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. sorth

    The Clinton machine on the attack. It's telling that she's spending so much air time attacking Obama instead of presenting her compelling vision for America. Must be that the vision is not so compelling.

    February 29, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  2. Phil

    Hillary is a liar and will say and do anything to get elected.

    February 29, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  3. Tex..

    ...better a blank screen then a bad re-run....Go Obama!!!

    February 29, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  4. dmw

    Obama is a blank screen. He said he would not run for President when he first entered the U.S. Senate because he knew he was not prepared to be President. Because America wants change so badly, they seem to be going with the guy who speaks pretty and says I am the change you need.

    I also read that Republicans are purposely voting for Obama in the primary and caucuses where they ar allowed to so Hillary does not win the nomination; then these Republicans will vote for McCain in the general. Obama is being played, Obama is also a player. We are in lots of trouble if he wins the nomination.

    February 29, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  5. Changing times

    The divide and conquer philosophy is working. Dem's are divided and Republicans love it. I head a conservative talk show host put out a "call" to all Republicans to "sacrifice yourself for a day and vote for HIillary, we want her to run against McCain" Hmmm very interesting why is that? Because they know they can beat Hillary! They don't want to tangle with Barack.

    Hillary is very smart and has done some great things for some folks, but she does not have the temperament to be President. She's shrill, moody and loses all dignity under pressure. We've seen it in this campaign. She's behaved like a spoiled child.

    She may have "experience" but she doesn't have the temperament to improve our image around the world. I think she just wants her way no matter how she has to get it. Reminds me of many 2 year olds.

    February 29, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. Russell

    Obama is a blank screen....Hillary has lost 11 straight races. Who is she?

    February 29, 2008 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. F.P.

    Xerox machine is a more accurate comparison for Senator Obama than blank screen.

    Senator Clinton appears on the Ellen DeGeneres show and subsequently, Senator Obama appears on the Ellen DeGeneres show.

    Senator Clinton has an article in US Weekly and subsequently, Senator Obama has an article in US Weekly.

    Whenever possible, Senator Obama answers debate questions by first agreeing with what Senator Clinton just said. It's a pretty ingenious strategy and it seems to be working for him so far. I can't say I respect him more for it though.

    February 29, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. Riley Wilson of Lincoln, Nebraska

    When you back someone into a corner, much like Hillary is right now, they either give up, or fight back. Clearly this is what she thinks she needs to do to win...which she wont.

    She should continue everything she's doing because all it's going to do is end her up with an "Obama '08" sign in her hand at the end of this race. "Blank screen"? Keep 'em comin Hillary. Obama will talk policy with you, and you can continue to hurl insults. I would prolly do the same if I was in your situation.

    You know the situation I'm talking about. Losing back-to-back...11 TIMES! Not too mention your key demographics are slipping more and more every day. Hillary has her work cut out for her!

    And as for the Hillary supporters? Let them talk...it's all they can do. Us Obama supporters would prolly be upset too if our candidate kept losing time, and time, and time, and time, and time, and time again.

    God willing, we can all be united after Obama wraps this up on Tuesday.

    OBAMA '08!!!!

    February 29, 2008 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. Kenneth

    It is amazing how many people have joined the Cult of Obama. He came out of nowhere. He offers nothing of substance and yet people like him.
    US citizens are the most mindless dupes on the planet!

    February 29, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. Cherie

    Hilary continues to shoot herself in the foot every time she makes negative jabs toward Obama and his campaign. Hello Hilary, people are sick of politicians running smear campaigns, get your life together. At the rate she's going, she'll hand the nomination over to Obama because of her shear inability to conduct a clean campaign during the critical home stretch.

    February 29, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. Jill Damatac

    I wonder if Hillary realizes that she is increasingly coming across as abrasive, whiny, arrogant, and condescending. By constantly talking and complaining about Obama, she's looking very insecure (as she should be after 11 straight defeats) and not as concerned about issues. This doesn't much help after January's Bill debacle, when he hogged the spotlight and made it look as if his wife were unable to campaign on her own (let alone become president). She's become a very negative candidate, somewhat akin to a kid throwing a tantrum because she didn't get her way.

    February 29, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Maylyn L.

    The real BLANK SCREEN is one who forces her way in, because she has nothing. Behavior like that certainly is not a "First Lady", much less a President.

    February 29, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. Hoosier

    Its really a shame that she still doesn't realize that the degrading comments are not getting her anyplace. Wouldn't be nice if she put all of this negative energy into releasing her tax information and her first lady records.

    February 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  14. Ron, Honolulu HI

    Democrats should be ashamed of both clintons. If her plans are so good and her experience and accomplishments so great, lets hear about them rather than some silly negative ads about Obama. I would love to hear about all the great things she accomplished as first lady, you know all that white house experience...

    February 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  15. Vince - Phoenix

    Weekend Weather Forecast:

    I'm tellin'ya... Hurricane Hillary is on a path of destruction!!! It's desperation time so expect 6000 mile per hour WINDS until Tuesday!!!

    February 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  16. lee23444

    Another day, another slogan from the Clinton campaign.

    So many messages...a "fighter with solutions and 35 years of experience who's ready on day one, that the big bad media just isn't treating fairly..." and on and on...

    Perhaps it will dawn on someone in Sen. Clinton's campaign that voters might be more interested in issues and positions, and are looking for an alternative to the traditional politics-as-usual that her political machine (and John McCain's, for that matter) represents.

    Attacking Senator Obama for being something that she is not, or trying desperately to play the time-tested-GOP-perfected "fear card" simply will not work in this election cycle, as completed primaries have shown.

    A new "marketing message" every day won't change that. You have to earn our votes with your positions and demeanor, which you apparently haven't done so far.

    Some of your ideas are indeed attractive, but as a "complete package", you and your campaign represent the old, baby boomer way of doing things...and frankly, the voting shows that that's an "experience" that the majority would prefer not to relive.

    February 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. Anonymous

    Hillary needs to counter-attack with the following message:
    "We don't need another inexperienced President like we have had for the last 8 years!"

    She needs to link Obama with the negatives of George W. Bush.

    Obama is the "Seinfeld" candidate – much ado about nothing.

    Michael – Roanoke, VA

    February 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. Thomas Koshy

    Hillary is the real one.This country will go to the bottom of the pile with Obama

    February 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. Stephannie Minneapolis, MN

    If a call were placed to President Clinton II (hypothetically speaking), the caller would receive a busy signal because she would be on the phone with her accountant trying to "modify" her tax returns so there will be no evidence of impropriety when they are publicly disclosed.

    February 29, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  20. Ash

    Obama sells hope to people and may be the right way to play politics. When he is a failed president of US (in case he manages to grab presidency of a country on which his family is not proud of) then he will have the best answer for people "not all hopes come true because that was just hope; keep hoping and dreaming"

    February 29, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  21. Ann Kuminns

    Hillary's screen may be full – albeit, full of irrelevant stuff!! Ceremonial stuff and shaking hands with citizens of other countries do not make you "more experienced". Judgement makes you wiser, and Hillary has shown more than poor judgement, while the spouse of a WH inhabitant, and to the Iraq war. So she should stop all the slandering and untruths, and all she's doing is showing herself as a desperate woman.

    February 29, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  22. Kathy

    The moderator my comments lately–no profanity but just the hones truth. Has anyone ever gone to the hospital without insurance, Humiliating, diffuclt to explain and that is what Hillary is trying avoid. Will Obama have his writers next to him when answering the phones??? This is not the time for on-the-job training...Wake-up, Vote for Hillary..................

    February 29, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  23. frank O

    I am so confused by Hillary's claim that she has the experience to asnwer that hypthetical phone call at 3am. Where and when did she get that so-called readiness and experience? All I remember was that she was arranging the furniture and picking curtains for the Whitehouse when her husband was the Prez. Is this foreign experience? Come on Hillary fans show me the real experience of Hillary and why do you think she will be ready day-one. And remember talking to the Whitehouse Chef in the past does not count as world experience.

    February 29, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  24. MelanieL

    Hillary, thank you for reminding us of the real issues. If that 'phone rings in the dead of night, I want to know that the President taking the call has a real grasp of the issues and knows what's at stake for Americans.

    How can any American take BHO seriously now that we know that he's put his campaign before the security of our soldiers in Afghanistan? He has told us again and again that we took our eye of the game in Afghanistan, yet for the last 15 months, he's been chair of the sub-committee that could have made a real difference to the outcome and success of that war. Now we learn that he's not convened a single meeting because he was "too busy" running his campaign. How lame and self-seeking is that? Why didn't he step aside and let someone get on with doing the job? If he made it to POTUS, would he use the same excuse for taking his eye off the ball? 'I was too busy'.

    People of Ohio and Texas – you have a big responsibility to save America from disaster. Don't let us down and don't be fooled by the pied piper, who is playing a pretty tune that will lead us down the river.

    Make the right choice and vote for HRC – GO HILLARY!

    February 29, 2008 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  25. Robb, New York

    The condescension and arrogance from Hillary Clinton is just astonishing. It doesn't matter to her, apparently, if her leads in Texas and Ohio are evaporating. It doesn't matter to her that she needs to win by 25 points in each state just to tie Obama's delegate totals, an achievement that would require a serious miracle. It doesn't matter to her that she's setting the pins up nicely for John McCain and further dividing the Democratic Party. None of this matters; she just won't change a thing. And that's why she has been losing this race, is losing this race, and will continue to lose this race. In a country clamoring for change, that's the last thing on her mind. She continues to go negative. She continues to tout her failed rhetoric. She continues her campaign even though all signs for her are pointing to defeat.

    Somebody needs to step in and protect her legacy. Somebody needs to get a hold of her and tell her "Enough." Somebody needs to tell her that it's not going to happen for her and to give it up come March 5.

    February 29, 2008 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
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