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. Clintonfatigued

    Actually Hillary you do "control the release of the White House schedules in question", you are LYING.

    You have not even initiated requesting these to be reviewed and released and remember last week you blamed the White house, but were silent when they said that you have not even started the process.

    You've gotten your wish Hillarity, the media is now leaving you alone and letting you get away with more lies, innuendos, smears, tricks, just like the good old 90's.

    Need medicines again, Clinton Fatigue is returning, part of the vast left-wing, right-wing, sexist, media conspiracy.

    Ready to MISLEAD from day one.

    March 6, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  2. steve o, barstow ca

    Well there they go again rideing on their broomsticks; it is a great campaign to get back to Kansas, TOTO.

    March 6, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  3. Peg

    Keep it up, Obama! Repeat the same thing about her ? 35 years of experience, ? tax returns, etc. ONLY, begin to tout your own qualifications over and over and over again so the electorate has something to compare.

    March 6, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  4. Dee

    i want to know...AND I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO KNOW

    WHAT THE F...ARE YOU HIDING< were too happy to talk about Obama and his friend I want to know about you...I HAVE EVERY RIGHT TO KNOW IF YOU WANT MY VOTE...

    March 6, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. LatinoNation

    Most of you on here cheat on your taxes I think or you wouldnt be getting so upset ! I would give you mines either

    March 6, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. David


    Clinton camp indicating that Obama has integrity?

    Another vote for Obama!

    March 6, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. John

    She said in the Ohio debate that those tax returns would be out after the 15th of April. Sounds like pure Obamarrhea.

    He's got to much time on his hands...maybe he should Chair his committee on Afghanistan.

    March 6, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  8. jfs

    Here's a tip Hillary..............I really do not think you want to bring up White Water, Travelgate, Impeachments etc. That brings back BAD MEMORIES. ...not to mention the untimely suicide of the prosecutors witness( EVERYONE THOUGHT THAT WAS ODD). Maybe you should reconsider whom your folks are sling mud at............some of us remember the good old Clinton days.

    March 6, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  9. Edwin Portland

    Obama has carried the majority of delegates in 24 states to Hillary's 13 and he has over 1million more popular votes, why is she still around and slinging mud? Maybe ego, probably not the best interest of the country.

    March 6, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  10. pat for obama

    come on hillary the truth will come out liar. You attacked obama for something he did not do. So how does it feel now. Release those tax returns. The american people need to know.

    March 6, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  11. Obamista NYC

    This guy just is trying to down-play Obama's point. Obama is obviously going to try to raise public awareness about the Clinton saga.

    Obama is clever to do this. Probably knowing something that possibly the public is incapable of knowing he sees this as a window of opportunity.

    You go Obama !

    March 6, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  12. DC

    Obama is getting desperate!!! I would like to see a copy of his campaign donations.

    Go Hillary!!!

    YES, WE WILL!!!

    March 6, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  13. Sarvatma Sharma Seattle, WA

    Obama does a great job of villainizing Hillary, and side stepping the questions that count. He is a cool cat, funny guy, but so is our current President. And like our current President he is great at avoiding answering the questions that count and directing attention else where. I vote Present for OBAMA!

    March 6, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  14. RSP

    This is merely Obama mimicking Clinton's success by digging up the past. Obama saw that it worked, so he's doing everything he can to discredit her. This doesn't gybe well with his "holier than thou" posture, that somehow he's the "anti-Washington". When he gets negative, the country will see that he's human, after all, and not a visionary. The bigger question is whether he could put aside his ego and except the VP position. I don't think he could handle answering to a woman.

    March 6, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  15. charlie

    This is absolutely ridiculous!

    It's OK to throw the "Kitchen Sink" at your opponent but as soon as your opponent asks questions they are made out to be Ken Starr? If you dish it out you have to be able to take it.

    Hillary would lose a general election badly. She is way too devisive and will most certainly unite the Republicans and many Independents. The way she has handled her campaign has also alienated many Democates who would vote for McCain.

    March 6, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  16. John Dolan

    Obama release you purchase sale agreement of your property and land deal in ILLinois. Let's see the Resko ,Obama sale that you and he agreed upon.

    And what about being friends and visiting the home of the person who wanted to blow up the Pentigon in 1971.

    March 6, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  17. MA

    Poor Clintons, always the victim. It was someone elses fault Bill cheated on his wife. It is the press fault that she isn't doing better in the election. It is the caucuses fault that she can't win any of them. They have an excuse for everything and take responsibility for nothing.

    March 6, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  18. Roger

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

    Man I hate premature posting don't you? I like Obama but I don't think I'd bring up White Water while his land deal with Rezko in Chicago is in play. Might be smart to drop that one.

    March 6, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. Upstate Deb

    Why does Hillary need to release her returns for people to be happy? Oh for crying out loud, she may be an elected official but she is also a private citizen. Unless she is doing something so highly illegal in obtaining her income, give it a rest, Obama cult!

    She has done a fabulous job for NYS, let her work for ALL of the USA.

    March 6, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. Kim

    Why is it that Hillary can say anything she wants about Obama and when he fires back he gets blasted by the Hillary supporters. Fight Obama don't let them bully you!!!

    March 6, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  21. Wants to see the money!

    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 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. Bobby

    Witness list was announced for the Rezko scandal.
    Guess what...Obama's name – NOT ON IT.
    He's not even involved enough to be a witness in the trial.

    case closed.

    March 6, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  23. maria from europe

    that piece of news is all over europe now... and what worries me the most is that Obama is not responding at same level... he does need to speed up and do more events... she has 3 today he has none.... hmmm i do not understand.... from an europian point of view... and its said here... obama gave up...

    i do feel is time to take the gloves of... or put them on as the case may be lolol and start punching back FAST!

    March 6, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  24. Tim

    Nice dodging of the question, Bill.

    Good lord, the Clinton's just absolutely make me sick.

    What's she hiding? What is it she doesn't want America to know?

    Lying. Cheating. Twisting words. Hiding. That's the Clinton way.

    March 6, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  25. Edwin Portland

    What kind of powerful leader stands by while her husband repeatedly cheats on her? One that realizes his enormous popularity will get her elected. Hillary is a brilliant political strategist, but her integrity and ability to stand on her own is lacking. I believe in the self-made man whom rose up from a broken home with integrity.

    March 6, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
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