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. Jeff Spangler, Arlington, VA

    When that Red Phone rings at 3 AM, I want someone with relevant executive experience, not a Senator who has never managed much more than their own ambitious campaign to impose their "Takes a Village" social agenda on us.

    February 29, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  2. Shawn

    yeah she was there and her HUSBAND had the experiance and so did bush and look where its gotten us.......

    February 29, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  3. Ken, San Diego, CA


    February 29, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  4. Franky

    I wonder who's life is more important..........."James Buchanan" or "Hillary Clintion" or "Ulysses S. Grant"????? I gotta say that's a tough question but it's an interesting one....

    February 29, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  5. Terry


    Go Hillary
    Texans for Hillary

    BO = Bad for Oval Office

    February 29, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  6. MSW

    Go Hillary!!!

    February 29, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  7. Maxine

    I don't know why she is acting like this we all know the Clintons will buy their way into the WH...that is why Gore, Edwards, Richardson and the rest of the idots are letting her get a way with slamming Obama.

    Clark should be careful of asking Ms. Clinton who was beside who in bed when the 3 a.m. calls come in.....

    How negative are we going to let her go on this.....let's look at her record too. Oh and Ms. Clinton where are all those jobs for NY and where are your tax records and where are the WH papers and what about Nafta.....

    She is running like a Carl Rove, Bush....will run lady and see what you get at the end. You won't have a country together it will be divided and the Republicans will win with old Johnny boy.

    February 29, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  8. Jennifer

    This game of dirty politics is getting so old.

    February 29, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  9. tc

    i can't wait until this nomination is over. it's starting to be a lot of name calling, finger pointing, mud sling, etc. we must realize after the nomination, we must unite the party!

    February 29, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  10. Texasboo

    Oh please Sybillary, you voted for the Iran campaign for war and skipped the FISA bill voting.

    You have no business distorting anyone's record when your's isn't perfect. Why don't you disclose your tax records and stop deflecting? How about youshare with teh American people where that $300+ million dollars worth of earmarks gone

    How about you stop using the fear card with your new campaign ad


    February 29, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  11. Word_on_Street

    Hillary was in White house when Bill was having fun... and she didnt know.. Then how was she aware or part of any decisions that was made during that period..

    Talk about a commander in chief who doesnt even have a clue what happens in her household..Dang!! we are in for trouble....

    February 29, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  12. Leeza

    Pj for President!

    February 29, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  13. Tim

    Barack walks up to the mic...and says,

    "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."

    Then says,

    "Just so I don't get called a plagiarist, I want you to know those words aren't mine. They are the words of Bill Clinton.”

    Yes…Bill Clinton’s words, said to a crowd in Philadelphia on October 25, 2004.


    February 29, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  14. Seywhuh

    Oh, so someone who speaks what he feels to be the truth, with no consequences to face or answer to, is somehow LESS honest than someone who just read the cliff notes of the Iraq report, and voted for the bill in the hopes that Bush wasn't the warmonger she thought he was?


    And the comment from Wesley Clark – so I guess that means Mrs. Clark can lead the Fifth Fleet, because she slept in the same bed as the head of NATO?


    February 29, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  15. Mk

    this is a curious statement for Hillary to be making.
    I have been looking at her voting record for 2007.
    I sure do see lots more NV's then I do yea's or nays.
    Seems she has been quite busy on the campaign trail herself.
    She might be termed "missing in action" too.
    Don't take my word for it. Check the record yourself.

    February 29, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  16. Brian

    I'll tell you what's missing in action... a Hillary Clinton campaign strategy.

    Anyone seriously considering voting for this person... ask yourself if you'd like to see the same kind of mismanaged, scattershot, hamfisted organization in the White House. Although, maybe if she screws up badly enough in her first hundred days, she can give the country a loan from her personal account.

    Ready to lead on day one? Not from what I've seen.

    Make the right choice America!

    Obama '08!!!

    February 29, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  17. sam

    I am surprised why hilary clinton did not hammer these points forcefully in her earlier campaigns – to me it shows how weak obama is in taking a stand on some very very important issues. Is he not decisive? is he weak kneed? or is political expediency to achieve power? Baffles me how he is going to cope as a President of a great nation.But i am sure the voters of America are not going to let this happen.Bless America

    February 29, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  18. Carol from CT




    spend Obama – GO HILLARY

    February 29, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  19. KeishaD

    Finally some news coverage from CNN on Hillary Clinton that isn't negative. Sheesh. Besides that I do appreciate this point that Obama's voting trail on key issues is virtually non-existant.

    February 29, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  20. Eric S

    The problem with Obama is that he has no record and achieved nothing as a senator. Why should we entrust him with the country?

    February 29, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  21. VA


    February 29, 2008 06:21 pm at 6:21 pm |
  22. Mr. C

    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."

    I guess in that case, all the speeches clinton has given while she was first lady and a state senator is garbage also. Talk about critizing someone when you are no better. Hillary's do-and/or-say anything to destroy the Dem party, her rival, and to Win.

    February 29, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  23. Willie


    Obama's time is coming to an end. People are getting tired of hearing your change speech over and over again. All they hear is Iraq Vote, Hope, and Change all over again. Obama has one general at his side while Clinton has lots of Generals, Veterans of Iraq War, and current soldiers who held command positions while in Iraq. Hillary is the only candidate who can make sure that America is safe through her years as a senator and her years while in the white house. Obama does not have what it takes to be the next president. If Obama wants to make change, he needs to start with changing things in the Senate which he cant even do, because he is too busy trying to be the next president. Obama is not ready to be Commander in Chief over me and my troops. He is a motivational speaker and thats it.

    February 29, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  24. eyeingtenure

    Who cares?

    February 29, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  25. STX

    Stick a fork in her butt and turn her over–she's done!

    February 29, 2008 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
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