January 13th, 2008
03:45 PM ET
10 years ago

Clinton: Obama 'distorting' my remarks

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/13/art.clintons.ap.jpg caption="Hillary Clinton said Sunday the Obama campaign is distorting recent comments made by her and her husband."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton accused Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign Sunday of distorting remarks that she and her husband have made in recent days which touched off concerns among some African-American voters.

Clinton and Obama are in a heated fight for the support of black voters, particularly in the South Carolina Democratic primary on Jan. 26.

Speaking to NBC's "Meet the Press," Clinton accused the Obama camp of "putting out talking points" about the recent remarks.

Obama rejected Clinton's complaints as "ludicrous."

Sen. John Edwards, also in the running for the Democratic nomination, stepped in with his own fresh criticism of Clinton. Speaking at a church in South Carolina, he accused Clinton of suggesting "that real change came not through the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, but through a Washington politician."

In an interview with Fox News last week, Clinton said, "Dr. King's dream began to be realized when President Lyndon Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964. It took a president to get it done." She has argued repeatedly that her experience shows she can get more done as president than Obama.

Some African-American leaders criticized the remarks as denigrating the civil rights movement and Dr. King. Both Clintons have long been popular among African-American leaders, and have extolled the civil rights movement. On "Meet the Press" Sunday, Clinton referred to King as "one of the people I admire most in the world."

Full story

- CNN's Josh Levs

soundoff (530 Responses)
  1. Ron, TX

    Obama's not forcing you to belittle the civil rights movement, Hillary... you're not his puppet. You said some absurd things, and your campaign has done some absurd things in the past few months. Your actions are not his fault. They are your fault.

    January 13, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  2. Hopeful Patriot

    Hillary, you shame us as Democrats. Your strategy is flawed by divisiveness. It is evident your true character is prevailing in these attacks and if this is your new found "voice" I am truly disappointed. Alienating blacks and Obama supporters is not the way to win the White House.

    January 13, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  3. Cres Krogman

    I believe Hillary!!!!!

    January 13, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  4. Kyle G. Columbia SC

    Clinton needs to give me a break. I am an educated young African American and took offense to what she said. That is a very sensitive subject to my race. Before we ever had anyone speaking up for us when it wasn't popular it was Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. my aunts, uncles and grandparents went through HELL on earth during the Civil Rights era. Yes, it took a LBJ to pass the Civil Rights Law but Dr. King wasn't an elected official and probably would've lost his life much quicker if he set out to run for office. Hillary you crossed the line and if you aren't black I don't think you can DISAGREE with another African American because you have NO CLUE how this affects US. Sorry, you can call me whatever you want but that's REALITY

    January 13, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  5. matthew

    It's clear that the Clinton's have supported and devoted large parts of their lives to minority voters, including the African-American community. For Obama and his team to try to distort their clear and evident record just shows that Obama doesn't truly stand for change in politics, but that he's just another politician.

    It takes experience to bring about the kind of change America needs and wants. HIllary Clinton can get it done.

    I'm voting experience over chance. Vote Hilllary 2008.

    January 13, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  6. neel ny, ny

    It is disgusting to see Obama making this into racial issue. All this shows american might be ready for black president however Obama may not be ready to be president.

    January 13, 2008 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  7. Sarge in Florida

    Back off on Hillary. She is just telling the truth. We needed a leader in the White House who saw what Dr. KIng was fighting for. Do you think if Bush were president at the time he would have signed into law the civil rights bill? NOT. Look how Bush turned his back and still does on New Orleans where the majority of people effected were Black. Obama and Edwards need to back off on playing the race card. And why In the world are Black people called African Americans? They were not born there. If born in America that should be referred as Black Americans. I don't call myself European American.

    January 13, 2008 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  8. Curtis

    what the crap is hillary talking about?

    January 13, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  9. seam, philly

    Shut up Hillary. I'm sick of hearing you.

    Go sit in the corner and cry.

    January 13, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  10. Mati

    1. Hillary pointed very clearly a sequence of historical events when talking about MLK "He understood that he had to move the political process and bring in those who were in political power. And he campaigned for political leaders including Lyndon Johnson because he wanted somebody in the White House who would act on what he had devoted his life to achieving." Anything untrue here? Logic, clear, articulated.

    2. When it comes to the Iraq war and Bill Clinton's comments on the 'fairy tale' aspects of Obama's position, elsewhere Obama said: “So I said, `Well, I don’t know what _ you know, I wasn’t in the Senate. I can’t say for certain what I would have done if I was there. I know that from where I stood the case was not made.’” If we leave out any question about the lack of fluency in this statement, Obama himself agrees that its not 100% sure he would have been against ‘if he was there’. Did Bill Clinton say anything different? The sequence of events was: speech against war before being in the Senate, not sure what he would vote if there, voting for funding the war since then –> Not 100% consistent, that's all, so Mr. Obama don't take credit for more than you did, which was a speech.

    3. My concern in this election is that anything people say against Obama is interpreted as racist no matter if opinions come form other candidates or from the public. This is one reason why nobody is asking tough questions to Obama.. I think the show should be over now and the shiny speeches replaced with some serious discussions on issues.

    January 13, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  11. D.Jacka

    Yes Hillary!! its payback time. After you fake them tears and rigged the election in New
    Hampshire. Obama decided to open fire and attack.

    January 13, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  12. Rosa

    Obama, dreams and ideas might start with you, but Hillary can make those dreams and ideas come true for all of us. You are wonderful enough. Don't fight with a fellow Democrat.. Good luck to both you and Hillary.

    January 13, 2008 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  13. Braddock

    Earlier Senator Clinton said "I hope none you know I don't think either Sen. Obama or myself want to see the injection of race or gender into this campaign?"

    If Senator Clinton didn't want race or gender injected into the campaigns then why during the New Hampshire debate did she state "I think that having a first woman president is a huge change." Doesn't that inject the issue of gender into the race?

    If one looks at the who first brought race into the campaign, they would find that it was Senator Clinton who made the comparison between Martin Luther King Jr. and President Kennedy. So again she is the one who is injecting race into the campaign as well.

    January 13, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  14. John

    Hillary you are being extra slimey this week. We all know what you meant.

    January 13, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  15. Big D

    Do we really want to go backwards to another Clinton administration? All the scandal? All the corruption? No thanks!

    January 13, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  16. AnnAloha, PA Independent Thinker

    Reliable Sources got it right!!!!

    Tim Russett tries to jump ahead of the story without clarification from the person or persons giving the talks.

    January 13, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  17. Danny G. Boca Raton, FL

    Somehow now is wrong to point back at that era? what moral right do these candidates believe they have, so Sen. obama can claim to be the person for change, that his MLK inspired speeches (probably form his days as community organizer) give me the right to say to the American People he is the person fo rhte job and not be challenged. Let the media distort Sen. Clinton's comments. Shame on you. if you believe Sen. Obama is the second coming then vote for him, but I do believe is silly for us to get caught up on this. Sen. Clinto is correct and those are the facts, she is making the case that she has the experience, but Sen. obama made it possible when he still seems to believe that America hasn't evolved enought to continue the rethoric from 50 years ago.

    January 13, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  18. Another Steve

    Sounds like the Clintons are putting the spin on this one. Was pretty clear the other day what was said. Perhaps us American voters just don't understand issues like the Clintons do. Right.

    January 13, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  19. Ayyub, Richmond, Va

    Hillary, you and the media are sick, you're the only ones fueling this. Obama's not paying that much attention to you and you're desperate to get the black vote. I hope you loose SC because you don't deserve it for letting this go on. You accuse him for saying less that you have on this issue, which isn't a issue, you make me sick ms clinton, if there was even a chance of you getting my vote it's dead gone now. STOP FUELING SOMETHING THAT ISN'T AN ISSUE, NO ONE BUT YOU AND THE MEDIA ARE TALKING ABOUT THIS, LET IT GO. By the way IF it matters to you Hillary I'm black and found nothing wrong with you and your husbands comments but they were a bit insecitive to the civil rights movement, you made your point, let it go.

    January 13, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. Vicki82

    So far, the only candidate I hear talking about issues exculsively is Sen. Edwards. It is unfortunate the media gives so much attention and time to those talking about candidates rather than issues and ignoring Sen. Edwards message. He has my support and I urge you to give him more attention.

    January 13, 2008 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  21. stanz

    I'm a Caucasian male.The Clintons have made this a nasty campaign from the start. Back in July 07 Hillary Clinton said that it was "naive" for Obama to want to talk to foreign leaders we disagree with. But Obama stood by his claim. The Clinton campaign fired two people and has apologized on numerous occasions for inappropriate statements.
    They are attempting to lure Obama into a race debate in order to try alienate Caucasian voters who make up the largest part of voters. No one forced Mrs. Clinton to make these remarks.

    “The income gap actually grew more during the Democratic Clinton administration than it has during the Bush administration. According to U.S. Census data, the share of income for the wealthiest 5 percent rose from 18.6 percent in 1992 to 22.1 percent in 2000. That’s a jump of almost 19 percent.”

    Furthermore, capital gains tax was only 20 percent during the Clinton Presidency. That means the super rich only pay 20 percent on their income from the stock market. Actual wage earners would pay up to 38 percent.

    January 13, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  22. tina ny, ny

    I don't think Obama is ready to be president. It will be too difficult to critize him because he is riding on racism. I don't want to see this four next 4 years. It is going to divide the country based on racism which he seems to be actively promoting.

    January 13, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  23. Brian Price

    Their denials would be absolutely unfathomable, were they not so consistant.

    When will we have a politician that does not twist the truth around to their benefit? When will we have someone who tries to raise the bar of behavior for public officials? This type of behavior is unacceptable in every other walk of life. When will people send a message that it is unacceptable in politics?


    January 13, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  24. Truethis

    Obama didn't start this argument it was CNN's strategist Donna Britzel who brought this issue the surfaces. She supported Gore and the Clintons' in the past I asked people to take a hard look at the facts and watch MSNBC Meet the Press (it comes on twice tonight) and make your decision. Or go back and listen to Donna Britzel remarks, not once Obama people said anything. CNN trying to twist this thing around.

    I have watch both campaign carefully. Obama would be a fool to make this a race or gender issue. The Clintons tried to make an issue of Obama vote on the war if you watch Meet the Press it clear up who was for the war and who was still unwilling to apologize to the American people.

    Divide and Conquer is what CNN is trying to do. I advise all watched the debate on Tuesday on MSNBC. Fact will come out in the debate. If you support Obama please make donation so that he can make his $100,000 mark. I am because I want TRUE CHANGE.

    January 13, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  25. Karen, NYC

    How pitiful this woman has become?

    I just heard from 4 of my cousins in South Carolina and they just made up their minds... they will NOT be voting for Hillary.

    January 13, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22