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. Lisa

    Have the Clintons hired on Rove as their advisor? Who can make a war hero appear to be a coward, and a war evader to be the patriot? So they are making Obama (the unifying all people) out to be a racist, and Hillary to be the victim?

    January 13, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Philip, Elkhart IN

    King didn't just give speeches... and neither does Obama. Clinton on the other hand.... .... ....

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

    Who will be Obamas running mate. Oprah?

    January 13, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  4. Ken

    Stealing campaign styles, stealing slogans, stealing messages of hope and of uplifting America, doesn't anyone see all this from the Clintons. Now they are minimizing what MLK did to get attention and to devide the people of south carolina, just like slicing and dicing they will do when they become elected.
    People who are fake get faker and people who are true they shine no matter the darkness!

    January 13, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. Christine

    I need to put my two cents in. I have said this before I don't trust Hilary Clinton. I think she is a dangerous kind of politician like so many before and around her. People are be fooled by her. It's as if she and her husband made a pact a long time ago. Bill gets to be president as long as Hilary gets to do it too.

    Her whole purpose is about power, pure and simple. I don't believe she has anything more to offer over Obama or Edwards other than the fact she is a woman. And that is simply not a reason to support her candidacy. She is very clever and talks the "talk". But I am convinced her "talk" is only an illusion of promise and so called change. There are too many deep pockets in her corner and this so-called change she goes on about would simply be cosmetic...literally.

    America: don't be fooled AGAIN. The world is watching.

    January 13, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. Eric in Massachusetts

    I can't wait to see Obama in the White House. So, if Congress doesn't do something that the Administration wants, will they be painted as racist too?

    Obama, knock of the baloney.... it i not making you look good. You are looking more petty than ever.

    January 13, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. Naomi

    Who doesn't see through these people. I am sorry I have no time to vote for people who don't resonate with real Americans!!

    January 13, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. Anonymous

    Go Obama! Hilary is just soooooooooooo desparate she'll say or do anything!

    January 13, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. Brain

    Is there one thing, one thing in Hillary that you can call real?
    Slogan,speeches,way to campaign,agendas? What do these people stand for?
    If Obama don't get nominated because he is real from the get go, I would vote for micheal Bloomberg if he comes in after february 5th.....Time for America to wake up!

    January 13, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  10. caywen

    There's no distortion. Hillary believes that it took a president to fix civil rights. If she didn't believe that, why would she say it so explicitly. It does undermine the idea the MLK was the one who did the true work, and it's sad that Hillary just doesn't believe this in her heart.

    The truth is that it took a President to do the last bit of work, but MLK and others fighting for the cause did the real work. Hillary should read up on history again.

    January 13, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  11. Carol

    The desparation of the Clinton camp is showing. Go OBAMA!

    January 13, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. jimmy

    Connie, Richmond, CA January 13, 2008 3:33 pm ET

    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.
    Need I say more?

    January 13, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  13. Eric in Massachusetts

    Mark from NC, you re being incredibly racist. This campaign is going to bring out the ugly in people..... I see it already.

    People are already seeing that rhetoric is great, but needs to be backed up with facts. When Obama is pressed, he talks about "I've been to the mountain". What I want to know is where is this mountain? And what does it have to do with the United States.

    January 13, 2008 03:44 pm at 3:44 pm |
  14. Yes We Can

    First of all, I don't see any sign of racism in Hillary Clinton's comment, and I think all of my fellow Americans out there would (or should, anyway) agree with that. From my understanding, Clinton was trying to say that King was a powerful voice, but it took a president to make all of his dreams a reality. With that said, I also don't think that Obama's campaign is trying to bring race out in this at all, but merely trying to show how ludicrous it is to say that King's influential voice had a weak hand in the Civil Rights laws that were passed. If King had not spoken, no one would have listened. If King had not been so inspirational, blacks and whites alike would not have been heard...and do you think Lyndon B. Johnson would have paid so much attention??

    All I want to say is that we should really break her statement down. If we elect Hilary, she is a president without the passion. Nothing she could ever say would be able to move me to tears, because of that shiny veneer she keeps on her at all times (and honestly, this whole shtick about her "finding her voice" after her crying moment in New Hampshire is a big sham...she knew she needed to make herself seem less like a robot).

    Barack Obama is balanced. He has less political experience than Hilary, sure, but how can you use that as a measure? George Bush Jr. has had plenty of "experience" as well, and look what that's done to us. He has the best record out of all of the candidates (to me anyway), and has the power to inspire a whole nation. We need someone like a Martin Luther King Jr. right now. We need a president right now. Barack Obama can be both.

    The problems that our nation faces today are all ones that include inspiring the people to be more active in the government–issues with bettering the environment particularly. Clinton won't move a whole nation. Obama might not be able to move the whole thing, but at least he'll be able to move some of us.

    Yes we can.
    Vote Obama.

    January 13, 2008 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  15. stan pitts pa

    to Clinton: Never underestimate the power of a mixed-race man to challenge, defeat you, and unite this country!

    January 13, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  16. Les

    I am tired of all the waffling I am seeing from the Clinton campaign. Be clear, concise, and maintain conviction. What you say is what you mean, if your writers are going to cause you trouble, hire new writers. She sounds like another Bush, who is going to hire a bunch of NTACs to tell her what to do and then our nation in severe trouble for doing so. We need a stronger leader than that, we need Obama.

    January 13, 2008 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  17. The American

    No one is disorting Clinton's message or remarks. She is simply giving Lyndon Johnson more credit than MLK Agreed Lyndon Johnson signed the law, but someone walked, suffered and eventually paid the uttermost price for that change.

    We all know MLK was not the president and cannot sign any thing into law, but do not belittle his sacrifice or movement. Had Lyndon Johnson not signed the act into law another Preseident would have done it.

    Belittling MLK's legacy was ill advised on Clinton's side, she should apologize and move forward. African Americas do not want to be lectured on MLK's legacy.

    January 13, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  18. Sara

    All this whining is getting on my nerves from Hillary.....

    January 13, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  19. S.K.M. Boston Mass

    Barack Obama's campaign did not initiate the backlash in the African-American community. Even Jesse Jackson Jr.'s comments came AFTER the backlash already began. To claim Barack Obama is playing the race card is just as ridiculous, if not more ridiculous, than saying that the Clintons are racists. If anyone disagrees with that, then please post some links Clyburn and Brazile, who are both neutral, were the first to speak up about it.

    January 13, 2008 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  20. stefanowitsch

    My first thought: Now Hillary is inventing the attacks on herself – given the sustained absence of negativity from Obama. The Billary campaign now is like a dog barking at the own shadow: dropping some damaging quotes, taking them back the same day, complain about negative public reaction and then blame Obama for their hard time. It seemed to have worked in NH, so they feel encouraged to try more of that.

    January 13, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  21. Denise in Illinois

    Once again... the Republicans never WIN the election... The Democrats always lose the election. It is time to get back to the issues.

    January 13, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  22. Scott, Royal Oak, MI

    Ok, let's see here:

    Obama invokes MLK in a speech

    Hillary basically says "you're no MLK", and that MLK needed a President to make "real change"...which obviously made people angry

    and now Hillary accuses Obama of distorting her words?? How so?

    her words are pretty straightforward, there's no need to distort them to make them look bad.

    Plus, Hillary started this negative MLK argument. Is Obama not allowed to respond?


    January 13, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  23. JD, WI

    To: Connie, Richmond, CA.

    Man, you sounds scarey. I don't think any black man can win the confidence of any other ethnicity with that attitude.

    January 13, 2008 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  24. Dr

    The campaign memo from Amaya Smith, is yet another documented proof that provides an indication that, in private, the Obama campaign is seeking to capitalize on the race issue.. and logically CNN would not report on this.

    January 13, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
  25. Anthony, Los Angeles, CA

    It's ludicrous to accuse the Clintons of racism as much as they've been champions for the African American community. Let's not start tainting this campaign with cries of racism or sexism every time the two candidates disagree with one another. Let's keep this about the issues. It's great that the top two candidates in the democratic party are a woman and a black man. Let's not tarnish this great achievement in diversity!

    January 13, 2008 03:53 pm at 3:53 pm |
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