October 13th, 2007
08:23 AM ET
7 years ago

Obama: Clinton doesn't know where she stands

Watch Obama go after Clinton Friday in Iowa.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) - Illinois Sen. Barack Obama attacked New York Sen. Hillary Clinton on Friday for saying earlier in the week that she would negotiate with Iran "with no conditions."

"A couple of months ago, Sen. Clinton called me naive and irresponsible for taking this position," said Obama. "[She] said that we could lose propaganda battles if we met with leaders we didn't like."

Obama was referring to Clinton's criticism of him after he said in a July debate that he would meet with controversial world leaders without preconditions.

"Just yesterday, though," Obama continued, "she called for diplomacy with Iran without preconditions. So I'm not sure if any of us knows exactly where she stands on this."

That wasn't the only shot Obama took at Clinton in a speech marking the fifth anniversary of congressional authorization of the war in Iraq. (Related: Obama: It's time to show where I differ from Clinton)

He also went after Clinton for being the only Democratic candidate for president currently supporting an amendment that contains strong language against Iran.

The Kyl-Lieberman amendment, according to Obama, provides another blank check to the current administration. The Illinois senator claims it could give President Bush an excuse to keep troops in Iraq "as long as they can point to a threat from Iran."

Responding to the criticisms, top Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson said, "When Sen. Clinton used the term "no conditions," she was referring to meetings between the United States government and Iran, not personal meetings with the President. She was striking a contrast with President Bush who has refused to allow the U.S. government to talk to Iran about its nuclear weapons program. Senator Clinton has repeatedly said throughout this campaign that she would re-engage the world diplomatically and end the cowboy approach to diplomacy that has been used by the Bush administration."

Click here to see CNN's new political portal: CNNPolitics.com

- CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Iowa
soundoff (155 Responses)
  1. J McKinney SW MO

    Hasn't anyone noticed that Hillary never talks against the other dem. candidates–she states her position on things, so we can know what her feelings are on the issues. We know very little of what Obama and Edwards think of the issues, because most of what they do is attack Hillary. This is helping Hillary, as anyone with a thinking mind would like to know what each candidate has in mind to do if they become president.
    I say Hillary's intelligence and capabilities are so much ahead of the other 2 front runners that it is almost a joke listening to them.
    Hillary will be our next president.
    GO, HILLARY!!!

    October 12, 2007 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  2. Amazed

    Is that all some of you care about, where she stands in the polls? In addition if you feel that your candidate can do no wrong, and you like everything about him or her, then you have not look closed enough. I am shocked there is even a discussion about this. Her husband redefined the definition of the word is, and now we're discussing word condition?

    October 12, 2007 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  3. Dave, Evergreen CO

    A small correction Senator Obama; Clinton knows exactly where she stands. She stands for one thing and one thing only and thats on becoming president. Every move she makes is calculated to that end, especially her vote in 2002. People don't matter, issues don't matter and pricipal doesn't matter.

    I sure hope Dem's start paying attention soon.

    Obama 08

    October 12, 2007 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  4. Jake, SD CA

    Wow Obama I'm beginning to wonder where you stand except that you make it abundantely clear that it is opposite of Senator Clinton. How do you expect to work with foreign leaders and diplomats when you have made it quite clear that you can't even work with Senator Clinton and she is even in the Democratic party. Why would we want someone who continues to make it clear that delaing with those off opposing views is not in his realm of possibility. Makes me wonder….
    Posted By Heather, Nashville, TN : October 12, 2007 3:09 pm

    That's not correct at all, but what does it say about Hillary, when she doesn't get along with anyone. Half of the country despises her and there are many democrats who will rather vote for a 3rd party than vote for her.

    Obama on the other hand has appeal from both sides, and even though Hillary constantly brings up experience, Obama has the greater experience of getting things done.

    What has Hillary done in Congress vs Obama?

    If you want to know about their ability of uniting both sides look at their history.

    October 12, 2007 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  5. Coach Haughton NH

    Mr. Obama,

    I am saddened that you have decided to go negative with your campaign. After watching John Edwards throw in the towel and step into the darkness with his attacks, I didn’t think anyone, especially you would fall into the same trap. It is clear that you oppose everything Mrs. Clinton says and does, and that is fine, except that you have stopped telling us what positive actions you would take instead. Negativity hangs in the air like a foul odor until it is blown away by a positive action. Your new negative campaign strategy is causing irreparable harm to your credibility. It will not work.

    So here we are…Mrs. Clinton has a positive outlook and a bright vision for America. While you are wallowing in negativity and don’t seem to be able pull yourself out. Will you continue to follow Mr. Edwards down that dark path or do you have something better to offer the American people? Step back into the light my friend, step into the light!

    Posted By Buggie, San Diego, CA : October 12, 2007 4:38

    This is why Obama is the only Hope

    I think that there were a ton of democrats in america that opposed the war before it started...WE KNEW THAT GEORGE BUSH WAS CROOKED BEFORE HE TOOK OFFICE.




    Everyone you talked to on the street would argue about whether al-queda and saddam were connected. As democrats we knew it was just a way for the president to chase his oil and avenge daddy. Tell me there's a majority of democrats out there who EVER believed there were WMD's in Iraq. The answer is NO!

    All of you out there no matter what candidate you support knew that Iraq had NOTHING to do with al-queda. That after we removed saddam al-queda came to iraq. That this "WAR ON TERROR" george bush's ingenius little ploy to push his political aganda. Hillary is quoted as saying such!

    You can't tell me that every democrat you talked to in 2002 wasn't screaming that for the nation to wake up and hear.

    At that point the tricks were working and the neocons had the independants and moderates fooled. Don't you remember?

    In light of... ALL... that... you guys justify hillary's Iraq Vote? We didn't need to read(or not read) some report to know that we were putting the power of the american military into the hands of a man with bad intentions.

    Somebody Please! you are so wrapped up in the clinton star power that you forget how we were desperately protesting an invasion of Iraq in school, at home, at work, out on the street.

    I won't attack clinton on this post because I don't want this to be called hatred. Rather it is disbelief. I just want somebody out there to make some sense of this.

    A Clinton supporter..Anybody. Did you forget how we felt when the president invaded Iraq. Before he invaded Iraq?
    Who needed a report? We knew It was baloney anyway!

    So why do you feel okay with her voting yes on Iraq?

    To me it was perhaps to her political advantage to do so at the time?

    ...because I could not imagine hillary clinton just not understanding the magnitude of authorizing George Bush to invade Iraq.

    October 12, 2007 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  6. laurinda,ny

    What is this talk I hear about Hillary will never win because she has no experience. George Bush won and he certainly had no experience. Take a good look around we are all in a mess and George keeps saying America's doing great. I think he's insulting the intelligence of Republicans and Democrats.

    October 12, 2007 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  7. Ray Ray, Washington, DC

    I think what Obama is trying to say is that Hilary constantly changes her words to get as much votes as she can. Its precisely why she has become a slave to AIPAC and all other lobbying firms paying her votes and money. Her husband was corrupt and she is too.

    October 12, 2007 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  8. Donna, Gorham, NH

    It is truly embarrassing that I am living in this America where some people make reference to Barack's middle name "Hussein" in a discriminatory way.

    It appears here that Hillary supporters are very worried, because Barack began pointing out (this is not attacking as he respects Hillary) Hillary's inconsistencies, lack of judgment, and secrecy.

    Yes, this movement is in a new phase to help America open its eyes to see the real Hillary Clinton.

    October 12, 2007 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  9. Mia, Stafford, VA

    Pointing out factual differences does not mean he is running a negative campaign.

    October 12, 2007 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  10. SB, Maryland

    Thank you Senator Obama!

    The politics of hope include having a candidate who has the courage to stand up to the manipulative triangulation of the Clinton campaign and do what's best for the American people. The politics of hope shows us that honesty and integrity will prevail.

    Obama 2008

    October 12, 2007 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  11. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    Ron, TX:

    How on EARTH could I take it to mean anything else? Do you suppose that President Clinton is actually going to sit down with, what, the entire country of Iran? CLEARLY, she wasn't saying that she was going to meet with Ahmadinejad, whom, she characterized just a sentence or two later as a mere "figurehead." (And small point: if you're taking "Iran" to mean "Ahmadinejad," (which in this context, it doesn't: see above), what's the objection to Sen. Clinton using "I" to mean "the United States"?)

    Do yourself a favor, go to Sen. Clinton's website and read the transcript and you'll see that she's CLEARLY talking about country-to-country negotiations.

    October 12, 2007 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
  12. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    Coach Haughton:

    It's fine for Sen. Obama to point out differences with Sen. Clinton, but he can't twist her words to do so. The YouTube question was about unconditionally promising to meet with AHMADINEJAD in the first year in office, not about conducting unconditional negotiations with Iran, as Sen. Obama now seems to be claiming.

    Sen. Clinton has never rejected unconditional negotiations with Iran: she simply said that she wouldn't promise to meet with Ahmadinejad before knowing what he wanted to talk about, which would be established ... in negotiations.

    For Sen. Obama to distort her words to improve his position is very much "politics as usual," not the "politics of hope."

    October 12, 2007 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  13. a.thomas, new york, NY

    Confucius: One who throws dirt loses ground.

    Hillary leads obama and edwards in all state polls, except in Illinois (home state of obama).

    Her lead margin has been increasing nationally in the last few weeks: now 26 points over obama, and 37 points over edwards.

    The more dirt obama and edwards throw, the farther they sink in polls....

    October 12, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  14. C.LyOnS, New York NY

    What Clinton said:


    Her actual quote: "So there's no doubt that we've got a difficult relationship with Iran, but here's what I would do as president. I would engage in negotiations with Iran with no conditions, because we don't really understand how Iran works….so that's what I would do, I would negotiate with them, no conditions but with some sticks that we can use as leverage etc…."

    If that isn't flip flopping I don't know what is.

    Don't be bamboozled by the same Clintonian tactics of trying to define what 'is' is.

    Posted By Vik N, BH : October 12, 2007 3:36 pm


    October 12, 2007 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  15. laurinda,ny

    CNN, Tom Dedham is copying my words, tell him not to do that. He has been mean to everybody all day and saying bad things. Make him stay home tommorow.

    October 12, 2007 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  16. Ronnie.Irving,Texas

    OBAMA,you still can't win so give up

    October 12, 2007 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  17. Rodney Dallas, TX

    Obama better be nice or Hillary won't have him as her VP.

    October 12, 2007 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |
  18. FT Doylestown, Pa.

    Obama is RIGHT!!!!
    Hillary says something one day and then either checks the polls or (someone says oh no Ms. Hill....not good)and then it's changed or droped. She then Moves on to another Big Promise or Give Away.
    American People ...make sure you really Vote "LIKE YOUR LIFE DEPENDS ON IT" !!! IT DOES!!!

    October 12, 2007 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  19. The Voice for the Uniter

    You know if you go back to the first debate Barack never said he would meet with Ahmedinejad(who is a joke with no real power)He simply said He would meet with the leaders of foreign nations without precondition. When pressed with the question again he re-iterated his point.

    Hillary disagreed and has every right to do so. She appeared on TV rattling off names like Hugo Chaves and Ahmedinejad and called Barack naive.

    Now Barack sees the opportunity to win back that point and took opportunity with what appeared to indicate hillary stating that her position was not that much different from his.

    The game is before your eyes just open them. Did anyone notice that in the youtube debate Barack stuck everyone who voted for Iraq with their vote?

    Did anyone notice that in the following debate russert gave all the candidates the opportunity to stick inexperienced to barack? Its a game to them they are friends when the camera turns off.

    Most of the people that post on these hillary/barack stories are democrats. These two don't hate eachother. They both understand that they are jockying political position with eachother. So why should we hate either of them?

    I will admit that I support Barack...Because I like the kinds of ethics reform bills he got through the illonois state senate, and the ethics reform bill he Co-authored in the United States senate. I favor a candidate who does not accept any lobbying money because the most important issue to me is ethics reform. I think that corporate politics Is the largest domestic problem that we face. I trust Barack more than other candidates to get this done. But that doesn't mean I hate hillary being less perfect than my favorite candidate on those points.

    Hey guys what you have just seen is called debating. Everyone who posts on here has a favorite candidate. Dissing someone elses makes them want to vote for that person more. Its great that so many people enjoy expressing their oppinion but whoever said you catch more flies with honey was absolutely right.

    Sorry CNN if this isn't the kind of post that generates a lot of backlash and generates more hits but the voice of logic does not scream.

    October 12, 2007 10:06 pm at 10:06 pm |
  20. Jossie, Huntsville, Alabama

    Looks like Mrs.Clinton took some courses with Mr. John Kerry. we all need a change and that change is call Obama.

    October 13, 2007 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  21. Liberal Chic

    Randy S. Lawton, OK:

    The head of Iran is the Supreme Leader, which right now is Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. It is not quite as bad as it used to be as Iranian Presidency has gained some influence and power, but calling the President of Iran the head of state is almost like saying Queen Elizabeth is the head of England.

    I don't want to defend Hillary Clinton at all cost, but she is an exceptionally smart woman and I think she differentiates herself from Obama's mistake of MEETING with Ahmadinejad in person. Both she and her husband are extremely sharp and would not get caught in such a blatant slip.

    You can negotiate with countries without meeting with them, like Bush has tried to do with North Korea and Iran regarding nuclear disarmament. Yes, he's NEGOTIATING with them, not MEETING with them, through Condoleeza Rice.

    Think things through, Obama people.

    October 13, 2007 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  22. Louis, St. Louis, MO

    I am God;
    I am Joshua;
    I am Lincoln;
    I am JFK;
    (I am hypocrite);
    I would like to be Al Gore too(to receive some prize money is not bad right?)
    I know everything;
    You folks know nothing;

    October 13, 2007 01:44 am at 1:44 am |
  23. AblackmanforHILL

    Our next President
    Is Hillary R. Clinton
    I can be so,proud someone,who really cares and Mr. islam Obama is all about the past.your not winning see the truth,and ya need to speak it also.

    October 13, 2007 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  24. Moe, NY

    Obama...this Iran attack on Clinton is getting old...can't you find anything else to go on about?

    October 13, 2007 02:35 am at 2:35 am |
  25. Daniel, NY

    This race became nasty today. Check out Clinton's response to Obama's attacks, and then Obama's response to Clinton's response. If this goes on for months, Republicans will have reason to celebrate.

    October 13, 2007 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
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