December 18th, 2007
05:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Johnson: It's no time for a 'rookie'

Magic Johnson hit the campaign trail in Iowa Tuesday.

(CNN) - Basketball legend Magic Johnson hit the Hawkeye State campaign trail on behalf of Hillary Clinton Wednesday - and appeared to take a thinly-veiled shot at the New York senator's chief rival, Barack Obama.

"You don't want somebody in there that is young or a rookie at politics," Johnson said at a rally in Davenport, Iowa. "We want somebody in there that knows what they're doing, because this job is so huge."

The Clinton campaign has long sought to portray Obama, first elected to the Senate in 2004, as too inexperienced to be President of the United States. In response, Obama has cited his experience as a community organizer and Illinois state senator, and said his lack of Washington experience makes him better able to bring about change.

Asked at a separate campaign stop Tuesday why he decided to support Clinton over Obama, Johnson again cited the New York Democrat's experience.

"Thirty years experience right here," he said with Clinton at his side. "This country right now needs a leader with experience, because this is not going to be an easy job, this is not going to be an easy job. And the only person in this race on either side that has the experience, the knowledge, the wherewithal, the work ethic, is Sen. Clinton.”

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (154 Responses)
  1. Gabe, Austin TX

    For her to say she has experience is like me saying I have experience being a pilot because I've been a passenger before. She really needs to stop using that card and show us some real proof of her judgement and decisions. She voted for the Iraq war, that's all the proof I need. We need someone with experience making good decisions, not bad ones.

    December 18, 2007 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  2. Greg, San Francisco, CA

    I'm waiting for Michael Jordan's endorsement before I make any decisions on who I am voting for. It is critically important that our next President be able to drive the lane and shoot from three point range. Yet another pointless celebrity endorsement.

    December 18, 2007 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  3. Andy, New York, New York

    Obama has Oprah and Hillary has Magic, but will either make a difference? The fact that with all of Hillary's supposed experience she is still fighting to stave off an absolutely inexperienced kid out the block. I don't think this is about who has more political experience for the job as much as it is about likeability and believability. It is really sad that this is what the democratic race has come down to s opposed to someone who can do the job. Maybe Americans TRUST Obama more despite his inexperience. Sorry Hillary, your slip was showing before 1992. The two-term limit still you!!!

    December 18, 2007 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  4. Beth Chicago, IL YAY HILLARY '08

    YAY HILLARY 🙂 '08

    December 18, 2007 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  5. Claude, Mesa AZ

    Magic Johnson has proven through his statement, that he is an IDIOT!!! What a supid statement.

    December 18, 2007 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  6. justin, new york

    somebody should tell magic that he was a rookie when he took over the big game when kareem got injured that helped the lakers win a title.


    December 18, 2007 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  7. WhatAScam

    How much did they pay you Magic?

    December 18, 2007 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  8. joe ahdamyiah iraq

    majic johnson? does anybody still care?

    December 18, 2007 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |

    Well if Magic tells me to vote for Hillary, then I'm sold!

    December 18, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  10. Daniel 6, palm beach FL

    I wonder why Magic Johnson wouldn't support Huckabee???? Don't think it was the AIDS thing do you? Oh well Joe Biden is rising fast and soon you will not be able to ignore him.

    December 18, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  11. George,Md

    Timothy, I don't know much about HIV but I know the symptoms. I know there are people who can live with HIV so long as they eat well and they take the medication. I know Magic Johnson came out in 1990. I think he has lived a healthy life since then. He has a wife but I don't know if she has the disease.

    December 18, 2007 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  12. Kate, gb


    Obama has Oprah and now Magic Johnson (?) is saying no time for a 'Rookie.'

    Please...Kennedy and Teddy Roosevelt had the same 'rookie' experience and were our country's finest presidents.

    (and how is being a 'First Lady' experience???)

    It looks like the Clintons are getting nervous!!! How amusing.

    December 18, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  13. Eric,ohio

    (1) Entry: HIV uses a receptor on its surface called gp160 (glycoprotein 160, aka envelope protein) to bind to T cells. The receptors on T cells that gp160 interacts with are CD4 and one of two chemokine co-receptors, CXCR4 or CCR5. Once bound to the cell surface, a conformational change in the receptors allows the virus to enter the cell.

    (2) Enzyme 1—Reverse Transcriptase (RT): Once the HIV is in the host cell, the virus protective covering (nucleocapsid) degrades and releases the 2 RNA strands that comprise the HIV genome. The HIV genome is converted from RNA to dsDNA by the enzymatic action of Reverse Transcriptase (RT).

    (3) Enzyme 2—Integrase (IN): The copy of the HIV genome in DNA form is inserted into the host's genome by the enzymatic action of integrase. Once inserted into the host genome, HIV is called a provirus. The HIV genome, which encodes for HIV proteins, is translated by host cell machinery into immature or nascent polypeptides that have no function until cleaved into smaller polypeptides. Where in the host genome would be ideal places for the provirus to be inserted?

    (4) Enzyme 3—Protease (PR): The nascent polypeptides are cleaved into mature, functional HIV proteins by the enzymatic actions of protease.

    (5) Exit: Once the newly synthesized HIV proteins are synthesized in the host cell, the HIV virions assemble with all the necessary components and bud out of the host cell to produce new virus particles. The virion acquires the envelope proteins gp41 and gp120 as they bud. Hundreds or thousands of virions may be produced within a single cell.

    I don't know how Iowans will take him since they are really observative, but I hope doesn't play bad on hillary.
    I hope I answered you.

    December 18, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  14. Kyle G. Columbia SC


    December 18, 2007 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  15. Will Armstrong

    Um, hello? Magic Johnson obviously knows nothing about politics or else he would realize that Joe Biden is 10 times more experienced and qualified to be President than Hillary.

    December 18, 2007 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  16. Scott, Providence RI

    I seem to recall Magic winning the NBA Finals MVP award when he was a "young rookie" who skipped his last two years of college. Perhaps his illness has robbed him of that memory.

    December 18, 2007 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  17. James D.

    As a rabid Laker fan since 1980...and former Clinton fan....I'll take a rookie with integrity (Obama) over Hillary. The Clintons are running a smear campaign against Obama. When the going got tough, their true colors were revealed...very disappointing. I'm actually against Hillary now. Three months ago, I would have happily voted for her. I seriously doubt I'm alone. She will not get my vote no matter what.

    December 18, 2007 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  18. joy,baltimore,md

    By "right experience" I am trying to refer to his record of accomplishment, especially before he became nationally known in 2004.

    You can see a nice chart summarizing the more than 800 bills he sponsored in the Illinois State Senate at the following URL:

    I wonďż˝"t try to highlight every aspect of his experience in this post, but, in the Illinois State Senate, Barack helped to create the state Earned Income Tax Credit, which in three years provided over $100 million in tax cuts to families across the state. He also pushed through an expansion of early childhood education, and after a number of inmates on death row were found innocent, Senator Obama worked with law enforcement officials to require the videotaping of interrogations and confessions in all capital cases.

    His first law in the US Senate was passed with Republican Tom Coburn, a measure to rebuild trust in government by allowing every American to go online and see how and where every dime of their tax dollars is spent. These are excellent results and are from only his period of time in elected office.

    Prior to taking public office, he was a community organizer and, though it might seem like small potatoes compared to presidential politics, he was able to help protect residents from lead paint and improve the responsiveness of the people responsible for maintaining the buildings. After earning is law degree he became a civil rights lawyer in Chicago. I admit I don't have a lot of details on that phase of his life, but he also taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago. Imagine how great it will be to have a president who understands and respects the Constitution!!!

    December 18, 2007 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  19. Katie, Wellesley MA

    How does she have 30 years of experience? She's only been holding elected office since 2000 (four fewer years than Obama). It's not really fair to count her time as First Lady, IMO, especially seeing as her main accomplishment then was a failed health plan. Even then it's, what, 15 years? Is he counting her husband's time too? I'd rather elect someone who got to where he or she is through his/her own work, not connections. And as far as endorsements go, I think I'd value Ken Burns' over an adulterous pro athlete's anyway...

    Obama '08!

    December 18, 2007 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  20. Rick,PA

    clintons have alot of baggage just like magic johnson has with his aids!

    December 18, 2007 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  21. Mike, Houston, TX

    The Clintons just got my vote. Magic Johnson for President.

    December 18, 2007 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  22. Emmanuel, VA



    December 18, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  23. Mike, Trenton Nj

    Hey Magic, what has Hillary actually run? – or are you assuming that Bill will run things? We allow 2 terms for a good reason – power corrupts. I suppose you will stump for thier daughter to be President after Hillary has her turn....and then thier cousins etc etc

    December 18, 2007 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  24. P Brown, OKC OK

    Looks like the Clinton campaign is using their good black folk to show that we still know our place. Reminds of some of the ole' slave stories showing the massa (Clinton) telling the slaves (magic, et al) that their life is not worth a hill of beans without the massa. AND, the slaves don't know what to do without massa telling them. America, particularly black folk, need to wake up and think for themselves. I'm not saying you have to support Barack, but good grief, you are being punked big time by the Clintons. Too much power for this couple will just hurt this country and Bill wants it way too bad. He would turn on his late mother to get the WH back.

    December 18, 2007 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  25. Paul Davies,London,UK

    Because Hilary was once a first lady and a senator does not mean she will be a good president.
    May be in furture Hilary can be presidenmericat of A.But for now she is not fit to be President Bush Successor because there are so many issues begging to be addressed by the incoming US president that Hilary does not possess those qualities that can match these problems.
    Firstly,economic issues and the US security as well as world economy at large and the entire security of the whole world are so germane now.
    In handling these issues it requires serious wisdom by the incoming president.Some body gifted with wisdom need to be incharge as president inorder to get these issues sorted out in the early stage of the incoming administration.
    The Iraq/Afghan war and the middle East Issue must be addressed by the incoming president with promptness and U.S military withdrawn from the middle east and so doing a lot of Revenue will be conserved in the first quarter of that administration.
    All people in the US wanted list in respect of terror will be handed over to FBI to track them down even if it takes long while US military returns home.The new president will also release funding direct to the Iraqis/Afghans to rebuild their countries and allow sovereignty to be in the hands of these countries.Also the new U.S government will impliment geniunely the Ireali/Palestine Road Map by creating the Palestine State .Once these issues are addressed it will authomatically reduce terror activities because the middle east will see that move by US as being friendly and they will reciprocate that gesture immediately by mentaining some relative peace.
    Therefore,to be president of American is not a tea party because a US president is not only President of United States alone but also President of the whole World.
    I am not saying that a woman does not deserve to be President of US but there are some many critical issues in the USA right now that the woman in Hilary Clinton does not fit into that position for now because the US economy and security is threatened.
    If U.S is in dare need of a woman president to succeed President George Bush then they should be able to look for such woman with prseidential qualities within all the political parties in the US and have her elected.
    I forsee a situation whereby if Hilary Clinton is nominated,the Republicans will be opportuned to win the presidency again because the republicans are going to present a better candidate than Hilary Clinton.
    But if Obama Barak is presented as the presidential flag bearer of the Democrats, the Republican's will fail the presidency.
    I think Obama is the best presidential material for now because he has a good plan on how to tackle these urgent burning issues.

    December 18, 2007 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
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