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. kjmatthews

    Watching the debates is very telling for Obama . . . hope this, dream that, etc, etc. I want as much as the next person for Washington to turn around on both sides of the aisle but the reality is that the bureaucracy is not just going to lay down – he must be able to deal with it. The presidency cannot be delegated while the president makes nice. As someone else said, we had unity under Bush after 9/11 . . the "change" must come from people, it will not come from a single president. Obama '16.

    January 16, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  2. Hekmat Noori

    I think we need someone who is truthful to the public like Obama because everyone is sick and tired of lies and misleading people and taking the country to wrong direction for their own agenda. Obama was very truthful when he said "I ask my staff never to hand me paper until two seconds before I need it, because I will lose it". Most people are like this but they never say the truth nor they talk about their weakness honestly but Obama was very truthful and honest so that's why he will get my vote. I am sure many people out there want someone new and fresh like Obama who has bright mind and new direction.

    January 16, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  3. Pamela

    I think that if Obama starts slipping, the independant votes will go to Mit Romney!
    MI is a proof for this! As bad as Obama goes Mit Romney will pick up!

    January 16, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  4. Jack, Greenville, SC

    I wish that someone in these debates would outline for everyone exactly what the president does, and ask them to only present ideas that they could actually implement as president and only comment on those positive attributes that they can clearly tie to the role of the president.

    January 16, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  5. Derek, IA

    Do you want to know who the two least experienced Presidents were? George Washington had none, and Abraham Lincoln spent eight years in the Illinois legislature and two in the U.S. House of Representatives. I challenge the voters to select a candidate based on their qualities.

    For those that don't think this is an attack, you must realize that in politics there is no difference between "contrast" and "attack"–no matter what Mitt Romney says.

    Let's just have a Hillary Clinton vs. Mike Huckabee election so that 70% of the country hates both candidates. That would be an appropriate way to continue the country's dissatisfaction with government

    January 16, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  6. pgul

    I think that Hillary would be a better president than Obama! Obama is very young and every each year we get more mature and experienced!
    Don't we?He needs few more terms to get there!

    January 16, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  7. Jeanie

    Hillary is a how to president which means she's going to be controlling. Presidents don't control, they inspire and sets direction. The president will have a huge federal bureaucracy to implement policy. The President also needs to engage, dialogue, and coalition-build across the aisle to gain support and funding for his agenda.

    Hillary demonstrated her control and intimidate leadership style with the ONLY policy issue she had control over during her husband's – HEALTHCARE.

    She's not a leader.

    January 16, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  8. Fem4Hillary

    The only thing I hear come out of Mr. Obama's mouth speech after speech is he will bring "unity" to all.
    I guess if he wins we should be prepared to sit in a circle, hold hands and sing "kumbaya".

    Hillary 08

    January 16, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  9. PulSamsara

    I'll take Barack Obama's leadership skills over Hillary Clinton's bad judgement every time. Micro-manage us out of your war Hillary.

    January 16, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  10. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Hillary's attacks on Obama are coming so frequently now until one has to remind themselves that she's a democrat and not a republican, or is she a republican and not a democrat. Hillary attacks the word attack, when is she going to stop. I guess she won't stop until I make up my mind to vote for Obama.

    January 16, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  11. PulSamsara

    Barack Obama for President of the UNITED States of America.

    January 16, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  12. Ann

    "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."

    For anyone that is not old enough to remember this, it almost destroyed the Clinton Presidency. After this happened, she was removed from any actions that had anything to do with the Presidency. We (the Democrats) lost the Senate and House) in 1994.

    This is what she calls "management". It sounds alot like "I'm the decider"

    The President of the United States does infact need to be able to work across party lines to get things done. Hillary was not able to do that in the early 90's, and continues to be very devisive today.

    It definitely is about style, when you need to get everyone to work together, as you can see in the current administration. We definitely do need a Uniter, not a Divider. Barack Obama is that person. I trust that the White House staff will be able to keep his desk organized and his notes filed. He will be able to do what very few politicians are able to do and that is bring the country back together as One.

    January 16, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  13. Larry from Purdue

    Democratic leaders in the West want Barack, because they see how unlikely it would be to win Colorado, Nevada, or Arizona without the right kind of candidate on the ticket.

    January 16, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  14. Bill, Albany, NY

    God save us if Clinton becomes president but then again the flip flopper Romney and the Evangelical moonbat Huckabee arent much of a choice either. Sounds like 2004 all over again.

    January 16, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  15. AJ from calif

    Your arguments premise is flawed.
    Obama has the same wisdom as say, a Colin Powell regarding Iraq. And Obama has EARNED his achievements via Harvard Law and the following legislative experienceat the State and now Fed level. HIllary can't match that. He's even been a legislator longer than her.

    Wasn't Hillary practicing real estate law? Not quite "Executive" achievement or credentials wouldn't you say?
    Obama TAUGHT Constitutional Law. I'd say that, at the very least, matches HIllary's "first lady" experience (which I don't think is very credible).

    Don't forget He's been getting ready for this since Kindergarten. 😉

    January 16, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  16. bob friedlander

    Hillary will be a good Chief of Staff for a President Obama or a President Edwards who are both visionaries while Hillary seems to be a great paper chaser,

    January 16, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  17. Deborah A Barnhardt

    This is an Italian saying. Just what I thought after reading all the comments on this site. Again, Madonna, mia!!!

    January 16, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  18. cindy

    As a Black Africain American.

    I just want it to let all the candidates know to put all anger behind by focusing on the Americans best interest not truing to make history, and also focus on what's best for the Country.
    It's all about politic by attacking each other have some respect for one another, be professional, act like an adult.
    By acting like that what kind foot step would you like us to follow?

    January 16, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  19. Patrick, NY, Ny

    UMMM...How is this an attack?

    CLinton 08!

    January 16, 2008 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  20. SM, Michigan

    Where is the story about Wexler bring Articles of Impeachment before the House last night against Cheney? Does anyone care???THIS is more important than candidates sniping at each other.

    January 16, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  21. David Corse

    Since when is telling the truth an attack. Obama's comments scare me a great deal. I think it is extremely important that someone take a hands on style. Our current President left the job to others and see where it has gotten us. I am not looking for someone who will leave it to others to do the job.

    The press is now so intrigued with Obama that no matter what he says, if anyone questions him, it is an attack. Give me a break. I want someone with a vision, but I want someone with a vision who has sense enough to know what is and what isn't possible. The President doesn't act in a vacuum. He or she is not a dictator. Just because you say you will do something doesn't mean you will be able to do it.

    I like Obama, but I am not willing to take such a chance right now. Vice president yes, but he won't get my vote to be the presidential candidate.

    January 16, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  22. A.Z.

    Well I would simply like to point out to you all while the comment on wisdom being achieved through hard work and time, is very much a true statement, if i remember correctly Hillary Clinton was the first lady and her "experience" is trying to overhaul a health care system and failing. Admittedly I do not have a vast knowledge of Obama, i would rather have some one who doesn't call their "experience and wisdom" come from asking her husband how his day as president went.

    January 16, 2008 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |
  23. MK, Los Angeles, California

    Anyone who thinks the job of the President is to micromanage the entire federal bureacracy is naive. If one tried that they would not have enough time to do anything else. Everyone knows (or at least should know) that the way Presidents manage the federal bureacracy is by whom they nominate to fill the various posts at the top of that bureacracy. Senator Clinton knows that, but she hopes to make some cheap points on something she knows is a load of BS. If, on the other hand, she truly believes she has to manage all the day-to-day details of the bureacracy, then she will without question be one of the worst Presidents this country has had.

    January 16, 2008 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  24. Jose Card - Independent

    Obviously, Obama knows more about a president's job than Hillary ever dreams of.

    The only thing that can save her campaign is for Bill to release the documents from the Clinton Library to substantiate her 35 years of experience. I am glad Karl Rove also mentioned it today.

    The stake is very high for Hillary. It may even hurt her next run for NY senate.
    If Bill won't release the documents till 2012, we can only believe that there is more damaging information than helpful in these documents.
    "What are the Clintons hiding from us? " is a natural question.

    Honesty is still the best policy, which may build up Hillary's character, integrity and conviction for her senate run in 2013, which is after Bill releases the documents.

    "HRC lacks of conviction of anything." – Prof. Robert Reich, Bill's former adviser.

    You have to pay attention to politicians criticizing the candidates from their own party or endorsing the candidates from the opposition party. This is significant information for the voters. Unfortunately, Dr. Reich isn't alone.

    January 16, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  25. Duncan, Richmond, VA

    The LAST thing I want is a President who reads a half page, double spaced summary 2 seconds before a discussion and then makes decisions based on opinions of their staff.

    If Senators were forced to read the laws they voted on instead of voting based on a 1 page summary written by an intern, then maybe they would not pass so many bad laws.

    Only 1 senator actually read the Patriot Act before voting on it.. and you want someone in office that would do the same..?? Yes, I know Obama did not vote on the Patriot Act in 2001, but he would have had he been there.

    January 16, 2008 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
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