January 18th, 2008
06:15 PM ET
14 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. Far Away

    Do you all realise that there are four people in this 2008 campaign for the nomination It's Barack Obama, John Edwards and twin candidates Hillary and Bill Clinton.

    Let him continue gandstanding in the huskings. It will be a sure way for her to loose the nomination. President WHO?

    January 19, 2008 05:32 am at 5:32 am |
  2. Wilma Lovelace

    Obama; is the Man for President for 2008, we need a change, not the same old politic, we need new ideals, a new direction, a new President for 2008. god bless Obama

    January 19, 2008 05:59 am at 5:59 am |
  3. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    ... not a crime to state that the loyal opposition has ideas but foolish when history doesn't match the facts. The past 6 years of unfettered Republican control have been a disaster. They were left a surplus and a balanced budget. They are leaving the next administration with a huge deficit and a looming recession – for which they will blame the Democrats.

    The Republican administration has lied to us, hides behinds the curtain of "executive privledge" while weakening the Constitution. It wasn't the Democrats who declared "mission accomplished" or "we will be welcomed with flowers" or dismissed the terrorists as "dead end kids."... or said "bring it on!"

    The Republicans made the phrases "mistakes were made" and "I don't recall" the hallmark of late night comedy... what about Walter Reed and the unprecedented firing of US attorneys because they weren't loyal enough "Bushies"

    The Republican controlled Congress: Fought paying a decent wage, approved the bridge to no where – and let's not forget Abramoff, "Duke" Cunningham, Foley protected by Hassert, Tom "the hammer" Delay, wide-stance Larry Craig and Representative Vitter...

    When did the veto pen come out? Health care for children and veterans benefits... the energy bill passed – after oil companies were allowed to keep their government subsidies... making sure megaprofits remain outrageous profits.

    The party of the "up-or-down-vote" now obstructs and fillibusters.

    Obama, the GOP may be the party of ideas, but I don't happen to care where they lead the country. The Republicans had 6 years of dictatorship and they pi$$ed the opportunity to lead away.

    Time for a change, and buddy, if you are admiring Regan to get a few votes, you've lost mine.

    January 19, 2008 06:09 am at 6:09 am |
  4. Captain

    Reading the comments on this board reinforces just how ignorant and stupid the American public really is. I mean, its fine to support one candidate over the other for any reason you chose, but to slam a candidate that you obviously don't support for reasons that amount to ignorance just make us, as Americans, look even dumber.

    E Gollan, If you go back and read Obama's FULL SPEECH, he said that he didn't know how he would have voted but the CASE HAD NOT BEEN MADE. He was speaking at a covention that was about the Nominate John Kerry and John Edwards for the Democratic ticket. Both, whom voted for the war in Iraq. He chose his words carefully in order to be diplomatic and not embarrass his party's nominee. There is no question of what Obama's stance was because he spoke against the war BEFORE the convention.

    Furthermore, How is Obama a traitor to the democratic party? Since when is stating a fact being traitorous? If Mitt Romney or George Bush called John F. Kennedy a visionary would they be betraying their party? If they called FDR and Truman, heroes of this country, would that be a betrayal? The answer is No. What I got frm Obama's statesments is that Reagan steered the country in a different direction after taking office. How are his words "Praising Reagan"? He is simply stating a fact. You all need to cool your hills and educate yourselves before publically making yourselves look like idiots in public.

    January 19, 2008 06:15 am at 6:15 am |
  5. charlotte

    The Senator from Illinois cast a vote of present, rather then a YEA/NEA is that like saying I don't want to get involved. Say what you mean, mean what you say. It's pretty hard to make a wrong vote if you seldom vote. Obamas' voting record is deplorable. How he would have voted on the Irac war, had he been in office at the time would most likely would have been Present. Right or wrong at least vote.

    January 19, 2008 06:16 am at 6:16 am |
  6. fredrick

    Americans do not know what is happening to their country. China is over powering US on world stage. You need someone who will help restore trust in American politics and bring the world trust back to US. People outside wants Obama to win. Atleast they can trust him little as per new face......not old people like clinton who has been their before.

    January 19, 2008 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  7. Emily, Atlanta, GA

    Yeah, Obama means what he says. He just doesn't keep his words.

    January 19, 2008 06:59 am at 6:59 am |
  8. BAM BAM

    Bam Bam can bash anything.

    Hillary and Bill are shameless manipulators.

    January 19, 2008 07:11 am at 7:11 am |
  9. Jack form WV

    If Obama wins you’ll vote Republican, well then you’re not a democrat. Sounds like a child if you don’t give me what I want I’ll scream, well go ahead and scream. Don’t forget white water and many missing important papers mysteriously shredded wonder who knew just exactly which ones to get rid of? Hillary is nothing but bad news my Mom in NY said never again.
    Why are they still not talking about the issues rather the race card etc. There are more than 2 running for the position here aren't there.

    January 19, 2008 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  10. Indie56

    Obama is right, let's "turn the page". It's just that simple–remember your ABCs–Anybody But Clinton!!

    As a retired Air Force Sgt who served from the very end of the Nixon administration through the entire Clinton Administration, I can tell you that the Clintons were least liked by the majority of military personnel that I came in contact with on a daily basis.

    Hillary may be the darling of the hardcore Democratic Party, and I am positive that hardcore republicans are pulling for her too so they can drag out all the negative press from the 1990s again. One can imagine the grid lock that will occur in Washington if we put Ms Hillary Clinton back in the White House. She is one of the most divisive people that we could ever possibly elect to the presidency.

    And what did "slick Willie" Bill Clinton promise his wife when he was caught with his "pants down"? Ask any married man or woman who found themselves in a similar situation. You know that there had to be some major compromises made by the former president to former first lady. Did that include pulling every string possible to elect her "queen of the castle"? But, I don't see Hillary acting like her man in any way as president, and that includes leadership, but how will old Bill act as the first gentleman-or whatever we call him? Do we really want to go through all that again? Do we want all that drama and the "baggage" that the Clintons would bring on day one in the White House. I say enough is enough!

    A vote for Obama could bring about some real positive change, and perhaps a more united country for the first time in a long time. We are all American first and foremost, and not just party members. Life is about today and the futue, and we cannot continue to live in the past anymore. The Clintons are the past, and let Obama bring hope back to our future. Citizens of all backgrounds–black, brown, red, and white can all unite around this candidate that could bring a refreshing honest air to the stagnant fog of Washington. Let's bury the Bush–Clinton dynasty forever.

    January 19, 2008 07:51 am at 7:51 am |
  11. Anne Chatsworth GA

    Just give me a democrat to vote for!

    Hillary 08

    January 19, 2008 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  12. peter kay

    Love the comment "traitor to the demorcratic party"- the guy is trying to run for the president of the US not the leader of the democratic party– if you want the party, and all its good and bad,.. yes it has more good than the other guys, then you have a candidate– Somehow we have to get a better leader in place without the baggage of the unions, shool teachers, un employed calling shots.. their needs just.. but their strangle hold too intense for the rest of us–

    January 19, 2008 08:07 am at 8:07 am |
  13. Craig in Madison

    Jack....you're half right....though I'm not a child, I'm no longer a Democrat, either. Thanks for showing me the rest of the way out the door of a house built for appearances only. As for Obama, until recently I thought he was just a sucker but not an outright con-artist. Now I realize he's both.

    January 19, 2008 08:26 am at 8:26 am |
  14. In Moderation Hell

    The man says it like it is. Why do people want to repeat the last twenty years over and over again. Like a mouse that goes for the cheese and gets zapped instead. For some reason we just don't seem to want to learn and just keep getting zapped.

    For the last twenty years…. Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush. If you keep doing the same thing over and over and it doesn't work then you have to change what you are doing.

    This man is a different path, one that can unite us as a nation again but only if we are smart and brave enough to realize it.

    S, WI you are so naive, the Dem's are already divided between the young free thinking generation and the Clinton "Romantics" who think they are going to resurrect the 90's. It's a pipe dream the 90's are never coming back and Hillary sure enough is not going to get us there.

    The party became divided back in '04 when we had the chance to boot Bush, but Clinton would not endorse John Kerry because of her own selfish desires for power.

    She put her own greed for the presidency before what was best for the country. If she sold us out in '04 she will do it again.

    January 19, 2008 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  15. Jose

    The man says it like it is. Why do people want to repeat the last twenty years over and over again. Like a mouse that goes for the cheese and gets zapped instead. For some reason we just don't seem to want to learn and just keep getting zapped.

    For the last twenty years…. Bush, Clinton, Clinton, Bush, Bush. If you keep doing the same thing over and over and it doesn't work then you have to change what you are doing.

    This man is a different path, one that can unite us as a nation again but only if we are smart and brave enough to realize it.

    S, WI you are so naive, the Dem's are already divided between the young free thinking generation and the Clinton "Romantics" who think they are going to resurrect the 90's. It's a pipe dream the 90's are never coming back and Hillary sure enough is not going to get us there.

    The party became divided back in '04 when we had the chance to boot Bush, but Clinton would not endorse John Kerry because of her own selfish desires for power.

    She put her own greed for the presidency before what was best for the country. If she sold us out in '04 she will do it again.

    January 19, 2008 08:40 am at 8:40 am |
  16. Jim in Orlando, FL

    Its real simple. If yu want someone who does what is best for the American people, vote Obama. If you want someone who does what is best for themselves, vote hrc.

    January 19, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  17. brian

    do people really believe that in a country as large and as great as America that our presidents should come from only two families? Let's break the bush-Clinton-bush cycle. Everything Clinton says about barack is misleading. Do we really want a president who can mislead so effectively?

    January 19, 2008 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  18. Sheldon

    CNN first Headline today:
    "Democrat Barack Obama launched sharp — and at times bitingly sarcastic — attacks at presidential rivals Hillary Clinton and John Edwards in Nevada Friday."
    I think he should be real careful in this new stand-up routine not to "piss whitie off".
    He is still dealing with a 70% white U.S. population that does not like to be attacked by any other group of people, and when they are the least bit attacked they will turn on you. Bottomline- Over Cockyness will get you know where fast.

    January 19, 2008 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  19. Dr. Hart

    Obama 08 baby!!!!

    There are NO candidates as prepared or as needed as Barack Obama to get the job done...RIGHT, the first time!

    January 19, 2008 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  20. Anthony Martin

    I, who have great respect for Bill and Hillary Clinton and what they were able to accomplish in the 90's, know that the name Clinton is more divisive than anything else in politics. A vote for Hillary is a vote for more partisan politics. I don't think the issue of getting out of Iraq can be solved if we are bickering over partisan politics. We need a leader who has the ability to speak to the left, right, and the middle.

    January 19, 2008 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  21. sandra

    I am for Obama.

    'A nation healed, a world repaired'......Barack Obama.

    No more Bush/Clinton/Bush/Clinton.

    Let us turn the page and move forward Americans.

    January 19, 2008 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  22. Nando, Florida

    RUMBLE YOUNG MAN RUNBLE AHHH!!!!!!!!!!!

    OBAMA 08

    January 19, 2008 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  23. Walt, Belton, TX

    "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."

    Thank God he wasn't talking about slick willie or Hillary........................

    January 19, 2008 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  24. Maeve

    Gee, Indie56, for someone who wants everbody to vote for the guy you say is all about the future, you sure look like you're aiming your vote AGAINST the past more than anything else. So much for YOU turning those pages, eh?

    And by the way, some of us might consider it a positive if the military personel you say you came in contact with didn't like "the Clintons," as you say.

    I have to wonder, however, why were they so busy negatively opining about Hillary Clinton, as you included her in that "Clintons" target? She didn't have anything to do with their service, did she? Did they just like inanely knocking people who were irrelevant to their chosen lot? Or was it that they simply disdained women, especially strong women?

    January 19, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  25. Nando, Florida

    RUMBLE YOUNG MAN RUMBLE AHHH!!!!!!!!!!

    GO OBAMA 08

    January 19, 2008 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
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