February 29th, 2008
09:05 PM ET
6 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. Anne, Los Angeles

    You go Hillary!!! Let's see how Senator Obama will play 'follow the leader'.............

    February 29, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  2. Steve

    Hey Hillary? Where were you on the FISA vote?

    February 29, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  3. LeftyLadig

    Get a grip Hillary.....you are going, going goooone.

    February 29, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  4. Ovitshio Branco

    : You know what would be a good idea – producing a program once a month entitled – “American History Night”. Keith Olbermann would be ideal as host.

    People in this country haven’t a clue. Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill Cunningham, Ann Coulter and their ilk. What’s dangerous is the following they have. From what I read on these threads, I can’t believe how ignorant people are in this country. What happened?

    Last night, Sean Hannity reminded me of the Judge in Berlin in 1944 when he tore into defendants who were accused of trying to kill Hitler. They never had a chance to answer the accusations.

    Sean Hannity, just what is your problem? Barack Obama has distanced himself from Louis Farrakhan. Your guest told you that 15 times last night. Weren’t you listening? No, of course not.

    Let’s be clear here – Louis Farrakhan is not running for president. Barack Obama’s church leader is not running for president.

    Your bigotry and hatred is showing Sean. It was on full display last night. Congratulations.

    Shame on you CNN.Shame on you Billary, i never ever had sexual relation with that Woman

    February 29, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  5. Ovitshio Branco

    : You know what would be a good idea – producing a program once a month entitled – “American History Night”. Keith Olbermann would be ideal as host.

    People in this country haven’t a clue. Sean Hannity, Bill O’Reilly, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Bill Cunningham, Ann Coulter and their ilk. What’s dangerous is the following they have. From what I read on these threads, I can’t believe how ignorant people are in this country. What happened?

    Last night, Sean Hannity reminded me of the Judge in Berlin in 1944 when he tore into defendants who were accused of trying to kill Hitler. They never had a chance to answer the accusations.

    Sean Hannity, just what is your problem? Barack Obama has distanced himself from Louis Farrakhan. Your guest told you that 15 times last night. Weren’t you listening? No, of course not.

    Let’s be clear here – Louis Farrakhan is not running for president. Barack Obama’s church leader is not running for president.

    Your bigotry and hatred is showing Sean. It was on full display last night. Congratulations.

    February 29, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  6. Allison Marie

    You go Hillary, we're for you! I'm voting for you!

    February 29, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  7. rob

    Hillary has been missing in action since asked to produce her tax returns...

    February 29, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  8. LadyLeo

    Well Hillary if you had answered the phone the last time it rang concerning the war the war would still exsit, If Obama had answered the phone there would be no war. You keep making the right decision after the fact.

    February 29, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. Fuzzi

    HILLARY IS A HORRIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 29, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  10. Byron in CA

    GO HILLARY 2008 & 2012 it's easy to make speeches obama but when push came to shove, you decided not to show up. So I guess we can expect when the phone rigns at 3am we get an answering machine.

    February 29, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  11. Rodney

    Billary is at it again. They are so desperate to cling to power they will stop at nothing to achieve their sleazy aims. Enough of the Clintons. March 4th will be their swan song.

    February 29, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  12. C from CT

    GO HILLARY – HANG IN THERE GO HILLARY

    February 29, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  13. mother too

    smart lady. Intelligent lady. Lady for us.
    Hillary 08!

    February 29, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  14. robyn

    I'm thrilled to see General Clark entering the political fray–I wanted to vote for him four years ago, and would love to see him as a vice president. Why? Because he gets the true nature of terrorism, and that the best way to fight terrorism is to fight poverty abroad (and not through armed combat).

    February 29, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  15. Darth HUSSEIN Vadik, CA

    OK Hillary, this will work, God knows everything else you have done has worked,

    whatever

    February 29, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  16. sarah

    Hillary was right on the mark, when it came to judgement and following through, where was obama? He was voting for something he said he was against. obama is weak and again came out with an ad claiming his credentials are that he was against the war. But when it came to putting up, he shut up, this argument is old and boring and has no relevance. When has obama negotiated and was instrumental in resoluting peace, when has obama ever stood up for human rights in other countries, when has he held a sub-committee hearing that oversees Europe and Nato actions in Afghanistan? NEVER!

    February 29, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  17. Jenny, Rio Vista, CA

    Shame on you, Hilary Clinton.

    February 29, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  18. hillarywins

    Obama says he was against the Iraq war but he was not in the US Senate and had no vote. He was not privy to the persuasive, dishonest intelligence that was presented to the Senators.

    He's trying to use his opposition to the war as his credentials for being a good commander in chief. Sorry, but that won't fly. It's totally out of context. How would he have voted if he was in the Senate? We'll never know. Since being in the Senate he has voted with the majority of Democrats on Iraq.

    He's too busy running for President now, in his 3rd year in national politics, to hold any hearings of his committee that impacts US foreign policy in Afghanistan- where he thinks we should have gone instead of Iraq! Well , that's just going to have to wait, he's busy with his own career.

    Slow down, Obama. What's your hurry? You need more life experience and the American people need to kinow who and what you are before you make a very big mess of this country.

    Obama's ego, rhetoric and ambition are no substitution for the real world experience and intelligence that Hillary Clinton will use to get this great country back on it's feet

    February 29, 2008 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  19. J Davis

    Bravo! Keep it up! Clinton should have been pointing out significant qualifications like these all along rather than pointing out what she and Obama have in common. On the important issues, she can do the job!

    February 29, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  20. Cindy

    omg... being at the bedside of the president does not give you experience. Just because we share the same bed, doesn't mean I'm now experienced to do my spouses job, and vice versa.

    The things people say... this is just nutz!!

    February 29, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  21. MN Woman

    It never ceases to amaze me that so many Obama fans think he "voted" no on the war, when he wasn't even there. Maybe that's a fact he'd like to give to his supporters.

    Any of you that think Obama detractors will vote for him to unify the party, should he get the nomination, are blowing smoke.

    If it can't be Hillary, then it will be McCain for me. I trust him much more than I do baby boy.

    February 29, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  22. CARMEN

    I'm really sorry to see Hillary being tore up with far left radecals (loosers). Just because she is a female with a lot of experience. Obama with no experience, running the world is going to be a nightmare. with the media pushing for Obama to win, and making Hillary look bad, and not covering enough about Obama I can see the world go to hell, I would like to see the media tell the truth about Obama and all great experience, etc.. People are just not getting the truth in the media, people just don't know who this man really is, other then what they the media wants you to know. If you are smart, you would be voting for Hillary with some experience that could really make a change, and give american people real hope, and a really a vision. If not Hillary , then my vote will go for Mc Cain in the next election.

    February 29, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  23. CarrieW

    So much has been said about the value of experience versus that of judgment and depending on whose side you are one, one is better than the other. Though I do think that good judgment is vital for whoever becomes president, the element of experience can not and should not be ignored.

    For me, judgment isn’t measured by how someone reacts in a single instance but how they tend to react in similar instances. If I see radical changes in reactions, I perceive that person to have poor judgment. What causes that poor judgment though? Many things feed into judgment and I believe a very important input to judgment is experience.

    Take my nephew for example; he once told me that that he thought chocolate cake and ice cream was a great idea for dinner. His judgment, though sound to him, was lacking because he didn’t have the knowledge or experience to realize that chocolate cake and ice cream was completely inappropriate for dinner. He was 4 years at the time and now at 12 laughs at his judgment back then.

    Having experience is certainly not a guarantee you won’t make mistakes but how strong can your judgment be without the experience to back it up? How confident can you be that you won’t regret your actions years down the road if you are unaware of the common traps and pitfalls awaiting you on whatever path you take. Experience gives a person that confidence and ability to see what others can’t.

    I see both of our candidates as strong politicians and people who care a great deal for this country. I think both would be excellent presidents but right now we need someone that can pull us out of what 8 years of Bush has pushed us into. We need someone that can fight for us and will utilize every ounce of strength and energy to make things right. We also need someone that can be counted on to make the tough decisions and know that it’s the right thing to do, not just the popular thing.

    Hillary Clinton has proven over and over again that she fits this need. She’s taken her lumps and come back stronger and smarter for it. I expect nothing less from our next president.

    GO HILLARY!

    February 29, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  24. Carl III

    So basiclaly Hillary is going to run the Republican campaign for them? Thats sad.

    I guess for her Hillary's agenda > Democratic agenda

    February 29, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  25. OurTimeIsNow!

    Okay,

    I'm not against Hillary. However, I am sick of this BS. Why won't she run a fair campaign? The only reason she is bringing up irrelevant matters is because she knows that it's now or never. And simply because this is the last attempt by your failing campaign to beat Senator Obama....the result is never.

    Have you ever heard the saying that God don't like ugly. Well, right now the ugly is Hillary. It's written all over her face...just like the day she shouted "Shame on you Barack Obama."

    Yeah, Shame on you for uniting the country and proving what you can do before you've become president. Shame on you!

    Obama 08'

    February 29, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
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