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. Kevin,FL


    January 19, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Douglas Jones

    Whether it be Obama,or John Edwards or Clinton who becomes the next President of the U.S.A,that elected President will have to lead the Country according to those good moral and spiritual principles of leadership our founding
    Fathers built this great nation upon if he or she wants to avoid a national chaotic situation.

    January 19, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. keep the peace

    Google for Government: Americans have the right to know how their tax dollars are spent, but that information has been hidden from public view for too long. That's why Barack Obama and Senator Tom Coburn (R-OK) passed a law to create a Google-like search engine to allow regular people to approximately track federal grants, contracts, earmarks, and loans online. The Chicago Sun-Times wrote, "It would enable the public to see where federal money goes and how it is spent. It's a brilliant idea."

    Things that matter ti us!

    January 19, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  4. Maria

    Salida, I completely agree.

    January 19, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  5. Dave

    It makes me sad that this race is even close. How can rational thinking people listen to either of the Clinton's and not realize that they are pandering and will do or say anything to get elected.

    Obama is a breath of fresh air that this Country needs.

    January 19, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  6. Keet Rock

    A new Democratic Patry will emerge and the triditionals will need to get on board or miss the train... The Train for Change....go OBAMA....

    January 19, 2008 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  7. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Obama reaches across party lines when he knows something is economically good for Americans, not just the democratic party. Obama has constantly said all parties must work together and this economic stimulus package is just one example. Hillary has the "go it alone" mentallity which is devisive and none representative of all Americans. Hillary is a smart woman, but she appears to have a self serving interest more than the insight to clearly understand what Americans need. Obama knows and understand our government is broken but not in disrepair. Expect the Clintons' to come back and lie(or take credit) about Obama's stimulus package as they've done on Hillary's vote for the Iraq war. It is important to separate "who" we are voting for from "what" we're voting for. This is not a contest to win with words like "you've known Bill and I longer" and "you know what Bill and I stand for". I like the Clinton's because I've known them longer but I clearly see that's not enough to give Hillary my vote. Obama gets my vote because he is the "what" and not the "who" in what are country needs.

    January 19, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  8. Rachel Green

    As a democrat, I wanted to read Obama's book before deciding between him and Hillary but I have to say after watching all the Clinton political strategies and negative attacks on Obama...I have been pushed to his side. I feel the Clintons are behaving very desperate, playing politics all the way and will change on a dime what they say and do to win the vote. I don't want another slippery politician in office. She's knows how to play the game but at this point I want someone who chooses not to play. I want someone who tells me the truth. I believe that Obama will do that. I've lost a lot of respect for the Clintons watching this race. And I've gained a great deal of it for Obama.

    January 19, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  9. j.r.

    i'm disapointted you took off my comment .

    January 19, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  10. Lee

    You Democrats that say Obama is dividing the party because he is reaching out to independents and Republicans are living in a fantasy world and walking down the path of another Democratic defeat. I have voted Democratic every year since 1972, except 1980 for independent, John B. Anderson. No presidential candidate on either side can be elected without their party base and a majority of independents and a substantial number of votes from the opposite party.
    Why is it that when a candidate comes along that seeks to bring the country together, we lambast them as being disloyal to our party.

    The Republican and Democratic parties have been in decline for many years and more people identify themselves as independents than affiliated with a particular party. The vast majority of Americans are tired of the Washington gridlock that has plagued this nation for the last 30 years. Why do you think the approval rating of Congress and the President are at all time lows?

    And why is that we are a country of 300 million people, and the only people that are qualified to be president are named Bush or Clinton? There has been a Bush or Clinton as President or Vice-President for the last 28 years! And now we may have another Clinton for the next 4 to 8 years. We might as well have a monarchy, with a king or queen.

    If Hillary Clinton is elected, I see nothing but 4 more years of gridlock, investigations, virulent political attacks, and very little progress again in solving the major problems we have. And who knows what kind of trouble Bill will get himself into with all that free time. Welcome back to the 1990's.

    I am not saying Barack Obama has all the answers, no one does. But we do need to unite as a country to solve the problems we have. We need a uniter and not a divider and unfortunately, Bill and Hillary Clinton are two of the most divisive people we have seen in our modern history, whether deserved or not.

    One last thing. Did most of you read this article? It says Barack Obama criticized Hillary Clinton on issues from the Iraq war to the economy. Then it points out Obama's views versus Hillary's. There was no reference to race or gender or personal attacks. He was talking about issues. What a refreshing change! All candidates compare and contrast their views with their opponents. At least that is what should be happening in a Presidential campaign.

    January 19, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  11. Sophia Mustaro

    It's pretty sad that the reason I keep reading to not vote for Hillary is her vote for the Iraq war. You know, lets get up the whole list of who believed the call for war & who everyone was who cast that original vote in the heat & heart of 911. Let's see how many people made that mistake, who believed the intell (we know better now) , who have before & since gone on to do good for their citizens. Also, let us forget not that she is a Senator from New York. From New York people. How do you suppose her people wanted her to vote?? Uh gee whiz, let's see, ground zero, gee Hillary, lets not go after the bastards who killed 3000+ in your state. As Bill says, "Give me a break!".
    I recall seeing the election of Obama as well. He was humble & sweet & was just elected a Jr Senator to Illinois & no, he wasn't going to start at national bid for President. And what did he do? He stated in the last debate that he had decided to run in Dec of 06. Before he was even sworn in. Yeh. I'm glad I'm not from Illinois! His voting record is pretty sad imo. But if you can't (or worse WON"T >>present<< ) do, I guess you attack those who do. Hillary isn't right on a few things for my tastes but it is really steaming me to see the stupid attacks in the blind following for Obama. Pray he's not our President. If his "help" in Kenya is any indication.... from riots to almost Civil War, we'll have a hellofa 4 yr run with him.

    January 19, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  12. Calvin Preddie

    Mr. Obama did express an opinion about the war in early 2002 that turned out to be correct. But was he "right" because of any careful study of the situation or analysis of the facts? He admitted in 2004 that he did not have access to the intelligence reports so he could not know how he would have voted in later 2002 if he had been in Congress. Therefore, he formed an opinion on whether a nation was, or was not, a threat to the U.S. without considering evidence since it was not available. Does this really signify "good Judgment" that could be considered being right? Had Mr. Bush fought the war for which Congress gave approval, instead of a war to make Iraq a democracy and a pre-emptive war by inviting insurgents and terrorists to fight the U.S. in Iraq, his lucky guess could very well have been incorrect.

    January 19, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  13. Irma

    To my black brothers and sisters, don't be foolish! Don't vote because you hear racists saying things about Obama. You need to vote based on what is best for you. What is best for you is getting a Democrat into office! Obama is not going to win up against the Republicans. Not because he is black, but because he is naive. A lot of people who were Democrats voted for Bush because they were naive enough to believe what the Republican owned news media told them he was a regular guy who would bring people together. A lot of people are doing that with Obama now. They're buying into what the media is telling them. Don't you think it's weird that they ALL love him right now and are pushing for him? They are using the same arguments they used to sell us Bush. Only problem is, THEY ARE REPUBLICANS! They are not on our side. They love that you think Clinton is against blacks. The Clintons are far from being racists and they have the power to win. Their programs in the past helped minorities and the poor. Yes, they changed Welfare, but only in a progressive way. The program turned to supporting people to get training or an education to better themselves rather than just collecting a check. You really need to do research; please don't throw away your votes. Obama in 2016, he is young and has a lot to learn, but his day will come. Right now we have got to win and the Clintons will beat the racists and the Republicans. Then when it's Obama's turn, then we can all be more idealistic because we will be able to afford it.

    January 19, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. Anonymous

    Obama and Edwards were so desperate, they spent one whole debate attacking Hillary Clinton. But let Hillary return the favor, they throw their arms up in the air and say "Why is the status quo doing this?' We haven't done anything to deserve this type of attack? Grow up guys and stop stealing from Hillary.

    January 19, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  15. QuietStormX

    I hope other people like myself that Hirary Clinton is not the right person to lead this country and world. And the "Not Ready" speak from the Clinton's and her campaign staff. I want too move forward and not back to those days... When you ask a question, you expect the right answer. I mean, you want someone who has worked on the ground and knows what people need and feel.

    " Borack Obama" 08'

    January 19, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  16. cope Ronco, PA

    I really feel good about Obama's chances of being the president. Although Hillary
    has the experience it stops right there. This country needs someone in office that
    will put a different face on America politics domesticly and around the world. I can
    sense that Obama has these traits and these abilities could become even more
    dynamic once he is in office. So there is a huge upside to what Obama can do for
    this country and very little if any for Hillary mainly because of her experience in the
    white house.

    January 19, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  17. Janice

    For: Irma,

    You are as divisive as your candidate of chioce. People should caste their votes based on principle and that is what I would advise fellow Blacks to do. What do Afr. Amer. owe the Democratic party or the Clinton's for that matter?

    I supported Hillary in the beginning. I sent money to her campaign. However, I withdraw my support for her not because I'm black. No, I withdraw my support for her because of the tactics she is now engaged in. What is the deal with her campaign? Why are they so desperate? Why are they engaging in street style fighting? None of that is ok to me and it causes me great concern, especially considering it's of course Bill and Hillary Clinton.

    If I had gone with my first choice I would have supported Edwards. But, no, the sisterhood was more important than race or my convictions. Therefore, I supported Hillary. I have since corrected my mistake. I no longer support anyone. I will now wait and watch these people some more.

    So, for other blacks, don't make the mistake I made. You should seriously examine and consider which of these people would you be comfortable voting for.

    Whatever you do, don't listen too so-called Blacks that want to sway you in one direction or another. You are not stupid. You can make your own decisions. Don't listen to celebrities. Don't listen to campaign spin. Just listen to yourself.

    As for you Irma, you sound just like Bill. 'Barack can run later....' How insulting. What, she can't run later or something? Pathetic.

    January 19, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  18. Janice

    It is ironic the number of people that say they will vote Repub. if Obama is the nominee. Guess what Hillary supporters, the Obama people say the same thing regarding your candidate. The only problem, so it appears, is Obama will be able to overcome any loss of support..... I don't know that the same can be said regarding HRC. In anycase, I guess the Repubs. are guaranteed a victory this year unless Edwards is the nominee? Nonetheless, do you all realize how polarized your party has become? Why do you think that is?

    I hope you all remember your history and remember what happened in the past when your party split. You all remember those times do you not? So, tell me, have those people come back to your party yet? I think not.

    Give us Mod. Indeps. a break and stop your bickering already.

    January 19, 2008 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  19. charmaine, greenlawn,ny

    I have to say, that Barack has stayed calm in all the comments Hillary has thrown at him. They pushed the limit in Nevada, by trying to get even so to say with the culinary union. In so doing Bill Clinton actually took voters from one precinct to another, because he said they weren't being treated fairly. Wow!! Has he stepped out of line or not?
    Caucuses should be done away with. If this is how things are handled in 2008, God help us. There must be a better way to elect the person we want to govern our country, than caucuses. Honesty is the best policy. And Barack is the most honest person running. Hope he wins.

    January 19, 2008 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  20. Jenny, Paxton, MA

    listen up.

    when you agree with someone and fell so comfortable listening to his or her rhetoric, that's when you should say, "wait a minute, this sounds very familiar, this can't be change!"

    You've been there and done that with Bush the cowboy. try and rememer this critical wisdom from Bush: "fool me once shame on...uh... uh...ummm..fool me twice...uh,,. you can't fool me again" or some such thing.....

    January 19, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  21. Scott

    Just switching back to the Clinton era is not progress.

    Clinton represents the most corrupt aspects of the Democratic party, not its ideals.

    If the party engine can't get out of the progressive ideal, we will fail, and we'll have Jeb Bush in office in 4-8 years.

    January 19, 2008 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  22. Dee

    How can anyone vote for this women ! She has been paid off on health care,
    cover up her husband lack of morals.. and who talked over and over on the same
    changes and never did any changes! She's only on a power kick!
    I will have to change my party vote.. if she runs... republicans will get my vote!

    January 19, 2008 07:11 pm at 7:11 pm |
  23. WW - New York

    Hillary would bring too much baggage to the general election. Republicans will eat her alive! One would think we would want a leader who can praise the works of others even if there not from the same party. Obama has been criticized for his speeches, his talk of hope and change; listen up folks the last I checked I thought America was the “land of dreams”. I would much rather have hopes or talks of hopes then a smug woman telling me what I should do and think. The Clintons have it all figured out and know what’s best for everyone (“Whites, Blacks, Latinos, Democratic, etc...) I don’t want someone with all the answers! I want someone who’s willing to search for the right answer. Therefore, I believe that Obama is the right choice!
    In addition, in my opinion when it comes to government experience = old way of doing business. However, like many Americans I fall within what the government deems the middle class therefore, I want someone with experience in dealing with “real life” situations! If Hillary wins the primary; for the first time since I was old enough to vote “I won’t vote” or vote republican.
    A little note: The Republicans want the Clinton baggage to stay under the rug “for now”! Shhh don’t say anything that will be their secret weapon. Think about it, this will give them a tremendous advantage (they will gain support of “all” the anti-Hillary voters).

    January 19, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  24. Nicholas

    Obama is a true visionary who understands what this country is all about. He unites the country under on purpse and it is to make everyone's lives better and more bareable, Clinton just represents the tyranny of people who are to scared to see someone as smart and powerful as Barack Obama as the head of the nation.

    January 20, 2008 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  25. klf

    All of the debates (Republican and Democrat) show is that Americans need to wake up and hold our elected official accountable. We need to read between the lines, remember their promises and vote for more government power to be returned to the states and most importantly the people. Unfortunately, too many people (voters) are unaware of how our government truly works so it is easy to point fingers at the President, the governor of your state and so one and not really understand the process. We should not just vote a party, but vote for what we mostly believe in. Do you want people to lawfully enter our country and go through the immigration process, do you want the government to grow, which means more taxes, do you want the government to take responsibility for our healthcare or find an affordable soution to all that does not requre government control, do you want to enable a society by bailing them out when they make poor choices or start expecting more from our citizens, do you want better public schools, which probably means limiting the role of government and place more say to individual states and lessening the power of the unions? Voting for a change does not always mean, a party change as the issues facing our country is mainly due to Americans being uninformed, relying on our government a an alarming rate to save them and getting caught up in Democrat vs. Republican and missing the real issues. We need to expect more and demand more from our elected officials and we have a voice and need to start taking a stand.

    January 20, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
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