February 29th, 2008
09:05 PM ET
12 years ago

Clinton: Obama 'missing in action'

 Clinton is getting tough on Obama over national security issues.

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. JD White California

    I think is really sad the Hillary Clinton has decide to use the same fear tactics that President Bush used on her to get her to vote for the Iraq war. That old school politic is not going to work this time, at least on the American people. Hillary try again!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 29, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  2. dee

    Go girl, he nothng but and empty suit do nothing and said he done it all. Check his record a big 0.

    February 29, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. Mac-FL

    I'm still waiting for one of Hillary's cheerleaders to list in detail all of her so-called experience. This is the biggest scam of her campaign. She and Barak have BOTH been Senators on the national scene. Her former experience as the wife of a President is NOT political experience and she has never served in the military either....meanwhile Barak served politically in his own home state (not as a carpet bagger to another state), and has an equallylong record of service prior to that. Additionally, in case anyone is interested, most Presidents were former Governors with NO national or foreign policy experience AND our current (idiot) President had never even left the country before being elected as President.

    February 29, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. haha

    WOW! did she run out of tears this time? When he gave the speech, he had a lot at steak. for instance he was running for the U.S. senat, at the time to go against the iraq war was extremily brave of him. On the other hand for the one with power who could have possiblily porhibited this mess ended up voting for it. So mrs. clinton you have coused up enough problems because of your vote, it's time to let Obama clean up the mess you and Mr. bush have created.

    February 29, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  5. VA


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

    There could be a pattern here. Obama wants to be chair of a committee and then does not do the job. AMERICA! Why would we think he would not do the same if he were President? Besides no experience, we now learn he has no follow through. He thinks it will be "cool" to be President. I bet he thought it would be "cool" to be chair of a committee. I am not willing to trust my life to someone who admits to no action like it is no big deal. WE DESERVE BETTER THAN THAT TYPE OF THINKING!!

    February 29, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  7. Kelly Anne

    What, is this the Clinton News Network??

    Every single day I read headlines:

    "Clinton camp says Obama ..."

    "Clinton calls Obama ..."

    "New Clinton ad says Obama ..."

    Basically CNN just does a copy-and-paste of Clinton's talking points and memos, and puts it up on their website.

    How "fair and balanced" of you!

    February 29, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  8. Cole

    Hillary, let go of the 3 a.m. thing. You are old and irrelevant.

    February 29, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  9. Sandy

    Way to go Hillary! Its time you start talking about Obama's record, because the media, especially CNN will not. They turn a blind eye to anything negative about Obama. They've not pushed Obama like they've pushed you to describe your policies. Yet they claim to be an "honest" media outlet, touting things like...get out of the way and let the story reveal itself." On the contrary, their personal opinions are so obviously partial, its shameful!

    February 29, 2008 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |
  10. Bob, Florida-RFO

    I am forever amazed at how mis-informed the so called informed are!

    Get a grip folks and try to do some of your own independent research / reading! Then make up your mind.

    You really need to look at how the NCA is structured to get a better under standing of how decisions are made. Ever heard of contingency plans?? Do you actually think that the CinC makes all the calls??

    We got caught out on 911 because we were complacent in our analysis of the facts that simple coordinated asymmetric plans could defeat our high tech symmetric defense systems. We took our eye off the ball because we thought we knew how to play the game!

    Clinton adverts, talk radio and the evening news is not the best place to get your 60 seconds of information from!

    Go Obama '08!!!

    February 29, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  11. James

    say anything, do anything, go to even newer lows all in an attempt to be president. Yeah, Hillary is just great. Glad to see that she decided to utilize Rovian tactics herself opposed to having surrogates (such as the BET Founder) do her dirty work.

    When this is over, Hillary will not even be able to run for school board.

    February 29, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  12. applecrispbetty

    She's starting to talk like a Republican more and more each day. I guess that's why she voted for Iraq war to make us more secure.

    February 29, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  13. Joe Alaniz

    Is it me, or does Obama and Clinton resemble the characters from the movie Legally Blonde 2: Red, White & Blonde, where Sally Field portrays a power, arrogant, egotistic congresswoman and Reese Witherspoon plays a lawyer that is seen as a delusional, ignorant, and Capital Barbie doll. How could a blonde political virgin come to Washington D.C. and think that she could make a difference among the elite policy-makers. Of course, in this case Obama is not a mindless or an air head individual, but is still seen as a Capital Ken doll. Now, the question that needs to be asked, can Obama pull a win like Ms. Witherspoon.


    Pensacola, Fl

    February 29, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  14. jsb

    Hillary, you continue to show just how divisive you are. Disgusting.

    February 29, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  15. Tom, Iowa

    She's really just throwing everything at the wall to see if anything sticks. Not a great quality for a commander-in-chief.

    February 29, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  16. Sukie

    I read a post the other day where Hillary Clinton was critized for being "too strong a personality."

    Thank God she is!

    I think those folks who are ga-ga over the Cheerleader Obama are in for a terrible shock when it comes time to get down to work.

    Hillary Clinton has a great record in her work as senator for the State of New York. I believe she can do the same job for our country.

    Once we have "hired" our president, we are stuck with that person.

    Look at the complaints about George W. Bush! We STILL have to wait until January 20, 2009 before he heads to Crawford for the last time.

    February 29, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  17. Carolyn Lee

    Help me to understand this.
    Now, Hillary's running on experience.Tell me, just what is this so called "experience" she's talking about? When the Red Phone rang, I am sure that the President answered it, not Hillary.She claims she has traveled to countless countries,and I don't dispute that ,however she traveled as the First Lady, along with the President whose job it was to solve problems and change policy. This was not Hillary's job.So, is she running on her husband's experience or her own?What exactly is her experience when it comes down to defending our country or managing the national economy? Maybe it's just my lack of understanding. Maybe you can explain it to me.

    February 29, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  18. gordon orr

    Obama on is worst day is more capable than Hillary could ever be. She couldn't even manage her own family in a crisis. No wonder
    wondering Bill looked elsewhere.

    Just think how much havoc wondering Bill will create while roaming
    unchecked with no responsibilities in the white house. No intern will be safe.

    How can we ever expect that Hillary could handle a crisis of international proportion when she messed up her personal situation so badly. She is incompatent and so are her supporters.

    She does seem to be getting the pity vote. Poor, poor Hillary. Texas and Ohio will put her out of the game.

    February 29, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  19. E. Omega Cantu

    O.K., regarding the new Clinton ad. Mr. Obama, why didn't you vote to protect us. Had the phone rung as it did with the information given to to Congress, and you felt it was just a scare tactic, the twin towers would be down again. You just don't get it!
    Our Congress voted on the security service information given to us by the present President. Why aren't you blaming the "guy" with the finger on the button?

    February 29, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  20. Jordan Fitzpatrick

    Hillary should refrain from touting her "judgement" when she is speaking in Waco, TX– we know all about the Clinton judgement here.

    February 29, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  21. Bill

    She is right. Obama had no authority during the Irag vote and was not privy to the same information. Its easy to say you were against something when you were not in a real postion to act. Also, running for President is not an excuse for Obama to not have done his job in the Senate. He was elected to do a job and has done very little, but expects the American people to give him the most important job in the world because he has become America's political "American Idol". I say experiance and a proven record, even with mistakes, is a better choice for America. We have always been taught, you learn from your mistakes. That is why Hillary will end this war, stablize the economy and bring us healthcare reform.

    February 29, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  22. David

    Its Dirty. But yet, John McCain is the only one who has lied this year.

    February 29, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  23. Old Soldier

    As a retired veteran that is supporting Hillary Clinton . You have to have experience and I truly feel that he is more qualified than Mr. Obama

    February 29, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  24. dave

    Go get him Hillary! For him to keep going back and bringing up that 2004 vote when he wasn't even in congress is mindless fodder for cnn's political analysts.

    February 29, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
  25. Leigh

    He is missing in action because he doesn't want voters to see how he would have voted. Missing now missing @ 3:AM when the phone rings or we are being attacked.

    February 29, 2008 06:47 pm at 6:47 pm |
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