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. Suzanne

    Hillary is right. Obama was missing in action – let his committee on Afghanistan go all to heck while he was seeking a presidency he is NOT qualified for. Go Hillary – you are the best candidate! Obama is all talk! Too busy for our troops?

    March 1, 2008 12:50 am at 12:50 am |
  2. gregg45

    i switched my superdelagate vote to huckabee,, got tired of u all ignoring me,,,,

    March 1, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  3. The Insider

    For some of you it is not very apparent. Obama has locked up the nomination - it is simply a matter of numbers. Hillary, by any stretch of the imagination, cannot win the delegate count, even with superdelegates. Obama would have to burn a kitten crucified to the cross on national television in order to lose the Democratic nomination.

    The fact of the matter is that Mrs. Clinton's ambition, staying in the race, and causing trouble where there should be concensus, is really damaing the party's effeciency in waging a party-against-party campaign with John McCain.

    It's really not a difficult scenario to comprehend, it's just a matter of getting people to digest the numbers. Obama is the nominee, no matter what happens on March 4th.

    March 1, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  4. Cindy C

    Obama is the biggest bamboozler! All you fools can't see how desperate he is to be the first you know what. It's just incredible how so many are following the tune of the pied piper and have no clue why they are following him! You people are delusional! He got lucky when he opposed the war. I see he has quit making his false promises and is only attacking Clinton on his "judgement call". Whatever, barack obama. You are a bigger farce than Bush!

    March 1, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  5. molly

    GO HILLARY !!!!
    Texas, Rhode Island & Ohio – VOTE HILLARY !!!! – She can save our country.
    Obama is all talk – and no action. He DID NOT VOTE against the war only gave a speech about it – he was not even in the US Senate at the time – CNN Needs to report this fact!
    Clinton ad is great – obama copied it – just like his speech. This "candidate" cannot think for himself – much less our country.
    Stop all this "race" about the superdelegates.

    GO HILLARY !!!!!

    March 1, 2008 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  6. ABC for Hillary

    If Hillary does not get the nomination i am voting for McCain! Obama is indifferent, missing in action and not qualified.

    March 1, 2008 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  7. gregg45

    iam= learn and beware

    March 1, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  8. Samantha

    Hillary, wants to make excuses because she went with the pack and voted for the War, now she want to make excuses of what she thought was the truth concerning WMD. She has a paid staff to research everything before she cast her vote if she failed to do that then she need to stand up and say she messed up. Hillary is the last person I want answering the phone at 3am, because she has not made a real decision since she won New York. She has gone with the pack and made excuses when call on it. My prayers is she will be gone as Of March 4th and good riddens.

    March 1, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  9. Wayne W

    Bill Clinton needs to keep his pants zipped,and Hillary needs to keeped her mouth zipped, then she may have a slim chance. Go Obama

    March 1, 2008 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  10. ken

    Hillary=Republican. And a HORRIBLE PERSON !!!!

    March 1, 2008 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  11. bond

    Clinton says:
    Obama has no foreign policy experience. He is all talk and no action. He has been an absent Senator. He is not qualified to be commander in chief. He has no real plans, just generalizations on policy. Blah blah blah...

    Reality check:
    Obama is ahead in the popular vote, ahead by 153 pledged delegates, ahead by 102 delegates overall, won twice as many states, and 11 straight contests. Scoreboard...

    Clinton must be ridiculously awful to lose to someone as bad as she says Obama is. Quite hilarious stuff...

    March 1, 2008 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  12. Jojo

    Where has Hillary gotten all of this vast experience that she keeps touting? It sounds to me that she's claiming her husband's experiences as her own.

    Can anyone tell me what SHE did during her several years as a senator?

    March 1, 2008 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  13. sarah

    Crystal B your the problem. Anyone want to see the difference between Hillary and Obama? Go to HillaryClinton.com and obamas website and look at the postings on the blogs. you will see the true audacity of hope. In one breath Crystal wants us all to come together and in the next breath she is cuttin Hillary down, and as old or young as she says she is, it is obvious she knows nothing about her, except what obama has painted her as: a racist, untrustworth, not to be trusted, a liar.

    Please little girl, Hillary is and has broken so many barriers for you, how dare you to not know history.

    March 1, 2008 12:59 am at 12:59 am |
  14. Nick

    Yes, you go Hillary – YOU GO AWAY!

    Who do you want to make your decisions as commander-in-chief? A cynical like Hillary? No way...

    To suggest that being the wife of someone who was called in the middle of the night in international crises somehow equips someone to be president is ridiculous!

    Is anybody buying into this?

    I feel so ashamed even having to listen to this elementary school-level propaganda!

    March 1, 2008 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  15. Anonymous

    In political arena, Obama is like my 3 years old. He has not done anything that can be called a mistake. He has no record, no experience so no mistake. In life you learn from mistake. Since 3 years old has not done a mistake, are you going to let him take charge of the family matters?

    Young people who voting for obama should first grow up and find out what mistakes in life and experience of others can teach you.

    No one can say Obama will not mistakes in future decisions because he has not done a thing to make a mistake. I think he is going to make his teenager mistakes in white house and we all going to suffer it.

    March 1, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  16. John

    Go Hillary Go!!!!

    NObama is so anti-war that it is scary. War is not fun but sometimes it is necessary for our protection and for the protection of our friends around the world.

    I can't believe that with all of the important issues facing our nation that NObama supporters are more concerned with Hillary's taxes than the real important issues at stake.

    A note to all of the NObama supporters out there.....you are oozing NObama's own inexperience through your uneducated blogs.

    Hillary...you are the only responsible choice for President of the United States of America.

    Hillary....We've got your back here in TEXAS!!!

    March 1, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  17. Tey

    Well, thank you CNN for finally posting some pro-Hillary comments – it was about time but maybe the damage to the Clinton campaign has already been done. GO HILLARY!!!! THE LONE STAR STATE WILL STAND FOR YOU ON MARCH 4TH!! WITH YOU ALL THE WAY!!! LATINAS FOR HILLARY!

    March 1, 2008 01:06 am at 1:06 am |
  18. bea

    Hillary can't even run an efficient campaign ($30 million on consultants who still kept their day jobs as lobbyists?!?) MUCH LESS a country! As for being able to handle a crisis, she has fallen apart and resorted to crying, pouting, shrieking and name calling or some combination thereof everytime she loses a primary– NOT excactly a "cool head." If she REALLY wanted to help the country she would have been doing something as a senator beyond shoveling pork to NY and spring-boarding her campaign. I used to admire her, but now she makes me sick.

    March 1, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  19. John E. Karsten

    I just want to add my 2 cents here. I am an indepentdent and always have been. but let me say this. HRC,and BHO both have many policies that are very much alike. I am an Obama supporter, ( and no I am not in a cult)and for the life of me cannot understand why a lot of American people are for HRC. Why am I for the underdog you ask, well let me explain.

    #1. Where is the china that she has stolen out of the White House?( all the negative press, is like it is NOT the american people's or anything, it is your, the mighty QUEEN of the divided states of america). Sure, take what ever you like.

    #2. When it comes down to it, I WANT her to release her tax returns. She and her campaign have stated that they will release the Queen's returns when her run for office is over. I wonder what we will find? It will not be pretty, and you know this MAN!!!!!!

    #3. She thought that this was going to be her crowing, her RIGHT, but the American people have MOSTELY spoken, and what did they say? OBAMA 2008!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    #4. Bill's 3rd term. I heard the queen say that a vote for me is 2 for the price of 1. Well, the ONE that she is talking about has already had his chance. The Queens campagin had said that if the Queen wins and they go to they Whit House that he will not interfer with her adminstration. No matter how you spin things, THIS WILL BE HIS THIRD TERM. I do not expect him to be out playing golf and enjoying retirement, I see him having an effect on policy, and that to me is UNSAT, because he has had he chance. Many young American's have died to prevent one person like Castro from holding office for that long, not that I compare her to him, but I still see it as a 3rd term for Bill and that is not for what this country stands for.

    #5. 35 years "experienance". I know this for a fact. If I were to apply for a job, and I CLAIMED to have 35 years experiance, when in fact, I was just sleeping with someone who had 35 years experienance(My wife, I mean), I know that I would NOT get said job due to my TRUE inexperience. Let me put it another way for the Queen's supporters, if you call for a plumber, do you expect the plumber or the plumber's wife......thought so.........enough said on experience people.

    #6. The TRUE REASON that Obama has my vote is that I feel like I am sending message to the people in washington, that I HAVE HAD IT. MY Grandfather, a Frank Melvin Karsten, (Drisrict=St.Louis)who was a United States Congressman(look it up if you do not beleive me), once told me when I was 14, that no matter how well intentenioned some one is to be POTUS, by the time they get there, they will be just as corrupt as the last guy. Can you belieive that? My Grand-Pop, a real American congressman, said that to me. Granted I was only 14, but I completely understand. He knew then that our current system was broken, that was just his way of telling me. So, when I first saw Sentor Obama, I knew he had my vote. I really feel that my vote for Senator Obama is a TRUE revolution. I love my country and would NEVER take up arms againt it, but I feel the current POTUS does not care about ANYONE or anything much less the people and the voice of this country

    #7. Lastly, the drug debate. When Clinton was in office and the whole drug question came up, I has, in my youth smoked pot, and I knew what to do. Meaning that I had to hold my breth in so I could get a buzz. So, when they asked Bill the question, I REALLY thought he would tell the truth, but in fact he LIED about it. Why, well I can only imagine why he would lie to the American people. When I heard Senator Obama own up to smoking pot, well my get reaction was this" He is running for the highest office in the land and he told the truth about smoking pot" I almost fell out of my chair. Really, ANYBODY else would have LIED and COVERED IT UP, but the junior Senator from Illionis, why? Because he understood that a lot of people in this country have tried illegal drugs(our own gov't fault) and know when some one is lying about them, but held his course and told the TRUTH. I was dumbfounded, that ACTUALLY TOLD THE TRUTH. And then I told myself, "self, this man has everything to loose , yet he did NOT lie, and that speaks volumes to me. Policy is one thing, telling the truth when you know it is not popular is guts to me and he showed it, that he had guts and that people is why I am voting for the empty man in the suit as you HRC supporters say about him.

    March 1, 2008 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  20. Carol - Colorado

    When things get tough, the tough get going! That's you HILLARY! You not only CAN, you WILL be our next president!

    HILLARY '08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 1, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  21. frank lemerhousin

    I think HIllary Clinton should be commended for her 35 years of experience, and celebrated as a modern day hero for her dedication to establishing universal health care, but this parade will have to wait until we get Barack in the white house... Step aside please, and don't get in the way Hillary..

    go obama

    March 1, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  22. frank lemerhousin

    Hillary Clinton is a waco jerk that needs to realize this fact and quit.

    go anyone but her.......

    March 1, 2008 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  23. ilforobama

    It comes as no surprise that we see just how completely stupid Hillary is. I say that not because I disagree with her policy, which I do have a differential view on a few of them, but because of the way she acts and carries herself to the American people, let alone other nations. Hillary is a hot headed idiot who thinks it was her god given right to be in the white house this year and instead of focusing on what's good for the country, she's going to make sure that god didn't lie to her and that she gets her position of power. Rather than say something along the lines of "You know what, we obviously share a lot of positions on our policies and you are a very charismatic person who is grabbing the attention of our own party as well as GOP and Independents, you've got what it takes to pull this country together. Why don't we work together to rise above and better this country." Or anything to that effect, she'd rather throw mud, drag him down, make the democratic party and America and general look crappy and declare herself as President.

    If she really wanted to help the American people, would she not try to promote the unity and belief in ourselves and our nation that Barack has inspired us with? Why does she choose to attempt to annihilate it and tell us we're wrong for our beliefs, we're wrong in who we support? We're crazy and delusional for thinking that hope, change, and unity could ever come to this country... We're crazy for believing that we don't have to threaten a war and demand agreements before we sit down and talk with other people.... We're crazy for going against the status quo.... We're insane for not voting for "the chosen one."

    Please Hillary... for the sake of your "legacy" (what little of it there was) and for the sake of the democrats, and more importantly for the sake of the American people.... Sit down, shut up, and support what's right for America, not what's right for Hillary...

    Obama 08

    March 1, 2008 01:12 am at 1:12 am |
  24. CC

    No one running is doing their job right now.

    Also, Afghanistan is supposed to be under a different special NATO committee than the one Obama is on.

    I am so disappointed in the Clintons today.

    March 1, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  25. marrig

    Every single attack that Hillary mounts convinces me that she is utterly bereft of integrity and that she would do ANYTHING to advance her cause. Needless to say, I am voting for Obama NOT ONLY because I like Obama, but because I absolutely loathe Hillary.

    March 1, 2008 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
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