January 18th, 2008
06:15 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama sharpens critique of Clinton in final hours before Nevada

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/18/art.obama0118nevada.ap.jpg caption="Obama is sharpening his critiques of Clinton."]RENO, Nevada (CNN) - Presenting himself Friday as the candidate who can make the correct decisions the first time around, Barack Obama cranked up his criticism of Hillary Clinton, hitting her on issues from the war in Iraq to the economy.

"Sen. Clinton has said she is ready to lead from day one," the Illinois senator said, "but it's important on day one to get it right, whether you're talking about war or you're talking about economic proposals."

Obama often tells crowds that he has the judgment needed to serve as president, and adds that he was against the war from the beginning.

At a Reno campaign stop Friday, he also said that his initial economic stimulus package was the right plan, since it included tax relief for middle-class Americans, while Clinton's did not.

"Today, five days after she released her plan, she said 'Well, you know what? We need a tax rebate,' because now apparently she agrees with me."

Obama said he was using that example to illustrate a larger problem that he called "political speak."

"It is easy to be for policies that help working families when its popular on the campaign trail, but the American people don't want a president whose plans change with the politics of the moment."

"This is what you learn in Washington from all those years of experience," Obama added. "It means that the American people are constantly having to sort out what do people really mean."

"It's why people mistrust our politics. And part of my job in this race is to restore people's sense that you say what you mean and you mean what you say."

–CNN Political Producer Chris Welch

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Nevada
soundoff (227 Responses)
  1. S, WI

    Obama is a traitor to the democratic party.
    He ignores party loyalists by auctioning party values to so-called independants and republicans.
    He seemed to have forgotton that this is democratic primary.
    This is about selecting a candidate who represent party values.
    He can appeal to the middle in a general election.
    Before that he needs get the nomination.
    He's so full of it, and thinks he's better than rest of the democrats.
    He insults democrats saying they are dividers.
    No one better divides party than Obama.
    How can he unite the country by dividing his own party?

    January 18, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  2. E Gollan

    at the 2004 convention Obama said (and he says what he means) that he didn't know how he would have voted re the Irag war if he would have been in the senate,Now he says he was against the war from the start. OH? And who did you mean when you said "they said this day would never come" Oh no you weren't bringing race into it were you?

    January 18, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  3. Independent in America

    "When Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate, he said he wished to get things done rather than grab headlines, and cited Hillary Clinton as the sort of workhorse he wanted to be." = google is your friend 🙂

    January 18, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  4. Paul

    That's why i believe he's the man for the job. Obama never flip flops and he's very informed and intelligent.
    Hillary doesn't know mature politics other than criticizing what Edwards and Obama says. Bill Clinton is always there to play defensive

    January 18, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  5. veronica

    While he might be sharpening his attack against Clinton, in an interview with a Nevada newspaper, he's the one who's quoted as saying that for the last fifteen years "the Republicans have been the party of ideas."
    I hardly think he's the kind of leader I'm looking for to lead the Democratic party at this time.
    Clinton cannot be accused of not being a Democrat, but Obama leaves that door open for me.

    January 18, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  6. Jenny, Paxton, MA

    and it's easier not to talk about what you really are all about during the campaign but snow the voters with unspecified "hope" and "change" ... and you call yourself honest? Obama is either a fraud (who wants to get the idiotic votes) or idiot (who has nothing to offer). take your pick, people!

    January 18, 2008 09:19 pm at 9:19 pm |
  7. James Brown ( Independent )

    Obama is correct ..........Hillary Clinton is a Washington insider that will say and do anything to get elected. She is just plain bad for this country , and will divide it even more then it is now.

    I have faith that the American people are seeing the Clintons for what they really are , it's time the voters take this country back , and elect someone that understands that , real change comes from the bottom up , and all things are possible with the will of the people behing you.

    Obama 08

    January 18, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  8. Dave. San Diego, CA

    Very well done sir. Keeping going after her record. Senator Clinton didn't even read the resolution she was voting for when authorizing the Shrub's administration to use force in Iraq. Obama denounced the resolution before it had been voted on in October 2002. He, like many of us, was not convinced that the Shrub had made his case to use force, yet Mrs. Clinton lacked the judgment and didn't even read the intelligence reports nor the resolution just like most members of Congress.

    Senator Clinton was give two tasks while she was first lady. She was a failure at both of those tasks. Since when is failure considered 'good experience'? In most jobs if you fail you get fired.

    How anyone can vote for this woman is beyond me, especially when all major polls show that at least half of all American voters would NEVER vote for her, which means she is completely unelectable. Don't take my word for it, look it up. I tried posting a link the other day, but CNN moderated my comment completely off the site. Way to go CNN for your cencorship.

    January 18, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  9. Greg OH


    Do you know a U.S. president is the president of the whole country, not just half of it? The Republicans and Democrats don't have to be enemies, we are all Americans.

    January 18, 2008 09:22 pm at 9:22 pm |
  10. Antonio, San Antonio TX

    Yeah, Obama is the equivalent to a Democratic George W. Bush. All promise, all laughs, and all games. Democratic friends please read between the lies. He is no difference than Clinton and Edwards. Yeah he will bring change, but what's the difference between a federal lobbyist and the lobbyist that works for him. NOTHING!!!! Obama will work for the lobbyist and not for us. So yeah there’s his change. O yeah I forgot he’ll hire advisors and aides to work the government for him. We should ask Obama for his list of these aides and advisors and put them on the ballot so we can vote for them, if they will be working for us.

    Vote for any one other than Obama

    January 18, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  11. John

    Hillary supporters keep talking about experience because Hillary keeps saying it. However, everyone will agree with me that the 1st thing one learn about a fight is to know you opponent. Obviously with all the experience the Clinton's have they didn't study their opponent but Obama did. The Clinton's continue to follow in Obama's footsteps, he knows every move they make.
    Just some thing to think about.
    Does experience count or good judgement.
    Example being vote for Iraq war.
    Vote for Iranian guard as terrorist group, although may lead to war.
    Article above and others.

    January 18, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  12. s.positive

    Face it AMERICA, the problem in this country will take all parties and all Americans to solve, not red or blue states or a particular race or gender but ALL AMERICANS...

    January 18, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  13. Adrian

    Obama may have got it right about Iraq but he's not in the US Senate at that time and who knows how he might have voted if he has the same reading materials about Iraq as the other senators. Besides, who's to say he won't make wrong judgements about other issues once he becomes president?How can he have the arrogance to claim he would always make the right judegements on whole list of issues in future?No human beings have that capacity ..everyone makes mistakes and its how one react to mistakes that is equally important. And for often changes her position is pure hypocrisy.
    Obama is a gifted speaker but he's no leader.

    January 18, 2008 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  14. US Citizen

    God forbid one political party even admit the other has "ideas"! Oh no, save us, the apocalypse is near!

    January 18, 2008 09:36 pm at 9:36 pm |
  15. Tim Calhoun '08, Moreno Valley, CA

    I'm glad Obama is finally starting to do this. If he could only start doing this in the debates–calling Hillary out on her rhetoric "in the moment"–he'd be a dead lock for the nomination.

    For some reason, everyone takes Hillary's word as gospel without challenging it. ("35 years of experience/change," et. al.) She's intelligent and a very good speaker, but she's also a consummate politician. (She learned from the best: her husband.)

    I think we all need to go back and take a closer look at some of the shifty things that were going on in the Clinton administration, many of which she had a major hand in. (Hmm, who's getting the "free pass"?) If we don't now, I'm sure the GOP will gladly do that for you if Hillary gets the nomination...thereby ensuring another Republican in the Oval Office.

    Obama/Edwards '08.

    January 18, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  16. STAN

    Yeah experience, but Hillary is always following because all the experience but no judgement. follower but not a leader

    January 18, 2008 09:39 pm at 9:39 pm |




    January 18, 2008 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  18. mike

    Veronica, he was right and I am a democrat. An analogy: If the Patriots win the super bowl by 50, they have a dynasty and seemingly made all the right decisions in the last decade. Now, I am a bucs fan but that is a fact. My point is unfortunately you have to call it like it is, and Barack, like him or not, painful or not, will always tell you the truth.

    January 18, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  19. ED WinterPark fl

    Barack you sound like a GOP candidate now. I was willing to vote for you iIF you became the nominee but after reading so many blogs about you and you endearing Reagan and his ilk I believe i would sit this one out after 78yrs of democrat beliefs and voting. I lived through the Reagan disaster and he was at his best when he was sleeping [WHICH HE WAS FAMOUS FOR]. That was one of the worst administrations this country until the present one.They set the pattern for this one and you as a minority should know better. HE took credit for the demise of the russian empire after millions of americans fought for forty years putting pressure on the russians and calling their bluff for forty years to have a grade B actor try to take credit for the FAMOUS {TAKE DOWN THIS WALL].to steal the limelight of forty years of a cold war. You appear to be running in the wrong party. GOD HELP AMERICA!!!!!

    January 18, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  20. Seam, Philly, Pa

    "the Republicans have been the party of ideas." – quoted by Obama.

    People have a hard time accepting the truth. Obama is simply telling it like it is. The reason Bill Clinton did well during the 1990's is because of a Republican dominated government. People often forget the facts.

    Honesty and Integrity = Obama.

    January 18, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  21. Ron, Bronx, NY

    This is exactly why Obama should be president. Just because someone is Democrat does not mean he or she cannot acknowledge the achievements of a Republican president and vice versa. Obama's ability to bring out the good in people instead of just settling on the negatives is an attribute with a potential to take this country beyond the bitterness of party politics that has so stalled progress.

    January 18, 2008 09:51 pm at 9:51 pm |
  22. Allan

    Well, I don't know what's wrong with mentioning Reagan! Reagan was the president of the US not the president of Republicans. Obama's right, so many politicians speak about issues when it's politically convenient. His opponents do not really mean what they say and can easily sell their soul just to be elected.
    Some think they are owed the presidency; that, it's their turn to run the WH. We the american people disagree. We want change! fundamental change! change we can believe in. WE WANT A PRESIDENT WHO GET IT RIGHT ON DAY ONE.

    January 18, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  23. Ted

    Obviously a champion going into a heavyweight fight should study his/her opponent (experience will tell you that). Obama studied his opponent, and can counter every move, the Clinton's didn't. America who would you put your money on the leader or the follower, the guy who did his homework and have better judgement, or the guy who think he knows everthing but just copies.You decide????

    January 18, 2008 09:56 pm at 9:56 pm |
  24. AJ, IL

    Right to the point Obama! I agree with you. Too much game playing and double talk exist in Washington, why should Americans tolerate it at the top level job? I will give Hillary Clinton campaign credit for being the first Democratic candidate to put out her economic stimulus plan. Then, two days later Barack Obama puts out his stimulus plan which included a tax rebate. Turns out Obama's economic is a better plan as reported by many different economists. Obama is right, now days later Hillary starts saying we need a tax rebate. Where was this judgement and experience when she rushed to put out her economic stimulus plan? Sort of like the judgement and experience she has when she voted for Bankruptcy Reform Bill, or when she voted for the Iraq War or when she voted to label the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. Oh Please!

    OBAMA in '08!

    January 18, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
  25. mike

    cnn my comment is awaiting moderation again. from 9:41 . Why do you do this?

    January 18, 2008 10:00 pm at 10:00 pm |
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