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. Brittany

    Obama distorted what Clinton said how? This case has not been made. Did Obama make you say that? Give me a break.

    And Hillary, of all people, Bob Johnson to sling the mud on your behalf. It gets no more pathetic.

    January 13, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  2. Dot

    I am so tired of hearing who is black and who is white. This has turned into a war against race not a vote for president.
    I am also tired of hearing everyone blast Hillary because she is a woman. This also seem to be sexist.
    I will vote for Hillary because i believe she is genuine and she has a great man by her side that has done a lot for this country when he was president. His personal affairs are not mine and that is between him and his spouse and it she can forgive him then she is stronger than most men i know.
    I will say Hillary keep on working for the country you love and wish for change and i feel you can do the job as well as any man.
    Obama there is a mystery that surrounds you and i do not trust the feeling i have when i see you speaking.
    I would like to see Americans unite, and race does not matter to anyone but as long as you keep race in the pictures it will never disappear.
    As long as Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson keep race alive it will remain with us for the rest of our lives.

    January 13, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  3. Denise

    If Obama...Excuse me....OH blah blah as I call him, Keeps on UNITING America with his big White and Black wedge, he will soon oust himself out of being a presidential candidate. As a non black American, I am soooooo sick and tired of this race card being shoved in my face constantly. Go ask the Jewish race about their slavery and persecution from the last 6000 years! The MLK and the fairy tale comments had NOTHING to do with any race issue. It had everything to do with reality. Oh blah blah's
    pretty words have yet revealed any substance of how he plans to get these fairy tale (oops) ideas of his into reality. I see no foundation or track record in anything he says.
    If he has to resort to screaming race on every little thing, then it proves to me he has to distract from having to answer questions on how he plans to take these hopes, dreams, JFK and MLK things and turn them into reality. Like Bill Clinton said, "Where's the Beef"

    January 13, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  4. jamaal

    I get tired off hearing of this guy do this and that. all i am saying is to Mrs. clinton, you have your presudent time with your husband. So give up this one to Obama.
    That is end of it. I know that you dont want give up so easily, but you have to face the reality Mrs.
    They said: whense you test da power, you need more:" unless you want to revenge your husband.

    Just give up, you had before Mrs.

    January 13, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  5. Dana Broxton

    Hillary is a good person at heart but I dont feel she is strong enough to be president. Every time you look up Bill Clinton is making remarks for her. She is running for president not Bill Clinton. I understand that Hillary is his wife and of course he will support her but I think there is a limit to the nonsense. Hillary is consistantly bringing up her being a female to win female voters, Barack is not bringing up his race to win over black voters but he is using his message and that alone should tell American people something. Everytime someone says something negative about Hillarys campaign she wants to go cry about it as if it is a soar boo boo. Hello this is a race for the White house rocks will be thrown, get over it. Females need not be so nieve to the thought of having a Female president as blacks shouldnt be nieve to the thought of having a black president however females and blacks should look full of hope to the thought of having a great wise president that is tired of the nonsense and ready to make a change worth while for this wounded country we call The United States of America and that is why I am sticking up for Barack Obama!!!

    January 13, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  6. CelinaB

    Clinton with her fairly tales made the unfortunate remarks regarding MLK. If they are inappropriate to blacks, its inappropriate period!.
    Clinton does not get it. Obama never panders to blacks, when Al Sharpton derided him on the Jena 6, he stood his grounds, it was a matter of right and wrong, not black and white.

    Clinton is the one making the statements, explaining, blaming others all in a few days.

    be afraid, be very afraid.

    January 13, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  7. Jeffrey

    Natasha B-You shouldn't wear your "I Hate HIllary" chip on your shoulder so vividly. Hillary doesn't cause the division. It is the Hillary Haters that do. I know some of them, and when I ask them why they dislike her so much, they are usually stumped. They don't have a reason. It is just what they have all been fed BS by hate-mongering right-wing radio and televison talk show hosts. We could only hope that our next president would be such a hard-working, intelligent and patriot as Hillary, who has been in public service most of her adult life. If everyone who spends so much time trying to tear Hillary down would spend a tiny fraction of the time Hillary has in trying to move public policy in this country forward, we would all be in a better place than we are now.

    January 13, 2008 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  8. jane

    I am so sick of Hillary and Bill Clinton's smugness and smarminess. She panders to the black vote. She panders to the hispanic vote. Neither she or her dirty husband ever take responsibility for what comes out of their mouths but have no problem crying wolf and trying to smear an opponent. This country desperately needs a CHANGE from the Bush/Clinton/Bush era. Why can't ALL citizens see this? Don't these people know when they are being pandered to? I guess people will vote for the Clinton's regardless knowing all of their shame, lies, scandals, and dishonesty. It's sad that people are willing to settle for shame and mediocrity (Clinton's) because they want to turn everything into a race issue. The BS Billary creates around themselves is miles high, but unfortunately some voters will refuse to take their blinders off. And the country suffers in the long run because she is a deceitful witch. Wake up people, I agree with Natasha, there is NO WAY Hillary Clinton could solve the problems with this country, and she certainly has no character in doing it in trying to smear Obama and blaming Bush every chance she gets because she has nothing else other than the same tired cliches, using the blame game, and being the calculating woman she is. The woman is all about negativity. Please, let's care more about the future of this country than throwing it away to another lecherous Clinton.
    I will vote for ANYONE but Hillary – Obama or McCain.

    January 13, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  9. Bo A.

    It's amazing that the Clintons are now blaming Obama for something that is clearly their fault. I don't think the Clintons are racist, but it's clear that Hillary could have made her point in a far less contentious and controversial way. But that's the manner of politics – every public figure fumbles at one point or the other. It says something profound about a leader's character if he/she can accept that a mistake has been made and move on. Obviously Hillary is showing a pattern of blaming everyone but herself for her mistakes (think Iraq vote). That's disappointing because I do think her experience -little as it may be – makes her the better candidate of the two. It's hard to support her though when she makes accusations like these. For a relative newbie, Obama has done a much better job of staying above the fray and keeping his campaign staff in check.
    It's also ironic that Hillary is blaming Obama for taking her comments out of context when just a week before, her husband took Obama's words out of context when he attacked his Iraq record. I guess we should hold them to a different standard then? Politics is a tricky game and the Clintons know how to play it. But I think Americans are smart enough to see through these tricks. You can't fool all the people all the time.

    January 13, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  10. Matt, New York Ny

    The Clintons are grasping for their last ounce of political power, hoping to essentially bypass two term limits by exploiting a loophole. I think they're so consumed with power at this point that they're not thinking about the real good of nation – The vitality of getting new leaders and new viewpoints. The importance of electing someone who can unite this nation and appeal to the world. The importance of electing a black president for the first time, and mending the vicious wound that has hurt this nation's soul since its founding – A country preaching the freedom of all, when all are not free.

    This is not to say that the Clintons haven't done good work for the nation. But in a great leader, there also comes the responsibility of knowing when to step aside and pass the torch to a new generation. I think it irresponsible of Hillary to run at all, especially when she realizes going in how unpopular she is amongst republicans and independents, when she realizes how important it is to elect a democrat, and when she realizes that she's tearing the democratic party apart and essentially trouncing on the civil rights issues her and Bill so fervently fought for before, by calling Obama's candidacy a thing of "fairytales" and dreams that require us all to throw away our crazy hopes and dreams and go back to dark and pessimistic "reality checks". This country wasn't founded on "reality checks", but it sure fall apart that way.

    January 13, 2008 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  11. abi

    It is just embarrassing that OBAMA campaign will stoop to this low.. Trying to paint Clinton as racist? This is not just fair and Obama the freshman? duh: now he appears to be the everyday POLITICIAN!!! We've seen that already! Get dirty things out, let the press take over and stay above the fray while Clinton is battling his dirty trick. So much for a change!!!

    January 13, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  12. Denise in Illinois

    I understand that Obama is white and black. His wife had to tell everyone that he was black. And from there this race issue started.

    January 13, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. robby10001

    The Clinton's and their defenders are trying to squash all the new hope, that is fresh inspiring and uplifting to people in recent American politics. I can only wish that people see through this to go froward and elect Barack Obama as our next president. He is the only candidate with the insight and personal power to march through the swamp of politics creatd by such old-Washington power driven types such as the
    Clintons. From casting doubt on the genious of such great men as Dr. KIng, to trying to close polling places in Nevada to union workers, to distorting clear words and digging up trashy gossip, the Clintons will stop at nothing to gain control. Obama, I believe is our last chance as a nation to elect a true leader . Let's not allow the Clintons to destroy the beauty of a newly born messenger of hope and force of genius that can bring real change to the next generation and the world.

    January 13, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. Paul

    How can Hillary say that Obama is distorting the comments that she made about MLK? Those words were not uttered by Obama. Those words came right out of the horse’s mouth, and that horse is Hillary Clinton. It appears to me that Obama is busy Campaigning. The words uttered by Hillary are being translated by the Public. I am part of the public. I must say, Hillary is making Obama's job a bit easier. Maybe she should just put a muzzle on. It seems like her and her husband make ill advised comments. Her husband states that the whole idea in regards to Obama is a fairy tale.

    LBJ did not bring about the change. He did sign it into Law, but only after years of sacrifice made by MLK and his supporters. The fact is, MLK and his supporters demanded change. MLK efforts and support brought about the change by fighting for it, to the degree that he sacrificed his own life. LBJ had no other option, but to give in to the whim of the public support that was accumulated thought the years. Why did MLK have to negotiate with Politicians for equality, desegration, etc? That is a matter that should not need to be negotiated for. It should have been automatic thing.

    Hillary says that she has 35 years of experience, but her experience has not changed the favors extended to Lobbyist. She says that we need a president who know how things work behind the walls of the White House to be successful.

    We need somebody who does not have the Tradition 35 years of Washington Experience. Because as much "As much as Things Change, They stay the same". Her 35 years has changed nothing. Her husband’s years did nothing but conceal and provide a false mirage to the public that all was alright, while inwardly, Washing was still the same old place- An Immense influence by Lobbyist. If Hillary did not influence her Husband to put an end to the choke hold of Lobbyist and PAC groups THEN, what make us think that she is the candidate who will bring about that change now? After, Lobbyist are the "Root of the Problem". They are the reasons why cost in Healthcare, mortgage, Banking, Schooling, Outsourcing have led to the struggles that Americans face today.

    So far, I have only seen one candidate who can see all of that, and has seen it from the Beginning. His judgment, Trumps her experience. By the way, Look at Hillary’s website, it is update monthly. Obama's website is Dynamic. It is update daily. We need somebody who is not lazy. We need somebody who knows how to organize, stay abreast of the changes, innovate, renovate, and create. We need someone who knows how to use resources. Obama does not know it all, but I tell you what his judgment has helped him build the most successful and innovate team/staff. We need that type of Innovation to translate into the UNITED STATES of America. Not just Red state or Blue states, or certain states, or for certain classes of society.

    To see that we need somebody who knows how to analyze, and be proactive not reactive. Hillary reacts when it is too late. Example, she ignored students in the beginning, Obama realized the significance of students, now she is going after students 1 year later (reactive). Obama's Judgment, analysis, cleverness, and staff are Superior.

    January 13, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  15. Butch Dillon

    During the 90s, I was an ardent Bill Clinton supporter while recognizing the Clinton's role in the divisiveness of national politics. I don't know that they started the game, but they surely played leading parts in roles that helped separate Americans along ideological lines. Reading the comments after stories such as this one, it is becoming clear that the brand of dirty political infighting sponsored by the Clintons during his presidency is having similar effects within the Democratic party. At a time when this nation desperately needs to raise itself high above the slime, Hillary and Bill are dragging it down to their level again. Enough of the filth, enough of the Clintons.

    January 13, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  16. Katy

    It is obvious that Hillary tried to bait Obama with her MLK remark and he ignored her as she should be ignored. So what does she do? Accuses Obama anyway. Hillary is the one who is trying to bring race into the campaign because she has gotten quite desperate.

    Why is Hillary not focusing on the issues?

    1 )Like why is she not releasing her White House records?
    2) Why did she not succeed for 8 years on Health care?
    3) Why did she help implement NAFTA to help take away our jobs?
    4) Why was she on Wal-Marts board and cozy with China?
    5) Why is Hillary the highest recipient of funds from lobbyists?

    I guess when Hillary Clinton doesn't want to take on her own record, she resorts to her dirty politics to try to distract us. We can see you are not genuine Hillary. That is why Barack Obama WILL be our next President in 08. The people will speak in this election. We want change we can BELIEVE in with Obama!

    January 13, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  17. Rob

    Good for Obama's people to defend him and calling it like it is. They have to be more aggressive and rebut the lies and distortions coming from the Clinton camp. Hillary has dropped from my second choice to anybody but her. Don't give this lying machine of Clinton's a monopoly on the bullspeaker. Call out their desperation. Clinton is going down and going down fast. Sorry, crying your way for sympathy and for your own selfish intent might have gotten you a VERY narrow victory in NH but it won't get you into the White House or defeat terrorism.

    January 13, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  18. Jordan

    Obama will be our next president, the president of the United States of America!!! The best thing for Obama would be to stay away from the any racist subjects and comments made by Hillary and to ignore Bill Clinton all together. Clintons are getting desperate and what a better way to elect another Clinton than to stir issues of race and try to scare away white Americans from voting for Obama. Hillary does not have 35 years of politics, but if she insists that she has served that long, than in 35 years she didn’t do much for people of US. Once you dig into Clintons past it does not look so hopeful for Clinton anymore! I guess Bill is an expert in off-loading attention from Clintons; after all he did literally perfect the off-loading term with the help of his secretary!!!

    January 13, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  19. Milo

    To anyone who reads this article:
    Keep in mind that Coretta Scott King supported Hillary Clinton completely up until her death. Anyone who thinks that Senator Clinton is racist is severely deluded, and is clearly allowing himself or herself to be influenced heavily by the media, something which is simply foolish.
    Those who know anything regarding what Hillary is all about and what she stands for knows that she and her husband Bill are not racist in the slightest. What she said about how Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream was not realized fully until President Johnson passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 is one of the truest statements made, in that it is simply historically accurate. Yes, it was King's protesting and speeches combined that INFLUENCED the government to pass the act, but such actions will only get one so far without the government's ultimate concession. If Lyndon Baines Johnson never passed the Civil Rights Act, King's efforts would have been completely in vain. Stating this, as Hillary did, does not discredit Martin Luther King Jr.'s efforts at all, she was merely commenting on a fact that everyone, or anyone intelligent, should be aware of.
    The media has sunk to a new low. It is the responsibility of the candidates and the members of their respective campaigns to persuade people to join them and to gain supporters. This is the duty of no one else, including the media.
    Simply by bringing up this issue in a widespread news article, an actual issue will arise. People should not take "news" like this seriously, and should see it for what it is, that is, propaganda, and should therefore ignore it.

    To anyone who will vote in the next election: make up your own minds about the candidates, based on actual facts as opposed to only relying on the media for things that appear to be factual but are, in actuality, fallacious.

    January 13, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  20. ellen

    For the life of me I can't understand how anyone in America can think that after 20 years with only two families in the white house.... having that tradition continue for another 4 to 8 years is "change"?

    As far has Hillary 'finding her voice'. How can she have it both ways. She says she's been working for change for 35 years!

    She was the NY Senator during 9/11 yet it took almost losing in NH for her to get emotional!

    If anyone wants to see the real Hillary think back.... remember the speech that George Bush gave Thursday night after 9/11. She is the ONLY partisian person in the room. Her state had been attached! 3000 people from HER STATE were dead.... yet the only emotion she showed on TV that night was disgust and anger for George Bush. I dare anyone to watch that unedited tape and think otherwise.

    The time for Clinton to get emotional or ' find her voice' has past!

    January 13, 2008 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. Donna in ID

    When I watched what was said I understood what was meant.
    I really get up set when thin skinned rabble rousers nit pick word by word and out of context really make me mad. Then yo have the ones that believe everything they hear on TV and all the talking heads keep playing on it and keep it going for weeks .They can't let it drop when it is over.
    I think we have a lot of irresponsible media people. You can always tell who they are pushing for by the stupid questions and remarks and nit picking and stupidity they keep up. I for one get very tired and weary of it. This goes on all the way from the White house news conferences to some of the idiots on radio and TV.
    I have not made up my mind who to vote for as yet but the way it looks I may not even vote. Would be the first time in 47 yrs of voting.
    It will NOT be for either Obama or Rudy for sure.

    January 13, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  22. jbp

    Give me a break. I can not believe that the Obama camp is going to such lows to think that Bill was speaking badly about him. You need to hear Bill entire speach to understand that he is right on target. The media and everyone else is not questioning Obama on how he would have voted. He was not even in office when the votes was cast about granting Bush the right to go to war. He was not privileged to all the info. as other senators were to make a voting decision. Bill and Hillary have done more for Blacks then he has that's for sure. And any black person who is voiting for Obama simply because he is black is really not smart enough to understand the true outcome of what they are doing. Now all of Obama leaders are trying to use the race card to try and draw bad press for Bill and Hillary. Wake up america and try and get Obama to speak to the facts and talk about experience which he is lacking. We need someone who knows what they are doing, be it a black person, a woman, or who ever. But let's make sure its someone with experience and one that would not play the race card which is what Obama's team is tryig to do now by attacking a man who has done so much for the black community.

    January 13, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  23. Denise

    Hey Greg OH, I know Oh blah blah is white and black but he seems to leave out the white part. He has said over and over and over and over, He is a black man running for president.
    The simple fact is: The Clintons got us out of debt, balanced our budget and handed over a surplus to the Bush administration. I really don't care what my banker or my stock broker does in his private life. I don't care if he believes in abortion or not.
    I really don't care if he goes to church or not. If he makes me money and secures my future, then that 's all that matters to me. We have an economy that is circling down the drain and in order to get it fixed to where my money is worth something, my house is worth something, and my retirement is still in existence, we need a president that knows how to give us all that. The Clintons have done that already and Will do it again. I don't want someone in the oval office stumbling around trying out new things to see if they work!

    January 13, 2008 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  24. Bein Careful

    If I hadn't been around during Clinton's two terms as president, I would probably believe that they were being honest in their statements about Obama, Edwards, themselves and anyone else. However, I saw first hand what the she witch is capable of and It worries me. Her temper and viciousness during her husband's presidential escapades left no doubt as to her true being. When I heard her half-baked assertions that it was these and those and how all those women were lying all I could do was laugh. I am no longer laughing at them as I ponder the sad state of affairs we seem to be approaching as voters seem to believe that she is anything but what she has proven herself to be. I fear for our country.

    January 13, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  25. Concerned Citizen, IN

    It is a scary time when people are actually convinced that Hillary cares about anything other than becoming president. I don't believe a word that comes out of her mouth, and her policies aren't even that great. She is going to spend America into oblivion.

    If you want change, why would you want to put another Clinton into office. One who has taken campaign money from every interest group under the sun. You think she is going to turn around and fight them? Kick them out of Washington? You are dreaming.

    When you take money from an interest group, they aren't going to turn around and walk away without getting something. People don't spend millions of dollars for nothing.

    If she is nominated, I may have to vote for McCain.

    January 13, 2008 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
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