January 7th, 2008
02:35 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama says Clinton campaign getting 'depressing'


Obama is taking issue with comments Clinton made at a recent Democratic debate. (Photo Credit: AP)

(CNN) - With only a day until the New Hampshire Democratic Primary, Barack Obama says the manner in which rival Hillary Clinton's campaign is being run is getting 'depressing."

In an interview that aired on ABC Monday morning, Obama said Clinton does not make him angry, but the Illinois senator took issue with how her campaign is being run.

"I find the manner in which they’ve been running their campaign sort of depressing lately," he said.

Obama specifically took issue with a comment Clinton made at a debate Saturday, when she suggested Obama and John Edwards were raising "false hopes."

"We don't need to be raising the false hopes of our country about what can be delivered," she said. "The best way to know what change I will produce is to look at the changes that I've already made."

Obama has derided Clinton on the campaign trail for the statement, and in the ABC interview, suggested it runs against the American "tradition."

"Sen. Clinton saying, 'don’t feed the American people false hopes. Get a reality check.' You know? I mean, you can picture JFK saying, 'We can’t go to the moon. It’s a false hope. Let’s get a reality check.' It’s not, sort of, I think what our tradition has been," he said.

Meanwhile, Clinton maintains she has a record of change, and said repeatedly over the weekend that she is a "doer" compared to Obama and Edwards who are "talkers."

The back and forth comes as several recent polls indicate Obama's win in the Iowa caucuses last Thursday has given him a bounce in the Granite State. A new CNN/WMUR poll released Sunday night shows Obama 10 points ahead of Clinton, 39 percent to 29 percent.

Related video: Clinton: 'I am a change agent'

soundoff (823 Responses)
  1. Betty Vierra

    John Edwards has been a doer all his life. As a lawyer, he represented people who had had injured by defective products, or by medical neglect. By winning cases, he helped establish important principles. For example, in one case, a doctor did not heed the warnings from fetal monitor readings in time, or a nurse's attempts to get him to act when a baby was in distress. Winning the case helped establish the principle that nurses should be listened to and that a nurse should be able to go to a hospital administrator if need be to get action. Also, before the federal minimum wage was raised, John Edwards worked successfully with unions and other groups in six states to get the minimum wage raised by state measure. This helped ease the way for federal action. He is also been the engine that has been pulling the issue train during this campaign.

    January 7, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  2. Wilberto Jimenez, Monmot, MD

    Nick A –

    You make a number of unfounded claims:

    1 – "She has done things that has brought about significant change in peoples' lives." Again, WHAT things has she done ? What important bills has she sponsored or co-sponsored that have passed ? What change has she made ? Merely, stating that she has done something does not make it so.

    2 – "Either he agrees with her positions or he lacks the gravitas to truly understand them. " By this definition, nobody can EVER be wrong.

    3 – "His future VP pick Edwards did..." I was unaware that Obama or Edwards had disclosed this information. Please to be telling us ALL of the confirmed running mates. You've set up the ultimate strawman; not only is Edwards not anyone's VP pick (yet), you use his opinions to deride the subject, Obama. For shame.

    All of these candidates have flaws, some of them more serious than others. You're doing a disservice to this forum by presenting one candidate as perfect, while omitting her serious character flaws.

    January 7, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  3. JC

    Hillary Clinton: How do we fool the American people today? See also, Bill Clinton and George Bush, re: fooling the American people daily. If Hillary gets anywhere near the White House, I may consider moving to Canada. Anyone but her. We've had enough of Bush-Clinton-Bush.

    January 7, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  4. Mitchell Cataldi

    Hillary Clinton feels America owes her the presidency because she stood by while her husband had affairs with numerous women. Sorry, Hillary, but no one owes you
    anything except your philandering husband. You lie repeatedly about your experience as first lady when you had absolutely zero involvement in foreign policy and matters about our environment and the economic situation in America. The only policy you had "experience" was was your failed health care policy where you refused to listen to the views of anyone you did not agree with. I am a life long Democrat who will never vote for a lying, polarizing candidate.

    January 7, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  5. Linda

    I watched the debates twice, and HIllary's speech in NH yesterday. The woman is very professional and intelligent. I don't see that in an HALF African/White American Obama. He is more talk than doing. What has he done? Sure he can give a good speech just like a coach before a game at a pep rally, but one-on one he sucks as a communicator.

    If he get nominated he can thank the media for it. Most of the media has not gone into his record and reported on it. They spin the news in his favor most of the time. One or two states and they have him winning. Basic 101 psychology will show that most voters then go with the winner and not the person who would serve this country in the best way of experience and intelligence.

    Obama running as a true African American is depressing. I wonder if people would still think he is so popular if the white side of him would have come out dominating. Let's face it, he is no Denzel Washington.

    January 7, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  6. Jack Snow

    What can I say. We are going to have a rock star in the white house. Someone who speaks very well with a great timbre in their voice but who doesn't have a record to run on. Also a person who doesn't have any viable relationships in the senate in which to leverage off from to get legislation past. You can gain results by inspriation.

    January 7, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  7. Raman, Plano TX

    Obama, go for it.

    To be realistic Obama, you pander to very narrow corporate interests in realty going by your Illinois senate records and senate record.

    That is way too depressing for americans in general, to whom you are handing out hope that a pot of gold awaits at the other end of rainbow.

    Can you be a bit more working class centric, so people are assured that your will really not hobnob to narrow and sometimes harmful Big-boys corporate interests.

    January 7, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  8. Sean, Detroit

    People are constantly harping on this "Obama has no experience" message. But look what those with decades of Washington experience have done to our dear country, look what havoc the Bush crew has wrought on us Americans and on the rest of the free world. What "experience" does it take to run a country? I say it's more important to know that you need to surround yourself with various specialists to tackle each problem facing our nation, rather than appointing your friends and rewarding your financial backers with cabinet positions they are qualified to hold. in order to get back on top, America needs to draw from it's best and brightest minds.
    The current President Bush's experience prior to winning the white house was in running numerous businesses into the ground. He'd failed at everything else he's attempted, so politics was the perfect place for him. We deserve better. and the only way we're ever going to get anything better is to stand up and demand it!

    January 7, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  9. jackie

    Obama is too sensitive to become President. He can't take criticism. At least Hillary can. What has this man accomplished and how is he going to bring this great change about? Is Oprah going to be giving him on the job training if he makes it to the White House since he doesn't have experience?

    January 7, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  10. Linda

    Obama is unfortunately now demonstrating the political stripes of a charlatan when he turns Hillary's comments about "raising false hopes" and a "depressing campaign" back on her to try and derail her campaign. The plain truth is that Mrs. Clinton has every right to raise the question of "false hopes" because Obama doesn't bring to this Presidential campaign any real experience in foreign policy or governing, and to elect him would be to raise false hopes that he may not have the experience to deliver. I want more than 4 years of "let's have hope" from my next President.

    Obama has demonstrated no clarity about WHAT he will do if elected, just "hope." Well, that's what President Carter said when he was elected, and his administration was a disaster at home and abroad. We're paying the price in American blood right now in Mid-East for his stupid betrayal of the Shah and his naive support of an Islamic Revolution.

    Let's be honest. If Obama were a white man running for President with the same credentials and experience, he would not be a viable candidate. His poll numbers would in the single digits. Let's be more honest and say that the media and Obama are both acting sexist toward Mrs. Clinton, the first woman to run for President. She deserves the same respect for being first of her gender as Obama is getting for being the first African American to run for that office. Instead, she gets "girly" questions and "feel good" comments because she's a woman.

    That pattern was no better demonstrated than in the ABC debate this past weekend, when she was the only candidate to be asked if she "were likable." It didn't seem to be an issue to ask the male candidates. Being likable is NOT a prerequisite for being a good candidate – toughness and experience is. You want respect from Americans and fear from your enemies, not touchy feely labels. And when you do ask tough questions, you don't want to be discounted and asked "are you likeable." I was infuriated by that question and the comment from Obama, namely "I like you."

    Obama's response to the “likable" comment was condescending and totally disrespectful of Mrs. Clinton and frankly sexist, perhaps to derail her. It seems that no one is analyzing Obama's credentials seriously, perhaps because he is African American and the media are scared to question him for fear of being called racist. That failure is the big elephant in the political room of this campaign. His campaign is the real touchy, feely campaign because it has no substance except an ad slogan about "hope." This election is not an American Idol contest. I want more than "hope' from a President. I want specific ideas. The only specific idea I've heard from Obama is that we should withdraw our troops from Iraq and invade Northwest Pakistan. . That action would be the ultimate in naiveté and inexperience.

    January 7, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  11. shepherd

    OBAMA is going to be a GREAT President and is exactly the type of leader we need...

    January 7, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. scott

    I hope when Hillary leaves New Hampshire she doesn't steal the towels and ashtrays like she did when she and Bill left the White House !!!

    Do we remember that from 8 years ago ???

    By the way......what experience does she have ?? A failed health plan from when Bill was in the White House? A failed Welfare plan that never went into the system? What did she ever do? She never answered the question Saturday night.

    January 7, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  13. guy, atlanta ga

    hillary... a change agent? more like... the last one to change her mind on the war in iraq!

    January 7, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  14. Patty Vashon

    I watched the debate and if Obama wins the democratic ticket, the republicans will chew him up. Their utterances of praise for him are political. I feel that Obama is very capable, but at another time. Hillary Clinton has the experience to deal with the politics and is well aware of the needs of this country as well as negotiations with the world. It appears to me that Obama let his ambition and pride stand in the way of his loyalty to the party. He could very well be president one day but not at this time. Change is always needed, but it must be based on necessity and experience. I think that in the long run, he has hurt the democratic party' s chances in November.
    Vis a Vis John McCain – he has waffled back and forth depending on the circumstances; he is also arrogant albeit in a more subtle manner – a little scary.

    thank you.

    January 7, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  15. James D.

    I can list several aspects of the HRC campaign that I find FAR more "depressing" than her "false hopes" comment. Barack is being kind. HRC, under Mark Penn's guidance has used some sleazy, dishonest tactics....what I call Karl Rove 'lite'. I used to respect HRC...but no longer.
    Clearly, as mentioned by a few of you already, she's imploding which speaks volumes. Sad to watch as she *is* a very capable legitimate candidate. It's too bad she hasn't relied on those strengths versus FALSE attacks on Obama. Example?


    A Clinton campaign flyer criticizing Obama's stance on abortion rights landed in New Hampshire mailboxes yesterday, accusing the Illinois senator of being "unwilling to take a stand on choice." On one side the flyer says, "a woman's right to choose . . .," with the backside displaying side-by-side comparisons of Clinton's and Obama's efforts to support abortion rights.

    The mailer says Obama had seven opportunities in the Illinois state Senate to "stand up against Republican anti-choice legislation," but seven times he voted "present," instead of "yes" or "no."

    "Being there is not enough to protect choice," the flyer says. In bold letters at the bottom it reads, "On January 8 you have a choice."

    Obama campaign spokesman Reid Cherlin said the claim was false and already backfired once when Clinton tried to make it in Iowa. The campaign also provided a prepared statement from Lorna Barrett, the president of the Chicago chapter of the National Organization for Women. Brett called the mailer a "red herring."

    "Barack Obama is and always has been there for the choice community. I know – I was there with him in the trenches," she said.

    "This is offensive. I am pro-choice, pro-truth, pro-Hillary – in that order. And questioning the latter. I am very disgusted by this tactic being used by the Clinton campaign."

    A story in the New York Times last month described Obama's "present" votes and quoted a spokeswoman for Illinois Planned Parenthood saying that the votes were actually part of a strategy to stymie anti-abortion legislation.

    One more?: HRC's comment in the debate about an AP article saying "Barack could have a debate with himself" implying flip-flopping. Gee Hilary, you forgot to mention the source of that AP comment..."a Clinton campaign spokeperson". Even Robert Novak had the decency to point this out in his column...as have other journalists.

    More? To many to choose from and too little time!

    Obama / Biden 08 pretty please.

    January 7, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  16. Gbryant

    Oh great. We are leaving the decisions up to the young voters. Obama will get those votes only because the younger generation is less responsible, easily swayed, and just down right do not take care of themselves financially or otherwise as older Americans have. He is preying on the less responsible more impressionable younger citizens. Wow. What a trick, or did someone say American Idol?

    January 7, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  17. collins

    Obama said that he will send U.S.A troops to Pakestan to destroy Al Qua. remember: Pakestan is a sovereign nation with nuclear weapon.If any government agree that USA troops can invade Pakestan. She/he will be hang out as trator and then all the Pakestan troops and people will fight USA invading with nuclear weapon. Russa and China will help them

    Ameriacan people , are you ready for the third world war?

    Although Bush administration is incompete, inefficiency, Prisdent Bush didn't do such kind of stupid thing .

    Obama, what a candidate???

    January 7, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  18. dan

    '"forget it'". its all bullpudd'n ,[change] has been said dating back from day one in the history of the process, all of the promises on the campaign trail, then who ever is elected has to go thur that crooked ass congress thats been run by SOUTHERNERS and TWO-FACED LIBERALS from the beginning of time. the south will raise again,shoot it ain't never been more of stonghold. who is really running this show? the good old'e boys. all southern presidents. its just a crooked system,its the american way. it is a world of you-have or you-have -not. in all facets of life. reminds me of the roman empire. BEWARE OF THE IDES OF MARCH.

    January 7, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  19. Wakeup

    I want someone with experience to run this country. The stakes are too high for us to naively follow someone (Obama) who lacks hands on experience, especially with Foreign Affairs. He can talk about hope and change, but he doesn't have the credentials to back up that rhetoric. We are all, almost blindly optimistic when we are young. As we reach adulthood, we learn that reality is what governs life, not false hopes. IF OBAMA BECOMES THE DEMOCRATIC CANDIDATE, I WILL NOT VOTE FOR HIM. I will vote Republican. The risks to this country from outside our borders are many. Experience is the only thing that will save us from war, terrorists, nuclear attack, economic collapse or worse! If the democrats offer up Obama, I'll vote for McCain, Romney, Thompson, Guiliani, maybe even Huckabee. It's time for us to WAKE UP AMERICA!

    January 7, 2008 11:25 am at 11:25 am |
  20. diane

    '"forget it'". its all bullpudd'n ,[change] has been said dating back from day one in the history of the process, all of the promises on the campaign trail, then who ever is elected has to go thur that crooked ass congress thats been run by SOUTHERNERS and TWO-FACED LIBERALS from the beginning of time. the south will raise again,shoot it ain't never been more of stonghold. who is really running this show? the good old'e boys. all southern presidents. its just a crooked system,its the american way. it is a world of you-have or you-have -not. in all facets of life. reminds me of the roman empire. BEWARE OF THE IDES OF MARCH.

    January 7, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  21. Karen

    It must be true. A candidate said it and the media repeated it.

    Oh whoopee, another day of the media spewing garbage and the American people lapping it up, chewing it up and spewing out hate. Stop pretending you have ever read about about the issues, history, the world or any of the candidates. You couldn't name a single vote to save the Presidency.

    Obama is the change this country needs. He is the candidate that can UNIFY govt. No candidates have voted like he does.

    On what votes did Obama break with his party and reach across the aisle? Yes to Pro-corp/anti-consumer class action legislation . Wow, now that's standing up to Corp interests and supporting the middle class. No to a 30% credit charge limit on consumers. Impressive, what a way to take on Corp banking and stick up for the middle class. Is the vote for Griffith (who has major title IX issues, actually thinks tests under a law regarding equity for WOMEN in education) ringing a bell? Obama voted Yes to appoint Griffith. A man who disagress with title IX. (For you that don't know what that is either, it's equity for WOMEN in education) The man Obama voted Yes for referred to parts of title IX as 'morally wrong and believes the courts got it wrong). Whoo! As a woman I really appreciate that vote. Do you even know how he voted on alien rights? How do you like the impact of the cost of illegal immigration on your taxes middle class? How about the do nothing effect of the lobbying and earmank 'ethics' reform he touts a great achievement. You have absolutely no understanding of the issues other than what is spoon fed to you by the media nor the ability to evaluate a candidates solutions.

    I know this will be held for moderation and dumped at the end of the pile. Although I have passion in my e-mail, I did not use enough expletives, nor call any of the candidates petty names. The biggest sin of all.....I had the nerve to post an actual vote. That's going to ruin the ability to select a President.

    Oh wait.... I have a clue.
    Oh wait.... I know the issues
    Oh wait.... My understanding will change govt. and best of all....
    Oh wait.... I deserve to vote

    You have the exact government you deserve.

    January 7, 2008 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  22. jeff NJ

    You kidding me unite both parties! Republicans will eat him for break fast they are want Obama to get the nomination for they can win the WH for another 8 Years
    Don't fall for it

    January 7, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  23. JimR

    "I find Obama's speeches to be big on generalities and low on specifics."

    Well, those are speeches. Nobody wants to hear 40 minutes of policy detail in a speech, from any candidate. Go to his Web site, you will find lots of specifics.

    January 7, 2008 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
  24. Scott, Madison, WI

    To all the Hillary (depending on which version of her we see next) worshippers out there:

    If the Clinton years were so great , how the hell did George Bush and Dick Cheney end up in the White House?

    January 7, 2008 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  25. wake-up

    yes, it is depressing to see a man who wants to be a president, stutters when he wants to say something, when he makes so many mistakes, when his web site shows this edited video of "mass hysteria " for him –it is scary to see it.
    It is depressing to see that a person who does not have the experience which is needed wants to run this troubled country – how do you want to do your job well if you do not have the experience? ..... this would be more ruining the country than helping. This country needs a strong, smart, experienced, people caring president – leader. Someone who does more than talks. To lead a country is enormous job, tremendous amount of responsibility.
    yes, this is depressing. Not Hilary – she is wise woman, with experience which is very needed. The experience, dignity. The caring, the doing, not talking -everyone can talk miles, but doing miles really matters.
    Hillary did not say to not to hope, she is just reasonable, realistic. Cannot have " miracle change" -it is big country, millions of people -everyone has their dreams and hopes, cannot satisfy everybody ... can do the best to make big changes, but not miracles, miracles happen only in fairy tales.

    January 7, 2008 11:29 am at 11:29 am |
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