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. Ron

    Hillary Hillary Hillary I love you. Will you be my President.I promise the United States of America I will help you.Go Hillary Go Hillary

    March 1, 2008 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  2. Barry IL

    Even if one may hate Senator Obama's politics, it's very difficult to fall in love with senator Clinton's brand of politics. Now I sincerely believe her brand of politics is very divisive.

    March 1, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  3. mizpmh57 in Carrollton

    PLEASEEEEEE somebody tell me what International crisis Hillary has dealt with other than voting for George Bush's war?? This 35 years of experience hammering, (remember she has a 14 year start, Hillary 60, Barack 46), what exactly has she done?? Oh yea 8 years as First Lady, was she making executive decisions; and 6 or 7 years in the Senate and what else? Also, if your phone rang at 3:00 a.m., would'nt you handle the crisis, because if my phone rings at 3:00 a.m. it had better be a crisis, and yes my phone has ranged at 3:00 a.m. and it was a crisis and I handled it successfully. So now I guess I have to run for President (LOL).


    March 1, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  4. Alexis

    Billary is sinking to a new low. Being First Lady is NOT by any means appropriate experience to be commander in chief. In fact, she learned nothing from all her health care "experience" and is making the same stupid mistake as when she first proposed universal health care! She is so wrong for us.

    March 1, 2008 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  5. John

    Simply put: there is no quality in Hilary Clinton, the person or the candidate.

    As painful as it would be, if she were the demo nominee, I would be voting repub no matter who their candidate is, because i cannot ever cast my vote for her toxicity.

    March 1, 2008 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  6. jj

    I counted 200 or so from the blog from Obama supporters that feel faint! Bless you all! Wake up soon! The Clintonmomentum is upon us!

    March 1, 2008 12:29 am at 12:29 am |
  7. RETTA ST.LOUIS (the show me state)


    SHOW ME THE POLL..............

    March 1, 2008 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  8. tim

    Obama will be at the crazy church with the nut case minister who
    actually gives awards to big Louis.

    March 1, 2008 12:34 am at 12:34 am |
  9. John

    Even Hillary Clinton's use of the phrase "Missing in Action" indicates she doesn't know much about what she's talking about. The phrase she was looking for might have been "Away With Out Leave" (AWOL) or "Unauthorized Absence" (UA).

    If she's criticizing another candidate for lack of experience she shouldn't misuse terminology to highlight her shortcomings.

    March 1, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  10. tom kalpakis

    ....there is no way Obama or Clinton can win against the
    well-oiled republican machine. The only shot is if they can
    the appathetic American out – but they can't.

    tom kalpakis
    Ft. Lauderdale

    March 1, 2008 12:37 am at 12:37 am |
  11. Angela

    Yeah Hillary!
    It's about time that you took off the gloves. Everybody needs to see the fighter in you. Because that's what we need right now in this country, a fighter not a feel good talker. We are facing real nasty problems and you can't talk them away. You need to work hard and fight for what you believe in. Obama has good ideas and nice speeches but he has nothing to back it up. He does NOT radiate strength. Hillary IS the real deal.
    Go Hillary!

    March 1, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  12. cory

    Obama is nothing, but a talker. I just don't understand how he can win that many votes. Now I got it because he is a Dame Good Talker to fool people. Using your brain to think, without a good Solution, how things can be changed!!!!!!! Change does not come by itself, you can only work hard to find a solution to change the matters." Change" is a slogan, SOLUTION is an ACTION!!!!! Wake up people!!!

    March 1, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  13. Lin

    So sad that OHB even copied Hillary's latest commercial! Just continues to show us that he doesn't have the capability of independent thought. He loves to take Hillary's thoughts, ideas, and positions and spin, spin, spin! I can't wait to see him knocked down a notch – his pompous and arrogant demeanor is so annoying – there's so much about him that doesn't ring true. The more I hear him speak or learn more about his political background, the more I wonder how in the hell he (or his backers) can possibly believe that he has the ability to be the President of the United States! OHB would have been so much smarter to have gained a true political education by completing at least one term in the Senate. I really think that he thinks he's ready, but that's just his arrogance blinding him to the truth that is so evident to those of us who have the wisdom gained from life experiences to know that he's rushed (or was pushed) into this race before he was ready. If Hillary loses to this 'changling" on Tuesday, I too will vote for McCain. Go Hillary!!!!

    March 1, 2008 12:40 am at 12:40 am |
  14. Mike

    Heyonepcnut, Obama attack Hillary also from NAFTA to health care and now attach his latest ad in Texas..don't be bias..all of you wake up

    March 1, 2008 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  15. David

    At some point the media (CNN) will quit taking sides and really look at the facts- O’bama seems to copy everything Hilary is for- just like his (just words speech). Another point every other news journalist uses Hilary’s middle name- but what’s up with O’bamas middle name- is it taboo to mention his name? I hope you have to eat crow CNN!


    March 1, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  16. KK

    Obama '16
    He needs a few more years of experience and a voting record that reflects his ability to make tough decisions.

    March 1, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  17. Proud Independent, New York

    Wonna bet?

    Expect Clinton's camp to come up with something "outrageous" to dominate the news for the next few days...this 'slip' from a little bird deep within Clinton's camp.

    For you Obama supporters out there....NEVER UNDERESTIMATE the Clintons! That will be a gross miscalculation on your part! Watch the news in the next 48 hours!

    March 1, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  18. TG

    The only reason that Hillary gets away with her less than honorable tactics is because there is no verification. During the debates her amplifications of insignificant points into attacks were revealed for what they were. Obama has risen above her dirty politics. One needs only to read the many well documented books on Hillary Clinton to see the wealth of less than honorable behavior and the many times she was less than honest to further her personal gains. It is astounding that Obama has not used any of this while taking cheap shots from this candidate who has defined herself by her own behavior as being unethical. There is a mountain of data. However, her defiant refusal to disclose her 2006 income tax returns sums up her position on honesty, transparency and ethical behavior.

    March 1, 2008 12:44 am at 12:44 am |
  19. gregg45

    hello .. im here
    thanks cnn,,,, a true conservative channel that works only for the chosen,,,,,,,,,, dang it,, do i want hell or earth,,,,,,,, decide for me,, let me know,, please

    March 1, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  20. Dayahka

    And your tax returns seem to be missing in action...And what about all the White House records that supposedly show how "experienced" you are–they're also missing.

    March 1, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  21. josh


    Where were the presidential candidates? Well, Senator McCain Voted for, Senator Obama voted against and Senator Clinton DIDN'T even bother to vote!!!! Instead she issued a statement. Take a stand Hill! You complaining about senator Obama campaigning instead of voting on a NONbinding resolution on the Iranian Revolutionary Guard! Wasn't the telecom immunity vote a little more important than that? Also wouldn't it be fair to criticize you the same way you criticized senator Obama!?!?

    What's fair is fair, right?

    March 1, 2008 12:47 am at 12:47 am |
  22. Ken Schei

    It was with great sadness that I just removed myself from the WESPAC mailing list. I would suggest that others (who find it to be highly unfortunate that General Clark is able to watch Hillary's shameless campaign and still support her) send a message to General Clark by doing the same.

    March 1, 2008 12:48 am at 12:48 am |
  23. David, Dallas Texas

    Obama lied to this country about NAFTA and Amy Holmes is HOT!!!

    Hillary '08

    March 1, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  24. prvegas

    I am sorry to see all this going on. If they would both just give us their best and tell us their views and let us select the best woman for the job. 🙂


    March 1, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  25. R.S.

    Well, Obama may have been only a state senator and had given only an antiwar speech in 2002. But Clinton who had the "responsibility" in senate did not vote correctly and authorized Bush for Iraq war.

    Obama's postivity may not be that evident, but Clinton's negativity is amply clear.

    March 1, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
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