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. len, sparks nv

    Clinton is running to win. Obama is running to lead us to a better place in this nation. Obama is the leader. Edwards has a good message but that public financing will limit his ability to campaign against the Republicans in the many months before the election. He can't be our nominee. I vote for a great leader in Obama.

    November 3, 2007 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. TheInsider

    "It’s a textbook that’s all about winning elections, but says nothing about how to bring the country together to solve problems,"

    Perhaps because you CAN'T be all about bringing people together and solving problems, if you can't win a nomination or election.
    Even a child knows that the cart goes BEHIND the horse.
    Look for Edwards to beat him in Iowa, and a hasty exit and endorsement of Clinton about 2 days after Tsunami Tuesday.

    November 3, 2007 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Tere, FL

    Turn the page on the Clintonistas, the Ryu Keisch's, the TheInsiders, the a.Thomas, the Daniels, NY, the Monte Browns, turn the page on all those who blindly follow someone they do not know and try to be evasive about every single thing!
    Go Obama 08

    November 3, 2007 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. Mike J, Eden Prairie, MN

    Obama, It is time, you have started taking an aggresive stand. I hope it is not too late.

    November 3, 2007 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  5. Daniel, NY

    Meanwhile, John Edwards keeps running much stronger than Barack Obama. A new general election poll released this morning has Edwards destroying his Republican opponents nationally. Link.

    November 3, 2007 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Phyllis, Dallas, TX

    Right on Sen. Obama!

    I could never vote for someone who has not answered questions frankly on their positions on the issues.

    I don't think that Hillary gives the voters and credit for having a brain. I, as a voter, want answers and I don't want to be taken for granted.

    Obama knows that he has to give the voters substance. We are looking at him too closely. Thank God he can be up front and tell us what he thinks.

    November 3, 2007 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  7. Arshad, Newburgh, NY

    We admire you Senator Obama. You have inspired so many souls already. You have made many excited about politics and future of this country who never been part of politics before. You have showed us Politics and leadership is more than attacking people who disagree with one in 30 sec sound bite that can be replayed 24/7 on network news which can provide entertainment for paid pundits on tv screen but does nothing to solve problem that affect lives of millions of ordinary people.
    Please continue to differentiate yourself and your policies from other candidates while lifting us all up and staying civil. We can agree to disagree and we can disagree with disagreeable. We have lost the perspective of democratic practices in this country. You are the best hope this country can depend on right at this moment. Good luck to you!

    November 3, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. Maria, Houston

    Great speach. Honest, focused intelligent and gutsy. He can be critical and tough without being nasty. Obama is the real deal.

    November 3, 2007 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. F. Stokes, Durham, NC

    This picture of Senator Obama was taken in Durham NC at North Carolina Central University. It was not taken in Spartanburg, SC.

    November 3, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  10. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Yada, yada, politics of hope, I hope I get nominated or at least asked to be VP, I know in my pollsters' hearts that I can't, blah, blah ...

    November 3, 2007 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. Marie VanDyke Royal Oak Michigan

    Mr Obama When You First Started This Campaign You Said You Would Not Be Campaign Bashing..But That Is All That Your About. Instead Of Standing On Your Own Principles Or Merits Your Just Like The Republicans That You Condemn..I As Like A Lot Of People I Know Will Not Be Voting For You

    November 3, 2007 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. Ernie, Provincetown, MA

    Obama's new forceful tone, but one less strident than Edwards', fits his personality. Finally, all fired up, he seems to be on a roll and is at last getting more and fairer media coverage.

    November 3, 2007 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  13. Keith Jarrell, Washington DC

    THis speaks to the real issues with Clinton, she just doesn't answer the questions. She wants her cake and eat it too, and wants to ride both sides of an issue for as many votes as she can get. What this county does not need is another Clinton era. More lies and less truth. WE need a real leader that can lead and can look the American people in the face and give us an honest answer.
    I hope this week is a start to delevop a different type of front runner.
    One with integrity!

    November 3, 2007 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  14. dukesjames griffin ga.

    Someone please help me to understand; is it a fact that many so very many are saying-yes-ok we do need a dem. in the white house in jan 0-8 there-fore this dem. has to be sen. obama; now then this is the dem's chance take or leave it this is a fact this is what we will give to this country obama on the other hand if you do not take this deal and if you insist on this hillary clinton then the deal is off and we will fight to the bitter end we will beat up on that woman and make her to look so un-appealing that everyone will run to vote for a republican; now then am I worng in believing that this is the message being sent? OK then here is what I say and believe- That crap will not fly this time around. bring it devil sweet jesus is a ready and a waiting. Come on butt-holes come on.

    November 3, 2007 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  15. Lee, ottawa, ON

    Things and issues are sometimes not simple and easy to explain, or cannot be answered with a yes or no. Only simple persons want a simple answer.

    According to the dems survey, Hillary is actually considered to have more ETHICS than Obama and Edwards.

    The more I listen to Obama, the less I like his policies and as a person.

    November 3, 2007 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  16. Wallace, Chicago IL

    TheInsider : November 3, 2007 12:12 pm

    Actually you CAN be "all about how to bring the country together" and still win the presidency. Listen to you! What the h*#l has a our political system come to when someone is so concerned about "winning" at any cost regardless of what they do or say.

    Frankly, I don't want a president that ONLY cares about winning at all costs and will do "whatever", including pandering to the same people that we know are a big reason why politics is so corrupt.

    The name with which you signed your post is very appropriate.


    November 3, 2007 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  17. Wallace, Chicago IL


    why the [political system IS so corrupt].

    November 3, 2007 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  18. Blaine pinder B.C canada

    Go to http://www.zeitgeist and watch the movie. Then please let us know what you think about why your president Bush and family has been in bed with the Bin laden family since the day's of his grandfather.All I can say is that being runover buy your government and big business is not the way we were met to enjoy this great planet we were all given for FREE!!!

    November 3, 2007 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  19. J. Denver, CO

    from where I stand they are using the same book and i like neither one.

    November 3, 2007 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  20. John, Detroit, Michigan

    bla bla bla doesn't obama ever get tired of repeating the same "bring people together" crap?... To be frank, that mission, while honorable (and definitely what America needs), will crumble under a republican's attacks.

    Obama doesn't have the backbone to stand up to anyone, especially with candidates that play dirty like Romney and all those republican pundits. Hillary's been around for 15 years after all the bashings (many unfair and unfounded) people have been giving her... I think this fact only attests to her strength.

    November 3, 2007 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  21. Brian, Austin, TX

    It is about time! It sounds like Obama's campaign is rising. It's about time CNN starts reporting on Obama instead of Clinton. I think CNN gets the message finally, that the people DON'T want Clinton.


    November 3, 2007 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. Grant, Sabin, MN

    It's interesting. As Obama's numbers dwindle, he swings more mud at Hillary. Great strategy there. Beat up on the stronger female leader, and let that be your strategy.

    Hillary 2008. She's consistently taking the high road, and not stooping as low as Obama and Edwards. Geez.

    November 3, 2007 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. lic

    The full speech was fantastic. He is dynamic and original in his approach and vision and his words. He is making progress but facing opposition from the masses as most original thinkers do.

    "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. "
    -Albert Einstein

    November 3, 2007 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  24. Ron , Fort Mohave, AZ

    Mr. Obama, try using your intellect to get yourself elected. For one stop on the campaign trail try not to bash the other incumbents. It turns people against you. It really does. People want to know what you are going to do for the country, not what other incumbents are hiding in their closet. The news leechs will dig that out, stick with the issues and stop badmouthing other hopefuls.

    November 3, 2007 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  25. roger, conway sc

    The real Obama is coming out...he was supposed to run an above the fray campaign but seems to have slipped into the bashing of other DEMS...first of all the candidates had the same opportunity to lead their campaign however they seem fit..Hillary put together a campaign that most seem to like & that is a sign of leadership also she has taken the high road and has done little critizing of the other DEM seems Obama & Edwards did not and are now BASHING Hillary...If either Obama or Edwards win the Dem nomination I will vote republican or not vote at all...

    November 3, 2007 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
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