April 15th, 2008
05:28 PM ET
10 years ago

Clinton: Bush was 'unready' for presidency

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hillary Clinton invoked September 11 on Tuesday, accusing President Bush of squandering the goodwill in America’s favor following the terrorist attacks.

"We have seen the power of the presidency placed in hands unready or unwilling to address the tasks that lie ahead," Clinton remarked at a luncheon hosted by Newspaper Association of America in Washington, D.C.

"Just think of the days after September 11. Imagine if President Bush had tapped into the wellspring of American energy, initiative and goodwill," she said, making an argument reminiscent of her former presidential rival Joe Biden, who regularly offered similar comments on the campaign trail and at the 2004 Democratic National Convention.

Her advisers billed Clinton's speech as a wide angle envisioning of her administration and how it would differ from President Bush's.

(UPDATE: Republican response after the jump)

Clinton said that after September 11, Bush failed to encourage young people to enter national service programs, reach out to the rest of the world, or develop a renewable energy policy.

“The President literally could have asked us to do anything, calling on our patriotism and our unity,” she said. "But he only asked us to draw on our wallets and go shopping."

UPDATE: The Republican Party responded to Clinton's comments Tuesday evening. "Senator Clinton’s divisive and dishonest rhetoric may appeal to superdelegates, but it won’t help her win the trust of the American people,” said RNC spokesman Alex Conant.

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (339 Responses)
  1. Kay-Arizona

    Hillary Clinton's remarks were/are exactly correct.

    April 15, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  2. John Smith

    This issue is "not" about winning as Hillary would have all of us believe. Let me give you this, please read patiently:

    Let us say Hillay wins and becomes the President of the U.S. Be honest with yourself,

    1. How many Republicans will be willing to carry out her agenda?
    2. How many people will she be able to bring together across the parties to get anything done?
    3. How many Republicans will immediately start to plan to run against her after 4 years?
    4. How many "old and new scandals" is this nation willing to undertake again?

    You see, I am over 50 years old and have continued to follow politics all year round:

    It is not about winning, it is about the strength to govern!
    It is not about having solutions, it is about been about to carry out the solutions!
    It is not about being a president, it is about being able to hold the "moral torch" and to bring the people together.

    Hilllary cannot do any of these things, period. As Regan once said, people get the type of "government" that are... of them. We have made bad judgments over these years, and this is the last chance, I believe, that God has given to us to redeem our levels of ignorance.

    April 15, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  3. Noah

    If you were all honest and you really looked at Hillary Clinton, you would find someone who would be one of America's greatest leaders. Instead, you would rather wallow in gutter talk and tabloid reporting.

    I am sending Hillary 1000.00 today to support her bid. And I am not rich, its the right thing to do.

    Hillary 08

    April 15, 2008 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  4. Len in Washington

    Invoking 9/11?

    Invoking my wrath in the voting booth!

    This is shameful.

    Len in Washington

    April 15, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  5. Sean

    Wasn't it under Bill's watch that the planning and preparation for this attack go down? Didn't Bill have intelligence to take down bin Laden way before this happened?

    I just bought a used car. Turns out the last owner didn't take care of it. Didnt' follow the maintenance schedules. Ran it into the ground. A month after I bought it, it broke down. Did I break it? The damage was already done. Blame the last owner.

    April 15, 2008 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  6. Nando, Florida

    Hillary go caught up in the George Bush Warmongering CREW. So she has no reason to talk at all about this issue.

    OBAMA right on DAY 1

    April 15, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  7. vince - Phoenix - (forgive me cnn, for I have sinned)


    I'll worry about Rezko when everything abour Norm Hsu and WHOMEVER THE HELL (cause we STILL don't know..) SAUDIS DONATED TO THE CLINTON LIBRARY...

    dude... do you REALLY want to put Rezko up against WHITEWATER?

    April 15, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  8. NickNas

    OK........... Everyone who doesn't see this comment as a very amaturish attack on Obama raise your hands MMMKay??? We will just give you a cookie and some milk and you can take a nap in the corner till we are finished.

    That is all.

    April 15, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  9. Mark Vale

    Who is Hillary kidding? She is no more ready to be president than either McCain or Obama. Considering her lack of control of her own campaign, her lying or stretch of the imagination and delusions of grandeur, she is hardly ready for zilch!

    April 15, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  10. James, PA

    Another Hillary doublespeak. Bush is not ready to be president but she teamed up with Bush for the Iraq war.

    April 15, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  11. Scott Gaffin

    This is just another example of the "finger-pointing" that goes on during an election year. Instead of telling the voters about the specific changes and programs that a candidate is for, they just tell us how lousy the guy before them is. I believe the voters are tired of hearing rhetoric and want to hear what a candidate is planning to do to fix the problems we all face, regardless of where we come down politically. I know that I'm not alone in this thought, most of the folks I know are sick of the mud slinging that occurs. Wouldn't it be nice if a candidate could just run on a positive platform?

    April 15, 2008 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  12. Rebecca

    Hillary: YOU are not ready either....just look at the bad decisions you made while in the Senate, as well as the Whitehouse! You filed in the line with the rest of the sheep. We certainly do not need more of the status quo this time, we need a true, courageous leader!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    GO OBAMA!!! YES, WE CAN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    April 15, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  13. Ardnuas

    Annie Oakley CAN'T run her campaign without hate and negative energy, how can she run our GREAT country? At 3:00 am when the phone rings, she will be all liquored up!
    Obama/Edwards08 Si Se Puede

    April 15, 2008 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  14. Steve

    If you don't like Obama, that's fine. But try to show some maturity and not call him obviously racist names like "boy". Let's try to keep references to both candidates somewhat civil. To put it in language you'd understand, calling an African American (note: he's half white) "boy" in the 21st Century just makes you look like a dumb, cousin-marrying, sister-chasing cracker. Get over it.

    I was a Clinton supporter until she began to reveal herself for the slimy politician she is. I feel like taking a shower each time I read something she's said or done. I do have to say, I agree with her in this case. Bush was not ready to be president. His administration has been an on-going disaster for 8 years. On a happier note, the next president, no matter who it is, will no doubt do a better job. By comparison, my dog could run the country better.

    April 15, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  15. Carrie Pa

    No president would have been ready for 911. I think Bush did a good job. It was Iraq that he messed up. Hillary don't flatter yourself!

    April 15, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  16. KD

    Though I am not a fan of Bush... I feel that of all the presidents that have just stepped into office, he was dealt one the worse hands. I don't necessarily agree with how he handled everything, but I don't think that any new president would be ready for that type of thing.

    April 15, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  17. Chut Pata

    Hmm. So if being the son of a president and ex CIA chief did not groom a young Bush for presidency, how can being the wife of a president would groom and old lady for presidency?

    April 15, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  18. Shutpieholehillary, NY

    Yo Hillary, finally a truth... now, can you explain how he was able to convince a seasoned senator like yourself to vote for the war in Iraq?

    April 15, 2008 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  19. Gary of El Centro, Ca

    Hillary is pulling out the Republican playbook and trying out everything she finds in there. Play on the fear from 9/11 must have been in there right on page one.

    April 15, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  20. Aaron

    “The President literally could have asked us to do anything, calling on our patriotism and our unity,” she said. "But he only asked us to draw on our wallets and go shopping."

    Actually he asked us to go to war with Iraq...which we did...thanks in no small part to you and your vote, Hillary.

    April 15, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  21. ISE

    It's not a question of readiness, it's a question of basic competence. Bush, a member of the royal family on the right, had the presidency handed to him, despite the fact that he had proven himself incompetent many times before. Now Hillary, a member of the royal family on the left, wants the presidency, or at least the Democrat nomination, handed to her, after proving her own incompetence in running her campaign. Don't call me an Obama supporter, by the way. I'm an independent who will never vote for any member of a royal family (Bush, Kennedy, Clinton).

    April 15, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  22. Nate, Denver, CO.

    Igamine if Clinton had taken out Bin Laden when he had the chance. 911 may have been just another Tuesday. Bush handled the tragedy better than any Clinton ever could.

    April 15, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  23. Mike

    Obama will never NEVER be America's pres. There isn't enough young or black people to vote him in. Obama is a uniter, he will unite all kinda of democrats and rep and ind to vote against him in the general. Trust me on that one.

    April 15, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  24. Chris, Middletown, CT

    In the end....he had more experience than Hillary....as it wasn't his spouse who was Governor of Texas...he actually had the experience (which says little for experience)

    I'm a Republican...who is supporting Obama – many others I know have contributed to him as well – its time to end this. Republicans and Independents will never vote for Hillary....ever

    April 15, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  25. Independent for Hillary, Pittsburgh

    I love this woman...

    She will be a great President for all of America!!!

    Clinton- McCain '08

    April 15, 2008 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
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