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. Al, San Francisco, CA

    Senator Clinton is a good candidate with answer to whatever u ask. Obama is not that experienced. But he perceived to be humble, trustworthy and honest. Between Bush and kerry, kerry was like senator Clinton with superior ideas and experience. But Bush connected to people more and that's why he won. Same thing with Al Gore. I believe Obama can connect to people more than anyone else. And that's why he has a better chance to win with a Republican.

    January 18, 2008 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  2. grant

    Obama is clearly losing his composure and losing his grip of self-confidence to win the Democratic nomination with his latest self-incriminating display of sharp and mocking attacks against his opponents. By his body language, he drives home in observers's minds the stark point that he is starting to LOSE HOPE for CHANGE in the steady lead of Hillary in the Democratic primary. Why the change of heart and mind on Barack's part if not to show that Something bad is Happening in the Obama camp. Intelligent as he is, he from the bottom of his heart and the apex of his brain senses DEFEAT on the horizon. He must therefore change tactics and be as feisty as, if not more than, Hillary. But, too late for Barack. If I were he, I would look forward to 2016 by which time I would have gained the necessary experience and thus risen to the stature that Hillary comparatively has and then rally my mesmerized supporters to my Presidential ambition which for now is decidedly premature. But for now, the moment is for and goes to Hillary. The common denominator of Barack's impending defeat is INEXPERIENCE which his preaching of Hope and Change cannot camouflage or cover up. True enough, the Las Vegas Review Journal criticized Barack's LACK OF EXPERIENCE and dismissed his message of change. The largest Nevada newspaper pointed out in its editorial that Obama's policy recommendations were the OPPOSITE OF CHANGE. This is the bitter pill for Barack's supporters but it is the truth.

    January 18, 2008 10:04 pm at 10:04 pm |
  3. Ted


    January 18, 2008 10:14 pm at 10:14 pm |

    It's official...I'm a OBAMAMANIAC...lol

    January 18, 2008 10:16 pm at 10:16 pm |
  5. anit-boomer

    I'm happy to see that Obama is distinguishing himself from his rivals. That was what I was hoping to see him do in New Hampshire.
    I am also happy he is reaching beyond party lines. As an independent, I have always viewed democrats as whiny finger-pointers, but as s.positive said above, "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.."

    Couldn't have put it better myself

    January 18, 2008 10:17 pm at 10:17 pm |
  6. Tom Davie


    Golden rule:

    Whatever Obama does is wonderfull thanks to being able to SPIN the headline and the content of the story.

    Whatever Clinton does sucks because we can SPIN the headline and the content of the story.


    January 18, 2008 10:19 pm at 10:19 pm |
  7. shay

    At least Obama is clear on most of the subjects, he is not changing with the politics of the moments.

    January 18, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  8. Bradley Schaubs, Greeley, CO

    Obama will win Nevada!
    Obama 2008 and 2012!

    January 18, 2008 10:23 pm at 10:23 pm |
  9. Jerry.s

    So much for the positive politics. Seeing Obama talk one way in Iowa and other way in Nevada – is disappointing to say the least. He is yet to denounce a racially provocative ad being aired in the radios.

    January 18, 2008 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  10. who?

    I am sorry, I will not vote for O.

    January 18, 2008 10:26 pm at 10:26 pm |
  11. charlotte

    "Practice what you preach." " Actions speak louder than words." " Walk softly, but carry a big stick." "Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country." " I have a dream" "Follow me and I will show you the promise land." "We the people, in order to form a more perfect Union..........................."

    January 18, 2008 10:27 pm at 10:27 pm |
  12. Gen

    So I guess CNN is back to being PRO-Clinton again?? Just today I've seen so many meaningless negative stories about Obama?? What's going on here?? I thought this was a news website, not a blog?
    From ONE interview Barack Obama gave CNN took out like 5 negative stories.
    What about when Hillary does something NEGATIVE? Is that not newsworthy?

    Obama is the ONLY candidate that can actally make a difference for America, he has the sincerity and the passion! Hillary has 8 years of being first lady, which she didn't do anything progressive but have a FAILED HEALTH care plan because she accepted a fat check from the health insurance companies (watch Sicko by Michael Moore).

    I, as a woman, am ashamed when I hear other women say that Hillary is a 'strong' woman. If she was such a strong woman she would have kept her dignity and self worth and left Bill when he cheated on her (numerous times). Either that or she was too powerhungry to do it. A woman like that in power?
    No way!!

    OBAMA 2008!!

    January 18, 2008 10:29 pm at 10:29 pm |
  13. Ray

    All talk, no action. A vote for obama is a wasted vote.

    January 18, 2008 10:31 pm at 10:31 pm |
  14. lw

    What happened to the hope and inspirational candidate?

    January 18, 2008 10:37 pm at 10:37 pm |
  15. Robert Bell

    Hillary says the Unions are having undue influence on the caucuses:

    "We know that there are some unions in the south that are telling people who to caucus for… " –HRC

    About what you'd expect from a former member of the Board of Directors of WAL MART, right?

    Hillary served for SIX YEARS on the Board of the most anti-union company in the USA!

    No wonder she hates unions!

    The puzzle is, why some many unions do endorse her. Most, though, like the teacher's union, are unions of government employees. With Hillary in the White House, we'll all end up as government employees!

    "Clinton cannot be accused of not being a Democrat..." –veronica

    Well, Veronica, yes she can. She has been supported by none other than ultra-right-wing media mogul Rupert Murdoch, owner of FOX NEWS. He gave her $40,000 of his family's money and hosted a million-dollar fundraiser for her.

    She also voted for the Iraq war and almost everything else George Bush has asked for.

    On the Defense Appropriations Committee, she is known as "Mama Warbucks" because she votes for weapons systems even the Bush Administration doesn't want (provided they are built in New York State).

    Sounds pretty Republican to me!

    Oh yea, she uses scripted campaign events, planted questions, screend audiences, and all the dirty tricks that GW has been famous for.

    Do you see the difference between Hillary and Bush? I sure don't!

    January 18, 2008 10:38 pm at 10:38 pm |
  16. Mauri

    ALL YOU "OLD LADIES" OUT THERE - LISTEN UP!!! The mighty Obama has exposed himself to athlete's throat - again, and you're the reason. Listen to his speech where he's making light of himself for "not understanding" the question when asked what his greatest weakness is - and his answer was needing his "staff to hand me papers two minutes before needed" or else he'll lose them. So his maiden remark as a comedian was "I guess I could have said helping OLD LADIES cross the street."

    That was very telling. He also said if he'd been called upon after Clinton and Edwards, he would have known what to say. As President, he won't have people two deep to handle questions and problems. As said, this is very telling. Conclusion: All OLD LADIES, as Obama condescendingly referred to them, should organize and vote for Hillary Clinton. Having an 88 year old mother who has accompanied her at campaign appearances, it's clear that she would NEVER consider helping old ladies a WEAKNESS!

    January 18, 2008 10:40 pm at 10:40 pm |
  17. Concerned Citizen

    Why have some guys refused to grow up? Is it a crime to state that your opposition has good ideas? No wonder the politics of old will sell for long because people hate the truth. For me, I will rather have the truth anyday even when it hurts.

    January 18, 2008 10:41 pm at 10:41 pm |
  18. Elizabeth

    Maybe Obama is pointing out that the Democrats need to wake up and come up with new ideas because the Republicans have been the ones coming up with new ideas, even though he isnt saying they are good. What is so wrong with trying to get your party to be creative and active? I don't see anything wrong with that. Good leaders can identify the the problem.

    January 18, 2008 10:42 pm at 10:42 pm |
  19. pam Eugene OR

    Yes s.positive, we must unite. Obama can do just that for us. Hill & Bill want to divide and simply win an election. They want to make history no matter the cost to us. Obama is the real deal. He is ready to lead us from day 1. He will unite us and make us better than we ever thought we could be. Red, Blue and all race gender sexual preference unite under this man's wonderful message of hope.
    Let us be the best we can be.
    Obama 08

    January 18, 2008 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm |
  20. anon middle america

    Heres a news flash from an Obamafan which at least is HONEST: "Yes, he pandered to farmers in Iowa... and sometimes he works the religious angle like a megachurch preacher. But remember, he's a POLITICIAN... If you want purity, you can go chase after one of those doomed ideologues like Ralph Nader or Ron Paul.

    Barack Obama does not give the most wonkish stump speeches... Where is his 37-point proposal for repairing America's infrastructure, you ask? It's on his Web site, along with dozens of other pieces of policy minutiae you never knew you cared about.

    ... He is not the most experienced candidate in the race. And while it is trite to haul out Lincoln's carcass every time you want to make a point, it is nevertheless true that the Great Emancipator had logged less time as a national public servant β€” a mere one term in the House β€” than Obama before becoming president. Lincoln did OK for himself, all things considered.

    ...It's not that Hillary would make a bad president. Aside from her tragic Iraq vote, she's been a good senator, and if it weren't for the scheming of the Right, she would long have been regarded as the savior of the now-broken American health-care system."

    ^^^^^^^^^^^ What the supporters of the other candidates have been saying is that the majority of the Obama followers believe that ~he walks on water~ when IN FACT OBAMA IS MERELY A POLITICIAN WITH THE GIFT FOR GAB. See him for what he is, then maybe the rest of us will take another look. But his cheerleaders are definitely NOT endearing their MOST PERFECT candidate by tearing down and being rude and nasty to everyone else πŸ™

    January 18, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  21. Wade San Diego

    I agree with you completely with your assessment on needing to work with both parties on this issue. That is why I believe Barack Obama represents the best choice in this, as he has the large support of Independents and Republicans voting for him, which shows his ideas transcend party lines.

    If you follow this election closely, Republicans would like Hillary to win the nomination, because she is incapable of carrying independents in the General Election. Independents will be the key to this as with the past six general elections.

    Obama, is able to get this vote, which will carry him through to the White House.

    I stand with Obama, do you?

    January 18, 2008 10:48 pm at 10:48 pm |
  22. juanita

    I'm a Democrat i have been talking to other Democrats we all have said if Obama gets the Democratic party ,then we'll go Republicans , and they will win another four years.

    January 18, 2008 10:52 pm at 10:52 pm |
  23. @

    Give me a break! Talk is cheap!

    January 18, 2008 10:55 pm at 10:55 pm |
  24. Terry

    If you are an informed voter, you owe it to yourself to not take tid bits from any interview that a campaign will use to try to get you to change your opinion of someone. If you looked at the entire interview, you would know that he was not prasing Reagan or the republican party as Edwards and Clinton are making him out to.


    January 18, 2008 10:57 pm at 10:57 pm |
  25. Alice in Florida

    Obama, you lost me once you started playing the race card, and now you can't seem to stop

    I expected so much more from you – silly me!

    HILLARY 08!

    I am voting on Super Tuesday (1/29), and furthermore, I am taking a BUNCH of my best friends with me

    Dinner is on me – as long as we vote first

    Only one of my closest ten friends is a Republican, thank God

    I hope she votes for one of the two religious freaks or the former phoney mayor

    I pray she doesn't vote for McCain – he actually might have a chance of winning!

    As for me and the rest of my friends


    I would have voted for you

    But then you pulled the race card.......

    Sorry, we're ALL sick of OJ, Al Sharpton, Jesse and Michael Jackson

    The race card just kinda makes the majority of this country sick......! Not nearly as much as the religious nutballs do, though

    Thank the God I don't believe in!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 18, 2008 11:00 pm at 11:00 pm |
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