February 27th, 2008
09:08 AM ET
10 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. 301

    Uneducated Voter = HIllary forced him to say "Reject" because he wasn't taking a strong enough position!

    Educated Voter = Denounce is a stronger word than reject...what's your point?

    At least HIllary understands where she's getting her votes.
    As a McCain supporter, I applaud Obama's 'strategery' and denounce Clinton's 'trickeration'.

    February 27, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  2. sheila jones

    I am surprised that CNN makes it so obvious that they are for Barac Obama. Anderson Cooper and the CNN political team have left no doubt that they are for Obama. Why not start saying something positive about Hillary Clinton and her campaign. She deserves it, too!

    February 27, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  3. Suzanne Where votes don't count in Florida

    There were so many issues that could have been addressed last night at the debate...but with Tim Russert trying to catch the
    "big fish" as he puts it, they dumbed down the questions to fit Obama's intellectual laziness.

    Why do you think Senator Clinton made the comment on "why do I always get the first question"?
    She knew why she gets the first question.
    It's because if he can't feed off of Senator Clinton's answer first, he doesn't know how to answer them.
    His lack of knowledge on foreign policy is quite frightening.

    Why is it when a female addresses an issue it's complaining?

    The best part was when someone finally called him to task on his affiliation with Louis Farrakhan,& the support Farrakhan gives to him, he stuttered all over himself, I think a lot of Jewish American people will take note of his facial expressions ,he was very uncomfortable.

    The biased good old boys of the political round tables can't write the obituary yet!!

    Keep fighting Texas & Ohio

    February 27, 2008 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  4. darth vader is cool (and dead)

    This question goes along with many questions in the debate, like how the moderator framed Clinton's NAFTA question, this question along with others only point was to try and sling mud at the canidates it was not Hardball, it was lowball

    The thing about the question i found abonmitable was that Clinton took the low question that Obama answered well (i don't support his anti-semetic views and i have fought against them, but i cann't tell someone who supports me because i am a unifier that he cannot support me) into a big political attack on obama. Clinton took a unfair question and attacked obama on it. She has lost my respect and vote with that.

    ps i support Mccain

    February 27, 2008 08:28 am at 8:28 am |
  5. Ret.Vet.

    Well, Well, Well lets move on.

    February 27, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  6. Anonymous

    Oh, these people drinking the poisonous Barack koolaid...

    what does he stand for?
    what has he accomplished?
    what is his experience?
    how is he going to stand up to GOP and mudslinging....
    how is he going to defend his votes funding the war

    And finally, i will pay more taxes as he "redistributes the wealth"...i never thought id say this before...but if hillary loseS, im voting GOP

    February 27, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  7. Brian

    Let's play a game called 'Name Senator Obama's Achievements While in the Senate'. Ready, go. Let's take this one step further, and name Senator Obama's achievements that he spear-headed, rather than supported.

    February 27, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  8. Here In Britain

    "Shannon, Charlottesville, Virginia February 26th, 2008 11:24 pm ET

    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."

    Another sucker who can't see that Obama iis politcis as usual as well.

    You are going to be in for one hell of a disappointment if Obama gets elected.

    February 27, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  9. Coonsey

    Out of the whole debate the only thing you can headline is this comment about Farrackhan? The difference between denouncing and rejecting?

    It's no wonder people are having trouble believing you media.

    What about Hillary's OUTBURST/WHINING during a Presidential debate about being asked the first question and talking about a TV show? Now THAT'S news.

    Wake up media. This woman COULD have her finger on the button someday soon.

    February 27, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  10. Michele

    It seemed a bit out of desperation on Hilary's part that she'd reach for one word over another. As did it seem out of desperation when she was consistenly trying to get in the last word, as it should be, because I think that's she's finally realizing that these indeed may be her final words during this campaign trail. This debate definitely tipped in Obama's favor and has proved that there are plenty of solutions offered by Senator Obama other than what Senator Clinton has claimed to be just talk. He can talk the talk as well as walk the walk. Well done Senator Obama.

    February 27, 2008 08:29 am at 8:29 am |
  11. LadyLeo

    I am sure all the candidates have someone supporting them that may have a negative impact on them. The point is according to the Consitution of the U.S. everyone has a right to vote and who are we to tell them who to support or vote for. I really think this was not a wise question, they could have spent this time on the economy– .

    February 27, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  12. Coby Austin, Texas

    Obama crushed Hillary, hands down. It was hilarious!!

    February 27, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  13. J

    So will Hillary be rejecting and denouncing Ann Coulter's endorsement?

    February 27, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  14. corin

    My question hillary! Why did it take 18 debates later for you to state that you wish you couldve took back your iraq vote?You could have denounce and rejected it in your first debate!!!!!!!!!!! ......i guess that now was your perfect opportunity since your losing.

    February 27, 2008 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  15. Three Men and a Lady

    Why is CNN closing comments on most of the blogs? Afraid some truth about Obama might slip through? Well, last night we got to see what it looked like for three men to gang up on one woman. Tim Russert was harsh and obnoxious and totally rude to Hillary. He badgered her to commit to timelines that were hypothetical.

    As usual he soft stepped his way around Obama. I felt that the beginning clips were extremely biased towards Hillary. I am also sick of Obama piggy backing off of Hillary's answers (the last debate was full of those moments). She stood up for herself and should be commended for holding her own against three men that do not want to see her succeed. I know that I'm not alone in this sentiment.


    February 27, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  16. scott

    ONe more thing to say I noticed someone asked who is Farrakhan anyway. Just so you know he is the Black version of David Duke. and the man that the MLK family has tried to sue over having part in the Killing of MLK. so he could have more of the speaking power.

    February 27, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  17. Sharon, Orlando

    There is a bigger picture here. Barack Obama consistently speaks from both sides of his mouth. One only has to look at the website of the church he has been attending for over 20 years and realize what his beliefs are. However, he distanced himself from his pastor and friend when he decided to run for president. He also courted the black vote upon entering South Carolina and Louisiana; however, when it really mattered he was a no-show at the New Orleans Black Forum. Seems to me his aim is to simply get every vote no matter where it comes from in order to win this election – even from the Nation of Islam. All th at matters is that Barack Obama wins. I have a feeling he will be a different person if he gets in the White House. Perhaps then we will see his true colors and know who he really is. In contrast, look at how quickly John McCain rejected the remarks of the radio talk show host? That's integrity!

    February 27, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  18. Erika

    Why denounce or reject a statement of support? If a guy who dislikes jews can support a man of African decent, then I'd think that's a good thing.

    February 27, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  19. Marc

    Oh, this is politics. You know we don't care for either one of em.

    The only reason people like Obama is because he lies to them with a smile on his face. 🙂

    February 27, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  20. Put a bullet Through Obama's Head

    I honestly wish someone would shoot this demagogue.

    February 27, 2008 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  21. John Stevens

    I do question Obama why he still goes to a church that gives an award to Farrakhan. It would to a mainstream American – black or white or polka dotted – be the last straw.

    February 27, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  22. Andy

    What I love the most about this campaign is that the American people are not allowing the media nor trash from the Clinton's to alter their choice. Stay strong America because our support for Obama has the fat cats of Washington scared. Their afraid that Obama will give us, "We the people" a voice once again in our government.

    February 27, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  23. GO Hillary!

    if America doesn't get Hillary Clinton as the next president it is our fault and we don't deserve her.

    Obama sounds like Osama
    His middle name is that of the most evil man, next to Hitler
    and he is aligned with some of the most ridiculous supporters who he won't say NO and reject their votes.....

    all to win?
    it is truly a sad day for America.

    February 27, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  24. Eric and Beth

    I hope people DO SEE the difference between denouncing (or condemning) a person's support and out right refusing (not accepting) a person's support. As there are clear differences between the two words... AND NO HILLARY CLINTON DOES NOT NEED A DICTIONARY AS MUCH AS BARAK NEEDS TO TAKE A CLEAR OUTRIGHT STAND ON REJECTING THE SUPPORT FROM THIS EXTREMELY DENOUNCEABLE INDIVIDUAL!!!!

    See It's one thing to denounce (condemn) a man's support (i.e., neither accepting or refusing it, just saying it's evil) and there is anothering thing about REFUSING (denying the acceptance of) that support. And while people thing Hillary is grabbing at straws… I want a president who will out right refuse this without making the political safe road by accepting everyone's support. This is the kind of heroism that Barak lacks. He even admitted he should have stood up and taken a different position but did nothing. That's Barak the do nothing change as usual president! I for one think it's time to give an intelligent woman who is a smart and very articulate diplomat… someone who will be able to function and not say yea what she said.

    Go Hillary '08!!!

    February 27, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  25. K

    I watched this debate and the end result : Hillary Clinton lost. All she did was do what girls do when they want to play with the boys and things don't quite go their way......THEY WHINE, THEY COMPLAIN, THEY CRY. Moral to the story....play your position, stay in your lane. If you can't handle man things don't aspire for man things, Hillary is desperate with nothing else to offer but complaints. Did you hear her when she was upset because they ask her the question first, are you kidding? her actions clearly show she is not ready to run anything especially the white house and this nation.

    February 27, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
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