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. Barock

    I can't wait to see her conceding speech at the night of Mar 4

    February 29, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  2. Al C.

    It's 3am and clearly Hillary is up watching Saturday Night Live reruns since that is where this whole comment originated with Dana Carvey doing his Bush impression!!!!!!! That's what we need a president who takes cues from a late night comedy show.

    February 29, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  3. Henry Hardcawber

    At 3am it can only be the Hillary-GOP robo-call machine sowing seeds of fear into the hearts of billions.

    February 29, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  4. marge

    One mistake is too many. Do not fall in a trap like re-electing Bush in 2004. What a mistake that was!

    Hillary is more like BUSH than even Mccain!!!! Arrogant,Stubborn,Secretive,,Never can admit she's made a mistake.
    Look at how she runs her campaign!!!!! Is that the leadership you want in the WH??????

    February 29, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  5. Eva

    Obama keeps mentioning how he was against the war from the get-go, but he was not in a position of power to actually do anything. Those in the Senate were and are responsible for the safety of all Americans, and at the time it did look like America was under threat from Iraq. The Senate voted 77-23 to authorize war in Iraq and most Americans were then for the war. Every time someone asks Obama why he would be ready on Day 1 he says oh I was against the war from the start. He never mentions anything else, like what qualifications he has.

    February 29, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  6. houston for Obama

    We will not be scared by our leaders anymore

    OBAMA 08

    February 29, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  7. NYC Native

    Mccain "a change we can live with" ???? He'lll keep us in a ruinous war for generations to come – a ruinous war that Hillary voted for!

    February 29, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. CClaudia

    These Obama-zombies are so dilusional. But once he gets elected and destroys the country, he will be exposed.

    The woman is right and with that kind of record or lack thereof he has no business in running the country.

    And for someone who apparantly "inspires", Obama's supporters are so full of hate and vitriol. He has done more to seperate the party than to unify. Good grief.

    February 29, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  9. JD

    So much for drawing contrasts and having a substantive debate on the issues. Clinton continues to launch personal attacks on Obama, and I for one have been completely turned off to her candidacy because of it.

    February 29, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  10. kb from Iowa

    I wish the people saying they will switch parties if their Democratic candidate doesn't get elected would stop showing their political ignorance. There are fundamental differences between the Democratic and the Republican parties. The next president will choose the next supreme court justice. This will have consequences on your day to day life. The Republican party favors the money makers in our society. If you don't have a lot of money that needs protecting, you may not want to 'be' a Republican for this election. Make sure you know the ramifications of your choices. This isn't your child's soccer game.

    February 29, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. Chuck Huckaba

    I think Hillary is really scared that she is going to get beat in the election so she is just grasping for anything she can to stay afloat. Don't know about everyone else, but I personnally am really sick and tired of the Clintons and their time in the White House. If be chance Hillary does happen to win the Democratic Nomination, I guess I will nit vote in the election. Hope there's still room in Canada???

    February 29, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  12. Charlotte

    Here he goes again, I didn't vote for the war in Iraq. Is that all there is to him, I didn't do it, she did it? What a joke he is.

    February 29, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  13. Waaaahhh

    There you go again Hillary. Another example of applying wishful thought to a partial quote. Another misrepresentation of what Senator Obama wrote.

    Now she makes statements on a book she's never read. Amazing.

    And to all those people who claim that republican's are doing this and that in the Democratic primaries. It has been proven that those with republican voting records make up less that 7 percent. That means that their votes aren't that significant.

    February 29, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  14. Mani, NJ

    Obama is a "blank" screen. The man is very intelligent however, we all know he has only made it this far because of his forceful rhetoric. Even his "change" platform is nothing but a shallow campaign slogan but its enough that there are some Americans who are falling for it. His ideas are completely unoriginal and he has no plan for change. Of course, he can not be scrutized the way McCain and Hillary are because he has not been around long enough so we really do not know what his positions are. For example, he keeps using his position against the Iraqi war as a valid stand against something. But he was not even in the Senate to have a say, so he could not have voted yes or no. Its very easy to say what you have done but there is no validity inless he was actually in a position to vote. In addition, Ted Kennedy, one of Obama's vast supporters even casted the same vote Hillary did but no one will ever mention that.

    February 29, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  15. David C.

    I am sick and tired of hearing the Obama campaign go on and on about how Barack Obama had nothing to do with declaring war on Iraq. If he were in the Senate when the vote happened, I guarantee you that he would have said yes to going in. I believe it is silly to continue spreading such notions.

    February 29, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  16. Steve

    That phone call at 3 in the morning will be from the Washington Police department letting her know that her husband was caught getting head from two hot chicks in the back of the Lemo while driving down the wrong side of the road and that she needs to send someone to get him.

    February 29, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  17. Natasha

    Desperation is not a good look Senator Clinton!!! Was that the dishwasher you tried launching at Senator Obama? Shame on you Hillary Clinton. Positions change because times change. Experience should have taught you that!!!

    February 29, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  18. hms

    In the state senate, on more than 4,000 votes, Obama voted "present"
    Obama even voted "present" on a bill involving sexual abuse that he had sponsored himself – saying he discovered legal questions after its introduction.
    he has not held a single hearing on Afghanistan since JANUARY 2007, and he agrees that Al qaeda is there.

    And no OBAMa didn't have the red phone moment. He wasn't even in the senate and had no acess to any intelligence.. He just gave an ideological speeach. THAT"S ALL...Kennedy and Kerry who support Obama now, voted for the war...

    So people, don't be so biased that you miss your red phone moment.. MAKE THE RIGHT DECISION FOR AMERICA!!!!

    February 29, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  19. sascha

    Mrs. Clinton, are you kidding? I just know one person, who completely changed its oppinions about NAFTA and the war in iraque: It's not our opponent, it's you! "Experienced" people like Mr. Bush and you are responsible for the war, that made the world more unsafe! If experience means "do do unwise decisions" than I am very happy, that Mr. Obama has not as much experience as you..

    February 29, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  20. Young, Independent Chica

    I am voting for Obama on Tuesday. I really would prefer him to be our president. We could relate to him. All the others are old-looking.

    February 29, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  21. California Independent

    Ya think? I can support Clinton or McCain. People choose not to pay attention to the obvious. Obama's whole campaign is based on this premise. HE calls himself a 'vessel' that you can fill with what? Suck it up, it's going to be disappointment.

    February 29, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  22. stubby

    at first i was like, i just want a change from the normal. i was ok with clinton or obama. just call me flipper!

    now with all this negative, name calling and stuff she pulling I for OBAMA

    February 29, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  23. Jason VA

    Everything Carl Rove learned about running a campaign, he learned from the Clintons. The fact that you are all upset now when one of your guys is being attacked proves what hypocritical sheep the lot of you are. You don't care about clean politics. You just want clean politics for your guy.

    I'm surprised how quickly CNN turned on the Clintons though.

    February 29, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    I have no once heard him say what he thinks. He did not have to vote on it so how can people know what he would have voted for?He has not one time said anything different then Hillary it's always i agree with Hillary.Why can't this man think for himself and not always need someone to answer for him. He has never had one question ask to him first in a Debate and as for a Debate lets have a real Debate between Hillary and Obama.

    February 29, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  25. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Will someone shut her up with her stupid name calling, scare tactics, and negative no-content crap.

    The more desperate she becomes the more negative she gets.

    Every time time opens her stupid mouth she proves she's unable to handle "a situation" with her shrill comments.

    GO OBAMA '08

    February 29, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
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