January 16th, 2008
03:37 PM ET
14 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. Barbria

    I used to be a big Clinton supporter, however (thank goodness) the primaries and debates have shown me a very unappealing side to Hillary Clinton. It is so obvious that Hillary & Bill feel she has a right to the presidency, and both of their sulking, attacks, and her crocodile "I love America so much I want to cry" tears have completely turned me off. Now she wants to debate who is the better paper-pusher? Today she is saying the country needs a Chief Bureaucrat, by the time that gets spun around in the pundit soup, next week she will be back on the "change" band-wagon and swearing she's not a typical Washington bureaucrat. Make up your mind, Hil!

    Hillary will lose the democratic nomination for one inescapable reason. She IS the most polarizing democrat in the field and there is no doubt if she is the nominee another republican will be in the White House.

    January 16, 2008 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  2. diegosalas

    Obama would be a better boss, and get better talent.

    He's the one that we want and need.

    January 16, 2008 06:06 pm at 6:06 pm |
  3. Foreigner

    It is very clear that this article aims at presenting Hilary as a controlling WOMAN. One more media attack trying to stir up subconscious fears of female dominance.

    January 16, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  4. Ca Native

    WAIT... wasn't it Hillary Clinton who had federal subpoenas seeking Rose Law firm files? And 2 years later they turned up in her White House Residence??

    Is that an example of Hillary's "hands-on" approach to managing affairs?

    January 16, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  5. Brenda

    I swear Hillary is really Forrest Gump. She's met MLK, RFK, JFK, she hangs out with a guy named Bubba, she was involved in Watergate. All she needs to do is say that the went to 'Nam, and wiped her face and made the Happy Face on a towel. And best of all: Bill's women are like a box of chocolates-a whole bunch of them-and they've all been pinched. OMG wake-up woman-you just AREN'T all that. WHAT D*** experience are you talking about. YOU WERE FIRST LADY. You weren't even the first to hyphenate your last name (Edith Galt-Wilson). There is NOTHING original about you. Just a reminder, YOU DID NOT HAVE SECURITY CLEARANCE TO BE IN MEETINGS. So, what meetings were you at? And, when were you there? And, WHY were you there?

    January 16, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  6. Bob, Florida - RFO

    OK fair game but I am so sick of the virtual incumbents!

    The best CEO's, MD's, Commanding Officers. etc that I have had in my life time were not micro managers the were LEADERS. goal setters, delegators, criteria for success definers, etc…

    The President is not the Chief Operating Officer of the United States of America. He is the Commander-in-Chief!!

    Please don't confuse attention to detail with leadership! I will state one name and that's Ronald Reagan.

    This is another really stinking statement by the Hillary camp. It also highlights the fact that Hillary knows exactly what her camp and supporters are doing on the mis/disinformation front!

    I hope like hell that the GOP are smart enough to run Condi Rice as the VP.

    Condi will make dog food out of Hillary and a GOP ticket that includes Secretary Rice on it will defeat the Democrats as it negates every niche that Hillary tries to run in.

    I’m a Barack Obama supporter and I hope he wins the nomination but my second choice, as I am a Republican for Obama, will be the GOP nominee if the right combination runs.

    Go Obama /Edwards ’08 OR Go McCain /Condi Rice ‘08

    January 16, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  7. jp/michigan

    when applying for a job, listing all your experiences will get the job for you. Hopes and dreams are great, but until you show what you are capable of doing or have done , you just keep on hoping and dreaming. Mr. Obama will be counting on others to help him make the right decisions. Sorry that's what Buch did and look what it got us. Being President is like being CEO of the country. I hope after 46 yr. of voting democratic , I don't have to change to republican or independent. I for one want someone in the oval office day one to take care of all the problems Bush is leaving. I believe Hillary can handle the work.

    January 16, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  8. MariaDR

    He gets bashed for being honest.. Hillary doesn't know what the word honest means.

    January 16, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  9. Brandon

    Go Hillary! Obama doesn't actually understand what a president does and it's obvious from his remarks on not being a COO. Do we need another George Bush-like president who leaves all the important work up to his advisers? Obama is untested and dangerous. Hillary 08!!

    January 16, 2008 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  10. Carole Ca

    Glen, Cary, NC: I agree with your view completely.

    TO POT AND THE KETTLE: There is a truce; they've agreed to eliminate using race as an issue. (Sure hope Michelle Obama gets that message.) It is perfectly right and proper for candidates to question their competitors positions on issues, on readiness for the job, etc., as they describe themselves and the differences between themselves and other candidates. Get used to it. It's simply the way campaigns run. And Hillary has not lied nor flip-flopped. She may have changed her mind on a few issues over time as situations changed. We must have national leaders who are able to adjust their opinions and positions as time and events dictate. We've just suffered almost 8 years with an unyielding president who has led our nation into a terrible economic crisis and remains steadfastly stubborn concerning the horrible, unnecessary war he started.

    January 16, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  11. Sylvia

    Strangely enough, the candidate who reminds me most of Bill Clinton in 1992 is Barack Obama. Bill was an outsider, maybe a little naive, with a message of hope and change. And he was the best president of my lifetime.

    January 16, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  12. Matt

    Obama mentioned that COOs are "paper shufflers." Huh? Inexperience, indeed.

    January 16, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  13. Ryan, Los Angeles CA

    They are Obama's words, people. Hillary didn't attack - Obama dug his own hole to crawl into.

    Other than having a good speech-writer and a voice like Lawrence Fishburne, there's nothing special about Obama, anyway.

    He's all talk, while Hillary has an actual plan. I haven't heard any specifics from Obama on any "change" he's going to make... and I can't believe so many people are blindly falling for his pep-rally.

    Hillary is the most informed, most prepared, and most deserving candidate.

    January 16, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  14. Cate Malone

    Hilliary would make a good President, so would John Edwards, so I feel pretty lucky to be a Democrat right now. BUT – I will be voting for Obama for two reasons: 1) I believe he can unite the country, I truly believe in him and 2) The second the world hears the next American president's name: President Barack Obama, we will regain allies all over the world, and Americans will gain new found respect. The era of "old white men " is over.

    January 16, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  15. Stephanie WI

    well to comment on these many interseting and enlighten message. I would have to agree with most of them about Hillary being in the wrong here. Honestly, you have no room to talk if you just a few days early said you are not an organised person yourself...yet attacked someone who has the guts to admit he is not also. Sense? I think not!

    You can go around looking for people to vote for you if you just contradict yourself. What kind of President do you think we want? No someone like that I can asure you . So if you are going to say somethig stick to the first thing you said and dont change you story half way through for whatever reasoning may it be to attacked someone else or to make yourself look better.

    January 16, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  16. claire gaines

    Why do you persist in calling Hillary Clinton's remarks about Obama's self-declared disorganization an "attack"? She is merely stating the facts - that he gave her! She has not attacked him. On the contrary, the shoe may well be on the other foot.

    Obviously, the media relishes the sight of blood and often creates a problem where none exists by taking statements out of context and/or distorting them. I wish you would all just do your job & report the news (instead of creating it) in a fair and balanced way. The freedom of the press is extremely important, but not that doesn't include the freedom to distort the truth.

    I'm sure this e-mail will change nothing you do, but at least I get to vent my anger with the way the media is reporting the news. Maybe if enough people complain, something good will happen and you guys will stop fomenting trouble and provide more accurate reportage.

    January 16, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  17. Rick

    lookie lookie, hillary is at it again. what experience do you have except for talk. i dont see anything that you have really done except complain and make false hoods. with your comments you are alienating all the democrates.

    January 16, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  18. Don't be naive

    Here's a scenario of Obama in office:
    "Here's my vision of where the country needs to go. Blah blah blah...Get rid of bureaucracy...unite..blah blah"
    Cabinet advisors:
    "So what exactly do we need to do?"
    Obama:
    "My job is to inspire the American people, because no one can do it better than I can. I set the vision. You figure out how to make it happen."
    Cabinet advisors thinking:
    "Ooh...I see power and money coming our way, since Mr. President will probably never remember to ask for accountability. Oooh..."
    Let's be realistic here. This may very well be what happens if Obama becomes president.
    And Mr. Obama, you are wrong about what you said:
    "I don’t think there is anybody in this race who can inspire the American people better than I can.."
    Hillary's actions inspire me more than your words will ever do. In fact, I almost fell asleep reading your NH "concession speech."
    Talk about arrogance.

    January 16, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  19. Greg Jones Cleveland, Ohio

    Blacks Learning
    'Goldwater Girl' Hillary Was AGAINST the Civil Rights Act of 1964....Feel Deceived !

    A March 12, 2007 article written by acclaimed Washington columnist Robert Novak sheds a very revealing light on the true sentiment of Hillary Clinton during the peak of the Civil Rights Movement. Clinton recently was found to have minimized the great and monumental strides taken by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. by stating that it was Lyndon B. Johnson, then president, who should receive the credit for civil rights progress including the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

    In an attempt to attract black support Hillary Clinton regularly shares her 'civil rights experience' during every speech given to blacks audiences. Novak writes of one such speech at Selma's First Baptist Church on the 42nd anniversary of the "bloody Sunday" freedom march there, where Sen. Clinton declared: "As a young woman, I had the great privilege of hearing Dr. King speak in Chicago. The year was 1963. My youth minister from our church took a few of us down on a cold January night to hear [King]. . . . And he called on us, he challenged us that evening to stay awake during the great revolution that the civil rights pioneers were waging on behalf of a more perfect union." But Novak's article states that there's a big problem with her statement.

    The fact is, in 1963, the same period of time she speeks of at all black church appearances, not only was Hillary Clinton a republican, but she was also a staunch supporter of republican Senator Barry Goldwater, well known as a segregationist and one of the most vocal senators adamently against the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which is why he lost in his presidential bid to Lyndon B. Johnson. Novak writes "...how then could she be a 'Goldwater Girl' in the next year's presidential election?" He continues, "...she described herself in her memoirs as 'an active Young Republican' and 'a Goldwater girl, right down to my cowgirl outfit.' (Hillary worked on Golwater's presidential campaign)

    Novak adds, "As a politically attuned honor student, she must have known that Goldwater was one of only six Republican senators who joined Southern Democratic segregationists opposing the historic voting rights act of 1964 inspired by King. Hillary headed the Young Republicans at Wellesley College. The incompatibility of those two positions of 40 years ago was noted to me (Novak) by Democratic old-timers who were shocked by Sen. Clinton's temerity in pursuing her presidential candidacy." Novak adds, "What Hillary Clinton said at Selma is significant because it betrays her campaign's panicky reaction to the unexpected rise of Sen. Obama as a serious competitor for the Democratic nomination.

    Clinton's plans were transformed by the advent of Obama, an African-American threatening the hard allegiance of black voters forged by Bill Clinton. On one hand, the Clinton campaign has attacked Obama and his supporters. On the other hand, she has sought to solidify her civil rights credentials.

    While Clinton was re-inventing her past, her road to the White House is not going as planned. Instead of a steady procession to coronation at the Denver convention, she is involved in a real struggle against credible opponents led by Obama. No wonder she and her handlers were tempted to imply the existence long ago of a young lady in Chicago's suburbs who never really existed."

    We greatly appreciate Mr. Novak's findings which bring one main thought to mind. Wake up Black America! DON'T BE FOOLED ! The fact is, Hillary was AGAINST the passing of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that Dr. King died for. As a 'Goldwater Girl' she was even against Lyndon B. Johnson, the very person she now gives the credit to for Dr. King getting to the mountaintop. !

    Greg 'Peace Song' Jones

    January 16, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  20. Karen

    I think I missed it. What was the attack? I get the bloggers attacking the candidates, I just didn't see the candidates attacks on each other or the media attack on a candidate.

    January 16, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  21. Mark

    Glenn, what is it exactly that Hilary has done to be "ready for the job?" She's been a junior senator just like Obama.

    Has she been governor?
    Run a company?

    Seems their "qualifications" are about the same.

    January 16, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  22. Let's be real

    Here's a scenario of Obama in office:
    "Here's my vision of where the country needs to go. Blah blah blah...Get rid of bureaucracy...unite..blah blah"
    Cabinet advisors:
    "So what exactly do we need to do?"
    Obama:
    "My job is to inspire the American people, because no one can do it better than I can. I set the vision. You figure out how to make it happen."
    Cabinet advisors thinking:
    "Ooh...I see power and money coming our way, since Mr. President will probably never remember to ask for accountability. Oooh..."
    Let's be realistic here. This may very well be what happens if Obama becomes president.
    And Mr. Obama, you are wrong about what you said:
    "I don’t think there is anybody in this race who can inspire the American people better than I can.."
    Hillary's actions inspire me more than your words will ever do. In fact, I almost fell asleep reading your NH "concession speech."
    Talk about arrogance.

    January 16, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  23. Janet

    I think Barack Obama's answer to the debate question about his biggest weakness is exactly why he is the best person to lead this country. His biggest weakness is that he needs a good personal assistant. Hillary (gets impatient and frustrated) and Edwards (gets emotional) are not what this country needs. They want to fight to change Washington. We do not need fighters, we need a leader, a negotiator, a compromiser. That's the only way we will be able to change this country and get it going in the right direction. Obama has demonstrated over and over again that he wants to work with others to make the change happen....fighting is just going to polarize the country more than ever and we'll have the same gridlock in Washington that we have now. We need Obama to be President so we can say once again "Proud to be an American!".

    January 16, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  24. aware

    Well said Glenn! Thanks!

    January 16, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  25. James Brown ( Independent )

    The kind of experience Clinton brings to the table is TOXIC to America. She is BUSH on steriods when it comes to dividing the country.

    January 16, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
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