October 11th, 2007
04:15 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama: Clinton vote on Iran shows 'flawed' judgment

Watch portions of Wolf Blitzer's interview Thursday with Sen. Barack Obama.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama criticized Sen. Hillary Clinton Thursday for her vote in support of a resolution calling an Iranian group a terrorist organization, saying it exhibited the "flawed" judgment she used during the vote to authorize the Iraq war five years ago.

The resolution, which declared the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization, could be used by President Bush as a "blank check" that he interprets as authorization to take military action against Iran, Obama said.

"We know in the past that the president has used some of the flimsiest excuses to try to move his agenda regardless of what Congress says," Obama told CNN's Wolf Blitzer.

When asked by an audience member at a campaign event Sunday why she voted for the resolution that the questioner said authorized military action against Iran, Clinton said, "The premise of the question is wrong," and went on to argue that the measure calls for the terrorist label so that sanctions can be imposed.

The sanctions, Clinton said while campaigning in New Hampton, Iowa, will in turn "send a clear message to the leadership" and lead to stronger diplomatic efforts.

Full story

- CNN.com Senior Political Producer Scott Anderson

soundoff (124 Responses)
  1. Tony, Enterprise, Alabama

    It is my understanding that Senator Obama did not vote for or against this resolution.

    If the gentleman is so sure this was a blank check for the President to invade Iran, why didn't he make his stand and vote against it?

    What complete nonsense. I cannot believe that Senator Obama believes the crap he just laid on us, and more, I cannot believe that he expects us to believe it. Once again his youth and inexperience are glaringly apparent.

    In spite of this Obama-blog, I wouldn't consider voting for him at all.

    October 11, 2007 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  2. Pam Holt Los Angeles, CA

    Yeah Barack, and you didn't even care enough to show up to vote.

    You're not much different from Hillary, and you're both not much different from Bush.

    KUCINICH: ~Strength through Peace~

    October 11, 2007 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  3. Heather, Nashville, TN

    It's very sad that Mr. Obama seems to not understand that Senator Clinton is a democrat and that trying to draw lines in the party will only help the Republican nominee, not himself. Maybe someone should clue him in....

    October 11, 2007 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  4. Vince, Los Angles

    For all of you who insist on (FALSELY) stating that Obama does not articulate policy....

    Obama tax plan: $80 billion in cuts, five-minute filings
    WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama on Tuesday proposed overhauling the tax code to lower taxes for the poor and middle class, increase them for the rich and make it so most Americans can file their taxes in five minutes.
    The tax relief plan he envisions for the middle class alone would mean $80 billion or more in tax cuts, he said.
    Obama, an Illinois Democrat who is a front-runner for his party's 2008 presidential nomination, said during a speech at the Tax Policy Center that the present tax code reflects the wrong priorities because it rewards wealth instead of work.

    > http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/09/18/obama.taxplan/index.html#cnnSTCText


    October 11, 2007 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  5. stan pitts p.a

    Fellow bloggers please get your facts straight, senator reid's son works for the hillary campaign, and he senator reid knew fully well that, telling obama about the vote an hour before it is voted wont give obama enough time to get back to washington, he knew obama had to go to "N.H AND THE DAY BEFORE HE SAID THE VOTE WAS POSTPONED INDEFINITELY" the clintons have senator reid in their pocket and all we see here is political meandering, this sends a clear message to me, that with hillary it will only be more of the same crap, and that the hillary camp will go to any lenght to try to make obama seem like he only cares about campaigning and not senate issues,Americans listen once more, we were warned not to vote bush back into power, but most Americans still did, if hillary is president America will be worse off, because with hillary all i see is the same old political gamesmanship that has helped divide and send this country, economically and politically on a downward spiral, God save America!!! Obama 08!!!

    October 11, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  6. pam Eugene, OR

    You are so right Coach! I agree with most everything you say. To Providence, PLEASE I also would love to see a woman President. What a wonderful thing it would be to tell my granduaghter! But, NOT this wonman...NEVER this woman. Shrillary is a lying, cheating sell out.
    Anyone by HRC 08

    October 11, 2007 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  7. Bruce Jackson


    Wake up! Read the papers conservative or liberal or listen to CNN or Fox and they all report the same thing. Believe what you want but American Military members are coming home in body bags, while others are being mangled and wounded by Iranian made and supplied weapons to Iraq! Be mad at the adminstration all you want, but it still doesn't change the fact that Americans and innocent Iraqis are being hurt and killed by Iran as it continues to fight a proxy war against the United States by arming insurgents/terrorists in Iraq, while they sit behind their secure border.

    October 11, 2007 09:14 pm at 9:14 pm |
  8. Ray Ray, Washington, DC

    The only country that wants Iran attacked is Israel. Obama seems to be the only candidate whom has not fully sold himself to AIPAC, Yet. Hillary might as well be running for Presidency of Israel. She'll say, and do anytihng to get Jewish votes.

    October 11, 2007 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  9. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Thank you for your honest comments. Specially thanks to Pa and Laurinda from NY. Obama has no any political view, that's why he sticks to Hillary's war vote. Obama has no right to mention about vote which he wasn't eligable in 2002. He has no idea about vote so didn't show up(excuse is not acceptable) because he is clueless. He couldn't answer about Social Security and Health Care at AARP Debate, so he skipped debate. I don't respect him at all, he is playing dirty games, said black people will vote him, attacks Hillary. Obama is not charming, not handsome, his eyes are cruel to me. Obama is naive, inexperienced and immatured in Politics. I feel sorry for Oprah, she picked up wrong one, wasted money. Obama is not even qualified for VP too. I want Hillary close her eyes to Obama.

    October 11, 2007 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  10. just joe

    You are a nice guy, and might be a good vp, but your comments about a lady who has a hell of a lot more brainpower than you pint only to your inexperienced junvenile responses.
    Thank God you weren't interested in running sooner, when you had total inexperience. Don't you agree?

    October 11, 2007 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  11. Vincent, San Francisco, CA

    Nobody authorized anybody to go to war. The bill called a terrorist group a terrorist group (a spade is a spade after all). This allows the US to impose sanctions and will give us leverage when they abduct our troops in the disputed waters as they did with the Brits a few months ago. It is a good thing for the country. Hillary is wise to also seek explicit authorization from the President to go to war with Iran, lest he misinterpret it.

    Regardless of the real issues, Hillary is undoubtedly looking ahead to the general election where her vote will help her. Assuming her nomination is inevitable, appearing strong on national security – not to mention being criticized by MoveOn.org – could help her take lots of votes away from any of the likely republican challengers. I don’t think anybody is realistically worried that Hillary Clinton is another W warmonger.

    Barack Obama never looks good criticizing the other candidates. The reason he was popular early on is because nobody had any negative associations for him yet (sort of like Fred Thompson for republicans) because nobody knew him except for his speech at the ‘04 convention. The problem is that now we see him lashing out, and he doesn’t make us feel warm and fuzzy any more. He is also in no position to criticize Hillary’s vote, having missed the vote altogether himself. If I lived in Illinois, I would write him a letter asking him to find a way to campaign without missing important votes, or to resign from either the Senate or the race.

    October 11, 2007 09:48 pm at 9:48 pm |
  12. Amy, FL

    "really want to know why hillary voted for that resolution?its not a matter of flawed judgment but a matter of corruption.hillary gets the most money from the jewish lobbying group aipac. dont wonder why she votes for all resolutions favoring israel. it is not a US agenda to block iran but an israeli one.lieberman who is jewish is the co-sponsor of the resolution. the US needs someone working for the american people and not the aipac lobby group."

    Posted By david,montreal, canada : October 11, 2007 3:59 pm

    David in Montreal:

    Glad to see someone speak the truth. This is why I cannot vote for Hillary. She is in the pocket of the Israeli government..a government that uses us to do their dirty work land grabs and to veto UN resolutions against their violations of human rights and int'l law. This is why we are hated...we should be ashamed.

    We need a leader that will look after OUR interests and not harm us by supporting rogue states clothed in "democracy" such as Israel.

    If the people of this country studied the history of the middle east conflict (not just the jewish version), they would understand the huge amount of damage done to us as a nation by our blind support of Israel.

    Hillary is in the pocket of AIPAC and will not get my vote. AIPAC could care less about America....we are a stupid people sometimes...so sad and scary.

    October 11, 2007 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
  13. Coach Haughton NH

    Get the facts straight he didn't ignore the vote. He was there...the vote was put on indefinate hold...knowing he already had the votes secured senator reid had the absent senators notified and voted an hour later.

    This stupid spin about him somehow "escaping" or "hiding" from the vote is absurd.

    The point here is...no matter what the fine points of Kyl-liberman are...Calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a "TERRORIST" oraganization would make war with Iran much easier to sell for George Bush. That's why the vote was irresponsible.
    The Idea behind the bill is good to protect our troops but we need to understand what George Bush has proven that he will do.

    And this notion of putting a prohibition of going to war with Iran without congressional approval is absurd and hillary knows it.

    1)60 votes for THAT yea right.

    2)George bush would have the veto pen ready.

    3)Read what the constitution says about authority over the armed forces.
    That would get shot down in a heartbeat.

    So in the end...another bad vote. And another attempt at decieving the american people.

    Congress banning the PRESIDENT...from attacking a country!

    LMAO what America does she live in?

    Oh yea Hillaryland!

    Bring on the hate.

    October 11, 2007 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  14. Louis, St. Louis, MO

    I am Joshua, I am Lincoln, I am God, I am ..., well, you are all wrong and I am right!

    October 11, 2007 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  15. monica, rochester new york

    Posted comment on the New Hampshire Union Leader website:

    "The reason Obama did not vote is not because he didn't show up. He did show up for the scheduled vote. Harry Reid canceled it. When he rescheduled it for the next morning, Reid (whose son works for Clinton campaign) let Obama know only 1 hour in advance. Obama was in New Hampshire at the time and it was impossible to make it back to Washington. Obama did, however issue out a statement that same day on how he would have voted if he had the opportunity."
    Even if you don't support Obama, any reasoned person would not have anything to criticize Obama for on this. If I were Obama I'd wonder if that was deliberate!!

    October 11, 2007 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  16. Biggdawg, Chicago, Illinois

    He didn't vote "no". He could have voted "no". He always skips the hard votes. But he wants to be our commander-in-chief.

    He's an opportunistic wuss, pure and simple. And I've lost any respect I had for this guy.

    The arrogance of him, now stepping forward to criticize someone who at least had the courage to take a stand is astounding and insulting. How dare this guy? This guy really doesn't think we're as bright as he and he can feed any stupid sh%t to us he wants and get away with it.

    Obama, go away, please!

    October 11, 2007 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  17. Gavin, Merrillville Indiana

    I'm a DEM, but silly little inexperienced Barry Obama is at it again...Clinton voted to justify what every American already believes–she did not vote to go to war with IraN. Give it up, Barry.

    October 11, 2007 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
  18. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    Coach Haughton:

    You may not have seen my response to your "Declaration of War v. Authorization Of Use of Force" comment.

    In substance, here it is again:

    There is no functional difference between the two. In requesting either, the President is tacitly acknowledging that he doesn't have "authority" to attack another state without Congress' permission. Hence the use of the word, "authorization," to denote that Congress is conferring authority to attack another country where it didn't exist before. You understand what I mean by "no functional difference," right? Regardless of whether you call it a "Declaration" or "Authorization," it does the same thing: namely, it gives the president permission to attack another state. If that weren't true, Sen. Clinton's vote would not have been a vote to authorize President Bush to attack Iraq, and isn't that one of the biggest reasons that you're angry with her?

    You have asserted that once a state is declared "terrorist," the president will not need to seek Congress' permission to attack that country. You know who doesn't agree with you? The president. Saddham Hussein's Iraq had, I believe, been declared a state sponsor of terrorism prior to 9/11. President Bush asserted that Hussein was harboring at least one terrorist, which Bush had explicitly equated with Hussein committing terrorist acts or being a terrorist himself. President Bush and others in his administration even asserted an actual connection between Al Qaeda and Saddham Hussein. President Bush's popularity was at stratospheric heights. And STILL he came to Congress and asked permission to attack Iraq.

    Like Iraq, Iran has already been declared a state sponsor of terror. It has been training, supporting, and harboring Hezbollah for years. So, if you believe that the president is morally justified in attacking terrorist countries because they are terrorist or you believe that President Bush believes this, then, by your "logic," either he is ALREADY justified in attacking Iran or he ALREADY believes himself justified in attacking Iran. In either case Kyl-Lieberman will have no effect.

    Nor will the President have any luck "selling the war" to the American people simply because Congress has requested that the Quds Force be labeled a terrorist entity. First of all, the President's unpopularity, which you note, will hinder his ability to foist a war on Americans because the public generally finds an unpopular person unpersuasive. Second, unlike you, most Americans probably ALREADY know that Iran has been designated a state sponsor of terrorism and yet 92% of us are AGAINST a war with Iran. Calling the Quds Force terrorist is unlikely to change the minds of 92% of the American people.

    I am not angry with you and certainly NOT because I cannot answer your claims. I am incredulous that you don't seem to know and/or understand the facts and logic behind your own passionately held beliefs.

    October 11, 2007 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  19. SB, Maryland

    Providence in Rhode Island:

    Before you criticize Barack Obama on his position, perhaps you should research your own candidates views to make sure that they are not the same as his. I am attaching the following article for you, so that you can become aware of your own candidates views on so-called "partial birth abortion":

    National Right to Life applauds
    U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding
    Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act

    WASHINGTON (April 18, 2007) - The U.S. Supreme Court today rejected a legal challenge to the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act, allowing the law to go into effect for the first time since it was signed by President George W. Bush in 2003.

    "Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and their allies blocked this law for 12 years - but finally, it is illegal in America to mostly deliver a premature infant before puncturing her skull and removing her brain, which is what a partial-birth abortion is," commented Douglas Johnson, legislative director for the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC).

    October 11, 2007 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  20. Juanito, Washington, DC

    Hilary Clinton now says as president she will negotiate with Iran WITH NO CONDITIONS! Didn't she call Obama "naive" when he said he would do the same thing? Looks like the real Hillary is starting to show herself.


    October 11, 2007 11:39 pm at 11:39 pm |
  21. susan

    go Hillary GO!!!

    W, Worcester, MA

    Yes, there is a Hillary Supporter who supported the attack on Iraq. ME! The President LIED to everyone. She gave permission right along with the majority of the other politicians because they had "knowledge" from the president. She has said many times since that she regrets that vote because they were all mislead. I supported Hillary then and I support her now with her vote on calling the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. Listen very closely, this bill DID NOT give Bush the authority to invade Iran as so many people think. Where did this idea come from anyway?

    Posted By Rodney Dallas TX : October 11, 2007 1:54 pm

    and this person is correct,above in his statement

    OBAMA ISLAM/John Edwards are as crooked as the bush white house,liar's politician..and Senior Rep. Sen Durbin of Illinois his mentor voted for it,obama just wants to cry and whine,i dont trust him at all dirty politics gets ya in trouble.

    October 12, 2007 12:00 am at 12:00 am |
  22. Tricia M Charlottetown PEI

    I agree Hillary's vote was flawed Judgement. But, I also agree with Patrick, New York, NY:
    If Obama was so much against this resolution (I oppose it as well) HE SOULD HAVE HAD THE BALLS TO VOTE AGAINST IT..instead he didnt SHOW UP FOR THE VOTE..WHAT A HYPOCRITE!!!

    He knew the vote was going to take place...and if he felt it was that important he would have found time to vote! We all find time somehow for what we feel is Important.

    October 12, 2007 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  23. Mary

    People are so gullable,in believing this man,you watch keith oberman,and if you listen to hillary,she explains it one more time listen to it.you people mislead her words and or turn them into nonsense. shes got the plans she got everything we need and that is her judgement in for the American people she is fighting for us.you people dont see that,this obama man he scares the hell out of me he has not brought forth anything to the Anerican people only following the isnsteps of Mrs Hillary Clinton.Keep fighting Hillary i wanna be alive for my granchildren.

    October 12, 2007 12:14 am at 12:14 am |
  24. Shawn

    Oh he can attack Hillary,he has nothing else to do,no policy not on how to run the country,but how to attack hillary I have to go with hillary,by the wayside,She is way more qualified than him,or edwards.yeah i like Bill,i lived well ,you cant deny that any of you.Hillary is running her own ways not bills but i bet with them in the white house are American Country will have respect again global wise.and fiscal responsbility.and living well I can't wait until 2008,The possibilitys remain Clinton Obama,Rg,mittr,I will have a better oppertunity with clinton 100%.

    October 12, 2007 12:36 am at 12:36 am |
  25. Michelle, Tucson, AZ

    So many seem to be calling HRC's vote re: Iran "brave" and "strong" or whatever. The mere action of voting warrants such accolades? She was brave to make a decision? I don't get it, but I'm gonna give it a try. Every time I opt to do something dumb, I am going to remind everyone impacted by that decision how brave and ballsy I was to make the dumb decision in the first place. Please. I would rather do nothing. People need to think about these things a little harder and more thoroughly or we're not going to make any headway in the upcoming election. Don't be afraid to look outside the box a little bit more.

    October 12, 2007 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
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