama at Tuesday night's debate for not directly rejecting the support of Louis Farrakhan.

“There's a difference between denouncing and rejecting," Clinton said. "And I think when it comes to this sort of, you know, inflammatory - I have no doubt that everything that Barack just said is absolutely sincere. But I just think, we've got to be even stronger. We cannot let anyone in any way say these things because of the implications that they have, which can be so far reaching.”

Farrakhan, the head of the Nation of Islam, recently made positive statements about Obama’s candidacy. The controversial leader has made many remarks that have been deemed anti-Semitic, including calling Judaism a "gutter religion." Asked tonight if he accepted Farrakhan's endorsement, Obama denounced those statements.

"I obviously can't censor him, but it is not support that I sought," Obama said. "And we're not doing anything, I assure you, formally or informally with Minister Farrakhan."

Pressed if he specifically rejected the endorsement, Obama said, "I can't say to somebody that he can't say that he thinks I'm a good guy" and that he didn't "see a difference between 'denouncing' and 'rejecting.'"

Responding later in the exchange directly to Clinton's comments, Obama said, "There's no formal offer of help from Minister Farrakhan that would involve me rejecting it."

"But if the word 'reject' Senator Clinton feels is stronger than the word 'denounce,' then I'm happy to concede the point, and I would reject and denounce," he added.

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (1,043 Responses)
  1. Minnesota

    Well played Barack!

    February 26, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  2. Doug

    he is a washington politican. where is my universal healthcare obama? is it with my volunteer social security? guess i wont see retirement or healthcare

    February 26, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  3. Why Bother

    Obama won this debate because he didn't whine about who's getting preferential treatment by the media.

    February 26, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  4. Alice

    Give me a break!!!! Hillary, you do not sit so high in moral standing to criticize Obama, or anyone else for that matter, on such issues. What an astounding phony!!

    February 26, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  5. Tami

    I believe this was a failed I gotcha attempt by Hillary Clinton that backfired.

    February 26, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  6. Kevin

    Clinton has become ridiculous, and completely irrelevant. This is like Hitler saying he likes Shakespeare. Is Shakespeare supposed to rise from the grave and reject the complement about the quality of his work?? I used to have respect for the Clintons, but it is evaporating quickly...

    February 26, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  7. Teresa in Kansas

    I reject and denounce Hilary

    February 26, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  8. vivian

    I loved the answer Obama came back with. I congratulate him on being focused, grounded, powerful and completely presidential. He is quite the man and I hope and pray that he is our next president.

    February 26, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  9. Irma

    Hilary was right to counsel Obama about the need to
    REJECT outright Farrahkan's endorsement. Louis
    Farrakhan is a racist and I was pleased to see Obama
    agree with Clinton that he needed to REJECT
    Farrakhan's endorsement.

    .

    February 26, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  10. Juanito, Washington, DC

    What sort of stupid headline is this? One would think Obama supported Farrakhan. CNN...c'mon! I'm sick of your BS. Obama DID reject Farrakhan...sheesh.

    February 26, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  11. jackie

    Denounce and Reject: checkmate.

    February 26, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  12. Esdras

    BARACK Obama realyl should just win over Texas and Ohio. Clinton doesnt deserve it cuz all she does is complain about "not going second during debates" and "unfair politics" Its a game. she had every good hand. and she still failed. get off the stage you old fart. Let obama just win it already

    February 26, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  13. Rozanne

    Why do they always ask the African American about Louis Farrakhan but they never ask the caucasian about controversial or negative comments that caucasian's make. For instance why didn't they ask Hillary about the "lynching" comments that Bill O'Reilly said about Michelle Obama or what about what the radio personality said today while introducing John McCain to an audience of supporters? I think the question was designed to bring Obama down.

    February 26, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  14. LENA

    Good.

    Reject and denounce.

    February 26, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  15. Annamica, OH

    There is a difference Senator. Rejects means to refuse/spurn. Denounce means to put down. Now, renounce means to give up. Confusion anyone?

    February 26, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  16. Not another Husein

    WHAT????????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 26, 2008 11:22 pm at 11:22 pm |
  17. Vig

    Obama needs to be vetted more. Texas and Ohio need to put the brakes on Obama.

    February 26, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  18. Shannon, Charlottesville, Virginia

    hillary clinton just can't seem to give me one single reason to vote for her. her attempts to tear down obama doesn't sway me at all.

    February 26, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  19. Molly

    Technically speaking, "denounce" would be a stronger word than "reject" because denouncing someone infers they are not only publicly rejected, but also evil. Key words here, publicly AND evil. Reject doesn't go nearly as far. Hilary needs to get a dictionary if she's going to quibble about definitions.

    February 26, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  20. Jordan

    Clinton just came out for a fight against our next president. Unfortunately for her, Mr. Obama is smart and knows how to keep his composure no matter what.
    She is just desperate because she knows that was her last debate on TV with Mr. Obama.

    Way to go Mr President

    February 26, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  21. glhf

    ...and we care...why?

    February 26, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  22. don

    I think Barack missed Hillary's point. It isn't merely Farrakhan's negative remarks about Jews/Israel. He should simply (should have done it when it happened btw) reject any support for that racist hate monger. Looks to me like Barack was afraid of ailienating black people and danced around the obvious. Hillary had it right!

    February 26, 2008 11:23 pm at 11:23 pm |
  23. Debbie

    I am a practicing Christian. I do not agree with o support Islam. But
    the Isamic people here under Farrakan are Americans and they are
    voters. Is anybody going to denounce or reject the KKK support?
    They don't want Clinton for President that's why its not an issue here.
    But whoever they support, is that person going to be asked to reject or
    denounce their support?

    February 26, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  24. Shannon, Charlottesville, Virginia

    tonight's debate made one thing clear: clinton represents politics as usual, something we're all sick of, and obama, a new style of politics, where we come together on common causes rather than dividing on intolerances.

    February 26, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
  25. Eric S

    Go Hillary. Obama appeared to be ambivalent on this issue, which is not quite acceptable.

    February 26, 2008 11:24 pm at 11:24 pm |
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