March 7th, 2008
08:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama camp slams Clinton for secrecy

ALT TEXT

Obama's campaign manager had some sharp words for Clinton Friday (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama's campaign stepped up its effort Friday to target Hillary Clinton for delaying the release of her income tax returns, saying the New York senator has a "pattern of secrecy" and has yet to be fully vetted by the American people.

"Senator Clinton is one of the most secretive politicians in America today," Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe said in a conference call with reporters. "She has consistently refused to release her tax returns. They have said they are going to release them around [April] 15, but there is no reason why the prior six years of tax returns couldn't be released right now."

Obama's campaign has long criticized Clinton for not releasing her previous tax returns, though it stepped up its attacks earlier this week. In a conference call the morning after Obama lost three out of the four March 4 primary contests, Obama strategist David Axelrod said Clinton is the least-vetted candidate in the presidential field because of her refusal to disclose the documents.

Clinton's Communications Director Howard Wolfson released a statement shortly after the call repeating recent assurances that the New York senator will release last year's tax returns in April. He also said over 20 years of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s tax returns are already public.

Clinton did release a Senate disclosure form last May that revealed the couple’s joint income for the previous year was upwards of $12 million. But a tax return would present a more comprehensive account of the Clintons’ income, and include revenue sources that aren't required on Senate disclosure forms.

"Considering the huge amounts of money they have made in recent years, they've contributed their money to the campaign, some of those relationships financially have been with individuals who have come under quite a bit of scrutiny for possible ethics transgressions, its essential to know where the American people are getting there money from," Plouffe said Thursday.

"If Sen. Clinton is not being open and honest about her tax returns or her experience on the campaign trial, you have to wonder if she'll be open and honest with the American people as president," he added.

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (314 Responses)
  1. Bipidi-Coventry UK

    Clinton Should release her income tax returns,or delay would make the situation appear fishy. She should do so without delay to defend the EXPERIENCE she hhas been anchoring on

    March 7, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  2. PAUL VS. CLINTON

    WHY IS THE MEDIA AVOIDING THE PAUL VS CLINTON ISSUE. THEY CAN TRY TO MAKE REZKO AN ISSUE FOR OBAMA WHO HAS NOT BEEN LINKED TO THIS TRIAL. CLINTON IS CLEARLY LINKED!!!

    THE CLINTONS ARE NOT TO BE TRUSTED. BEEN THAT ROUTE...SCENERY IS THE SAME.

    March 7, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  3. Brian

    THANK YOU finally it appears people are remembering the Clintons who left office with a 28% approval rating for sooooooooo many reasons!

    March 7, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  4. Patty

    Talk about running on a platform of hope and change and then when getting some negative press for once, after a media love-in from the beginning, his camp turns to the old style politics that he claims to decry.
    So the Obama supporters when they know the Clinton's income will automatically feel they can now switch to Clinton since she released her returns? Is that all that has made you Obama supporters until now but everything will change with that magical tax form or just another ruse because you can't run on a platform that is any better than hers?

    March 7, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. American

    Same old politics. Obama your presidency is based on Change. Or is it "JUST WORDS"

    HILLARY O8'

    March 7, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  6. B. Smart

    . . . .I blame the news media for not ever investigating Clinton until AFTER she's
    swindled the public. Don't tell us now. It's too late now. Notice how
    the comments are dwindling. I think the voters are tire of this game .

    Obama 08.

    March 7, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  7. G.N. Penley

    The Clinton's pattern of secrecy? We'll never know how deep it goes, but we all know they have a lot to hide, including a number of mysterious deaths among colleagues, "friends," and workers. The Clinton's–both of them–long ago destroyed any trust the public could put in them. Yet here they are, still in our faces. I'm SICK of them.

    March 7, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  8. Thin1972

    WAKE UP AMERICA! HAVEN’T YOU NOTICE THAT OBAMA HAS A BIG MOUTH (GOOD FOR GOSSIP, NEGATIVE, CRITICISM). ALL HE CAN DO IS BE NEGATIVE. INSTEAD OF MAKING PLAN FOR THE FUTURE, HE IS GOING ON AND ON WITH HOW BAD ARE CLINTON AND JOHN. SOMEBODY PLEASE GETS HIM A MIRROR.
    WHY DON'T THE NEXT TIME YOU TURN THE TV ON TO LISTEN TO HIS SPEECH, PAY CAREFULLY ATTENTION, WHAT WILL HE SAY

    March 7, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. hillary (not clinton)

    if HRC has nothing to hide there should be no issue in her releasing her past tax returns.

    its as simple as that.

    her actions are speaking louder than her words by not releasing them.

    OBAMA 08!

    March 7, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  10. Michelle

    Are you kidding me with this, this is all the Obama camp can come up with. So what if she hasn't released her tax return, they have nothing to hide. Obama is not gaining ground he is running scared. Everyone say how she can't make it but look she is well on her way and I truly believe she will be in this office. This race has come full ciricle and is no longer about the person but about RACE. Look how this country is divided by balcks, lations , whites and women when we all should be coming toether for the best person and who has the best leadership regardless of their skin. Finally, hy did Obama raise 55million, oh that's right he has OPRAH, please!

    March 7, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  11. bakersfield

    THE FIRE CALLING THE KITTLE BLACK
    A WOLF IN SHEEPS CLOTHEING
    REZKO
    NAFTA
    IRAQ WAR WITHDRAWAL CHANGE TELL US ONE THING AND THEN HAVE YOUR ADVISERS TELL OTHER COUNTRIES SOMETHING DIFFERENT

    March 7, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  12. Jen, Gainesville

    On point! Before Bill's first run for president , the Clintons did release the tax returns for a few years. But only years later did we found that the year which they did not release (where they stopped releasing) was exactly the year when they had financial ties that they did not want to disclose. This was reported by the media. Sorry, I do not remember the details.

    March 7, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  13. Jacob

    Look everyone, the sooner we all come to the realization that every politicians take kickbacks and campaign endorsements from all sorts of different people the sooner we can decide who is the best person for the job. I am an Obama supporter and think that this is nit picky, he needs to focus on the fact that she has a history of terrible judgments on important issues and not where she gets her money from. I know that she is a liar, but all politicians are. Attack her on the issues guys please!

    March 7, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  14. Easy

    All this crap is just dividing the Democratic party when it needs to just step in and pick someone and just get behind them whether it be Hillary or Obama. Both have strong points and weak points but either one is strong enough to take on the republicans and take them down. The republicans have destroyed the economy with all this money spent in IRAQ!!!

    March 7, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  15. DB

    Wow, talk about changing the subject! Can it be just a coincidence that the Obama campaign releases this statement hot on the heels of Samantha Power's comments. OK, the "monster" remark can be dismissed as just a shot from a loose cannon, but what about the Iraq statement? Was this merely Power's take, or does it represent discussions within the Obama camp? The voters deserve to know.

    March 7, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  16. Barb Canada

    Is that all you got Obama?

    March 7, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  17. Anne

    I am a little confused here. As an American, I have been asked to
    see a copy of my income tax returns for a loan, to apply for a few
    positions, etc. Why has there not been more presure pur upon
    hillary Clinton to produce HER income tax returns? She IS running
    for the position of the President of the United States, is she not?!
    What kind of standard are we NOT placing on this highest office?
    I refuse to believe that the people of the United States do not care
    about the integrity and trustworthiness of one who is running to
    be its President. Hillary Clinton should not be able to run in another
    primany or caucus until she produces these documents. What's going on here?

    March 7, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  18. Shannon in Galesburg, IL

    This is a good strategy for the Obama camp. It's hardline but not really all that negative. The charge of secrecy isn't really a personal smear, and Clinton could easily overcome these accusations by releasing her returns for 2000-2006. If you believe, like I do, that there is something on her return (or, more likely, Bill's since he's now in the private sector) that she does not want brought to light then Obama has her right where he wants her.
    This plan could backfire horribly, though, if the returns are released and they're found to be clean as a whistle. I find it a trifle odd, though, that the estimated date of the Clintons releasing their returns has shifted from April 15 to "sometime in April." If she tries to get away with waiting until after Pennsylvania to release those returns, Obama could HAMMER her.

    March 7, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  19. Sam

    Senator Obama has stated that he was a community activist in Chicago. How does a community activist working for the down and out afford a 1.6 million dollar home?

    Let's look at those tax returns.

    March 7, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  20. James, NY

    Correction: Obama lost two out of four. Hillary did not win Texas. Obama did as far as we know now.

    March 7, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  21. James

    Since Obama and his campaign are going negative, how does that make him the politician of change? He is acting just like every other politician. He isn’t change. Why is it that Obama can go negative and attack Hillary and it is ok? But when Hillary attacks Obama people think it’s wrong and they get all heated up about it? How is that fair?

    March 7, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  22. Sean

    How is that going negative? He only asked that Clinton release her tax returns. If she has nothing to hide, why not? Shut him down by releasing them and it won't be an issue. The very fact that she keeps delaying and down playing seems more and more suspicious.
    I don't get why people are faulting Obama for going negative. Clinton is using the knife and sneak attacking him with all these cheap shot. The campaign is just defending itself. Clinton was the one that went on the negative offensive. Please give me a break about this.

    March 7, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  23. Travis from CO

    Anyone who thinks that raising questions about her tax returns is a negative attack is fools. The same fools who voted for her in Ohio. Obama and the American people have every right to know who they are electing. The Dems need to know and understand that if there are shady dealings it will cost this country greatly with four more years of Bush policies unless your a millionair.

    The Paul vs. Clinton thing also needs to come out and I think it will closer to PA. Look on youtube and see for yourself about this little lawsuit.

    March 7, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  24. Julie

    I'm thinking if I were innocent in this, I would delight at plopping my tax info in front of the press and laughing in Obamas face at how foolish he looked. It would pretty much destroy his credibility and make him laughingstock and guarantee her the election...wow, a whole lot of payoff from one quick call to your CPA...the fact that the call hasn't been made or the the "see I told you so" proof remains unseen makes me wonder if she is trying to hide something...or spin something...

    and, Like Houston Texas above, I wonder about the Peter Paul case too...geez, how many financial scandals can these people get into. You'd think after the first two, three, four...ten maybe they would learn...

    March 7, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  25. vl

    Oh please! Can we get over this? Sen. Clinton has consistently stated they will be released in April. I don't know if it's different where you live, but by my calendar here in MI, it's only MARCH 7th! And, "Michigan uncommitted voter", where have you been for the last 50 years? If anyone is acting "entitled, it's Michelle Obama. Get real. Hillary Clinton has done more for OTHER PEOPLE during her life than Barack and Michelle combined!

    March 7, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
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