January 16th, 2008
03:37 PM ET
15 years ago

Crowley: Clinton's latest attack on Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/16/art.clinton1.ap.jpg
caption="Clinton is taking aim at Obama’s management ability."]
LAS VEGAS, Nevada (CNN) - The Clinton campaign continued its new line of attack on Barack Obama Wednesday, based on his recent campaign trail admissions that he isn't a details-oriented "chief operating officer."

At an event in Las Vegas, Hillary Clinton warned a group of Nevada voters that if a president does not manage the government bureacracy then "it will manage you."

Obama has made several recent statements highlighting his inexperience in running a bureaucracy, and his lack of organizational skills.

"I ask my staff never to hand me paper until two seconds before I need it, because I will lose it," he said in the Democratic debate Tuesday night. "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.”

The Illinois senator added that those qualities were not as important in a president as the ability to bring Americans together to make progress on issues stymied for years by partisan struggles.

Clinton challenged Obama's view of the role of a president in last night's debate, and her campaign continues to push the issue in e-mails.

In her comments today, she argued that the Bush era through a "mismanaged war" and the failure to react quickly to Hurricane Katrina has proved that "government by advisor" doesnt work. The country needs, said Clinton, "a hands-on manager."

There is nothing in Clinton's resume suggesting experience in managing a big bureaucracy. Her time heading the Clinton administration's health care reform effort was marked by criticism of her hands-on management style.

The Obama campaign immediately fought back. “Hillary Clinton may believe this is a race for who would make the best Chief of Staff, but Barack Obama believes this country is looking for a president who has the leadership, vision and ability to bring people of differing views together around a common agenda for change,” Obama spokesman Bill Burton said in a statement.

The New York senator's remarks Wednesday came in a roundtable discussion on the 25-year-battle over using a site in Nevada's Yucca Mountain as a repository for nuclear waste. Clinton promised Nevada voters that as president, she will take the Yucca issue off the table "once and for all."

–CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Nevada
soundoff (367 Responses)
  1. Jack Mckay

    I think Wolf Blitzer's political bias is showing big time when it comes to the Clinton Campaign. He is very pro republican in his comments and I would go on to say, pro any male candidate over Hilary. I relaize CNN is owned by a corporation which leans right almost all the time. Oh sure, not as bad as Fox news. But lets face it, The News Media has an obligation to persent the news with out editorial opinion. If your editorializing, give a disclaimer. Otherwise your not being truthful. Blitzer's just to full of himself and his greatest news team. Blah blah blah. I think I will swith to c-span.....

    January 17, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  2. Fem4Hillary

    Obama supporters approve of his previous drug use.
    Obama suppporters approve his little to no experience.
    Obama supporters approve of his unorganizational skills.
    Obama supporters approve of his attacks on Hillary but not him being attacked.

    I am wondering if its because of this supporters that we have George W. Bush in office now?!!

    Go Hillary !!

    January 17, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. C Martin

    Funny how you always hear about what Bill Clinton is saying, but you never get coverate of other spouses. This is horrible for a former President to always be covered like this by the media. Let Hilary run for office and just keep silent.

    January 17, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  4. Josh

    If Obama loses the Democratic Nomination it will be only because he hasn't taken a lesson from the "Bible of Dirty Campaign Trickery" authored by the Clinton Political Smearing Machine, Inc.... seriously folks, will we ever elect a president that wins without having thrown the most mud?!?! I HOPE that the message of HOPE wins the day for once in our nations history, and that we finally kick the fear card to the curb...

    OBAMA '08

    January 17, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  5. Objective Hillary Supporter

    If you bothered to watch the debates and not just read the blogs, then you should know how poorly Obama did in the debate. He tripped over his words, and made poor statements like the above. You cannot run the country just by motivating and inspiring the people – this is what a community organizer does. Obama makes for a great MLK, he however does not make for a great president – at this point in time. A president must be able to simultaneously inspire the people, manage beauracracy, work with all the branches of government, work with all parties (according to the recent Time magazine article, in the state Senate Obama had a difficult time passing laws with Republicans due to being to far Left), act as Commander and Cheif, manage your staff, manage the media, i.e. your public image, and yourself...and personal life. I'm sure I'm forgetting some things. So, again I state, that it is NOT enough to be inspirational, which, yes, Obama is great at...this makes for a great "candidate" but not a great leader.

    Additionaly, as far as this "truce" that people keep claiming that Hillary is violating. Obama and Hillary called for a "truce" on the race issue. Because I am a Hillary supporter I am going to try to avoid making to many comments on this because it's what she wants. However, also because people are still making comments on it, I do want to make one factual statement on it. I submit that Senator Obama ADMITTED that his press secretary released a 4-PAGE press release to the press after Hillary's comments on MLK, and that it was the incorrect thing for his campaign to do. Though, he looks like the bigger man apologizing, it is impossible for me to know whether this is a campaign tactic. I do not know that it was not planned to make this release...plays the race card as some have said...and then apologize for it and say it was something that he would never do. Surely Senator Obama would approve a 4-page press release on such an intense subject?

    So, the "truce" stands on Race...the above statement has only to do with his fumbled words on his leading capabilities, which I would agree with.

    January 17, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  6. Marsha

    To Derek, IA

    George Washington doesn't count he was the first President!

    President Lincoln was such a great president that he led us into the Civil War.

    January 17, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  7. Lyn Howard

    Hilary Clinton running for office is like watching Thelma Nixon, wife of the disgraced Richard Nixon, with Richard hanging around right behind her. Would that have ever have been possible? So why is the wife of an impeached president considered for one moment now?

    The Clintons trustworthy? Bill was impeached!

    January 17, 2008 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  8. Russell, VA

    You have to be crazy to vote for anyone taking millions in donations from LOBBIEST and CORPORATIONS! Need I even say the name? It's like voting for suicide????

    January 17, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  9. Christian, Tampa FL

    I would remind the universe that many leaders and professionals across the world are like Senator Obama in the sense that they might not have a clean desk and ability to keep track of every single little paper, and yet are capable and strong leaders. What I understood from Obama's comment is that he would put together, and surround himself with, a team of professional, organized people who would make a great cabinet. I saw the comment, in context, as a plus because I knew he would choose the most capable people to handle the little stuff while he acts as architect of policy for the United States.

    January 17, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  10. Maxx

    I was surprised, then I wasn't surprised, that CNN did not spend more time reporting Obama's statement "I ask my staff never to hand me paper until two seconds before I need it, because I will lose it," he said in the Democratic debate Tuesday night. "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.”

    This man is running for president of the greatest country in the world. He calls legislative issues on his desk "stuff" and he will lose track of paper that he needs to sign if it's not given to him "two seconds before he has to sign it." God help us if this man becomes president. It will be another George Bush in office, just he will be a democrat, and unfortunately for my race, he will be black. I hope he does not win!

    January 17, 2008 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  11. Maxx

    The attacks on Hillary just fuels my fire to vote for her. I'm sick of these old white men taking pot shots at her. Obama makes a crazy statement about how unorganized he is and CNN takes it on themselves to defend his remark by attacking Hillary. Obama is slick. He and John McCain are darlings of the media. More than anything, I want to slap that arrogant tone from the media's lips by Hillary becoming president. Especially, CNN.

    January 17, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  12. angelina_ MN

    desperate HILLBILLYS will try to do anything, they are desperate and feel threatned. It is a shame that they will go so low............ but hey this is what they are made of, they are old status quo and want us to remain that way. Just wander what they will come up with next: a new name in the ballot: HILLYBILLY for president.
    so is this change? the woman who says dont use race and gender yet she does?

    she makes me so ashame. she will make sure no women is ever elected or runs for another 200 years.


    January 17, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  13. Wilhemina

    The Judge's decision is not good enough for the Clinton's what hypocrites...Go Obama! ... and Clintons' listen what America is saying to you, either you are arrogant or ignorant or both (like the Judge told OJ about his slickery). No one wants your scandalist behavior to run our country. What country would take either of you as a threat, you are a scandalist joke to every overseas government. No votes for an impeached former President and his wife to be paid by and lead this country, My God, have some respect for your country!

    January 17, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  14. Steve

    Sir Winston Churchill had a messy desk too, but he was a great motivator, leader and decision maker. You are the President of the United States, no the next General Manager for McDonalds.

    January 17, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  15. EFREN


    January 17, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  16. wvin

    I guess the issue is what kind candidate should be chosen as the Nominee for the Democratic Party, someone who is very eloquence or someone who had taken some action in the past to make changes?


    So we need to look at the candidate’s political achievements in the past. It is not clear what Senator Obama has done in the past; but for Senator Hillary at least it is true that “As first lady she traveled to 83 countries, chaired the Task Force on National Health Care Reform, and raised awareness of health issues for Americans around the country…”.

    Talking is much easier than actions, than having the real things done. The voters make the decision not based on how eloquence the candidate is.

    January 17, 2008 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  17. Tim Calhoun '08, Moreno Valley, CA

    John, your long post is one of the best posts I've seen on this website.

    Concerned citizen, Obama was making a larger point about presidents that were successful in "changing the trajectory of the country." I'm not Republican, but the fact that Reagan significantly changed the trajectory of this country and rallied the majority around him is not debatable. Reagan was the last president that won in LANDSLIDE victories (1980: 50%-41%, 44 states, 1984: 58%-40%, 49 states) and he did this by getting a good deal of Democrats on his side...hence the term "Reagan Democrat." Obama's comment about Reagan wasn't really anything he hasn't said before. Obama feels he can bring people together as Reagan did, and his poll numbers are starting to reflect this. You need crossover votes to win general elections.

    January 18, 2008 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
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