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. Tamika Jackson

    find it sickening that any of my black brothers and sisters would vote for Hillary Clinton. What claim does this woman have on the Black vote? What has she ever done in her life for Black folks? As I remember the Clinton years her husband bombed Serbia for two months because they were slaughering whites in Kosovo but he did nothing when one million blacks were slaughered in Rwanda. More young black men went to prison when her husband was president than at any time in our history, and with the stroke of a pen her husband could have banned racial profiling but he never had the time to do that either. Instead, these two Clintons who expect Black folks to kneel before them send their surrogates out to attack the character of Barack Obama and then when the media finds out where all the character assassination and dirty politics is coming from the Clinton's try and lie that it came from them. Are the American people crazy? Do you really want to go back to the time when polarization, womanizing, and non stop lying was the rule of the day?? Don't we as a country deserve better? Barack Obama is a breath of fresh air. He is loyal to his wife, is not a pathological liar, and he has a clear vision of where he wants to take the country and he will do so reaching across the aisle working with all people from different sides of the political spectrum. We need Obama. We don't need the past and we don't need or want any more Clinton's.

    January 16, 2008 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  2. Another Steve

    Yeah well Hillary, While your busy micro managing the issue of toilet paper in the executive bathroom, the lobbists and politicans will run the show. I would much rather have someone smart enough to realize the power in the Presidency lies in getting others in the cabinet and beyond to cooperate with your ideas. Let's face it when it comes to your abilities in working with others, your ambition always gets in the way.

    January 16, 2008 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  3. Ron, TX

    Leave it to Hillary to flat out lie about the truth behind Obama's statement. Can Hillary EVER tell the truth without bad-mouthing and misconstruing someone else's statements?

    Obama is exactly right. It isn't the President's job to keep the filing cabinets organized. It isn't the President's job to clean his desk. That's what the white house staff are for… the President is the ultimate decision maker. The President is at the TOP of the bureaucracy. Everyone below him runs it. The President does not RUN the bureaucracy. That's what your chiefs of staff and secretaries of all the cabinets do. You appoint them, give them policies and goals, and let them do it.

    What Hillary is suggesting is micromanagement, which is a HORRIBLE management style. As the article points out, that's one of the reasons she failed at one of the only policy initiatives she tried to get passed- health care in the early 90s. And further, she seems to suggest that the Iraq War wasn't a bad idea, just that it was mismanaged, which couldn't be further from the truth. And it's a VERY scary idea to imagine someone like Hillary, with zero military experience, trying to dictate generals' strategies on the ground.

    And I also enjoy how Hillary suggests we need someone able to handle the bureaucracy, yet she doesn't have any executive experience, either.

    January 16, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  4. ray

    Is there anything that Hilary thinks she cannot do? When folks start saying they are perfect, I have plenty reasons to doubt them.

    January 16, 2008 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  5. Mike,(MD)

    Forgive me for asking, but paper pushing is why they have a staff isn’t it? Assisting with issues is the job of the Presidential cabinet and their many staffs. Department heads oversee all of their staffs. Does Hillary plan on eliminating all of these positions and taking on the job of everyone? I thought the job of a leader was to govern over not to file away papers. A leader delegates these responsibility’s to others just as a CEO of large company does. I think the only office supply he needs is a pen to sign or veto bills for which it’s Congress’s job to manage the paper work. That is if they plan on firing their staff’s as well.

    January 16, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  6. Tom Davie

    The Obama people fail to mention one important fact.

    The whole country rallied behind George Bush after 9/11.

    An entire bi partisan effort.

    It had NOTHING to do with Bush, but rather the Issue.

    Obama does not have the power to unite anything, just like every president before him had no power to do so.

    The ISSUE would have to be important enough to override partisan politics.

    And Clinton is correct. Bushie had no power to organize anything. His handlers did it all for him and he ended up highly manipulated.

    Just like Obama will be if he is elected.

    January 16, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  7. Ann

    Hillary Clinton for COF Chief of Staff. She couldn’t even control her emotions in NH during the campaign what makes anyone think she is capable of running this country.. Oh yeah I forgot Daddy Bill will take care of it for her.

    Hillary Clinton’s Experience= 35 years with Bill

    January 16, 2008 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |

    I thought there was a truce. Looks like Hillary lied and flip-flopped again!

    January 16, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  9. John

    How dare she bring up the Iraq war when she was the one who voted to authorize it in 2002!

    Hillary Clinton is a cold, calculating, desperate, lying, hypocritcal just plain miserable person.

    January 16, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  10. Leah DiMarco, TX

    It is much better to have a president that is honest and one that has integrity and can bring the nation together than one that knows where every piece of paper is.

    Obama/Edwards '08

    January 16, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  11. Tracy

    Geesh now thats just not a good arguement. Most of your CEO are the same way but doesn't make they can't run their company. Not a good attack.

    January 16, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  12. Tracy


    Geesh now thats just not a good argument! Most of your CEOs are the same way but that doesn't mean that they can't run their company. Not a good attack.

    January 16, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  13. Adam, New York

    Candy Crowley is such a biased reporter.

    January 16, 2008 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  14. amused

    When did a candidates rebuttal or opinion on issues suddenly become an attack? This is another media spin on their campaign for Obama to make Hillary the cold calculating WOMAN candidate. Talk about an attack on women of America. I am as nearly tired of hearing the word attack as I am the word change.

    How about Alternative Radio for a change and see if they get it right? Okay now you can attack.

    January 16, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  15. concerned citizen, Mesa, Arizona

    If he thinks you don't know need to know how to manuver the bureacracy in Washington boy is he in for a surprise. Yes you have to have a vision on where you want to take the country but dealing with congress and other countries you better know how to manuver the system. Really scary to me. I just can't vote for him.

    January 16, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  16. Joe

    She has enough with the Yucca Mountain and his major political donors point and she does not need to parse his words. Yucca Moutain is a huge huge issue in Nevada. She scored points showing Edwards voted against Yucca and poitning out that Obama's major supporter wants to continue to use Yucca.

    It is already obvious he is inexperienced. He does terribly in these debates. He is only a good speaker when there is a crows and a teleprompter. He is not a leader.

    Hillary: Leave the attacks to (all of us here) CNN comment submitters.

    January 16, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  17. Robert Bell

    So much for the truce!

    Hillary will attack and attack and attack until she wins.

    That's all she can do.

    Because if the focus returns to her and her record, well, then she's toast.

    Tell me again how she made $100,000 in ten months as an amateur commodities trader?

    Stuff like that, she doesn't want you to think about.

    And there is a LOT of stuff like that.

    "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!" - Wizard of Oz.

    January 16, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  18. jesus a cespedes


    January 16, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  19. Mark V.

    Isn't it hilarious to hear Hillary Clinton criticize Obama for his admitted lack of organization in personal behavior just a few days after she freely admitted she was not an organized person?

    January 16, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  20. Cat, Costa Mesa, CA

    Blah blah blah!! Everyone talks about the repubs being childish with the name calling and so forth, but the dems are just as catty! Or maybe just clinton anyways!

    Im sick of the whiny politicians screaming for attention, vindication, and retribution!
    And why is it that Clinton feels that as a president she would need control over every single facet of american life?!?!

    "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."
    CNN, you said that right!!

    January 16, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  21. Trever

    Even the headline of this article is spun for Obama...

    Hillary is talking about being able to lead and run our government. She is contrasting that with Barack's ability to do the same thing.

    THAT is not an "attack." It's a comparison of styles.

    When will the media start doing their jobs right and just state the facts and leave out the spin.

    January 16, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  22. Wayne

    Is CNN Pro Hillary? Why didnt they quote Obama's rebuttal? Hillary unsuccessfully tried to compare Obama to Bush. The two couldnt be more dissimilar. Obama explained that Bush wasnt a failure because he couldnt keep an appointment. He failed because he had ideological foriegn policy, would not listen to others outside his circle, because he had poor judgement and because he could not bring people together for the common good.

    Obama's rebuttal was well thought out and spot on but you wouldnt know this if you read CNNs article.

    CNN quick question. How many times did you air Hillary's teary eyed moment before NH vote? 100 times...200 maybe? You even said it was sincere...PUhLease..that was a calculated move to show emotion..her advisers the previous day said we need to make her seem human and go after young people. Everything is calculated..none of it is genuine.

    January 16, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  23. Wes

    Hmmm I know Id rather a President to lead and not shuffle paperwork. If he is a true leader he will hirer a compentent staff to handle his secratarial needs. Im not voting for someone cause they know how to file their paperwork properly, Im voting for the person who can make the correct paperwork be written to pass laws.

    January 16, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  24. connie floyd, crockett,texas

    GO HILLARY GO!!!!! you were outstanding last night!

    January 16, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  25. Ray

    CNN an their headlines??? Its not an attack!! Its her running for PRESIDENT!!!!

    January 16, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
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