February 29th, 2008
09:05 PM ET
13 years ago

Clinton: Obama 'missing in action'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/02/29/art.hillary.ap.jpg caption=" Clinton is getting tough on Obama over national security issues."]WACO, Texas (CNN) - Hillary Clinton attempted to raise the stakes of the upcoming March 4 primaries Friday by forcefully calling into question Barack Obama's qualifications to become commander-in-chief.

At a rally in Waco, with more than two dozen military veterans and flag officers standing behind her, Clinton criticized Obama for being "missing in action" during key security decisions in the Senate and claimed that he had "no responsibility" when he gave an anti-war speech in 2002 as an Illinois state senator.

Her comments coincided with a new campaign ad released in Texas that asks voters who they want to answer the phone in the White House at 3 a.m. when "there's something happening in the world."

Obama criticized the ad earlier Friday, saying it was an attempt to "scare up votes."

Clinton disputed that notion in her speech Friday, saying, "Well I don't think people in Texas scare all that easily."

In a salvo against Obama that lasted several minutes, Clinton said, "There's a big difference between giving a speech at anti war rally as a state senator and dealing with an international crisis as president."

"There's a difference between giving a speech when you have no responsibility," she argued, "and having to step up and take charge and take the responsibility for your actions."

She charged that Obama was "missing in action" when he missed a Senate vote last year on a nonbinding resolution in that labeled the Iranian Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization (Clinton voted for the measure and faced heat from Obama and other Democratic rivals for supporting a measure pushed by the Bush administration.)

She also said Obama was "missing in action" by failing in his chairmanship of a Senate subcommittee on Europe to hold a hearing on NATO's presence in Afghanistan, a fact she has emphasized in recent days on the campaign trail.

Gen. Wesley Clark, a Clinton supporter and the former Supreme Allied Commander of NATO, plugged the TV ad while introducing Clinton on stage and suggested that her tenure as First Lady prepared her to be president.

"She's been in the White House when the tough decisions were made," Clark said, looking over to Clinton. "I guess you've been at the bedside when that phone rang at 3 a.m. in the morning."

Clinton was joined at the event by three generals, including Clark, and a Navy Rear Admiral.

- CNN Political Producer Peter Hamby

soundoff (546 Responses)
  1. Larry Buchas, New Britain, CT

    We know who was missing in action back in October, 2002. That was when strength of judgment was necessary to dissuade the current nut cases from starting a pre-emptive war.

    5 years and about a trillion wasted dollars later...

    Hillary is still missing in action!


    February 29, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  2. Jane

    Obama and over 100 million American’s got the Iraq vote right. What, only those that vote with you count, Hillary? ALL American’s count and WE DID NOT VOTE on the war!!! So now, those that can’t vote are not worthy for you??? Just like this campaign, if the American people vote against you they don’t count!!!

    I have news for you Hillary everyone in America counts. Big states, small states, red states, blue states, the young, the old, activists…….
    So let me get this right, if you were president and got it wrong then its better than getting it right and protesting against the war? That doesn’t make any sense!!! This war was wrong. Many lives were lost, money was lost, time was lost, the economy went down in flames……wake up Hillary, see what your vote did???

    Months ago, Hillary, Bush and McCain again voted the same way on Iran. You did NOT learn from your mistakes. YOU NEVER LEARN HILLARY!!!

    February 29, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  3. Jdona

    Yeah General Clark! I truly hope you will be the Vice President when Hillary wins the White House. For all you Obama voices out there, pray tell when exactly did Barack Obama cast a vote opposing the war, when the man wasn't even in the US Senate when that resolution was introduced? How can he be so high and mighty when the man wasn't even in a position to vote one way or the other?

    February 29, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  4. kent

    Ed and others: Iraqis were not the terrorists who attacked America on 09/11/01. The vote to attack Iraq was misguided and off target. America's response was wrong,wrong, wrong.

    February 29, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  5. Ehsan

    What bothers me is not only that Clinton voted for the wrong war but also teh fact that she doesn't have teh guts to stand up and say I made a mistake. She still say what Bush and McCain are saying: Based on evidences that weer presented to us, this was the best decision I could make. This tells us how dishonest and un-genueine she is.

    February 29, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  6. No-good-judgemnet

    Where is news for O's buddy Rezko on trial. Here is news from ABC:

    With the corruption trial of one of Sen. Barack Obama's longtime friends and supporters set to begin Monday in Chicago, Ill., reform watchdogs say it will reveal the "cesspool" of Illinois politics in which Obama came of age and has said little about in his campaign for president.

    February 29, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  7. Petworth D., WA

    Oh please Hillary...I heard you say in a very sarcastic tone, that Barack couldn't vote because he was "out campaigning". Well...what are you doing?

    I'm so sick of your double standards-you are not the queen.

    Hey Hillary, if all you can do is focus on Barack, your campaign must be going down the drain. Since you have so much time, why can't you get your tax returns together. Oh, I know, give back the WH china, it belongs to the people anyway, not you.

    And with the 35 million you raised, get some counseling. I'm sure your supporters won't mind, they know you need it.

    February 29, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  8. Byron in CA

    Once again CNN this post should be posted since it follows your Comment Policy and Rules of posting a message and I'm not trying to post many messages here.

    GO HILLARY 2008 & 2012 it's easy for obama to make speeches but when push came to shove, he decided not to show up. So I guess we can expect when the phone rings at 3am we get an answering machine.

    February 29, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  9. Me

    Hillary was missing in action managing this mess of a campaign. She was not ready on day one and now her followers are paying for her lack of leadership. She failed miserably and showed that she is NOT READY to be in charge of America. VOTE OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!!! Ohio for Obama!!!!!!!!

    February 29, 2008 08:09 pm at 8:09 pm |
  10. Mike

    Obama was missing 130 votes last two years

    February 29, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  11. B. Smart


    Obama 08.

    February 29, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  12. Ehsan

    What bothers me is not only that Clinton voted for the wrong war but also the fact that she doesn't have the guts to stand up and say "I made a mistake". She still says what Bush and McCain are saying: Based on evidences that were presented to me, this was the best decision I could make. This tells us how dishonest and un-genueine she is.

    February 29, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  13. One Hit Wonder

    If Obama had not voiced an opinion against the war, he would have NO campaign. Think about it. He has ran an entire Presidential campaign on this. One Hit Wonder

    February 29, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  14. Mimi

    Hillary is not going negative but merely pointing out FACTS. On the other hand, it was Obama who sent out misleading direct mails in OH.

    Wake up people before it's too late!

    February 29, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  15. Cris in Texas

    Missing in action obama. I need a president that has shown action, American needs Hillary, Texas Hillary.

    February 29, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  16. stlDem

    "Theirs a Chinese proverb.."A noisy water runs shallow while a silent water runs dep""

    Felipe Kiocho:

    You are right, Clinton does make more noise than sense

    February 29, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  17. ABC=Anybody But Clinton

    ring ring...ring ring.....ummmm...Bill can you get that? Bill? Bill? WAAAH!....now what do I do? zzzzzzzzzzz

    February 29, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  18. HomoSapien

    What is this?? A new attack every hour?? Doesn't Hillary have anything to say about HERSELF anymore??



    February 29, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  19. Irma

    Hillary supporters, if BO gets the nomination via courtesy of cross over Republicans during the primary; we will write her in during the general. Especailly since the cross overs will go back to their side. CNN had a story of this today. The voters actually admitted it ON CAMERA! We are the Democratic base that supports her. There are more of us supporting her than BO. Write her in if we need to. Spread the word....

    February 29, 2008 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  20. N.S.

    The conventional wisdom is that experience is a good proxy for judgement. Experience per se is of little value to an employer; its perceived advantage is that it would enable the candidate exercise prudent judgement in a timely manner.

    Good judgement is what is desired, not years of repetitive or grunt work. The 7 (not 35) years of Clinton accountable 'experience' do not trump those of Obama, when it comes to translating it into judgement.

    February 29, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  21. Sarah

    What a nasty face in that picture. Says it all.

    February 29, 2008 09:01 pm at 9:01 pm |
  22. CNN never posts my posts

    Obama is: charasmatic, gives people hope, is a very talented speaker, promises big change, rallies the people, and has overzealous followers.

    Sounds a little like Adolf Hitler, doesn't it.

    I mean, really, think about that! No, Obama has no plans of genocide, but don't be blind like the Germans of the 1930s. NO politician is a savior. NO politician has the power to solve all our problems. NO politician can change things by himself, unless he is a dictator like Hitler was.

    Please consider that as you decide who you'll vote for. Remember the old saying, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." Thanks for your time.

    February 29, 2008 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  23. Crystal B

    I am a young American and I am looking for a day where Americans can live as one for God's sake. Shouldn't we stand for honesty, integrity and truth.

    This is why Obama stands out for President. I am sorry, anyone still supporting Hillary/Billary after the way she ran her campaign should really evaluate their prespectives and politics.

    It is time we tell Washington, the way they do business is not beneficial for people like you and me (the same people leaving comments here).

    This country is for Americans not for a husband that had an affair on his wife that now decides to run for president.

    It seems like the only house they should be running is their own, certainly not the White House.

    We need to fix this country- we must vote for CHANGE....

    We must vote Barack Obama.

    February 29, 2008 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  24. Frank

    The only one who is missing in action (at home) is her husband ... but that has been a Clinton arrangement forever. Just sometimes he gets caught in public which is not supposed to happen.

    Well, well ... another face of Hil-Liar-ry

    February 29, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  25. Sonali

    I HOPE This doesn't get deleted. So far all my post have disappeared and so is most pro hillary posts. Last I saw in Lou dobbs poll 73% voted that they were giving Obama preferntial treatment. If they are trying to change that now, I think it is a little too late for that. They post some pro hillary post among thousands of pro Obama posts. I think we are losing freedom of speech between the current administration and the mainstream media.

    February 29, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
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