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. Celina B

    Tom Davie,
    Yes after 911 the whole country rallied behind GW, but because he had no vision, or the wisdom of what this country can be after such tragedy, he told Americans to go shopping while Cheney and the armchair generals seized the chance to go after Saddam and the oil. Others who can only be led, following what was popular fell for this and voted to authorize the war, maybe driven by the notion of looking tough.

    Thats why we need a president who can think hard, clearly and make sound judgments in times of crisis. That president of Obama. Hilary overeacts, is impatient and not capable of deep clear selfless analysis of a crisis.

    January 16, 2008 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  2. shaun

    To proud Florida democrat.....

    I most certainly don't speak for Obama, but for myself ,so don't go judging him for what I'm about to say...Florida voters like N.H. voters have already proven that they don't have a clue on how to pick a president because if you don't remember, you voted for bush twice. Your state always holds the cards, but if it were up to me, I'd strip you of all your delegates. This is probably why you won't see me running for any public office, but face it, if your votes for oppression and stupidity were discounted, then bush and his evil empire would've never been elected. You people discust me. Kerry wasn't a great candidate, but look who he was running against. You people ate the swift boat smear hook line and sinker, and let the republican empire discredit the patriotism of war hero such as john kerry for a jerk that squirmed his way out of serving his country. I guess thats commander and chief qualifications.

    florida cannot be trusted....

    January 16, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  3. Steve, Texas

    "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.""

    So CNN now thinks criticism of Bush = criticism of Obama? Using this logic, does Obama = Bush?

    January 16, 2008 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  4. Karen, Jersey City

    Everytime this woman's mouth is moving is a sign a lie is about to come out.

    January 16, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  5. s.positive

    Sounds to me Most Americans haven't got a clue what a PRESIDENT'S role is. Shame guys and the world is watching the so called literate bunch disgracing themselves and I am not going to spend my time educating some illiterate bloggers on the differences, let the blind continue to argue blindly...

    January 16, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  6. CNN, shame on you

    CNN shame on you. CNN=Anti Hillary Cable Network

    January 16, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  7. Cory, Pennsylvania

    Hillary, seriously... just shut up & speak about your issues, experiences, and plans to make America better.... oh, wait. You, Hillary, do not have anything to say about them.

    OBAMA '08

    If Hillary gets the nomination, I will vote Republican.

    OBAMA '08

    January 16, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  8. carol

    I can't hardly wait until she takes control. I haven't slept since the "purchased" Supreme Court annointed Bush President in December 2000.

    I'm ready for an intelligent, well-educated, work-horse standing on the fence daring anyone to hurt us.

    President Hillary Rodham Clinton – music to my ears.

    January 16, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  9. ron strawbridge

    Seems that people are first shocked that Hillary is not the Dems automatic candidate.

    They want Obama to wait his turn...because this is Hillary's turn.

    I have read many times that Obama is too dangerous, he like George Bush...I have come to realize that those who say this have a misunderstanding of the quality, intelligence, charisma, and character of Obama.

    Even Hillary has made the suggestion...she and here husband also say Obama would make a good president.

    I think folks had the same misunderstanding of Abraham Lincoln... just 50 when he took office.

    Abe did okay at changing the direction the country was headed...keeping us one nation under God.

    Obama will do the same.

    January 16, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  10. carol

    Dan, NJ – your burgers need to be flipped and the fries are burning!

    January 16, 2008 08:51 pm at 8:51 pm |
  11. ron strawbridge


    Abe Lincoln was an unknown. The right person @ the right time. Obama!

    January 16, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  12. Gil - California

    This is why the Democrats will lose the White House this election. Folks like me who hate Hillary will never vote for her if she wins the primary. We'll either sit it out or vote Republican. Folks who hate Obama will never vot for him if he wins the primary. They will either sit it out or vote Republican.

    In the end there will be a Republican in the White House and I'll be wondering why I wasted so much energy and emotion on a losing team.

    January 16, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  13. charlotte

    I'm sure Barrack Hussien Obamas' name will evoke something. what kind of allies remains to be seen, first he has to win. We sure know what the name Bush evokes around the world. My beloved country, the USA, is suffering a lot of anti-everything. We have lost so much respect, can anyone get it back. It will take a long time and a President who can get it done. Action speak louder then words. We don't need a silver tongue that talks and talks. Can Obama walk the walk.

    January 16, 2008 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  14. JohnS

    For those on this list, here is a piece that I copied and pasted!!!
    "Democratic presidential rival Hillary Rodham Clinton points to his resume as evidence that Obama is not ready for the White House. "He was a part-time state senator for a few years, and then he came to the Senate and immediately started running for president," she says dismissively.

    Obama's accomplishments are more substantial and varied than Clinton suggests. And he has a longer record in elected office than she does, as a second-term New York senator.

    Obama was a community organizer and led a voter-registration effort in Chicago that added tens of thousands of people to the rolls. He was a civil rights attorney and taught at one of the nation's premier universities. He helped pass complicated measures in the Illinois legislature on the death penalty, racial profiling, health care and more. In Washington, he has worked with Republicans on nuclear proliferation, government waste and global warming, amassing a record that speaks to a fast start while lacking the heft of years of service."

    So Hillary so STOP these attacks and talk about how to bring all of us, democrats, republicans, independents etc. together to solve real problems for real people. I bet that she simply cannot do this overnight; hard for a "divider" to pull the best of resources together!!! God Bless America for voting for CHANGE in Obama.

    January 16, 2008 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  15. ron strawbridge

    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.

    Thanks Even folks without a dog in this fight are stunned by DEMs Love of Hillary...or is it Bill?

    January 16, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  16. Mary, Michigan

    I support Barack Obama. I do not dislike Hillary Clinton. I'm an independent who will vote for whoever the Democratic nominee is.

    From what I have observed, it appears that Barack Obama may not have what it takes to fight back against the "attacks" or "comparisons." He's going to have to–whether he likes it or not. He better learn to do it now. If he happens to win the primary (which I'm beginning to doubt more and more), this will feel like a cake walk compared to what the Republicans will do to him.

    He doesn't appear to like confrontation. I believe I recall him being asked what his New Year's resolution was. He said something like he wanted to be more assertive.

    He claims to have been tested by being involved in Chicago politics. I hope I'm wrong.

    January 16, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  17. Benny Lava

    The nation cries out for a great leader like Obama, not bad managers like the Clintons.

    January 16, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  18. Truethis

    Some of you bloggers you better wake up because we are in a recession because went into Iraq and paid trillion of dollars based on a lie that hillary agreed upon. What will Hillary bring to the White House..........DIVISION. Do you seriously think that the REPUBLICAN will work with Hillary. huh........ They want to run against Hillary.

    January 16, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  19. Ann

    That there are people out there that still believe in Hillary Clinton is remarkable indeed.

    January 16, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  20. AJ, IL

    I disagree Chaunda. There is a reason the President of the US is called the Leader of the Free World, not the "Manager" or "COO" of the Free World. The president of the US should be a leader. Let me remind you that leadership involves power by influence, and management (what Hillary Clinton is proposing) involves power by position.

    Obama is saying he has the stuff to be a leader, to be President. If you wanted to related the US presidency to the business world then being President would be equal to being CEO. Being a COO is like being a VP.

    Hillary was making her case that a President should micro-manage the federal bureaucracy, and she is the master of that. I cringed when she said that. Hillary would make a good presidential cabinet member, like Attorney General or Secretry of Labor, but not President or even VP.

    January 16, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  21. Jack, Greenville, SC

    please post at least one of my comments before this one. thanks

    January 16, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  22. Anon 1

    Everytime I hear Obama speak off the cuff especially in debates, I become increasingly embarass at his inability to expound, clearly on issues. I saw a clip of him addressing a Nevada gathering, it was painful to watch him stumbling his way through. Katie Couric asked him a simple question today about giving advice, and he could not even answer it. So much for a Harvard Edcuation. However, I believe he can improve hi extempraneous talk with some preparation. Once he is using a teleprompter, he speeches are electrifying.

    On the other hand, Hillary Clinton is very prepared and she likes to inject facts in her responses. I think this is great when you are talking to certain groups of people. But she should try and inject more anecdotes are personal experiences when she is stumping. Also she should try and shape her vision as a transitional president in this time of great conflict in the world. Limit the presence of Bill Clinton and allow Chelsea to be seen more. Bill should talk about current events and the need for the democratic party to reshape the nation. Let other supporters do the attacking.

    FInally, John Edwards comes off as too angry and he agrees with everything Barack Obama says, so I doubt if he will ever win a Primary/caucas.

    Unlike the Republicans who have a mix of liberals and conservatives campaigning, the Democrats have three great candidates that the party is happy with.

    The only losers in all this Election 2008 is the Broadcast Media. It is just frustrating to see journalists blatant pandering and bias in their coverage of candidates. Much of this controversy over Clintons' innocuous comments were fueled by commentators in the media.

    May the best one carry the party in November and be victorious.

    January 16, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  23. K.Chicago

    I can't picture Mr Obama in the very responsible position, especialy after the TV debate and his statement on his weakness.
    He has a poor organizational skills, falowed by lasy type of character and not beeing responsible as well as not doing the best of ability.
    He descredited himself as good manager, organized and beeing ready to lead the office or department. Mr Obama has to learn a lot to be responsible, organized and ready to lead the department in first, not the Country !!!!!!!!!!!!
    Vote for Mrs Hillary Clinton !!!!!!!
    We need strong, well organized and experienced candidate for the Presidency! !!!!!

    January 16, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  24. john williams san diego, ca.

    She is pure evil and has the cackle to prove it...

    January 16, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  25. Mart from Chicago

    How is it that Hillary is seen as the attacker nowadays?? For the past month or so, Obama tag team with Edwards, attacking Hillary whenever they get the chance (in debate, in their speeches, comments made by their campaigns), and yet no news or tickers that says, "Obama's and Edward's latest attack on Hilarry"...

    To John who commented About Iraq, stop putting it against her that she voted for it. You know its a mistake once the mistakes has been pointed out. Before the Iraq war started, most Americans wanted to go to war and blame somebody on 9/11... and Iraq was the target... But we know now it was a mistake. That is what make the difference between Dems and Reps... They know its a mistake but they still want to continue the war indefitely... The Dems, including Hillary did say it was a mistake and they want to make it right... the fact that Obama disagreed on Iraq from day 1 does not make him a better person... or a better future president... People make mistake.. I don't use Obama's drug use in the past against him, why should u put it against Clinton for voting in favor of the war...

    And I agree... this was not an attack, it is just a matter of opinion... While every comment out of Obama & Edwards mouth towards Hillary is only seen as a not-so-harmful comments, it is very interesting how CNN spotlight every single comment Hillary made towards Obama, a so called attack...

    So why don't I report it to the world, BREAKING NEWS: CNN and its affiliates endorses Barack Obama, and it encourages for all of their employees and all their readers to vote for Obama... its funny how some people still thinks CNN is pro-Hillary... The thousand times replay of the crying scene, this ticker, the analysis of the black voters in MI, the polls in New Hampshire, etc etc, is to make Hillary look bad.. I for one won't change my stand. and if you guys haven't already know, VOTE FOR HILLARY 2008!! 🙂

    January 16, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
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