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. rj

    Wow, CNN is so biased against Billary...boo hoo. why is it though that the comments section of an article that may lean toward Obama is closed often with less than 200 comments and pro Billary ones stay open longer. I just read Wolf's attack on Obama and was going to comment only to find the comments closed after 154 comments. I thought CNN is supposed to be against Clinton. Didn't Wolf get that memo???

    February 29, 2008 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  2. Phil

    Mercifully. Its about time Barack Obama is scrutinized.
    The truth is that if he gets nominated, we will get President McCain. I do not care what is the case.
    History is on our side. Look at Gene McCarthy's campaign back in 1968, which reminds me alot of this campaign. It drew alot of young voters as did the campaign of RFK. Yet at the end, we ended with a Republican President who was reelected: President Nixon.
    Point being is that if Barack Obama's claim to fame is that he made a speech denouncing the war, then we will end up with a President McCain, The silent majority of Americans do not go to his rallies nor do they believe in his positions.
    p.s. I hope I did not say anything politically incorrect.

    February 29, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  3. K Fergus

    Don't forget – a primary vote for Barack Obama is a presidential vote for John McCain!! I'd hate for the Democrats snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They seem to be really good at that.

    Democrats beware of what you do. Never have I seen a party so divided. Given the many nasty comments from Obama supporters, I would say he can take credit for much of the divisiveness. Way to go Barack!!

    February 29, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  4. Sabrina, Las Vegas, NV

    Sen. Clinton has a lot of nerve. How many votes of committee meeting has she missed?

    Better yet, please Sen. Clinton, don't vote, we know you poor voting record.

    February 29, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  5. K Fergus

    Don't forget – a primary vote for Barack Obama is a presidential vote for John McCain!! I'd hate for the Democrats to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. They seem to be really good at that.

    Democrats beware of what you do. Never have I seen a party so divided. Given the many nasty comments from Obama supporters, I would say he can take credit for much of the divisiveness. Way to go Barack!!

    February 29, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  6. MARYANN Oswego IL

    Once again Barack Obama has to copy Hillary Clinton...she comes out with a really great ad and Barack Obama after slamming the ad ...COPIES Hillary Clinton's ad and than makes it his. In the debates he answered after Sen.Clinton did and was "ME TOO" or "I AGREE WITH HILLARY" What makes him think every phone call is going to be about starting a WAR.(This is the only thing he can say I never voted for the war etc etc.. he was not even in the senate when the vote came up..)maybe the phone call was about BIRD FLU or a horrible college campus shooting or a death at the Whitehouse. Everything is not about whether you voted for the war or not. Hillary has said if she could take her vote back she would. Remember Hillary was in NYC when 911 happened, she saw alot of her people die for no reason. We love you Hillary and hope you sweep all of states on Tues. Hillary 08

    February 29, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  7. Kurt

    I call BS on Bill and Hillary actually sharing a bed.

    February 29, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  8. Deb IL

    For those who can't understand why Clinton supporters will vote McCain instead of Obama, it isn't vengeance. We support her because she brings valuable and needed experience of world and domestic affairs, and at least McCain does that more than Obama. We will not vote for Sen. Obama because he has no record and no experience, just like George W. I'm sure he is a nice guy, but that doesn't necessarily make him a good President. But the fact Sen. Obama publicly, and arrogantly, expressed that Hillary's supporters would vote for him, but not the other way around, doesn't help either!

    February 29, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  9. Jason

    The sad and evident truth is this. We have all been subjected to statements that play on our racism,sexism, agism, and fear of foreigen names. We are divided and Reps are now voting for HC. She is the injured prey and lacks the tact to even fight a mild mannered "liberal" oops conservative like McCain. They would love her as an opponent. She is a polarizing person and chameleon at best. Most of us are too young to have been moved by JFK, MLK , peace rallies, Ali not fighting the war or any other socially relevant stance. We have not seen a country mobalized outside of war, nor had person inspire us to ask questions or hold the powers that be accountable. Change for change sake is useless, but to see change for hope, change for empowerment, or change for justice us what we should stand for. Just as Tim Russerts attempt to stir up black Muslim fear, she is stirring up contempt. Why acknowledge the attempts or go to that level? Vote for a fresh change, not a 3am call to the br, which for all we know was for another reason.Vote for energy not for business as usual. B in 08.

    February 29, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  10. D.

    Hillary '08!

    February 29, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  11. Obama 08

    David in Dallas, I'm guessing you don't even know Hillary Rodham Clinton's middle name. Guess what, genius? It isn't Rodham. Thats her maiden name. People never use middle names except when being introduced or mentioned in extremely formal settings, so don't pretend that its a big deal that Barack Obama's middle name is Hussein. How often do you refer to Bill as William Jefferson Clinton? Probably never. Using a woman's maiden name with her married name is very common, on the other hand. In fact, it has become more common for a newlywed woman to retain her maiden name and not even take her husband's name at all.

    Oh, and can we PLEASE stop complaining that CNN "deletes anti-Obama/pro-Hillary comments." What a joke. Without counting and just giving a rough estimate, I would say that more than half of these comments are from Hillary supporters. You sound like children when you say that CNN blocks your comments because they support one candidate over the other. Maybe you should get off your computer instead of writing 33 comments on this board that don't even get posted and then getting on your friend's computer and rewriting them with Obama's name instead of hillary's. Get a life!

    February 29, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  12. davel

    Mrs. Clinton,

    Its 3 AM do you know where your family is?

    February 29, 2008 09:37 pm at 9:37 pm |
  13. Carrie

    In 1993, President Bush was saying the same thing about Bill Clinton's inexperience to become president. Hillary is running a Bush- like campaign. She is hurting the party.

    February 29, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  14. patrick

    Lets try something new in this country and not elect another career politician, and instead bring in someone who can bring people together in a positive way and motivate to bring lasting change. Not Billary '08.

    February 29, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  15. Canadian

    Shameful....Hillary....ur too caught up in the Obama campaign...stop pointing fingers and whining!...

    Try doing something with ur own campaign...

    OBAMA for president!!!!

    February 29, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  16. DV

    I would consider not reviewing evidence and thoroughly reading reports which concerned the strategic threat to be much more compelling reason not to have Hillary as President. Through out history good Presidents have been able to take prudent paths against wars. Kennedy could have listened to his generals as Hillary and Bush did when they insisted on dropping bombs on Cuba because they thought that Cuba didn't have nuclear missles in the Cuban Missle Crises. But Kennedy choose a more prudent and cautious approach. And Hillary and Bush did not. What was only learned 30 years later after the Cuban Missile Crises was that Cuba did have nuclear weapons and Castro stated that he "would fire everything he had" if we had bombed. Had Kennedy acted like Hillary and wanted to appear tough on terrorisms by resorting to bombing raids we would have lost millions of lives. Those are the decisions that make a good senator and president. Too bad Hillary hasn't made those decisions at the time it was desperately needed.

    February 29, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  17. Percy F. Lage, Oklahoma

    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."====='

    We KNOW he was a state senator and we KNOW he gave an anti-war speech; so all we need to KNOW now is when was Hillary president? Maybe while Bill was "miss-ing in action" someplace on the White House grounds?

    February 29, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  18. Tom

    Wait now...........Hillary would' nt answer the phone because she'd be busy complaining"why do they always call me first"...I really don't mind but it seems funny thay I'm always first".....

    February 29, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  19. davel

    Hillary has shown through mismanagement and poor judgement
    in her campaign that merely believing you are entitled to be President ,does not mean you are qualified.

    She is the problem that we want to be rid of
    Vote for the future. Not her tired reformulating manipulating excuses.

    Vote Obama

    February 29, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  20. dptkp4711

    I loved the 'whatever' comment-I think that epitomizes the 'energy surge' of Obama. That is certainly what is needed in November when Obama has moved to the center to get elected–disappointing all of these sincere antiwar comments. What will you do when he follows his voting history and goes farther to the middle than Hillary Clinton ever has?

    If one wins on a platform of purity-one must remain pure. Can Obama remain pure and win in November? If he drifts to the center, closer to Hillary, will his enthusiastic new supporters show up? i hope...

    February 29, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  21. It Could Happen ...

    Honestly, do we really want the Clintons on the RED phone again?

    Commercial: It's 3am and the major news outlets are headlining a story about a stained blue dress and some fat intern. You need a BIG story to steal the headlines away from your philandering husband.

    (Camera following a woman, running through the halls. She reaches a RED phone and puts it to her head.)

    "I don't care!" she says, "Bomb someone!"

    "No, not Darfur, remember what happened in Somolia."

    "No, not Iraq, just want something that will last a couple of weeks."

    "Isn't there some White, Christian Country in the World that we can Bomb?

    I also don't want to upset any minorities and liberals would love it if we bombed some Christians."

    "Yes, that's it! Perfect!

    "We'll get Loyal Half-Bright out there Tomorrow, Threatening to Bomb Them into the Stone Age!"

    February 29, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  22. Charlotte

    Just in case you haven't heard Obama did not vote for the war, or much else.

    February 29, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  23. JoeCA

    Yes Hillary, campaiging for the most important job in America is "missing in action." Luckily for you, you could have run your campaign from the comfort of your home thanks to the name recognition you got from your husband. Well, everyone is not so lucky.

    February 29, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  24. Concerned American

    IN 2000, MY FRIENDS AND FAMILY WERE AGAINST BUSH AND WE ALL SAID THAT WITH BUSH IN OFFICE SOMETHING HORRIBLE WAS GOING TO HAPPEN SOON, WE FELT IT IN OUR BONES. 9/11 HAPPENED AND MY BROTHER AND 9 CLOSE FRIENDS DIED. THEN WE WENT INTO IRAQ AND I LOST 6 MORE CLOSE FRIENDS.

    MY HUSBAND AND I ARE SCARED OF OBAMA. WE DO NOT TRUST HIM AT ALL. I HAVE MANY BLACK FRIENDS THAT DO NOT TRUST HIM AND GET REALLY BAD VIBES FROM HIS DEBATES AND WHEN HE SPEAKS AT OTHER PUBLIC EVENTS. I THINK HE WILL DO WORSE THINGS TO OUR COUNTRY.

    A FRIEND OF MINE CALLED ME TODAY AND SAID SHE SAW OBAMA IN OHIO TODAY AND GOT CLOSE TO HIM, BUT BACKED AWAY FROM SAYING ANYTHING, SHE STARTED SHAKING AND GOT A BAD VIBE OFF HIM.

    WE ARE AMERICANS AND NEED TO SAY NO WAY TO OBAMA. MY GUT SAYS DO NOT VOTE FOR OBAMA OR McCAIN. MY HUSBAND AND I HAVE DECIDED IF OBAMA OR McCAIN ARE ELECTED, WE ARE LEAVING THE USA.

    WE HAVE MANY FAMILY AND FRIENDS IN HOLLAND AND IN BRITAIN. I LOVE MY COUNTRY SO MUCH, I COULD NOT STAY AND WATCH IT GO DOWN HILL ANYMORE IF OBAMA OR McCAIN ARE ELECTED, I WILL DIE OF A BROKEN HEART. I RATHER BE IN A COUNTRY WHERE MY 3 GIRLS ARE SAFE AND HAPPY.

    February 29, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  25. Brent - Ohio

    Will America wake up and realize that Clinton is a fraud! She represents fortune 500 companies...not your average American. She is a life partner with special interest!!! If you have to borrow $ from your own pocket to support your campaign...isn't it obvious that the American public does NOT support you! Yes, that is why Obama hasn't borrowed his own money...he doesn't have to...the American people SUPPORT him. Just give up Clinton!!!!!!!!!! You are a joke!

    February 29, 2008 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
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