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. Jerry Tsai

    Clinton must think "Saturday Night Live" is real. How pathetic an attack!

    Clinton, we're going to cancel your show. It's not going to be renewed.

    February 29, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  2. Jerry, Denver,CO

    Another desperate cry out, from a candidate who is just about finished. I, for one, will not be sad to see her go. It's just been one attack after another on Senator Obama, and I believe that at this point, these attacks are just helping Obama to put the nail in Clintons proverbial coffin. Once the intelligent voters of Ohio and Texas have cast their ballots, Obama will secure the nomination, and then it's on to the Republicans. Barack Obama has captured the attention and the hearts of the nation, and this time, in this election, the will of the people will prevail.

    February 29, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  3. JUDY

    this iraq issue does not have any legs. he was not id the us senate at the time of the vote. he had no idea of the flawed material the senators and congress were fed by the bush adminstration. and at the time 95 percent of america thought it was right thing to do. is the world better with out saddam yes.hillary you did the right thing.

    February 29, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  4. A.B., Warner Robins, GA

    I'm not sure what changes in position Senator Clinton is referring to in respect to Senator Obama but he has not changed his position on the war unlike some candidates.

    February 29, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  5. Chuck Lauria, Suwanee, Georgia

    I've heard that the Clintons are coming out with a new book soon. It's entitled "The Audacity of Hubris."

    February 29, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  6. dj

    Hillary needs to go crawl under a rock. What she is doing is reprehensible!! My husband and I were at complete odds as to whom we would vote for. I am obviously an Obama supporter and he a Hillary supporter.

    After the "Shame on you Barack" comment shortly after the "I am honored to be here with Barack" and the sarcasm. He has concluded as I have that she is schizoprenic!

    Her tactics and methods are so obviously calculated and her judgement, campaign spending and mental health all point to one thing. Loser!!!

    GO OBAMA 08

    February 29, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  7. Bayou Joe

    Hillary had to make a decision because she was in the Senate at the time. Obama did not and his decision would have kept Saddam in power so that he could kill his enemies and also allow Al Qaeda to set up shop in Iraq. So who has the better judgment. Know the facts before you vote. Hillary or McCain I can trust, NOT OBAMA. The enemy is already here. LOOK around you. These are the last days of the New Roman Empire. Obama will accelerate our demise.

    February 29, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  8. Tom Swift, NH

    John McCain has more experience than Hillary & Obama Senate time put together.

    McCain '08 – A Change We Can Live With

    February 29, 2008 11:35 am at 11:35 am |
  9. Anyone But Obama

    VA – it's a pity some of you Obama supporters can't manage the basics in communication skills – bottom left, third key up – Caps Lock – press to switch it off.

    February 29, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  10. Mike

    David Plouffe is correct on the matter. Everything Hillary has attempted to date has failed with the exception of the fake crying stunt in New Hampshire. The only thing she can do now is target the "uninformed" voters who havent been paying attention to the race. What I mean is this, there are plenty of voters out there who will cast one on Tuesday, yet have paid little to no attention to the campaigns. Hillary is banking on cathcing those undecided and uniformed voters off guard with her ads. The hope is to capture some votes based on "scare" tactics, etc. I cant blame her for it, her message falls largely upon deaf ears and her personality is regarded by few as somebody voters would want in the nations highest office. Hillary's survival of Tuesday will require a large scale vote capture of those who are relatively "uniformed."

    February 29, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  11. Athan from MD.

    The woman's instinct is far superior.
    It is time to for the USA to elect one, and Hillary is the BEST QUALIFIED person out of all running for presidency.
    Wake up America!!!!
    One mistake is too many. Do not fall in a trap like re-electing Bush in 2004. What a mistake that was!

    February 29, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  12. Pia

    She's too desperate and that's not good!
    I look at her and all I see is blank, blank, blank.
    Her face is phony. She only wants to be president for her own benefit.

    February 29, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  13. Tim

    When is Hillary going to start promoting herself instead of trying to take other people down?

    Maybe its because she understands that no one likes her, so she has to make everyone hate obama. Winning by convincing others you are the lessor of two evils.

    What a horrible tactic. People can see through you Hillary.

    February 29, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  14. Dave, Santa Barbara

    Maybe he's a blank screen, but I prefer that to the current administration that thinks WE are the blank screens.

    February 29, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  15. Martin

    Hillary, it is time to bow out gracefully.



    February 29, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. Goon

    Hillary said it right at the last debate:
    She WILL do everything she can to win the nomination

    the problem is, that none of her ideas on how to win work, and all of her attacks are going to blunt the force of them when McCain tries the same on Obama.

    Obama's responses to her ads have been too quick and too sharp to make this "Daisy" style campaign she's running now effective. theres too much precedent, too much obvious fear tactics, too much shown lack of judgment on Clintons' part, for this to win new voters over.

    February 29, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. Darth Vadik, CA

    This woman needs to go.

    She really needs to get out of this race.

    She is disgusting, and anybody that still suports this wretched woman is not in their right mind. We have had Bush pull politics of fear and Karl Rove, and all of us on the left are sick of it, now Hillary does it and some people on the left think that is ok.

    Well its not OK, I didn't approve of it when Bush did it, and I don't approve of it when Hillary does it. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.

    HILLARY GO AWAY, you won't sue your way into the white house.

    February 29, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  18. Susie

    Obama's Monday morning quarterbacking on the Iraq vote cannot be a substitute for real experience but he is using it as just that. In the last debate he was asked experience and he continued his "nanny nanny boo boo" politics over the Iraq vote. We all know that the country was lied to before the vote and people were duped by our liar-in-chief. He's got no depth so he keeps banging this same old drum. We're gunna need more than that to run the country – no matter how well he gives a speech.

    Clinton has real substance. This is what we need.

    February 29, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  19. Martin


    it is time to bow out gracefully.



    February 29, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  20. Patricia

    She's desperate, poor woman.. and who do I want answering the phone at 3am? Obama, of course. If Clinton answered it , the caller would have to listen to 30 minutes of : I did this, I did that, I am great, I am smart, I am ready, I was married to a President, I am woman, I know this, I know that, I went here, I went there... by the time she said 'hello' to the caller, we would hear....BOOM

    February 29, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  21. susan

    Obama is a blank screen, he had an opportunity to go to Louisianna and take his red phone with him and use it during black forum. Hillary cared and took that red phone with her to keep in touch with the people. Go Hillary !!!!! Answer our calls!!!!

    February 29, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  22. Kelly Anne

    It's remarkable that every day Hillary has a new name-calling smear campaign, and yet just loses more and more.

    For the good of the party and the nation, end this now!

    February 29, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  23. Debbie

    Hillary, you voted for Iraq.

    I certainly don't want you to have the red phone.

    February 29, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  24. PDC

    I think Hillary is slinging so much muck that she's confused. I suspect she's thinking this the general election, and beating Obama means she's our new President.

    She's so divisive that she's dividing her own party for personal power. Imagine what she'll do to the rest of us if she actually does become President?

    Scary thought I know.

    February 29, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  25. Pia

    To Bill Murray:
    Your post is the best one, you got it 100%!
    By the way, are you THE Bill Murray, the actor?

    February 29, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14