March 6th, 2008
01:00 PM ET
7 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. Gary

    He discounts it because deep down it would produce a Democratic landslide!

    March 6, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  2. drew

    I'm allowed to make up things about my opponent, but he's not allowed to ask any questions.

    My experience being near people counts, his experience working for people doesn't.

    My narrow victories count, his landslides don't.

    My voters count, his don't.

    March 6, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. Sam

    The artical measures a minimum standard that all Americans expect of their public servants. For transparency, I would like to know Senator Clinton's record on ear marks.

    Sam

    March 6, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  4. Mark

    Only a real IDIOT running for president would bring up the name of the lawyer who prosecuted her husband's impeachment – and thus remind the American people about the things that really went on during the Clinton Administration, like Bill Clinton being disbarred and impeached.

    More great judgment from Hillary Clionton and her sorry campaign.

    March 6, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  5. Kab

    Hillary supporters...you guys are losers and you guys have lost half of democrats if she does not show her tax returns..she is dirty and we do not know what she is hiding...

    March 6, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  6. mona

    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...... are you referring to Obama's "OBVIOUS" transparency about Naftagate with the Canadians. Give me a break Burton....you all got caught lying so now you are trying to get Hillary caught in something.

    March 6, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  7. Devon

    The longer this thorn is in our side, the more it is infecting the democratic party. How long do we have to wait to pull Hillary out.

    Obama 08

    March 6, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  8. rumpusgoopus

    And people still vote for Clinton? I don't get it. I really don't get it.

    March 6, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. CHICANO ART, ARIZONA

    Her tax returns do not have to be submitted until next month. Normal people that might have a very simple 1040 do not file untill March or April. It would be a mistake to release any numbers untill you have had a qualified CPA look them up and down. We are talking about very big numbers and complex IRS rules. Wealthy people, even Democrats, take great care in preparing documents for the IRS.

    March 6, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. Sridhar Prasad

    If Obama is not ready to lead the country why is Hillary willing to team up Obama for the dream ticket.

    Hillary campaign is playing double standards.

    March 6, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. Dallas

    The reason that the tax returns are so important..... think Cheney and Halliburton people. You can go online to the FEC website (PUBLIC/FREE) and see that Clinton has taken money from drug companies during her senate years. Big companies, etc. It's not just how much money she makes, who cares, its the source!!!

    It's about political favors, etc. Think people!

    Cnn please post this; don't put me in moderation like all the other times.

    Dallas, TX.

    March 6, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  12. Nick

    Hilldog!! Hiding the truth in lies for 35 yearS!!

    March 6, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  13. Kerry

    If you are not the *hunter* you will be the *hunted*.

    In their tax returns, you will find that most of their money is coming from foreigners – India, China, Canada, etc. China desperate wants another Clinton in the White Hous. And don't think for a minute, Bill Clinton's Canadian buddies weren't behind the NAFTA memo.

    March 6, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  14. Ilse , Kamloops, British Columbia

    CNN, report the Peter Paul Fraud!!!!

    March 6, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  15. Jorge

    WOW Clinton is comparing Obama to Ken Star??? hahaha If asking about tax returns is so bad!! wanting to know the TRUTH about someone shouldn't be so bad!!! unless there is something to hide!!

    March 6, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  16. An Agnostic Democrat

    Let's see all the documentation of that "8 years of experience" as First Lady. I'm sure there's shadier dealings to supplement her exotic tea drinking adventures in foreign affairs and national security. Sorry, Hillary, I don't think receiving a teapot as a gift qualifies as "experience" or serves as a badge for diplomacy.

    March 6, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  17. Catrina R., CA.

    Wow.... Talk about slander. I am a Democrat, but if it is between her and McCain- I'm voting Republican!

    March 6, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  18. Elenadia

    Good for you Hillary, remind the voter sof all the Clinton White House shenanigans, the sleeze the absolute yuck factors, the attempts to define what "is" is. Keep it up and you will maneuver your way out of the nomination. Obama my have the younger generation, but we old'uns have loong memories of the Clinton Chaos.

    March 6, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  19. Todd, Kenosha, WI

    Release the tax returns already. What are you hiding Hillary? There must be something to hide. She could have released them along time ago if she WANTED to. Obviously she has something to hide. They probably made 100 million last year and pay $2000 in taxes. Must be nice to be filthy rich like the Clintons.

    March 6, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  20. patricia

    obama has every right to ask for Hillary's tax returns. What is she hidding. We ndde to know where the 5million she loaned her campaign came from. If she does not release them then she is a fraud. I know for sure that that she did not loan her campaign any money. You need to come clean Hillary or this will come to haunt you.

    March 6, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  21. David, Silver Spring, MD

    Oh brother. Next she'll say Obama is part of a "vast right wing conspiracy." Is there anyone else in America so at home with attacking while playing the victim? She'll throw mud and then cry that someone made her hands are dirty.

    I am so tired of Hillary Clinton and the Clinton way. I am so ready for change.

    March 6, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  22. Irene, Clearwater, FL

    Have they even filed yet? They have till April 15, after all.

    Not that their tax forms will change anyone's vote. I highly doubt Obama listed Rezco or whatever his name was on his.

    March 6, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  23. Lesley, Austin, Texas

    Hillary, Latinos do NOT owe you anything. This Latina is for Obama! Obama 08! Down with the lies, the deception, and the hate! Up with Hope!

    March 6, 2008 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  24. P.G.

    Obama is using an obsolete, outdated playbook. He should CHANGE and find his own playbook.

    March 6, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  25. Kim

    Ooooh this democratic party is getting nasty and dirty. This party is so divided. The republicans are just loving this!!!

    March 6, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
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