April 7th, 2008
03:40 PM ET
6 years ago

Clinton calls on Bush to boycott Olympics

 Clinton is calling on President Bush to boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
Clinton is calling on President Bush to boycott the opening ceremony of the Olympics.

(CNN) – Hillary Clinton is calling on President Bush to boycott the opening of this summer's Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

In a statement released by her campaign Monday, the New York senator pointed to the recent protests in Tibet and the Chinese government’s failure to pressure the government of Sudan to end the violence in Darfur.

“These events underscore why I believe the Bush administration has been wrong to downplay human rights in its policy towards China,” said Clinton. “At this time, and in light of recent events, I believe President Bush should not plan on attending the opening ceremonies in Beijing, absent major changes by the Chinese government.”

Last month, Clinton – who has long advocated a tougher approach toward the Chinese government – declined to call for a U.S. boycott of the Olympic Games, but called for greater pressure leading up to the summer event in Beijing.

"I think that what's happening in Tibet is deeply troubling, and this is a pattern of the Chinese government with respect to their treatment of Tibet,” she said at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania. “I don't think we should wait until the Olympics to make sure that our views are known."

Barack Obama has said he is torn in his views on the issue.

"I'm of two minds about this,” said the Illinois senator in a CBS interview last week. “On the one hand, I think that what's happened in Tibet, China's support of the Sudanese government in Darfur, is a real problem.”

But, he added: “I'm hesitant to make the Olympics a site of political protest because I think it's partly about bringing the world together."

Last summer, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson – then a Democratic presidential candidate - said the United States should boycott the Olympics entirely if China did not take a more active role in ending the conflict in Darfur.

“We need China,” Richardson said at the June 3 CNN presidential primary debate, “which has enormous leverage over Darfur. If the Chinese don’t want to do this, we say to them, maybe we won’t go to the Olympics.”

Connecticut Sen. Chris Dodd disagreed with that approach. “I don’t think (boycotting) gets you there. It will delay the kind of influence and support China should support,” Dodd responded.

(Full campaign statement below):

Statement by Hillary Clinton on Olympics

The violent clashes in Tibet and the failure of the Chinese government to use its full leverage with Sudan to stop the genocide in Darfur are opportunities for Presidential leadership. These events underscore why I believe the Bush administration has been wrong to downplay human rights in its policy towards China. At this time, and in light of recent events, I believe President Bush should not plan on attending the opening ceremonies in Beijing, absent major changes by the Chinese government.

I encourage the Chinese to take advantage of this moment as an opportunity to live up to universal human aspirations of respect for human rights and unity, ideals that the Olympic games have come to represent.

Americans will stand strong in support of freedom of religious and political expression and human rights. Americans will also stand strong and root for the success of American athletes who have worked hard and earned the right to compete in the Olympic Games of 2008.


Filed under: President Bush
soundoff (484 Responses)
  1. Larry Minard

    What a convenient way to dodge the real issues. Support a boycott of the Olympics to get even with China. Gee Hillary, that's really deep and decisive for you isn't it. Besides the only people who can afford to go to the Olympics are those in her own 100 million dollar income range, and who can fanagle a way to write it off. You probably won't see many blue collar workers there.

    April 7, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  2. Paul

    Funny, I don't see Americans or our politians boycotting anything "Made In China" in protest of human rights.

    April 7, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  3. Hillary 08

    Hillary will win the great state of Pennsylvania by a HUGE margin. She is beloved here!! Then she'll sweep up in North Carolina, Indiana, West Virginia, Kentucky, and Puerto Rico. At that point, she'll be ahead in the popular vote, especially because the good people of Florida and Michigan REMEMBER that they chose Hillary and their votes should count!! I predict John Edwards will endorse Hillary before the N.C. Primary and possibly be her V.P. What a ticket!! What hope for America!!
    To all of Hillary's. Supporters
    .Please don't let the old sexist Republicans make you feel bad with their rampant sexism that follows Hillary. It's a typical CNN, and MSNBC blogger to scourn a woman who can throw a punch. Down with the Obamanation of this 2008 election year! Hillary Clinton . . . our next black President!
    Obama supporters say some of the meanest, nastiest things. If they want people to rally behind their candidate should he get the nomination, they better show more respect. Right now, I don't like them very much.

    April 7, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  4. Debra2

    Obama has no ideas of his own. He'll be here soon to support her opinion and make it his own!

    April 7, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. Patrick

    Bessie,

    Your comparison of how a vote for obama is a vote for Bush is weak at best, and pathetic and transparently biased at worse.
    Love for Hillary does not equal Hate for Barack.

    April 7, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. California girl

    Good for you Hillary. I really don't like us meddling in other nation's business, but what is going on in Tibet today is terrible and we have no business supporting the Olympics .

    April 7, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. let's be real

    Before you Obama supporters write anti-Clinton remarks on the walls, make sure to spell check. Also, you might want to ask for a brain donation while you're at it.

    I do agree that it's quite unnecessary for Hillary to bother telling Bush to boycott the ceremonies. Focus on the election back home, where you need to climb out of the steep hole you've been in for some time.

    April 7, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. Skipper

    Correction:

    China has been on the "Most Favored Nations" list since 1980. If you're going to have political opinion there Larry Dickman in Des Moines, as least learn something about politics first.

    April 7, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  9. For Obama

    she is only standing up to China so they will give her more money to let them do what they want. Like the did with Bill during his presidential campaign. Where were you? They are where they are today because of the Clintons... Another mistake she is trying to fix or cover up? to go along with the Iraq War, and NAFTA.. what else is out there?

    April 7, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. Eileen

    Pres. Carter's boycott of the 1980 Olympics proved to have done more harm, particularly to the US and its athletes, than any good. For those who may not remember, that boycott was called to protest the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Ironic, given our presence there at this time. Mrs. Clinton should do some research into the actual effects that boycott had, before making such statements, which were likely intended to deflect from her usual over-friendly relations with the Chinese government.

    April 7, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  11. Mary Sue

    I almost never agree with Hillary, but in this case, I do. China shouldn't have been awarded the Olympics anyway, but now that it has, it would be a good time to send some message that its human rights violations are unacceptable.

    The truth of the matter is China practically OWNS the U.S. because it has loaned this country so much money. That's probably why Bush is reluctant to boycott.

    April 7, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. Cheryl

    I think this is an unfortunate idea. If everyone makes the Olympics a political event then we'll never have the Olympics. It's a time to come together and celebrate unity. It's very similar to how Bush is placing troops in Iraq when he has never participated himself. Please, Bush, don't do this. The athletes have been working their whole lives.

    April 7, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. Public eye

    Score negative points for the Hillary campaign again. Like it or not, Bush is the president until January, and he will represent our country at the games. It would be best not to shame and dishonor China, one of the most powerful nations in the world. Politics and sports should not share the same bed, and it is honorable for the U.S. to participate in these Olympics. Boycotts in the past, 1936 Berlin, and 1980 Moscow never amounted to anything, except ticking off the international community, which we've done enough already. Maybe you should go to Beijing, Hill.

    April 7, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. bessie

    The more you Obamabots are bashing Hillary unfairly, the more we're going to support her. You guys are the ones knit picking and throwing the kitchen sink at her. You guys are the ones who are hateful and angry and dividing the country.

    We in PA will support HILLARY all the way to the convention!

    April 7, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  15. Les

    I believe that Senator Clinton is right about avoiding the Olympic's, only I think we should go further than that, all the Western Countries should stick together on this one and have their athletes stay home.

    April 7, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  16. Ron Eisenberg Overland Park Kansas

    Smartest thing this women has said during her whole campaign

    April 7, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  17. KDogg

    "As usual, Senator Clinton is out in front. How long will it take Obama to parrot this too?"
    ----------------------------------------------------------------

    What are you talking about? Clinton is parroting Nancy Pelosi. This is a campaign strategy...nothing more. Clinton could care less about Tibetans or the Sudanese. Remember Rwanda?

    April 7, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. Jeremy Abbas

    Rubbish. Boycotting the Olympics only punishes our athletes, and calling on President Bush to boycott the opening ceremony is nothing more than a dollar waiting on a dime. We need substance and character in the White House which neither Bush or either Clintons posses.

    April 7, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  19. bhoho

    What a toothache of a woman Hillary Clinton is. Can't she just go away?

    April 7, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  20. David

    So, it's okay to borrow money from China to pay for an "economic bail out" but the President should boycott the Olympic opening ceremony. Yep, sounds like we have our priorities in order.

    April 7, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  21. Anti-Clinton

    That's right, try re-directing the attention from your floundering campaign.

    April 7, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  22. Texas Boy

    ....and we call on you (Hilary) to drop out the race!!!

    Can anyone explain to me how she can stand there in front of America and tell lie after lie? Are you people that blind to see that she is a BIG LIAR?

    April 7, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  23. Martin

    CNN has rather skewed things with that headine! Clinton called on Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies. The headline suggests she has called for an Olympic boycott.

    April 7, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  24. 2sense

    The 2008 summer games were awarded to Beijing, on July 13, 2001. The short list was published while Bill Clinton was president. Screw politics. American athletes went to Berlin in 1936 and kicked butt. Thanks Jesse Owens.

    April 7, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. Thomas, LA

    Hillary's lies are only matched by her repeated bad judgement. Oh she'll be ready on day one, but it will to be "misspeak" and make the wrong decision time and time again.

    Wake up America! We can't afford Clinton.

    Vote Obama and let's make this country great again.

    April 7, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
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