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. Bill F

    As if Hillary has never missed a vote, and I'm sure she's held several hearings in her committees since the campaigns began. Let's get real. She's accusing him of things you could accuse every Senator of.

    February 29, 2008 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  2. ME

    Nobama ... Nobama !

    We need someone with experience in the white house. He has a long way to go! He is all talk ... nothing else.

    Go Hillary !!

    February 29, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  3. liephobe

    You are afraid hillary, aren't you? fired down ready to fade away!!!
    See you in 2017!!! Shame on you, you don't have love, Bill just had an open heart surgery and you have hired him in a 24/7 job..better retire to take care of your man!!!

    HIllary, HIllary, Hillary!!!
    Hillary 2017!! Go hillary!!! We definitely need someone to answer that red phone in 2017!!

    February 29, 2008 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  4. Slim VP 08

    Hillary Shame on you! Your a sore looser. Obama 08

    February 29, 2008 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  5. i was for hillary but now I'm switching to The Light

    hillary is negative. we don't need that. GO OBAMA.

    February 29, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  6. Carolin

    OK OK OK CNN "Lets see you say you are the number one station for honest news" Seems to me there are allot of Obama fans on board and is that fair reporting or is it subjective." I would like to see a little less Clinton bashing and a whole lot more facts. Shame on you as always, you do not report fair, honest reporting. As I read this blog it sure does seem like CNN is PRO Obama.

    February 29, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  7. A Failed "Hero"

    Obama is going to get chewed up and spit out by the Republicans if nominated. Boy oh Boy!
    McCain is going to have a field day with him and McCain will be supported by all the republicans that jumped parties during the primaries just to set up this election to get him nominated. This is all a set up. We will have McCain as president and all those Obama followers will be drafted to Iraq. Bye!

    February 29, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  8. Brent, California

    If the phone rings at 3:00am in the Oval Office and Hillary goes to answer it, she'll find Bill in there with another intern!

    February 29, 2008 11:17 pm at 11:17 pm |
  9. JS

    Hillary already states she will challenge results in Texas ONLY if she loses....she is already a loser in my book.....no matter what manipulations she would try in order to subvert democracy and thwart those good for nothing "activists"....

    "Now one of Clinton’s laws of politics is this: If one candidate’s trying to scare you and the other one’s trying to get you to think, if one candidate’s appealing to your fears and the other one’s appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope."- Bill Clinton, 2004 campaign speech

    February 29, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  10. Jacquie

    Unless you are the incumbent, being elected as President of the US is ALWAYS on the job training. Frankly, I don't think Hilary can win, so I'm for Obama. He has just as much experience as she does. I don't count 8 years baking cookies and rolling easter eggs as experience. She was too divisive to get anything accomplished and while it sucks, the divisiveness is likely to get worse if she is elected. I'd like to see someone else without the baggage and BS for a change. Anyone, including my toe nail would be a better President than Bush. There isn't much farther to go down than what we are!

    February 29, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  11. carolsullivan

    hillary you have never even discussed you last 11 loses

    February 29, 2008 11:18 pm at 11:18 pm |
  12. ABG

    For me, it was Obama's reaction after Hillary Clinton talked about chairing the committee that is most disturbing. He stated he was too busy campaigning to hold meetings for a committee he wanted to chair. That was it. Very matter of fact. He did not seem to care that he did not follow through with his duties. That behavior does not give me much "hope" that he will follow through on all his "change" rhetoric. Actions always speak louder than words!

    February 29, 2008 11:20 pm at 11:20 pm |
  13. gregg45

    for once, what does a persons tax return have to do with anything,, i for one ,, am feed up when i work just as hard and as long,, and i hear about certain people getting 5k , 6k , dollars back just because they have a few kids and are a color differant than mine,, i got back 676.00

    February 29, 2008 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm |
  14. Mike

    You Obama supporters are so caught up in empty speeches, that you have lost perspective; you have been sucked into his ficticious part of the universe.

    Get a grip, better yet get in touch with reality, I am a Hillary supporter; if Obama is the nominee I'm voting for McCain!

    Hillary 08!

    February 29, 2008 11:41 pm at 11:41 pm |
  15. Patrick, Chicago, IL

    Hillary is Lacking In Votes

    February 29, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  16. Dave

    The best knowledge comes from experience. With that, good decisions and wisdom come through.
    I know that Hillary will be a great President. She will win.

    I see that Obama copied her commercial. Does he have anything of his own?

    February 29, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  17. Juan

    Politics is not suppose to be nice. which world do you live in. I rather know who we are hiring for the most important job of all.

    Obama is a movie star, an empty suit, a blank screen.

    February 29, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  18. JEP

    People are talking about momentum as far as O's campaign is concerned, without knowing actually what that means.
    "MOMENTUM"-"IT IS NOT OF IMPORTANCE WE STAND, BUT IN WHAT DIRECTION WE ARE MOVING" Obama stands for change and he has the momentum but that is it, but Hillary knows where she is leading us to. So people choose carefully and diligently because it is not all about momentum, if O is nominated you have yourself to blame and it will be too late.

    February 29, 2008 11:43 pm at 11:43 pm |
  19. gregg45

    obama barack as president and god as vice president,,, wow i get it now,,, obamanites,, seek and ye shall find,,, hell behind door # 1,,,, stop this mystic healer from running our country,, any one here remember the czarina of russia,, the mad monk,,, ???????? look up a history link..... beware of false prophets,, they may lead you to places you really do not want to visit,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and i am not even religous,, that is whats scaring me,,, im sure cnn will never post this , but i try

    February 29, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  20. david

    she looks like a republican candidate nowadays. this is her last strategy. she is changing her stand. why doesnt she stick to one. If to vote for Iarq war was a right decision, why doesnt she defend that? that's why she going down. you should have a clear vision and stand.the world is dangerious and we need a war loving president? you mean that? or we need a president who can restore peace in this world?

    February 29, 2008 11:44 pm at 11:44 pm |
  21. GEJ

    the truth hurts. hillary is right and the only one who can defeat mccain in the general election

    February 29, 2008 11:46 pm at 11:46 pm |
  22. Deborah

    Go home Hillary, you are dividing the party We Democrats do not want you.

    Obama '08

    February 29, 2008 11:47 pm at 11:47 pm |
  23. Bill Frank

    Billary and Co. up to their old tricks again. So sad.

    February 29, 2008 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  24. Kyu Reisch, Radcliff, Kentucky

    Hillary is not attacking Obama, Hillary is telling us the truth. Obama gave a nice speech in 2002, anti-war, and he missed important congressional votes and voted War Fund, does it make sense? Obama's consistency is discordency. Obama has no right to attack Hillary's war vote, because he was not eligable to vote in 2002. Obama confessed he didn't think Iraq war will be the main issue when he was busy to campaign for Senator election. So his anti-war is just a fairy tales. Media twisted President Clinton's words, even it was a correct mention about Obama's war record. I don't trust Obama, Hillary is ready for the President on day one, Obama is not qualified for the president and not ready for the White House on day 2920. Hillary will bring our Country back, Hillary for 2008.

    February 29, 2008 11:49 pm at 11:49 pm |
  25. Mike

    Patrick, if Clinton suppoters decide to vote for McCain if Obama becomes the nominee, well that's our personal views and beliefs.

    You have no idea why we would cast our vote for McCain over Obama, there are many factors that come into play when casting a vote.

    How dare you refer to anyone as ignorant or as a traitor, or question their values, perhaps it's not who or what we are voting for, though what and who we are voting against.

    February 29, 2008 11:50 pm at 11:50 pm |
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