February 29th, 2008
09:05 PM ET
7 years ago

Clinton: Obama 'missing in action'

 Clinton is getting tough on Obama over national security issues.
Clinton is getting tough on Obama over national security issues.

WACO, Texas (CNN) - Hillary Clinton attempted to raise the stakes of the upcoming March 4 primaries Friday by forcefully calling into question Barack Obama's qualifications to become commander-in-chief.

At a rally in Waco, with more than two dozen military veterans and flag officers standing behind her, Clinton criticized Obama for being "missing in action" during key security decisions in the Senate and claimed that he had "no responsibility" when he gave an anti-war speech in 2002 as an Illinois state senator.

Her comments coincided with a new campaign ad released in Texas that asks voters who they want to answer the phone in the White House at 3 a.m. when "there's something happening in the world."

Obama criticized the ad earlier Friday, saying it was an attempt to "scare up votes."

Clinton disputed that notion in her speech Friday, saying, "Well I don't think people in Texas scare all that easily."

In a salvo against Obama that lasted several minutes, Clinton said, "There's a big difference between giving a speech at anti war rally as a state senator and dealing with an international crisis as president."

"There's a difference between giving a speech when you have no responsibility," she argued, "and having to step up and take charge and take the responsibility for your actions."

She charged that Obama was "missing in action" when he missed a Senate vote last year on a nonbinding resolution in that labeled the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization (Clinton voted for the measure and faced heat from Obama and other Democratic rivals for supporting a measure pushed by the Bush administration.)

She also said Obama was "missing in action" by failing in his chairmanship of a Senate subcommittee on Europe to hold a hearing on NATO's presence in Afghanistan, a fact she has emphasized in recent days on the campaign trail.

Gen. Wesley Clark, a Clinton supporter and the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, plugged the TV ad while introducing Clinton on stage and suggested that her tenure as First Lady prepared her to be president.

"She's been in the White House when the tough decisions were made," Clark said, looking over to Clinton. "I guess you've been at the bedside when that phone rang at 3 a.m. in the morning."

Clinton was joined at the event by three generals, including Clark, and a Navy Rear Admiral.

– CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

soundoff (546 Responses)
  1. Tim in Colorado

    I live here in Colorado, a state that went for Mitt Romney. Although, I'm a delegate for my county and in May when we go to the state convention I'll be voting for Mike Huckabee, not John McCain. I support Huckabee because he supports the fair tax, the only senseable solution to our broken tax system. The Fair Tax means no taxation on income, that means you get your entire check! The tax would be a flat tax that would be built into the products we buy(the same thing corporations are doing already), and the stores we buy from would be responsible for giving the taxes to the government(no more filing taxes). The greatest thing is that it's fair to all people, not just the rich. Every citizen under the poverty level would recieve a rebate check on a regular basis that would insure they would not be taxed. Only new products would be taxed, not used items! How would the government operate then you ask, well, since the tax is built into the cost of the products we buy, it would tax all the foreigners that come to the US and by products but pay no tax, it would tax all illegal immigrants because they couldn't avoid buying products. That alone would cause an immediate increase in revenue to the government! And since drug dealers and prostitution rings don't usually report there earnings to the government, they go untaxed and we honest americans pick up there tab. But, under the Fair Tax they could not avoid taxation because they have to buy products at the same stores as we do, and that's were they'll pay there dues. That's only one of the many great ideas that Mike Huckabee runs on. So, want to make statement? Do you want to poke your eye in the Republican establishment? Tired of being told by the media who the next President is going to be? Well, join with me and millions of others in a last ditch effort to stop McCain! Lets show McCain what we think about him not debating for the rest of the country to see where he stands. I'm tired of the of being told to stop following my conscience for the sake of the party. Let the party fall, because I'm going to stand for what is right! Not what's expediant for the party!! This delegate is voting for one man, and his name is Mike Huckabee.

    March 1, 2008 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  2. michael

    I watched the ad. During the ad the phone get ringing. Why wasn't it answered? Was she waiting for Bill to answer. Barack would've answered on the first ring!

    March 1, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  3. Jeff

    HILLARY SUPPORTERS: Hillary Clinton has less elected office experience than Obama. And 7 years as a Senator summing up your entire political career does not make you a wizened old sage...

    Also, the repetitve mantra of the same catch-phrase lies of the Clinton supporters is starting to remind me of the Neocon hypnotized Republidrones, people who still consider Bush a fiscal conservative and a uniter.

    Hillary for NAFTA!
    Hillary for Increased Health Insurance Industry Profits!
    Hillary for War!
    Hillary for making scowling faces and acting moody/psychotic at diplomatic meetings!

    Hillary couldn't control one man, let alone an entire administration. There's your "Experience".

    March 1, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  4. Floyd

    Hang in there Hillary! You are right on the mark! You are ready to lead this country, and I salute you. You have my contribution and my vote. As for Obama, once again he has plagiarized by copying your ad. Can't he come up with anything original? When will the media hold him accountable? I guess I will do the media's job here:

    – He was never faced with a vote on the Iraq war, so it is easy to say he was against it; I was against the war too, but that was just my opinion–not a binding vote in the US Senate
    – He was absent in his duties as committee chair in the US Senate.
    – He only voted present on tough issues in the State Senate
    – He borrows (steals) other people's words and uses them as his own
    – His wife has never been proud of our country in her adult life
    – He was too busy to attend the State of the Black Union in New Orleans once he had black people's vote there. Too busy? Yeah, right!
    – He now wants to go back on his word on campaign finance since he is raising so much money
    – He injects race into the campaign and pretends that someone else did it
    – He claims to be against NAFTA but when pressed, said that he would not get rid of it (because he knows that the world is moving too fast to keep us closed in)
    – Finally, he is just about himself

    Hillary, never give up and you will win this!!! The true Obama will soon be revealed.

    March 1, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  5. Jackie

    hilary is ready to do anything .ANYTHING-SHAME ON YOU BILLARY
    she keep talking about experience,which one?when she was in the white house as a first lady or bexperience from her age.Experience without a good judgment is nothing.
    A good president should have his/her head on her should not the opposite.you can see that she is desperate.

    March 1, 2008 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  6. Kent

    You can't tell me that there is a difference in taking a stance against something and voting against something. If you follow your values and what's best for the country, it shouldn't matter if you have to vote or not. Whatever you believe should translate into the way you vote. It is a little known fact (by some), but every senator misses out on voting. Rather it be for personal or other reasons, they miss days of work too ya know. At least this is not personal. It is a good CLEAN political move.

    America 08

    March 1, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  7. Rozanne

    I Hope that America is ready for positive CHANGE!!! We've been down Clinton Lane and Bush Cirlce and it has gotten us in a rut.

    Make calls, Donate! Let's win Texas, Ohio, Vermont and Rhode Island on Tuesday, March 4th --

    OBAMA For AMERICA

    March 1, 2008 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  8. MahoganyShotgun

    If campaign strategy is an indicator of the character of the decisions and judgements of what a president should be like, Hillary really misses the mark.

    From Day One:
    __She boasts her role as First Lady as credentials for running this country, but has never disclosed her First Lady documents from the White House so that voters could be informed for themselves.

    __She boasts being so experienced, yet the very execution of her campaign has been below-the-belt, non-disclosurist, and aimless strategy making that arrogantly underestimates her opponents.

    __She claims Obama missing in action, when in fact, ALL of the presidential candidates have been Missing in Action, while globe trotting for votes, including Hillary herself.

    __She claims she is tried and tested, yet the "inexperienced" Obama gets right under her skin like nothing, bubbling up her multiple personalities like nothing.... just by being himself.

    __She complains about adverse media coverage, yet is actually the one who INITIATES negativity: Obama only won SC because he's black, which alienated black voters that were in her corner; plagerism charges that not only turned out to be false, but that she turned right around and actually did herself in her heralded debate closing statement; chides Obama for NAFTA mailers, yet she has sent mailers and TV ads out against him, etc.

    __She claims her GENDER entitles her to the woman's, another arrogant play.

    Obama gets positive coverage, because he's running a positive campaign, while she isn't.

    March 1, 2008 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  9. Raymond Ito

    If in broad day light she couldn't use her judgement right but went ahead and ethusiastically voted for a wrong war, what can one expect from her at 3:00 a.m.? Or she never sleeps? Look, in a broad day light when her brain was alert, and she had enough time to think things over but still went ahead to cast her vote for a wrong war, what would she do at 3:00 a.m. when she'sbeen snoring but had to act in a spur of the moment? Would she not automatically punch the nuclear buttom and destroy many American cities?

    Can somebody who happily voted for a wrong war be trust with a nuclear button?
    The "If I knew then what we know now" excuse is too lame. After so-called 35 years of "experience" one would expect that she's seasoned enough to read between the lines and can never be manipulated by a Texan cowboy. The "If I knew then what we know now" means there are so many things now she doesn't have a clue about now. But street people can easily figure them out. Folks in the streets knew better and protested against the war but 35 years "experience" said yes to war.
    America needs a smart person for president – definitely NOT Hillary Rodham Clinton.

    March 1, 2008 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  10. Ali

    Let's keep in mind that Barack's job as a senator is not to be campaigning for another position. That's like saying my job is to try and get a new job in my company all day long. He's getting paid to be a senator, and is getting a paycheck from taxpayers not to do his job. I want him fired. I'm sorry but being influential in our national security or making pretty speeches.... what helps our country more?

    March 1, 2008 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  11. mary

    Anytime Obama is even mildly criticized his supporters fall into a frenzy. Meanwhile, Hillary is attacked and vilified relentlessly by the press and media. The independents and the Republicans are voting in the primaries for Obama - not out of support for Obama, but because they know HIllary is the more formidable opponent. If they can defeat her now, the White House will go to the Republicans.

    Having lived on the South Side of Chicago for twelve years, I can tell you that Obama is all talk and no action.

    March 1, 2008 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  12. Frustrated voter

    I just wish everyone would get off thier high horse and just let Clinton get into the Presedents seat and Obama to get vice because I would bet my life on that she has more experience due to her husband and like they say behind every good man there is a better women behind him. she probley did all the work behind closed doors.

    March 1, 2008 02:07 am at 2:07 am |
  13. rahayto

    everybody must vote for obama , calling 3: 00 am i know who will answer bill not you

    March 1, 2008 02:08 am at 2:08 am |
  14. Blankman

    LOL, I love how all the Hillary supporters ask for CNN not to delete their posts and it always shows up anyway. Like they have been trying for 10 years and lost all hope. LMAO... it was most likely your first post! And this is from the same people that is many of the same posts that say Obama supporters are crying... lololol. Well, if your HRC can cry for votes whats to say her supporters can not too. :-)

    Here is a news flash, media is a compary and companies are in it to make money... that is kind of the point! Major media companies are just given the people what they want, Obama. He is outselling Hillary by big margins. Just look at the rallies they each gather as proof. Dont get made at me because I most likely wont vote for either one of these two, but I do find this to be pretty funny. Dems do it this to themselves EVERY time.

    Oh, I almost forgot... "CNN please dont moderate this! "

    March 1, 2008 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  15. Anonymous

    Don't get too excited about Hillary Clinton taking the Hispanic Vote. She is not getting one vote from this family. Although I did vote for Bill, her style is not for me or my family. We do have political discussions and the end result is the same. She is too tied into the same old stuff just a different face.
    Obama will lead us to a promising future. If not, we'll look for someone else to support after the first four years.

    March 1, 2008 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  16. V Connors- OH

    FINALLY !!!!! SOMEONE ASKED WHAT I'VE BEEN ASKING ALL ALONG. I HAVE TRIED TO DO RESEARCH, ON ANY BILL, LAW, OR MOTION OBAMA HAS EVER, EITHER PROPOSED OR BEEN A PARTY TO BY WRITING IT UP FOR A VOTE. I COULD NOT FIND ANYTHING. NOW, I KNOW WHY I COULDN'T BECAUSE HE HAS NOT EVER DONE ANYTHING. GOOD POINT ABOUT HIS NON VOTE ON THE IRAQ WAR. IF HE WAS THERE, HE WOULD HAVE VOTED YES TOO. HE HAS VOTED WITH THE MAJORITY ON ANY ISSUES NOW CONCERNING BUDGETING THE WAR. I DID NOT SEE HIM STANDING UP IN THE SENATE AND SAYING "NO!!! I REFUSE TO LET YOU HAVE ANY MORE MONEY TO KEEP US IN IRAQ. " MAYBE, SOMEONE CAN CHECK ON THIS. I AM SURE CLINTON SAID NO TO ANY MORE MONEY GOING TO IRAQ.

    OH AND AS FOR A DIRTY OR CLEAN CAMPAIGN. I AM SO GLAD THAT SOMEONE IS FINALLY LETTING THE AMERICAN KNOW WHAT WE NEED TO KNOW. TO MAKE AN "EDUCATED" DECISION AND NOT VOTE FOR SOMEONE, JUST BECAUSE HE LOOKS GOOD IN A SUIT AND TIE, AND CAN DELIVER A GOOD SERMON, LIKE MY PASTOR DOES ON SUNDAY MORNINGS.

    March 1, 2008 02:14 am at 2:14 am |
  17. Dave

    Ok I get it – I'm going to vote for the candidate with the most experience. John McCain – check. I guess that is what HRC supporters want, so thank you.

    Hillary when you answer the phone will you tell everybody that Bush is smarter than you? How dumb do you have to be to let Bush outsmart you? Is this woman even intelligent? Come on George Bush. I get it Bill will speak to other world leaders for her so she's not "tricked" again. I get it now.

    Questions: How many years of experience does Cheney, Rumsfield, Ashcroft, McCain, and all the other Nixon spinoff's have, and where has this experience led us? Experience is nothing to greatness. Look at all the experienced people who ran Enron, the subrpime mortgage lending,..you name any disaster and I can point out a very experience person who ran it.

    I know this won't get posted.

    Did Hillary's experience help her with her campaign? What a joke that has been! What has she even accomplished as a senator? She is against NAFTA but votes for it.

    March 1, 2008 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  18. Wake Up!

    Wake up people! We a are in the midst of a movement! The type of rare movement that energizes the heart and soul of the True American People! Let's face it...either of the Democratic candidates would be an upgrade to the current administration. We have been lied to and watched our fellow countrymen and tax dollars be thrown at an unnecessary war all in the name of big $$$$ for the privileged few.

    We have an opportunity to start moving away form the rich and powerful special interest groups that have dominated political agendas and led us down the wrong path politically, economically, environmentally, etc. Our current mess is transparent to the international community and and hatred for America is at an all time high! We need someone with the vision to get our policies on the right track and the leadership skills to unite and energize people into a movement for change. There's only one candidate that can do that....OBAMA!!!!

    March 1, 2008 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
  19. RAFi68

    cnn i hope you mention this if obama wins , the clinton gave life to the demogratic party after so many loses to the republican . you became a party because of then during those 8 years ,since 1968 and 11 election you got times into the white house ,and 2 where because of the clinton and now they are been betrade by many of there own , i know the dem will pay a price for this and that will be with obama ....

    March 1, 2008 02:39 am at 2:39 am |
  20. Kevin

    Look above COMMENTS. All the Obama supporters are hate Hillary, but all the Hillary supporters are like Hillary more than Obama. If all the Hillary supoters hate Obama, even Obama win the nominee, Can he win the general election without Hillary supporters? Use your brain to think(not just hope, not just deam), use your brain to act(not to hate), vote the best candidate for your party, for your country.

    15 years, Hillary work so hard for the universal health care, when Obama have a health care plan? If Obama like Hillary Universal health care plan(he said on national TV) , why he send dirty mail to votes?

    Question for all the Obama supporters, " Do you believe Obama will do whatever ha said?", I believe Hillary will do whatever she said.

    HILLARY 08

    March 1, 2008 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  21. Jean

    Lizette the only one that is missing any brain power is the fools voting for Obama. GO...HILLARY jean

    March 1, 2008 04:52 am at 4:52 am |
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