December 21st, 2007
09:19 AM ET
13 years ago

Obama hits Clinton on electability

Obama hit Clinton on her electablity Thursday.

(CNN) - Barack Obama took direct aim Thursday night at Hillary Clinton’s claim that she is the most electable Democrat in the presidential field, telling a New Hampshire crowd that the argument that “is being pushed, by the way, by a candidate who starts off with a 47 percent disapproval ratings.”

The remarks come days after a new Gallup survey found that Obama fared better than Clinton in head-to-head match-ups with the leading Republican candidates.

“I’m not going to mention names, but I mean the notion that a viability or an electability argument is being made by somebody who starts off with almost half the country not being able to vote for them doesn’t make sense,” the Illinois senator told a Portsmouth audience, according to a report in Foster’s Daily Democrat.

“For whatever reason I keep on defying this notion that somehow the American people are not ready for me. That just is not borne out,” he said.

Obama’s campaign has grown more aggressive in recent days, sending out press releases and mailers that directly take on senator’s chief rivals for the Democratic nomination.

Obama and Clinton were tied in the Granite State, but the New York senator has opened up a double-digit lead among primary voters there in the latest CNN poll, released this week, in large part because of major gains among older voters.

Last week, Bill Shaheen, Clinton’s New Hampshire campaign co-chairman, resigned after telling a reporter that she was more electable because Obama’s youthful drug use would be a target for Republicans in a general election contest.

- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. anon New York, NY

    I'm sick of Clinton supporters saying things without any evidence to back them up.

    Eg: "Obama can't win. American won't elect a black person."

    Perhaps the Democratic party should set up a "Racist Outreach Committee" if you follow that sort of logic.

    December 21, 2007 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  2. BR-New York City

    Who really give a rats butt weather he took a hit of coke when he was a teenager. "He who is without sin cast the first stone. At least he didn't cheat on his wife with an intern. Bill can't wait to revisit the White House so he can inhale.

    December 21, 2007 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  3. Ron, TX

    The TRUTH shall set America free (and ensure the lying, deceptive Clinton doesn't take the WhiteHouse)!

    I'm glad that Obama is no longer taking potshots from Clinton. He has to respond to some of her inane "criticisms"!

    December 21, 2007 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  4. Kisha

    Merry Christmas Hillary

    December 21, 2007 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  5. JB Boston MA

    Amen Obama-

    There is a large percentage of people in this country that really dislike her. They will never vote for her.

    If the dems want to lose the Whitehouse AGAIN, go and elect her in the primary.

    I think many dems are backing her as an "up yours to R's", but the truth is that will only end up ensuring an R's taking of the Whitehouse.

    Don't be stupid. Vote for either Edwards/Obama/Biden and the whitehouse is D controlled.

    December 21, 2007 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  6. MaryJo Bruce Surprise, Ariz

    No, No to any Dem. They are the spending party, they are the cut and run party. They are the feel good party. The majority of us are reaching in the bottom of our wallets now and no end in site. Hillary does have gov experence for sure. But, Bill will be running the US. Whom ever closes our borders to the Illegals and that means all Illegals gets my vote.

    December 21, 2007 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  7. Surrealist, Fort Myers, FL

    Thats the pot calling the kettle black. Hey Obam–in case you haven't noticed, you're not stirring much among established independent voters!!

    The only electable candidate we've got in the Democratic party is John Edwards. Our party, and America in general is ready for some fresh ideas. And many of those middle class and poor voters who hung their hopes on the Republican plans for the economy and their fortunes–have been let down and sre seeking a candidate with the genuine passion to put them at the bargaining table with the power circles in Washington. He's the only truly electable candidate of either party. All others promis us just more of the same–under new management.

    December 21, 2007 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  8. Independent in CA

    Seems America's allies are concerned about Senator Obama's EXPERIENCE or lack thereof too!!!

    'Stay-at-home' Barack Obama comes under fire for a lack of foreign experience:

    "Mr Obama had failed to convene a single policy meeting of the Senate European subcommittee, of which he is chairman. There was also strikingly robust criticism from an independent Washington think-tank about a "disconcerting void" over transatlantic relations in Mr Obama's foreign policy, as well as from a former British Minister for Europe."

    "A spokesman said that Mr Obama had held European subcommittee hearings on the nomination of two US ambassadors in the past year when he had been busy with his presidential campaign."

    "But Steve Clemons, the director of foreign policy at the New American Foundation in Washington, said that such hearings were not the same as convening full meetings on pressing policy issues such as the future of Nato. "Someone who is seeking the presidency should have some facility for the most important anchor in global affairs, which is the transatlantic relationship," he said. "The major threats in the 21st century are changing but what is not changing is the vital necessity of Europe and the US collaborating in meeting those challenges with Europe, for instance, in the lead on dealing with Iran. This is a very disconcerting void in Obama's profile."

    "Denis MacShane, a Minister for Europe in Mr Blair's Government, said he had been troubled by comments Mr Obama had made on the Middle East peace process and the prospect of military action in Pakistan. He added: "A lot of people are concerned that international policy is not his strongest suit, just as it was not with George Bush in 2000."

    Oh well, we don't need Great Britain anyway - everyone knows they're just extra baggage in Iraq. What I want to know "Is Senator Obama Smarter than a 5th Grader" and can he find North Korea on the map 😉

    Not to worry though, that's where all those former President Clinton's staff come in 😉 Sure it's called "On-the-Job Training"

    December 21, 2007 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  9. Rosie, NYC, NY

    Please reflect on the following quotes:

    "Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power."

    — Abraham Lincoln

    "The forbearing use of power does not only form a touchstone; but the manner in which an individual enjoys certain advantages over others is a test of a true gentleman. The power which the strong have over the weak, the magistrate over the employed, the educated over the unlettered, the experienced over the confiding, even the clever over the silly; the forbearing and inoffensive use of all this power and authority, or the total abstinence from it, when the case admits it, will show the gentleman in a plain light. The gentleman does not needlessly and unnecessarily remind an offender of a wrong he may have committed against him. He can only forgive; he can forget; and he strives for that nobleness of self and mildness of character which imparts sufficient strength to let the past be put the past."

    — General Robert E. Lee

    Obama is a true gentleman and leader of character. Believe that there are a lot of nasty things out there Hilary Clinton can be attacked on. Yet, Obama, true to his character, has chosen to take the higher moral ground, engaging Clinton on issues, instead of wrestling in the mud with Hilary. He has the ability and power to call Bill and Hilary Clinton character (a target rich environment given their well known history of scandals) into question –and rightly so– but he chose not to. Now, tell me that this is not some extraordinary display of restraint.

    On the opposite, by using racial and religious prejudice to attack a gentleman requesting nothing but the honor to save his country, Hilary demonstrates that she is beneath the dignity of the Office of the Presidency of the United States of America.

    It's time to bring leadership with character, dignity, and honor back to the White House. Hilary and Bill's history demonstrate that they are not in a position to deliver on this.

    December 21, 2007 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  10. S. B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Electability is really up for debate. I think that someone has a chance if they make a good show of it with good policies and charisma. That is most of the time; there are factors that will shoot down a candidate no matter how good they are in everything else.

    I am waiting to hear about the Clinton's campaign to say how they are getting the negative numbers down of those that would never vote for her. I am also waiting to hear from the Obama campaign for more why people should believe that he and his limited executive experience is better than any of the Republicans who do have it (that would be Giulinai, Romney, or Huckabee).

    December 21, 2007 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  11. annette Columbus, Ohio

    CNN: do you know the difference between an "attack" and pointing out factual information about differences? An "attack" to me is when someone states things that a few days later they have to apologize for. Senator Obama is answering the issue of electability with facts that have been borne out in polls for months now. Half the country has consistently said they would not vote for her under any circumstances. Many polls have consistently shown Senator Obama doing better against any of the Republican candidates than Mrs. Clinton. Electability is touted by some of the media and Senator Obama answers that. As far as I am concerned the title of this should be "CNN attacks".

    December 21, 2007 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  12. La'Kitgum, Concord, NH

    Obama is just a Cry Baby. He knows pretty well he does not have the experience required to lead a world power like the USA. Now he is gone into Scare Mongering. C'mon dude, talk issues. Is the sky falling over you yet?

    Go Hillary....08

    December 21, 2007 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  13. John Karsten, VA Beach, VA

    Obama, this country was founded on dirty camgains, SO GO GET HER.
    I think you have what it takes, to show America what she is really like.
    OBAMA 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    December 21, 2007 09:44 am at 9:44 am |
  14. Beth & Jeff Chicago, IL - HILLARY IN 2007


    She's the only one who can "roll up her sleeves and clean up the mess" left by the GOP — NOT dreamer boy!!

    Or vote Biden or Richardson b/c heaven help our country if the newbie gets elected – who isn't even wise enough to realize what he DOESN'T KNOW yet; let alone play pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey in the Oval Office –> He clearly could have waited until 2012 or 2016. He's only 47, but he's such a baby that he's demanding to be King now 🙁 Sadly the great Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Senator Obama is certainly NOT!! AND Oprah should stick with her own life and hawking her Book Club (which she can't even get right all the time either).

    Senator Obama wants to raise the minimum age to receive maximum Social Security benefits! How much longer will our parents and elders have to wait to retire? And how much longer will we have to wait for our turn?

    NO MORE having to explain to our children – why it's (NOT) OKAY for the President Of Our Nation to do drugs!!! It's time to take back our country and make America proud again.



    December 21, 2007 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  15. Bruce Taylor,Berkeley,CA

    A simple formula will suffice: Hubert Humphrey is John Kerry is Hillary Clinton. New York and California are not the only two states in the union.Whereas Obama will secure swing Republican votes and Independents,Clinton will not. All the recent palaver about the legacy and scope of former President Clinton's administration and the "experience" of Senator Clinton have become numbing and irrelevant. Why go back when we can go forward?

    December 21, 2007 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  16. Jim, Burlington NC

    Good for Obama, he needs to swing back at the Clinton camp.

    I'm tired of Bushes and Clintons running this country, and anybody who says Obama isn't experienced enough is un-informed – he was a State Senator in the Illinois State Senate, where he served for eight years, plus his time in Washington equates to more time as a public servant then Hillary – America is ready.

    December 21, 2007 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  17. Jickson Denver CO

    I am a store Manager for a multi billion dollar electronics company and we have a saying that the fresher the face the better at sales. The fresh ones do not have the built in blockers that stop them from doing their job as the more experienced tend to. In the same way Obama stole my vote away from everybody else that is running for the presidency. He inspires me and hopefully can bring about some change.

    December 21, 2007 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  18. Jonah, Boston MA

    Clinton is definitely less electable than Obama. For some irrational reason, Conservatives and even Republian-leaning moderates HATE Hillary Clinton on a primal, instinctual level. I don't understand it, but it's true.

    Meanwhile, while I think Obama's "changing the rules of Washington politics" rhetoric is complete b.s., he brings out a much more positive response from Republicans and independants. He might even be more liberal than Hillary, but he still does not generate that kind of ire from the right. I've even heard a few Republicans tell me they would consider voting for him.

    Hillary will seriously struggle to win the general election, no matter what the polls say. If he's assertive and aggressive, Obama will win it in a walk.

    But I'm still voting for Kucinich.

    December 21, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  19. Anonymous

    right on tell them like it is

    December 21, 2007 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  20. Ivelisse

    so.... she has a 53% approval rate.....that's more than what got Bush elected....

    it's amazing how someone with a message based on the "audacity of hope" quote ONLY the negative side of an otherwise possitive about audacity!!!!!

    December 21, 2007 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  21. Nando, Florida

    The truth is in the Pudding, Hillary they like him more than you. Can YOU blame them?

    December 21, 2007 09:54 am at 9:54 am |

    please Obama don't insult us on that. There is more of question about your electbility.

    December 21, 2007 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  23. john, NY,NY

    Obami is running scared now. Wasn't he the same guy claiming to win the election. what a loser.

    December 21, 2007 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  24. Sick of Billy, USA

    ....and my Mommy and Daddy are the very, very, very best Mommy and Daddy in the whole wide world...and don't you say dfferent.

    December 21, 2007 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  25. RICH,NY


    December 21, 2007 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
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