March 24th, 2008
05:20 PM ET
7 years ago

Clinton campaign blasts Obama supporter's 'blue dress' comment

The Obama and Clinton camps have been trading increasingly negative rhetoric.
The Obama and Clinton camps have been trading increasingly negative rhetoric.

(CNN) - Senior Clinton advisers blasted Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign Monday after a major Obama supporter in Iowa compared Bill Clinton unfavorably to Joe McCarthy and referenced the blue dress at the heart of the impeachment scandal.

"When Joe McCarthy questioned others' patriotism, McCarthy (1) actually believed, at least aparently, the questions were genuine, and (2) he did so in order to build up, not tear down, his own party, the GOP,” wrote Gordon Fischer, a former chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, wrote on his blog. “Bill Clinton cannot possibly seriously believe Obama is not a patriot, and cannot possibly be said to be helping — instead he is hurting — his own party. B. Clinton should never be forgiven. Period. This is a stain on his legacy, much worse, much deeper, than the one on Monica's blue dress."

Fischer was referring to President Clinton’s comments over the weekend that a race between John McCain and Hillary Clinton would be a contest between two people who love their country, which some Obama supporters - including former Air Force Gen. Tony McPeak – have interpreted as an attack on Obama's patriotism.

Fischer later removed the post from his blog, replacing it with an apology. ”I sincerely apologize for a tasteless and gratituous comment I made here about President Clinton,” he wrote. “It was unnecessary and wrong. I have since deleted the comment, and again apologize for making it. It will not happen again. I hope my readers will accept my apology and we can move on to the very important issues facing our state and country. Thank you.” Fischer endorsed Obama last fall.

In a conference call with reporters Monday, Clinton aides said Fischer’s decision to attack the New York senator in “starkly personal terms” reflected “gutter tactics that (the Obama) campaign is now deploying.”

“It would appear to be that their high-minded rhetoric seems to be falling short,” said spokesman Phil Singer.

"This is now the Obama campaign’s primary message to the American people," said spokesman Howard Wolfson. "Not to build him up, but to tear Senator Clinton down."

He also dismissed Fischer’s apology. "That's all well and good… In my opinion the remarks of Gordon Fisher are very much in keeping with the campaign Senator Obama is running. So I don't know why he would apologize."

They also distanced themselves from remarks this weekend made by Clinton supporter James Carville, who seemed to compare Bill Richardson’s decision to endorse Barack Obama to Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.

"I'm not an expert on the topic to give a good answer," said Wolfson, who added that he would not have used those words and that in his view Richardson had served his country honorably.

UPDATE: Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton responded: "As Senator Obama has said repeatedly, comments like this have no place in our political dialogue and he strongly rejects them," said Burton.

In an e-mail to CNN's Richard Greene, Gordon Fischer said of his decision to remove the post: "I took it down becuase it was wrong. And stupid."

UPDATE at 3:29 p.m.: “I was quoted accurately and in context, and I was glad to give the quote and I was glad I gave it,” Carville told the New York Times, after Wolfson told reporters that he would have offered his apologies if he had made the remark. “I’m not apologizing, I’m not resigning, I’m not doing anything.”

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (262 Responses)
  1. suzy

    TO ZINA – a man of honor????? are you kidding me????

    He has lied at least 3 times in the past couple of weeks to the American people on NATIONAL TV and DIRECTLY to the media....
    lying about NAFTA ring a bell?
    lying about Rezko ring a bell?
    lying about hearing Wright's sermons ring a bell?
    lying about running a "clean" campaign?

    Is that honorable????
    He is just another politician doing whatever he needs to to win, just like all the others. That's why his speeches are so good for him – through them he continues to pull the wool over your eyes....I fear you will be disappointed in the end.

    March 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  2. Bill Enuff

    When we end up with McCain as President and the level of deaths in Iraq reaches 10,000, we can blame the media for under-reporting stories like this. So many people that have voted for Obama, like myself, have buyers remorse. The media lead us to believe Obama was the second coming, when in fact he is an empty suit with more bagage than Hillary and Bill Clinton.

    This is the same media to convinced America going to Iraq was the right thing.

    Buyers beward.

    March 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  3. Ben

    Love for once country is more than just love for once country. Its love for once family that is the deepest thing one can ever have. Love for once country is also about not lying to the people of once country as a leader. Hillary and Obama are good people(there ain't a saint in politics) so those around them should just shut up. Bill C is time and time again hurting Hillary's chances!!! Why Bill..Why??

    March 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  4. Mark

    Ha ha ha! Clinton(s)- get out of the race already! Your killing the party every day you stay in it. Obama=Change, Clinton=SELFISH!

    March 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  5. Matt

    Wow. This was low, but pretty funny.

    March 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  6. Beka

    You think Hillary is the only fighter? The Clintons have acted like welfare queens who feel entitled to win this race and since things havent gone their way have resorted to choosing a Republican over a Democrat! So they can set up Hilary's 2012 Run when she looses this one or because she is just McCain in a pants-Suit? They have been a blemish on the Democratic party for too long...It is time to pop this zit.

    March 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  7. jessica

    really? i'm sorry, but this is going to far. it's one thing to blast a campaign for something said by one of its advisors or workers, but not simply a donor or supporter. i mean come on. where will it end? will obama get attacked for the derogatory things i've said about clinton around the water cooler now? how is this his fault?

    March 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  8. Connie, Tn.

    DEMOCRATIC PASTOR; You were so right in your comments. We have had to put up with being called "traitors" the past 8 years from the Bush administration if we were against the war. It's about time that we all worked together and stop attacking each other. We definitely need Obama in the White House.

    March 24, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  9. Stephon L. Scott

    I'm amazed at the precise deconstruction that this article demonstrates, which works to Sen. Clinton's advantage. Where is this deep fact finding search and analysis with respect to Sen. Obama's naysayer?

    Selective analytical reporting should not be tolorated.

    PS. "The Most Trusted Name in News"

    March 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  10. Ellie

    I am really tired!!!! I have always been a proud democrat until now. I am a supporter of Barack Obama, however I started out supporting Hillary Clinton. The low tactics the Clinton's have used to run this campaign is discouraging to say the least. I am a proud African American women and I find it very interesting when the Clinton's first started, we, the African American vote was very important to them, after all Bill Clinton was the first "Black" president. Now, we have listened to Barack Obama and we like what we hear, and have made up our own minds to choose Obama. Somehow now, this "Black" former President and his wife are angry because we had the audacity to act like free American's and choose whom we want. So now because we did not choose them, we are dehumanized to them, and now it has turned into this ugly race issue. You know Clinton's we helped elect you in the beginning, which means we made up our minds then and once again we have made up our minds this time, except it is not for you. We are intelligent individuals who have the right to choose whom we want. Your tactics has proven we are correct in every circumstance and the admiration and respect I held for you and many African Americans is completely gone. How can you continue to respect someone who's tactics are as low as yours and will use any means necessary to achieve your goal. I believe whether black, white, hispanic, etc., when you use low down tactics as you, no one respects you. Sen. Obama, please do not allow the Clinton campaign to continue to sidetrack you from the issues. Your campaign was never about backbiting, please continue to keep it on a higher ground. People who inspire as you do, should NEVER allow insecure people to take them away from their game. Keep your head high, your campaign about the issues and you will always come out on top.

    March 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  11. akaDoug

    I thought that to Hillary this was the "fun" part of the campaign! I mean it sure looks like she's enjoying being a hypocrite and Bill certainly enjoys making careless remarks!

    I guess old Hillary can dish out the venom but she can't take it! Once again the double standard comes forward! Come on CNN start reporting her lies, her record of deception and all the scandals that she is currently in!

    I really look forward to the day Hillary and her 49 different personalities go back to NY or Arkansas or wherever it is she now calls home!

    March 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  12. Edward M. Magee

    bill clinton wants another shot at the oval office.

    March 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  13. norb

    Here's one way the Republican's can retain the white house, if you can believe it or not. McCain/Clinton.

    March 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  14. VOTER FOR TRUTH, DIGNITY

    Folks, HEAR THIS: The Clinton's will keep the Wright issue up front,
    It'll be another "Geraldine" or some other tactic that the CLINTON'S
    HAVE UP THEIR SLEEVE.

    IN MY HEART , the Wright issue is over and done. I will not change
    my thinking against OBAMA/EDWARDS 2008 because of what
    the media throws out on behalf of THE CLINTON'S.

    IT IS OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Remember, it was bad press and swift boat smear ads against
    Kerry that got Bush in.

    March 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  15. Maryzep

    Democrats quarrels and behaves like "gutter-kids". Let every American vote, including those who live in Florida and Michigan, and calm down!
    In other case vote the Republicans will win the General election.

    March 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  16. Oren

    Strange, the comment was true. Truth always hurts, doesn't it?

    March 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  17. gary

    Banko must be a young voter. When Clinton was in office our country was living good.We had no wars. We had many jobs and living was no problem.Get Obama in the office,we will be in the worst trouble ever.You think your surviving now,you have seen anything yet.That like putting a smooth talking kid out of school in the Whitehouse.He has nothing to offer but smooth talking and empty promises.No one can change the Government. Give me a break.

    March 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  18. d-illinois

    Obama has played dirty from the beginning he is just not called on it. If you ask me the Clinton camp has been very easy on Obama. They know it will be turned on them so they don't do it. Poeple of this country have followed Obama's idea of change because they think he will change politics. This is just another example of how Obama is still the same old thing, just with less experience and apparently bad judgement. I know this issue has been dropped, but would you follow an anti American bigot pastor for 20 years and not carry his beliefs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  19. Rodney

    I'm so glad my state chose Clinton. Obama is like a car wreck. Your fascinated to see it and you tell you friends about it later, yet, it really has no impact on your life other than the wasted time you spent in a traffic jam.

    March 24, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  20. Mark, Burlington Vt

    Oh, and so casting Obama as maybe less patriotic is OK, but reminding America how Clinton disgraced the Presidency is not. Hypocrites.

    March 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  21. Maryzep

    Democrats quarrels and behaves like "gutter-kids". Let every American vote, including those who live in Florida and Michigan, and calm down!
    In other case the Republicans will win the General election.

    March 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  22. Deborah

    The Blue Dress is a TRUTH.

    March 24, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  23. Taylor

    All I have to say is if Obama is the nominee, this life long democrat will be writing in "uncommited" on the ballot come November.

    March 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. PleaseGodNotHillary!

    Truth hurts doesn't it hill? It's a shamed that you can dish it out and your supports can't take it.

    March 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. Disappointed

    The Clinton campaign cannot possibly be offended by attacks when they have spent the entire campaign unfairly attacking Obama! Bill Clinton was wrong and he did try to imply that Obama was not Patriotic! They are dividing the Democratic Party and we will all see the damage Hillary and her campaign have caused come November! The Clintons are only worried about themselves and not the party! I am so disgusted with them! If she wins in this nomination I will not be voting at all! I am tired of her tactics. She is desperate. And now she wants to CRY and complain about Obama when he starts hitting back! Come on!

    March 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
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