August 24th, 2007
12:38 PM ET
15 years ago

Clinton: Terrorist attack will help GOP

Clinton campaigned in New Hampshire Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - She says she is the Democrat best equipped to fight terrorists, but White House hopeful Hillary Clinton told New Hampshire voters Thursday that another attack on the United States would likely help Republican candidates at the polls.

"It's a horrible prospect to ask yourself, 'What if? What if?'" Clinton told a house party in Concord, first reported by the New York Post and the Associated Press and confirmed by her campaign. "But if certain things happen between now and the election, particularly with respect to terrorism, that will automatically give the Republicans an advantage again, no matter how badly they have mishandled it, no matter how much more dangerous they have made the world."

Clinton added that if such a scenario occurred, she is the best Democratic presidential candidate "to deal with that."

Full story

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (161 Responses)
  1. JD, Evansville, Indiana

    Read between the lines. The Republicans know this information too. They know exactly what they need to do to keep Republicans on top.

    August 24, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  2. Anonymous

    is this Hillary's really weird way of getting the terrorists not to attack us??

    August 24, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. Columbus, OH

    Well, if she can't win voters over with her constant flip-flopping, maybe she can just try to scare them into voting for her.

    August 24, 2007 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. Dave, NC

    "Whoa. Was she playing the terror card? Isn’t that the other team’s playbook. From Washington, the New York Post’s Geoff Earle writes up the AP quotes with the headline, “HILL: TERROR WOULD BE GOP BOOST.”

    A little bird with an elephant’s memory reminds us that in the past, Clinton has maintained, as she did in The Washington Post in April, that terrorism “shouldn't be a Democratic fight or a Republican fight.”

    Back in 2005, the Albany Times-Union wrote that she had told the newspaper’s editorial board that the Bush administration had used the war on terror as a "political tool" to frighten Americans into submission.

    And last year, speaking to a United Auto Workers legislative policy conference in Washington, she lambasted Republicans by saying: “Contrary to Franklin Roosevelt who had nothing to fear but fear itself, this crowd is, ‘All we got is fear and we’re going to keep playing the fear card.’ “

    It turns out to be a card that both sides can deal.

    Right out of Karl Rove's playbook, this is why they call her Bush Lite.
    Hillary will be no different

    By Mike Allen 11:28 AM | comments (10) | post comment | permalink
    digg this reddit Yahoo!
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    IP Address: Recorded on submit

    August 24, 2007 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. Pat, Huntington Station, NY

    what was to be gained by her by saying that, granted, it's what most dems believe. in fact, I'm not surprised if Bin Laden himself has already been captured, and is being held in the White House basement, only to be rolled out just before the 2008 elections as a campaign stunt.

    August 24, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  6. James, Conshohocken PA

    What a very odd thing to say...

    August 24, 2007 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. Chip Celina OH

    I keep hitting my backspace key since words cannot simply describe how distasteful this line of 'reasoning' is! (and the post probably wouldn't comply with the CNN Comment Policy)

    Who actually tries to 'calculate' which party will gain an advantage in the wake of such an unspeakable event? Then assert that "I'm your girl" afterward.

    The more she opens her mouth, the more petty she seems. It's all about her. If she does win, and go on to win the general election, Bill's "legacy" will definitely take a downward turn.

    Have a great weekend,


    August 24, 2007 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  8. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    She's right, I have heard many people privately voice the same concerns. What if we are attacked again between now and November 2008? As the Republicans are generally viewed as being stronger on defense, it would definitely help their candidate. Notwithstanding how poorly the Bush administration has handled this issue since 2001.

    Let's not forget about the 1976 election and how Iran released the hostages right after Reagan was elected president. The hostage situation tanked any chance Jimmy Carter had of a second term.

    God forbid that happens again!! The election is very important but the lives of innocent people are more so and I cringe to think of another terrorist attack in our land.

    As someone who was in the North Tower on 9/11 and saw things I would never want to see again, I still would vote for a Democrat if the worse happens once again.

    August 24, 2007 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  9. Myron, Honolulu, HI

    What was actually adequate about Bush’s response to 9-11. The passenger’s response was adequate to down one airplane. The US government had none to minimal response and zero on effectiveness. The CIA was effective in Afghanistan as they started under Clinton but the Iraq chapter once again was a Republican Disaster. The world is not safer without Saddam!

    August 24, 2007 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  10. Jon, Sacramento ~ Ca


    No Terrorist Attacks = Democrats favor

    Terroist Attack = Republican Favor

    Since it's been the Republican administration (Bush) that has used our military to pursue OBL, Al Qaeda, and terrorists – IF the terrorists want the Democrats in office, they won't attack.

    Keep electing Republicans and the terrorist won't attack!

    I love you Hillary!

    August 24, 2007 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  11. david,orlando ,fl

    wait a minute mrs.clinton if we get hit again it wont be a gop or dem problem. this comment will comeback to bite you

    August 24, 2007 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  12. Lake side, Lakewood, OH

    It seems like former first lady Sen Hillary Clinton is taking a page straight from the Bush-Cheney-Rove playbook.

    She is using the scary prospect of a terror attack to somehow promote the illogical argument that she can best take on the Republicans.

    She seems to think that her experience in fending off the Clinton-era scandals, some of which were her husband's own fault, will somehow give her the edge. That's not true.

    August 24, 2007 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  13. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    What is so odd and so weird about Hillary's Comments on the GOP Terrorism Fear Card? It's the unequivocal truth. The Republicans have been playing the Fear Card throughout their entire reign!

    Hillary is not flip flopping, she is strategically pointing out that the Republicans have been playing and are still playing the Fear Card since they were elected, because it is the ONLY card they have to play!

    Hillary's message, which seems to have been missed, is that SHE is the best Candidate to handle any POSSIBLE future attack by the terrorists. But if you truly read between the lines, she is not promoting fear on a terrorist attack, unlike the Republicans, she is promoting assurance that SHOULD an attack take place, Americans do not have to fear, as she can and will deal with it in in a way that ensures the highest level of safety to Americans.

    Maybe instead of reading between the lines, some could try reading the lines as they have been written, orated, quoted and printed.

    Quite frankly, as someone who doesn't even have a vote, I'm tired of reading comments charging Hillary with Flip Flopping based on articles, statements and/or re-runs on issues that were news three to four years ago. C'Mon what person among us holds the exact same beliefs, assessments, on issues over a three to four year period. A person's assessments and beliefs change as does the situations they are associated to.

    August 24, 2007 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  14. James, Minneapolis, MN

    And this woman is NOT POLARIZING

    August 24, 2007 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  15. David, Gilbert Arizona

    On the surface Hillary's comment is bizarre. If you stop and think, there actually is an underlining reasoning to the thought process.

    Hillary wasn't addressing the war on terror. The war on terror is an oxymoron, since you can't fight an emotion. She was addressing an act of terrorism, like a bombing or something similar.

    Take the Madrid Spain bombing. That act of terrorism had such an impact on the voting populace that the existing government was voted out. The new government ended Spain's military involvement in Iraq.

    So yes, it could be argued that an act of terrorism could play into the hands of the republicans who advocate a strong military.

    Gads, that's twice today I stood up for something Hillary said. I feel so dirty now.

    August 24, 2007 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  16. John Swanson Chicago

    Clinton added that if such a scenario occurred, she is the best Democratic presidential candidate "to deal with that."

    BECAUSE................................................................................................................................................................................................... I've got all day lady.............................

    How many years does it take to put together a functioning, comprehensive health care plan anyways Ms. Clinton? we're running on about 10 years at least here.

    August 24, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  17. Dan, Columbia MD


    America losing the war in Iraq helps the Democrats.

    This woman is not fit to lead this country.

    August 24, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  18. David, Salinas, CA

    I wish we could stop focusing on every little one-liner on the campaign trail and look at issues of substance. Senator Clinton’s comment is obviously true, and equally obviously impolitic. Mostly, it’s irrelevant.

    The last line of this story is: “Clinton was in the crucial early voting state Thursday to unveil her healthcare plan.” Any chance CNN is going to report on that? Or is there new video of a candidate with a cute puppy?

    August 24, 2007 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  19. Terry Adams Myrtle beach

    She is not equipped to be Senator much less President.

    August 24, 2007 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  20. John Swanson Chicago

    Oh yea, I almost forgot to add how impressed I was that cited the NEW YORK POST SOURCE, since we all know what a credible national gossip rag, I mean newspaper it is.

    August 24, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  21. Rodney Dallas TX

    I'm not sure I understand her logic behind this message but I love her anyway. Hillary/Obama 2008

    August 24, 2007 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  22. Larry Pittsburgh, PA

    Amazing, No comment as to how terrible it would be for this country or to those who would likely perish in such an attack, only that it would help the GOP candidates. Unbelievable

    August 24, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. pl, at the UN, for a while.

    I am not American. I cannot vote.

    The comments that note how fast and how disparaging comment against Ms Rodham-Clinton come down on her on this blog seem to be correct.

    As to me? the early one-liners are unconvincing. I value more the reasoned ones that appear a bit later.

    However, I do not share those views that try to belittle the obvious many talents she obviously possesses.

    August 24, 2007 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. JoeCHI, Chicago, IL

    History shows that Clinton has a substantive point.

    From the BBC:

    US Democratic Senator John Kerry says a video message from Osama Bin Laden sealed his defeat in a presidential race dominated by the 9/11 attacks.

    He said the impact of Bin Laden's message was evident by the dent in his ratings that followed its appearance.

    "We were rising in the polls up until the last day when the tape appeared. We flat-lined the day the tape appeared and went down on Monday."

    Love it or hate it, Democrats indulge their short-term memory at their own risk!

    August 24, 2007 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  25. Terry, El Paso, TX

    What she actually SAID was that Americans will rally behind the leadership in power if the US is attacked. That is certainly what happened after Pearl Harbor and on 9/12 wasn't it? If Kerry, McCain, Nader, Clinton, or Kucinich was president on the day of an attack, Americans would rally around him or her. Also, the leadership in power will have take the opportunity to make brave, well-televised speeches and shake the hands of brave young soldiers on their way to Iran or Korea or Syria or wherever. Focus groups will tell the President whether he/she looks more heroic in front of a picture of the Washington Monument or in front of a picture of the Los Angeles skyline.

    Nothing can happen to anyone anywhere without 100,000 politicians thinking first about how many votes will move this way or that way as a result of this disaster. Similarly, if a refinery is destroyed by a bomb, stock brokers immediately purchase a competitor's oil stocks. Or, if a million children become sick with fatal avaian flu, funeral home chain stores start re-designing their advertising and they immediately order thousands of cute little pink and blue caskets decorated with nursery rhyme characters. Business is, after all, business. And when your business is politics, you think the same way.

    The ancient Greeks had a better system. Many of their leaders were selected by drawing names (well qualified names) out of a large pot. The man whose name was drawn assumed office and had to defend his conduct and his decisions at the end of his term. While this method surely did not select the best man for the job every time, at least it selected average men most of the time. That is better than our democracy has done for the past few decades.

    August 24, 2007 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
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