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. Bob Witmer

    How true?

    Clinton herself is living in a fairy tale. She is not the right person for this job. She is terribly ill-informed (hence the comment that the Pakistani elections were about Musharraf, which is completely untrue), completely polarizing, and represents the status quo. Personally, I thought it was a nightmare when she won New Hampshire, and made this race into a tight race once again.

    Now this. How many mistakes does it take for her supporters to realize that she is not presidential material?? She basically said that LBJ, not MLK, brought about the real change. That's ludicrous. I hope this really begins to make her campaign unravel.

    Obama/Edwards 08!

    January 13, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. Califa

    People find Obama inspiring and the Clintons turn this into a negative saying we don't need inspiration we need experience.
    People say Obama reminds them of MLK and the Clintons denigrate Obama by saying he is no MLK.
    It's no wonder many find the Clintons divisive. Hilary Clinton needs to take the characteristics people admire in Obama and emulate them herself instead of denigrate them. Inspiration and experience has a better chance of winning than the scorched earth campaign she is perceived to be running. She spends more time doing damage control as a consequence. I find it ironic that Clinton ballyhoos 35 years of political experience but now says it time for change. Hilary, you are no Bill Clinton; be your own person and you will get the respect you deserve.

    January 13, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  3. chris reyes md

    obama and edwards are pathetic characters. They are the worst breed of politicians . obama is full of air but has no substance. edward's is full of self sertving remarks so he can stay in the race and act as attack dog for obama

    January 13, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  4. Wayne

    It's really sad to see this new campaign that Obama has morphed into now that he has partnered up with Jesse Jackson Jr. Accussing the Clintons of being racist is ridiculous. The Clintons have been long time advocates for the African American community (When Bill Clinton left the White House he built his offices in Harlem for God's sake). This is the most disgusting play of the race card that I have ever witnessed in politics. Obama may succeed in enflaming racial tensions in South Carolina enough to win that states primary, but I think he will lose the nomination in the end. Disgraceful.

    January 13, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. Debbie Miller

    The remarks by Obama and Edwards are ridiculous. Had so hoped that this campaign would not go the way of all the others w/mudslinging. Obviously,
    I was delusional. I don't believe that the Clinton's meant anything racial. Maybe
    this shows how desperate Obama and Edwards really are. Do we want four more years of having the "race card" played by those two? Please think America.

    January 13, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  6. veronica

    I agree that her remarks are being distorted. She did a good job in clearing it up for those who are willing to listen.
    It makes logical sense–that MLK's vision would need someone important in the political world (in this case, LBJ) to help put his dreams into reality. MLK was a smart man who most assuredly knew and understood that full well. The two go hand in hand, and that's what HRC was saying.

    January 13, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  7. concerned citizen, Mesa, Arizona

    I totally agree with Hillary. Obama's campaign is fueling this racial divide. He is distorting what she said. I understood what she was saying. I do not need him to interupt for me.

    January 13, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  8. Wendy

    I am absolutely appalled that Hillary would suggest this controversy emanated from the Obama campaign? Is she serious? It came from her mouth and is subject to personal interpretation. Most blacks in America can think for themselves and don't need anyone to tell them how remarks should be perceived. Classic Clinton tactics. Can't wait till their saga in American politics is OVER! OBAMA08

    January 13, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. Alan

    Mrs. Clinton has missed the point! The heart a movement, the soul of a movement is in the leadership of a spirited leader. MLK was that much needed voice. Lyndon Johnson must have acted because the "people" spoke through MLK . President Johnson heard the voice of the people through MLK. I am afraid Mrs.Clinton has stepped on a lot of toes! And lost respect from the Black community...it doesn't have to be a racial fight, but she took it there.

    January 13, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. MG

    This is ridiculous. When there are so many more important things to discuss, Obama is distorting the truth, yet again, and raising the desperate race card. Why does it always have to be about race??? I have watched both interviews with Hillary and Bill, I am sensitive to race issues, and I saw NOTHING that would raise any eyebrows. The comments were completely taken out of context, and it is disgusting.

    Obama is making a desperate attempt to raise lies about Hillary, his biggest opponent, because he sees clearly that his candidacy is threatened, now that he realizes that people are shying away from the hoopla of his speeches, and seeing the truth about his lack of experience, lack of leadership, lack of accomplishing ANYTHING of significance in his political career.

    Obama POLARIZES, he pits race against race, class against class, he will drive this country apart. I dont know how anyone can see him as a "uniter". Why do you think so, just because he says so? Are you that gullible, to believe what he says, and he goes and does something as desperate as this?

    He will destroy this country. We have made so many accomplishments, so many inroads toward civil rights, and to see Obama come in and raise all these painful issues and feelings all over again, he will destroy this country.

    MLK was one of the greatest Americans ever. Obama is using the things that MLK fought for to his political advantage. It is cheap, disgusting, and low. Hillary is the one with the right experience, she is the one with the leadership, she is the one who will bring change, she is the one who will UNITE. I hope and pray that American will wake up and see that Obama has done NOTHING to merit all this attention, and will vote accordingly.

    January 13, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. M Lowe

    How can you say you didn't say something and that in fact you did.
    Both Clintons are putting a spin on their comments and trying to back peddle.
    Then blaming the other candidates for distorting the facts.

    Wake up America. We don't need more years of the Clinton's in the White House.

    Obama 08

    January 13, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  12. Mcain - WAR MONGER

    Hillary has that stupid Green Scarf on again, a sure sign the youth will vote against her.

    Kids never here scientists complain about global warming, just politicians that want to get elected.

    KIds are smart.

    January 13, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  13. BR-New York City

    "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."

    Hillary, Hillary, Hillary...the more you and your husband speak. The more obvious it become of just how arrogant, combative never did answer Tim Russert direct questions, because you are so consume with destroying Obama's character and yet you say you admire MLK. I wonder if you will still feel this way once the South Carolina primary is over and you no longer have use for blacks until November?

    January 13, 2008 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  14. Joe Ossai, Bedford, NH

    Two slick for your own good, you have been busted.

    You heard it here first, Hillary will not be the nominee for the Democratic party. America is sick of these two jokers.

    January 13, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  15. kris

    how come the clintons never want to take responsibility for what they say???

    January 13, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  16. Cathy

    Give me a break! You said it Hillary and Bill, so now own it. Don't go blaming someone else for the words that came out of your mouth! You are hoping that memories are short and people will forget if you try to twist things around and make it look like Obama did something negative, when it is/was you all along. I don't think I can stand 4-8 more years of the Clintons twisting things around to suit them.

    January 13, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  17. Nick. S.

    It's my fear that if Obama is elected President then every time someone disagrees with him then Al Sharpton an that ilk are going to cry racism. I will not sit through four years of that. If Obama wants to be President then he needs to control those crybabies.

    January 13, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. mike johnson

    mrs.clinton,is right and for obama to use dr.kings words is a afront to me as a black person,i have never saw,heard of him standing in any black neighborhood fighting for us,let him come down to the hood where the real problems are,the clintons did,lets put the truth out there,my vote is too important for me to vote for anyone that has not been on the front lines in this battle.while i admire obama's spirit,i am apalled at his lack of real committment,i don't trust any one that comes out for the black vote and yet has never dealt with the issues of black america,people need to wake up,if it walks like a duck,quack like a duck,it is a duck,and obama has not proved hisself to me and whole lot of us in the black community

    January 13, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. Michelle

    Blaming Senator Obama and his camp for her poor judgement and willingness to do anything to win, no matter how smarmy, just shreds any bit of respect I had left for Senator Clinton. Please. I think most of us call 'em like we see 'em, and thus know full well what Clinton is getting at, particularly when you look at her racially motivated comments in totality. Were ALL of them taken out of context and manipulated?

    An expected pattern of ugly has emerged, Senator Clinton. The people I talk to–regular folks, neighbors, co-workers–don't like it. In fact, I don't know one person who is supporting your candidacy.

    January 13, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. simone dubois

    I wondered when Obama would place the RACE card - and here it is.

    MLK was all about RACE not making a difference.

    Clearly the Obama camp will jump on any little thing. He must – because he can't campaign on his record - he doesn't have one. If he has to resort to this type of political play instead of figuring how a better health care plan or looking at the economy just shows he's scrambling.

    January 13, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  21. j.r.

    The race card is being played by the Media, and CNN is right in the middle of the whole mess...I'm just sitting here watching "Ballot Bowl" and the newscaster again said "President Clinton called Obama a fairy tale." He most certainly did not, he was refering to his VOTE ON THE WAR...get over it. CNN, MSNBC, and FOX are the one deliberately distorting the facts. Even on Tim Russert only played 1/2 of the clip on his program this morning...The Media is deliberately trying to keep this race card going to try and swing the vote...Why not do your jobs and report the whole truth, other than you can't stand to see her win. what's in it for you? The people of America deserve better than this..and the Media can do better...Get over your love affair, and do your jobs..your whole jobs....Please get over the love affair and start talking about the issues...and running the M.L.K. story just before the Nevada vote...wonder how many people can see though that one....Another way to try and swing the vote???

    January 13, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  22. Georgie

    Hillarys Record speaks for hard work & change that benifits everyday Americans. I understood the fairy tale comment the second it was made, as it was in the context of Bill commenting on Obamas record with the Iraq war starting in 2002 to the present. People need to stop trying to turn everything into racism, it's a Presendital Election, in perilous times for Americans, we need to use good common sense & look at every aspect with the future of everyone of us at stake & this Country. It's not a popularity contest for the prettiest one to win. The mess Bush is Leaving behind is no cake walk, & takes more than pretty talk & it takes serious understanding & work to get this country back to working for it's people. Let's rally behind Hillary & get out & vote! Her work record over her lifetime is no lie. She doesn't have to twist any truth. Her work record speaks for itself.

    January 13, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  23. mike

    how does that feel senator clinton. that news agencies pick up on what you said, and play it over and over again. you can not take back what you said, there are specific racial undertones of several statements made by you and your staff... obama is not going deny you said those either it is your fault for you, your husband and your staff trying to paint him as a stereotypical black man. if you apollogized then it would be seen as a mistake and you could put it behind you. until then this might be your achilles heel. BIG MISTAKE

    January 13, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  24. TexanforHillary

    Hi Mods.
    Can you tell me why I cannot post on Cnn blogs? If I were to post pro Obama would that work for you?
    Just asking...
    Si Se Puede

    January 13, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  25. kenneth

    I am black and i did not see anything racist in those comments. To suggest that the Clintons who have been there so much for the black community are racist for that comment is luducris. This is a ploy by both the Obama and Edwards campaign to produce punch lines against the clintons. But the American public is not stupid. We are in a time of war and economic recession. Obama and Edwards maybe good candidates but Hillary is the best candidate at this time in our countrie's history. Let us all be realistic about what is going on and stop buying into this media rhetoric and slogans. Imagine Obama or Edwards sitting in the white house as Iran builds nuclear weapons, china gets more military power and ready to go to war with the US, North Korea decides to go to war with the south, Russia gets more vocal and starts challenging the US, Iraq gets out of hand and the Economy starts to tumble. Who do you think have what it takes between these 3 to stand for America, defend america and put the worlds biggest economy back as the first. If you think it is Obama or Edwards, then you are completely withdrawn from the reality at hand. Maybe before there tenor finishes, china will be the worlds supper power and biggest economy followed by Russia and then the US.
    Let us make the wisest decision in this election before we as Americans regret our actions forever!

    January 13, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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