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. S. Elliot

    Obama needs to take a break from running his entire campaign on bad-mouthing Hillary. If he keeps it up, anyone who is in his corner now will stop defending him from this "big bad wolf" Hillary. Be a man, for god's sake!

    January 30, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  2. chazbern

    None of this really matters in the general election. What will matter is what Bill has been up to in the last 7 years in his
    personal life. As soon as the republicans drag out his indescretions from this time, the electorate will run away from the Clintons insuring another republican presidency. This is the real roll of the dice. Bill Clinton's belt buckle will eclipse all the issues.

    January 30, 2008 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  3. Linda M.

    The Clintons are always quick to point out Obama's short tenure as a Senator but how coveniently they forget that Bill had NO experience in either house of the US Congress when he was elected!!!

    January 30, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  4. AO

    ON an issue as big as Iran, that may lead to potential war, i rather a leader that can sit back and think about the consequences, then one that will follow the course. Sorry Clinton, America needs a thinking president not one that will just act.

    January 30, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  5. Ryan M.

    Clinton voted FOR authorizing the War in Iraq. McCain voted FOR, as well.

    Obama was AGAINST authorizing the War in Iraq.

    Someone tell me, how is it that they supposedly have essentially the same record, when they differ dramatically on the most important measure – initiation of war?

    January 30, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  6. Nicholas

    PLEASE........enough about the war vote. Obama you have told us a million times about it, say something new something different. You speak about change yet you still bring up the past look into the future. HILLARY 08

    January 30, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  7. California Independent

    Well, whoop-dee-doo. Wow.... I didn't know that Clinton voted for the war!!!! OMG OMG OMG.... The little prince is pontificating again and CNN is covering all the flower petals that flow from his mouth. Barf!

    Another Obama story..... In South Carolina, he was paying people to march and he held a staged small 'backyard' discussion. Unfortunately for him, his campaign released the 'spontaneous' statements by the citizens hours before the spur of the moment meeting.

    Clinton plants question.
    Obama plants people. That's Obama style change for you.

    January 30, 2008 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  8. J

    do any of you commenting on how obama voted in illinois even KNOW how the process works in Illinois? well, what a silly question let me rephrase that: YOU DON'T EVEN KNOW HOW IT WORKS IN ILLINOIS. No, it's not the same in every state, every city or at the federal level. So take a moment to learn something so you don't appear to be a moron. at least pretend to be informed.

    January 30, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  9. Carolinas

    For someone who doesn't believe in the old political tactics, he is sure using them every time he gets a chance at it. The audacity to mention the vote on Iran when he failed to show up for the vote, says a lot about his poor judgment and character. Another unfornuate example of his poor judgment and character pertains to his unwillingness to help his grandmother who still lives in poverty in Kenya. He's a millionaire running for president while his grandmother lives in poverty in Kenya...This goes to the heart of his poor character and judgement.

    Tested Leadership is more important than inspiration in these difficult times. Beautiful words and poetry is not going to pay the bills or pay our kids way to college or provide healthcare for us all. You know the old saying, don't judge a book by it's cover. I regret to say that Obama is all about the cover...there is no content nor substance on the issues facing us today.

    Hillary Clinton is a proven tested leader who has stood her ground and believes in bringing America back into the world stage.

    January 30, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  10. Roger from MA

    I really like this guy!

    And no, it isn't only that Hillary voted for the war in Iraq. It's that she voted for the upcoming war in Iran too. By doing that she proved that she didn't learn ANYTHING from her last mistake, and that she can never be trusted. Oh, and the fact that she's willing to sell out her own country by supporting NAFTA and CAFTA, leaving MILLIONS of skilled Americans out of work or grossly underemployed, doesn't help either.

    If Obama gets the nomination, I'll vote for him in the general election.

    If Hillary gets the nomination, I'll vote for Ralph Nader.

    January 30, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  11. Carrie

    CNN Why do you want a war between Clinton and Obama. Why are you putting words in Obama's mouth. You are always implying and drawing inferences and always trying to put one against the other. People want CNN to look at both candidates and help us decide who is better on the issues.

    January 30, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  12. Sam, NY

    That is a good point. If it is between Obama and McCain there will not only be about 26 years of age difference, but also policy differences including authorizing the war in Iraq. If it turns out to be between Clinton and McCain he would shut her down by reminding her she voted for the war ever time the Iraq war is discussed. Now I am definitely voting for Obama.

    January 30, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  13. Ryan, Los Angeles CA

    Keep spewing that BS, Obama - so much for taking the high road... The true face of your brand of politics is shining through the wall of "hope" and "change" you've put up.

    Go back to Illinois.

    January 30, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  14. John

    It seems a bit hypocritical to attack Sen. Clinton's vote on the Iraq War in 2003 when Obama wasn't even in the Senate then. Of course he is going to say he would have voted against it, but how can we truly know? He wasn't there, didn't experience the dynamics of the day.

    Obama, please quit slinging mud and tell us exactly HOW you are going to engender change? There is still no substance to your rhetoric.

    January 30, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  15. ragshaw

    If Obama attacks Clinton in his speeches no one bats an eyelid but if the Clinton campaign questions any of Obama's statements it suddenly becomes an "underhand tactics" and "negativity". The media really needs to be unbaised and objective instead of pandering to their blue eyed boy, Obama. Let them offer the facts and let the people make their own opinions.

    January 30, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  16. Diddy

    Obama is correct. Hillary and McCain both stand in harmony with Pres. Bush on Foriegn Policy Issues so what is the contrast between them? There is none. How can our nation move forward without a contrast on key issues. Our country is fundamentally in 2 places and both Hillary and McCain are fundamentally on the same side. They both represent business as usual in washington. They both agree on the War in Iraq. They both agree on Iran. These are not just small issues but a major issue among Americans who clearly are the other side.

    Barack represents more than a fresh face to washington, but fundamentally a forward thinker on the issues and restoring America. The World will welcome and needs his abilities to negotiate and his fresh ideas not old political bantor.

    Hillary and McCain represent the same old political song and dance that is clearly out dated on the world Stage. It's time for America to sing a New Tune.

    January 30, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  17. Rachel F.

    Obama has the record and the coalition to win against McCain.

    January 30, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  18. Michael (Houston)

    I have considered myself a hard core democrat , voting only once for a replican (George Bush Senior). If democrats are foolish enough to select a second rate candidate like Obama over a superior accomplished candidate like Hillary, then John McCain will be the next republican I vote for.

    January 30, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  19. Brian.

    Who's the "he" in the last sentence? Surely Obama wouldn't insult himself like that!

    January 30, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  20. Don, Rochester, NY

    Where are my comments? It never even showed up and said "awaiting moderation." When I tried to resubmit, it said it was a duplicate comment.

    January 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  21. California Independent

    Dave C, NJ, get your head out of Obama's behind and look it up for yourself. No one here needs to make up for your laziness. At least stop begging, get off your knees and quit licking Obama's shoes. Double dare you. Triple dare you.

    January 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  22. Brian.

    Sorry, I didn't mean the last sentence, I meant this one:

    "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."" ~ What?

    January 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  23. ABC=Anybody But Clinton


    Will get your head out of the sand and read the FACTS!!!!! You are spewing lies just like the candidate you support. Clinton = Lies, Scandal, & Corruption. You want THAT in the White House again???

    January 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. C, TX

    Oh Obama....Obama. I guess because you got Grandpa Teddy's, Caroline and that other Kennedy guy's endorsement you're tougher now. I look at you and you have that cocky smirk. I guess Obama is entitled to point out Hillary's bad points but god forbid if she and President Bill say anything negative about you it becomes "Racial". It's so pathetic. You keep saying you are about the future, but heck you really reached way back to the past with these endorsement's. All I hear or see from you is a bunch of hot air. I used to like your message and even thought about voting for you, but no more. Hillary at least has tried to move forward, she got the hint. As for you, you keep on harping on their past just like all the Clinton hater's. If you really want to unite the country and move this country forward let go of the past and focus on the future because Obama everyone has a past, even you (oh I forgot, you are the only perfect one). People might want to be careful for what they wish for. Remember 2000, Republican's wanted one of their own so desperately, that this candidate could unite and bring party's together. Fast forward to 2008, our country is a joke!

    January 30, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  25. kamenwati

    Young voters, first time voters and independents hold the key to the coming election. Obama can unite them. Hillary an her running mate Bill will drive them away.

    January 30, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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