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. milly vanderzelftenenbacher

    I like Magic Johnson. I don't give a bee's wing about his politics or who he supports. Would anyone change their vote because of Magic Johnson?

    December 18, 2007 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  2. Adam, Plano, TX

    a rookie at politics? obama has held elected office for longer than hillary, he's no rookie. you should keep the smack talk on the court "magic"

    December 18, 2007 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  3. Someonewhocares

    Why is it that the Clinton campaign seens not to take into account that some of their staff in the early states are causing more harm than good? This especially goes for the Des Moines office.

    December 18, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  4. Dave ATL, Atlanta

    When Bill and Hillary Clinton start parading people who do not endorse her candidacy only because of some personal favor he has done for them before, they will be worth listening to.

    December 18, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  5. Adam, Plano, TX

    Magic Johnson is 100% correct. You will not trust a medical student to do your open heart surgery either. So, why trust a 2-year junior senator from Illinois?
    Posted By jh, watertown, ny : December 18, 2007 6:25 pm

    so you wouldn't trust Abraham Lincoln then?

    December 18, 2007 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  6. quetzalcotal2012

    Good jesus whats worse the supposed CNN endorsement of Hillary Clinton or the people who are getting upset now because their reporting negative things against her, or maybe the american people are really just that stupid i completly believe that statement to be the true one, the american people have no perception or idea whats going on outside of their immediate surroundings they are a testiment to how little we think....Further more Clinton payed off one Black person to slander another Black person looks to me like money talks

    December 18, 2007 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  7. Matt Tunseth, Kenai Alaska

    Magic Johnson? There's the masterstroke the Clinton campaign has been waiting for. Obama should just sit back and let her win this thing for him.

    December 18, 2007 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    I take my political advice from celebrities.

    December 18, 2007 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  9. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    Repeat: being First Lady may have been quite an experience for her, but she didn't acquire the degree of executive skill, know-how and judgment which she would have us believe. The President got that skill, but many don't want him in again.

    December 18, 2007 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  10. Kevin, Landover, MD

    I purposely kept an open mind about this Magic endorsement until after I got to actually see the video. Magic is not only an IDIOT, but LITERAL embarrassment to his race. He cannot even articulate WHY he supports Hillary. Did I say IDIOT already? Oh yeah I did.

    December 18, 2007 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  11. J. McKinney SW MO

    >>>Posted By justin, new york : December 18, 2007 7:12 pm

    "THE COUNTRY STILL DOESN'T SEEM TO GRASP THE LEVEL OBAMA WANTS TO TAKE THIS NATION! PLEASE, CLINTON VOTERS, RECONSIDER!">>>
    Justin,you said it all right there. "the level that Obama WANTS to take this nation..." But with his inexperience, he may WANT, but he can't DO–Hillary can. We need Hillary.

    December 18, 2007 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  12. Markie Bee

    SHE DOESN'T HAVE 35 YEARS OF EXPERIENCE!! Darnit, when will the MSM call her on her BS. She has seven years of experience. That's it...seven years of middling legislation in the U.S. senate...that is IT! Someone please call her on her BS. On John Edwards is less experienced than she is.

    December 18, 2007 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  13. Anonymous

    He is absolutely right.

    December 18, 2007 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  14. MarkieBee, Sacramento, Calif.

    It is critically important that our next President be able to drive the lane and shoot from three point range.

    Here's your proof that Obama is that man:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=daH0ltD20A0 and
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYCEnVmNkpE

    December 18, 2007 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  15. hyd

    I wonder what experience we are talking about here.

    Does her experience as First Lady count? But Obama's experience working with poorer sections of the society in Chicago does not count?

    December 18, 2007 08:38 pm at 8:38 pm |
  16. Richard,PA

    All Presidents at one time or another were "rookies" just like Mr Johnson.

    Ms Malveaux should ask white people why they are not supporting a certain white candidate. it is insulting to ask a black person, why they are not supporting Sen. Obama. Black people have a "right" to support any candidate they want. We do not have a "herd" mentality. Thank you very much.
    Posted By Judith Beale, Atlanta, GA : December 18, 2007 6:21 pm

    #########################################

    I second that. I totally feel I need a president who resonate with me this time around. I really don't care what Johnson calls Obama. When Clinton was a candidate in '92 was a rookie too!

    December 18, 2007 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  17. Lisa H., Ann Arbor, MI

    *Yawn* CNN, wake me up when you've got real news to report...

    December 18, 2007 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  18. James, Lawrencevile GA

    Obama is a rookie. Magic is right. In these inportant time we need someone with courage, experience and the willingness to be of help to people.

    Hillary 08

    December 18, 2007 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  19. Peter Vernon CT

    Mr. Obama for all the hope he offers- has said little of substance regarding issues like health care (one of my major concerns) or on any other of the weighty issues confronting the nation. The Liberal wing of the party (Democrats) are perhaps Mr. Obama's biggest supporters- but they also tend to be the most naive.

    Unless in 2008 there is a total economic meltdown , Mr. Obama would be hard pressed to carry any more states then John Kerry. I hope Obama supporters s realize This- If states like Ohio, Florida, AZ and perhaps even PA-and Michigan (the latter two barely carried by Kerry- I cannot see Mr. Obama carrying Ohio, or any other red state.

    Democrats better wake up- forget about their wonderful but delusional idealism
    and look to Mr Obama in the future- not now.

    December 18, 2007 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  20. Lakisha St.Louis, Mo.

    This is coming from a man who didn't have good judgement when deciding not to put on a condom and contracted HIV. So maybe idiots stick together.

    December 18, 2007 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
  21. Vladimire Wolfe, Seattle WA

    "Magic Johnson is 100% correct. You will not trust a medical student to do your open heart surgery either. So, why trust a 2-year junior senator from Illinois?"

    JH from Illinois..You have absolutely no idea what you are talking about. You are just recycling other peoples words–mostly from the media. How could YOU possibly know how much experience it takes for to be an effective President. The only people whow know how to be president are the ones who have done the job. everyone else including clinton, edwards, romney and whoever else will need OJT.

    December 18, 2007 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  22. michael, Gladstone, MO

    Oddly enough, when he was elected to the Presidency, BIll Clinton was 46, one year YOUNGER than Barack Obama would be upon election. He also had a total of 14 years elected political experience, 12 as governor and 2 as attorney general of Arkansas, both state positions. Senator Obama has 8 years of state senate experience in Illinois and would have 4 years of experience in the US Senate – national experience. He has also been a law professor like Bill Clinton, and he has community experience in voting and discrimination litigation. Obama's undergraduate degree is in political science with an emphasis in international relations. Makes Bill Clinton seem more like the rookie. And overall, more elected experience than Hillary with only seven years.

    December 18, 2007 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  23. John, Fairfax, VA

    I don't really care that it's Johnson saying this...the point should stand on its own: this is definitely not the time for a rookie, and Obama is a rookie, relatively speaking.

    December 18, 2007 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  24. Sean Allen

    While the experience argument rages, there is another, more critical, consideration. The first basis upon which to include or exclude a candidate is on the candidate's trustworthiness. Clinton is the least candid, and least trustworthy candidate in the field. She is not honest and therefore deserves immediate exclusion from any further consideration.

    December 18, 2007 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  25. Bernie Moore-Knowles - Papa'aloa, Hawai'i

    Mike in Portland? You are so right! Where are folks getting the idea that Hillary Clinton has thirty years experience in politics? Where does she get that idea? Or is it really Bill Clinton on the campaign trail and his wife is a front? Do the Clintons really think we are that stupid? And for the record? I am a long time, registered Independent.

    December 18, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
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