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. Rich

    I'm losing more and more respect for Obama every day...

    January 30, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  2. Baimba Kamara

    Though not an american and therefore not eligible to vote, I am becoming increasingly concerned about the chances of the democrats to win the race in November especially if Mcain wins the republican nomination. In New Hampshire Mcain proved that he is popular among independents and therefore democrats must nominate a candidate who is likeable and can equally compete for independent votes if they want to have any chance of winning the elections in november. I dont think Hillary is that much likeable.

    January 30, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  3. Amy, Kazoo

    Steven in Cali- how does one campaign on change and anti-washington and then embrace the endorsement of one of the biggest "Old Washington" senators out there? I find that hard to balance.

    January 30, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  4. gurarro

    CNN, Obama is not ATTACKING Clinton, he is only stating facts. He is highlighting the similarities between Clinton and McCain which are true facts. Thus, CNN needs to stop injecting divisions into this campaign and merely STATE the FACTS.

    January 30, 2008 03:37 pm at 3:37 pm |
  5. Mary

    I think it's sad that Obama is so defensive when it comes to Hillary. His behaviour toward her is childish and shows that he's afraid of her. He should be. She WILL BE the next President of the United States!!

    GO HILLARY !!!!!

    January 30, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  6. California voter

    CNN - is the reason you are supporting Obama because of the paid political announcements I keep hearing on CNN for and about him- – I haven't heard any of the other candidates paid political announcements (there may be some) on CNN. And frankly, I'm getting tired of hearing Obama's stump speech as an answer to every question he has asked - and I've listened to enough television coverage to know his speech by now. And finally, I hope you will finally ask the tough questions of Obama on Thursday night regarding the separatist church he is a member of and his "relationship" with Rezko. Amercians deserve to hear some straight answers from him before they vote in the primaries. In addition challenge him on his votes on Iraq. You should not be afraid of asking a black man who is running for the most important job in the United States questions. That does not mean you are racist. Thank you.

    January 30, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  7. Really

    Joe, I agree with you. This Obama guy is really something. He has a pattern of voting "present" and now criticize Hillary for taking a stand, although I disagree with her vote. Someting to note, he has started with the negative campaign AGAIN! Hillary is not attacking him and neither is Bill.

    Obama camp has realized that they are GOING DOWN and they have to attack Hillary before Super Tuesday. This is disgusting. I just wish Hillary will keep talking about the issues. Obama has no record to run on and is a joke. He lacks substance and depth. Florida voters got it right and we will see that America will get it right come Super Tuesday!

    He is the candidate who has been talking about "hope" and "change" and being a uniter. Give me a break! Hillary has worked with republicans and have co-sponsored bills with them. You are now attacking her and you are supposed to represent "change" and unity

    I'm sorry my "brotha" this New Jersey resident and Black male is going all the way for Hillary !

    January 30, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  8. political junkie

    Joe, if you watched the Black Caucus Debate, Obama explained the dynamics of the Ill. state senate. i guess you missed it. He missed the Iran vote because there was little time to get to DC because he was on the campaign trail talking to voters. Hillary did show up, yes, but she make the wrong vote. maybe she should have stayed on the road herself.

    January 30, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  9. Money

    I'm with you, Dave. Her whole campaign is based upon the accomplishments of somebody else.

    Here's another question you should add to your list:

    How does she plan to accomplish any of the big goals we need when, at best, all she will be able to muster is a BARE majority if she wins? Having the support of 51 percent of the country will not get you very far with big ticket items like heath care reform, leaving Iraq, and fixing the mortgage crisis. You need consensus to get any of that done, and no Republican can go home and tell his constituancy that he "worked in a bipartisan fashion with Hillary Clinton." I really think people who vote for her are sadly mistaken if expect any tangible results from her presidency.

    Declaring you're going to "take on the Republicans" and think you're going to ram through legislation is all well and good, but look where that same idea got Bush. Democrats must understand that Republican will fight every single thing she advocates for simply because it will cost them their jobs to side with her. It would be good to have a Democrat in the White House, but we need more than that simple accomplishment now.

    Obama '08 – it our nation's only choice.

    January 30, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  10. Audrey

    Why is the overwhelming coverage on CNN of Obama. I don't even see an article on Hillary, other than to echo Obama's argument that Florida is meaningless. Could your rampant bias be any more clear? Could it be that it's the media obsession with Obama, and in presenting him as an icon of change, is what's swaying the vote? How about covering his ties to an indicted criminal? How about being real journalists, who question how he plans to change things? How about questioning why he thinks that if he's the nominee partisan politics will become obsolete? How about examining his voting record to see if his actions are consistent with his words? Where are the journalists at CNN? Have you any ethics? Or do you just espouse Obama's position without question? Do you remember the last time you did this? I believe it was in 2003, in the march to war in Iraq. You never questioned Bush at all. Look at where it got this country.

    January 30, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  11. Robert Bell

    If it comes down to McCain versus Clinton, you might as well vote for the Better of the Two Republicans – John McCain.

    January 30, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  12. otto

    I think Obama is super nice and very spiritual and I appreciate that very much. Having said that, I must also state that we need someone with an iron fist...... and that withouth a doubt is Hillary.

    January 30, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  13. j gannon

    Hillary got into the senate because of Bill.......not on her own. No one would ever vote for her if her last name was not Clinton!

    January 30, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  14. Rod

    Obama seems to be right back to the politics of old. At least he's not slyly playing the race card this time.

    Please note you whiny Obama supporters. When attacked, the Clinton's will attack back. So, no more of that crying and blaming Bill for making Barrack cry by calling his Iraq war opposition a fairy tale.


    Obama is the candidate who will say and do anything to win..... just like he divided the Democrat Party in South Carolina.

    January 30, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  15. ramno

    Ok. Obama you didn't vote for Iraq war. But what did you do to STOP the war. nothing. You never showed your speech skill at that time to stop the war. So you just feeling happy that our soliders are dying and you can make a point .

    January 30, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  16. andymd

    Obama should to prove his intention. He should move from commitments to specifics. I do not believe he could convince americans saying ' We can do it" or "Fundamental Change" ! These are commitments for nobody!

    January 30, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  17. jyfranca

    Mccain new President whether you like or not

    January 30, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  18. DJ

    Well said – it's all true! She's going to have a hard time debating McCain when she's agreed with him on everything...maybe they should just have a picnic together instead?

    -A Republican for Obama

    January 30, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  19. Antonio, San Antonio TX

    Obama accused Clinton for attacks and negative talks. But yet when he does it, it's okay? Obama be a man and stop running a campaign of saying one thing then doing another. Stop lying to your supporter by saying your running a campaign of honesty and a campaign of being positive. But yet when you have the media on your back, its okay to stab knowing Clinton won’t fight back because it would end up being bad press on them. I'm all for a good through down. But stop changing the rules to suite your needs. So what is it? Are we getting negative now? If so don't run and tell the American people that you’re the victim and fight your own fights that you set up. It's okay to show differences, and at lest Clinton stood for a position and not just vote present or not even show up jut to save her political carrier.

    January 30, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  20. Anonymous

    Practice saying "YES MADAM PRESIDENT !!!!!!!!!!" There now – take a deep breath – stop clutching your chest – pause a moment -– now that wasn't soooo baaaaad. PRACTICE makes PERFECT - say it again and again and again

    January 30, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  21. Marilyn

    CNN where are all the posts about Hilary Clinton and her campaign issues and policy. Oh thats right I forgot you CNN supports Obama. I'm sick of this coverage

    January 30, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  22. Captain

    To all Hillary suppoerters.... Poll after poll is showing that Obama has the best chance against McCain. I know that you want to see your prized Hillary to get the Nomination, but that may be moot. Iam almost certain (I'll bet real money on it) that if Hillary gets the nomination along with McCain, Hillary WILL LOSE and will not be the first woman president that all of you want tosee happen. More importantly, We will have ANOTHER 4 YEARS of republican war mongering leadership. It is time o wake up and do what is best for the country. Vote for Obama and let's stop the GOP. Maybe, just Maybe Hillary may get the VP nod, or play another prominent role in his administration. This way, Everyone wins!!!!

    January 30, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  23. LisaMpls

    Joe, thank you for the reminder! It is so ridiculous that Obama criticizes Hillary for her Iran vote when he didn't care to show up!!!! It is plain to see that Obama is running so early in life before he has any sort of major record on which he can be attacked...he takes the soft stances and won't even propose universal health care. Weak. Even Nader agrees with that (although I am soooo frustrated that Nader is considering running and spoiling this again).

    Obama, where is this rising above you talk about? Where is this unity? Where are the issues? What will you do for us? I want to focus on the future.

    January 30, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  24. Mike

    How is everyone still letting Obama get away with claiming he was against the war from the beginning?

    1.) He didn't have the opportunity to vote for the war or not. He wasn't in the US Senate at the time.

    2.) Though he politically opposed it, he later went on to say that he and Bush's stance on the war was practically the same.

    3.) He later voted to fund the war increasingly, just like Clinton.

    He attacks Hillary for changing her position on the war – but at least her change was in the right direction. He opposed it at the start, was for it in the middle, and now opposes it at the end. He's just as bad or worse than everything he claims Clinton is.

    January 30, 2008 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  25. Boca

    the wording on this article is very poor. It reads as if Obama thinks there should be exceptions to torture, which for what I know, is completely false.

    January 30, 2008 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
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