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. Barbara Morton

    I am not sure who I intend to vote for in the NY primary. What I do know is that someone better show me something more then I have seen so far. All I hear is the same old stuff. "We need change". Show me what you are going to change and how you plan to accomplish this change. Anyone can talk about "change" but ideas on how are more important. The American people deserve better that what either party is offering. The first person that can show me they are more then talk and are willing to buck convention to do what is best for this country and its citizens is the one who will get my vote and it dosen't matter which party they belong to. All voters should feel the same way party affilation should not be the decideing factor what is right for this country should be.
    Barbara Morton

    January 19, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. Marcus, Independence MO

    You Clintonites can't bear an honest politician. And to Juanita I hear the opposite lots of African Americans tell me that if Hillary gets the nod they will either not vote or vote for a Republican. It's not about Democrats and Republicans. It's about salvaging this nation. Look around people and ask yourself what candidate most embodies patriotism (Obama). To admit to your rivals that they are better is humility, that is what this country needs. I listen to both sides of the arguement and both except Obama want to bash the other into the ground. This is serious people this is how Civil Wars are started . Generally both sides are so arrogant that they cannot see straight. If Clinton wins the nomination than she won't try to mend America she'll just continue the fight Bill lost. And he's right she's not honest. See Nevada Debates. When someone asks you a weakness that does not mean telling the nation a lie,(Senator Clinton), " I'm so passionate that's my weakness. (Former Senator Edwards) " I like to help poor people." Wake up people Obama is telling the nation the truth. And these are the moments where common people need to be inspired and realistic enough to hear the truth. Obama 08 Truth and Unity.

    January 19, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. Jose Card - Independent

    Obama needs to ignore Hillary and concentrate on issues.
    You don't want to drop to the same level as hers.
    Tell us what you want to do if elected.

    January 19, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  4. Salida

    I sent a comment early this AM around 12, it is still awaiting moderation. I see other comments after. If your blog is not in favour of Obama. It gets to stay in the eternal moderation queu. Jack from WV and Indie 56 all posted after I did. Isn't that just great.

    January 19, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. mummydearest

    I have voted for a Republican the last few presidential elections and recently made the switch to the Democratic party not because I don't believe in what
    the Republican party stands for but because there has not been any real change
    or real creativity for a long time. So I will and have casted my vote for Obama. He is a man when asked what his "weakness" was gave a honest answer. What did we get from the others more "political speak" that is and has been tiresome and old for a long time. Iowans for Obama!

    January 19, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  6. Marsha

    Senator Obama is a candidate of integrity and values. He has never had to (and never will) play the Washington game of testing which way the wind is blowing and changing your views accordingly as other candidates have and continue to do.

    When you are firmly grounded in powerful values, it is easy to remain constant and consistent in the choices you make and the opinions you express. This country is so hungry for a candidate and politics that represents this level of honesty and integrity and that is why thousands are flocking to support Senator Obama.

    January 19, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. ksarynnej

    Oh come on Veronica get real. Just b/c Obama talks kindly of another party doesn't make him a trader. Separating parties as you are doing divides this country even more. We are supposed to be one united country (United States remember?), we need someone who represents all of us not just one party. And yes, I am a democrat too. I agree with you Greg OH. Obama will change this direction of this country. Is it a crime to try to run a positive campaign?

    January 19, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  8. ksarynnej

    Oh come on Veronica get real. Just b/c Obama talks kindly of another party doesn't make him a traitor. Separating parties as you are doing divides this country even more. We are supposed to be one united country (United States remember?), we need someone who represents all of us not just one party. And yes, I am a democrat too. I agree with you Greg OH. Obama will change this direction of this country. Is it a crime to try to run a positive campaign?

    January 19, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  9. hillary 08

    I am so angry with obama ad on spanish TV, insulting Hillary Clinton. He is just a dreamer and talker. Hillary has 35 years of experience and you should give credit for her work. I think everybody needs to do research on each candidate and finds out their work and their commitment to this country. If you do research, you will realize that Hillary is the best candidate. Her experience and commitment proves that she is a strong leader who can bring the change and really cares about this country and American people. Voters cannot just listen to Obama's speech so called "inspirational". Also, don't forget good years when Bill Clinton was president and how much the economy was improved. I believe Hillary can do it too.


    January 19, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  10. ksarynnej

    Oh come on Veronica get real. And same to you S, WI. Just b/c Obama talks kindly of another party doesn't make him a traitor. Separating parties as you are doing divides this country even more. We are supposed to be one united country (United States remember?), we need someone who represents all of us not just one party. And yes, I am a democrat too. I agree with you Greg OH. Obama will change this direction of this country. Is it a crime to try to run a positive campaign?

    January 19, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  11. Anson Ang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia








    January 19, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  12. Jared


    Its quite clear from reading your posting that youand your supposed entourage of feminist friends were Hillary supporters from day one.

    Second, if you were educated at all you would have seen that Hillary brought race into this primary. I'm not going to go through the timeline of events, but again. If you had a brain in your head, (Your ignorant, you dont) you would recognize that.

    So I hope you and all of your friends in the world, (all 10 of them) have a great meal at McDonalds post vote. I'm sure youre already robust frames could use the extra padding.

    Best regards.

    January 19, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  13. GIGI

    Clinton is number one and Obama will come in last. Hillary will be the next President . The truth is there is not a single candidate that tells the whole truth. Everyone has harmed someone along the way in words or actions. Obama is not a GOD, he is a man who is trying to win but he has already changed his voice since Iowa and is going in a different direction in Nevada. Everyone who is a candidate for an office trys to win by giving the American people what they want to hear. I am hearing it from all candidates of the Democats and Republicans. Give me a break! We will not know the truth and how things will be changed until the new President takes office. All of the candidates will not be able to fulfill all of their goals. They are human like you and me. Everyone that is running wants to win. None of the candidates are GOD. Only God knows who will win!!!

    I plan to vote for Hillary and no one can change my mind. I love the Clintons!!!!

    January 19, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  14. Mario

    Clinton's still play the race card, thats all they know how to do, after all sick Bill was the nations first "black president" what a laugh!

    What does Magic and sick Bill have in common? they both like to mess around with other women behind their wives back, only they both got caught!

    Bill was going to be impeached and magic got HIV and "humbled" himself.

    Yup I'd like to see billy in the white house again...NOT! we need these two people like we need a hole in the head.

    Go Mitt!

    January 19, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  15. Billary suck

    ABC – Anybody But Clinton!!

    January 19, 2008 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  16. Mario

    Whats the deal with Permalink on these stories CNN? Don't you like being told off or what! Also do a much better job covering Romney instead of those two bafoons insane McCain and Hickupbee!

    Go Mitt!

    January 19, 2008 01:00 pm at 1:00 pm |
  17. Les

    It's easy for Obama to claim he was against the war in Iraq when he was NOT in the US Senate to vote for it or against it. Later on, he was asked how he would vote, his reply was "I don't know."

    January 19, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. pam Eugene OR

    The time for Hillary has passed. It is clear that Obama wants change and he understands that he can't do it just by wanting it. He will need to cross the line to enlist all Americans if anything remarkable is to happen. He understands this. Hillary is so full of hate for opponents that will never happen. She openly admits she can't wait to be elected so she can settle some old scores. We will have terrible battles if she is our leader and never be able to accomplish anything.
    We need Barack Obama now.

    January 19, 2008 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  19. James

    Being a Republican, I disagree with most of Obama’s political positions. However, I find myself in the unusual position of saying that I wouldn’t have a problem with him as president. This is because I feel that he can be trusted to do what is best for the American people, and not just what’s best for his political career. By comparison there is not a big difference between the two parties like in Europe were you see openly Communists, Socialists, and even Neo Nazi parties. Just for the record the Nazi party of WWII was a Socialists party from the left wing of politics “National Socialist German Workers Party” .

    January 19, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  20. Les

    S, WI January 18, 2008 9:03 pm ET

    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?


    I agree with you, Obama even praise Ronald Reagan. I guess he forgot Reagan destroyed the middle class, BUSTED the union especially AIR TRAFFIC CONTROLLER UNION.

    Obama also labeled 527 a union organizatioin as "SPECIAL INTEREST" group when they bought an ad campaign for Edwards; but he's not calling Culinary Union ad campaign on his behalf as "SPECIAL INTEREST" group.

    As long as Obama benefits from it, its fine with him; but if he's not the beneficiary he is AGAINST it.

    AND YES, Obama is NOT a uniter he is a DIVIDER indeed. I couldn't agree with you more.

    January 19, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  21. Bimmer

    Watch out!
    This moderator is pro-Obama. Anything critical of him stays in moderation for ever.

    January 19, 2008 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  22. Emily, Atlanta, GA

    Interesting...My comment from 11:30 pm last night is still in moderation. And it wasn't favorable to Obama. Is this a pattern here? Are Obama supporters having the same problem?
    Thank you for doing such a great job, CNN.

    January 19, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  23. hbplus

    I am so tired of the Them/Us mentality that has prevailed our country and our world. Differences have always been the source of conflict and misery and Senator Obama, with his obvious appreciation and inclusion of differences demonstrates his awareness of differences as the source of contribution. We are a diverse culture that he is attempting to and can bring together on behalf of a larger vison of a United America. Get over men vs. women, republicans vs. democrats, white vs. black, who is right and who is wrong. Imagine a future where the energy, time and money spent having to defend your position and point of view could be spent in making positive progress to solve the serious problems we are facing as a nation. Senator Obama has made some gentle attempts to defend himself and neutralize the attacks made on him by Hillary Clinton. He has not initiated any of them. If people were organized around what is best for the country rather than being right about their point of view he wouldn't have to do this. The "old politics" has always been of the view that people are stupid and will believe whatever they are told. They won't ask questions or trust themselves to make their own choices. This has been the Bush policy and it is the Clinton policy. Listen with your hearts to the possibility we are being presented with and you will be able to hear what Senator Obama is saying. WE can make a difference for our country and our world. He is the right person, with the right message, at the right time and we may not have another chance if we miss this opportunity. The old politics has given us a declining dollar, trillions of dollars in debt to foreign countries, (China, Japan and Saudi Arabia), corporate corruption and the worst disaster in the housing and finance market ever with the sub-prime mortgage scheme. It may already be TOO LATE but if we have any chance at all of recovery we must change our direction and transform ourselves. Obama is our best and only hope for doing that as a country.

    January 19, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  24. stan pitts pa


    January 19, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  25. Iowan

    To all of you who think O will unite the party – you are dead wrong. I've been a democrat all my years(i'm a OLD LADY). Should O get the nomination I will be voting for a Repulican for president for the first time. I'm not alone on this. He is not Regan, nor JFK. Wake up out there.

    January 19, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
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