February 29th, 2008
12:13 PM ET
14 years ago

Clinton: Obama a 'blank screen'


(CNN) - Hillary Clinton Thursday jabbed at Sen. Barack Obama for being a first term senator and called her rival for the Democratic presidential nomination a "blank screen."

In an interview on ABC's Nightline Thursday night, Clinton dismissed notion's Barack Obama voters are uninformed, but said the Democratic presidential front-runner aptly described himself in his 2006 book, "The Audacity of Hope."

"I think the best description, actually, is in Barack's own book, the last book he wrote, 'Audacity of Hope,' where he said that he's a blank screen," she said in the interview. "And people of widely differing views project what they want to believe onto him. And then he went on to say, 'I am bound to disappoint some, if not all of them.'"

"He was in the state Senate, what, three years ago, four years ago?" Clinton said in continued jabs. "It's hard to know exactly what his positions are because they have changed rather rapidly in that four-year period. But there is something very appealing, and people have a right to vote for whomever they want."

The comments came a day before the Clinton campaign launched a tough new ad in Texas that aims to portray Clinton as considerably more prepared to handle a foreign policy crises than Obama. Over scenes of sleeping children, the ads narrator asks, "Who do you want answering the phone the phone?" at 3 in the morning.

Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe forcefully responded to that ad in a conference call with reporters Friday morning."We don't think the ads are going to be effective at all, because Senator Clinton has already had her red phone moment. It was a decision whether to allow George Bush to invade Iraq, and she answered affirmatively," Plouffe said.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (338 Responses)
  1. Scott

    If pandering to special interest groups is "experience," why don't we just amend the constitution to let Bush stay in office forever? I don't want someone making promises. I want intelligent discussion of the solutions to our problems(of which there are many and not one specific solution). Politicians too often make promises that 1) they can't change no matter what comes up or 2) they never follow through at all. I want a candidate that speaks intelligently, not just talking to get a rise out of their constituents.

    February 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  2. Kurt

    When you have the experience to reign in your own husbands sexual flings with women eveywhere, I will trust you with the security of this nation..

    February 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. kd

    The problem with this lastest adv is that you just don't know which Hillary will be answering the phone.


    Hillary needs to exit the race gracefully instead of looking desperate.

    February 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. old guy

    Quiz: Name a tall, thin Illinois lawyer who spent some time in the Illinois legislature but only two years in Congress, and nevertheless won his party's nomination to a large degree on the basis of his oratorical skills.

    Hint: Not Barack Obama.

    February 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. Tom

    Like I said. He's a chameleon.
    Stand him next to a republican and you couldn't tell the difference. Put him next to democrat – who would know? Let him stand by himself and you see the real man. Lost and alone with no one to clone.

    February 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  6. Lulu

    A VOTE FOR OBAMA...is a vote for 8 more years of Bush!
    Obama: charisma without context!
    THINK PEOPLE THINK...that is what Hillary wants you to do with that ad.
    We've had 8 years of "stupid" let's not go there again.

    February 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  7. Hal Lee-Toeshus

    Hillary is a party divider. She'd rather stay in a race out of sheer spite and bitterness instead of doing the right thing and bow out gracefully while there is still a little dignity left. That's how selfish she is.

    February 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  8. owl

    What Hillary fails to realize is that blank screen or not ...we the people love and prefer Obama to Hillary........by a long shot.
    Say what you want ...Obama is got mine vote now and in Nov. ....hopefully Hillary won't be on the ticket .
    Go Obama....the move is on.

    February 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  9. Wayne, Wentzville MO

    A blank screen? Who is this lady kidding? If the voters are as smart in Ohio and Texas, as the voters were in the last eleven states that she just lost, then obviously she's doomed! Basically, she's mouthing off at her own peril!

    February 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  10. RobJohnson

    This ad is guaranteed to backfire on Hillary.

    What Hillary and many of her supporters don't understand is that Hillary is the last person in the world most people want answering that phone. She may mean well, and I think she really does want what is best for the country, but her actions during this campaign alone are proof positive that her judgment is atrocious.

    Anyone who isn't smart enough to realize that these negative ads aren't working isn't smart enough to be on the other side of that phone call.

    February 29, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  11. John

    D., thinking about why a lots of R. support Mr. Obama at current stage of election.

    It is possible Mr. Obama will win in the D. party. For sure, Mr. McCain will EASILY beat him in the whole country.

    February 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  12. WestCoastMessenger

    Hillary may be slightly misjudging about that being a totally blank screen. I'm now visualizing Obama, and yes, I see one word, it says PRESENT! Just words, baby. LOL.

    February 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  13. Just an FYI

    I just notice that most Obama supporters don't even know how to spell correctly. I now understand why they are supporting him.

    February 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. Cali Male 4 Hillary

    Who would even buy an Obama book?

    February 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  15. Chris

    Wow, she's been in one whole more term in the Senate. He's been in elected office longer than her, by the way. And why couldn't she get more done? "I thought Al Gore would be president." So in the meantime she voted for Iraq and padded her resume to make a White House run.

    The whole "I have more experience" thing has really done the job so far, Billary.

    February 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  16. natalia

    usa already have a terrorist in the withe house if you need another one vote obama - we people will regreted voting 4 that guy and i am 18 years old i have enough time 2 see you stuppid americans cry 4 help 2 get raide of the muslim lol i wana see you idiots hang yourselfs the world will be watching and laughing with me we all tough after 8 yearsof bush you guys would learn something stupid american idiots be carefull what you wish 4 you dreams my come true lol good luck

    February 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  17. Ellie

    The best decision Hillary Clinton can make for the United States of America is to GET OUT OF THIS ELECTION!! At this point we could care less what she says!! Pack your bags, Hillary!! Leave on a Jet Plane and take Bill with you back to New York!! We are movin' on to the general election, SO--– get out of the way McCain - The Obama train is ready to roll - ALL THE WAY TO THE WHITEHOUSE!!

    February 29, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  18. nc

    The youth of America are acting like Obama is American Idol or Dancing with the stars contestant. Please young people look beyond this and see that America needs something after the new wears off.We need someone who knows the government & how to run it. You see what happened when no one knew anything about Bush & took a chance. We are in the worst conditions the world has ever seen. Can Obama handle it? I don't think so. Just think abount it!

    February 29, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  19. BB, Dallas, TX

    It's time to stem the biased tide. Wake up America. We're letting 20%-30% of the African American community, who are voting solely on race, decide who our Democratic candidate will be. This is reverse discrimination at its worst. TX, OH, RI and VT – don't be sheep, vote for the best candidate.

    February 29, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  20. B

    Hillary, you are a disgrace

    February 29, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  21. Channell

    I have to say the ad is a good one. It does make you think.. However, I am not sure if being a blank screen is such a bad thing. When something is blank it leaves it open for new oppurtunities and new insights and point of views.

    They both have flaws which is why I think they need to stick to the issues versus trying to bring one another down.

    February 29, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. Corey, Maryland

    Hillary just keeps talking, and she just keeps losing super delegates, voters, and the confidence of the people, so keep it up Hillary!!!

    Obama Richardson 08!!!!!

    February 29, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. Patient

    Why are Obama supporters so full of hatred and anger towards anyone that does not agree with them?

    I just don't understand. Presidency is not anyone's birth right.

    February 29, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    After seing that picture of that sweet ,innocent girl sleeping in her bed i wonder how anybody in her right mind would want to set fear in youngs childrens minds.I also wonder with millions of children in this world and its problems can they have a peaceful sleep or are they going to awaken to nightmares.Talk about universal healthcare is there a programm designed for children who are afraid for there own safety and security and the long term trauma.I`m sorry ,but as a mother i am apoled and disgusted with such tactics.Hillary is not a mother,wife,friend etc.You should disapear from public life altogether and retrieve to a lonely island.

    February 29, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  25. Lance

    It appears to me that Hillary Clinton will try anything and uses Gutter Politics. Barack Obama has been consistant with issues and has not lowered his standards.
    Hillary Clinton is very very polarizing and is controversial as well. I really really question her relationship to Peter Paul, The Clinton Chronicles and her donations from the State of Texas in one district thats given her huge amounts of money. Not to mention whats been really happening to her campaign finances.

    I really really question Hillary Clinton and her ability to be absolutely truthful. Why is it that her and Bill Clinton makes it difficult to release documents relating to business ties.

    February 29, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
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