January 16th, 2008
02:00 PM ET
9 years ago

Clinton targets Obama's management style

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/16/art.clintonobama.ap.jpg caption= "Clinton is taking aim at Obama's management style."]
(CNN) - Hillary Clinton is jumping at recent comments from rival Barack Obama during which the Illinois senator seemed to suggest he isn't exactly a details guy.

In an interview with Bloomberg Television, the New York Democrat said she was "taken aback" by Obama's admission that he wouldn't act like a "Chief Operating Officer" if he was elected president.

"I think it’s important that we have a president who understands that you have to run the government," she said.

Obama told an editorial meeting with the Reno Gazette-Journal Monday that he has a "pretty good sense of my strengths and my weaknesses."

“I don’t think there is anybody in this race who can inspire the American people better than I can, and I don’t think there is anybody in this race who can bridge differences ... better than I can," he said. “But I’m not an operating officer. Some in this debate around experience seem to think the job of the president is to go in and run some bureaucracy. Well, that’s not my job. My job is to set a vision of 'here's where the bureaucracy needs to go.'"

Then, at the Democratic debate Tuesday night, Obama seemed to suggest he tends to be disorganized.

"I ask my staff never to hand me paper until two seconds before I need it, because I will lose it. And my desk in my office doesn't look good. I've got to have somebody around me who is keeping track of that stuff,” said Obama.

Speaking Wednesday, Clinton said the presidency requires someone who is "hands on."

"We all need to be inspirational and set goals, and I’ve been doing that throughout this campaign. We need to set big goals for our standing in the world, for our economy, to deal with energy and health care and so much else that is really on the minds of the people who talk to me as I go in and out of their homes, Peter. That’s what they’re talking to me about,” she said.

"After you set the goals and you give the speeches, you go back to the White House and you start holding people accountable and you want to know what they’ve done today to help the American people," added Clinton. "You’ve got to take on this government, you’ve got to run this government, you can’t leave it to others.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (693 Responses)
  1. Beth

    Last micro-manager at 1600 was Jimmy Carter and we all know what a fiasco that was. Shrilly Hilly's style is overwhelm and destroy. White House postal workers, stealing FBI files, Madison Guarantee, the list goes on. Try forgettin' is that new drug for Americans who were alert during the 90's and I say an ice cube in a hot cup of coffee has a better chance than that woman. Next time she wants to point fingers she needs to remember, "Physician, heal thyself."

    January 17, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  2. Robert

    So many of you people need to have your heads examined. Obama gives a good speech BUT his voting record in the Senate is awful, not the way he votes but the fact that he doesn't show up for votes. He tells you he would lose the disarmament agreement signed by every nation in the world if he held it for more than two minutes and you think it's a wonderful thing.

    The biggest complaint that I have with Obama is his promising that he can unite the country OVER AND OVER AGAIN but not how he would do that. Do you do that by compromising on all the things that make him a democrat? If he does, he will alienate his party. If he doesn't, the repugs will just blast him. The fact is, he can't. 30 % of the country is going to hate him, right or left. Some right wing preacher in the South will claim that he drove Jimmy Hoffa out into a Washington DC park in the middle of the night and killed him and half of you nutcases will believe it. Grow up, people. Elect someone who is Presidential, experienced and organized. Let Obama give his speeches to our young people who are rapidly thinking they have no voice in America

    January 17, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  3. Larry

    What Hilary seems to be saying is that she is a Micromanager! Everyone hates a micromanager and all they really accomplish is making less productivity. He said twice in the debate that you delegate tasks and hold them accountable.

    January 17, 2008 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  4. Joeley Reno, Nevada

    That's all we need in the Oval Office, someone who can't manage "things" efficiently!

    Let us not forget, this is an individual whose finger will be on the nuclear button...if Obama wins this election, let's hope he doesn't mistake THAT button for the one he uses to call THAT person who keeps him organized!

    So finally we get a true glimpse at the REAL Obama...unorganized and requires a handler!

    Wonderful.

    This is a quasi Pied Piper situation. Obama spouting rah rah rah, he's the agent of change...with his past performance as a state legislator, his kind of change we do not need.

    If you think George W did this country a disservice, wait till the good ol boys in DC get their hooks in this guy who does not view himself as a Chief Executive!

    We will have take 2 steps forward in his glorious rhetoric and (if elected), 10 giant steps backward toward a truely puppet president.

    Give me a break, Obama is not the choice of the educated or informed.

    January 17, 2008 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  5. hbplus

    Management and Leadership have been confused and collapsed together for years and Management passing for Leadership is at the core of many of our problems. When Management prevails you have a top heavy organization with resources being spent to maintain the status quo. Activities and "talking about" things passes for results and paths for action are reduced to the lowest common denominator to what people can agree on, which is most cases is nothing more than to have yet another meeting to continue "talking about" the issues. When you encounter a situation where reasons, excuses and justifications are passing for results you have a person who is organized around Management thinking they are a leader. You have a Hillary Clinton.

    When a person is creating new possibilities for the future and orchestrating the resources to develop the new possibilities into reality, they hand off to Management the things that need to be managed on behalf of bringing stability to the new possibilies. Management becomes the floor upon which you build not the ceiling that prevents productive action.They are responsible for management, they are not Managers they are in fact a Leader. You have a Barack Obama.

    The difference in this election is that we have a person who is a Leader with authenticity, integrity and intelligence. The absence of these qualities gives us a George Bush who is not responsble for Management and we have situations like what happened in New Orleans and he leads from his own arrogance and personal agenda into a war that "the people" were against.

    Hillary Clinton is the worst possible choice for President. She is fundamentally a Manager and thinks that a hands on approach to moving the deck chairs on the Titanic (and I agree that she does have experience in doing this) will bring about change. She has also demonstrated a "my way" or the "highway" aspect of her personality that could lead us to situations far worse that what Bush has brought us to, Managers who think they are Leaders resort to use of their position and authority to mandate their own way. Giving the positon and authority of President of the United States to Hillary would be a HUGE MISTAKE on the part of the American people.

    Really good leaders are visionary, oriented around a possible future, collaborative and appreciate the need for transforming old systems to support new possibilities. They know that bringing new possibilities into existence takes hard work and they can't do it by themselves. They garner support from the people around them to take on new challenges and leverage the strengths of the concerned stakeholders. They provide Leadership and amazing positive results flow from the collaborative efforts. Barack Obama is a really good leader and when I listen to him calling for the support of the American people to take up our challenge of transforming our country I know we have perhaps our last and only shot at turning the corner on what has been our downhill slide as a Nation since the Nixon Administration. Vote for a Leader! Vote for Obama!

    January 17, 2008 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  6. Larry

    What Hilary seems to be saying is that she is a Micromanager! Everyone hates a micromanager and all they really accomplish is making less productivity. He said twice in the debate that you delegate tasks and hold them accountable.
    I mean where do you think this is going to go Hilary supporters even the United States Marine Corps delegates tasks and said that it produces its streght.
    Second comment is for the ones compairing delegating tasks as in Obama's case to delegating leadership which is Bush's case. Two very different things and delegating leadership to NeoConservitives got us into this mess. Now Hilary wants to take over the White House and delegate leadership to the old Clinton staff. The exact same thing as Bush except replacing NeoCon's with Neo'Liberals? Throw out the old trash!
    Vote for Obama

    January 17, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  7. Charlene in VA

    MOST OF YOU PEOPLE ON THIS BLOG SOUND VERY CHILDISH WITH COMMENTS LIKE

    IF SHE SHOULD WIN THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINATION SHE WILL NOT GET MY VOTE!!
    I WOULD RATHER VOTE REPUBLICAN
    I WILL NOT VOTE

    YOU ARE ONLY HURTING YOURSELF BECAUSE MY TRUE VOICE WILL BE HEARD WHEN I CAST MY VOTE. VOTING DEMOCRAT NO MATTER WHAT!!

    ALL OF YOU PEOPLE ACTING LIKE YOU NEVER MADE MISTAKES NEED TO CHECK YOURSELF, YOU GOING TO MAKE A LOT MORE KEEP LIVING SOME YOU MAKE KNOWINGLY AND SOME UNKNOWNLY

    January 17, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  8. George A. Sanchez

    She definitely has no clue what this country needs. We do not need the same old thing in Washington. We need a change in attitude to bring this country together and all she does is attack Obama for insignificant issues. If you want more drama in the White House (92'-2000) then elect the same type of politician. Lets show this type of politician that we've had enough of personal tear-down politics and elect Obama. The American people deserve a President we are proud of-my two cents!

    January 17, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  9. World Citizen UK

    Good on you, USA!!

    Reading your comments today I am greatly encouraged.

    Despite the fact that over the last few days, it seemed the debate on who was to be the next president was being hijacked by a section of the public more interested in the race of a candidate rather than the content of their policies, you have risen above the pettiness of the colour of ones skin and not taken the bait.

    Congratulations to you all good people!!!

    January 17, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  10. Kshama

    I am so proud to be an American citizen. I have read most of what is being said about both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Someone pointed out a good idea. Let's have a debate on each person's qualifications and the specifics on some of their policies. Let's all keep an open mind and remember what this election is all about. I trully respect Senator Obama and his abilities as a motivational speaker. I also admire Senator Clinton for her hard work through the years. But, if we should have a debate on just the qualifications, I would like everyone to ask themselves one question. We are talking about voting for the highest office in this nation. We are talking about the leader of the free world. Do not let the media or pop star status of others and their support for one candidate or another, sway your vote. Let's all be real for one minute. Experience and the knowledge of issues are both important. The next President will face these problems: social security, taxes, real estate mess, Iraq war, economy, education, loss of jobs due to outsourcing, illegal immigration,etc...

    STOP, SLOW DOWN, AND THINK. WHO DO YOU ENVISION SITITNG IN THE CHAIR OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES THAT WILL SOLVE THESE PROBLEMS-SOCIAL SECURITY, TAXES, REAL ESTATE MESS, IRAQ WAR, ECONOMY, EDUCATION, LOSS OF JOBS DUE TO OUTSOURCING, ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION, ?

    The issues we face cannot be solved, by talking, but action. We need someone who has "plans" for the future. Goerge W Bush said we would bring integrity and unite this country. I think most people think it is quite the opposite today. Also, if Senator Obama is elected President, he will most likely surround himself, with those of more experience then himself as would most of the candidates. How is this change in the establishment? Believe it or not, the federal govt is not all bad. There are a few things thay have done that are good for the people. For those that are Hillary Clinton haters, if a debate on just a person's qualifications is considered, I would bet that you would attack her and say she is boasting of her accomplishements, while Barack Obama is above fray and just such an "innocent" in all of this. What are the facts?"

    KEEP TO THE FACTS PEOPLE AND LET'S ASK FOR SPECIFIC PLANS FROM ALL THE CANDIDATES, JUST NOT RHETORIC. YOU CANNOT CHANGE THE GOVT THE WAY IT RUNS OVERNIGHT, NOT EVEN IN 4 YEARS. YOU CANNOT EVEN SOLVE ALL OF THE COUNTRY'S PROBLEMS BY TALKING ABOUT IT. WHAT ARE THE SPECIFC PLANS OF EACH CANDIDATE, THAT'S WHAT I WILL BASE MY VOTE ON. THIS RACE IS NOT "AMERICA'S NEXT TOP MODEL" OR "AMERICAN IDOL. " DO NOT LET THE MEDIA BRAINWASH YOU!!!!!

    January 17, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  11. cathy

    Now that Hillary has "found her voice"...she needs a "mute" button...........

    January 17, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  12. Derek

    This is a weak point by Hillary. It highlights that she too has never been a Chief Executive. A Chief Executive would never criticize another Chief Executive for not being a Chief Operating Officer. Way different roles. Good CEOs set strategy, set direction and motivate people to execute them. They give people a roadmap to know how they fit in. They don't operate; they hold others accountable for how they operate.

    And people who compare the Obama approach to the Bush approach just don't get it. When you set a bad strategy, you get bad results. Bush = Bad strategy/bad direction. Obama = Good strategy/good direction.

    January 17, 2008 05:05 pm at 5:05 pm |
  13. Once again...

    Ok. What with his problem with organization and all I wonder how he can remember stuff way back in his childhood. Oh silly me, those things have to do more with memory than with organization, and a few tweaking of fine details won't do any harm...
    I do not want a president who is relies on his staff to clean his own desk. I do not want a president who says one thing and does another. I do not want a president who glosses over events in order to sell books.
    Anyone but Obama 08
    (Preferably Hillary Clinton)

    January 17, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  14. mcsummit

    Well what do you expect from this Obama guy.
    He's got a track record of voting 'Present' on issues where conviction mattered.
    (Oh yes, he did vote 'ABSENT' on the Iran resolution and has the nerve to criticize Hillary for at least casting her vote!!)

    An eloquent orator, a sweet sweet talker but HOLLOW!

    January 18, 2008 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  15. grace

    people keep mentioning hillary's marraige to president Clinton as part of her experience. i even read above that she was "privy" to the workings of the presidency. now ask yourself, did bill and hill really have late night chats about the direction of his policies and did he truly regard her as a confidant or value her opinion. remember this is the woman he cheated on at least once to our knowledge (who knows how many times in actuality) and then vehemently denied being unfaithful to. i'll take a leap and say that they weren't exactly best friends. also consider what bill stands to gain by endorsing hillary weather or not he believes she is the right candidate for the job.

    i haven't yet decided who i will be voting for, just wanted to shed some light on that issue.

    January 18, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  16. S

    The majority of comments sadly show the age and knowledge level of those commenting. Sad that we don't raise the voting age limit to 40, so we at least have some knowledge of what we are talking about before we comment. This is exactly why we ended up with Bush. We fell for the hype and excitement and entertainment. We deserve what we get when we vote with our emotions rather than what we actually know. Unfortunately Media seems to foster this kind of emotional voting by endlessly giving us their personal views instead of reporting the news. It also shows how easily many of us are influenced by media bias and manipulation. Sadly we are as gullible as many in the media and government think we are.

    January 20, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  17. Garry

    I think that people should look at the issues and not just rattle off at the mouth. Some of Obama's seragates have started all of this race and gender talk to take voters minds off the issues. Look at the records and vote! Go Hillary

    January 24, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  18. elaine

    Bill Clinton is now in Canada. Years ago Hilliary came here to find out all of the particulars on our Health care system. Instead of her health care proposal the Americans settled for Free Trade. You dont supose Bill is taking a refresher course.

    January 31, 2008 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
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