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. Lance

    She clearly shows that shes desperate, plays old style politics, which are played out and corny, and shes desperate.
    Its so tired that i literally cant wait when this is all over, the we wont have to deal with any Clinton name.

    Oh my God...........when does it end with Her.....................

    February 29, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  2. skyler

    When Hillary says there's a difference between "giving a speech at anti war rally as a state senator and dealing with an international crisis as president" she is absolutely right.


    Once again she is trying to convince voters that she has experience that she clearly does not.

    This whole thing is reminding me of why I hate politics, and the only reason I support Obama is because he is above and past all of this. And that is why I just donated again to his campaign.

    February 29, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  3. Not Hillary

    Wow, negative attack after negative attack.

    Who's using the Rove playbook Hillary?

    February 29, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  4. David

    I think this is the most negative campaign that has happened during my lifetime (28 years old). I'm truly appalled and disappointed. Clinton reeks of desperation.

    February 29, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  5. Ben from D.C.


    My God, what have we gotten ourselves into?!

    February 29, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |


    February 29, 2008 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  7. Barack Oprah

    The problrm is people know the fact and still support and vote for Obama. They are the people who allowd G.W.Bush to be US president.

    February 29, 2008 06:33 pm at 6:33 pm |
  8. Aanya

    I am fascinated by the way that as soon as Clinton started accusing the media of favouritism they have reported only on Clinton. Both of CNN headlines at this website are on Clinton. From one bias straight to another. Does the media know the meaning of fair, unbaised reporting?

    February 29, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  9. Trev

    That is right. Hillary makes tought decisions, even when they are unpopular. Obama was not in the Senate for the Iraq vote and was not there for the Iran vote. In his book, he hedges his bet on Iraq for political reasons. Why I don't dispute those reasons (helping the Democrats win) they do damage his anti-war record. If he had been there to vote against the war, things might be different. He was not, and should not get to take credit for a decision he never had to make. He also has not exercised the oversight authority given to chairs of Senate committees.

    In addition, Hillary has crossed the isle almost twice as much as Obama to work with members of the GOP in the years since Obama joined the Senate.

    I have a lot of respect for the things Obama has acomplished. I wish people could be more civil and discuss qualifications rather than personal stuff. That said, I want Hillary taking that call at 3AM.

    Hillary 08 (without the hate)

    February 29, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  10. MIwacth

    These facts should be in another ads to let the people know the change guy is missing in action, when there is a need for his action not talk. Donate to Hillary for more ads. Obama has 2 to 1 ads showing in March 4th states. Donate now to get more facts show in these 4 states before too late.

    February 29, 2008 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |


    February 29, 2008 06:35 pm at 6:35 pm |
  12. CRUZ for OBAMA

    I wish she was missing for the Iraq war vote and the primary.
    May be we will get lucky soon.

    February 29, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  13. columbus, ohio

    Which decisions did Hillary make at 3am?

    February 29, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  14. Uncle Sam

    The thought of what Hillary might look like at 3 a.m. is enough to scare anybody, even those teflon Texans...

    February 29, 2008 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  15. Vic

    Thanks CNN for running this story. I've always wanted to tell Obama exactly that; that it's one thing not to be on the line and later SAY that you were against the war. So what? So were millions of people, and they have the right to tell George Bush "I told you so." But to push his remarks as a state congressman as a major plus in a presidential campaign sounds trite and trivial.

    February 29, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  16. Evan

    If this is the last roll of the dice, so to speak, for Hillary, then she's done it waaaay too early.

    Ideally one would want to leave the opposition with as little time as possible to respond to any allegation – but she's given Obama three whole days not only to respond, but to retaliate as well.

    Not exactly a smart move. But it pretty much sums up their entire campaign.

    February 29, 2008 06:37 pm at 6:37 pm |
  17. Sharon

    Who knows who was in bed with Bill Clinton at 3 a.m. when the phone rang?

    And why would that make Hillary Clinton more experienced than Barack Obama at making rational, clear decisions with no political strings attached?

    February 29, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  18. Kevin

    Missing in action? To *label* another country's security forces a terrorist organization? To give in even more to Bush?

    Where was she during the vote on a bill in the Senate that gives amnesty to telecom companies who did Bush's bidding? Obama was there to vote against it. Where was she?

    February 29, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  19. Paul

    It would be nice if CNN would actually note that this Senate subcommittee that Hillary Clinton is talking about doesn't even have jurisdiction over NATO's presence in Afghanistan (how about some fact checking CNN), rather it covers certain NATO activities in Europe only. Also, the speech that Senator Obama gave was while he was running for US Senate and the prospect of war at the time was quite popular in Illinois at the time, so he risked losing the election based on principle.

    February 29, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  20. jw

    I'm so glad someone is finally pointing out that even though Obama was against the war (when he didn't have to show up and vote or actually take a real stand on anything), he hasn't done anything since going to Washington to back up his speeches. On his only trip to Iraq, he left the congressional delegation after only two days to tour other countries. Clinton has traveled to Iraq 3 times as a senator, while McCain has been there 5 times. It's easy to talk, but much harder to back it up in real life.

    February 29, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  21. Robert

    Disgusting. They are stooping lower and lower.

    February 29, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  22. Peter Kavanagh

    I wonder if she'll go to work for Macain when this is done . She seems to be making his case for him . Do you people want see this war continue until the convention ? She clearly does not care how much damage she does to the party .

    Come on Ohio . don't give into the fear . VOTE Obama and send this thing to the convention on Tuesday .Texas has already decicded .

    VOTE Obama 08 !!!!!

    February 29, 2008 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  23. Bonnie Angeletti (Columbus, Ohio)

    My husband Dan and I are not watching CNN or MSNBC anymore due to the biased coverage and comments about Hillary Clinton. These were 2 of our favorite news programs that we watched faithfully for years but their sexism shows through with their biased slant toward Obama-mania. They fear of being called RACIST if they call it like it is ....BLACK RACISM but do not fear of being pinned as SEXIST!!!I am terrably disappointed in all of the media to the point it sickens me....I really liked the comment during the last debate about getting OBAMA a couple more pillows and make sure he is comfortable, SNL was right on with that one. So long and good riddance CNN, also we are boycotting all of your sponsors too. Hah, like that will do any good because we are white and it only matters to the media if we are black!!!!!

    My husband and I support Hillary Clinton not because she is a woman, not because she is caucasion and not because she is a democrat but because she is the BEST PERSON FOR THE JOB!!!! She tells specifically how she is going to accomplish her goals to CHANGE our country for the positive, to start looking after our own people so we can hold strong against opposition from foreign countries and gain the respect back from overseas we had before. All by using measured diplomacy with measured military and making the U.S.A. a self sufficient country again! Obama might be an inspirational speaker about CHANGE but I want to know "WHERE IS THE BEEF?" Meaning he talks a lot but what are his specific plans to accomplish it? He talks the talk, but he leaves me wondering whether he can walk the walk! I know Hillary can walk the walk because in the past when the going got tough, she stood and fought for what she believed was right for all of us, not just one race, not just one party, not just one economical group. She has my husband's support and mine always.

    February 29, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  24. michael

    i'm from roma, in italy we studin' history from when we are 10 in schools, we learn from romans and greeks masters like aristotele, cicerone and seneca..so, when hillary told americans she is ready to be commander in chief just because she has been a desperate ( that's'your fault Bill..) white house wife, she make me smile.

    February 29, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  25. kate

    What will be missing is Hillary in the Presidential race against McCain in November. Time to call it quits HRC!

    Obama '08

    February 29, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
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