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. MSW

    You can't get much better military support then a NATO Supreme Allied Commander and some generals. I know who I want answering the phone and won't be missing in action. How about you? Go Hillary!!

    February 29, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  2. lolo333

    Yea. You know all of those "present" votes he made in such a SHORT time in the senate REALLY bother me also. He's afraid to make a decision. Just like in the debates Hillary answers the question and he rides off of her coat tail "Hillary is right on that". That is why they should make him answer first. Every thing he says is stolen from someone else. He's just another puppet just like GW.

    February 29, 2008 06:25 pm at 6:25 pm |
  3. Veronica

    Obama is the head of a SUB-committee, the very same one that Senator Biden is on. Senator Biden endorsed him the other day, so I don't think it's a major issue. To me, you and Obama are even because you didn't vote on the Telecom bill and you were in Washington at that time. Shame on you Billary. I'm still voting for Obama! I like his message and his policies and I don't want a wooden policy wonk, who won't listen to the little people as my President.

    Keep on going Obama!

    February 29, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  4. jj


    Way to go! Now, this is the best speech yet! This is what voters need to hear! Obama – missing in action! And by the way, where is Michelle Obama – also missing in action since she put her foot in her mouth IE "For the first time in my life, I feel like an American! Give me a break. Vote the issues America! Wake Up! Vote Hillary

    February 29, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  5. VA

    ALL YOU WANT TO DO IS PLAY YOUR RULES AND WIN...THAT IS ALL YOU CARE...POWER IS YOUR HIGH....The letter also noted that many of Clinton's senior campaign advisers in Texas had helped to develop the rules governing the state's caucus system. A Texas party official also noted that former President Clinton won the state's caucuses in 1992 and 1996 following the same rules.

    February 29, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  6. David, Dallas Texas


    Obama will not win in the Lone Star State!!! These polls only ask 700 people. 700 people cannot make up the mind of the entire state. We have a mind of our own and we will support Hillary Rodham Clinton. At least I can say her middle name without being chastised. Dont mess with Texas!!!

    Hillary '08

    February 29, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  7. kym - seattle, wa

    Why is this story uncategorized? Don't you think this support is important to Hillary's campaign? Not to mention letting the Obama folks understand that large contention of military support for Hillary.

    February 29, 2008 06:27 pm at 6:27 pm |
  8. Paul Newman

    At this point I think it is clear that the mud slinging will continue up until tuesday, when hopefully we will have a clear candidate. I don't think the democratic party can handle much more of HIllary's selfish, shameful tactics.

    February 29, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  9. DJW

    Hillary you are making all strong women look BAD!! I am strong but I do not have to act like a man to be strong so please get a grip!!!

    I thought these tactics were beneath you!!!

    February 29, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  10. Coby Austin, Tx.

    "Her tenure as "First Lady" prepared her to be the President of the United States." These people are hilarious. I wonder how much she paid this guy to get up and say being the wife of a president prepares that wife to be a president. WOW! She has no room to talk when it comes to experience. If I had to choose between two candidates that didn't have a whole lot of experience but were I guess I should say intellectually qualified. I would probably look at who can unite the country to make the decision.

    Obama 08

    February 29, 2008 06:28 pm at 6:28 pm |
  11. LENA

    By the time she's done, she will have not only left the Democratic party in ruins, but will have also equipped the Republicans with more amo.

    February 29, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  12. Concerned in Texas

    Fellow Texans, please take heed. Contrary to what Obama whines in response, the latest Clinton ad is to the point about his credentials and abilities for international crises, because he has none. What should be a small point, but what has become his central theme on this point is that he was opposed to the Iraq war. The real issue here is that his opinion at that time menat NOTHING. I was opposed to the war, but I had no vote, was not the target of all the lies from Bush, and therefore my thumping my chest about that five years later is as MEANINGLESS as his. Who knows how he would have voted, or influenced others, in the US Senate at that time, because he wasn't there! Please, think about the 90's, and remember that, except for all the conservative attacks and Bill's personal indescretion, that decade is absolutely the best that this country has ever had, across all economic, international, and domestic issues. WHY would we not want to ensure that we get these incredible people back in the White House? Please, please, stop the Obama momentum right here, right now, in OUR GREAT STATE OF TEXAS!

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

    She needs to stop. Where are her taxes?

    February 29, 2008 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  14. Way2GoPeople

    Another crazy spin tactic by the clinton machine! He was present and the cronies she has supporting her claims are obviously bought out. "at the bedside when the phone rang at 3 a.m..."

    What difference does it make? Obama can be there at 3 a.m. and when he answers the phone, our troop commanders will hear the voice of hope and change on the other end.

    Their spirits will be uplifted to face the battle ahead. Obama will select a cabinet capable of answering the tough questions he cannot. He doesn't need experience to be president. He only needs a voice that sings of change.

    He will be the inspiration that saves, heals, and unites America!

    Not Hillary. With all her experience, she might make the right decision or something...

    ----- End of Blind Obamanite Text ----

    Everytime I read tripe commentary like the above, it gives me gas...

    Wake up people! This is not American Idol. This is for the stewardship of our country. Don't be so blind that a fact or substance has to fall off the tree of sensibility and hit you on the head.

    It may be too late for Hillary at this point and boy what a let down it's going to be...

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


    February 29, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  16. Manuel TX


    Time and time again this guy avoids taking responsibility and exaggerating his accomplishments in the US Senate and in his positions in general.

    This guy is politically MIA.

    It's time to vote this guy (and his David Axelrod created campaign) down.

    I for one will go to my local Caucus here in Texas with my Super Soaker to make sure that no would be Obama Republicans get to screw things up. 🙂

    February 29, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  17. Jazz

    Now you're talking. Paint the ugly truth in living color on that "blank
    screen"!!! Take it to the convention Hill. We have to fight for your right to be president. This one's for the girls!!!!
    Real Democrats Don't Quit!!!!!! HillYes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 29, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  18. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    Hillary, now this is getting ridiculous.

    I don't know who is a bigger Republican tool at this point you, or Nader.

    Hillary it was over after Super Tuesday.

    Pls., for the country and our party get out gracefully and unite against McCain!

    Obama/Edwards in 2008!

    February 29, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  19. jane

    Senator Clinton is by far the most capable and trustworthy candidate. After what the country has been through for the past seven years, we can't afford anything less.

    February 29, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  20. Joan Kelly

    I will reject any candidate who uses scare & fear tactics. That s all part of the old stuff we had to live with for 8 years. No more I had it . Goodby Hillary.

    February 29, 2008 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  21. meadowlands

    HC never answered the phone @ 3 am as president so what's her point.

    February 29, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  22. OBAMA 08


    February 29, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  23. John

    3 days to go Obama 9 points ahead in Texas and only two points behind in Ohio. The past 5 contests indicates that Obama beats the polls by 7 to 10 points in actual votes cast where does that leave Wolf Blitzers bias towards Clinton. I know she was short on money but all this free advertising is beginning to get on my tits.

    February 29, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  24. Mr. B.

    Hilliary misses the real point.

    Obama was at the beggining of his political career when spoke out against the war. This could have been the end of his career for speaking against all of the "experianced" political experts.

    This is a man that put his countries future ahead of his.

    America Is Ready
    Obama 08

    February 29, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  25. Paul

    Hillary, I thank God for your desire to work in favor of our nation.
    Your willingness and experience will make your administration a successful one for every American. You are a voice for the voiceless and will protect us with strenght and authority from our enemies.
    Thank God you will be there answering the phone and no someone who wants to be trained on the job, that 'd actually be kind of scary.

    God bless you Hillary, Commander and Chief of the United States of America!

    HILLARY 08!

    Estamos contigo!
    We are with you!

    February 29, 2008 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22