March 6th, 2008
01:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Clinton camp compares Obama to Ken Starr

The Clinton campaign accused Obama Thursday of acting like Ken Starr.

The Clinton campaign accused Obama Thursday of acting like Ken Starr.

(CNN) - A Clinton campaign spokesman Thursday compared Barack Obama’s recent criticism of the New York senator to the actions of Whitewater prosecutor Ken Starr.

Since his losses on Tuesday night, Obama has stepped up his attacks on Clinton for her failure to release her most recent tax returns and other documents related to her time as first lady. Her campaign has said that she will release the tax records in advance of Pennsylvania’s April 22 primary, and that it cannot control the release of the White House schedules in question.

On a Thursday conference call with reporters, Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson said that the Illinois senator was attempting to sidestep questions about his readiness to lead the country. “He chose not to address those questions, but to attack Senator Clinton. I for one do not believe that imitating Ken Starr is the way to win a Democratic primary election for president," said Wolfson.

He also responded to Obama’s contention that Clinton had criticized Rick Lazio, her Republican Senate opponent in 2000, for not releasing his returns by noting that Clinton and her husband, former President Bill Clinton, had been making that information public for decades.

"As somebody who led the effort to ensure that Mr. Lazio provided his tax returns, certainly at that point he had not provided 20 years of his tax returns to the people of New York," Wolfson said.

Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton responded to the criticism by accusing the Clinton team of a double standard.

“…We don’t believe that expecting candidates for the presidency to disclose their tax returns somehow constitutes Ken Starr-tactics, but the kind of transparency and accountability that Americans are looking for and that’s been missing in Washington for far too long,” said Burton, in a statement to reporters.

“And if Sen. Clinton doesn’t think that the Republicans will ask these very same questions, then she’s not as ready to go toe-to-toe with John McCain as she claims.”

- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (501 Responses)
  1. Kathy from Michigan

    Wow!!!! They are pretty bold!!! There is a FRAUD

    March 6, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. Lois in CA

    Is this all Obama has? I wouldn't release my tax returns for the general public to see. If she hasn't been audited, then why is it anyone's business what she has or does with her own income? No one has accused her of financial indiscretions, so what's the big deal here?

    Obama's true colors are showing, if he's really this desperate. And, it's about time.

    March 6, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  3. shirley ann

    Hillary will do ANYTHING to win. I Hope America is paying attention to her tactics.

    March 6, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  4. Corey

    Again... WHAT IS HILLARY CLINTON HIDING!?? Americans want to know...& we want to know NOW!!!


    March 6, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  5. sw

    For Obama's call for Clinton to release tax return, I have to say it is a bad and desperate move, only cause people realizing more that he is just a dirty politician fighting for political positioning, and also maybe the loses hit him too hard, he forgot now is only early March, tax filing deadline is still more than a month away, what is the point to call out people release their tax return now; plus Has you release yours yet? probably not, I bet you are too busy for your compaign, has not got time to fill out your form yet! Isn't it you who are saying you are too busy for your compaign, that you haven't had one single meeting with NATO regarding the terrorist in Afganstan?

    March 6, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  6. Tax Returns?

    I would like to know if Obama agrees with his foreign policy adviser who yesterday stated, he was "not ready" to take a 3 a.m. call in the White House?

    If the people around you have their doubts then you have a problem Senator Obama.

    March 6, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  7. Luthorcrow

    If the Clinton campaign was smart they wouldn't bring up Ken Star. If folks start to remember White Water and the other dealings of the Clintons shine could go completely.

    When it comes to dirt, Clintons should really be silent as they have mountain of it.

    March 6, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. Bayou Joe

    The gloves are off. Hillary has just begun to fight. This is her turn to be President and why is Obama getting in her way. Obama needs to bow out and wait his turn. Love U Hillary. Hispanics Love U.

    March 6, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  9. Kathy from Michigan

    I am sorry, I got so excited that I sent the above message prematurely!

    There is a FRAUD case pending against Bill Clinton (and Hillary may be added back into the case as a defendant and possibly charged with perjury)! Paul v. Clinton could go to trial right around the time of the general election!!! There is far too much to explain her, the mainstream media had better get on this ASAP, because alot of stars ands hollywood types are being deposed in this case. It could turn into the largest Campaign Finance violation case in Campaign finance history. What in the world will this do to the party and the election? I think they are so used to getting away with things that this doesn't even phase them. She should get out and stop asking questions about someone who is not yet accused and sweep around her own door.

    March 6, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. Jose Card - Independent

    Hillary, cut the talk and show us the credentials for the White House!

    You accused Obama of all talks about hope, while you are all talks about your qualification for the White House.

    March 6, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. ABC=Anybody But Clinton

    Nice try won't fly

    March 6, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  12. Former Clinton Supporter

    CNN and the Clinton Campaign should be ashamed of themselves for this worthless reporting. I can't believe CNN has resorted to this kind of tabloid style reporting. I won't be watching them anymore, and I hope all Obama supporters boycott them also.

    Obama 08

    March 6, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  13. Steve

    yeah...yeah...yeah...just release the Tax returns...then you wont have to make any comparisons at all.

    March 6, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  14. Coolio

    Ken Starr, the guy who said Slick Willie was having an affair? I remember him. Yeah, then Billy Bob said he didn't. Right. Tell me, who lied again? I don't remember. Did Bubba have an affair or did Ken Starr make the whole thing up.

    March 6, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  15. Maisie2008

    Nobody seems to be asking about the Peter Paul fraud trial involving the Clintons directly.

    Media do your job better!!!

    March 6, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  16. formerly optimistic

    I am having trouble reading about the campaigns anymore.

    March 6, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  17. Mary

    When these two completely destroy one another will everyone be happy ?

    March 6, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  18. MikeSmith

    It is unfortunate that anyone, with a sense of moral virtue, would think of the Clintons being back in the White House, let alone give their hard-worked dollars to that campaign!!

    I guess some Americans are getting to be like the Brits: dynasty, name recognition, and wealth. The thought of Bill and the Blue Dress back in that White House makes me feel so sick and ashamed each day. "Past behavior is a good predictor of future behaviors" The World is watch us!

    March 6, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  19. Amy in Iowa

    Can the Clintons please turn the page? This is not like Ken Starr. It is about a candidate we can trust. Can the Clintons be trusted?

    March 6, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  20. Len

    Clinto will do anything to win!! Pathetic!!!!!!!!!!

    March 6, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  21. Bill W - PA

    And for the record, I really wish Ken Starr had been able to prove much of the case, especially the part about the Clintons selling US missile technology to Communist China. The Clintons are traitors, the penatly for which is the firing squad.

    March 6, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  22. Lydia

    hmmm... they still protest releasing those tax returns and white house papers. Really makes you wonder what they are hiding.

    March 6, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. LoveOBAMA

    Do not try to spin the focus off Clinton. Since she is so "vetted", lets see those tax returns. Lets see the resume documenting 35 years of experience. Or is it experience she xeroxed from Bill Clinton?

    March 6, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. Janel

    I agree that the papers should be released...and as an Obama supporter, I am upset that it took him this long to pressure her about this...The tax returns and White House Logs will either prove her 35 yrs of experience that she is claiming, or show that she is not who she has been boosting she is...It amazes me that she adds her husbands term in office as part of your "experience"...It's time for her to put her show proof of her experience or shut up!

    March 6, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  25. tar

    People lets ask ourselves why Sen. Hillary Clinton had her senior thesis at Wellesley College sealed? In the past 100 years all senior thesis's at Wellesley College have been made available except for Hillary Rodham Clinton. Also, how do Sen. Clinton go from the President of the Young Republican Organization at Wellesley College and an overwhelming supporter of Sen. Barry Goldwater, a known racist to an advocate of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.? .

    Will the real Hillary Clinton please stand up? People before you vote, ask yourself, what is Sen. Hiillary Rodham Clinton hiding and can she be trusted?


    March 6, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
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