March 5th, 2008
11:00 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama challenges Clinton's experience claim

 Obama is challenging Clinton's claim of experience.

Obama is challenging Clinton's claim of experience.

(CNN) - Fresh off defeats in Ohio, Texas, and Rhode Island, Barack Obama signaled Wednesday he will be more aggressive in targeting Hillary Clinton's claim she is the more experienced candidate.

"I think that this week she made a series of arguments about why she would be a superior candidate," he told reporters in San Antonio. "She made the experience argument that she’s been making repeatedly, particularly around foreign policy and her ability to handle a crisis."

"I think it’s important to examine that claim and not just allow her to assert it, which I think has been going on for quite some time. She has made the argument that she is thoroughly vetted in contrast to me. I think its important to examine that argument."

Clinton sharply questioned Obama's readiness to be president in the closing days before Tuesday's primaries, repeatedly asserting on the campaign trail his candidacy is based solely on his initial opposition to the Iraq war. She also launched a tough ad in Texas that suggested the Illinois senator isn't equipped to handle a foreign policy crisis. Exit polls in both Texas and Ohio showed voters overwhelmingly gave the nod to Clinton when asked which candidate is better prepared to be commander-in-chief.

"One of the things that I hope people start asking is what exactly is this foreign experience that shes claiming?" Obama added. "I know she talks about visiting 80 countries. Its not clear...was she negotiating treaties or agreements or was she handling crises during this period of time? My sense is the answer is 'no.'"

"I have not seen any evidence that she is better equipped to handle a crisis. If the only criteria is longevity in Washington then she's certainly not going to beat John McCain on that."

- CNN's Chris Welch and Alexander Mooney contributed to this report

soundoff (650 Responses)
  1. Haley Rodman Clemson

    Hillary and Obama both have the same stance on issues, weak resumes and a sense of entitlement to the party's nomination. This pillow fight is getting a little meaner. Now Obama is flailing with a pair of bunny slippers. I can't help but picture these two at a sleepover, in a pillow fight where one or both of them got hit in the face and is fighting and crying at the same time. Big Daddy McCain needs to pop in on the slumber party and finally put them to rest.

    McCain/Lloyd Hansen 2008

    March 5, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  2. Ketoe


    Hillary campaign began as the sure thing, lots of money, the machine, labor, endorsements, the black vote, the hispanic vote, and working folks. Lets talk about her experience at running something her campaign. She has lost the black vote, labor vote, the machine has crumbled, and she had to loan herself money. (Money she can load to her campaign in the democratic primary but states the primary voter do not need to know where this money comes from she will file her taxes after the primary IF she win) She has had to fire staff, reshuffel staff, and she laughs and whoops it up when she wins (see Ohio), but bails on voters when she lose( see Virginia, wisconsin, etc) Thats EXPERIENCE. WOW

    March 5, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. QuietStormX

    I've been saying this forever! Hillary has never held a public office but for her Senate seat. Before that she was a First Lady and wife of Bill Clinton. Barack has more public office experience than she does. Where is this money coming from to loan her campaign five million. What deals have President made around the world? Who pays for the plane Bill and his daughter uses??? Where are those latest tax returns and W.H. records.... Answer those questions Hillary and Bill.

    Plus: I don't see a ticket with her or bill on it with Barack Obama! She needs Barack to help her win the general. I will not VOTE for Hillary period!

    March 5, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  4. Sue

    Why won't the media post both candidate's actual experience??

    March 5, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  5. Tony

    If HILLARY wins, I'm voting for John Mc Cain, really she is such a calculating lesbian phony. Anyone voting for her is clearly a bigoted, lesbian loving communist. Long Live real Up-And-Coming Young Democrats® of All Colors. Hillary also won because of Hispanics who hate black dudes. Sad, but these are the signs of the time.

    March 5, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  6. vjh

    clinton brings up the fact about exp and what to do in a tough situation.well heres one for her.what do you do if Bill finds another woman in the white house?I don't want someone who has to deal with this vote at first was for her or Huckabee.but to here Obama the last 2 months changed my see those 2 on the same ticket was a great plan.But now he doesn't need her.She will need him more than he will need her.she complained about the media and now the seen has changd on him.but guess what it is about to hit her again.People will begin to bring up her taxes,taken documents from a guy who committed suicide,her exp,and much much will come from the poeple an not the media.this will bite her big time.The REP are so scared that they are trying to get H Clinton in that they are teaming up on Obama.They don't want him to win the DEM nominee.Cunningham and Clinton said the same things but in a different way.Remember about the light from above.They have teamed up.we better wake up.Bush say that Obama better focus on Clinton.He hasn't said it about her on Obama.

    March 5, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  7. dofogo

    Bring it on Obama. Hillary is just getting warmed up. Besides, not only does Hillary have the experience, she's got the stuff to back up that experience. And well over 30 US Generals and high ranking military officials have faith in Hillary's vast experience to lead this country as Commander and Chief. So bring those questions on...we welcome them!

    March 5, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  8. Brad

    I'm a middle of the road Republican and I am continuously humored by watching you democrats fall into this "Hillary is more Experienced" trap.
    1. She is counting 35 years from the day she graduated law school +/- a year or two.
    2. She is counting 8 years as First Lady (only the positive parts of Willy's tenure)..........Give me a break
    3. Running on the ability to be Commander in Chief.....John McCain would chew her up and spit her out.
    4. Obama has more years of legislative experience than she does.
    5. Obama isn't just speeches. He has defined his p[rograms as well as she has.

    Now the Clinton campaign is going to try and re-institute Florida and Michigan. The arrogance of this family is amazing.

    You Hillary supporters need to step back, get educated and then make your determination based on facts, not her BS

    March 5, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  9. kevin

    Obama can not win the white house with MONEY. He spent twice as much and lost. He is all rehtoric and if you notice he has become more the SAME in his speeches. Game over for OBAMA.

    Go Clinton.

    March 5, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. BreKa

    Charlotte, you see how discriminating you are, what is wrong with Obama mentioning Africa? Say something reasonable next time.

    March 5, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. Renee Las vegas

    Put your Seat belts on....Game On!!!!!!
    Obama what took you so long? role your sleevs up and lets rock and roll !!!!!

    March 5, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. hkitty


    I think her engagement on the national and international stage during the 1990s as First Lady do constitute experience, especially given how active of a First Lady she was. Being on the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, etc. count. Representing and helping a state that was attacked on 9/11 count. Her point is that none of these three candidates have ever acted in the capacity of President because none have ever been President, but she was involved in many ways the closest of all of them. Regardless, McCain still has more experience, than her, but she is next and Obama is no where near this level. Period!!! Democrats pull your head out of the clouds. If you really want Obama as President, push for the joint ticket with him as VP. Doing so will give him the street creds to go up against Rep in 2016. It will also ensure the Dems win in Nov and keep the WH for almost 2 decades. Think people, think!!!

    March 5, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. Linda K

    Obama – I'm one of those sitting on the fence! I'm the "anyone but an old warloard, an old man...I'll vote the Democratic ticket WHOEVER"

    BUT...negative campaigning is not the answer. Just tell the American people where YOU stand and what YOU don't have to be a Washington insider to become president...just be YOU!

    By the way...why don't you choose Lou Dobbs as a running mate! THAT WILL ENSURE A WIN!

    March 5, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  14. Debbie Maha

    Obama mentioned a "knock out" before , what happened? He and his so called supporters are not better than the others. I still have a lot of doubts and uncertainty about him. If he is that good, he should have won the nomination by now. Either Hillary or McCain will get my vote.

    March 5, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  15. John

    SO SAD. You are going to lose Obama, you need to face up to it
    Let's see. you have two years in Washiington.Illinois state senator
    doing very little for your state, other than voting present on important issues. That's about it. Now as for the great Lady. Been in Washington for many years helping others. Then, first lady for Bill's eight great years as president. Has helped create programs to help others. A great US SENATOR. ;She's there to do the job she has been elected to do.You started campaigning when you walked into the town. Don't you think you should acquire some knowledge first. WE don't need another play it by ear, and hope for the best. We need Hillary, the best choice period.

    March 5, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  16. ZCB in New Jersey

    This is sad that people have such negative things to say about Senator Obama. No one discussed what either candidate can do about the current state of the economy, lack of jobs, tax increases, foreclosed homes, affordable childcare and healthcare. How about some of the Obama critics and even some Clinton critics take a look at what either of them plan to do if they get into the White House. That is what affects you! It is more important to be educated instead of jumping on team Clinton.

    Side Bar: I am not a religious person, but I believe that there is power in words so here goes "Senator Barack Obama will be the next President of the United States"...I just had to claim that victory for him!

    March 5, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  17. Ellen

    I have noticed how the Clintonistas want to view Barack's raising the question about, what does Hillary have to say to support her claims of experience, as negative campaigning. This is not negative campaigning by any measure, since he said nothing negative about her. Rather than attack her character and credibility, he is asking her to explain the basis for her repeated comments throughout this campaign, which she has never done. To see countless actual examples of negative campaigning one just needs to look at all the direct negative attacks Hillary has made against Obama's character. This is not a gotcha moment. This is another moment of hypocrisy though. So ugly, so desperate, sooooooo Hillary.

    March 5, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  18. Hillary 08

    Everyone needs to go to the Houstooo.con Press and read the article about Obama.

    March 5, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  19. ferris_b

    There are several claims that Barack has gone negative... I must be failing to see it in the above article. He is questioning her claim of having 'foreign experience." I see examining claims as a good practice. She doesn't have that experience. In fact, all she really can claim is 6 years as a Senator and being married to the President of the United States, marriage doesn't equate to experience by proxy. Experience by proxy is no experience.

    Judging the above posts, I think we are more divided than CNN has believed. I guess once you get a couple of wins, people feel like they can expose their true divisive nature.

    I can see why Clinton supporters are so divisive... it comes straight from Clinton herself. It is quite unfortunate for the party.

    March 5, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  20. Yvonne

    I think we can all thank Rush Limbaugh for Clinton’s win last night. Republicans crossed over to keep the feud going within the Democratic Party. For once, the two Democratic candidates need to take the high rode and keep their eyes on the November election. Why don’t they just combine forces and call it a day. If we don’t wake up, we will be dealing with McCain for the next 4-8 years. God Help Us All!

    March 5, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  21. ken

    Lets see Obama's and his country loving wifes tax returns also

    March 5, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  22. Dote'

    You go Hillary!!!!!!!!!!!!! Keep doing it . You fought a good fight and you won.

    March 5, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  23. Devaan

    Wake up and smell the coffee folks! Hello...Hillary is not genuine. She is extremely vain and simply wants to go down as the first female president. She is so conceited with little regards for people and has demonstrated this during her debates. She has also demonstrated a shameless lack of originality both in her speeches and ideas, yet the media overlooks this. Even those who can see through her are just not speaking up, and Barrack is too much of a gentleman. For me, it's nothing personal, it's just what she's shown me over these months. I beleive someone's personality says a lot about what you can expect from them, and I will be only too happy to give examples if called upon.

    New Jersey

    March 5, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  24. gene

    You poor obama supporters, when you try to claim all this expeience , and try to say that it exceeds Hillarty's expeience, what planet have you been living on? If you mean that eight years in the U.S.Senate and now chair person on the Armed service committee and eight years as First Lady, equals Illinois senate, working in the gheeto on poverty issues and two years as a U.S. Senator, of which he has been running for President for 1 year, comes even near to her experience. She has visited 80 nations and knows many of the current head of states. I think she will release her tax returns earlier, as she would do that for the general election, but I also think that Obama should release all of his letters to an from Rezko, his appointment bboks, list of number of meetings he had with Rezko, with time and date along with purpose, dates of time of meeting with Rezko and his wife in regard to the purchase of the $ 1,900,000 house and later purchase of a portion of the adjoining lot from Tezko's wife, a list of the companies involved with the three state pension boards and the $ 300,000 in contributions. So let the records and the tax returns be released.

    March 5, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  25. Derrick

    With Hillary's arguments for experience it's hard to tell where Bill's experience ends. Is she suggesting that she and her man are one? How feminist is that?

    March 5, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
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