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.

Click here to see CNN's new political portal:

- CNN South Carolina Producer Peter Hamby

soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. Anonymous

    YOU GO BOY!!!

    November 3, 2007 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  2. Dan, Saint Louis, MO

    All of Hillary's character faults aside, I mystified at why any reasonable, rational person could like Obama. He has no track record of doing anything at all. In his short stint in Senate, which only came about because Alan Keyes was his last-minute opponent, he's completely neglected his duties as a senator. He's flown around the world, on the tax payers' dime, promoting his various books. After that, he's been campaigning across the country and skipping key votes. He's missed more votes than any candidate of either party in recent history. Behind this record of absenteeism in his only relevant job, is purely empty rhetoric. "We need someone who will unite the country." Good point, but what credentials does he have to do so, besides his generic rhetoric? Based upon the votes he has actually attended, he's one of the top 5 most liberal senators. How is an extremist a uniter? How will he bring together both sides when all factual indications show he disagrees with one side 97% of the time?

    The facts must be separated from the rhetoric. He's only passed one bill in his whole time in office, and it was a relatively unimportant one about aid to Africa. He says he's bipartisan and a "change" from the way things are done in Washington, but his record points to book promotions, negative campaigning and empty rhetoric. He has no experience period, let alone executive experience.

    What do Obama supporters see in him, rhetoric aside?

    November 3, 2007 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  3. Jen, Gainesville, FL

    Hillary did not rebuttal in the debate that she changed her positions, if there were some, because the criticism was the truth. About Hillary, I can not helping thinking of "The emperor has no clothes on!" The sad thing was that this fact was pointed out only recently, about 10 months after she began the campaign. But it is not too late. Wake up, America!

    November 3, 2007 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  4. John Adkisson, Sacramento, California

    From many of the comments above it is clear that we have become accustomed to the cynicism represented by the Clintons and every mahor party presidential nominee of the past fifty years.

    Ironically, the absolute failure of the current administration means that for the first time in ages, democrats can be honest and idealistic AND win!

    Cynics step back! Obama still has a chance. Let's not fulfill our worst fears by electing the Clintons again. WE CAN DO BETTER!

    November 3, 2007 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  5. Ayyub, Richmond Va

    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.

    Posted By Grant, Sabin, MN : November 3, 2007 1:55 pm

    Well Grant if you looked at national polls than you would know that lately since the debate Hillary's poll numbers have been going down and Obama slowly upward.

    Obama 08!

    November 3, 2007 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |


    November 3, 2007 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  7. Rex, Toledo, Ohio

    I was getting angry when I read from the "go hillary" cheerleader/sheep. Now I just laugh. Pathetic and misinformed, period.

    November 3, 2007 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  8. Ayyub , Richmond, Va

    We very strongly support Mrs. Clinton's calculated answers and her poise. They demonstrate her careful forethought about her responses, they display meaningful examination of the issues, and they're such a relief after years of listening to our current president. Mr. Obama's naivete won't make him our next.

    Posted By Travis Durango & Dane Delgado : November 3, 2007 5:57 pm

    But the bad thing about that is that she can't think on her feet. That's why she doesn't know where she truly stands. Poor shame!

    November 3, 2007 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  9. OBAMA 2008

    Maybe therte is hope for america it is about time people start seeing little miss hillary clinton's little fake parade she had going on. I hope she get's what she deserves!

    November 3, 2007 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  10. Karen,ny

    To Therealest: I happen to like you. You are one of my favorite people here. I would just wanted you to know, that I am behind you.

    November 3, 2007 08:15 pm at 8:15 pm |
  11. Bob, Roxboro, NC

    "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.

    To hell with politicians opinions! Look up representation in the dictionary!

    And I tend to support Obama,,,perhaps his true self is beginning to emerge.

    God help us all. Apparently there's no hope in sight.

    November 3, 2007 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  12. Gainesville, FL

    I agree that the public is to content with vague, calculated response that suit the politics of the moment and I am very pleased that Sen. Obama is highlighting this. Voters benefit from clear choices. Campaigners who follow political expediency should be penalized and its up to the other candidates to police this and voters to penalize it. Please keep labeling responses that take both sides of the issue.

    November 3, 2007 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  13. B Burnett, Madison

    American voters always say they want honest straightforward answers from candidates, but I notice how often such answers get picked apart by rivals and by media, and how seldom such answers actually win elections.

    Simple voters mean that they want simple answers. Unfortunately, simple answers to complex issues are almost always false.

    I find it quite reasonable to say that you understand and appreciate the reasons behind one option but still have an overall preference for another. When Hillary thinks before she speaks, that is called calculating. When she explains the nuances of a question she is accused of changing positions. Sounds like her rivals are getting a bit desperate.

    Hillary is indeed running to win, just like she said, and she knows the Republicans will not be gunning with honest straightforward answers.

    November 3, 2007 08:24 pm at 8:24 pm |
  14. Ace, Johnson City TN


    I'm more qualified to be President than Oprah's Candidate™ is.

    November 3, 2007 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  15. Robb, New York

    "Clinton is running to win. Obama is running to lead us to a better place in this nation."

    Well said. The only thing Hillary cares about is Hillary. Obama may not be the most experienced politician, but maybe that's a good thing. How many experienced politicians have screwed this country up year after year? Please, Dems. Don't make another mistake. Don't sell your soul to Hillary for the White House.

    November 3, 2007 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  16. josh, fairlawn, oh

    1)Obama has not cast one single vote that shows his seriousness about "war"; he wasn't able to vote on the resolution on Iraq..which was NOT a license to go to war until ALL diplomacy was tried; bush lied, he went straight to guns.

    2)He failed to even show up for the Iran resolution

    3)His voting record is I D E N T I C A L to HIllary's, except for 4 minor votes.

    I lived in Chicago...Obama is just another politician.

    With that said, ooooo, a "calculating" politician? Wow, I never heard of such a rare and evil thing.

    Hillary '08

    November 3, 2007 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  17. Ivan, Chicago, Illinois

    If people would stop a think for a minute they would know that the question asked needed more than just a simplistic yes or no answer.
    I'll brake it down for you Obama, Hillary was not indorsing the plan [by the way that plan is indorsed by the Bush administration, Chernof himself is one of them] but because of Bush's and the republicans inaction something has to be done to get a handle on who these illegal in our country. Having them aquire driver license's which shows that they have passed an test and are capable of driving on the roads, having insurance an address where they live is a step in that direction. Because when this country decides to allow those people to remain in this country we better have a handle on how many are really here, otherwise the supposed 12 miilion will turn into maybe 20 mto 30 million.

    November 3, 2007 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  18. a.thomas, ny, ny

    Obama is unelectable because:

    a) He is fluffy, nothing in substance. He may draw curious crowds, but few votes.

    b) He can hardly do his senate job responsibly, let alone to be the next president. He missed 80 of the senate votes. We dont need an absentee senator or president.

    c) He proposed changes from the DC politics. But change is a meaningless word without qualfications and experiences to design changes and make them work. If he beleives in changes from traditions, he should let his two young kids to make decision in his houses.

    d) Although half black himself, Obama lost out to Hillary in getting the black and visibile minority votes. That speaks volumes. Black leaders like Jessee Jackson and Al Sharpton do not like Obama at all.

    e) The dems voters consider Hillary having more ethics than Obama.

    f) Obama is way behind Hillary in polls in state primaries and nationally. While Obama goes sideway, Hillary surges.

    g) Hillary is the only dems presidential candidate that can win the 3 important swing states that John Kerry lost to Bush in 2004: Florida, Ohio and PA. To be the next president, all she needs is to win one more state than JOhn Kerry, and she has managed that. She will win all blue states, take most purple states, and may grab a few red states.

    Obama's presidential campaign is just a dream and will be his nightmare soon.

    November 3, 2007 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  19. Dan, Saint Louis, MO

    Why do any of you like Obama though? Forget about Hillary for a second. He has never accomplished anything that shows he may be even remotely able to be the executive of the most powerful country. He has never run anything. He puts forth empty rhetoric, but has nothing to back it up. His votes, the ones he has managed to attend, show he is one of the 5 most liberal senators. If you think that's good, fine. But he's no uniter when he has never been able to find common ground with the other party. Do you Obama supporters admit that you just want to like him for some reason and are yet to think of a legitimate one (which excludes his empty, campaign rhetoric)?

    November 3, 2007 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  20. lee, syracuse, NY

    The strategy of Obama is not take votes in the senate, at least 80% so far, so that he does not have to defend his decision later. Then, he will critisize and complain about HIllary's votes, as that is easier and as most fools do.

    November 3, 2007 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  21. Tim, El Cerrito Ca

    We'll see if this new strategy by Obama and Edwards works. My guess and hope is that it doesn't. I don't think it does anybody and good to question someone's sincerity and integrity. Especially a fellow Dem. If we would spend our time fighting the real enemy that whoever at the end of the day emerges as the winner so be it. But this is just a lot of mudslinging and they know it.

    November 3, 2007 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |


    November 3, 2007 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  23. George in FT.Worth Texas

    No more Cafta, Nafta,,trading with communists like China..."great toys and poisoned food products,drugs etc.You can call me a protectionist...I will protect my interests,not companies that dont give a spit about me or the middle class and working man!!I will write in Lou Dobbs for President.

    November 3, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  24. Ed,Ellenville,New York

    Karen- I have two to three times the IQ of Lou,and so does Eliot and Hillary. Lou Dobbs is dumb drunkard that reads from a teleprompter. His show just got bumped like Zahn's did just before she was canned. The end of story is his and the idiots like yourself that persistantly defy the will of the american people in identifying aliens,illegal or otherwise. You must have a lot of illegals working in your organization to protect to thwart this important intelligence operation. Know that you will be tracked to find out what employer you represent. Thank you for making yourself known. Employer of illegals or just a bigot? We'll find out.

    November 3, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
  25. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    I am not a blind, I read Hillary's four books and 8 books about her. I admired Hillary since 1992 when she was with Bill Clinton for campaign. Obama supporters are very low spiritually like Obama himself. He is not enough to be our President this time because he is from not well educated family background(he said he never put silver spoon in his mouth),it means he has no alternative when he was young, political career is too short and lack. Obama's political view is not clear, only wants to change other candidate's political views, he needs several hundreds experienced and brillian politicians for administration, he has no close brilliant politicians with him right now, it will be the same with Bush's, he is not strong enough for our president. Also his speech contents, speaking manner and saucy tongue made my brows knit. Last debate was Media's scenario. Tim and Brian set up this debate for their business or for Republican. First question to Hillary and then asked Obama and Edwards to attack Hillary right away, that is not a debate, it was an pure invention of sensational game by Tim and Brian. I will never watch meet the press any more, I want NBC fire Tim because his behavior was conscienceless action. It was a coarse play. We had wrong election twice, first one was disgraceful election, second one was our responsibility, we, Americans elected Bush again, it is too late to blame, so we need to elect the right person to White House for our Country, for your children this time. I hope American people pay attention and vote the best person for the next President.
    I read and watched 17 candidates everyday, I still think Hillary is the best person to be next President without doubt.

    November 3, 2007 09:29 pm at 9:29 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6