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. Claire

    I'm so tired of listening to her whine whine whine. When will she finally drop out? If I liked her before, I no longer do.

    February 29, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  2. Wisconsin

    REGARDLESS who Hillary Clinton has laid in bed with for the past 35 years does not give her the experience to make the correct decisions to be president. If she is elected Bill Clinton will be making the 3:00 am decision calls and probably all the decisions. It will be another presidency for the Clintons. We need a change. The clintons were a disgrace in the white house with his adultery epsiode. So please tell me what good decision makers are they? They are a disgrace to america.

    February 29, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  3. Think before you vote

    Exactly! That is what I say. Obama keeps saying he opposed the Iraq war from the beginning, and that, for having had that judgment, he is more qualified to be president of the Unite States than Senator Clinton. I do not think so, since he had no vote or say in the matter. The war was George Bush’s idea, not Senator Clinton’s. I myself opposed that war from the beginning too, but I had no vote or say in the matter. However, I do not consider that, for that reason I am qualified to lead this country.

    February 29, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  4. Concerned Canadian

    Hillary Clinton voted for the war...big deal...she did her patriotic duty to ensure that the US is safe. She was given information , she listened to arguments from both sides of the floor and she performed her duty as Senator to vote.

    Obama is 'Mr Present' but Hillary is " Mrs President " !!!

    Obama says there was no al-Qaeda in Iraq before the Bush led invasion. Who's he trying to kid. The fact of the matter is the 'whole' Middle East is full of al-Qaeda, insurgents, suicide bombers, opium drug dealers, warlords, terrorists and anything else even before GW said lets invade Iraq.

    Conclusion , Obama just doesn't have a grasp of reality and he's using 'just words' to fool all ya ordinary people who can't think .

    This nonsense that Hillary is a poster child of the status quo in Washington that the average American detests is just that...NONSENSE !!

    Hillary Clinton for President.......pleeeeeeze !!!!

    February 29, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  5. Juan Venadito

    Obama's Purple Unicorn Dream Factory chugs right along thanks to the fawning MSM. When will the MSM call Obama on his quibbling on Iraq (would've voted no yet a year later in an interview said he wasn't sure how he would've voted), his repeated present votes or absences during crucial votes, and the Afrocentric racist views of his church, let alone his spiritual advisers support of Farrakhan. Treat Obama the same way you treat Hillary Clinton and perhaps more people will wake up from the Obama soma.

    February 29, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  6. Elle

    Hillary Clinton for President. She's the most qualified to handle national and global situations. I trust her to handle business. I trust Obama to be a celebrity.

    February 29, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  7. Chicano Art

    Hillary Clinton was lied to by Bush when she voted to authorize military action. Obama probably saw a potential war with Iraq as an attack on Islam. The fact is, if Bush would have properly planed the war in Iraq most of the problems that arised would have not developed. The Sunni insurgency was created by disbanding the Iraqi army. Bush did not send enough men to secure supply lines or the Iraqi border, allowing outsiders to enter country. These blunders have been criticized openly by McCain. The fact remains that no matter how much hope you have, America still has enemies. Somebody who is too busy giving speeches instead of being a real agent of action is not fit to represent the Democrates in such a crucial election.

    February 29, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  8. Rich Groh

    Hillary Clinton is so very desperate about the upcoming Texas/Ohio/... primaries that she has lost all of her integrity. She gave Bush the OK to invade Iraq. Obama did not. It is just that simple. But she wants to attack him over nation security issues???? George Bush and the Hillary Clinton's who authorized this extremely misguided war are the clueless leaders on national security. Obama is the hope for America out of madness.

    February 29, 2008 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  9. Here we go again!

    This experience argument does not work for HRC, if one is voting on experience, she would not be the candidate of choice!!!!

    And if HRC has so much experience–release the records and show us what you have (probably not much which is why you won't release it).

    Spare us the I've asked them to release it as soon as possible scenerio it's a lie!!!!!

    I'm afraid of people who LIE!

    February 29, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  10. democracy

    Oh Billary blah blah blah................. the same old same, you are running out of things to say, what next?
    where are your tax returns?

    February 29, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  11. Chris M.

    She'd probably be better off if she'd stop whining about Obama and start focusing on what SHE can do. All she does is focus on him, and it's gotten inexcusably ridiculous.

    That's probably half the reason she's losing.

    February 29, 2008 06:50 pm at 6:50 pm |
  12. Joan

    Obama Makes Gay Ad Buys in Ohio, Texas The Obama campaign is lavishing some of its cash advantage on the LGBT community with targeted ad buys in Ohio and Texas leading up to the critical March 4 primaries in both states (Rhode Island and Vermont also vote that day). According to Obama LGBT steering committee member Eric Stern, the campaign has just completed an ad buy with #### newspapers in the four largest LGBT markets of those two states - Columbus, Cleveland, Dallas, and Houston. Full-page ads will appear starting this Friday in Outlook Weekly of Columbus, the Gay People's Chronicle of Cleveland, the Dallas Voice, and OutSmart, which is Houston-based. Buying a full-page, four-color ad that appears one time typically costs anywhere between $1,000 and $2,000 in weekly publications. In the Gay People's Chronicle, for instance, the ad cost about $850, according to the paper's advertising manager; the same ad went for about $1,500 in the Dallas Voice.

    February 29, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  13. Tene B.


    How much Foreign Policy experience, Congressional experience, military experience, did Bill Clinton have when he took office?

    February 29, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  14. Tim R

    She's really getting desperate now.

    I just hope Obama can put an end to her dirty politicking once and for all.
    I am so sick of the Clintons!

    BTW, why won't she release her tax returns? What is she hiding?

    Hillary is only giving McCain ammunition for the general election. She doesn't care about the party or the country; she only cares about herself cuz she's "in it to win it". She's as bad as Nader.

    February 29, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  15. Basquale

    What makes Hillary believe she'd be the better Commander-in-Chief? It's hilarious! So many leaders think they are so great, but they are not! Cause all they can do is making war!!! It's disgusting.

    February 29, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  16. Roger B from Portland, OR

    Wow...she looks like the fricking DEVIL in that picture.

    I wonder where Obama was for that vote? Probably doing something productive with his time, not wasting it on another delusion of Bush? And how can she cite this as not dealing with a crisis?

    And Obama has chaired a few meetings (not the ones Clinton thinks he should hold of course) but he has been too busy running for President. It happens. I mean, Clinton missed the vote for the Stimilus package that both Obama and McCain made it to. She was too busy campaigning...giving speeches and not acting to help the American people. Ironic, isn't it?

    Clinton wants power, she wants control. She tells us what we need. Obama wants to lead us, listen to us, and unite us to stop the petty bickering that is keeping us from ever accomplishing anything.

    February 29, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  17. California Voter

    Indeed there is a difference in giving a speech and having to step up and make a decision when you are in the US Senate. And I agree, where was he when the Iran vote came up that he also criticized her for voting on - MISSING ACTION.

    Voters and Texas and Ohio should take heed before they vote.

    February 29, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  18. Brandon

    nice to see the editors at cnn.com hard at work
    "... supporting a measure pushed BUY the Bush administration.)"

    February 29, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  19. Michael, North Carolina

    Sen. Obama has been honest with the American people. He does not have to resort to using scare tactic's to get people to vote for him, unlike Sen. Clinton. Just as director Michael Moore said at the Oscars. I can not vote for Sen. Clinton because she did not use good judgement when it came to the Iraq War. Sen. Obama did not believe the Bush lies and did what was right, and voted against the war. He gets my vote 100%. Sen. Obama is the JOE LOUIS, FDR, and JFK of our generation. He will unite the American people, unlike anyone before him as ever done.


    February 29, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  20. Lynda in Mn.

    Give it up Hilary, being first lady is NO experience to be President. I am so dicussed with all your scarce ads this past day, that all I can say you should be ashamed of yourself. If our young children see this, which they will what in the world will they think.

    February 29, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  21. Jason

    Back and forth, back and forth, I hope either one get's eliminated on Tuesday so at least one of them will have to shut up! I can't take much more of this.

    February 29, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  22. A New Yorker

    Hopefully people will see the truth about Obama soon. So on Super Tuesday, do you think he scribbled in "present" on the primary ballot when he voted? haha

    Hillary 08

    February 29, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  23. Mark

    "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."

    Yep, and if Dubya can make people believe he answered the call, so can Hillary. Hallelujah!

    C'mon, people. There is no test for this. Everyone shows their mettle if and when a crisis arises. I have no doubt in the capabilities of Obama or Clinton.

    But I think 99% of the time–when that red phone ISN'T ringing–I definitely want Obama running things.

    February 29, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  24. seth

    Sort of like Hillary was missing in action on the FISA vote recently?

    February 29, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  25. Be Real

    And our alternative is Hillary who has no Commander in Chief experience. Get Real!

    Go Obama

    February 29, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
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