January 30th, 2008
02:30 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama hints at a McCain nomination while jabbing Clinton

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/30/art.obama.ap.jpg caption=" Obama campaigned in Denver Wednesday."]DENVER, Colorado (CNN) – Whoever wins the Democratic nomination for the presidency will be battling Republican John McCain, Barack Obama implied Wednesday in Denver.

Obama also criticized opponent Hillary Clinton in the same sentence, seeming to imply that Clinton and McCain share similar positions on a variety of issues.

"It is time for new leadership that understands that the way to win a debate with John McCain or any Republican who is nominated is not by nominating someone who agreed with him on voting for the war in Iraq," Obama said, taking a swipe at Clinton's 2002 vote in favor of the Iraq war resolution.

McCain, fresh off his win in Florida Tuesday, is now being billed as the GOP frontrunner.

Obama continued the attack on Clinton, implying she also agreed with McCain when it came to giving George Bush "the benefit of the doubt on Iran," and criticizing her for "embracing the Bush-Cheney policy of not talking to leaders we don’t like."

The Illinois senator implied that he "actually differed with McCain by arguing for exceptions for torture before changing positions when the politics of the moment changed."

The Clinton campaign was quick to respond — so quick, in fact, that spokesman Phil Singer emailed a rebuttal to reporters before Obama had even delivered the comments.

Responding to what the Obama campaign sent out as remarks "prepared for delivery," Singer wrote that, with a single exception, the promotion of Gen. George Casey - the two senators have nearly-identical voting records on Iraq.

He also added that Obama is misrepresenting Clinton's position when it comes to the issues of Iran and diplomacy.

In terms of torture, Singer wrote that Obama "couldn't be more wrong." After meeting with various military officials and reading defense reports, he said, Clinton "concluded that torture cannot be part of the American policy, period."

- CNN Producer Chris Welch

soundoff (518 Responses)
  1. Illinois 2

    As a fellow democrat from Illinois, it is time that not only our state but the rest of the nation take into account that this election is about getting our troops out of Iraq and finish the job in Afganistan, protect the economy and finally get a true health plan for all of our citizens, the rich and the poor alike. to truly get this work done it will take the experience of Hillery Clinton to accomplish this and much more for this great nation. As far as for Obama, he needs to accept the fact he is not ready and needs to work for improving things in his senate position.

    January 30, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  2. DJK

    Wait a minute...when Hillary was voting on Iran, where was Barack Hussein Obama? Oh, that's right, he didn't bother to show up to vote. Talk about hypocrisy.

    It's so easy to criticize everybody's else's positions when you're too weak to take a stand either way. Obama's figured out the way to be popular: do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.

    January 30, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. Marge Hibbing Mn

    OH MY.. have to add a PS...this guy doesn't attack he is 99and 100% pure. Didn't you all know that. Jabbing Clinton. Darn before the end of the day his ecume group will have Clinton being the one jabbing him.

    January 30, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Gene Ray

    I agree that McCain (baring health problems) is pretty set to win the Republican nomination. Personally I like that.
    As far as Obama goes, I prefer him over any other Democrat. He has a hard row to hoe but he is the only Democrat that has a chance against McCain. Bill Clinton has been at his backstabbing best regarding "race baiting". John Edwards won the last South Carolina primary and he did not get the Democrat nomination; why then does Bill have to go back to the two Jesse Jackson wins and mention them?
    He (to me) is clearly implying that a black man cannot win, either the nomination or the Presidency. I can imagine him now saying ' we can always get the black vote back by running Obama as Vice President. If Obama is as smart as I think he is and Hillary gets the nomination, he should refuse to accept "second place" on a ticket with Hillary. She cannot win the Presidency. Too much hate and distrust about her and Bill. She would do better with Obama, but loosing a general election as a Vice Presidential candidate does not look good on a resume, Ask John Edwards.
    Obama (if he does not win the nomination) should wait four years and go for the Presidency again. This would be his best shot at becomming President. As for Hillary in a general election, quite apart from what I have already said, the black vote is liable to stay home because of Bill's race baiting, and Hillary will probably get creamed in the general election.


    January 30, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  5. True Independent

    You all are too obvious. Remember one thing, the independents will decide the general election. And Hillary is too polarizing to get the independents against McCain. If you're a democrat you should go with Obama. And if you're a Republican your best chance is McCain.

    January 30, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  6. JB Boston MA

    If Hillary gets the nomination, McCain will be our new President. If Obama gets the nod, he will be our new President.

    Keep this in mind on Feb 5 when you vote!

    January 30, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  7. Calgary, Alberta

    For the first time the rest of the world is interest in American presidential Election. There are debates about the candidatesin living rooms and around the water coolers. I live in Canada I am now watching CNN everyday for all the latest political news. The reason for this is OBAMA.
    He is the most dynamic and interested Candidate since JFK.
    GOOD LUCK OBAMA. We are cheering and praying for you in Canada.
    CAN Canadians VOTE ?

    January 30, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  8. stan pitts pa

    America badly needs to move in a different direction, an obama candidacy will just be the start, along a long road to healing in this country, vote obama the best to take on mccain!

    January 30, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  9. Bill from CT

    Thank's Dave C .. I am wondering the same thing.. do we count 8 years as wife in that,. I think many of the Hillary supporters use that as code for noting being bold enough to chose a new course. Or worst, doubt the capabilities of a man you is smart., educated and has a message that speaks to the heart..and who happens to be black..

    OBAMA in 08

    January 30, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  10. Nerakami

    Hillary speaks about her experience and the public laps it up without checking any of the facts. The experience she now touts in Healthcare while Bill was in office, ended in absolute disaster... this is a fact;

    "Thousands of pages have been written about the Clintons' ill-fated effort to provide universal health-insurance coverage: how Hillary Clinton, as head of her husband's health care task force, designed an overly complicated plan in secret; how she demonized her opponents, and even her potential allies. But once the plan was threatened with defeat, Clinton made another, perhaps even more consequential decision: not to compromise with any of the alternative proposals that would have provided less-than-universal coverage. In his memoir, President Clinton called his decision not to intervene and accept one of the compromise plans a mistake."

    IT is the same 30 yrs experience that guided her decision to vote for a war with Iraq that was based on lies, and is costing the American people money we dont have, not to mention all the lives lost.

    At the same time, a Senator form ILL. who they claim has no experience had enough insight and understanding to KNOW that this was NOT a war in which we should engage.

    So I ask the question, what good is all this experience Hillary has if she is still using BAD JUDGMENT to make BAD DECISIONS ?????
    Experience doesn't necessarily teach wisdom and it sure doesn't bestow insight....

    At this point, I'll take good old common sense over Hillary's experience.

    January 30, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  11. Nobama

    Obama the sore loser,
    Who is listening to you anyway (oh yeah of course those kids that you have brainwashed successfully; not us the thinking people).
    You'd be a lot more interesting if you had just a tenth of Hillary's intelligence.
    Get ready to be outsmarted (as always) by Hillary again tomorrow in the debate.
    And prepare your political graveyard for Feb 5th.

    January 30, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  12. ABC

    Toronto Girl
    No one here cares what you think. You can't vote here, you don't live hear and we don't care what you think. Stick to your own country. If we needed your input we ask for it.
    That being said, it looks like Barack is having a good day. He is discussing policy and not attacking personally.
    You go Obama

    January 30, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  13. interesting

    "It is time for new leadership that understands that the way to win a debate with John McCain or any Republican who is nominated is not by nominating someone who agreed with him on voting for the war in Iraq," Obama said, taking a swipe at Clinton's 2002 vote in favor of the Iraq war resolution.

    To: Negro Obama (yes I am saying it b/c it is a black thing since I am black and the media keeps on talking about). How about you focus on winning your democratic debates before taking jabs at other people?. Just because you speak change and hyperbole (e.g. form only) and not get more specific on issues within the debate does not make you a great debater. Great debaters give FACTS not just rhetoric and analogy to win debates. You make great speeches, but you are not a great debater. Focus on that right now. Plus remember, Kerry was a great debater, but still lost. So, please stay humble and work on your opponent at hand. Get more specific with your FACTS and message so you can speak to the 22 states who have voters who will make their choice/voices heard on Feb. 5th. Clinton can STILL win this thing even though you have endorsements from Kennedy, Kerry and other aloof politicians.

    January 30, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  14. Curious about Politics

    Can anyone say exactly what change Obama will bring to the old ways of Washington. I have heard a lot about Obama being the candidate of change, but I am not sure what that change is going to be.

    January 30, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  15. me

    Houston, we have a problem!!!

    Once again Obama twisted and misrepresented Clinton's words and stance for political gain and no one is focusing on it!

    Is the media again going to follow Obama's direction and not call him out on it to the world like they have against the Clinton's?

    Isn't the Media going to focus in on Obama's stance of no negativity in his campaign, yet he does so often and yet no one says a word about it!

    The bias is becoming so rediculous it is becoming a real oasis and it is no wonder John Edwards called it quits today!

    January 30, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  16. Scott

    It beggars belief that an inexperienced single term senator who never served his country would seek to criticise McCain on the issue of torture.

    January 30, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  17. Derick Smith

    Let me first start off by saying that I am 100% in support of Hillary Clinton. Past votes, no matter what they were for, should not be factored into Hillary Clinton's capabilities to be the commander in chief for the next four years. Notice, in this political ticker update, Obama made a stab at Clinton's vote for the Iraq war in 2002. Where was OBAMA in 2002? Oh, that's right, no one had ever even heard of him. He hasn't, and if he has, barely, been a US Senator for three years, and his habitual attacks on his rival candidate show his immaturity as far as politics is concerned.
    In a recent Democratic debate, Senators Edwards and Clinton pointed out that Obama had voted "present" on over one hundred bills and/or laws throughout his tenure as a US Senator. He voted "present" on the issue of banning sex shops within so many miles of public schools. I would much rather vote for a candidate that will be progressive in the White House than vote for one who will just sit in the Oval Office and be "present" on some of the most pressing issues our country is facing.
    I think that it is becoming blatantly obvious to the American public that Obama's attacks on the Clinton's are getting pretty old.

    January 30, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  18. B.G. Mathew, Irvine

    In the event of a McCain nomination, Hillary would be the answer, Republicans are praying for. No one else can energize them from the current plight and come together and actually have a real shot at the White House!

    I hope & pray, the Democrats wake up to this stark reality and grab this historic opportunity to usher in real change and bring in dynamic leadership & a new direction to this great nation of ours.

    Barack Obama is the only one, among the remaining 4 from either party, who could inspire us and lead a whole new generation to a better tomorrow. Hope & faith could move mountains!

    January 30, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  19. george

    Obama. Change the World.

    January 30, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  20. Xavier

    The same old petty stuff. Obamha, I think, is feeling the heat. I think he doubts he will win now. He does not do too good at the debate thing. You can see him getting nervous, and he knows Hillary debates better then anyone i have seen in a loooong time. With Edwards out, this makes it even more amazing. Letsw hope they dont get crazy with fear. Tomorrow is like MY superbowl, and my bet is on the pro, Madame President.

    January 30, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. Yola

    What changes, you can dream about changes – But it very hard and practically impossible – Still CNN gives more press to Obama than Clinton

    January 30, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  22. kika

    Obama has not explained or backed any of the issues. I want to hear about the issues and how they are going to deal with them. You say that if clinton wins the nomination will be giving the pres. to the republicans. Open your eyes they already have it. Obama lacks expenrience and dedication, clinton has too many people that don't like her for whatever reason, and all the democrats are chosing sides like if this is a popularity contest. The democrats have nobody to blame but themselves because instead of allowing the election to ride its course and the american people make the choice they are fighting among eachother. Yes, the republicans will win because the democrats feel they no way of loosing. But if the american people voted pres. bush twice they are not ready for change but a strong leader that will make decisions and lead this great country to economic growth and deal with Iraq with great skill. Obama is not ready. If he's scared about what the clintons are playing politics just wait until the republicans get a hold of him. America it's you choice your vote.

    January 30, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  23. Sabrina

    To imply Hillary is like John Mc Cain just shows how uninformed he is– is that the best he can do. Just what are you going to do? This is the same rude man that snubed her and then said he was talking to Claire [ she is backing him and would lie for him to get him out of a jam]. He was clapping and looking at the floor, when I speak to some one I look at them, not at the floor. Great job in Fla. Hillary, and it will count you can bet on it. Hillary 08.

    January 30, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  24. Dianna - Oklahoma

    Toronto Girl. No I am sorry you can not vote in America just as I am sure I can not come up there and vote.

    I am confused by the Hillary supporters especially from other locals. Do we really not remember the 90's? Does anyone believed that she is not just as hated today? Do we remember when the political process was bogged down in Clinton hunting rather than meaningful change? I voted for Bill 2 times however I disagreed with him on Nafta then and truly, strongly, forcefully disagree now. And if we are going to discuss policy than I would like to know why she still supports it and why her supporters think it is good? I would also like her to sack up and say yeah I voted for Iraq I was wrong and I will never do it again. Instead she has used three very pathetic stories all different from one another on why that vote was not her fault. If my party nominates her they have thrown in the towel and really and truly do not want to win.

    January 30, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  25. david

    Senator Clinton has no vision for a new and positive direction for this country. She has lost the "eye of the tiger" and has become a cynical machine politician. It's time for some new blood.

    I was an Edwards supporter and I am deeply saddened by his departure. I have reservations about Obama's chances in a general election. Let's face it, the South is still in the "Confederacy". I just don't think they have ever accepted that loss.

    Obama doesn't have a chance in hades down there! Just look at the Florida results.

    January 30, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
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