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. Tim,texas

    Black rednecks have become exceedingly needy and the only thing they want to hear from any candidate they are considering is “me vote for you, well what’s in it for me?”
    Obama is still crusing on has totally succumbed to the prime directive of Democratic Party politics, for votes.

    December 18, 2007 10:59 pm at 10:59 pm |
  2. xtina Chicago IL

    What has Hillary Clinton done to show leadership ? What difficult decisions has she made? And what has she done that did not involve raising taxes? She wants a socialist government that will re-distribute the wealth, and that's NOT what America is about.

    December 18, 2007 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  3. xtina chicago IL

    P.s. Peter Vernon CT -- not meaning to single you out, but "hope" is not a plan. Experience is the only benchmark in choosing a President because you don't hire on promises you hire on track record.

    December 18, 2007 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  4. santa

    CNN Fails to Mention Retired Gay General’s Endorsement of Hillary .

    December 18, 2007 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  5. brain,newheaven,ct

    You be shocked. Americans are not stupid. We can not allow these people use Amerian kids to go to the war and then vote them back to the office. That is not going to happen in my household. Not at all!

    December 18, 2007 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  6. Pedro Santiago, Sterling Heights,MI

    Magic Johnson should be ashamed of his hypocrisy in denigrating the potential of a "rookie". He should know better, as he himself proved by his personal example in the 1980 NBA finals, when, as a 20-year-old rookie, he assumed Abdul-Jabbar's position to lead the Lakers to victory with his 42 point performance. The Lakers placed their trust in him based on his demonstrated ability, commitment and energy not his experience. We would get better politicians if we used these criteria to select our leaders rather than their inside Washington experience. Johnson propelled the Lakers to greatness in that 1980 NBA season and a "rookie" politician like Barack Obama can propel America to greatness in 2009 precisely because of his lack of inside Washington experience and his demonstrated ability, commitment and energy to causes important to average Americans

    December 18, 2007 11:19 pm at 11:19 pm |
  7. lucia,IN

    I have difficulties with what I call disunity within the black race everywhere. We are always eager in the bringing people to power(the king makers of the world) with our votes without getting rewarded for that effort. During these king making campaigns, the most fortunate black elites are willing to descend on those whose views they do not agree with like the wolf on the fold.

    Other communities who speak with one voice always succeed in getting the pieces of the pie from the candidates they support.

    We all know access to governments contractual services is that the piece of pie in question.
    Most of the black people with voices do not seem to understand that they must have a united front to address the despair within the struggling black community. We need to say, in no uncertain term, that our votes means our issues must be addressed. This won’t happen if whenever an influential black person is against something, it is always something that is meant to hurt another black person.

    Do not get me wrong, I am not suggesting that we cannot criticize one another. All I am saying is, we must not criticize one another on behalf of someone who is afraid to do so lest he/she will be called racist!!
    Hillary and Bill Clinton are very busy dividing the Africa American community despite the fact that they know most blacks are econmically disadvantaged. The subprime lending and the student loan scandals have left most hardworking black young people and students with debts that have made the American dream impossible and this is not a laughing matter. Most of the corporations responsible for this are pouring a lot of money in Hillary’s campaing!!!!

    December 18, 2007 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  8. Wes Minneapolis, MN

    If Magic wants a candidate with real experience why doesn't he back Biden? I don't understand why he's been overlooked when he clearly has tons of experience and does the best at every debate.

    December 18, 2007 11:33 pm at 11:33 pm |
  9. Richard,newton,Iowa

    s this good news? Seems to me like these candidates haven’t said much if anything about what they will actually do about black unemployment, a racist criminal justice system and other serious issues facing communities of color across the country.

    What does it matter if they hang out with black celebrities if they don’t do anything for everyday working people?????

    And when can we stop pretending Clinton was good for black people in the 90s. This is a long exposed lie.
    It was Clinton the backed NAFTA which sent black jobs away and boosted unemployment.
    It was Clinton that signed the you-have-the-right-to-starve welfare reform that has ghettos screaming across the country.
    It was Clinton that signed the anti-terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act setting the stage for Bush’s Patriot Act insanity.

    Come on people. These candidates need to do something for us besides show up with our favorite comedians, ball players and movie stars. Let’s start having some intelligent discussions. This is getting a li’l out of hand!!!!

    December 18, 2007 11:34 pm at 11:34 pm |
  10. Patrick, Bethlehem, PA

    experienced lies or inexperienced candor, you decide.

    December 18, 2007 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  11. Willie-New Orleans

    I find it interesting that Magic Johnson would support a candidate such as Mrs. Clinton. The Bush administration has funded over $15 BILLION for helping AIDs victims in Africa. This was a REPUBLICAN initiative, not democratic. You think that with him suffering with AIDS he would want to put a person in office who has actually done something to prevent suffering of all people, especially Africans. Where is his loyalty? Where does Hillary even stand on the AIDS Epidemic ( and don't kid yourself -it's huge and growing among Afican American Men). He needs to rethink his position.

    December 18, 2007 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  12. joe mass

    what a stupid assumption that a forty six year constitutional laywer cant be president.

    December 19, 2007 12:02 am at 12:02 am |
  13. Anonymous, Somewhere, MI

    Magic Johnson is right, we don't need a rookie. That is why Democrats should turn en masse to candidates like Dodd, Biden, and Richardson, each of whom has 20 or more years in public office. The country doesn't need a rookie with only 6 years in the Senate like Hillary Clinton.

    December 19, 2007 12:08 am at 12:08 am |
  14. Larry Buchas, New Britain, CT

    That's great. One extra-marital affair legend campaigns with another.

    The Clinton camp is desperate for votes. They won't be getting mine.

    December 19, 2007 12:09 am at 12:09 am |
  15. Daniel, NY

    The latest Iowa caucus poll that was just released has Obama third behind Edwards (who had not led in month) and Clinton, though the internals are not good for Hillary. Link.

    December 19, 2007 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  16. Jose Card

    Even negative responses are good for the Clintons. – CNN.

    It's either Hillary alligator's tears or Bill's obnoxious talks. It looks like Hillary and Bill are the only two candidates for election 2008.

    December 19, 2007 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  17. Grace, Atlanta, Ga

    The last person I would listen too is "Magic" Johnson.

    December 19, 2007 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  18. john, NY,NY

    Seems like the Clintons are landing like a tons of brick on is so easy for Obama to honk his horn when Hillary was quiet.

    December 19, 2007 12:33 am at 12:33 am |
  19. Matthew Sutton, Central Point, Oregon

    Daniel, your link also shows another new Iowa poll with Obama ahead.

    And Magic, didn't you lead the LA Lakers to an NBA Championship during your rookie year? And weren't you the MVP of the Finals that year?

    December 19, 2007 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  20. Rickey Naylon, Dallas, TX

    "You've got to be kidding me (Magic Johnson)! Senator Obama said it best, when I was 20% or more points down in the polls, people thought I was a nice guy. Now that Senator Obama is gaing momentum, former president Clinton and others who really had no comments earlier, now have plenty to say (Hmmmm).

    December 19, 2007 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  21. Mario Uy Streamwood IL

    Why are you people shocked that Magic is supporting the Clintons?

    Wasn't Bill the first black president? So what's wrong with a black supporting another black? I don't see anything wrong with that.

    December 19, 2007 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  22. PW Va

    Another over-the-hill athlete spouting off on a subject of whence he knows nothing!!!

    Do something useful, Magic...go help figure out why there's wo much steroid usage in professional sports. Now that's a task that may be right down your alley!!!

    December 19, 2007 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  23. John, Euless, TX

    I see the haters on Obamas team are out in force. Why are so many of his supporters so negative and hateful? Shouldn't we all be supporting the Democratic party? Well that is if you call yourself a Democrat. Obama supporters are also becoming a bunch of whine bags. All I hear are Obama supporters complaining about smear tactics and who said what about this or that. Come on guys....Obama the junior senator from Illinois is playing with the big dogs now.

    December 19, 2007 01:41 am at 1:41 am |
  24. John, Euless, TX

    Hey Mike in Portland:

    Check your facts again Mike. Hillary was elected for her first term in the Senate in 2000 and then again for her SECOND term by a landslide in 2006. New Yorkers know who Hillary is and they supported her out right for her second election.

    December 19, 2007 01:49 am at 1:49 am |
  25. Steve, Portland, OR

    Yeah well I believe we have had lots of presidents that had lots of experience these last few years and look where we are today. So much for experience. Give me someone without as much federal experience in Washington that is honest and even faithful to his wife and they actually might get things done in the name of the people instead of the government corporation that now runs the country. Had to add the wife part as this photo made me wonder what conquests they were discussing at the moment

    December 19, 2007 02:29 am at 2:29 am |
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