March 15th, 2008
10:49 AM ET
3 years ago

Obama backer takes aim at Clinton's experience

 Craig had some sharp words for Hillary Clinton Friday.
Craig had some sharp words for Hillary Clinton Friday.

(CNN) – Former Clinton State Department official Greg Craig continued to take aim at Hillary Clinton's foreign policy claims Friday, telling the National Journal that the former first lady has "grossly exaggerated the nature of her experience."

"If you're running for president on the basis of your claims of experience, when you then cite examples, you should be careful to be accurate," Craig said. "The evidence should be accurate. And my point is that Senator Clinton and her supporters have in serious ways overstated, if not grossly exaggerated, the nature of her experience."

"I think she is misleading the American public on the nature of her experience," he also said.Craig, a supporter of Barack Obama, was the director of policy planning at the State Department under former President Clinton.

He was a top adviser to former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and served as counsel to former President Clinton during the impeachment hearings.

His comments come days after he penned a strongly worded memo on behalf of the Obama campaign that appeared to suggest the New York senator was not ready to be commander in chief."Hillary Clinton's argument that she has passed 'the commander-in-chief test' is simply not supported by her record," he wrote in that memo.

The Clinton campaign called the memo a "false and misleading attack."Pressed about those comments Friday, Craig appeared to dial back, saying, "I think she would be a capable commander in chief.

I think Barack Obama, who is my candidate, would also be a capable commander in chief. I'm not denigrating that."But Craig specifically took issue with Clinton's claim of having a role in the Northern Ireland peace process."

It's a little bit presumptuous for the first lady, who would meet people and support people to take credit away from the Irish themselves who did it," he said.Pressed about her role in the process, Clinton told NPR earlier this week, "I wasn't sitting at the negotiating table, but the role I played was instrumental."

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney


Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Cheyenne from FL

    Thanks Mr. Craig for clearing this foreign policy experience of Hillary while she was the first lady.

    Go Obama!!!

    March 14, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. Carmen Cameron

    I know someone who said they can actually attest to the fact personally that Hillary Clinton has had tea and cookies in 80 different countries. That and her "experience" as first lady of Arkansas and Rose Law Firm years tell me all I need to know about Hillary Clinton's "qualifications." (And anyone who believes ANYTHING that either Bill or Hillary Clinton says is as gullible as is possible and still be human.)

    March 14, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. Tom from Philly

    That should've been brought up long time ago. She does not have the experience she's claiming to have. 35 years of being with Bill, I can understand. but Hillary's experience is just like Obama's. I'm republican by the way.

    March 14, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. Peter

    Comparing to Obama, Hillary certainly has a lot more experience in foreign policy, as well as in economy and health care, especially on a national scale. Obama has been claiming he can unify the country, I don't see how he can prove that he can do that. He can't even unify the democrats. There are more democrats supporting Hillary. Obama's campaign just wants everything to work their way, almost like Bush administration.

    March 14, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  5. Brian

    Hillary, you've been running a campaign of lies and fear. You pander to every state you walk into, and when they don't vote for you, you dismiss them with a have of your hand. Your surrogates have leveled some of the nastiest and baseless attacks against Sen. Obama, a fellow democrat, with no regard for what they're doing to our party.

    America isn't buying it your vindictive quest for power, and it's time to get out of the race.

    March 14, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. stogiecarmikal

    Is somebody bored or something? These issues with Greg and Obamas minister are old! Craig has been on Hilarys case for a while now. Obamas minister mentioned the stuff about Hilary in a sermon this past December. Whats the problem? The public can't hear talk about the issues because the media refuses to report the issues.
    Another thing, criticizing sermons is really crossing the line. Whats next, reporting Beyonce versus Halle Berry conversations made by Obamas barber at the shop????

    March 14, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. JJ

    Make no mistake about it, Obama does not have the traditional "text book" foreign policy expierience either. But the point is, he is not trying to tout that he does. Clinton is going around with her chest out like she just has this vast amout of expierience that Obama does not have. When you do that, you need to be called out.

    March 14, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. Sharon

    1. Clinton did not lie about her experiences overseas, but she did exaggerate her role.
    2. It's a shame the Clinton campaign can't attack back on this issue – since Senator Obama has zero international experience to speak of.
    3. After seeing the vitriolic nature of the Obama supporters on this and other sites, he will never have my vote. If a man can bring out this ugly side of the people who support him, I'd hate to see what's in the man himself.

    March 14, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. Darth Vadik, CA

    Water is wet,
    sky is blue,
    the clintons lie

    March 14, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. Larry

    After listening to B.H. Obama stitch together speeches using quotes from M.L.K., J.F.K and others, it should come as no surprise that B.H. Obama ripped off the title for his book "The Audacity of Hope" from one of his minister's sermons.

    Does this guy have any original thoughts and ideas?

    Note to B.H.O. – being anti-war isn't an original idea.

    March 14, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. HILLARY-Savvy, smarts & persistence 08

    Hillary has a lot more foreign experience than Obama has. There is absolutely no doubt about that. I like it that this is a talk about issues, and not just some more of the same we've all had to listen to lately.
    Hillary's got my vote.

    March 14, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. Antoinette

    At least Obama stepped up to the plate and said he didnt have the experience, nor does Clinton or McCain

    I can respect that

    35 years of experience Hillary? You're only 60

    March 14, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  13. Jesus

    YAWN...slow news week?

    March 14, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  14. Reality Check

    Finally, somebody calling out Hillary's blatant lies.

    March 14, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  15. Jake

    Tim what does obama have to do with this?!?! This was a former CLINTON dept state official, making these claims. Apparently reading and comprehension isn't what it once was. EDUCATION needs to be a priority today...... sheesh

    March 14, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  16. ernest

    Never understimate the experience of the first spouse, they have been there, seen how it is done, what works and what doesnt, Bill and Hillary are and were partners, like it or not, they have and will always work as ateam on all issues, i will rather have that than a one year senator with absolutely no achievement as prez

    March 14, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  17. Tom

    Ya know, its probably true that Hillary and BO have similar levels of inexperience. Hillary probably made a mistake playing the experience card. But then Obama is realistically devoid of ideas for meaningful "change." Maybe its best to vote for McCain who seems to be pretty much what he says.

    March 14, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  18. Dan, Washington DC

    So, Hillary supporters say this about Obama and it's "throwing the kitchen sink" and "desperate" and "same old evil Clinton tactics". An Obama supporter says this about Hillary and he's what? Defending his candidate? Speaking the truth? Completely justified in doing the same thing that causes people to villify Hillary?

    I don't see what makes people so enamored with these candidates. If you get past the historical novelty of a women versus an african american, this is pretty much same old, same old. An "old school" candidate against a "change" candidate. June can't come fast enough, I got tired of this in November.

    March 14, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  19. Brian

    It's about time someone actually considers Clinton's "experience."

    The fact is that Obama has been in an elected office longer than Hillary has. What does that say about experience?

    March 14, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  20. LAB

    What is the "commander-in-chief test," anyway? Does it involve push-ups?

    March 14, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  21. Celia Cipriani

    Everyone get a grip. Both Hillary and Obama should try and put their heads together to try and end Iraq nightmare. This war is sending all of us to the Poor House FAST

    March 14, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  22. Bill

    Actually, Obama DOES have experience. Research Obama's bill during his time in the Illinois state senate requiring that police interrogations and confessions are video taped to prevent beatings and other police misconduct. Then, take a moment, if you dare to do anything other than follow any candidate blindly, to research the legislative history of both Clinton AND Obama. They're both good senators. They've both pushed for great bills.

    The claim that Obama has no experience does not hold up if you look at the facts.

    March 14, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  23. Adri

    Finally, someone looking into this said experience of hers. You'd think that it would have happened sooner.

    March 14, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  24. Debra

    I think she should get some credit for having been the senator of NY during 9/11.

    March 14, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. A former Clinton supporter

    Wow, a Clinton is exaggerating. *gasp*

    March 14, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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