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. Geeorgino, Miami, Florida

    OBAMA walks up to the mic…and says,

    "If one candidate’s trying to scare you and the other one’s trying to get you to think, if one candidate’s appealing to your fears and the other one’s appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope."

    Then says,

    "Just so I don't get called a plagiarist, I want you to know those words aren't mine. They are the words of Bill Clinton.”

    Yes…Bill Clinton’s words, said to a crowd in Philadelphia on October 25, 2004.

    This is not my post but Tim's posting ! Really outstanding!!! Beating Hillary on his own playground!!! How neat!

    March 1, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  2. Amanda

    Why oh why is Hill so worried about everyone else? If she's got such talent, such experience, why doesn't she just put all of her positives out there? She might actually sway some people that way. All this negativity makes me like her less and less.
    People want things to improve, they want to be hopeful, they want someone fresh and new.
    I choose OBAMA

    March 1, 2008 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  3. Nikki

    WHO is up at 3:00AM? Perhaps Hillary wondering if Bill is coming home............

    March 1, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  4. dave

    give it a rest CLAN CLINTON, it sounds more and more like a desperate power grab. i'm sure the female intern's are feeling safe !

    March 1, 2008 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  5. Rick

    Hillary, the thing that is missing in action is that supposable health care plan that you were working on when your hubby was in office and honesty.

    March 1, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  6. E. C., Houston, Texas

    Let's hear more about Obama's 'failing in his chairmanship and not holding a meeting on Nato In Afghanistan'.........What else hasn't he done? Sounds to me as if he 'weasels out of the important decisions' and 'shirks the responsibility of decisions and votes" he should be making for the United States as a Senator. Senator Clinton is exactly correct in her criticisms. The hot air in BHO's empty shirt is beginning to escape....Obama is really not capable of what he's trying to achieve and totally unqualified for the office of President.

    March 1, 2008 12:12 am at 12:12 am |
  7. Goodheart

    Give me a break.... Obama is a three year Senator who is all talk and no action. That is the point. Oprah annoints him and he's qualified to be the leader of the free world. I don't think so... if Hillary doesn't beat him, McCain ( a true war hero with domestic and foreign policy experience) definetly will.

    March 1, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  8. Fernando

    I really don't care what Hillary have to say anymore. I mean really, what can you believe coming out of her the master of spin and lies. Obama 08! YES WE WILL!

    March 1, 2008 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  9. Anonymous

    Obama's time is coming to an end. People are getting tired of hearing your change speech over and over again. All they hear is Iraq Vote, Hope, and Change all over again. Obama has one general at his side while Clinton has lots of Generals, Veterans of Iraq War, and current soldiers who held command positions while in Iraq. Hillary is the only candidate who can make sure that America is safe through her years as a senator and her years while in the white house. Obama does not have what it takes to be the next president. If Obama wants to make change, he needs to start with changing things in the Senate which he cant even do, because he is too busy trying to be the next president. Obama is not ready to be Commander in Chief over me and my troops. He is a motivational speaker and thats it.

    March 1, 2008 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  10. Amelia

    Obama 2008, we need honesty to enter the white house, which would be greatly refreshing, given the last eight years, Obama is the most honest and qualified president. Hillary does not have what it takes that is why she is running what is essentially a smear campaign. Where is her ideas for america? Obama actually is intellectual and qualified and has ideas, Hillary wants the power and the office, Obama wants to make a difference...

    March 1, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  11. Malcolm

    Maybe I'm missing something here but what exactly does a chairmanship on a subcommittee accomplish by holding a hearing on NATO's presence in Afghanistan? I mean, I like the idea, but what is the end result? "The Europeans aren't putting enough troops into Afghanistan. Maybe we need to complain to the Europeans to offer more troops." Heck, the British even sent Prince Harry over there to do some time – can't say the Bush twins have done their part. Is Clinton suggesting we engage in a bureaucracy that doesn't actually produce anything? Oh wait, that's the problem we have with Congress & the White House today isn't it?

    Me thinks this is grasping at straws.

    Obama '08

    March 1, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  12. Ron Kennedy

    I respect a majority of the view before me here but after today's speech I am now swaying back to Hilary's camp and she will get my vote. Experience matters and it;s McCain's only mantra in the run up to election night. Here's my take on the outcome. If Barak wins the nod then the Clinton's go home crying and a fractured party we have – if Clinton wins then Barak 's a better loser and will accept the VP. Look folks! We 'don't want another Kerry scenario and Nader ruin the party again!

    March 1, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  13. Kevin

    She skipped her job in the senate right after her recent losses so she could get on an airplane to Texas before McCain and Obama. Her newest ad here in Texas makes me think Obama all the way.

    March 1, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  14. Mike

    Lizette, the bottom line point is if Obama want to go for campaign, he shouldn't take a chairmanship job !!! let others to be a leader because it is very important issue for the country. Thats show how irresponsible Obama serve his country.
    By the way, I never see Obama go travel to afghanistan too see our troops, I know Hillary did. Mr. O bama ony go to Kenya to visit his relative...such a looser senator

    March 1, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  15. Gaby

    GO OBAMA 08

    March 1, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  16. Gaby

    Bill Richardson and John Edwards need to come forward and support one candidate or the other.

    March 1, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  17. Peggy in PA

    When Obama says he has good judgment instead of experience, it's as if he's saying you don't need both.

    Obama continues to attack Hillary's experience with his claim of having good judgment. I'd like to suggest the following ad:

    (Voiceover)
    "A Georgian revival mansion? $1.65 Million
    A slice of prime land next to your home? $104,500
    Buying it at $300,000 below market value from your indicted pal Tony Rezko? Clueless

    Not such good judgment after all?

    Vote instead for Hillary Clinton"

    March 1, 2008 12:19 am at 12:19 am |
  18. Geeorgino, Miami, Florida

    C'mmon Folks!
    The only thing that could keep Hillary awake at 3 am is to keep an eye on Bill. Just to make sure that he is not having another extra-marital affair. Do you really think she cares about anything else??? Oh, Please!

    March 1, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  19. Patricia

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

    But then its ok for them to do it and CNN puts it all over their news

    Why can you not comment on ?

    Michelle Obama says critics appealing to fear

    Its ok for them talk about this but not the American people.

    Ok CNN waiting to see what your putting on next for Obama. He must have paid you guys ALOT OF MONEY.

    March 1, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  20. This is the " and " from above comment like OS(B)ama!

    I'm so sick and tired of people not grasping the point that Obama is just not ready to run the country. We have no idea where he stands because he only votes "present" instead of voting for what he really feels. The problem is, he would vote for whoever he is talking to at the time. Don't people see that he is entirely too inexperienced for the job. Check out his resume people! Oh, yes, he certainly has a good speech, but it's easy to have a good speech when you have no responsibility. He has no glue what to do and what first step to take in a crisis. And his wife, I think she would make the most horrible, errogant, self-centered first lady than we would ever see. She doesn't have a humble bone in her body. Please, please see people that he is all talk and no walk!!!!!

    March 1, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  21. gregg45

    im gonna stay up and just see if these get posted ,,, what an american tradition ,,,,,,,,,to see if your voice is heard,,,, mine will not ,,, nor florida ,nor michigan,,,, a shame.. is it not?????????

    March 1, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  22. This is the " and " from above comment like OS(B)ama!

    February 29th, 2008 9:12 pm ET

    I'm so sick and tired of people not grasping the point that Obama is just not ready to run the country. We have no idea where he stands because he only votes "present" instead of voting for what he really feels. The problem is, he would vote for whoever he is talking to at the time. Don't people see that he is entirely too inexperienced for the job. Check out his resume people! Oh, yes, he certainly has a good speech, but it's easy to have a good speech when you have no responsibility. He has no glue what to do and what first step to take in a crisis. And his wife, I think she would make the most horrible, errogant, self-centered first lady than we would ever see. She doesn't have a humble bone in her body. Please, please see people that he is all talk and no walk!!!!!

    March 1, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  23. Chuck

    It would be a big joke if Obama wins the election. I don't know what are going on with those people like John Kerry, Ted Kennedy, that Dodd guy, and what they are thinking. Maybe these people want Obama be their puppet so they can apply influences. What Obama knows and what he has done? It seems Obama likes to pose gesture like presidential while not really presidential. When Obama pose that gesture, it is like he is just performing or pretending to be presidential. Hey, Obama. Look at you. Look at the way you talk. You are no John Kennedy! You are no Reagan, and You are no Bill Clinton. And you are not presidential at all. So don't pretend. Be yourself, the real Obama.

    March 1, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  24. Tricia

    People need to realize that . Hillary has a habit of twisting the truth, telling half truths or quoting out of context. I suggest the people who swallow everything she states use some of their time and the internet to check the facts more carefully before posting their comments. Carl Rove politics, will some of you never learn?

    March 1, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  25. Dancindukes

    Missing in action? Hello? What is missing are HRC's papers – from the White House and tax returns. Come clean Clinton Campaign and then you can start pointing fingers.

    You started your campaign January 06 and you still have not released all the paperwork. Don't blame the current White House or anyone else. You had AMPLE time to release these documents.

    Where are they?????

    March 1, 2008 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
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