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. Dr

    Didn't take long for Obama to play the race card.. and this will backfire

    January 13, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  2. Hillarylover in Texas

    I found this in yahoo blogs:

    Interesting. I don't agree with what they said about wanting Clinton to lose or the depising part but other than that this individual probably wrote what alot of Americans are thinking and not just the 80% white.

    Open QuestionShow me another »
    Clinton comments racist?
    I really REALLY want her to lose...but not at the hands of Sharpton or any other racist activist like him.
    As much as I dispise Clinton, I would vote for her right now just because Obama's campaign is obviously leaking this crap out into the media.
    My message to Obama: I will not vote for you...not because I am racist...but because you are allowing racists like Sharpton control you...which is the VERY concern of 80% of white America.
    You should just be you...not the black candidate...NOT Sharptons candidate....NOT Oprahs...NOT Kerrys.
    3 strikes...you're out!

    January 13, 2008 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  3. r k martin, New York, NY

    Hey Bill,

    I guess you'd know distorting a remark when you see it – you and your shadow certainly have mastered the art

    please go away now – and retire with some shred of grace, if that's possible for a philandering liar

    January 13, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. YouthVoter, CA

    Man, John Edwards cant stoop lower than this. I hope South Carolina sees thru his "kissing the backside" acts. He keeps doing the personal character assasinations so that he can kiss up to Obama for VP.

    That is low. Hope South Carolina gives Edwards less than 5% vote to show how low his acts are.

    January 13, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. Adam

    Clinton beware: I think we are seeing the seeds of an Obama\Edwards ticket being announced BEFORE February 5.

    January 13, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. swede

    GIVE ME A BREAK! THIS NOT UNITING THE COUNTRY. TO pick on every word said is division and this is only the begining....sad

    January 13, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. *08ama*

    08ama has barely touched this subject, basically shrugged it off...so to say Barack is "distorting" her remarks is once again a blatant lie. The public, internet blogs, and the media are the ones asking the ?'s. This is looking all too familiar...another politician completely out of touch with reality...I hope we learned our lessons from the previous 2 elections!

    January 13, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  8. J. Daniel, Ohio

    I do not know what Clintons to be. They accused Obama in every corners and Hillary herself denied the Dream Dr king's Calling it Johnson act. What a shame to Clintons!!!!! in others hand Bill has calling everything from Obama "fare tale" C'mon Clintons!!!!!

    January 13, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. John ny, ny

    Obama needs to be little careful in here. If he continues to make it into Black and White then there might be another surprise for him. Just the way women spoke up in NH there might lot of people speak up against this nationwide. Clintons are not racist and they have long history of working for blacks. Now what specifically has Obama done for his own community to date. Answer is Nothing. He just wants votes and once he gets it then you will never see him again.

    January 13, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. Bassam Gergi

    Senator Obama is the very summation of Dr. King's dream. A man of mixed race, who fought his whole life to overcome the boundaries set upon him by society, and now running on a message of hope and leadership for the "united" states. Obama worked on the streets of Chicago and fought for the disenfranchised and lessaffluent members of society, while only earning $12,000 a year. If anyone can speak about King with authority it is Obama, and Senator Clinton, it is not merely enough to respect King, embrace him, he is the best any of us can hope to be.

    Obama 08!

    "We refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bakrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation" -Dr. King

    January 13, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  11. Steven Stevens, Lincoln Park, michigan

    probalem with all the cllinton detracter is that they only hear what they want to hear and then shut their minds off where thye should be llistening..never llistening to the whole paragraph or sentence....then run with what they wanted to hear instead of what has been said...

    lyndon johnson did in many ways lead the way for mlk...to integrate our schools and society in general....now give hillary a chance to get to the other areas in our society that is in need of repair

    January 13, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  12. K

    How arrogant of the Clintons? Do they believe that Black folks (or anyone else for that matter) don't have a mind of their own, can't interpret statements on their own, and can't come to a conclusion of their own? Do they believe that they need someone running a presidential campaign to tell them how to think? That very arrogance is what will cause Clinton to lose the nomination. She is talking AT the American people, not to them. This campaign of hers is about the Clintons, not the millions of people who want a better America for their families. The unmitigated gall!!

    January 13, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  13. Lynn, Reno, NV

    Obama is the one who was out in the Chicago communities organizing for change. Hillary wasn't. So how does she claim the mantle of change? And with her supporters in Nevada trying to stop women and minorities from voting in casinos, through a lawsuit, something that her campaign agreed to last spring, I don't see how she can say she is for civil rights. This is a Republican tactic to disenfranchise the poor. She doesn't want cooks and bellhops and waitresses to be able to vote because their union endorsed Obama. It is shameful and I hope the country sees through her rhetoric, which is truly empty. She doesn't back it up with action at all. In fact she goes against her own rhetoric.

    January 13, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. Mauri

    The total untruth that John Edwards is spreading about Hillary Clinton should be grounds for striking this man's name from every future ballot. It's one thing to point out the differences, but to totally invent meanings to her words, is unforgiveable.

    Of course, I'm talking about Edwards' starting the spin that Hillary Clinton said that it was President Lyndon Johnson, NOT Martin Luther King, who is responsible for the Civil Rights movement. SHE SAID NO SUCH THING!

    Those of us who remember that period and were involved in every facet of King's and Johnson's working in tandem to further the Civil Rights program - KNOW the truth about this. Talking heads and members of the present Democratic campaigns should be ashamed of themselves for mounting this as an anti-Clinton action. Dr. King, many, many times - praised President Johnson for honoring his own campaign promise to further the Civil Rights intents - and no act was more overwhelming and honorable than Johnson's granting African Americans the right to vote!

    Come on, people. When absurd statements like the above are repeated by opposing candidates - do yourselves and the public a great big favor and look it up. Truths, and more important lies - can be confirmed with a little work on our part.

    This 79-year-old believes that Hillary Clinton is the person who can do the most for our country at this dire time. And while Barak Obama may be the best orator since John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King - just remember what Lloyd Bentsen said to Dan Quayle during a presidential race when Quale compared himself to Kennedy:

    "Senator, I knew John Kennedy, I served with John Kennedy, John Kennedy was a friend of mine; Senator, you're no John Kennedy."

    January 13, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  15. Sara

    Please, Americans are speaking out about her comments not Obama. Now if she was talking about Al or Jesse then she would have a point.

    January 13, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. Ginny Ca

    Edwards is wrong: when a members of Congress and presidents work together, they can take the real dreams of people such as Martin Luther King and make them a reality as Lyndon Johnson did when he signed the Civil Rights Act of 1064. Thank God for MLK and his dream. He made the world much better for everyone. King dreamed it, started the movement, and Lyndon Johnson was in a position as president to turn it into a reality. Now Edwards and Obama are both jumping on Hillary's comments, knowingly distorting her meaning, and trying to use it to their advantage. Pure bare-faced desperation on their parts.

    January 13, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. Russ

    Will Obama EVER answer a question directly or does he wish to continue with slogan after slogan. We ALL voted for change in 06, the Clintons have always championed the black persons needs in this country, far more than any other politician, and I include Jesse Jackson,Al Sharpton among the latter. Once Jesse and the Rainbow got their blackmail money from the Toyoto empire, he has been very quiet, and meanwhile Al Sharpton does nothing but try to create division among the races. Let not go back to the sixties with the black panthers showing up at each incident involving a black criminal. What comes to mind is the White incident on Long Island N.Y. The man was found guilty of Manslaughter, not first degree murder. Be thankful for that Mr Sharpton. Mr White took a youths life and has to pay for that. Walking out of you home with a gun says you intend to use it. He had no right to use deadly force on that errant youth.

    January 13, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. Bill

    No Hillary, he did not distort your words. They came directly from you and your husband, not anyone else. Believe me when I say that we all hear you and Bill loud and clear, and what we hear is not good. Like always, you both continue to think you can blame everyone else for what comes directly out of your mouths.

    January 13, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. Mikel

    Obama's response:

    What we saw this morning is why the American people are tired of Washington politicians and the games they play. But Sen. Clinton made an unfortunate remark, an ill advised remark, about King and Lyndon Johnson. I didn’t make the statement. I haven’t remarked on it, and she I think offended some folks who felt that somehow diminished King’s role in bringing about the Civil Rights Act. She is free to explain that, but the notion that somehow this is our doing is ludicrous.

    I have to point out that instead of telling the American people about her positive vision for America, Sen. Clinton spent an hour talking about me and my record in a way that was flat-out wrong. She suggested that I didn’t clearly and unambiguously oppose the war in Iraq when it is absolutely clear and anyone who has followed this knows that I did. I stood up against the war when she was voting for it, at a time when she didn’t read the intelligence reports or give diplomacy a chance. She belittled the most sweeping ethics reform since Watergate despite the fact that she stood on the sidelines during that negotiations on that bill.

    I have to say that she started this campaign saying that she wanted to make history and lately she has been spending a lot of time rewriting it. I know that in Washington it is acceptable to say or do anything it takes to get elected, but I really don’t think that is the kind of politics that is good for our party, and I don’t think it is good for our country, and I think that the American people will reject it in this election.
    What I want to do is spend talking about how we are going to make sure that people who are losing their jobs get work. How are we going to make sure that our young people are going to afford college? How are we going to make sure that the subprime lending crisis does not lead to an all-out recession? How are we going to create the kind of foreign policy that allows us to bring our troops home and makes us safer and goes after a genuine terrorist threat? Those are the issues that we are going to spend time talking about in this campaign and if Sen. Clinton wants to be distracted by the sorts of political point scoring that was evident today then that is going to be her prerogative.

    January 13, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. Steven Stevens, Lincoln Park, michigan

    does any one remember mcgovern...a falsh in the pan that depended on the young votewhen only to his great surprise on election day they did not show up at the polls...conditions were in some ways like to day..war protesters wantiing and end to the war and then not doing much more than protesting, they forgot about the voting part

    January 13, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  21. MR, Baltimore, MD

    The Clinton campaign is putting out a consistent line that Obama is nothing more than a "shuking and jiving" coke-dealing basketball player who is too "lazy" to do anything more that just "talk." Oh yeah, that and he's somehow an "Islamic manchurian candidate." That the Clintons, no less, would be involved in such naked race-baiting is categorically disgusting. The Clintons just aren't offering the kind of "change" that I'm looking for . . .

    January 13, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  22. Ginny Ca

    Sorry, hit the wrong key. Obviously it should read 1964, not 1064.

    January 13, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  23. Ed

    This is soooo STUPID! Obama LOVES the race card!!! He's used every since he started running...Black Man, Black Man, Black Man...OK! your black...What else ya got? The Clintons have PROVEN themselves to be for ALL people! Obama needs to STOP acting like Dr. King would be backing him (cause we don't know that) Just beacuse he's A BLACK MAN! Don't distort her statement to try and make her look bad you IDIOT! You are mucking up the waters! Stick to the issues put on your big boy panties, and tell us why YOU should be President!

    January 13, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  24. Mark, Springfield, MO

    What is amazing is how people are discounting the fact that NOTHING would have happened with the 1964 Civil Rights Act unless there were politicians that would have stood up and passed the legislation.

    Dr. King was the impetus that got the ball rolling but it could have gone NOWHERE if there weren't sympathetic people in congress and the office of the President.

    Read what she actually said and then UNDERSTAND the context...

    "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."

    Dr. King's dream NEVER would have been realised, at-least, in that decade without President Johnson passing the Act. It was a great thing but it never could have been accomplished without HELP.

    It seems racist to me that many African-American leaders think it diminishes Dr. King's accomplishments that he had to have help from a white President for his dream to be realised.

    January 13, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  25. JC , OHIO

    Obama is getting dirty and desparate...things he promised not to do. REMEMBER this America...he will do or say anyting to be elected.

    January 13, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
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