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. Jacob, Savannah, GA

    This is a challenge for all of the white voters to rally against Hussein Obama and vote for Hillary Clinton.

    January 19, 2008 12:03 am at 12:03 am |
  2. Ann

    Obama has tried hard to keep this campaign clean, but with your up against the Clinton's lies and troublemaking it makes it very difficult. Obama's a winner.

    January 19, 2008 12:05 am at 12:05 am |
  3. Nevada voter...


    January 19, 2008 12:15 am at 12:15 am |
  4. v

    Has anyone noticed that Obama states"doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results" Think that comes from the AA and NA books–good books by the way but hes not original.....he is a novice... Hope he doesnt relapse. I agree with magic, we need someone we know and can trust....hes been there and god knows we need that now-no time for training. Him and his finger pointing–he must get it from his wife–now thats a mean first lady for sure–she points too. I could think of a lot of African American women suited to be a first lady, Oprah and Obama wife just isnt it..............Hope all the African Americans see through him.....I'm sure they do. The Clintons have always stood by the blacks, not above them but with them.....Please Obama crazed people–WAKE UP , this country is in bad shape–It would take Obama years to even begin to know how to fix the problems that Hillary has worked on for years....................Think before you vote. Thank god for Congress---we'll need them when Obama blunders and he will because he's all about motivational speaking-–not action.

    January 19, 2008 12:16 am at 12:16 am |
  5. Ken, San Diego, CA

    I suppose I shouldn't be shocked that Obama is now stretching the truth....well, let's be honest, lying....

    Hillary came out with her stimulus framework way back in early December (which included tax rebates and tax relief).

    Apparantely, the Obama campaign now is saying that Hillary looked up to Reagan, when in fact all she said was that she thought he was a good communicator.

    Next, he lambasts Edwards in Iowa for not stopping 3rd party ads attacking Obama vis a vis Edwards supporters. Yet the most divisive and disrespectful 3rd party ads in this entire campaign attacking Hillary vis a vis Obama supporters is okay? It must be because Obama has not said a word about it...

    And, to top it all off, Obama now claims that his remarks to the Reno Gazette about his lack of managing and operating skills just meant he couldn't keep his desk clean. You've got to be kidding! His direct quote is all over the Internet for everyone to see.

    I really used to like and respect Obama (I bet this is becoming a cliche), but the guy is just a hypocrite (and, dare I say, phony). You can't claim that your whole premise for being president is that you'll be honest and transparent when you can't even be that way during a campaign.

    January 19, 2008 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  6. sluggo

    moderators are censoring comments

    January 19, 2008 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  7. CelinaB

    I will take this fairly tale any day to the Bush-Clinton-Bush-Clinton 28 years dynastic horror movie

    January 19, 2008 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  8. Brian, Syracuse NY

    The Republicans offered plan after plan after plan for the past 15 years. Up until two years ago, the Democrats didn't offer anything and they got trounced in the elections for it. Now, the Democratic Party is the party of ideas because the GOP is fixated on telling people what they CAN'T DO (abortion, stem cell research, SCHIP veto), rather than what they CAN.

    Just because Obama speaks the truth, that Republicans are people too (you don't say!), fellow Democrats attack. How DARE someone acknowledge that we're all Americans working toward a common purpose?!

    January 19, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  9. Jen Cedar Falls, IA

    Hillary wants to be the President so she can get in the history books.

    Obama wants to be the President so he can help re-unite the country and end the hate-fest of our current political state, both stateside and abroad.

    January 19, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  10. Don Slowik

    Yes, it will take all Americans, and a strong leader like Obama to get real change through Congress.

    January 19, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  11. steve

    To S, WI, who said:

    "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."

    You are the type of party loyalist who represents the divisive, polarized nature of politics, "the party before country" attitude that has turned off most Americans to the extremist values of both major parties. The refreshing thing about Obama is that he does not simply follow like a lemming (like S, WI) the pre-ordained ideals of the Clintonian/Boom-Generation Democrats, but wants to recreate a better party bor a better country. You need to ask yourself, S: who is the real traitor, the one who puts party before country, or vice versa?

    January 19, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  12. Ted


    January 19, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  13. STAN


    January 19, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  14. Salida

    Can anyone very this information that Obama does not salute the Unted States Flag? Isn't this of very serious concern? If the President of the United States will not honor the flag who will? How will he represent the country when the flag is being raised? Anyone have any ideas of this?

    January 19, 2008 12:38 am at 12:38 am |
  15. WOW

    There's nothing wrong with noting something good about the other party. After-all, aren't we all Americans? Can't you be a democrat and still have an open mind about republicans and republican leaders? I believe this is why he can unite us as president.

    Everyone knows that Reagan wasn't perfect but no-one can deny that that year was a "change" election. And there was some good things about him that anyone can learn from, democrat or republican.

    There's something that you can learn from all leaders. Democrats don't hold a monopoly on knowledge and wisdom.

    A wise person can even learn something from a drunk if he looks for it. Wisdom is everywhere and it's up to each of us to search it out for ourselves.

    Obama seems to be concern with all Americans and has an open mind. That's something that the current administration has lacked severely. This is why I believe he's able to reach across party lines.

    January 19, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  16. Tim Calhoun '08, Moreno Valley, CA

    E Gollan said:

    "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."

    You've been listening to Hillary too long.

    Here's what he actually said:

    "I'm not privy to Senate intelligence reports. ... What would I have done? I don't know. What I know is that from my vantage point the case was not made. What I don't think was appropriate was the degree to which Congress gave the president a pass on this.” [New York Times, 7/26/04]

    January 19, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  17. Frank D

    I don't know why people are so blind to recognize that Hilary can't win the general election by November even if she wins the primary. The republicans will go back to power again if she eventually emerge in the primary! However, there will be an independent candidate if she wins the primary.

    January 19, 2008 12:53 am at 12:53 am |
  18. Bruce, San Francisco,CA

    Clinton will come up with another show to change everyone's thoughts before the caucus, this time it will not be crocodile tears, it will be something different, she knows the timing and everything.

    January 19, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  19. God help us

    A couple of questions and items to consider:

    * Each media source has its own bias; Either research the topic to get the "real" facts or at least make an effort to consult a larger pool of sources and take a somewhat "educated" average of them all.
    * When was the last time that at an interview for a serious, professional job or position, regardless of whether it was you or someone you know and regardless of what age group they fell into, was that person hired once admitting that their weakness was a lack of organization? In truth, this is the single most important job "interview" in the country.
    * What is the true definition of a lobbyist group? Is it being limited to solely those in Washington? If so, then yes, when both of the front runners are compared it is Clinton who has received the most funds. However, for Obama to state that he is refusing PACs and Washington lobbyists is a very gray area considering that money is being accepted by both state level lobbyists that carry much influence in Washington and employees of lobbying firms.
    * If universal health care is being argued then please, address the fact that one plan depends entirely on lowering costs enough to make it affordable. That's a big "if".
    * I think it is wonderful to have such a surge of young voters (hey, I'm 23...that's young) but if you advocate any candidate, popular or not, then at least make an effort to get your facts straight otherwise it is just plain scary and reminiscent of high school student council.

    January 19, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  20. amazed

    I bet Mr. Obama felt bad for giving a sub-prime answer when asked about his weakness, otherwise, he would not need to mock his opponents on that issue days after.

    January 19, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  21. Ginny, Ca

    To the Moderator: Just curious, I posted a comment at 10:50. What happened to it? The last one I see above was posted later, at 11:35. I've noticed this before. It was not particularly offensive and yet it appears to have disappeared into a black hole.

    January 19, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  22. Beth Chicago, IL


    Who has ever won a presidential campaign with the slogan "Incremental Change for Working Americans," and Obama's inclusive, take-what-you-can-get style has had mixed results.

    In Illinois, Obama sponsored an expansion of a program called KidCare, which extended health coverage to children up to 200 percent above the poverty level (up from 185 percent). In all, it extended benefits to an additional 150,000 people in the state. But his efforts to push a much more ambitious universal-health-care proposal stalled when his colleagues demanded to know how to pay for it. Obama realized the plan was going nowhere, and settled for a compromise: A COMMSSION TO STUDY THE ISSUE. "Anyone can introduce a bill," says Dale Righter, a Republican who faced Obama on the issue. "Anyone elected to the General Assembly can turn on their microphone and make a speech."

    Though in speeches he sounds like an idealistic revolutionary out to take back the capital, Obama's record suggests he is actually more of an incrementalist. On the stump, he speaks in the grandest terms, but in practice he inches his way toward a goal.

    His cautious "baby steps" approach may not be the grand sweeping changes that his supporters are expecting? AND the Presidency will become hopelessly mired IN STUDIES OF THE ISSUES 🙁 wasting time and tax payers money...

    January 19, 2008 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  23. Chaunda

    I have to agree that we are looking for a democratic nominee Obama. Please win our party before you invoke the republican demigod reagan's name. Pulling more independent and republicans voting for you is great when you have already convince us democrats. Don't take us for granted.

    January 19, 2008 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  24. BEAMON

    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."

    Apparently he doesn't mean what he says because all thats come out of his mouth the last couple of days has been really negative. Where is the NEW! DIFFERENT! candidate of HOPE? Saint Barack sounds like just another politician to me.

    January 19, 2008 01:25 am at 1:25 am |
  25. Jess

    I am glad he is fighting back, The Clinton, and yes I say both of them, have been fighting dirty from the start. It seems that Clinton loyalists are afraid of a new direction. But many of us realize that is what this country needs. The Clintons have already divided the party. I have never voted republican but I cannot and will not vote for another Clinton. There are many others who feel the same, especially younger voters who are not stuck in the past, where the Clintons should stay. We need to end this reign of dynasties.

    January 19, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10