August 7th, 2007
10:27 PM ET
12 years ago

Maybe its the heat..sharper exchanges mark Chicago forum

(CNN) – Maybe it’s the heat. The top Democratic candidates engaged in some of the sharpest exchanges yet of the presidential debate season Tuesday night in an outdoor forum in Chicago.

The AFL-CIO forum, televised on MSNBC, took place outdoors in steamy Soldier Field in front of thousands of union members.

Frontrunner Hillary Clinton, who faced strong criticism in recent days from Barack Obama and John Edwards, said in the first hour of the debate, “I’m just taking it all in. I’ve noticed in the last few days a lot of the other campaigns have been using my name a lot.” But she said the goal is not to get in fights with Democrats. I want the Democrats to win. And I want a united Democratic Party that will stand against the Republicans. And I will say that, for 15 years, I have stood up against the right-wing machine. And I've come out stronger. So if you want a winner who knows how to take them on, I'm your girl.”

But Clinton continued her attack of Obama on his foreign policy, including his comments he would take action against terror suspects inside Pakistan. She said, “Well, I do not believe people running for president should engage in hypotheticals and it may well be that the strategy that we have to pursue on the basis of actionable intelligence - but, remember, we've had some real difficult experiences with actionable intelligence - might lead to a certain action. But I think it is a very big mistake to telegraph that, and to destabilize the Musharraf regime which is fighting for its life against the Islamist extremists who are in bed with Al Qaeda and Taliban .And remember: Pakistan has nuclear weapons. The last thing we want is to have Al Qaeda-like followers in charge of Pakistan and having access to nuclear weapons.” Clinton said, “you can think big, but remember you shouldn't always say everything you think if you're running for president, because it has consequences across the world. And we don't need that right now”.

But Obama, who also drew fire from Senator Christopher Dodd over the Pakistan issue struck back, saying, “I find it amusing that those who helped to authorize and engineer the biggest foreign policy disaster in our generation are now criticizing me for making sure that we are on the right battlefield and not the wrong battlefield in the war against terrorism.”

And drawing on a new line of attack he used against Clinton for not representing change, Obama said, “we're debating the most important foreign policy issues that we face, and the American people have the right to know. It is not just Washington insiders that are part of the debate that has to take place with respect to how we're going to shift our foreign policy.”

- CNN Political Desk Managing Editor Steve Brusk

soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. Robert M. Reidy, Tillson, N.Y.

    Oh, yea! I almost forgot remember who got booed and why !!!

    August 8, 2007 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  2. katwac oakland calif

    First, anyone watching heard the BOOs Hillary got!!! CNN I have to agree you are becoming the step-child of Fox News – not telling it like it is and you too MSNBC.
    Well, I have to say this was the best exchange I have heard from these canditates and it clearly proved to me what I already knew – Hillary is not for us, the American people – she is for Hillary and will only be a female Bush in the white house.
    Obama, no matter what the news media says that Clinton is leading and all that BULL, you won last night with honest talk to us Americans about what you will do about this war, and Clinton and the others who kept on attacking him, well I think he put them all in their place!!!!! KEEP IT UP OBAMA, Hillary, you are a real phony,and maybe you have been in politics longer than Obama but you know what, that does not mean JACK – you know wny? Because you cannot tell us Americans who you really are, what you really stand for, and to keep secrets from the American people who you serve – NO VOTE FOR HILLARY.
    And to CNN – you had better get a grip because you are indeed turning into the Clinton News Network and after all these years I have been a faithful and trusting viewer...Bye CNN

    August 8, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. Linda, Chandler AZ

    Clinton spent so much time attacking Obama she never got around to explaining why she needs to take gobs of money from Lobbyists to be convinced to help the "real people". These "debates" are a sham. Giving the candidates 90 sec. to answer complex questions turns most responses into "elect me" rhetoric. And could I please know why Keith Oberman asks Sen. Obama if he would invite Barry Bonds to the White House, and then turns around asks Clinton how she would of handled Katrina???? Obviously, there is Clinton bias on every MSM network...but guess what? IT'S NOT GOING TO WORK!!!!!

    August 8, 2007 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  4. Matt from Iraq

    This media outlet is officially the Clinton News Network now. I can't believe how biased CCN has become. Obama took on all the other leading candidates and pretty much dominated, but all this article says is Clinton comments. Bad job CNN, bad job!

    August 8, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. av3, Washington DC

    She said, “Well, I do not believe people running for president should engage in hypotheticals." Well what should candidates engage in, Hillary?

    Aren't these debates about what you would do IF you were elected president?

    Doesn't IF necessitate HYPOTHETICALS?

    I am absolutely sick of empty political rhetoric that is employed by most modern day candidates. It is cynical, critical, confusing, and censored.


    August 8, 2007 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  6. Ernest Caldwell Philadelphia, Pa

    I'm just curious, were the reporters of CNN there when Clinton got BOOOEED. I would think that would have made it to the article. What happened?

    August 8, 2007 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  7. Lance, Monrovia, CA.

    Obama was the only candidate on stage last night that was actually veering away from the pack and saying something smart and crucial. Of course we should go get Bin Laden wherever he is, the rest look weak for not agreeing. Of course we should reform the lobbyist system... its mucking up the system. Hillary Clinton feels like she's still living in the 90's while Obama feels fresh, relevant and by far the strongest on issues both foriegn and domestic that are going to reverse the damage.

    Oh, and by the way, I don't want my President to "take on the right." as Hillary said. I am so incredibly weary of left versus right, us versus them, evil versus good. Get a President in there that can make the country whole and start some forward momentum on things like healthcare and global warming. Hillary could NEVER bring Republicans and Democrats together as Americans. If you watch what she's saying closely, she's saying the same "you're either with me or against me" that Bush has, only now it's for the left rather than the right. Obama feels like he knows exactly what needs to be done and he's the absolute best to do it.

    What needs to be done is bringing the partys together and not being wishy washy. We need someone that sees the way ahead and can unite us. Obama '08

    August 8, 2007 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
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