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. pl. at the UN for a while.

    Don't be worried. Mr Barak Hussein Obama will probably be there to help out.

    October 13, 2007 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  2. Jen Gainvesville, FL


    If you watched Cspan you would see how things played out with that ammendment. Reid did pull the ammendment off the floor the day Obama was present saying that it was on idenfinate hold. 24 hours later Reid put the ammend on the floor for the vote, he clearly told staff to inform senators who were not present. An hour later the vote happen. || There is NO WAY that Obama could get back to the D.C. from NH in an hour even on a private jet. || Obama was already gone after the senate session the day before. Obama released his position as soon as he was informed on that a vote would happen.

    October 13, 2007 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  3. Jake

    Does anyone else find it IRONIC that Obama criticized Clinton on the Iran vote, yet was TOO BUSY HIMSELF CAMPAIGNING to vote himself?

    At the very least, Clinton was doing what her constituents wanted her to do... VOTE ON ISSUES. He was too busy campaigning in some New England state.


    October 13, 2007 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Lioness, Washington DC


    You said:

    "....agreeing to face-to-face meetings without preconditions with world leaders is FAR DIFFERENT from agreeing to negotiate country-to-country without preconditions. In country-to-country negotiatiations, diplomats from both sides conduct the early meetings, hammering out understandings on what issues will be on the agenda, confidence-building measures to be undertaken on both sides, terms and conditions of preliminary and medium-term agreements, and what final status talks and agreements will look like."

    Your argument is upseide-down. At the most, it best applies to situations where a treaty is about to be signed.

    The subject of this dispute is different. Lower-level diplomats should not have the authority to even negotiate an agenda unless the leaders have first met and decided whether both sides will conduct further meetings in the first place, or whether there is no point in continuing the dialogue.

    Any president who sends lower-level diplomats without first meeting the world leader herself cannot possibly have laid out even a preliminary agenda. And any president who lets lower-level diplomats wing it and meet on no pre-conditions is forsaking her duties as the ultimate decider. She is also shirking her role as leader.

    Hillary has no leadership qualities. Her latest statements merely confirm that.

    October 13, 2007 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  5. Lioness, Washington DC

    Maurice, you said:


    Obama IS practicing the politics of hope – hope that Clinton will not get elected. And that is why millions understandably support him.

    October 13, 2007 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. Dave, Cheverly, MD

    To Jake,

    Everyone can read the facts that Jen was so good to point out just before your entry. Therefore your rhetoric is useless. It's a complement to Obama Campaign that the Media/opponents has to try Sooooo Hardddd.. to find anything or goes as far as to event some scenario to be able to say anything bad about Obama. They basically have to knowingly setup a loaded debate question. That Hillary has been briefed on or uses a US Senator to jockey bill-voting times around. Obama will have to either except the VP position and do it quietly or they will pick Edwards (as I suspect they either have or will offer to Obama before the Primary) or Obama will have to reject their offer and continue to go for the Presidency 2008. If he chooses the latter, He must do it like it is Chicago and Kick a.. and take names.. Obama would be effectively be running against Bill Clinton. So Obama you are NOW running against Bill Clinton. Formulate how to beat Bill Clinton and you win. P.S. Some of this seems to be already happening.

    October 13, 2007 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  7. Greg, Tamarac, FL.

    Hillary, is a consumate career politician. They tell people what they want to hear, but already have plans to get your money their way.

    Did anyone ever hear of a politician who got to Washington, and left with less money than they had before getting elected.

    It's all money, Ego, and power, and they all lie to get it.

    October 13, 2007 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  8. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    Lioness (so sorry, I spelled your name incorrectly).

    You are simply misinformed. At this very moment, the United States is negotiating with North Korea on some very important issues (North Korea ALREADY has nuclear weapons), but there has been no face-to-face meeting that I know of between President Bush and Kim Jong-il.

    President Bush has surely been lacking in the diplomatic arena. However, leaving face-to-face meetings as the last step in the diplomatic process is not some strange innovation of our current president. For example, although President Carter carried on lengthy negotiations with the Iranian government when they were holding our hostages, I don't believe that he personally met with any high-ranking Iranian government officials while he was president. Certainly not Ayatollah Khomeini.

    And I assure you, the successful negotiations that ended in the Agreed Framework between North Korea and the United States did not BEGIN with a meeting between President Clinton and Kim Jong-il.

    Nor do the lower-level diplomats "wing it." They receive their instructions from their superiors all the way up to the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State, of

    October 13, 2007 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  9. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.


    You're right about the wording, but I don't see what difference it makes. Being willing to meet with the representative of a hostile power with no agenda, preliminary negotiations etc., especially when that representative doesn't actually wield significant power in his home country, strikes me, at best, as the kind of waste of time in which someone naive and inexperienced would indulge. However, I like being as accurate as possible, so thank you for the correction.


    Every other senator running for president had precisely the same choice to make as Sen. Obama. ALL of them were present for the vote. Because Sen. Obama thought that this vote was handing a "blank check" to President Bush to invade Iran, he had a special responsibility to be there making the most impassioned, eloquent plea he could possibly muster to his fellow senators to turn them away from what he must surely have viewed as madness, MADNESS.

    Instead, he chose to go campaign for the nth time in New Hampshire. What a magnificient grasp of priorities.

    October 13, 2007 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  10. Ayyub, Richmond

    Guys, "please educate yourself on the issues of the day before posting. Seriously…you have a computer, right? How hard would it have been to invesigate as to WHY Obama missed the vote? If you had taken a few minutes to find out by just using Google, you would have found out that Obama was in Washington on the day when the vote was originally scheduled, then Senator Reid tabled the bill and said it would not be coming to the floor anytime soon (you can see the video on C-SPAN.org). So Obama returned to New Hampshire. He was at a campaign event when he got word that Senator Reid had decided to bring the vote up within the hour, so what was Obama supposed to do?
    He obviously couldn't get back to Washington to make the vote, so he decided to issue a statement condemning the bill, and he also spoke out against in at the New Hamphire event, saying if he could have made it on time to vote, his vote would have been a "no".

    Again, just do some quick research on this topic before making up your mind….unless, of course, you actually don't want to know the truth and would rather remain intellectually lazy and therefore ignorant."

    Posted By Greg, Brattleboro, VT : October 13, 2007 12:46 pm

    This guys right! Y'all should do your research on what happened.

    October 13, 2007 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  11. Andrew, Torrance, California

    I don't think Senator Obama will shrug off his image of being young and naive with talks about meeting with the president of Iran.

    He does realize that the Iranian president is not actually the head of state of Iran right? The president of Iran is really more like the vice president of the United States in the powers he has.

    Dude, someone's gotta tell Senator Obama that stuff.

    October 13, 2007 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. Coach Haughton NH

    Don't act like you dont already know that there was no pheasable way for him to make it to washington for that vote.

    Right on Iraq

    Right on Iran

    Right on ethics

    Right man for the Job.

    Barack Obama 2008!

    October 13, 2007 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  13. Truth Teller

    Greg from Brattleboro:

    Thanks for your comment. I've seen the transcript from the Senate floor which describes the scenario that you outline.

    It is probably also important to remind everyone that Rory Reid, son of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, works for Senator Clinton's campaign in Nevada.

    October 13, 2007 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  14. Oscar, Los Angeles, CA

    I'm calling out CNN on its gratuitous use of the word "attack" to describe anytime Obama points out the his differences in ideas versus Hillary Clinton. These are not "attacks", they are not personal, and they are not mudslinging. If anything, Obama is simply defending his ideas and confronting Sen. Clinton with the truth. Perhaps the truth proves to discomfiting to her campaign - and CNN for that matter - that it is obviously perceived as an "attack" on Clinton.

    October 13, 2007 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  15. Ed Harrison , Pittsburgh, PA

    You can absolutely trust Barack Hussein Obama to protect us from the Islamic state of Iran.

    No conflict of interest here.

    Obama '08 all the way !

    October 13, 2007 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  16. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Ozark9812, KY, I am sorry you couldn't distinguish difference between Obama and Clinton' foreign policy. At 1st debate Obama answered that HE will meet Iran President, this time Clinton said America will negotiate with Iran, it means Government to Government, not personally. That proved Obama is naive and irresponsible. Do you want to know about Clinton's brain? Please read her book "LIVING HISTORY" and Just watch debate, her answers are real her brain. Obama answered incoherently or couldn't answer clearly like Clinton and he stammers at debate. Do you know why Obama skipped AARP debate??? I remind you, Hillary made Health Care Plan 14 years ago, nobody even think about it. Every candidate adopted and modified her Health Care basically. Obama and Edwards were not in political circles when Hillary made 1st Health Care Plan in America, well, who used whose brain? I am not a smart kid but I am a very sincere American citizen.I told this before to my State people, but I tell you once more because I love Kentucky. "Kentuckianas,wake up from your deep sleep".

    October 13, 2007 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  17. Dave, Cheverly, MD

    To Dawn, Gaithersburg,

    Since you apparently have an issue with seeing/reading the TRUTH. I will post these FACTS of a fellow blogger.

    If you watched Cspan you would see how things played out with that amendment. Reid did pull the amendment off the floor the day Obama was present saying that it was on indefinite hold. 24 hours later Reid put the amendment on the floor for the vote, he clearly told staff to inform senators who were not present. An hour later the vote happen. || There is NO WAY that Obama could get back to the D.C. from NH in an hour even on a private jet. || Obama was already gone after the senate session the day before. Obama released his position as soon as he was informed on that a vote would happen.

    Ranting on about Obama dodging this vote has gotten old and we all are tied of reading it.

    October 13, 2007 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  18. dawn -- Gaithersburg, MD.

    Dave, Cheverly, MD.:

    How can I say this more plainly? Every other senator running for president heard Sen. Reid too, but apparently still knew that there would be a vote soon. They didn't leave Washington for yet one more day campaigning in New Hampshire. They stayed and voted. Because Sen. Obama thought this vote was SO important, he should have stayed too. He didn't because he wanted to miss the vote AND THEN complain about it.

    October 13, 2007 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  19. Aaron, Vegas, NV

    Obama knew he could never become Prez. He doesn't stand a chance – with a name like Hussein. His basic plan is to become a "nuisance candidate" to prevent Edwards from seriously challenging Hillary. Mark my words, soon you will see Obama gamely throw in the towel and accept to run as HRC's VP.

    Obama an anti-establishment candidate ? Hah – more like a Trojan Horse for the American public.

    October 13, 2007 10:58 pm at 10:58 pm |
  20. Liberal Chic

    dawn — Gaithersburg, MD:

    Hear, hear. Tell it like it is.

    October 13, 2007 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  21. Susan

    I was in the spirit and praying for Guidance for this country. A calm peace came over me.
    Then I saw why:

    I was at an Inauguration.For the next president. People were cheering and Shouting.I look to be hold. America voted for their first Black President.

    the point to this:

    The American people Will Decide who the next president will be. not the Washington Insiders and Political establishment.

    October 13, 2007 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  22. Not Brainwashed By Hillary

    You really need to get a hobby.

    October 14, 2007 09:22 am at 9:22 am |
  23. Bob, New York, NY

    It isn't the general election right now so nobody honestly knows where any candidate stands. Everyone knows that the primaries are about pandering the the base of the individual parties

    October 14, 2007 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  24. A. Thomas, New York, NY

    Hillary has increased its leads in the last few weeks from dem voters since Obama bashing her:

    FOX News – poll date 10/09 to 10/10 – Clinton +32.0

    Gallup – poll date 10/04 – 10/07 – Clinton +21.0

    AP-Ipsos – poll date 09/21 – 09/25 – Clinton +14.0

    Cook/RT Strategies – poll date 09/13 – 09/15 – Clinton +13.0

    October 14, 2007 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  25. xtina - chicago IL

    It can be so simple to focus on just what the candidates have already accomplished in their past offices, and not rely on promises. It will drive U crazy to watch commercials because ALL the candidates are going to say great stuff, and promise us the world. If you just look at what they have already done that fits in with your philosophy, then vote accordingly, you won't have to read through blog comments about superfluous stuff.

    What makes a good President:

    1. protect America from enemies

    2. strong military

    3. lower taxes, to keep more money in America people's pocket and less for government to waste

    4. secure the borders of this country so that every person wanting in will now legally go thru the process

    5. install term limits on Congress so that career politicians can't get too comfortable with above-mentioned wasteful tax dollars

    I have left off that the government owes us health care, because as with FEMA ,Walter Reed Hosp., Homeland Secur.USPS, IRS, they will screw up any new dept. that we create for federal level mgmt.

    October 14, 2007 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
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