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. Ray

    Obama could not even manage a McDonald.

    January 16, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  2. Dave

    Mrs. Clinton can't even control the people on her own campaign, what makes her think she can "manage" the entire Federal Government?

    Obama is absolutley correct, therfe is a distinct difference between 'Leaders' and 'Managers' and this Country needs a Leader.

    January 16, 2008 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  3. rodger

    Got your book for christmas & looking foward to sharing it with my daughter soon. You can get your "REAL AMERICANS READ LOU DOBBS" free bumper sticker at my site this weekend (paired w/same 4 Gleen Beck) bet you can guess that site's name ez enough, keep up the pressure & remind America the Saudi's gave Billy 10 million for his libary!

    January 16, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  4. Scott, Madison, WI

    Hillary's idea of (micro)management is to push her way through with a preordained agenda and plan, then criticize and vehemently rail against everyone who isn't in lockstep with the vision she sets forth. Haven't we already seen enough of these tantrums from the current occupant? This woman has little or no respect for anything other than the typical bureaucracy, and she surely isn't receptive to different views, styles or opinions other than her own.

    January 16, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  5. Caroline

    Do you really think that Hillary is the right person for the job - or have you guilt-tripped yourselves into thinking you need to vote for her because she is a woman?
    Hillary is just like her husband - the product of decades in Washington - she is manipulative and scheming. She will do and say anything to win. If her so called "experience" says anything about her, it is exactly that... say and do what you need to do (regardless of whether it is the right thing to do for the country, or if it is moral or ethical), in order to push your *personal* agenda.

    And for those on this board who think that Hillary is being treated unfairly by the media, I'm certain she is pushing this story (aka, "attack") as hard as anyone else. There is a maxim in PR, if something is said loudly and often enough, it just might be believed. She is spewing venom because she hopes that some of her criticisms of Obama might actually stick.

    It's not working on me.

    January 16, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  6. anewdaypost.com

    Nobody’s second place finish in Michigan

    On Tuesday, With no other major candidates names on the ballot, Hillary Clinton was able to get 55% of the vote in the Michigan Democratic primary, but the real story on Wednesday should be the 225,506 + who left their house and went down to their precinct, knowing their state had been striped of its delegates, and voted uncommitted.

    When “nobody” runs against her, “nobody” starts with 40%. And “nobody” didn’t even have to campaign. “Nobody” spent no money in this race. “Nobody” didn’t even run one add. What happens when you add John McCain or Rudy Giuliani in place of “nobody”?

    As democrats we have to think long and hard about nominating a candidate who is so divisive. We shouldn’t spend these preciously important years ahead re-fighting old fights or addressing political grudges. If we are what we say we are than we must love our country more than this, and choose a leader who can bring Americans together. Our society’s needs are too great, the time to pivotal, for anything but fundamental change backed by broad-based support from the American people. Senator Obama proved in Iowa he can do this, and nobody proved it on Tuesday.

    January 16, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  7. Truethis

    i've been a LEGAL SECRETARY for a top notch law firm for years now and I work with alot of attorneys and their desks are a mess and still is a mess but they are smart as hell when it's time to close their deals or convincing the jurors pertaining to each cases. But it was my responsiblities to keep them updated on current events or remind them important things that was coming up but I respect them even more because they were on top of their game and they knew their stuff.

    As I watched what Obama said. I respect him for being honest because those lawyers had more major responsiblities than pushing paper that was my job.

    CNN.......I ask to please stop. The Clinton is only going to make it harder for all American she basically went after Bush last night trying to energize the Democratic bases, but she never thought about the people who decided to become INDEPENDENT or the ones who are REPUBLICAN that thinking about voting DEMOCRATIC. It's now about US and figuring out how to bring this country together again.

    I feel sorry for Obama because he trying to stay above the surface and not in the gutter with the Clintons but sometime I think you have to go there....... there to get them off of your back because they think that he's weak but I don't think so. It takes a strong man who wants unity and the best for this country. I have so much respect for you Mr. Obama because you're true class.

    CONQUER and DIVIDE is their goal to get into the White House. The Clintons are doing it amoung BLACK AMERICANS vs LATINO AMERICANS; WHITE AMERICAN vs BLACK AMERICAN; and DEMOCRATIC vs REPUBLICAN. We as American has a chances to send a message that we are ready for TRUE change and that we're are tired of division that going on in our country and that WE want respect for ourselves and around the world. This can't keep going on, we're not getting anywhere too many people on both sides doesn't like the Hillary. Point blank.

    January 16, 2008 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  8. Bette

    I am sorry CNN..I have watched your programs for many years along with MSNBC. I am appalled at your coverage of the political landscape and this particular article and the comment submitters. I am angry with newspaper coverage today all over America...where all the headlines were about the Republican race in Michigan then almost all the pundits on TV and in the newspaper again denigrated Hillary Clinton & stirring up the old crap that the candidates clearly said they planned on staying away from during the debate (despite numerous baiting attempts failed)

    The Great Creator of us all....please help all of us in the world and the people of the US as we choose the most important leader to get us out of this mess!
    FOLLOW THE MONEY & GREED AMERICA! The personal IS political...follow the tracks and money! The media makes more money....journalists shame on you, you have sold out independent thinking in the name of your employers big business interests!

    I can't believe we all watched the same political debate. 24 of your comment submitters were seething in their negative views and polarizing attacks on Hillary & some still fuming over the Clinton years. Interesting that maybe 2-3 of those were women.. the rest were all men. Ok lets get the gender issue out there again ok? About 7 comment submitters discussed logically the fact that Hillary was outstanding last night(mostly men)...demonstrated true leadership. Actually they all did really good. First we have the media...stirring and spinning the big race fight...then complaining of kumbaya ho-hum debate. It was great...on the issues. But alas, you have more people watching and reading (more money) if you stir it up.

    The far right Republicans (who owns so much of the media and subsidiaries?) are lying in wait. Just read Karl Rove (both are 4 letter words...interesting..) about Michigan and putting down Hillary and Obama. From the most disgraceful, disgusting political "W" presidential terms hatchet man!

    WAKE UP America...Hillary has what it takes. If all her background, political knowledge, experience was in Obama...I would vote for him instead.
    CLINTON/OBAMA 2009! I love Edwards too.

    January 16, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  9. Jo

    Obama does not have the economic or foreign policy experience to be president. In fact, he is not even a pretty face. When the people of the US vote for someone they say is more "attractive" before they vote on Hillary who has a proven track record, they are making a big mistake. People harp on Hillary for not showing enough emotion, and when she does they carp about that too. Also, Hillary is not attacking Obama, she is stating cold, hard facts. People voted on an inexperienced governor called Bush for "change" and his approval rating is at an all time low. He depended on his advisers for bad advice, and we are still in that unpopular war. Vote for Obama and you will regret that vote too.

    January 16, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  10. irma

    The headlines, the story all part of the "Vote for Obama" spin from Republican owned news networks. They attack Sen. Clinton on EVERYTHING! Then they turn her statements, counter arguments, quotes out of context, into attacks on Obama. You would think that average people would understand who is being chosen for the Democrats by the REPUBLICAN OWNED MEDIA. They're choosing the guy they want their side to beat. Get a clue ill-informed, inexperienced, voting citizens. They are the same one's that sold us (well, not me) Bush. He was a nice guy you could have a beer with too! He was a regular guy who was just honest about himself too! Same pitch, different guy. But that will disappear once their own candidate is up against him. Those of us who have been around a while know, Chris Mathews, Wolf Blitzer, Tim Russert, I could go on and on; are Republican leaning. They can deny it, but their slanted coverage throughout the years, has given them away. Then again, I guess it may only be obvious to those who are Historians or Political Scientist, or just plain savvy.

    January 16, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  11. plain jane

    So, if Hillary makes a statement, it is an attack. Poor Obama!! There will be a LOT more statements coming his way from the public as well. The media is giving him a pass and twist every thing in his favor. He is not the golden child. For him to suggest that orginazation is for the chief of staff........is that an attack or a statement. Is that OBAMA... THE UNITER ...saying that a women's place is behind the scenes. Double standards don't get it OBAMA!!!!!

    NOT BARACK IN 08!!!!!!!

    January 16, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  12. irma

    For the record, the news media, namely CNN and MSNBC aired the clip of Hillary's moment all day long as they ridiculed her and President Clinton all day long. I know, I watched in disbelief all day long on a vacation day. The experienced voters didn't let them get away with it. That's what happened. So those of you who claim a Clinton slant, wake up! Where have you been?

    January 16, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  13. irma

    Bush let's other people handle his paperwork as well. We see how well that's worked out. One of the reasons he didn't pay attention to the problems in the Middle East and possible terrorist attacks on our country that President Clinton left for him. That was BEFORE 9/11. Hmmm, seems like pretty important paper shuffling he should have paid closer attention too.

    January 16, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  14. Sabrina

    I have this vision of Obama sitting in the oval office, feet up on the desk uttering hope and change, while everyone is lined up to give him papers every two seconds so he does not lose them! Hillary was the Rock Star last nite and presidential, she showed how much experience she has. Madame President, sounds wonderful!!!You have my vote Obama is just not ready.

    January 16, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  15. RockyDude

    I'm from the UK. Hilary is trouble. I've been following the primary/caucas elections with great interest. As an outsider looking in and consider myself as unbiased with regards to party and candidate choice I can say that Hilary's style of campaigning is nauseating. In a period of two weeks she's played the emotional card, used race and gender to manipulate what ever state she is trying to win at the time (e.g. ' the black and brown issue'), dissed MLK (there is no way around that one- bad form), offended the black community (and then trys to court their votes), tried many times to blame Obama for her own mistakes and cock-ups, her supporters are trying to disenfranchise members the Culinary Union (that backed Obama) of votes etc., the list goes on and on.

    She comes across a desperate, unscrupulous, power-hungry, insincere, undynamic (i.e. intransigent), fake (in concern for others- you guys), manipulative, ugly, and unremarkable. Maybe those are qualities necessary in a president, I hope not. Obama isn't perfect but in comparison to her and the republicans on offer he is your only hope. I'm just amazed how many people thinks the sun shines out of Hilary's arse when all the evidence is contrary to that.

    After reading a lot of blogs and online news articles (from apparently reputable sources) it seems that most people tend to cut and paste their ideas straight from extremely biased news reports. I've found actual video footage of the various incidents and judged them for myself instead of getting someone to reinterpret it for me. Hilary Clinton is not a racist, well no more than most other people are anyway, but she did say something stupid when comparing a president to MLK concerning civil rights; he who ultimately gave his life for what he believed in (what contemporary politician do you know who would do that). Instead of clearing this verbal typo up quickly she let it drift causing damage to herself and dangerous fractures to the Democrat party and then has the audacity to blaming someone else (Obama) for what she said (totally unbelievable- but true).

    I seriously think that if she believes she won't win the nomination that she make sure no one else in her party will and scutter the ship so none may sail in her. Therefore cause so much damage to the party in her relentless ambition that there won't be enough democrats to vote come November. She thinks she is bigger than her party and it's members. Beware of this one...or she'll bring your house down around your ears...and that is if she actually wins.

    Ask your candidate this: "Would you die for us?". Don't listen to the answer look at the eyes and the body language.

    Good luck America, I wish you all the best for what you vote for and deserve what you get.

    January 16, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  16. proud florida democrat

    Obama claims to be the candidate of change. He also is a "champion" of voters rights

    Why is he ignoring the great people of Michigan and Florida. We are much larger and more diverse than any other primary state. Obama has said these states are unimportant to him!?!?!

    As a floridian i am outraged!!!! Our state was hijacked by Bush in 2000 (Hillary spoke out, never heard from Obama) Now he is actively participating in ignoring us out of a purely politcal reason, so much for politics of change.

    He speaks of issues we care about but i challenge anybody to show me something hes taken a stand on (when unpopular to do so) or bring change in the past to the national spotlight

    Then watch Hillary on CSPAN as she answers questions on any issue and clearly explains her vision for leading this country

    Obama stands for nothing!!!!!! Change is just a word without action

    January 16, 2008 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  17. Chaunda

    I think there is a distinction between attacking and contrasting. I also think there is a difference between micro-managing and having a good understanding of the system. A good foreman on a jobsite typically knows how to build or repair even if he is not directly involved. No one is bashing Obama for honesty. He could not hide the fact he has no experience.
    Look, he seems like a nice enough guy but so did Bush before he was elected. I am not saying Obama is like Bush in policy but he is an unknown. The fact is the only reason there is so much ammunition against Hillary is because of her long history in the public eye. Obama came out of nowhere and everyone was like yay, he is so well spoken and tells me just what I want to here. Let's get away from the cheerleadering and get someone out here who can get the ball in the hoop.

    January 16, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  18. Brennan, Seattle WA

    Isn't "Government by advisor" what we thought Bill Clinton did so well? It was his ability to listen to his advisors that made him so effective. The last thing we need is another arrogant President who thinks they have all the answers.

    January 16, 2008 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  19. Dan, NJ

    I'm really torn here between two:

    So we should replace Bush the decider for Hillary the decider


    "U.S. Department of Social Security. This is Hillary Clinton, how can I help you?"

    January 16, 2008 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  20. Tom Davie

    I honestly belive Obama people know nothing about the real political manuevering in Washington.

    Its like ' DO ANYTHING TO GET HIM INTO POWER' ........then see what happens

    Its irresponsible .

    He is going to walk into office and have no flying clue how to be president. He has no clue how to play the washington games necessary to BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER when they are out to get him in the first place.

    Most of the Obama supporters are young, and the issues that are important arent really a REALITY for them.

    They think in some utopian way that one man can wave a magic wand and make all the hurt go away. They have no idea how DIFFICULT it is, and has been for 200 years.

    If Obama could show me where he PUSHED these hardend people in washington into doing what he said AGAINST their wishes , I will VOTE FOR HIM MYSELF.

    They think a junior senator with no real national experience is the SAME thing as JFK or Ronald Reagan.

    Obama is nothing like these people and certainly doesnt have the experience in politics the way these folks did. You need some actual experience on a national stage to be effective in dealing with these FREAKS in Washington.

    The opposite of experience is NOT change. Its INEXPERIENCE.

    Its just irresponsible.

    January 16, 2008 08:27 pm at 8:27 pm |
  21. Steve, Texas

    The CNN-for-Obama publicity machine rolls on.......

    January 16, 2008 08:28 pm at 8:28 pm |
  22. in response to florida

    re: the comment by "proud florida democrat," (January 16, 2008 8:18 pm ET)

    Obama and Edwards being out of Florida and Michigan has more to do with unresolved DNC issues than with the two candidates. I'm surprised that this isn't common knowledge in your state–it's troubling that it isn't.

    Anyhow, I'm not sure if you'll buy this since you have a strong bias for Hillary, but I assure you that you should blame the democrat leaders in your own state for being neglected by Obama and Edwards, not the candidates themselves. From what I understand, the votes in your primary don't even count.

    January 16, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  23. Aaron M.

    Attack, attack, attack, attack, attack, attack!!!!!!

    He is the only honest candidate who has the courage to be open about himself. I don't know when integrity became something to attack.

    I wish that the Clintons could just talk about her positive attributes without bashing someone else.

    She knows that a president doesn't manage every part of the country, she is just trying to use this as another opportunity to attack Obama.

    Is she really going to balance the budget, run the military, control border security, personally deal with foreign leaders, create green energy initiatives, etc. etc. etc. all by herself??? I wasn't aware that she was an economist, a General, a border security agent, the Secretary of State, and the Secretary of Energy. That IS impressive Maybe I should vote for her.

    HA HA HA HA!!!! NOPE!

    January 16, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  24. Sledge

    I don't thinking Clinton comments were attacking Obama. But I definately thinks that CNN was attacking Hillary. Its clear by the headline of this article. Hillary was merely drawing a contrast between her style of government and Obama's.

    To me Hillary was right. Obama lacks management skills. but I don't think that CNN will post this comment.


    January 16, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  25. Evan Tribley Columbus, OH

    Ha, Hillary, I challenge you to micromanage the American government.


    January 16, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
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