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. Scott, Atlanta

    Wow, what character, what grace. This man couldn't even let Edwards have is moment. What happened to his not attacking. Just shows what a manipulative, I'm gonna say one thing and do another person he is. There'll probably be a press release soon saying that's not what he meant.

    I don't understand though. Hillary says she can beat the Republicans and she's bad. Hillary supposedly agrees with the Republicans and she's bad. Who's he planning on uniting?

    This man irritates me so much, a small piece of me wants him to win the nomination so McCain can rip him to shreds. The only people who think he will stand a chance against McCain are the same ones with their head in the sand looking for that CHANGE he's promising.

    January 30, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  2. Rick

    How does Hillary have 35 yrs experience?
    How does being First Lady count for anything?
    Would she have been elected Senator if she didn't move to NY?
    Would she be in this race if not for Bill?
    Would you have even HEARD of her if not for Bill?

    "I dare any of you to answer these questions."

    Happy to:

    Depends on your definition of experience, she obviously doesn't have 35 years in "elected" experience, but she does have quite an impressive resume, you should look it up.

    Hillary was the only lady to have an office in the white house, she wasn't just baking pies and entertaining other spouses, she fought hard on childrens health issues. . . look it up.

    Obviously she would not have been able to run for senator of NY had she not moved there first. . . what's your point?

    As for the last two questions, I suppose only God can answer that.

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

    Keep it up, CNN, and we won't even have to bother going to the polls! Your O'Bama beauty pageant is really beginning to turn me off! As for Mr. O ~ All fluff and no stuff ~ status quo. tsk tsk

    January 30, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  4. Undecided

    Why is Obama stooping to Hillarys level now? I respect him for taking the high road, doesnt sound like it now. I admit I am not quite sure which way to vote. But I know if Hillary had said a statement jabbing Obama, she would be getting an earful right now.

    Especially when I know his statements are just personal misleading opinions.

    Guess I 'm back to Hill (at least for now, lol)

    January 30, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  5. John ny, ny

    Seems like it is OK for Obama to attack however if anyone else attacks him then he starts playing like a victim because of his race. He is sorry excuse.

    January 30, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  6. Eric

    Joe – If you took the time to read about and understand the "present" votes you could at least make some credible arguments pro or con Obama but your entry demonstrates how little of the facts you know. Re: The "woman's rights' siutation where Obama voted "present", that was a strrategy employed by Planned Parenthood to allow GOP members to vote undercover and not have to get flak from their constituents for doing what they believed was right. Sadly, Hillary is aware of this and decided to distort the record anyway. Is that really the kind of person you believe should be President? I respect your right to choose and vote those you believe in, but further research may help you make a better decision.

    January 30, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    President Clinton genuinely cares about the American people, and people all over the world. He was a wonderful, intelligent govenor for Arkansas and the people of Arkansas hated to see him go. The economy was 100% better and people had a sense of pride about living and working in the state. I feel he did a great job as a president. So what if he has the morals of an alley cat. He is the one that got caught, all the others did it too, and while on the subject , Ted Kennedy will never be his brother, John, and John's daughter, Caroline was a small baby when he was President, so how can she even speak on what he did, especially since he was involved with Marilyn Monroe and you can bet it involved more than a "head job". It could have also involved suicide with a helping hand!!

    Get back on the campaign trail and stop picking at each other, it's not smart, and the american people do not care what the candidates think of each other. We are at the point where we want to know how all these changes will take place, when,where, and even if. I see jealousy rising in the Obama campaign and it isn't becoming. I also see the Clinton campaign tiring of all the negativity created by Mr. Obama's strategy to shine a negative light on a lady who has proven many times "she will take you on".

    January 30, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  8. mjr17

    dave c – and what kind of experience does obama have given that he only ran for the senate to set himself up for a presidential bid? remember he only served ONE year of his term before he began his campaign...hell, he was already setting his sites on the presidency at the DNC in 2004 – when he was still just a state senator.
    obama talks a big talk but i'd be willing to bet he will be just as ineffectual as Bush on the issues that really matter, should he be elected. that said, he probably won't cause the kind of the havoc Bush has, but just you watch him try to clean up the mess we're in right now...

    January 30, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  9. Go bama

    Nice. Its time we finally flush out te differences in the remainnig two candidates! This next debate will be a great one

    Issues that NEED to be covered:
    1) Illegal driver licenses
    2) Health Care. What did hillary actually do last time around. Please disclose your whitehouse papers!
    3) War on Terror. How do we fight this and pull our troops out at same time?
    4) Port Security

    January 30, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  10. charlotte

    If you don't vote on a bill how can you make reference to it in the context of Obamas' statement? I always ask people who complain about things if they voted in the election? If they say no, then I ask them how can they complain about it. The right to vote is very important to me, and to think not showing up to vote is okay makes me sick. Voting present rather then taking a stand makes me sick. Obama should appeal to independents cause they can't take a stand either. Quit copping out by not voting on issues, then complaining about those that did. If all the senators didn't vote at all, absoluetly nothing would ever get done. He takes a free ride and lets the rest decide, then in hindsight says, I would not have voted in favor if it. Where was he that was more important than the problems with Iran? You can't vote present in the US Senate, like he did as a senator in the state of Illinois. So he's just absent.

    January 30, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  11. Observer

    Obama is good at preaching, not good at debating.

    January 30, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  12. margie

    Obama did not even show up to vote. Wow, what a hypocrite. It is so easy to say "I would have voted for....". You did not vote. At least Hillary cast her vote for something, whether you agree or not.
    Was this another present vote.
    Obama cannot beat McCain. The republican machine want Obama so that they can rip him apart. No experience, never went to Iraq to visit our troops and basically NO BACKBONE.

    January 30, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  13. Shame

    What a shame, now Obama has to attack on Hillary to spent hours in rallyies. what a shame, he doenot how he will resolve issues so he spent time in complaining about hillary. If Hillary does same, CNN broadcast it every minute, shame on you CNN. Broadcast Obama criticisz on TV every minute, Hillary voted for Iraq what a joke,what type evidence Obama has, Hillary always oppossed war and Obama said present for most issues because he is totally lost on resolution. Shame on Obama, now all Democrats are back to issues and so Obama doesnot have anything to say (all he can do inspirational speech, which won't do any good) but to criticize Hillary. Obama, focus on issue, wait...you don't know how to resolve them, you can't fool anybody with your inspirational speech since you can't make anything happen. We need doer not shower/talker like you, we are all tired of your speech when we KNOW YOU ARE NO GOOD AND CAN"T RESOLVE ANY ISSUES IF YOU ARE A PRESIDENT

    January 30, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  14. Anita

    As a Canadian who has followed American politics since the Eisenhower days, I have always found the procedure interesting to say the least. I have one question.
    Everyone refers to Barak Obama as black. I understand his mother was white. Why doesnt that make him 50-50? as much white, as black . Does it really matter? Just curious.

    January 30, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  15. Gloria

    People go back to the years when clinton was in the senate and not running for president , everyone in the senate when speaking about her said that she was a hard worker, republicans and democrats. (find that statement about Obama before he was running for president, oh i am sorry that means that you would have to go back to his preschool years.) Listen to the debates =not the part the press pays attention to but the actual debate and you can actually see that HRC is the one that knows her stuff not Obama.

    January 30, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  16. Another Steve

    As far as platforms, I don't see too many major differences between Hillary and Obama. I do see a very different picture when it comes to getting cooperation on issues. Hillary is way too polarized to get the job done. She confesses to have a hands on micro management style and will make much of her policy efforts fail, because she just doesn't work well with others. Either that of she will surround herself with yes people. Sounds like what we have now. Obama is intellegent enough to bring together people from different walks of life that will compromise and work together on these issues. I find it really hard to understand why many persons don't realize that America really needs something new and the Clinton soap opera will only be playing reruns.

    January 30, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  17. josh


    January 30, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  18. Chris

    Yeah, voting pressent on .25 of 1% of the time is so cowardly (100 out of 4,000 votes). Not. Please drop this deceiving Clinton talking point.

    January 30, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  19. Jackson White

    Obama is attacking again and will be the first to shout "racism" to win as he did in South Carolina once Clinton responds. The media will ignore this new attack. Obama runs on empty speeches and not on sunstance.

    January 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. Nick

    "Singer wrote that, with a single exception, the promotion of Gen. George Casey — the two senators have nearly-identical voting records on Iraq."
    -Umm, and voting to GO to Iraq?
    "I see a battle with McCain and Hillary to be somewhat of a snooze-fest since they're both so civil around each other, and have stood together on a number of issues"
    -Bill Clinton
    I can stand Obama voting "present" 2.5% of 4000 times, what I can't stand is someone twisting this statistic to claim that Obama doesn't stand firm on issues.

    Obama 08. Defeating McCain by a good 20%

    January 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. Hillarylover in Texas

    Obama just quit. Make it easy for all of us. Didn't Florida tell you anything. Oh that's right he didn't care what happened in Florida. There were no delegates. Just a few million people who went out to vote. Well remember the don't care part when they go out to vote and not for him. For all you Hillary Haters you just don't get it. We are voting for someone who can save this country. We are voting for a fighter. WE support MS HILLARY CLINTON.

    January 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. C. Monaghan

    Do you people actually think Obama cares at all for anyone except the blacks. I am not prejudice but he made it clear in SC and elsewhere when he appeals to blacks and likens himself to MLKjr. King was for equality among both races...obama will not be...don't be fooled. He is a good talker and nothing more. Then some idiot likens him to JFK...you cannot be serious. Remember again...a vote for Obama is a vote for McCain...yes old crazy, war hawk McCain...my God he'll have us in WWIII within 6 months. Edwards...back Hillary...you're a smart lawyer...don't be fooled. Kerry is an idiot...you're not

    January 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  23. Erik-CA

    I wish they weren't fighting so much. they see eye to eye on most issues, but they are trying to kill each other for the nomination. I think they should run together-definately unstopable! He knows how to speak and she is brilliant...im sure they could get our foot in the right direction. Oh and if you forgot-every politician is crooked in some way. They are not like us average voters. They are powerful people and they rub elbows with other powerful people. Dont forget that! Just because they put on a good show during election time-thats their job...and they are good at what they do.

    January 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  24. Susan, MI

    Great job, Obama. You were able to keep your word (hold a truce) for less than a week.

    Well, at least we know Clinton won't go crying to everyone who will listen how mean Obama is. I can't say the same for him if he were in the same position.

    January 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  25. Hillarylover in Texas

    By the way when he jabbed at Clinton did he have his back into it. Whatever obama.

    January 30, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21