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. reasonable person

    You Obama lovers are just listening with one ear....you are not listening to what people actually say.....You obviously did not understand what Sen Clinton said during her interrogation from Tim the jerk Russert.......He plays softball with Obama and Hardball with Clinton and she held her own quite nicely......Obama followers are a bunch of sheep......Hillary is the leader......GO HILL!!!!

    January 13, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  2. Leah DiMarco

    America wants truth, honesty, and integrity.
    The days of mudslinging and distortion need to become a thing of the past along with the Bushes and Clintons and from this day forward and we should all work towards supporting only those candidates that have the best interests of America and American people in their agenda without playing calculated self promoting games.

    Obama/Edwards '08

    January 13, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  3. *Light*

    time and time again throughout this campaign the clintons continue to make remarks against obama that are disrespectful. even if, as they would more than likely claim, the remarks are innocent and were not meant to be taken literally, hillary's campaign still, over time, continues to feed, in a sly way, negative remarks into this presidential campaign.

    what's upsetting about all this is the fact that hillary would actually be a competent president and she absolutely does not need to have her campaign spew forth such statements. she is actually hurting her campaign by consistently having such disrespectful remarks emanate from her campaign.

    the one thing that has remained consistent throughout senator barack's campaign is that he [and his campaign] do not throw out such remarks that would be deemed disrespectful to hillary or anyone. he really has managed to run a campaign that stays away from such negativity and disrespect. and even when he is attacked in a manner that one could deem as "racial”, he still does not play into the whole race card thing with, "oh, woe is me, look at them picking on me the black guy."

    i actually admire the way barack has been handling these attacks or, as the clintons would call them, "misunderstandings." i am most grateful, as and afro-american, that barack does not play into the race issue and continues to run his campaign based on integrity. to me, this shows great integrity in his character as a person and as leader.

    OBAMA '08!!

    January 13, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  4. Commonsense

    Remarkable! First the Clintons simultaneously slime both Martin Luther King and Barack Obama and then make a second pass by saying it wasn't slime, it was the MLK of human kindess. Too bad Goebbels job isn't still open.

    January 13, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  5. Denise in Illinois

    Having lived through the MLK era, I would think that people would research the history before they comment. Since when is ONLY MLK resposible for all the civil liberties that the African-America citizens have been granted? Hillary was stating that MLK needed a legislative assistance regarding civil liberties. LBJ and RFK both helped. MLK was a wonderful man who understood that black and white both had to contribute for gain to be made. NOW, why is everyone so upset? To listen to some of the blogging comments... LBJ is not getting the credit he deserves. As if he had nothing to do with the movement. Shame on Sen Obama for letting this go on and on and on. WHO is going to step up and say...Enough is enough... stop the sexist and racist cards!! I someone does not step up.. the Reps are going to take the lead because everyone is sick of the Dems squabbles.

    January 13, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  6. Nick, NE

    EmmyG, the Obama campaign has said absolutely nothing about the insensitive remarks Bill and Hillary have made. Neutral parties took offense to them, and in response it is Senator Clinton who is trying to smear the Obama campaign by accusing him of bringing up the race card. Just today he made his first statements on those remarks, and called the idea of his campaign accusing Clinton of being racist "ludicrous". He has made it more than clear that he does not believe the remarks made were racist and that he will not use his race as a vote-getter.

    Of course, Clinton seems to have no problem bringing up her gender for political gain. She often makes comments like "I'm your gal!" and "There are no illegal women." in an attempt to woo over female voters. Why is it, then, that Clinton supporters are so eager to jump on Obama supporters whenever race is brought up?

    January 13, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  7. Lisa

    Of course Hilary was discounting MLK Jr – or why would she have even mentioned LBJ as the "doer" and MLK Jr as the dreamer. If she only meant to say that MLK Jr talk the talk and walk the walk, and that she didn't think Obama has walked hard enough in his career – then why didn't she say that instead of bringing in LBJ?

    This is a backpedaling, after having time to discuss strategy with her team.

    I believe that she cares less about the Black vote than the Hispanic vote right now, she will take votes where she can get them. I don't think that she was trying to turn Blacks against her, but was trying to court the racist votes. Why else would her campaign invest their time in sending out rumor emails against Obama?

    January 13, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  8. Ray

    This is just sad. Obama has sunk to an all time LOW!

    I guess this is the only way he thinks he can win and he is an arrogant ass to think this is the CHANGE we need.

    January 13, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  9. Mark C. Eades

    In the bipartisan battle of "experience" vs. "change," one thing seems clear: There is no shortage of experience in Washington. If Washington experience came in dozens, it would be a dime a dozen. Washington experience is what led us into the foreign and domestic mess we're in today. What we are short of in Washington is fresh ideas and unifying vision. Put a president with these in the White House, and all that Washington experience can be put to work taking America in a new direction. This is why I support Barack Obama for president.

    January 13, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. James D.

    By what form of logic can it POSSIBLY be an Obama "smear" campaign??? Barack is making anything up....HRC said it on national TV!

    I don't think HRC meant to marginalize MLK either...she simply chose her words unwisely. BUT...why not simply say that rather than blame Obama?!?! Why can't HRC take responsibility for her actions?

    EmmyG...you need to do some homework on HRC. Mark Penn, as HRC's chief strategist has been behind some truly offensive, dishonest smear tactics against Obama. Mark Penn is second only to Karl Rove in the "do whatever it takes to win" mentality. If integrity in a campaign is important to you...Clinton is the LAST person you should be voting for.

    January 13, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. Candace

    Many other examples of what the Clintons will do to get back to the White House. Another one of the latest: comments in the British paper The Guardian by an anonymous Clinton adviser that the only white voters supporting Obama are those wanting a "cool black friend" (as opposed to those voters wanting social change, presumably, Clintonistas). This is but the latest of a series of comments by the Clinton campaign seeking to inject race into this election. This appears to be consistent with a past prediction made by Dick Morris - a Republican spin-meister who was a previous personal political adviser to Slick Willy, until Morris scandalously had a telephone conference with the Oval Office while Morris was in his office on speaker phone with a prostitute. The prostitute later went public, leading to an acrimonious breakup with then sitting President Clinton. Morris, who knows the Clintons and their scorched earth political tactics, predicted that Hillary would seed stores drawing attention to the topic of Race. Each story could be individually spun, but collectively would create a media story focusing on this divisive issue. She and her team hope - according to Morris - both that her complicity in the incitement will be sufficiently measured to avoid detection or blame, and for Obama to overreact.

    January 13, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. pennsylvania lady

    I am finding it very disappointing that the dialogue about the issues facing our country has turned into this. And who is responsible? The candidate who represents the status quo, and who believes that attacking others is the way to win elections. The greatest irony is that she blames the obama campaign for manipulating the reaction to her words to their advantage. Notably the Obama campaign did not even comment on her blunder, and it is not surprising that people naturally took offense at hillary's mentioning that MLK played a minor role in the civil rights movement relative to the president at the time. hillary is actually the manipulators of words, claiming that obama's stance on the war is inconsistent by taking statements out of context. I admire obama for staying out of this waste of time discussion with hillary and paying attention to the issues that face america.

    January 13, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  13. Alan

    Umm, they never even say what the "Obama campaign" said in response, or who it came from, Obama or someone else.

    What kind of reporting is this anyway? CNN is just out to stir the pot. This is equivalent to some kid trying to start a fight by telling both fighters "I can't believe what he said about your mama!"

    January 13, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  14. Stephanie, Columbus Ohio

    She is only saying what people want to hear. I know that some people are so trustworthy that they will believe anything a person says, and believe you me...she is NOT someone to believe. I for the life of me cannot understand why she won last week, totally boggles the mind. I feel that she is THE worst Democrat that is running at this time. She is all about power, money, control and greed. I really wish my fellow woman American's would OPEN their eyes and look at her, really look at her and NOT listen to what she's saying, but actually look at her voting record, her life history and her speeches. She is the most arrogant women I see in politics today.

    January 13, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. go Hillary!!

    The Clintons are right, MLK really didn't do anything meaningful. It takes our representatives in Washington DC, to write and pass legislation.

    January 13, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  16. Adam, Pittsburgh, PA

    Apparently every columnist across the US is also distorting you, Hillary. Or maybe you just actually sounded like a jerk?

    January 13, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  17. JohnG

    Blech. I continue to be disgusted by the pandering and distortions of the Clintons. I'm sad that I voted for Bill, and will never vote for his wife. If she gets the nomination, it is either McCain or 3rd party for me.

    The sad thing is, electing a woman president could be a revolutionary thing. But not this woman. Hopefully, when we put a woman in the White House, it will be based on her merits, not her marriage.

    January 13, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  18. Cynos Lee - Nebraska

    You know what? No one [candidate] ever stupid to speak something that hurt the voters during this time. Hillary is smart, and logically she did not and never will say something that hurt the voters.

    So it is clearly that Obama is playing ugly game by distortion of Hillary's statement.

    Any one who is supporting Edwards: I can see the sense of a Vice President in him but, sorry, I DO NOT see the sense of a Commander-in-chief in him!

    January 13, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  19. Mark, NC

    The Clintons are trying to blame Obama for the comments that they made. Obama didn't make the comments, the Clintons did. We all heard loud and clear what was said, and they definitely were out of line.

    It goes to show that when things get tight, the Clintons won't hesitate to pull the race card. Black America's alligence to the Clintons has worked much, much more in the Clinton's favor than it has in the favor of the Black Americans who have expressed their support. It has gotten to the point where the Clintons seem to use us when they need us, but if you really look at the history, where were the Clintons when Black America needed them.

    Obama is the best candidate for the job.

    January 13, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  20. Connie, Richmond, CA

    To Clinton: never underestimate the power of a black man with the courage and confidence to run against you and your husband.

    Be desperate, be very desperate.

    January 13, 2008 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  21. Mark, Washington, MD

    This experience issue is neither here nor there! I Clinton's experience is pretty thin. And in most of the crucial decisions of war and peace he is on the same page as Bush. After all if experience is the issue we wouldn't be where we are today in terms of the economy and the war. Just look at Dick Cheney's gravitas. Bush was a Governor. Rumsfield was a congressman and later a business executive. What is important is sound judgement backed by esperience. And that is why I think Obama is the best candidate. He has been in elective office for more years than Clinton. And his judgement on critical issuesis sound. The issue of race and gender has nothing to add to this discourse. And whoever plays race or gender card will lose the nomination. Vote OBAMA!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 13, 2008 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  22. Kim

    How can Obama be held responsible for ill advised remarks that Hillary made? Please wake up America. Hillary is just like that power hungry female boss that everyone has encountered and reviled. She takes credit for everything, except when its negative. It was denigrating for Hillary to suggest that Dr. King and the civil rights movement was ineffective until Johnson. The civil rights movement had support from the people well before Kennedy or Johnson did anything. I would like to see Hillary explain her comments about King/Johnson during a debate. You can't duck, cover and point fingers then.

    January 13, 2008 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  23. Zeem, NJ

    We always thought that the Clintons were friends of the black people till those comments. You can only know what is in one's mind only when he or she says it.

    January 13, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  24. charlotte

    Just check the Trinity United Church of Christ logo!!!!!

    January 13, 2008 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  25. Alvin McCurley

    Why does Barack Obama consider himself African American instead of Multiracial since his is not 100% African American.

    If Barack Obama's mother is white, why is He being given the mantel of 1st African American Male to seriously run for President instead of 1st Multiracial Candidate?

    In the future, would another African American whose family has been here prior to the Civil War and who could not be called Multiracial claim to be the true 1st African American Candidate?

    Do all African American's truely support him since he is a 1st Generation Born American?

    January 13, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
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