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. Zeena

    Bill Clinton said in 2004
    " If one candidate brings hope and the other candidate brings fear- you should follow hope"
    I am following what Clinton said...I am following Obama...

    February 29, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  2. Mary

    Why wouldn't we want a candidate that has experience? Obama likes to act like he is always right, but a look at his record both in Illinois and his experience as a senator who's experience is running for president should let voters know his record is shakey. To shakey for all that is going on in the world today. I have nothing against hope and do hope for the future of our country. I just don't want to see the street of America paved with Fool's Gold.

    February 29, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  3. anna

    It's this kind of tough and true leadership that shows how qualified Hillary is for Presidential office. I like seeing her fairly fight and point out the weaknesses that we all see in an Obama presidency. The media and Obama's own campaign behave as if he is beyond reproach on ANY subject. This is just plain false and all of his actions are fair game for review. Thanks Hillary, our Champion!

    February 29, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  4. sivananthi

    The person who is missing in action cannot be blamed for the results...
    BECAUSE HE IS WITHOUT MISTAKES...

    OBAMA, NICE AND CLEVER STRATEGY.......................

    February 29, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  5. Boye

    What is at question here is not responsibility or experience but judgment. Obama's argument here is that Hillary's first instinct with the Iraq war was support. Therefore, if Hillary was in Bush's shoes, she would have authorized the war also.

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

    Just look at that photo. She is pure evil...hopefully she won't off Obama like all those people on the list of the Clinton body count...how come the press doesn't report on that?

    February 29, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  7. leah

    just wait hillary. all this negativity will backfire as proven in the last 11 contests. go home to chappaqua!

    OBAMA '08

    February 29, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  8. Vince - Phoenix

    never thought i'd see more spin than Hurricane Katrina....

    HURRICANE HILLARY makes Katrina look lika a spring shower....

    February 29, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  9. wasforhillary

    That's right she was in the white house when RWANDA happened. Who answered the phone then?

    February 29, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  10. AJ

    Let's question Hillary's qualifications. All she wants to do is STEAL more from the White House.

    Obama is qualified to make the tough decisions. Those Flag Officers do not know what they are talking about. We 250 plus flag officers overrule them.

    SHE NEEDS TO GO HOME!!

    February 29, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  11. The truth

    I don't know about the bedside theroy. He was inpeached?

    February 29, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  12. UASF Sgt in Colorado

    Hillary Clinton is no more qualified to be Commander-in-Chief than Obama Barack. Voting for a resolution in Congress is trivial and in no way be compared to qualified leadership of the world's most power military.

    February 29, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  13. jessica

    THIS IS THE BEST I HAVE HEARD SO FAR – GET HIM HILL!!!! YOU ARE BY FAR THE BEST CANDIDATE FOR THE JOB – WAKE UP AMERICA

    VOTE FOR HILLARY
    VOTE FOR HILLARY
    VOTE FOR HILLARY

    February 29, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  14. Dan

    Obama borrows paragraphs speeches ideas titles for his book, where is this famous judgement he has, we know about his long relation with syrian born friend Tony Rezko wheres the judgement in having friends like that? Oh unless he coached you on your war position. Listen obama supporters the party is over, sorry but he's not the one.

    February 29, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  15. Jeff from Jersey

    OBAMA '08:
    "Willing to say whatever you want to hear in exchange for free ride in motorcades,whitehouse stationary,lavish parties,sending other people to Walmart to shop for me and salutes from people in uniforms.Promise to leave answering machine on at 3:00 AM!"

    February 29, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  16. Rick Gilson

    All this talk of Hillary having an edge based on "being bedside when the 3:00 crisis call came to the Whitehouse". is ridiculous. Are we to believe that Hillary accompanied Bill to the situation room? Heck she apparently wasn't in the oval office as frequently as she should have been to keep Bill out of trouble, let alone the country.

    This business of Obama not being ready, too young, too inexperienced. Am I mistaken in the history, I thought Kennedy missed being the VP candidate after his first term as senator and was elected president after his second term as senator 3 years more experience than Obama but then Kennedy was not a state senator.

    It would would be a huge mistake to put the Clinton's back in the Whitehouse.

    Cheers,
    Rick

    February 29, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  17. CNN Hater

    I wonder how CNN would feel if Hillary censored everything CNN tries to state when there is a comment anti Hillary. CNN has kept more than 33 of my comments in moderation, or outright rejected them when they were pro Hillary.

    As a test, I used a friends computer, and have written the same exact comments, but inverted the name Hillary with Obama, and guess what.... it was posted!!!! How will CNN explain this one?

    February 29, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  18. Conan

    LETS GET READY TO RUUUUUUUUUUUUUUMMMMMBBBBBBBBBBBLLLLLLLLLEEEEEE!!!

    February 29, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  19. Zach from IL

    Finally, a decent conversation from Clinton. Hope the rest of the primary is about civil, REAL issues like this one.

    February 29, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  20. Thomas

    Something Stinks... It must be BO. I think Obama's head is going to get so big he will not be able to get threw the white house door.

    Anyone BUT Obama 08'

    February 29, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  21. JK

    Looks like the desperation we see at the ends of campaign. I guess this is the kitchen sink moment.

    February 29, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
  22. Belinda

    Did Swillery bring Janet Reno and a box of matches to Waco when she was there?

    February 29, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  23. Micke

    She's been in the White House when the tough decisions were made," Clark said...

    Thats funny, the Clinton administration let close to a million people die in Rwanda. The first World Trade Center bombing killed 6 Americans and they didn't do much. Hundreds of thousands died in Bosnia on their watch. 17 US soldiers died on the USS Cole and they didn't retaliate. The Taliban took over Afghanistan too.

    I can't wait for more of the Clinton "experience" on foreign policies in the white house...

    Thanks CNN

    February 29, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  24. MickyD10

    "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."

    Geeze, what a spin. Since when does being in the bed next to the man taking the call qualify someone for the job. If that were the case my wife would have been designing and running megamillion dollar construction projects years ago.

    Wait, maybe in Hillary's world she could.........

    February 29, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  25. Leeza

    "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."

    What the hell does that even mean? That is a weak defense on her part to shoot around the issue. Playing to the fact that Texas like to think they are tough. Gosh she ignores the point completely! I don't understand why people can't get this through their thick skulls. People who are still for her a blindly misguided.
    No seriously! The fact that she is the only one who hasn't released her tax form isn't suspicious to anyone??
    SHE IS HIDING SOMETHING! DUH! And a person with so many people are around, and so much support, doesn't have enough to time to get these out before Tuesday. Doesn't she have an accountant? Everyone else had time to get it out. Why is this acceptable behavior?
    " Oh, I don't have time." You sound like my dead-beat father! If you make it priority it will get done.
    I'd hate for her to actually get in office, people find out she was involved in criminal activity and then she becomes impeached...
    OBAMA 08!

    February 29, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22