January 22nd, 2008
11:25 AM ET
14 years ago

Hillary Clinton: Obama is 'frustrated'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/22/art.clintonobamasc.ap.jpg caption="Hillary Clinton said Barack Obama came looking for a fight last night."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Hillary Clinton said Tuesday that Barack Obama came to Monday night’s CNN debate looking to spark a brawl.

“He telegraphed it, he talked about it – he clearly came last night looking for a fight, and was determined and launched right in,” she said at a Washington press conference on economic issues.

“I think what we saw last night was that he’s very frustrated – Sen. Obama is very frustrated. The events of the last 10 or so days, particularly the outcomes in New Hampshire and Nevada, have apparently convinced him to adopt a different strategy,” said the New York senator.

Obama’s comments last night, she said, “were so rehearsed that he kept on insisting that I had mentioned President Reagan in what I had said, when I didn't mention President Reagan.”

She also repeated allegations that Obama had said in 2004 he agreed with George Bush on the way the president was waging war. Obama disputes the claim, saying that the Clinton campaign is deliberately distorting his comments from that period.

Shortly after Clinton spoke, her campaign sent reporters a memo containing half a dozen unrelated charges against Obama, including the charge, based on a recent news report, that he “represented now-indicted influence peddler Tony Rezko in his efforts to develop government-subsidized slum housing.”

The Obama campaign has denied links to any illegal activities on the part of the Chicago businessman, and has said it would reject all contributions linked to him.

Related: Watch Sen. Clinton discuss Sen. Obama's debate demeanor

–CNN's Mike Roselli and Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (390 Responses)
  1. lcb

    The thing that stood out for me was how angry Obama was as he walked on stage. Also how arrogant his postures were and how inept he spoke. I have not caught any of his speeches so I was looking forward to the phenomena everyone is talking about...Boy was I disappointed! What I got was an unprepared, young man who I can see will not be able to get through a presidential debate. If he can not take on the mild jabs that the Clinton campaign is hurdling his way, he will not survive a full blown Republican assault. Thank you CNN, as an undecided independent voter your coverage helps me make intelligent decisions based on character, position, record, and experience.

    January 22, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. concerned citizen

    also somebody commented on charismatic leadership read Carl von Clausewitz and argues most charismatic leaders have a miliary agenda...Hitler was charismatic, we need a president who is a realist, optimist, and pragmatist roger...


    January 22, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  3. Roger

    Lot of Obama's folks here do not want other campainers to look through Obama's past record. The blindness of the past is indeed a big lie. I believe It is a fair process that candidates take the charge and open up some questions which need to be answered. Obama shall be pressed to answer those questions.

    Clinton '08

    January 22, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  4. Adam, Los Angeles

    I would be frustrated too if someone continued to deliberately misconstrue and distort statements, facts and records to make me look bad. I'd be pissed and i don't Hillary or Bill should be getting away with it. I think the media should play an active role in investigating the accusations and make them just as widespread as the rumors.

    Care to comment CNN?

    January 22, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  5. PatElly

    Obama was out of sync last night and looked fustrated. His inexperience was exposed by Clinton and Edwards, he needs to quit crying wolf, move on and stay his message.

    January 22, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  6. Alton H.

    Obama says he would force everyone to have insurance......what? no job, not enough money to afford it, can't even feed yourself,.........too bad.....he wants the government in that case to fine you and take away what money you didn't have anyway and/or be able to take legal action against you (watch out homeless people) to get it and possibly more in fines undoubtedly to help pay the poor congressmen to pass more bills to force you to buy insurance from the destitute insurance companies or even send you to jail........Better start building debtors prisons again

    January 22, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. Brio

    Unfortunately the best Dem candidate and most winnable was Richardson. So now we must choose between and inspiring yet untested Obama and a Machiavellian carpetbagger Clinton. Clinton simply can't win the general election, unless she ran against Huckabee/Norris.

    January 22, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  8. Tom R

    I am glad Hillary can tell us what Barack feels now. She is an all-knowing being now I guess. I am sure she knows what it feels like to be looked at as a mixed-race American without acceptance from either race fully. Since she has walked the mile in his shoes, she claims to more about him than herself. She needs to focus on why she is the right person not why he is not. Everything she saying plays bad with me. Do you think she had that list ready? She also knew about what he wrote in Kindergarden, so don't think they have not dug deep. She is passing this list to let the media run with bad things to avoid getting her hands dirty. She also is letting Bill do it too, which is so telling of how ruthless she is.

    On top of that somebody needs to remind Bill Clinton that this time he is in-charge of interior design and banquets if she wins, not policy. So, he needs to learn his place. You don't see Elizabeth Edwards and Michelle Obama setting policy and being the attack dogs for their husbands, so why as first-man does he think it is his place? He can support her, and defend his former Presidency, but when he grabs the mic he seems to think it is his campaign. He needs to be quiet, and remember his name is not on the ballot.

    January 22, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  9. David, Silver Spring, MD

    Hillary seems to be embodying on the old saying, "No one ever lost money (or an election) underestimating the intelligence of the American public.

    I have read Obama's comments about Reagan and about the Republican party of the 90's. He's absolutely right on both counts: Reagan transformed the country and brought many Democrats to his side; the Republicans of the 90's were the ones offering big ideas (e.g. "Contract With America") while the Democrats were trying to piece together policies without a clear statement of overarching principles.

    Like a baseball record falling in the age of steroids, a Hillary Clinton victory would be seriously tainted by the dishonorable tactics of her campaign and her husband.

    January 22, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. masterhurrikane

    Hillary is not a leader, she will follow her husband's every word.... such a shame that she cannot escape his shadow.

    January 22, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  11. John from Carlsbad, CA

    The Clinton campaign's behavior lately is exactly what infuriates younger independents like myself that are tired of politics as usual. I don't share any views with Hillary on the issues but I gave her a look none the less to see if she had the character and leadership qualities in which I feel is required for our next President. I am doing that with all the candidates.

    Her behavior of the past few weeks culminating in the infuriating debate last night and her continued behavior today shows me she does NOT show either the character or leadership qualities of a President. Hell I wouldn't hire her to lead a anything.

    When times get tough, you don't mud sling. When things get tight you don't resort to name calling. When things get competitive you don't throw someone underneath you so you can use them to take the next step up the ladder.

    All I have to say is, thank you Hillary for making it really easy for me to remove at least one candidate for President for my consideration. You made my choice incredibly easy.

    January 22, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  12. Jay

    I just can not wait for Hillary to run against the straight talker John McCain. Hillary bebating againt some one who was in the army on national security when she did not read the NIR before voting for the war. God is good.

    January 22, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  13. M. Overton

    Unbelievable. All Hillary has done is incited bickering. I can't believe her.

    January 22, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  14. Eli Levi, San Francisco

    And another thing, I'll tell you this. Go ahead, nominate Hillary! Go ahead.
    She's the most polarizing candidate I've seen in the past 35 years!

    If she thinks she can win the presidency with only the women's vote, she's just plain meshuggana!

    January 22, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  15. austin

    get over it people, what we saw was politics being played out. dirt comes out from every corner when your going to run for an office. no one's campaign is truly clean. clinton stood her ground when the first attack came. it came from obama with the comment about her husband in the first 10-15mintues. she has every right to defend her husband as any of you would defend your spouse. everyong ragged on edwards wife for defending him and attacking clinton. these people are not stupid. they will out smart the average american. bill would not play into a stupid move and hurt hilarys' campaign. he's too smart for that.

    in the end, they both looked like children and the moderators should have stopped before it got to that point. go edwards for keeping clean during that mess and answering the questions.

    January 22, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  16. Toni

    One thing for sure – the REAL Presidential looking one from the debate last night was Mr. John Edwards. He stayed above all the negative attacks and stuck to the issues. The Clinton campaign plays dirty, no sense in pretending on that one. In Iowa they had people planted in the audience to ask the questions Mrs. Clinton wanted to respond to. Why? What's the need of that?
    Unfortunately for Mrs. C and Mr. C, I no longer care to vote for her. I'd prefer Mr. Edwards by far and certainly Mr. Obama and feel that either would bring more honesty to the White House and, after all the past history of the Clintons (both), someone we can respect as a President for a change, without all the baggage, distrust and manipulation.

    January 22, 2008 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  17. Heidi

    Unfortunately, I've spoken to a few Hillary supporters and now realize that some of her supporters don't really care about the issues, but instead it's the "star factor". One Hillary supporter told me that frankly she doesn't care how Hillary gets into office or how she runs her campaign, just as long as she wins. When I asked whether she believed her underhanded tactics would continue once she's in the White House, she said, "Well, all politicians lie". The other supporters with whom I've spoken gave me the same type of answer.

    It's amazing to me that in a country where we've remained stagnant and our economy is slowly going down the toilet, the frontrunners of both parties are the status quo. Everyone seemed to respond to the "change" message and now who's in front? John McCain and Hillary Clinton! Hmmm....

    As for Billary and Obama – I'm not surprised by Bill Clinton's behavior. I'm surprised by the fact that the democratic party is shocked that he's making to party look like a bunch of devisive imcompetents. Bill's acting this way against his own party and Hillary is supporting this behavior. This further shows me that the Clintons don't care about the people nor do they care about their own party. The Clintons always have and always will care about the Clinton Empire.

    As for Obama wondering who he's running against, he's absolutely right. We didn't see HW Bush pulling these underhanded tactics when his son was running and when he was under fire.

    I think Bill is speaking more on the campaign trail than Hillary lately. That backs up Obama's comment. What's going to happen if Hillary gets elected. Will she rely on Bill to make the difficult decisions? A president is only allowed two terms, but the Clintons will me making their own rules. Wait and see.

    January 22, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  18. Mike

    If Hillary gets the nomination I'm voting Independant. Her tactics are dirty and she is trying to fanagle her way into office rather than earn it.

    January 22, 2008 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  19. Mark

    Hillary is totally right! You could see the frustration bubbling inside him in the debate!! She has him in the right place and all he can do is complain that they are both attacking him. Of course they are: you are in a presidential race. That's what this is all about!! Get over it and get out Obama!

    January 22, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  20. Oscar, Rio Vista, CA

    i thought Obama handled himself well and stood up to the Clinton machine. if anyone looked frustrated, it was Hilary. She had the idea that she would sling the same mud that hubby was slinging and was surprised when Obama defended himself. She got exactly what she deserves. What it showed me, was that Obama was able to push all the right buttons and Hilary lost it.

    I used to admire Bill Clinton, but he and his wife have lost my respect. I desperately want a democrat in the White House, but to be honest, if Hilary becomes the nominee I may just stay home.

    PLEASE VOTE FOR OBAMA. Hilary is already polarizing the country.

    January 22, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  21. Bill T., San Jose, CA

    Obama had an real advantage in being front and center on the stage in yesterday debate. I wish CNN would have done 2 things different: (1) Position Edwards in between Clinton and Obama instead, and (2) provide stands so that all candidates would appear equal in height on TV–Obama was definitely the dominating figure on the stage.

    The debate was lively and touched on important issues facing our country. I am truly excited about the presidential choices of the Democrats in this election! I am so ready to vote!

    January 22, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  22. Al, Sacramento Ca

    Three points:

    1. Politics is about debate and strategy. When Hillary was being attacked by all her peers before Iowa nobody was saying anything. Now that Obama is in contention you are daming her for proving a point. Obama has betrayed the Democrats with his Reagan comments, I now doubt his real ageda.

    2. As far as Republicans go, you have no opinion! your current President has already done enought damage and you fear the Clinton's in a general election because they were the ones who defeated your first Bushie.

    3. If you all really paid attention to the debate, Hillary stuck to the facts and moved forward with Bush's behind the scene deals in the middle east . Somebody is gotta stop this Republican mafia and Hillary is the only that can do it or as you all call it, "The Clintons."

    January 22, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  23. Ray

    So when Hillary lost in Iowa Obama said Hillary was "Frustrated" that she lost and now he has lost 2 in a row and Hillary is leading in National polls and in all but 2 or 3 Super Tuesday States. I would be Frustrated also if I was loosing after rubbing it in someone's face after one win in a race for 50 wins.

    January 22, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  24. suraki

    Who is frustrated?

    During the first quarrel, Hillary began with digs at Obama, to which Obama discretely and politely rose his hand so that the moderator would know that he wished to respond. When it was Obama's turn, he barely got a sentence out before Hillary was yelling and interrupting him. One of her later tirades caused my one year old son to wake up in tears so my wife and I had to keep turning the volume down every time Hillary was speaking.

    How many times do we have to hear Republicans say "I'd vote for Obama, but not Hillary" and Democrats say "I'll vote for McCan before I back Clinton" before we realize what is at stake here?

    There is such a double standard with the Hillary camp... They thought it would be smooth sailing for the nomination. When they realized it wasn't going to happen, they pulled out every trick they could think of to discount Obama, most of them unethical and dishonest. (CNN: Where did the story about Hillary's push polling go?) Eventually, Obama is put into a position where he must defend himself, but then the Hillary camp implies that he's fragile for it. Who was it that nearly burst into tears a few weeks ago? Who was it that was throwing tantrums about the media coverage? Who was it that "had her feelings hurt"? How quickly you forget.

    How truly bizarre. I've voted Democrat in every election, but at this point, there is no chance whatsoever that I will vote for Hillary for president. Never. While I prefer an Obama / Edwards ticket, anything other than Hillary / whoever would be an excellent choice.

    January 22, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. M. McKenzie

    I like the idea of a "truth squad". Why the media refuses to use its resources to challenge the veracity of claims and accusations made by candidates is beyond me. They have easy access to the tapes and/or transcripts. Its called journalism.

    It is clear from the transcripts of Sen. Obama's remarks, regarding President Reagan, that the Clinton campaign intentionally misrepresented Sen. Obama's comments. What we need is more journalism and less punditry. Are there any real journalists left out there?

    Of course Sen. Obama is frustrated. Who can blame him? He's been trying from day one to elevate the election process by running clean campaign. As much as I admire President Clinton, he seems to have become Democratic version of Carl Rove. They are hell-bent on winning the nomination at all costs, even if it means dragging the entire Democratic Party through the mud by playing dirty politics.

    I don't hate Sen. Clinton. I just think Sen. Obama is the better of two good choices for the Oval Office. However, if Sen. Clinton becomes the eventual nominee, I will vote for her.

    Democrats beware. Voting for an independent candidate or not for either Hillary or Barack in November or not voting at all out of dislike for either of them is tantamount to voting for a Republican. That's cutting off your nose to spite your face.

    January 22, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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