January 22nd, 2008
11:22 AM ET
14 years ago

Bill Clinton: Seems like Obama's running against me

COLUMBIA, South Carolina (CNN) - Barack Obama said Monday he felt as though he were campaigning against both Bill and Hillary Clinton. On Tuesday, former President Clinton said he felt the same way.

“I thought he was running against me for a while there in Nevada when he said that Republicans had most of the new ideas, and you had to challenge the conventional wisdom of the 90s. I thought we challenged the conventional wisdom of the 90s,” said Clinton.

He also hinted again that Obama specifically targeted Nevada Republicans in hopes of securing a win there - a charge that has been denied by Obama spokesman Bill Burton.

Clinton said Sunday that his wife Hillary Clinton had “won a victory in spite of a very well-organized, and I might say a very well-executed, strategy by the Obama campaign. Which included doing well in the north of Nevada, where his demographic of upscale voters lived, and by making an explicit effort to get Republicans to come and vote for him in the Democratic caucus."

Related: Watch Bill Clinton's latest remarks regarding Sen. Obama's campaign tactics

- CNN's Alexander Mooney and Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (294 Responses)
  1. Michael

    Bill, when are you going to realize that you're not running for president! Shut your mouth and respect your position as a FORMER President! You're busy smearing Obama's record and doing damage to the party. Shut up please...and one more thing stop wagging your finger at the camera...we all know that when you do that you are LYING. Go find yourself an intern, and shut up.

    January 22, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  2. Vette

    Sounds like a man helping his WOMEN ... Oh yea the other Guy got a WIFE helpping him ...Oh I', sorry she was not the Pres of the USA before My Bad ..

    January 22, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. Greg in OH


    You mean helping the poor by shipping our jobs away with NAFTA? Obama has not been flip flopping, Hillary supporters like you just won't listen to what he is saying. Hillary is the true flip flopper.

    January 22, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. Cher

    Bill is boldly misconstruing false allegations consistently against Obama which has mislead the public. Clinton needs to concede.

    Surely the citizens of this country are not gullible to believe what Bill says. Search for the truth before you vote for Hillary.

    Vote Obama/Edwards for 2008. The BEST team to clean up the White House!
    Only their wisdom and vision can bring about 'Change' together.

    January 22, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  5. VA votes

    Can anyone explain why a woman who thinks she is strong enough to run for President needs to have her husband "defend" her as she campaigns? Will Bill also be there to negotiate when other countries are "mean" to her? Get a spine Hillary!

    January 22, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  6. ex-Dem

    I have voted Democrat for about 25 years.

    I will not vote for the Clintons (they are a package – two for one vote) if they are nominated.

    I am completely turned off by the in-fighting between the two top nominees of the Democratic party. They are acting like children fighting over a lollipop. Gaining the leadership of the U.S. deserves civility from both canidates.

    January 22, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  7. William Brockett

    I am a long standing democrate,yet if Senator Clinton gets the nomination I will vote for any republican as a protest vote due to the lies and false accusations by
    former President Clinton against Obama, I will use all the influence with in my power to get my friends and family to do the same, however I will vote for democrates running for the senate and congress. I can under stand now why so many people dislike senator Clinton, I never felt that way until I saw the way she
    acted in the debate. She is not interested in the need of the country as much as the need to satisfy her own ego.

    January 22, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  8. BC

    All I can say is......Go Hillary!!!!!! Obama can run as VP with Caine, Huclebee or Romney! Believe me if the wives of these candidates had been in President Clinton's position as a previous leader of the free world and well versed in all aspects of the political arena, this would be a whole different race. Go President Clinton....

    January 22, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  9. LisaMpls

    Bill gets more media attention than Elizabeth and Michelle because he was our former President, for crying out loud. Don't fault Bill for this…fault the media if you need someone/thing to blame. Michelle has said some pretty nasty things, but the media just doesn't provide her as much coverage.

    Obama himself said that the Republicans provided all of the ideas during the 90s (Bill's presidency). That is a direct statement that Bill was not a strong president. Obama himself also said that Reagan, more so than Bill, was effective at bringing about change (albeit terrible change). Bill should have addressed Obama's statements b/c Obama was addressing Bill. Sorry you don't like it, Obama, but you knew what you were getting into. Start having a greater command of the issues, and I will start to believe that you can be a good leader…until then, you have some work to do.

    January 22, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  10. Stephannie

    Voting for Hillary Clinton on the basis of change is the equivalent of wearing dirty underwear inside out: it may sound like a good idea, but in the end it stinks.

    January 22, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  11. Helga





    January 22, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  12. Nelson, Colorado Springs Co

    Sen Obama is almost right he is running aganist two Clinton. Whereas Former Bill Clinton can almost say what he want to then let Sen Obama defend himself to what was said waste of time on Sen Obama part Sen/mrs clinton say just like she said last night " I didn't say that" she didn't defend former president Clinton statement she have to damage was already done " didn't say that". So Sen Obama is right. Think the former Prezz in trying to back in the white house

    January 22, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  13. Harry, NY NY

    Maybe if you retired with the dignity of a former president this wouldn't be an issue Mr Clinton.

    Who is running anyway?

    January 22, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  14. jp/michigan

    If you want to the undistorted facts ,just surf the web. There is a sea of knowledge there. Obama staffers have been underhandedly playing the race, religious and sympathy cards and blaming everyone else. Mr. obama this is politics and your stand on issues and past experiences are needed to be known. If you think the Clintons are rough, what do you think the Republicans will do to you.. If you or your family have ghosts in your closet you better let them out now.

    January 22, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  15. Tim

    Which of his "new ideas" is President Clinton touting? One that particularly stands out today is Bill Clinton's decision to scrap the Glass-Steagall Act, officially known as the Banking Act of 1933:

    "When Franklin Roosevelt took office, both the President and Congress knew the banking crisis demanded immediate action. The result was one of the crown jewels of the New Deal: the Glass-Steagall Act, officially known as the Banking Act of 1933. Glass made sure the bill forbid banks from getting into the investment business. In addition, the bill established the Federal Deposit Insurance Company, which protects our bank deposits....

    The repeal of one of the most important pieces of legislation in this nation's history came about as a result of another Clinton "triangulation," the wobbling attempt to find the middle of the road that has somehow managed to pass for a philosophy with many Democrats for over two decades. As former Clinton former campaign Richard Morris once described it, you move a little to the left, a little to the right. I'd love to hear Clinton give that explanation to a foreclosed home owner today."

    January 22, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  16. Shelly Lee

    Last night's debate showed exactly how much Obama knows about running the country.........................he was stumbling over his words, he just isn't ready yet...................Hillary is very intelligent and can stand up for herself and us. Enough of this drudging up the intern thing with Bill, I am sure there has been alot of things going on in the Whitehouse thru the years, those presidents just didn't get caught............ I say vote for HIllary, we get 2 for the price of one!!!! And this thing about McCain as another choice if she wins the nomination, have you forgotten?, he wants to continue the Iraq War.........just ask him, he will tell you!

    January 22, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  17. Robert

    Hey folks,
    Obama dishes it out as good as he gets. Obama should stop complaining and understand that he's in the big leagues and will have to meet confrontation along the way.

    January 22, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  18. Elliott

    The Clintons are a very good, typical political team. They will and have separated the Democratic Party. This is how so many politicians become successful. They will keep us fighting among one another, while they can keep going to the bank.

    Aren't we sick and tired of living in a very divided nation? If Hillary and Bill are doing this to their own party, how are they going to help unite America? This proves to me without a doubt, that Obama should be the nominee.

    You cannot agree to disagree with the Clintons. If you try, they will spin everything to death and back. Hillary said last night in the debates that she has been attacked by the republicans for 16 years and she knows how to take them on. Nice, but I would rather see you extend the hand of unity then what your typical Washington politics have taught you.

    Hillary, you are a flake. Apparently, some Americans must enjoy learning things the hard way.

    January 22, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  19. cwalk

    how many of these people are republicans saying they are democrats. we seem to be seeing a lot of that lately. clinton bashing is so passe...

    January 22, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. Ashley

    I think the debate got way too personal last night. Both Sen. Clinton and Sen. Obama need to focus on the issues and forget the personal attacks on each other. To me, Sen. Clinton has the experience needed to be President. I have watched mostly all the debates and I have yet to hear clear and concise substance from Sen. Obama. I won't be making my vote based on gender or race, but on who I believe would be the best President to lead our nation out of the mess that Bush has gotten us in to. And thats all that matters. Whether you like Sen. Clinton or not, she does have what it takes to be President on day one. If you would just really listen to Sen. Obama, he does not have any substance to the issues that need addressing right now nor does he have the experience. Our country is in such dire straits and this is not any time for on the job training. Another thing that I find curious is that Sen. Obama can question the records of Sen. Clinton and Sen. Edwards but doesn't want his own record questioned. Sen Obama says a lot of things that make people feel good. I think a lot of Sen. Obama's supporters are in awe of this "change" that he is going to bring about. I'm still waiting to hear how he is going to "change" america. Bush said he was going to make some changes and we see where it has gotten us. The next President must make the right change for all americans. Sen. Obama just does not have the experience. Thats my take on it.

    January 22, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  21. Emma

    If Hillary is wise she would tell Bill to get out of the campaign. Obama is running against the both of them. If she won the presidential election (which I doubt), she wouldn't run the office. Bill would run it. In their power seeking minds, it doesn't matter which one of them will ruin it. He is so anxious to get back in power his behavior is foolish. Obama is campaigning against three people, Hillary, Edwards and Bill Clinton.

    January 22, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  22. Susan

    The clinton's are the ones who continually attack Obama. Obama doesn't want to get personal in this campaign and I have nothing but respect for that.

    The Clinton's are use to rolling around in the gutter and they are willing to take this country to that level as well.

    If the democratic party has any sense, they will support Obama because the Republicans will bring out every bit of mud on both Hill and Bill. Just you wait!!!

    Hillary showed her true colors. She looked mean and angry last night. These shots will make great commericals for her opponents!

    January 22, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  23. Roland Madore, Fort Collins, CO

    Last night's South Carolina debate got real rancid–with both Clinton and Edwards attacking Barack Obama. I believe Barack had to come out fighting and show the country what he's been up against with the Clinton Slime Politics Attack Machine–and Bill Clinton personally–and that he wasn't going to take these smears lying down anymore. I think Hillary also realized she doesn't have a chance in South Carolina and was really trying to accomplish two things: get under Obama's skin–per "slick Willy's" orders–to show his supposed weaknesses AND speak to the rest of the country–especially those states in the Super Tuesday primaries (and with California on her mind). This "rough and tumble" between Clinton and Obama probably helped Edwards–who may be running for Vice President again. Whatever, I believe Hillary lost more of this Saturday's "white vote" as a result. Part 2 of the debate went much better, and I believe Obama displayed a more polished leadership style and won that round "hands down".

    Here's the deal now. Barack Obama did what he had to, but now, he needs to get Bill Clinton out of his head and start talking beyond and above him to the nation and the world. He can no longer let Bill Clinton get under his skin, as that's what the Clintons want. Instead, he needs to make his case by appealing to the nation and the world that he's the one Presidential candidate–with the voters' help–who will provide the best leadership for the 21st century that will inspire and no longer rely on the Bush-Clinton dynasty polictics of the past. Hopefully then, more young people, more women, more seniors like me, and more latinos–citizens of all stripes–will realize that if Hillary Clinton ends up being the nominee and wins the election, it will be the dirtiest, costliest campaign on record, and none of our real problems will get their solutions because she won't be able to lead us effectively and get anything done–why? Too many conservatives hate her guts.

    Barack Obama, reach above the fray–start speaking to the nation and the world, and help us turn the page on this utter nonsense and destruction. Be our leader for the 21st century.

    January 22, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  24. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    Isn't it interesting that we have a former president who feels it is his role to scold his wife's opponent. For me, his comments just underline my determination to do all I can to support Senator Obama. The good senator is a uniter, not a divider like the Clinton's. We need this man to represent us throughout the world – – I'm very proud of his (Obama's) candidacy and feel in my heart that he will win.

    Our country deserves a president we can be proud of. . .and that person is Senator Barack Obama!

    January 22, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  25. Alex

    Part of the problem, in my view, is that Bill Clinton isn't just another candidate's spouse – he is a former two-term President of the United States.

    His words and actions carry more weight than a typical spouse because of that.

    On another topic – to date, I have seen no "flip-flopping" from Obama. If someone can point out to me how he has done that, I'd be more than happy to hear it.

    I think, however, that Edwards came out looking the best in that debate, because while he did take a few shots at both Clinton and Obama, he was not involved in some of more heated exchanges. It it were a political cartoon, it would be to big dogs growling at each other, while the little yipping dog barked at their heels.

    January 22, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
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