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. question

    can any one of you state one thing that obama has done in his political career, besides being an africian america, not voting for the war, or not chairing his subcommitte, and being a charming elegant speaker does not count....well can you....

    February 29, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  2. Jim Wagner

    Barack Holiness Obama was not missing in action, he just "didn't know" the vote was taking place.

    Yeah, that's the man I want in charge. Snark.

    February 29, 2008 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  3. Sherry

    Hillary actually cares about people. She doesn't need the money and she already has power. She is right that Obama is always missing in action.
    Hillary has been to Iraq. Not Obama. Hillary has been in the White House. Not Obama.
    Many things that Hillary has done are for humanity. Not Obama. He has been to busy speechifying.

    It scares me that my husband has actually told me that he will vote republican if Obama wins. We have always been democrats. What a political season. There is so much division and hate going on in this race I'm afraid for our party. There is something wrong when a person running for president is not allowed to be questioned about his past and says we must go forward but it's alright for him to bring up the opponents past. Every time Hillary does something Obama copies her and just adds a few words to say that it was his idea.

    Get real!!!!!

    Hillary '08

    February 29, 2008 09:05 pm at 9:05 pm |
  4. Carrie

    Hillary is making a fool out of herself. You lost!

    February 29, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  5. Alex

    Nothing she has said is negative!! Obambots are just over sensitive! It's politics, and we DO need a fighter now-a-days! He jabs her just as much, and that's ok! She is allowed to do "anything to win." Obama is doing the same, look at all the money he is spending. HE will do anything to win too! It's no big deal! Let them duke it out! Deocrats 08!!

    Hillary 08!!

    February 29, 2008 09:06 pm at 9:06 pm |
  6. David

    Once again Mrs. Clinton goes the desperation route, hoping we will forget about....Iraq,Wal-Mart,Travelgate,her taxes, and the absolute fact that she is NOT electable against Senator Mcain. Hillary, you are making a fool of yourself...with the desperation tactics now in use by your failing campaign. Hope is not naive, tangible change is not naive, and voting against an unjust and costly war is NOT naive. Your campaign is showing it's true colors.....unabashed cynicism. Obama.......again and again.

    February 29, 2008 09:07 pm at 9:07 pm |
  7. Carol

    Obama has been endorsed by Senator Jay Rockefeller, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee. Here's what he says about Obama's ability to act responsibly in a crisis.

    “As Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I am all too aware that the threats we face are unconventional. They are sophisticated. They are constantly changing and adapting. And they are very serious. What matters most in the Oval Office is sound judgment and decisive action. It’s about getting it right on crucial national security questions the first time – and every time."

    “The indisputable fact is Barack Obama was right about Iraq when many of us were wrong. It was a tough call and the single greatest national security question, and mistake, of our time. Today, we remain a country at war, and countless mistakes over the last six and a half years have made us less safe. The stakes have never been higher, and that is why we must take a stand."

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

    So when has Hillary delt with a interantional crisis, by the way she is talking she has definitly delt with an international crisis. WHEN, Bill love life is not and international crisis, more like a personal crisis. Now she is trying to bait people in by saying has delt with international crisis. She hasn't , Barack hasn't, Bush hadn't now has and had to, to threats made against the US while Bill Clinton was in office and all this was kept secret from the people under the Clinton dynasty. She can yaba, yaba, yaba, all she wants but it was there and kept quiet. And she wants the TEXAS heart to cave in and support her decietfulness.

    February 29, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  9. Constantine Ft. Myers, FL

    Wow! This sounds just like....politics.

    February 29, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  10. Mel

    I honestly feel that the men in our country will not vote for a women to be president, whether it be Hillary Clinton or someone else. It is so obvious here in America. We have third world countries, who suppress freedom of speech and have very few civil rights if any. But yet, these other countries don't hold to this same principal and prejudice as we do in here in America on leadership. Obviously they elected a women, because they felt she could do just as much of a good job leading their country as any man. How free of an america are we really, when we suppress women to hold a high office in our country because of their gender. As far as Hillary making the decision to go to iraq, it was based on information she recieved from other sources. And another thing, a person that makes it seems as though they always make the right judgement call everytime, is saying they are beyond making any mistakes. America is stating that they want change for the future, but yet they are basing future decisions on past events. Also for a candidate that talks about change, it seems that eveything hillary does, it's copyied, but a couple of points are always added, check out past debates and look at the latest commercials. A president has to be a leader, not a follower.

    February 29, 2008 09:08 pm at 9:08 pm |
  11. I AM

    It's time to let Barack OBama have his day. You are not the Lady of the hour.
    You are destroying your family. Chelsea needs a husband. You are not fair to her nor true to your husband.
    How many firsts do you need to feel complete? How many times do you have to show us that you have survived your husband's playful times away from you.
    You are drying up!
    Let us loving learn to appreciate what the American Way has given us in the Obama ticket. You definitely have trained him. He is more experienced now to do battle with anyone. We give you thanks for giving him some credibility.
    Now take your family home.

    February 29, 2008 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  12. Barbara-California

    Hillary Clinton is one desperate lady right now, and will do anything, including eating her own children to win the White House. Look how haggard she looks in all the photos; she is so desperate, that she looks like if she does not win, she will blame everyone else but herself for losing.

    Look out Obama, cause she isn't finished with you yet; I am sure she is saving something "really sweet and juicy" to throw before next week....

    ..............that's ok, because God will put in the White House the person who belongs there, and we all know by now; it is not Hillary Clinton who is very dishonest and manipulative and destructive!

    End of Story.

    February 29, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  13. Peg



    February 29, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  14. carlo

    At the very least, it is impossible for Hillary to make a good decision when she doesn't even read the Intelligence Estimate Report. Barack knew the war was a mistake WITHOUT IT.

    As far as him not having a vote on the Iraq war, I promise you if he had strongly favored the war and made a speech about it, Hillary would have it posted everywhere.

    Try again Hillary.

    February 29, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  15. Patrick Nagel

    It just goes to show you how ignorant and sad Hillary Clinton supporters are when they repeatedly say they'll vote for McCain over Obama if she doesn't get the nomination...How ridiculous is that? Suddenly they will support all the opposite of what Mrs. Clinton stands for just because they believe Obama doesn't have enough experience or that he's a "baby boy," or that he missed a few voting sessions in the Senate? It's totally disgusting that people would go to these extremes of casting aside all they hold dear and, more importantly, the future of this nation, for the simple fact that they want to avenge Hillary's loss. Does anyone not see this? Obviously not enough do. I urge all these people to actually re-read what they're posting on forums such as this and perhaps take a good look in the mirror at the traitor of your own values you in fact are threatening yourselves and others to be..

    February 29, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  16. Marie

    Hillary's vote to go to war in Iraq illustrates her extremely poor judgement. I don't for a minute buy it that she made that decision based on incorrect facts given to her.

    If you remember, Colin Powell presented the evidence the U.S. had against Iraq to the United Nations and yet almost all of the other world leaders still didn't think it was necessary to invade. Additionally, just from reading the news, anybody could see we would end up facing the issues we are now facing there.

    And just because Barack wasn't in the U.S. Senate to vote against the Iraq war doesn't erase the fact that Hillary made the very bad decision to vote for the war.

    February 29, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  17. Joseph

    I wish Democrats would wake up. Obama will lose the election against McCain. Can you imagine the debate...Obama cannot say.."I agree" like he did almost every time after Clinton gave an answer.
    Obama will not win states like Florida, Pennsylvania, Texas or Ohio.
    Obama is toast. I really think he did his career a disservice...if he loses the election, he has ruined his only chance. He will never be the nominee again. Obama may even lose his Senate Seat in 2010. Why? The Democratic Party insiders that favored Clinton will see to it that he does. Sad but true.

    February 29, 2008 09:10 pm at 9:10 pm |
  18. Minority Too

    CNN is smart in attacking Hillary, treating her less fair and favoring Obama. They are helping Republican to drive the strongest Democratic candidate away, then to beat the weak "no experience, Muslim and black" is much too easy. For half of the persons who are favoring Obama, if you looked at their ID you will see that they are either hired by CNN / Republican or Obama. The rest half of them are really stupid since they never understand why the rest rich Republican owed media are so sweet to Obama.

    February 29, 2008 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  19. bubbysboy

    I'm so sick and tired of people not grasping the point that Obama is just not ready to run the country. We have no idea where he stands because he only votes "present" instead of voting for what he really feels. The problem is, he would vote for whoever he is talking to at the time. Don't people see that he is entirely too inexperienced for the job. Check out his resume people! Oh, yes, he certainly has a good speech, but it's easy to have a good speech when you have no responsibility. He has no glue what to do and what first step to take in a crisis. And his wife, I think she would make the most horrible, errogant, self-centered first lady than we would ever see. She doesn't have a humble bone in her body. Please, please see people that he is all talk and no walk!!!!!

    February 29, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  20. Janet Reno

    Just wanted to remind the voters in Waco that Janet Reno endorses Hillary. You know, just in case you forgot about her.

    Obama 08'

    February 29, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  21. joe

    I am tired of CNN's bias. Why are you not:
    1) discussing why Hillary won't reveal her taxes???
    2) Obama came out with a new ad and you aren't discussing it...
    Show some journalistic integrity folks!!!

    February 29, 2008 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  22. ChicoSez

    People who ask what Hillary went through and did as First Lady must not have been paying much attention during the 90's. Most of these comments are posted by kids who were teenagers if that old, during the 90's. So it shows how bad our education system has gotten under Bush. If a bunch of newbes and first time voters take over the dem party, they can have it without me. The Obama camp has made it clear that old style dems are not welcome in the new movement. ok. I've been insulted too many times for my support of Clinton to ever vote for Obama.

    February 29, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  23. changing times

    Well it looks like HIllary is going to get what she wants, but more importantly she's going to get what the Republicans want and that's her.

    I do believe her negative, misconstrued false ads will make a difference and people will give way to fear instead of hope and be proud of themselves for it. They'll tell the kids, "we had opportunity to hope once, but instead we chose to side on the cause of fear and politics as usual and ushered in more years of Republican rule."

    Right now Hillary's behavior is more Republican than Democrat and if I"m going to vote Republican it will be for John McCain, at least he is a true American hero and he really does have experience in foreign affairs, because Hillary sure does not.

    February 29, 2008 09:13 pm at 9:13 pm |
  24. Hal

    Its funny how the Clinton campaign mirrors the Bush campaign. FEAR FEAR FEAR followe by bad decision after bad decision. If you want a glimpse of how she will run the country (answering the phone at 3 a.m.) take a look at her campaign. Mismanaged, no clear direction, no fiscal restraint and leaderless.

    It is no wonder that her demographic is the same as Dubya's undereducated.

    February 29, 2008 09:15 pm at 9:15 pm |
  25. rabblerouser

    Hugo, that's great – Obamination!!!!

    February 29, 2008 09:16 pm at 9:16 pm |
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