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. paul, nyc ny

    if ... and this is a big IF because Hillary could surprise all of us and the pundits ... Obama wins the nomination I believe I will vote "PRESENT" instead of casting a vote for a man who will learn on the job (Obama) and a man who will give us fur more years of the same (McCain).

    HILLARY in 2008!!! She's tough because you have to be in today's world! She won't take crap from anyone! And she will stand her ground.

    She is presidential!!!

    February 29, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  2. Ed

    The presidential stature expressed in Hillary Clinton only points to the fact that her qualifications are far more extensive than Obama. Texas voters understand the nuances of this every time she has been asked the hard questions on foreign policy.

    It is very scary to think that Obama could be that close to making military and international policy decisions.

    I do not blame Hillary Clinton's vote to go to war with Iraq. The City of New York was after all attacked by terrorists on September 11 2001. It is not only her responsibility, it is also a moral obligation to this nation to respond with force against those elements who attacked the United States.

    February 29, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  3. Charles

    And she has been president, when? She will say anything at this point and now she wants to sue the Texas Democratic party? The mask is off.

    February 29, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  4. Vivian

    Hillary's scare tactics with the 3:00 a.m ad is a nasty, dirty , desparate ad. Where was Bill Clinton when Bin Laden bombed the world trade center in 1993. I guess he didn't have the xperience, nor the judgement to take care of the problem when he got tht 3:00 A.M call. He neglected the problem then and that is why we had to lose more than 3,000 people on 9/11 when al -quaida came back into the picture. He should have had better judgement back then and I am sure Hillary didn't have good judgement when she joined hands with Bush when they neglected Bin Laden, again, and went to Iraq instead of Afghanastan. Judgement is so much more important than experience in times like these. Besides, Bill made a comment today in his speech in regards to his heart surgeon having had the experience, well Bill, I have news for you and Hillary. I would definitely, without a doubt, go to a new surgeon who had never operated on someone, before I go to one who had been wrongfully operating and has malpractice lawsuits on his/her hands. It's not the experience as much as it is to make the right choice. Hillary is a politician for her own potical agenda. She is intent on being the first woman leader of the free world. Besides, Hillary couldn't even run a good campaign, constantly struggling trying to catch up, breaking into rage, accusatory behavior, blaming everyone from the press to machines, to campaign managers and mocking her opponent like a 6th grader. Never realizing that her lies come through to people , her fake smiles, tears, pauses, staged and calculated motions and speeches. Oh my God! Hillary's a joke not a world leader .
    Obama 08&12

    February 29, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  5. Roderick Bourgeois

    For the first time in my life i have been paying very close attention to these upcoming elections and also following the debates. I'am not going to say that i'am voting for Barack simply because he's Black, but i will say that it doesn't hurt at all that he is. Until now, all we've ever had as African Americans was to pick the canidate that we thought would do the best job as commander and chief and simply live with that. Now, there's one other thing that i would love to comment on, and that is his name and what it means to me. Here in America most if not all African Americans are decendants of slaves, we are the only race that i know of that actually doesn't have an identity. Barack Obama's father was Kenyan which probably means that his ancestor's were born free, so to you Barack Obama i'm very proud, and wish you nothing but the best in these upcoming elections.

    February 29, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  6. heliosmou

    It may be too late for Clinton to start attacking Obama. She should have differentiated between simply opposing the war, with no strings attached, versus having to take a position and vote either for or against the war. There are probably people who believe Obama actually voted, which he did not. But Obama needn't worry. The Republicans will take care of him. Also let's add that there are racial overtones to this race, with Obama sweeping the Black vote, but apparently this is too sensitive to discuss. But it should be discussed.

    February 29, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  7. Mary Millner

    Ask Hellary Clinton does she plan to put every body under one
    health plan under the goverment like London England has their
    people? If she does don't that mean that you will belong to
    the goverment, rather than being free American.

    February 29, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  8. Sly

    Very true Hillary, there is a difference between giving a speech at an anti-war rally and between making the decision as president... what's funny is that you have never done either one.

    Think you found a hot topic with this talk about Obama not chairing a subcommittee meeting? Considering he became the chair of that subcommittee when he started his campaign, I would rather him be President of the United States of America rather than a subcommittee chair.

    Come on Hillary... stop fishing and just give up.. PLEASE! you are starting to look very bad and people are losing respect for you. You are trying to throw dirt on someone who is pretty clean for the most part. Frankly, your vote for the war in Iraq is a MUCH bigger concern than Obama not charing a subcommittee meeting.

    GO HOME HILLARY!!
    OBAMA 08!

    February 29, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  9. mike

    Hillary never had a security clearance therefore could never had full knowledge of sensitive issues that were the basis for decisions of national security during the Clinton administration. Same goes for all those 80 countries she claims to have visited. A spaek\ch in China on human rights is hardly a military security issue.

    February 29, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  10. Don M

    Hillary was missing in action back in 2002-2003 when she gave Bush the authorization to go to war in Iraq. She says she'll be ready to be President "on day one", but she wasn't ready on DAY 800 of her senate career!

    February 29, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  11. vic nashville,Tn

    Obama never in action ,CNN,MSNBC,CBS –Etc are in action on behalf of Obama
    Example :- Obama didn’t say how much he raised in February ( in NUMBERS) but the media saying he raised more than 50 Million. What hurts me is these media think
    viewers are stupid

    February 29, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  12. king from toronto

    come on hillary give it a rest! go home and be with your family.

    February 29, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  13. meg

    haha, so this is what throwing the kitchen sink at obama looks like huh? it seems to me that hillary believes the presidency is owed to her even with the experience she claims to have that she doesnt have. and obama seems to be doing it because he believes washiington is broken as do millions of americans, john mccain and hillary are poster children for that broken washington and obama is trying to fix it!!

    February 29, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  14. GaryH

    More and more she reminds me of George Bush. She will not admit that she made a mistake; she will not change and adjust when the results do not meet expectations; she is so arrogant that she will proceed on a great mission without a plan B; and believes the ends justifies the means, at least in politics.

    February 29, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  15. Anonymous

    Hillary should drop out of the race while she still has a bit of dignity. She can never bet McCain. Many republicans are voting for her in the primary just so they can vote for McCain in the election. Her years of experience were spent most times being beside her husband as spouse and first lady. This does not give here the creditials to run the county. We've already had 8 years of Clinton's rule and now it is time for Obama. He is the only one that can unite this country and bring respect back to it. One day it might feel good again to say we are Americans.

    February 29, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  16. Ehsan

    We are simply tired of this negative campagne. This campagne is more like a personal war, it is more like a family feud. I can't wait to see an end to this. I think it is time for Democratic Party leaders to interfere and influence this competition towards a better direction. It is simply boring and demaging to the whole democratic party.

    February 29, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  17. Monk Babu

    OBAMA = Our Bogus Agent Missing in Action

    February 29, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  18. Matilde Schade

    Yes, Hillary Clinton. your add is scary and you don't have any right to do this. Shame on you for using children and, yes, the people in Texas get scare. Remember the little girl and the atomic bomb? That was scary . Wasn't it?
    Now, a woman using the maternal instinct of every mother to defend her children is even more scary. Is your ambition that callous?
    Matilde Schade

    February 29, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  19. Von Ripon, CA

    Well, I would imagine Hillary will be up at 3:00 AM waiting for Bill to come home so I guess she will answer the phone faster than Barack would.

    February 29, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  20. ****

    ((((((((heliosmou February 29th, 2008 7:57 pm ET

    It may be too late for Clinton to start attacking Obama. She should have differentiated between simply opposing the war, with no strings attached, versus having to take a position and vote either for or against the war. There are probably people who believe Obama actually voted, which he did not. But Obama needn't worry. The Republicans will take care of him. Also let's add that there are racial overtones to this race, with Obama sweeping the Black vote, but apparently this is too sensitive to discuss. But it should be discussed.))))))))

    I agree this should be discussed right along with Hillary sweeping the hispanic vote. I know it's sensitive but what do you make of that fact?

    February 29, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  21. Nik

    She's attempting to justify backing Bush?!! Democrats aren't that stupid.

    February 29, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  22. yappy

    I don't trust her as far as i could throw her. WHY any of us would want the Clintons AGAIN confounds me....and the wierd way she has been acting.. up ,down and everywhere in between is NOT very comforting. I have a funny feeling she would just hand the phone over to Bill anyway and go back to sleep.

    February 29, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  23. Becky Montgomery

    Hillary was in Washington when the telecommunications vote came up and didn't vote. Obama and McCain voted, even though they were campaigning, because they knew it was really important. Obama has to campaign full time to counter the full time negative attacks by Hillary. Please, people, vote against her so we don't have to hear this stuff any more.

    February 29, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  24. becky

    i thought this was not a racial election ,if you sit and read these blogs you sure could not tell that ,i thought it was about the peoples choice,couldn't tell that either,i don't know why anyone has aloud someone to pressure them,we are the people who make our own choices,and never allow this to happen. go hillary

    February 29, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  25. Harris

    IF Obama is elected as our next President and when all the hype of the election is over, you so called Obama supporters will have some serious buyers remorse. Can someone say George Bush act 2.

    February 29, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
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