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. Jim in Orlando, FL

    Ronald Reagan was not a micro-manage guy, and no great leader is. If Hillary wants to stoke the boilers, then so be it. Vote her into the boiler room. In the meantime, can we elect someone who knows how to be captain of the ship ? Obama has executive skills that dwarf Hillary, and for that matter, so does every other major candidate in both parties.

    January 16, 2008 10:21 pm at 10:21 pm |
  2. Micahel Guinn, Ventura, CA

    I could say "typical Beltway politician". I could say "and you said you want to talk ISSUES". I could say "she's back". I WILL say: OBAMA 08!

    January 16, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  3. Mike, Austin Texas

    How is it that Hillary can "get the ball in the hoop"? I am so sick of people trying to tout this message of experience in someone whose only experience is what's been going on in the White House forever. Yeah if you're a person who has the "Thats the way its always been done" mentality then Hillary is your candidate. When Hillary was asked questions about her weakenesses in the last debate what was her answer? It was that same standardized pre-written answer that she thinks people want to hear. I think it is an insult to our intelligence personally. We all know that candidates are humans and with flaws. Obama came straight out and in so many words said Hey I'm not the best at organizing paperwork. What I am good at is mobilizing a nation toward a common goal and utilizing the strength of diversity to solve problems. How many times are we going to accept her old "We need someone to go in and be President from day one." with cheers, rather than asking ourselves the question do we really want someone who can step in and be the President and just pick up the reigns someone else left and steer the country in the same direction from day one? I know I don't. I want someone to shout "Woah!" to slow this thing down, steer away from the old ways of doing things, and to start re-thinking the way this country is governed.

    January 16, 2008 10:22 pm at 10:22 pm |
  4. Geri

    Like I have said before CNN has always been my news channel by choice but they are slinging so much crap now at Clinton and kissing Obama's behind. Are you afraid of a law suit or being told you're racist?? I think its disgraceful that Crowley is covering Clinton in such a negative way. She needs to be replaced by someone that can be fair. You can definitely tell she favors Obama. Her attitude sucks. Guess I'll have to start watching the local news more often.

    January 16, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  5. Jen Cedar Falls, IA

    Unfortunately for Hillary Clinton, our country has known her for enough years to know the "REAL HILLARY", that's why people of all faiths, race, gender, political party and even other countries are letting their feelings about her be known.

    Hillary has no integrity, she's shown her true colors for her "35 years of experience" and those of us that aren't COLORBLIND are going to make sure she does NOT win the White House back for her and her philandering husband.

    Support Obama or Romney!

    January 16, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  6. Alice, VA

    "She's already proven she has the leadership skills, outlook, and direction of which our nation should be. "


    Excuse me, but Hillary hasn't proven anything in these regards. What experience? She claims 35 years of experience, but who exactly was she accountable to? With the exception of a little over one term in the Senate, what has she done to make such a claim? I wonder what the WH Travel Office thinks of her leadership skills? As for her direction for the country....my God it's towards Socialism....we can't even afford to finance the present Social Security system.

    Hillary is a bag of hot air...she's divisive, polarizing and as such not what this country needs.

    January 16, 2008 10:32 pm at 10:32 pm |
  7. John Adkisson, Sacramento, California

    Don't we all remember those historic moments of our greatest presidents, keeping papers tidily organized and closely micro-managing the bureaucracy? Uhhhmmm? No one comes to mind, but I'm sure there were some.

    And no one remembers presidents who inspired through words or led the American public to meet challenges through leadeership skills. Well, okay, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, FDR, John Kennedy...

    Hey...she must be fill of melarkey!

    January 16, 2008 10:35 pm at 10:35 pm |
  8. From The North

    WELL HERE'S A FRESH IDEA – . According to the comments on this blog the majority feel that neither Clinton or Obama has the experience necessary to govern a Nation. So – why not support another Candidate? It's not like there aren't others out there! Why is everyone on these blogs dividing all their eggs between only two baskets? My guess would be because the media has decided they are the only two baskets for sale.

    A gentle reminder. The last leader was elected twice because? Certainly not intelligence, definitely not experience, visually not charisma, hindsight not capability, forethought not speaking points, the panel is still out on that one and the violence is still raging.

    Shop around Americans. Don't buy the first thing you see in the window. As chances are the items getting the rave reviews are likely the ones to have the most defects or they are merchandise that has been overstocked and must be sold off before expiry. Research product quality and company service policies.
    And remember once you buy it there are no returns.

    Heaven help us if all America has going for it is Inspiration Point and Hi My Name is Bill, meet my wife Hill. You can get inspiration and meet Bills and Hills at any local drop in center or church for free, regardless of what politcal party you belong to. And they won't ask you for a donation.

    January 16, 2008 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  9. jennifer-UPSTATE NY

    everybody needs to remember what a great job the Clinton's did running the country their eight yrs in the white house, and what a crappy job the Bush's have done in the past eight years, she needs to get elected to get us out of this economic slump Bush has put us in

    January 16, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  10. mickey

    I saw a clip tonight of Bill Clinton indignantly responding to someone about the Las Vegas lawsuit saying "I had nothing to do with that lawsuit". It was exactly the same tone and aggressive denial as "I did not have sex with that woman" !!

    January 16, 2008 10:46 pm at 10:46 pm |
  11. ZH

    Hillary is so funny...You are not qualified for a president. You did not protest for all of what Bill did in the oval office with the interns. You are a great shame to US women. I am a woman, but, I am not going to vote you. You are soooo negetive!!!!

    January 16, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  12. NYC Democrat

    I think Senator Clinton would be a good bureaucratic manager. I think Mitt Romney would be a great COO or CEO. But the best managers will tell you that theres a difference between a 'manager' and a leader. A leader must unite and inspire. A leader must set an example. a leader must be principled, steady in their devotions, firm in their convictions. Barack Obama is both a naturally gifted manager, and a born leader.

    I mean no disrespect to Senator Clinton, but she is not a true leader. The behavior of her campaign in recent weeks has been, I believe, a picture of dishonesty and self-interest. If she will run the country the way she has run the campaign, we should expect four years of division and finger pointing. If we nominate her, I'm not sure I can bring myself to vote for that.

    January 16, 2008 11:01 pm at 11:01 pm |
  13. mike

    his mangerail skills are not limited, after all he graduated Harvard law suma cum laude...

    January 16, 2008 11:02 pm at 11:02 pm |
  14. Jose Card - Independent


    "She thinks she is bigger than her party and its members. Beware of this one…or she'll bring your house down around your ears…and that is if she actually wins."

    Bill calls her a world class genius so she could very well believe it herself.
    He can call her whatever in private, but to call her a genius in public is not productive.

    Thanks for your very insightful comment on Hillary as an outsider!

    January 16, 2008 11:11 pm at 11:11 pm |
  15. Lee - Houston, Tx.

    Hillary's a joke. When you look at her, do you think 'there's aperson who's a force for unity?'

    January 16, 2008 11:13 pm at 11:13 pm |
  16. Bryan, Illinois

    Hillary is giving us the politics of derision. With every swipe at Obama, she only appears to be even less the candidate than him. With Clinton in the office, we will have only 4-8 more years of backbiting and hateful politics in Washington. We don't need politics as much as we need results.

    January 16, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  17. Dominic

    I cannot believe all the negativity toward Hillary. She's right. It's like Duh!.. of course you have to be well organized and have hands on the major controls if you want to be an effective leader. I think it is naive of Obama to openly admit that he has trouble managing that he loses papers and cannot keep track of things.

    Hello! we are not electing an actor to star in a new American reality TV show. We are electing a president to manage the nation. Both Obama and Clinton have the right ideas but Clinton knows how to get things done. Hillary is brilliant and if nominated will best bloody the noses and blacken the eyes of any Republican candidate. She will make the republicans pay for the Bush debacle. She has been vetted, attacked for years by the Republicans they can't harm her, they've tried everything. Obama is much more vulnerable.

    Americans need to wake up and question their irrational negativity toward the first woman that has ever run for president in this country. It is beginning to seem like we have made a lot more progress in the area of racial equality than we have in gender equality when it comes to equal opportunity. I sense a great deal of misogyny in much of the ridiculous suspicion and abuse that is thrown at Hillary's every move. She's an extraordinary person. America Needs Hillary.

    January 16, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  18. Drew

    Did anyone see Hillary lying through her teeth again today? I seriously don't think she thinks before she speaks and she ends up contradicting herself and looking less presidential every day.

    It needs to be pointed out that she said "Government-by-adviser simply doesn't work." Funny that she thinks this since it is at odds with her actions when she has stated that she did not read numerous bills in the Senate because she was "fully advised" by her advisors what was in the bill. That to me sounds like governing by adviser.

    January 16, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  19. Democrat from NYC

    OK, about the confession from Obama that he is not good as an "operating officer", loses things, and asks his staff to hand him papers 2 seconds before he has to sign them... Sorry, but there was a more "presidential" way of saying this – how about my biggest fault is that I am so involved in trying to inspire and unite the people that often I get behind in my paperwork and have to work late to catch up. He didn't come off as presidential with that answer but lost points with me. .

    January 16, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  20. CW

    Have any of us ever seen the President of the United States of America step off of Air Force One or Marine One with even a briefcase in hand? NO, we haven't. That’s because the President has aides and assistants who are responsible for organization and office management. I would argue that is because the President need not be bombarded with a host of documents and papers in his/her day to day routine. The things that s/he might need in terms of making a decision are collected and accessible as needed. Sure the President needs to understand the nature of managing the convoluted bureaucracy of the United States, sorting through tremendous amounts of information, but the argument that a President would be unsuccessful because s/he often keeps a cluttered desk is absurd! If you’ve ever seen the President on TV in the Oval Office at the White House, does the desk ever look cluttered? Again, no is the likely response. Do you think it’s the President who straightens his/her desk before going live for a broadcast? Yet again, NO! I think that the argument being waged to attack Mr. Obama for inexperience is somewhat plausible, but the reality is that he has demonstrated ability to organize, motivate, and execute; all which are critical to the job of President. Many feel that his lack of prolonged experience dragging on the coat tails of a former President makes him the lesser of the three current candidates, but he demonstrates the commitment to the American people to provide much needed change. He does not have record of faltering to the pressures of Washington Lobbyists, but a record breaking down barriers and uniting polar opposites on divisive issues.

    January 16, 2008 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  21. Walt, Belton, TX

    We're in a recession because people were making a whole lot of money by making marginal loans to folks that couldn't qualify normally. When the going got tough the market price rose and low and behold, people realized they had been had by the loan barons. We're in the hold now because you can't keep borrowing from pedro to pay pablo. I say tough doodoo. You deserve the crop or crap you sow. The war you espouse played little on the outcome of bad fiscal policy by the lending marketeers...

    January 16, 2008 11:32 pm at 11:32 pm |
  22. Maxii, California

    Why are the Clintons so desperate for power? What's that they need to do that they couldn't do in the 1990s? I'm truly sick of Hilary for all the negativity! Why can't she just present her case why she'd be voted to be the nominee and and her vision for America let the voters decide? America is looking for leadership and all that we get from her is one attack after another day after day!

    January 16, 2008 11:38 pm at 11:38 pm |
  23. Les

    Our country is in BIG trouble right now, we are in recession, the biggest rate of inflation in 17 years, we are heavily in debt, our UNEMPLOYMENT rate is 5%; yet Bush tells you our economy is good. We NEED a President who is HANDS ON from day one, we have no time for ON THE JOB TRAINING.

    The next group of people will be affected with housing crisis are the millionaires. About a million Americans are losing their homes.

    I am MORE worried about our economy more than anything else. If our economy is not improving how are we going to support our troops assigned in Iraq and Afghanistan?

    NOBODY in the Bush administration or people in Congress admit to the fact WE ARE NOW IN RECESSION. To admit we are, would drive the fear in the hearts of EVERY American.


    January 16, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  24. John

    Don't let the tears, the continual playing of the press like a broken violin, the cleverly worded statements that are aimed at taking the the wind out of the sails of a person who is not only inspirational , but courageous as well. Lets also not forget the barrage of denials by Hillary that such statements were ever made. I have to admit she is a master at playing the gender and the race card to her full potential. She goes to Nevada, tells a man that no woman is illegal, dismisses Barack Obamas' inspirational speech in which he thanked John Kennedy, and Dr. King for their service, and vision during a dark period in our history. All this made me begin to wonder. Who is Hillary Clinton? What has she accomplished in politics that has brought about either change, or has benefited mankind? She did come up with a good health care plan in the early 90's which was squashed by the drug and pharmaceutacal companies. Those very same companies now donate more money to her than any other person in politics. She voted to authorize the use of force in Iraq, but still won't admit that it was a mistake, has repeatedly stated that she would not repeat history, but then votes to authorize the use of force in Iran. That is not only troubling, it could also prove to be dangerous. .She claims time and again that she has been fighting for civil rights far longer than Obama, but nothing could be further from the truth because she grew up in a family that supported Barry Goldwater, and lets be honest, Hillary will do anything to win period!! If that means to distort, twist, and contort the truth, then so be it . Just look at what a strangle-hold she hason the Obama campaign,for instance, and her ability to manipulate the press, while at the same time, pretend to be an innocent bystander after launching a carefully planned attack.. Barack admits drug use while a teenager, and instead of being praised for his honesty, but instead is s insulted by the head of BET, and Hillary stood by and said nada. If Obama mentions Dr. King, well how dare he. If he talks about his mom having to work three jobs, then Obama is playing the gender card. She is nothing more than a Black-Widow, so be weary of the forced smile, fake tears, because underneath that drakonian wardrobe lies a Black-Widow capable of devouring her prey, but not qualified of holding the highest office. She is in fact Bush with a skirt, or what I like to refer to as Bush-Lite. Her latest attack on Obama for not being qualified because he admits he isn't the most organized guy should make it clear to all undecided voters just how deperate she has become to attain votes. If you want to get down to who is truly incapable of being President then; Hillary please listen carefully:Do you think the American people want to elect a woman to the highest office, trust her to make competent and potentially life threatening decisions while her husband is in the next room having his way with the new intern in the Lincoln bedroom? I don't think so. Besides having the ability to suck all the air out of a room while a tremendous feat, does not in itself qualify you to be President. Finally, Hillary quit lying to the American people by claiming to have 35 years experience in politics,because its starting to piss me off , and I am tired of my mom telling me that "She only hopes she looks half that that good when she is 90".

    January 16, 2008 11:45 pm at 11:45 pm |
  25. Michelle

    Obama just got Clinton to tout her position as an old Washington bureaucrat–something that I think most of us no longer want.

    Smart and subtle.

    And that whole job interview question about the candidates' greatest faults cracked me up. Clinton and Edwards were as lame as I was in my first job interview.

    Obama has a sense of humor that I appreciate.

    I just can't listen objectively to anything Clinton says, try as I may. I don't want to dislike her, but she is simply too contrived and affected.

    January 16, 2008 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
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