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. CL in Florida

    People, please read the article. Farrakhan did not endorse Obama. He merely gave him credit for uniting the people.

    Read the whole article.

    February 27, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  2. RegieC

    These debates are about issues that affect ALL of us! (at least they should be...) You know things like Iraq, our energy policy, economy, Foreign policy, the environment, the ongoing Housing/Forclosure meltdown!

    Please tell me what the H3!! does Farrakan have to do with any of the above?? These are things that affect us right now!

    The only way you and Bill are getting into the White House is if you take the tour!!!

    Stick a fork in her, Ladies and Gents She's DONE!

    February 27, 2008 08:33 am at 8:33 am |
  3. Dan

    Barack acted shrewdly, and smartly. It, of course, isn't helpful to outright "reject" Farrakhan's endorsement, as there will be a small segment of the black community would be upset by this. So, he smartly evaded the outright rejection, until he saw Hillary trying to make an issue out of it, at which point, he played his trump card, and ended up making her look a little silly.

    I think someone in Barrack's campaign should make sure they get a reporter to ask Hillary "If you win the nomination, will you reject the endorsement of Ann Coulter?"

    February 27, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  4. wycliffe

    DENOUNCE:(meriam-webster dictionary):-
    to pronounce especially publicly to be blameworthy or evil
    to announce threateningly

    to refuse to hear, receive, or admit

    Can anyone tell me which word is stronger

    February 27, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  5. GO Hillary!

    he is a coward!

    February 27, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  6. Deana

    Anybody upset about this really just needs to GROW UP, really.

    February 27, 2008 08:34 am at 8:34 am |
  7. Steve

    Barack Obama koolaid, youre all drinking it...

    1) What does he stand for, besides CHANGE
    2) What has he accomplished
    3) What is his foreign policy knowledge
    4) Why didnt he denounce the war in 2004 or subsequent funding bills


    Nothing! Which is why, for the first time in 24 yrs, im voting GOP....

    Enough of this "Fairy Tale" and the media slobbering all over him

    February 27, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  8. Denounce

    Denounce is a more formal and educated way of saying Reject. They both have the same meaning, and Hillary was just being picky. Typical of silly season in politics. Why does this even matter to anyone? It's a non issue, but people make it an issue to stir up utter nonsense. To Denounce or Reject will not change Farrakhan's support.

    Obama 08'

    February 27, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  9. Upstate Deb

    I have stated it here before and will again. If Senator Obama wins the nomination, I will fly my flag upside down – the recognized sign of distress.

    God help the USA if the "American Idol", "Ba-Rock Star" mentality doesn't die its much-delayed death. Common sense must return to our political system, and pick the candidate best prepared for the next 8 years.

    Hillary Clinton, our next President – tough, savvy, and best qualified.

    February 27, 2008 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  10. Reynold

    For Asians, we are not so childish to be swinged by the person with only words

    February 27, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  11. Irishspacemonk

    Can I just say, Am I the only one glad the debates are over???

    February 27, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  12. kim

    obama is no different than any other politician, he can make all the promises he wants, this doesnt mean it will happen, and when it doesnt those who are singing his praises will be the ones ready to throw him under the bus. no candidate can guarantee you anything, democrat or republican. obama is not a saint people neither is hillary, its all mudslinging , thats the way they have always done it. people get so caught up in the junior high he said she said, and as usual thats all that is talked about. we can only have hope for our country , love and provide for our families the best we can

    February 27, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  13. jw arkansas

    theGOP will swift-boat obama back to the land of his ROOTS.

    February 27, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  14. jimhenry

    As a Jewish American, Obama wasn't quick enough to denounce or reject Farrakhan or even worse, his own Minister Wright. If my rabbi made racist comments, I would walk out of my synagogue and find myself a new one. I find this very troubling.

    February 27, 2008 08:36 am at 8:36 am |
  15. Mary

    HILLARY CLINTON has what is takes to next American president.
    She has heart, poise, intelligence, experience and most of all honestly and no empty words.
    Okama on the other hand only has empty words. He MAY look good and but has no substance. WAKE UP AMERICA.

    Remember if you choose the wrong candidate again you will have another GEORGE BUSH.
    Go Hillary
    America please think with you common sense and you will be the winners.
    I hope to se my comment published or it will appear to me that you only print if it positive for Obama. I will be keeping track.

    February 27, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  16. brown

    Touche Hillary!!!!

    Each time you try to undercut him he turns your bitter lemons to Lemonade.

    Meanwhile – what planet does she live on???

    WHO'S EMPLOYER AUTOMATICALLY SIGNS THEM UP FOR A 401K PLAN? That is why we are embarking on the biggest Retirement short coming EVER. All of the baby boomers that saw their parents have automatic retirement funds – are going to be left in the cold because employers do NOT automatically sign employees up for the plan.

    Has she gone completely MAD – upon my word woman get your facts straight and FIRE your hand picked STAFF (another example of her poor judgement!!!

    February 27, 2008 08:37 am at 8:37 am |
  17. Sue Williams

    Obahma made a coment on companys who send jobs out of the country he is from Illinois Caterpillar is a billion dollar company and they have moved a lot of jobs out of the state and country and he hasn't done one thing about that and the company who is suppose to care gives Millions of dollars to a lot of organisations but yet they now take money from their workers and retirees for health insurance and the retirees are almost unable to live with their retirement checks being cut every year Cat does not care about anyone but cat and obahma has not done anything for the ILLINOIS PEOPLE HOW CAN HE HELP THE USA

    February 27, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  18. Brian

    We have already elected an individual with very limited foreign affair experience. It makes me nervous that we are heading down the same path again.

    When hiring someone to work at a management level within your company, responsible for profits, the employment of hundreds or thousands of individuals, and the public image of the company, do you select the individual to with 'proven' experience in a similar capacity who is well versed, or, do you select the individual with 'limited' proven experience who makes broad sweeping statements.

    With jobs, profits, and public image in mind, I select the qualified candidate with proven experience. Do you?

    February 27, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  19. Jules

    I thought Obama's acknowledgement of the contributions and efforts of Jewish Americans during the Civil Rights Movement was great and dead on.

    February 27, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  20. Di

    Obama lies with every breath!!!

    February 27, 2008 08:38 am at 8:38 am |
  21. Just Me

    Game... Set... Match... Obama

    February 27, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  22. player9


    NEWS FLASH! Reject and denounce in the context that Obama used it, is the same thing. Actuallly, denounce is a stronger meaning. Hillary you told Obama to meet you in Ohio and he did. You showed your true colors last night. Maybe before you ask for more debates you will practices and know what you are talking about. Healthcare is not the only issue in the world. Sorry Hillary! You are not what America needs.

    February 27, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  23. Mariah

    Hello Linda and go green and others! First, LEARN TO SPELL RIDICULOUS and then to THINK!!!

    February 27, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  24. Jack

    Comment by Jason, "ANYONE that doesn't tolerate the differences of the world's religion, should not be tolerated AT ALL!"
    Actually you must convert to Islam or they will chop off your head.
    I do not tolerate this difference. I reject and denounce this kind of thinking completely. It is a relegion that will not "Tolerate" any other relegion. So...by your own statement you see it should not be tolerated AT ALL.
    I would also reject and denounce endorsements from Farrakhan, Wright and Kennedy.

    February 27, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  25. Mandi Locke

    What is wrong with this woman? She is really grasping at straws. She is suggesting that Barack Obama has evil ties to Islam, which implies that he supports terroism, which is totally absurd. Her tactic is fear. I don't know about you, but I've had enough scare tactics over the past seven years, thank you very much. Hillary Clinton is not capable of solving conflict, she is only capable of creating it.

    February 27, 2008 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
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