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. Dave

    I have had enough of Hillary.

    Obama will be getting my vote.


    February 29, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  2. Chuck Huckaba

    Go Obama! Hillary, admit it, you are just riding Bill's short coat-tails because you are no more experienced than I am for President! One thing you may be more experienced at and that is speniding the taxpayer's money!!!

    February 29, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  3. Naren Patel

    "But there is something very appealing (about Sen. Obama), and people have a right to vote for whomever they want." – a quote from Sen. Clinton.
    Sen. Clinton:
    You are right, it is very appealing to vote for Sen. Obama, and I will, but not for you now or Republican Sen McCain later. Barack Obama is a fresh voice of hope, sacrifice, charisma and leadership. Compared to him both you and Sen. McCain are outdated, loaded with far overstated and overvalued experience indebted to Washington lobbists.
    I very much hope that because of your strong and at times mad desire to be the next President, you and Bill Clinton will not undo whatever good both of you have done for our country and the Democratic Party. Thank you.

    February 29, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  4. Renee

    Is this woman actually paying Top Dollar to Campaign Managers for this kind of advice....Amazing!!!!

    February 29, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  5. Wayne

    Obama was an elected public official in the Illinois state senate for a full 5 years before Hillary won her first election in 2002. So much for her having more experience. Obama never challenged her on this.

    February 29, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  6. Patty

    Obama is a hypocrite. He keeps saying Hillary gave the wrong answer when she okayed going to war ___when he never even had to VOTE on it because he was not in the senate. But in the debate he said he would go into ANY country if he had to, and he wants to go into Pakistan and bomb Pakistan without their knowledge. He is not someone I want watching over me for my security!
    Vote Hillary-You Go Girl!

    February 29, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  7. Tom from NJ

    If I felt, trapped with no way out but to fight, with all certainty I would behave exactly as Senator Clinton is now. However if a Leader of the free world is going to driven by emotions, and dogma. Succumbing to dirty propaganda Ads. I think that speaks to the question of her character as a person, not a woman.
    This country has enough issues without any candidate losing focus for a moment. Stay on the issue. What will America's role be in a World where Oil sales for over 200.00 USD/barrel. Senator Clinton please think about tomorrow. Everyone what's to see America's live up it's greatness.

    February 29, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  8. raouf

    If I were Hilary, I'd hurry for the hill or should this be 'Hill-hurry'

    February 29, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  9. Dylan from CA

    More Republican-esque fear-monger from the Clinton campaign. I am realliy looking forward to her concession speech on March 5th.

    February 29, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  10. wasforhillary

    I was going to vote for hillary in the upcoming texas primary, but I am not going to now. I saw her new ad and it really turned me off. I am tired off weak candidates trying to get votes through fear. Lets think about... how many of our best presidents scared us into voting for them?

    George Bush scared us into voting for him and it is now VERY clear that Gore or Kerry would have done a much better job. You really have to question a candidate who uses fear as a motivating force... I think they always end up being weak when the actual going get tough. I want my children to have a bright future. I don't want them to live in fear. Enough.

    I will now choose between McCain or Obama. Grow up Hillary and get real.

    February 29, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  11. Chuck Huckaba

    Patricia, really like your comment on Hillary! I was beginnig to wonder if I was the only one who noticed about her so-called bragging!

    February 29, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  12. Arkie in Little Rock

    Which Hillary would answer the phone at 3 a.m.? She has shown so many faces during this campaign - the mean Hillary, the spendthrift disorganized Hillary, the tearful Hillary, and now the desperate Hillary. Which of her split personalities would handle a crisis?

    Hillary is the puzzle, not Sen. Obama. Me, I'm sticking with calm, composed, consistent Barry Obama.

    OBAMA '08

    February 29, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  13. Bonnie

    A blank screen...through which people can educate themselves, learn about their responsibilities as American citizens, visualize the change THEY want to happen, and use THEIR voices to accomplish it. Blank screens allow vision, creativity, and hard work to fill them in. A screen filled with faces of lobbyists, 2 years of learning Washington politics, and the sound of cynical ambition does not. Blank screens force us to envision our future–then create it ourselves.
    When you doubt Obama, you're doubting the American people.
    Have confidence in us and take responsibility for your future, vote
    Obama '08

    February 29, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  14. Steve Jones

    Unfortunately, hillary is a full screen. Full of gutter politics, an inauthentic and condescending persona and such past sleaze that no reasonable person could possibly consider her to lead our country.

    February 29, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  15. Ron

    I know why he is a blank screen----–he is so far ahead that she can't see him.

    February 29, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  16. Karl

    On 01/21/08, Newsweek printed an article claiming that "In 1964, she (HRC) was supporting Goldwater (whom she went to see campaigning) ... ." Apparently, she used that experience to master the dirty campaign tricks that were perfected by LBJ. Remember the image of a little girl displaced by a nuclear bomb blast? Any similarities here?

    And by the way, women who do not wish to reinforce the loud and shrill stereotype should turn off their caps locks and stop inserting dozens of exclamation points when typing their plugs for HRC. We can be thankful that the type size is unalterable, or some people would present their messages in size 36 font.

    February 29, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. Mike

    Yeah, Obama is a blank screen that know well what things he should hide. Even for middle name

    February 29, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  18. Marissa Paquette

    It's laughable to say that Obama lacks depth. Read one of his books or check out the 64 page 'Blueprint for Change.' How can so many so easily dismiss the obvious movement in this country. Hillary is an intelligent and experienced woman, but that isn't enough to run the country. People need to CARE again. Obama has fired up millions who never CARED before. Yes we can take back our government. I'm a college educated white woman from Vermont and nothing would make me more PROUD than to call Senator Obama my president. Get informed...pay attention...don't give in to the politics of fear.

    February 29, 2008 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  19. Tim R

    Well, we know what we're getting if Hillary is back in the white house - constant partisan bickering against "the vast right wing conspiracy".

    I'll take a chance on Obama. He got Iraq right, he got NAFTA right. I trust him more than Hillary to be right on whatever the next crisis is.

    BTW, Hillary, where are your tax returns? What are you hiding?

    February 29, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  20. Kim

    If Obama picks up the phone, he will say, I agree with whatever Hillary Said.!!

    February 29, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  21. ed

    The press isn't pointing out Obama's record and lack of experience due to "Obama worship". It is a sad state of affairs when people blindly follow the spin created by Obama's organization and the press. When Bill Clinton was in office we had no deficit, peace and prosperity and the respect of the world community. We can expect more than this from Hillary. Obama worship and it's effects mean we can just call McCain "Mr. President" because you can be sure "middle America" isn't going to vote for Obama. It's just the way it is. Hillary has a better chance of winning than Obama. People need to wise up. He doesn't have enough experience to run the country or regain the respect of the world.

    February 29, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  22. JOHN

    I think that the projections that Obama will fare better against McCain than Clinton will are way off. Many of the people I know are Clinton supporters and almost every one of them says they would never vote for Obama. Biggest reasons are lack of experience, his arrogance, and they just don't trust him. All of these voters (they are older and they DO vote, not like younger voters who say they will vote and then lose interest) said they will vote for McCain if Obama is the Democratic candidate. I think that would make the difference in electing McCain. It looks to me like a vote for Obama (against Clinton) will end up being a vote FOR McCain in the general election.

    February 29, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  23. Kevin - Jonesboro, GA

    Just when I thought I had heard and seen all from Hillary!!! She is making the claim that Barack needs to win all 4 primaries this Tuesday but her desperation to win is becoming more evident every day.

    She has taken me through the whole spectrum of emotion with her. I initially respected and supported her, then I decided to support Barack but still respected her, now I am totally disgusted with her and have no respect for her or her husband at this time. My vote for Barack is equal parts of pre-Barack and anti-Hillary. Does she truly fail to see how divisive she is making this campaign, especially against herself?!

    ABC – Anyone But Clinton!!!!!!

    February 29, 2008 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  24. kevin

    I hope people finally begin to realize that established politicians no
    matter who they are or what their political affiliation are bad for America. We need new "young blood" to take this country in a different direction. We need some one who can build America back up. We have never been more divided, politically, racially and economically since the 50's and 60's.

    Hillary and Bill Clinton will do anything to win. Pandering to blacks in the 90's and now Latino's in '08. They have dropped to the bottom of my political scale.

    Mending fences between groups after the elections will be a long hard road.

    If Hillary answers the phone, I call, I have definitely called the wrong number!

    February 29, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  25. Paul Newman

    hillary is the ralph nader of this election. Can somebody ask her if she will drop out if she does not win convincingly next tuesday? I fear she will continue to bring down the whole party because of her ego.

    February 29, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14