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. Jimnenez

    Magic Johnson knows when to back a winner. Obama doesn't have a chance. No Obama

    December 18, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  2. Keith,Iowa

    everyone read this. It is amazing what you wouldn't see on CNN!

    December 18, 2007 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
  3. AJ, IL

    Magic has been in the Bill Clinton camp since the 1990s. So his endorsement is not surprising, but his reason why he supports Hillary is dumb. You only need to ask Magic to specifically list Hillary's experience and he will have a mental breakdown.

    Magic needs to be reminded that he left college two years early to enter the NBA draft. And during his "rookie" season at 20 years old he not only won a NBA championship, but he got the NBA Finals MVP award. Hey Magic, having the title of "rookie" is not a bad thing when you have star potential, wouldn't you agree?

    Magic is entitled to endorse anyone he wants to, but the only 2007 celebrity endorsement that really matters is Oprah.

    December 18, 2007 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  4. Tom Dedham, Mass

    "Hey Bill, I scored more babes while I was married than you" says Ervin.

    Bill provides proof of that falsehood and Ervin is forced to pay his debt by promoting Bill's "wife".

    So who he is supporting is relevent because........ that's right, he is black and they need someone famous to off-set Oprah.

    This cheating over the hill jerk is the best they can do?

    Wow, this campaign is imploding.

    If you want an endorsement from a real African American hero, how about Bill Cosby who has more class in his pinky than this guy.

    December 18, 2007 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  5. onestring


    (Insert "trademark cackle" here)

    I can't vote for an opaque dinasaur politician who has already failed at serving our needs (remember hillary-care? -oh that speaks of experience all right – not too much for good judgement, wisdom, or effective leadership... but it WAS an experience!)

    Here's why I'm VOTING OBAMA:

    He's GOT everything hillary LACKS:








    VOTE OBAMA IN '08!

    December 18, 2007 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  6. Jim, Fairbanks, AK

    Hillary Clinton is so WEAK. There's not one advantage she can legitimately claim before voters. She stands next to Joe Biden and claims to be the "experienced" candidate; she stands next to Barack Obama and claims to be the "change" candidate.

    There's only ONE characteristic in which Hillary truly exceeds all her opponents: mediocrity.

    December 18, 2007 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  7. rat-te

    Talking about the Political NUTS in the Fruit Section!

    I can just Imagine:

    Heyyyy, Magic, check out those Melons! There's some ripe young Plums!

    Meanwhile, the President Poser Wannabe is in the Squash section....


    December 18, 2007 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  8. asker

    Sentinel: Can you tell us what other African Americans are on your team—Team Clinton.

    December 18, 2007 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  9. Gobama, NY, NY

    "We want somebody in there that knows what they're doing, because this job is so huge."

    Brawn on the basketball court does not translate to brains in the area of national governance.

    So of course to a JOCK, Johnson's undeveloped mind, being President of US is a 'big job'.

    Even a bungling Bush can realize that being President of US is not big for Harvard man, University professor and US Senator, as Barack Obama is.

    Hilary wasn't screwing up enough with one guy, her husband; she needed the support of another mentally challenged JOCK!

    December 18, 2007 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  10. Pepe Le Pue

    If I was looking to improve my jump shot, magic you be the expert of choice.
    But when it comes to political advice, an borderline illiterate is not an option.

    Stick to what you know, magic.

    December 18, 2007 09:58 pm at 9:58 pm |
  11. Ken kamler,washington dc

    My top 5 follow up questions for Magic would be the following, because I find his argument to be quite weak:

    1. You talk a lot about experience. If Hillary is so experienced, why did she get us into the biggest foreign policy disaster in this generation? What do you make of the fact that Barack Obama had the judgment not get into this? Isn’t it the case that on Iraq, Hillary is the one who got “in over her head,” not Obama?
    2. Do you think John F. Kennedy or Abraham Lincoln were in over their heads? They had as much or less experience than Obama will have before becoming President. What about Bill Clinton? He was also called inexperienced. He didn’t have ‘foreign relationships.’ Do you think he shouldn’t have been President?
    3. Could you directly answer the question of why you initially gave Barack Obama $2300 if you didn’t think he was ready? That doesn’t make sense.
    4. What specific legislation has Hillary passed for minority communities that outweighs the bills Obama has passed for minority communities?
    5. Since your argument centers on experience, then why aren’t you supporting Joe Biden or Chris Dodd? They have more years of Washington experience than either Hillary or Bill Clinton. If you’re talking about overall time in political office, Obama (12 years) has been in public office longer than Hillary Clinton (8 years). If you’re talking about experience passing legislation, Obama has passed more legislation over his lifetime than Hillary. If you’re talking about experience working in minority communities, Obama has that one over Hillary too. Whichever of these “experience” measures you use, how do you get to the point of supporting Hillary?
    6. BONUS: What do you make of the Clinton Administration’s decision not to get rid of the disparity in crack-cocaine mandatory sentencing laws and the negative effect that decision has had on the black community?

    Now I’m not saying the Clinton Administration was all bad. However, when you have a candidate in the primary who started out working in the black community as an activist before he even went to law school, and has a strong record of good judgment and passing progressive legislation, then I’d like to hear a stronger argument than “It’s not his turn…,” whatever that means.

    December 18, 2007 09:59 pm at 9:59 pm |
  12. Benny Brown Jacksonville Fl.

    If Obama wasn't running, you would be voting for Sen Clinton. Common sence would tell each and everyone of us, that the man need to lay low.

    What wrong with the Vice President Position? Think about that Obama.

    Oh, by the way as a black man that watched Oprah for the last three years everyday, I won't be watching anymore and Hillary get my vote now.

    Benny Brown
    Jacksonville Fl.

    December 18, 2007 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  13. Digger, Los Angeles, CA

    Magic is inaccurate to say that nobody else has experience on either side: Bill Richardson has 15 yrs in Congress (more than any frontrunner), was UN Ambassador (no others have ambassadorial experience), was Secretary of Energy (no others have held a cabinet position), and was just elected to a 2nd term as governor with almost 70% of the vote. In the meantime he has done so much diplomatic work, he's been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize 5 times (no other nominees are running, I notice.) I'd call that a wide variety of domestic and foreign experience, which we need in our next president.

    December 18, 2007 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  14. g

    Wow, Magic Johnson is supporting Hillary. That is great. I suppose the support will last as long as Mr. Johnson's talk show.

    December 18, 2007 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |
  15. Tom J, West Des Moines, IA

    WHAT experience does Hillary Clinton havve, exactly?

    December 18, 2007 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  16. Trang, Fremont, CA

    Mr Magic Johnson,

    You are entitled to your opinion. Hillary, despite allegedly 'experience', she has showed poor decisions and performace. Obama, despite allegedly 'naive and inexperience', has showed good judgment and performance. Do you follow rumor or do you follow what you experience with your own eyes? I go for the latter. He has demonstrated good leadership capability. Hillary, despite the rumor of her 'experience' has failed to exhibit her leadership capability.

    December 18, 2007 10:18 pm at 10:18 pm |
  17. MAH, Piscataway, NJ

    CNN stands for CLINTON NEWS NETOWRK... It's clinton's propaganda machine. I am surprise to see Hillary getting this much coverage compare to teh other candidates in CNN. I donot care to know what freaking magic johnson says. I would like to know what the candidates are saying.

    December 18, 2007 10:20 pm at 10:20 pm |
  18. Prince, Cedar Falls, IA

    One philandering man supporting another philandering man's wife. I think it's preposterous that you people don't realize that the Clinton's are "hiring" any black person they can just to get/keep as many black votes as possible. If they had policies that were actually GOOD for black people, the votes would be there. They don't, so they stoop low and pick up this foul ball. That's the Clinton way, lies and trickery!

    December 18, 2007 10:28 pm at 10:28 pm |
  19. Diamond

    Rookie??? Longer-served in public office than Hillary Clinton and John Edwards combined is a rookie?

    Before you say any further, tell us:

    Do you or Do you not have HIV-AIDS?

    Guess you and Bill have something in common!

    December 18, 2007 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  20. cicilia,nashua,nh

    I have never witnessed or read so much pettiness, hatred, jealousy, trival, unfairness, envy, double-standardness,etc. etc. and so on regarding Senator Clinton in my entire life observing political figures and elections. Everyone is talking about Mrs. Clinton. They comment on her face, walk, talk, gestures, mother, daughter, husband, friends and even her laugh! Boy, is she getting a lot of attention from the newspersons, the average persons, the men, Republicans, Democrats, enemies etc.etc.etc......! Why all the attention on a mere woman that cannot win, people do not like, has no real experience, is cold-blooded, is ambitious, can speak good English (not like the present President) has to have her husband campaign for her (like the wives do for their husbands!!!) because she's a helpless female candidate running for President of this country! All of the limelight for that woman is whatI have heard Senator Clinton called on a national news channel by a so-called newsperson on MSNBC only a couple of days ago. What will "she" be called when "she" God forbid becomes the President?????
    Give me Obama anytime!

    December 18, 2007 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  21. J-I, Edison, NJ

    Hillary lacks honesty and Edward is too close to a communist....

    Obama is the best....

    December 18, 2007 10:39 pm at 10:39 pm |
  22. james

    I still don't get how Hillary has experience. She was the WIFE of a do nothing president (yes, bill was a do nothing president....aside from the economy, which unless he invented MicroSoft I fail to see how that was clinton) and now a do nothing except vote ya for Bush Senator.

    Please, tell me what great accomplishments she has that I should buy this great experience argument?

    December 18, 2007 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  23. Kat, PA

    Okay, I know I am not stupid but I guess I don't understand where she has "so much more experience" than Obama. She was the First Lady of a backwoods state, then the First lady of the US. FIRST LADY, NOT PRESIDENT!!! Quit touting her "experience" and admit she doesn't have any more than Obama.

    December 18, 2007 10:47 pm at 10:47 pm |
  24. Rick, Kansas City, MO

    Clinton's new caimpaign strategy: Politics as usual. Mudslinging, cheap shots, and waffling will be not only encouraged but utilized constantly.

    Even the Chinese military sends campaign donations. A vote for Hillary is a vote for communism.

    December 18, 2007 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  25. Martin, New York City

    When I heard that Magic was supporting Hillary, it created a problem in my life.

    As a Laker fan, an Obama supporter and a frequent patron of the Magic Johnson Theatre on 125th Street, Magic's endorsement of Sen. Clinton created a bit of a sticky wicket for me.

    But after reading his clearly tongue-in-cheek and seemingly forced (Bill can be SO persuasive) commentary, I cant help but point out that Mr. Johnson himself is responsable for the single greatest and most memorable "rookie" performance in the history of his chosen sport. His line went as follows:

    42 points, 15 rebounds, 7 assists, starting at Center for the injured team captain Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and rotating into the forward and guard positions as the game progressed. He was named MVP of the 1980 finals at the tender age of 20.

    If thats the kind of "rookie" we're going to get in Barack Obama, let him suit up.

    December 18, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
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