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. Denis, NJ

    This isn't the territory Clinton wants to be on and needs to tread carefully, even if her husband was one of the popular presidents with the African-American community. If the media and everyone else keeps taking Clinton's comment out of context, it could be a potentially damaging erosion in her campaign in the South.

    January 13, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  2. reasonable person

    Give it up Edwards and go home and take care of your wife for as long as you have her......I noticed you didn't even help her off the bus and cameraman had to....you are the most uncaring husband in the world......the stress of this unwinnable campaign of yours is killing your wife and all you care about is yourself!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 13, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  3. Mike in Michigan

    I agree with her 100%!

    January 13, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. FV, Tampa, FL

    Obama is nothing but a smokescreen..... the guy has done NOTHING of substance.

    He talks a good game.... THAT'S ALL!


    Hillary was meeting World leaders when Obama was smoking out in College.

    January 13, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  5. Gabe Polson, The Woodlands,TX

    Well the media is distorting her words as well. If the media would not run with half stories and actually do the reporting and INVESTIGATING that they are supposed to do , the voting public would know the entire story and understand the context in which those comments were made.

    Personally, I believe the media is insulting the black community and trying to create news by stirring the race issue. Let's get the candidates to talk about the issues.
    I was actually impressed of Hillary Clinton's grasp of what is going on in America with regards to her "Meet the Press" interview. I like the fact that she refused to allow Tim Russert to travel down the road of false statements and misrepresentations. Now let's bring Obama to the table to discuss his record.

    January 13, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  6. Dariel

    Its too bad that the Obama people are already using the race card. Anyone who tries to characterize the Clintons as being racist really do not know their history. I really dont think this country needs a president that will cry race everytime something doesnt go his way. This has definately helped me to make the decision to support Senator Clinton for the Presidency.

    January 13, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  7. Jose Gamero. Jr.

    I don't understand why what Hillary said is taking away from any of MLK's amazing accomplishments. She is 100% right. Just look at the country now. We are at a time where a great majority feel strongly against the war, march against it, Congress tried to shorten it – and yet we have a president who thwarts anything that tries to impede that war. He doesn't listen to the people. Now, its completely because of Martin Luther King, Jr that the Civil Rights Act came to be, but it was because we had a president willing to listen to him. Now the war and the civil rights movement are two different things and I am not equating them at all – I am comparing the mindset of two presidents – one who listens, and one who doesn't. Hillary wants to be a president who enacts the change that the people hunger for, this is what I gathered from what she said – nothing less.

    January 13, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  8. Jane

    I do think that the Obama campaign wants it to be about race, they do not want it to be about experience! The experience question has been put on the back burner somewhat. I watched Hillary explain on "Meet the Press"…sorry, other network…and I do believe that Obama's campaign is trying to distort what has been said. The fairy-tale statement was meant on Obama's war position....how is that racial?

    The problem is that the press often takes statements out of context and then people get the wrong impression. If they had played the whole speech we would all understand what the candidate is really saying. But the press loves to stir it up giving them new material to spin on.

    Let's stick to the issues. The rest of the garbage needs to stop. Obama is African American, Clinton is a woman and Edwards comes from a humble beginning. All of thses candidates are wealthy now and all profess to want to help the poor and middle class. Let's take it from there!

    January 13, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  9. Peaches

    As a Black American, I believe in my heart that Clinton meant nothing derogatory about her comments. To begin with, she's correct when she states that President Johnson put his weight behing the civil rights movement with laws which ultimately brought about true change during that period. I find it applalling that these so-called 'African-American' leaders take so much out of context. Surely, if they were truly historically aware they would know this.

    I believe they continue to do and say ignorant things such as this to get their names in the papers or on television. They do not speak for me now or ever. I find their so-called leadership lacking in numerous areas. The bottom line is this which ever candidate wins the nomination, I will back them. Not because one's black or the other's a woman – but because I truly wish to see the democrats win.

    January 13, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  10. EmmyG

    In an attempt to win SC, that has a high percentage of Black voters, Obama begins the worst campaign smear in history: accusing Bill and Hillary Clinton of racism. And Edwards, in his attempt to remain relevant, joins in the pile on.

    Clinton has a history of working for civil rights, including rights for minorites and women. Obama knows he would loose on the merits–so he sinks to a new low in American politics. I am profoundly offended at Obama and his campaign staff.

    And, Obama: tell Mr. Jackson to knock off the sexism. It isn't pretty either.


    January 13, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  11. California Lady

    I don't think we are distorting the Clinton's remarks at all. Just look at other remarks made by the Clinto campain, inferring Obama may be selling drugs; can't shuck and jive your way to the White House; Roger Clinton using the "N" word more than once; Bill Clinton's political mentor was a Segregationist; and on it goes.
    I am a white woman and I just wish the African American people would wake up and see that voting Hillary into office is not in their best interest. They will suck up to the black people when they need to and then laugh about it all the way to the White House.
    Hillary is not the Bill Clinton you loved so much as your President and I don't negate the fact he did some good for the black people, but not enough. Hillary is extremely power hungry and believe me, if she gets in, you are going to see a whole new side of her and I promise you all, you will not like it and you will be kicking yourself and asking yourself, "why did I vote for her". Let's move on from the Clinton/Bush regime and vote someone in that WILL make a difference and really is genuine.
    He may not have the experience behind him but remember, he does not make decisions on his own. He will have a wealth of intelligent and experienced people behind him and he will choose them. He is the onloy one that can bring not only the people together but the Parties as well. Republics hate Hillary so do you think she will have and easy time or support when it comes time to getting things done. They love Obama therefore he will have support from many camps and will indeed get things done. He is not in this for himself – he is in it because he truly believe we need change in Washington and he loves this country and its people.
    Please do not make the mistake and put Hillary into the White House – PLEASE vote for Obama

    January 13, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  12. Alice, Evanston, IL

    The day Hillary admits being wrong about something is the day Hell freezes over.

    Guess what, Hillary? There is absolutely no way to DISTORT what you SAID. EVERYONE is talking about it, quoting you. Maybe you should stop saying idiotic things.

    Watch, now she'll go and cry on some news station over this to try to get the public to pity her FOR NO REASON.

    January 13, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  13. John, Va

    She is the one who failed to give Dr. King full credit for what he has done. She is blaming Sen, Obama for her fault. I don't think the Clinton's are racist, but if that is what it takes to win the white house trust me they don't mind going down that road.

    January 13, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  14. Jeffrey S.

    SHe said not he. She'll say anything, depending on the state, to get the vote. I tell you, we dislike her more and more as a person to lead this country.


    January 13, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  15. Dixon, Des Moines Iowa

    I supported and voted for Bill Clinton in both elections. In my opinion he was one of our best presidents in recent history. During this years election process I started out supporting Hillary. However, I have seen the other side of her and Mr. Clinton's tactics. They are both so far inside the beltway they do not understand it is the people and not the politicians who cause change. When she lost in Iowa her and Mr. Clinton went to very negative comments that took liberties with the truth. Now she is making positive comments about Obama after her narrow win in New Hampshire. I have decided to move to support Obama due to his consistent message and avoiding the negative even when attacked. I want real change and not what is helpful for a location. That is how we got where we are today. They forgot about the people who live and work to keep this country moving. The middle class continues to do this in spite of politicians rather than because of them.

    January 13, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    I can't believe what Clinton said. No accident, he is very caculating on whatever he does. There they go again..

    January 13, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  17. tammy

    Distortion? A Clinton accusing anyone of DISTORTION? I voted for Bill TWICE...and I agree, they aren't racist-but the ARE Master of Distortion! Masters of how to turn a phrase....

    January 13, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  18. Sue Jackson

    The comment by John Edwards would be funny if not so untruthful. Just shaking my head at how he changes his views(does he really have any stable or personal ones) to fit where he is. As for Mr. Obama, get a platform and stop trying to run on trashing or throwing confusion into the mix to give yourself something to talk about. This only evidences your immaturity and lack of experience to be President each time you open your mouth so pathetically. I heard this statement and did not take it this way. I have heard the Clintons (both) attend and offer up much praise and admiration for Rev. King, his family and other black leaders. I live in the south and recognize this to try and convince us...it doesn't work Mr. Obama, we are no different than the rest of "ya'll."

    January 13, 2008 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  19. Debra Inez

    It is ridiculous that Mrs. Clinton has to put up with this nonsense. It doesn't matter what she says or does not say....they will twist it to find something wrong. I am voting for Hillary Clinton no matter what anyone says.

    January 13, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  20. Al, Los Angeles, CA

    I actually believe this is just some advanced political skills on both sides. We all know that the Clintons both have demonstrated their respect for Black America.

    But the Clintons are finally taking Obama seriously & had to attack the message of hope from the less seasoned Senator anyway they could.

    They went to the extreme, "fairy tale" & MLK. It backfired.

    They are not racist just desperate. Despite her 3% win in NH, Hillary has to be a bit scared.

    And after IA & NH many more black voters will support Obama because they believe he CAN win now.

    My point is, both statements by the Clintons are being taken out of context by the press.

    Let's address what she's really saying. Hillary is trying to say, talk is cheap,you have to get into office to make tangible changes. (Even though she's never been a governor or head of anything). Bill is saying, Obama did support the war by a statement he made. (Although Obama's statement was taken out of context, Obama was supporting another democrat at the time).

    Obama's team is quietly fighting back, but seeding the press so Obama doesn't get his hands dirty. (For not having experience, he seems to know the game).

    Who's right, you decide, not the press.

    January 13, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  21. Phil Memphis, TN

    Oh you have to be kidding me. They are trying to paint Hilary as a racist? Suddenly the Clintons are not friends of Black Americans? That is what Obama the "uniter " is saying now? That the white Americans (speaking only of those who have been in power) who may have fought for Blacks more than any others are now bigots?

    I was originally voting for Obama but over the past few weeks have come to realize that he really isn't all that different than any other politician, and without the change or the experience he should not be elected.


    January 13, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  22. artseafartsea

    To Obama: Never underestimate the power of a woman. Go Hillary!

    January 13, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  23. R

    I find it very disturbing that Hillary doesn't mind taking shots at Obama even concerning black heritage. Obama has not said anything denigrating about her being a woman, women's history, or about women's rights. This is just another example of how wiling she and her husband are to cross the line in order to get a victory. Be better than her (which ain't hard). GO OBAMA!!!!!

    January 13, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. Jack, Greenville, SC

    Please post my comment. Thanks
    People write some horrible things on this website and they get posted. What was wrong with what I wrote?

    January 13, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. tigerjcs

    The Clintons are not playing the race cards. the remarks they made are facts and nothing to do with race. If Obama and his supporters keep twisting the words of those who critized him as racist, I don't see how he can unite this country? We can't afford to have a president who accusing or assume any criticism as racist. The media are too soft on him, because they are afraid of being accused as racist.
    By the way, I am not a white race.

    January 13, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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