November 4th, 2007
08:06 AM ET
15 years ago

Obama turns the page on Clinton

Sen. Barack Obama criticized Clinton Saturday morning in South Carolina.

SPARTANBURG, South Carolina (CNN) - In what was billed as a definitional speech by his campaign, Sen. Barack Obama Saturday accused Sen. Hillary Clinton of "vague, calculated answers" in the most recent Democratic presidential debate and vowed that he will "turn the page" in Washington.

"Much has been said about the exchanges between Senator Clinton and myself this week," Obama said. "Now, understand that Hillary Clinton is a colleague and a friend. She's also a skilled politician, and she’s run what Washington would call a 'textbook' campaign. But the problem is the textbook itself."

Obama, who was interrupted several times by applause and standing ovations in an auditorium at Converse College in Spartanburg, displayed an energy he sometimes lacks on the stump while playing to the enthusiasm of the audience.

"It's a textbook that's all about winning elections, but says nothing about how to bring the country together to solve problems," Obama said. "As we saw in the debate last week, it encourages vague, calculated answers to suit the politics of the moment, instead of clear, consistent principles about how you would lead America."

Though much of the speech was devoted to issues like climate change, Iraq, social security and torture, Obama's speech today was crafted as a follow-up to the much-discussed debate, in which Clinton was assailed by the other Democrats for what they said was her inability to give a definitive answer to questions.

Obama finalized the speech with his aides shortly before appearing on stage.

"I don't believe we can bring about real change if all we do is change our positions based on what's popular or politically convenient," Obama said, in a clear reference to Clinton.

Obama's criticisms, while forceful, were less direct than those of fellow candidate John Edwards, who blasted Clinton on Friday morning for "double talk" in the debate. Edwards said Clinton was not being "straight and honest" with viewers of the debate.

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- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. sf, ca

    Alan, Seems like you are trying to be a hypocrite, not Clinton.

    Clinton called Obama naive for the way he plans to do his diplomacy. She didnt say no to diplomacy. But distorting is a fact in your life seems like.

    Now regarding your beloved facts, I have never seen Obama supporters use facts. May be he misses more than 80% of the votes so there is no fact!

    Clinton voted more like a Republican. You think all republicans are stupid not to acknoledge that? Many republicans like Clinton's position on National Security.

    Why do you think Republicans are afraid of Clinton? Because she is at the center of the mainstream America. Repubs like extreme left candidates so they can paint them as Dove and lunatic, etc.

    Only stupid ignorant people jump to conclusions. But I have spoken to some republican friends and they like Clinton's position on some of the issues.

    Stop distorting facts , or the politics of deception will be a reality soon!

    November 4, 2007 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
  2. bg chicago il

    liberal press //i.e. cnn and ny times always promoting this guy. his entire life has been focused on blacks and minorities 'rights'.he would be in love with illegal aliens...........turn out the lights,the parties over for america.

    November 4, 2007 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  3. A. Thomas, New York, NY

    By next February, in about 3 months, I bet that obama and edwards will concede their defeat in nomination, and say how great a presidential candidate hillary will be. They will try to be picked as a VP running mate, but will be too late...

    November 4, 2007 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  4. Fred,Antwerp, Belgium

    I truly hope that the Democrats will vote for Obama and not Clinton.

    November 4, 2007 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  5. John Berge, San Francisco, California

    Obama needs to quit. There is no point to his being in the race for President of the United States.

    November 4, 2007 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  6. John Berge, San Francisco, California

    Actually Lou Dobbs is stupid. Anyone who has average intelligence viewing his program can see that. The fact that an individual thinks that because of the fact that someone hosts a television program on cable somehow makes that person intelligent is a sad reflection of the pervasive control of media.

    November 4, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  7. James, Newark, NJ

    Senator Clinton is running on her experience. She cites Obama as being naive and inexperienced. Meanwhile records pertaining to her experience in the White House have been sealed by Predident Clinton. How interesting! Remember part of Senator Clinton's experience is what President Clinton did to protect America when US emabassies in Kenya and Tanzania were bombed. Also when USS Coe was bombed. These were Al Qaida's attacks before 9/11. Obama has the right to question Clintons' experience and prevarications without being accused of attacking her or him personally. The politics of hope also includes ethics. Ethics has it that if you know that someone is being deceived you should point it out.

    November 4, 2007 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  8. femo, houston texas

    john from detroit michigan,am sure u are a pure racist
    well if you dont have anything good to say next time please dont say anything at all
    the fact that hillary has been around for 15 yrs dont mean anything, the fact is that someone who has something to offer people of the united state is here and i want more racist people out there to keep there comment to themslves.

    go obama show them how this is done

    November 4, 2007 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  9. Rick

    I did not hear Obama's position on the illegal's. The right position could win him a landslide victory.
    If he wants to help the working class citizens he will take a stand against the law breakers or will he fall into the corporate clutch's. Is he a fresh voice or another puppet?

    November 4, 2007 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  10. sf, ca

    Obama supporters say this often – Obama has always talked about where he stands on issues. Moreso, he's actually DOING what he talks about. You won't actually find that out on CNN or even 30 second answers at debates. It takes some homework. I would think Americans would find that a more worthwhile endeavor than inane comments on blogs.

    Is that Politics of Hope? If you are so knowleadgeable, please share your homework for fellow good-natured Americans, not blind hero-worshipping!

    I do know that he missed 88% of votes in Senate. That's good deed for Illinois! There voice was never heard.

    Does anyone remember Bush calling himself a uniter and turned out to be a divider? Sounds something very close with Obama's words.

    November 4, 2007 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  11. Karen,ny

    I am not giving any opinions, but this is a fact. I just overheard Wolf Blitzer talking to Tony Blair and Blair agrees with Bush that Iran must be stopped from getting a nuclear device. Do you think that would mean WW111 soon.

    November 4, 2007 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  12. Mike , Panama City , FL

    Negative add campaining is a sign of desperateness

    Besides what does Obama really have to offer? I find him very limited .

    He cant finish a sentence without using the word Uh in it .

    Edwards to is phony as hell , He saids he is for the poor and this and that yet he goes out and gets a 12 thousand dollar haircut , RIDICULOUS!

    November 4, 2007 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  13. PollM, Dallas Tx

    In your opinion will Barack Obama's tactics of attacking Hillary Clinton help or backfire? -->


    November 4, 2007 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. Karen,ny

    Ed , Ellenville..I just saw your comment. Lou Dobbs isn't being dumped. He has moved up an hour so that Wolf has three hours for now. Hopefully, this is only temporary. Now, about your intelligence. Yes, you are quite a genius to get me caught in the Sennett site, but as you see I didn't stay to long. I wouldn't want you working as a correction's guard.

    November 4, 2007 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  15. Karen,ny

    Ed,Ellenville..I forgot to tell you that Lou Dobbs is not a drunk. Stop the slander now!!!!

    November 4, 2007 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  16. Donna Seattle, WA

    Here is the youtube video of the Obama speech cited in this article.

    November 4, 2007 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  17. Paco, DC

    "Bringing People Out of the Shadows

    America has always been a nation of immigrants. There are millions of people living in the shadows that would like to fully embrace our values and become full members of our democracy. For the millions here illegally but otherwise playing by the rules, we must encourage them to come out of hiding and get right with the law. Barack Obama supports a system that requires undocumented immigrants that are in good standing to pay a fine, learn English, not commit crimes, go to the back of the line for citizenship, and then after all those conditions are met, they would be granted the opportunity to stay in the United States."
    This is what Obama says about illegal immigration ( . Please read it, and tell me if this is a vague answer to a problem or not. From my point of view this sounds very nice but it says nothing. He supports a system, but let's be clear he doesn't described the system, he doesn't say how to implement the system. Is this vague and calculated politics? You guys let me know.
    By the way, I'm a legal immigrant in this wonderful country.

    November 4, 2007 10:56 pm at 10:56 pm |
  18. Keith

    Connect the dots Barack!! New Washington Post poll shows an 8 point drop in your net favorable rating! Trash Hillary; drop in polls. Oprah's halo ain't gonna save ya! Neither will defeated Senator Daschle. Keep Hope Alive.

    November 5, 2007 02:16 am at 2:16 am |
  19. RMRN.Y.

    To the Clinton Lemmings:

    You have the polls – we have purpose!

    You have the Hacks – we have NO PACS!

    You have the spin – we have the win!

    The winds of change are blowing, and
    the people are thumping their pitchforks upon the ground – Thump,
    Thump, Thump – the grass roots are rising – power to we the people!

    Mr. Obama goes to Washington!

    You can't hide the pride of motivated
    campaigners chomping at the bit!

    OBAMA all the way!!!

    November 5, 2007 03:19 am at 3:19 am |
  20. Karen,ny

    BERGE..Let me tell you this, that other newscasters just sit and read whatever their bosses tell them to. They are not allowed to give their opinion. Lou was given that special program because he is not a follower and can figure out when they are lying. Also, he is human and gets annoyed with liars and lets them know. People are use to seeing Lou go "this is unbelivable, this is really mind boggling, Prince Elliot, King George" etc. Jack Cafferty is my other favorite and he has a temper too if you ever noticed. I think we need more honest people like those two. I think that it's normal to get annoyed even though "other" people think that you are suppose to be loving, deliriously happy and speak highly of everyone as you sit their with a grin on your face as people attack you. Oh yes, turn the other cheek and let them slap that to.

    November 5, 2007 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  21. J. McKinney SW MO

    If Obama and Edwards would just stop critisising Hillary for a few minutes, and say what THEY would do for the country, it would be better for them. Hillary has done very little critisizing of other Democrats–she has stuck with what SHE will do for the country. I hope there are enough voters with the intelligence to realize this. Obama is not accustomed to "picking on a woman' and isn't good at it–this is to his credit. Edwards is just mean. A pretty little mean boy, without much of a plan. And while I don't think Hillary has played the gender card, as reporters trying to make news say she has, Edwards has sure played the "my wife has cancer, so she can say anything hurtful about Hillary she wants to, and no one can respond".
    I have noticed that Edwards & Obama's wives have shut up for a while, which will help their campaigns.
    But it is Hillary who has much the best plan (and about the only one who has a plan, apparently, since she can't bash herself) so she certainly has my vote. Wake up, folks, and don't believe the radicals who are on these pages making hateful remarks without base, about Hillary.
    We need Hillary to get this mess straightened out. GO, HILLARY!!

    November 5, 2007 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  22. VoiceForTheUniter

    So that guy running for president with the weird name?

    Oh yea that guy Barack?

    Yea. He graduated Harvard Law and had his pick of six figure jobs to walk into.

    Oh yea and that guy Barack?

    He turned down all those jobs to organize voters at the grassroots for 14k a year.

    Oh yea and that guy Barack?

    He's served elected office for longer than hillary clinton and John Edwards.

    Oh yea and that guy Barack?

    Says ethics reform is the cause of his career.

    Oh yea and that guy Barack?

    Authored a ground breaking ethics reform bill last year AND it passed the house and senate AND the president signed it into law.

    Oh yea and that guy Barack?

    Doesn't take money from lobbyists

    Oh yea and that guy Barack?

    Isn't afraid of big corporations and doesn't need their money.

    Oh yea and that guy Barack?

    Held a meeting for the Big Wigs on wallstreet and told them he thought it was wrong that 1 percent of the population controlled 90 percent of the wealth in America.

    Met with the Automotive industry in Detroit and ripped them on fuel efficiency and emissions standards.

    Oh yea and that guy Barack?

    Turned out 10,000 people to come see him speak when it was 40 below zero outside.

    Oh yea and that guy Barack?

    Turned out 24,000 people in New York even though the media mysteriously overlooked the event.

    Oh yea and that guy Barack?

    Reportedly has the largest grassroots network in history in place in South Carolina.

    Oh yea and that guy Barack?

    Is the most popular candidate for president in America because all polls are conducted by landline and who is home to answer the housephone except 75 year olds who don't know his name yet. Until conversations at the bingo game begin to start with,

    Oh yea and that Guy Barack?

    November 5, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  23. factsgettingout

    hes not winning,no way hes not a uniter,get used to it Hillary is your president to be.

    Obama is taking flap for using a theme of dr king's

    Obama has no idea what he is talking about. His twisting of Rev. Parker and later Dr. King’s wonderful description of the moral universe is revolting. Obama is an idiot. Dr. King would slap him silly if he heard how Obama has twisted Dr. King’s words.

    The point of that ‘moral universe’ bending towards justice line is an inspirational one. Dr. King in the darkest days took refuge in knowing that ‘one day we would be free’. Obama defiles Dr. King’s memory with his vile mutation exhorting young people that the arc has to be bent. Truly vile.

    November 5, 2007 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
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