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. Vince

    I agree – Bill Murray's is the most spot on!

    February 29, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  2. Ellen

    The answer to Hillary's ad is obvious: Which Hillary is going to answer the phone? Angry Hillary? Crying Hillary? Mocking Hillary? Conciliatory Hillary? It's like playing Russian roulette!

    February 29, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  3. JarryHames

    Hillary is really turning into a hag! I've seen this woman moan and complain over the past few weeks non stop. Everyone is taking jabs a Obama. He must be doing something right. It seems like he's the target from Bush, McCain to Hillary. I think that they're mad because people are actually listening and voting for Obama. Yes, he is young and doesn't have much experience. WE ALL KNOW THAT! We are also voting for him because maybe that is what we need to get this country back on track. I don't see where experience has helped over the past 7+ years. Do you? Hillary should get on her broom and fly back to New York state. I'm so sick of her!!!

    February 29, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. Lisa - NY

    I can see the future now:
    Year 1010 – Obama president

    US makes deals with terrorist
    US no longer a super power
    US economy sinks

    What happened?
    Americans believed in words and not actions
    Americans needed a big change... and they got one!!

    February 29, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. Tom

    Besides Hillary is used to answering the phone at 3am trying to find out where Bill is!!

    February 29, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  6. Susan, Orlando

    I am so sick of this "He opposed the war" mantra. The fact is he was not in the senate for the vote so he does not know what he would have done under those circumstances. And as aptly pointed out, he voted for everything Hillary, et. al voted for once he got into the senate. I also take issue with the fact that if he was so against the war...why did he vote to fund it and why did he support the surge. And, if he is so opposed to the war and constantly goes after HIllary for her vote on the war, how does he justify soliciting support from all the other senators and representatives who voted for the war (i.e., Edwards, Lewis, Kennedy). If he were truly a man of principal and the messiah he presents himself to be, he would either shut up about his vote and not make that an issue, or...not chummy up with those who did vote for the war just to get their endorcements and superdelegate votes. How many of those superdelegates voted for the war? And how many has he pandered to? He is a politician and obsessed with becoming president, period. No better and no worse than the others and just like the others, has selective principals.

    February 29, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  7. Tex'un

    Let's put Hillary's "expertise" in conrtext. She voted for the invasion of Iraq without reading the available intelligence briefing. Later, she claimed that she had been "briefed" on the document, but no one has come forward to say that he or she briefed her. No one on her staff had appropriate security clearance to access the document at the time. She has a major credibility problem with me!

    February 29, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. Shannon

    IF he was in the senate he would've voted not to invade Iraq, but he wasn't!!! Enough said

    February 29, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  9. Kathy

    The moderator hasn't liked my comments lately–no profanity but just the honest truth. Has anyone ever gone to the hospital without insurance? well, very, Humiliating, diffuclt to explain and I don't think The President's position is for on the job training. Will Obama have his writers next to him when answering the phones??? Is there a prepared speech which he can deliver? ..Wake-up, Vote for Hillary..................

    February 29, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  10. Rick

    Anyone that can honestly look themselves in the mirror and say that they actually trust Hillary Clinton and her judgement are not dealing with reality. You do not have to look very far to find all sorts of incriminating information on Hillary and Bill and how they have feathered their nests on their public service. They came to Washington with not much money. They were almost broke due to Bill's legal problems when he left office- and Hillary is able to loan her campaign $5MM in January? Wow! Looks like government jobs pay pretty well. Don't you think we all should see where that money is coming from? I agree with the above comments. If Hillary did not have enough common sense to vote against the Iraq war in the first place – like some of her senate peers – then I don't want her answering the phone. She changes her message depending on who she is talking to. Get real!!

    February 29, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  11. jonathan

    wow i just realized something when i was watching McCain this morning he is left handed as well as Obama
    maybe you guys could get someone in your studio who is an expert on left handed people and what that could mean for the election
    wow 2 south paws pawing on the issues of this country as they set their eyes on the the white house

    February 29, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  12. DeeNC

    it absolutely amazes me how Hilary Clinton, keep claiming she has all of this experience. She was the 1st lady.. whoopee!!! Then she touts her senate record.. people please do you home work. check out the library of congress site to. you might be enlightened a little bit. Then speaks about readiness on day one, she will be ready on day one to call Bill and ask him what to do. her true colors are coming out, every thign that comes from her campaign is reeking of panic and dispair, every dirty political trick in the book is now being used, old washington politics at it best.

    February 29, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  13. Praetorian, Ft. Myers, FL

    If the President gig doesn't work out for Hillary...

    She could create her own reality show: "Desperate Candidates of New York"...we could get hold of Rudi Guliani, and of course Hillary, and perhaps......

    February 29, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  14. Franky, New York, NY

    Hillary is right (and generous) in even calling him a 'blank screen'. He's as empty as a clay pot. I wouldn't let Barack Obama answer the phone to a Domino's pizza order...Hillary is the real leader, with the real experience and the real agent of real change.

    Go Madame President!!!

    February 29, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  15. jeremy

    Oh hillary,

    you make yourself look more foolish each and every time you take a jab at mr. obama.

    just because you lived in the white house doesn't mean that you have the capacity to be president. i really don't want somebody that voted to allow our country invade another country based on lies to head our policy. if you were so smart you wouldn't have voted to invade!

    get over yourself and work with a person that can unite a country. your polarization is reminds me of the neo-conservatives.

    February 29, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. Meghan

    Hillary you lost the trust of the American people when you voted for the Iraq war. Your husband called it an emotional vote. Do you really think you should be the one answering calls in the White House at any hour?

    February 29, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. MattOhio

    Check out Austan Goolsbee and CanadaTV drama...They are saying the story is true. Obama is gone......

    February 29, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  18. amber

    I surely don't want an inexperienced, naive, empty promising Obama to answer that lil red phone. If he gets the nomination...bend over and grab your ankles, people.

    February 29, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  19. KC

    It's Obama who called himself "blank screen", not Hillary. The article's subject is misleading.

    Of course Obama is blank and empty, besides his words. Folks, research, research.

    February 29, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  20. kevin from alaska

    Hillary Clinton looks like a parody of Karl Rove.

    February 29, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  21. Aaron

    Her ad is further fear mongering. I love that shes been flaunting her "experience" as the pillar of her campaign against Obama in an attempt to run again John McCain... Who would trumph any cries of experience she has to offer. She's only in this race because shes married to the former president. She's only in washington because she's married to the former president. She continues to use devisive and fear mongering tactics to try and bring down the democratic party.

    She claims to be the clear choice for a strong and suffiecient leader, but yet she continues to have public crying events to help her campaign. Because you know... nothing says stoic stregnth and leadership like crying in front of the world during a democratic primary...

    February 29, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  22. Jeremy PA

    Im sick of Hillary Clinton ms experience what she lived in the white house for 8 years and now she is riding Her Husbands Coattails to try and become president. I say its time for a change in this country. Get rid of the old politics and welcome the new. Vote Change.
    Yes We Can! Obama 08

    February 29, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  23. Jbecks

    Just go away Hil. Your worse for Democrats then Nader could ever dream of being.

    February 29, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  24. Jared

    Wow, her claws keep getting sharper. Hell hath no fury as a woman scorned. I wouldn't vote for her to be President of my condo board. What a poor sport – don't spend your 30 million of retirement savings in one place!

    February 29, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  25. Kat Williams

    I agree, for the good of the democratic party and the good of the country, someone should drop out...Obama! Let a real leader take over. We need her in this very dangerous time. So, Barack, step aside and let the right person for the job lead us out of this mess. Do it for the party, the country, the world!
    Hillary 08!!

    February 29, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
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