March 7th, 2008
10:15 AM ET
15 years ago

A fact check on Clinton's foreign policy claims

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Sen. Hillary Clinton delivered a foreign policy speech at George Washington University in February."]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Hillary Clinton, fresh off crucial wins in Tuesday's primaries, has been playing the experience card heavily, particularly in regard to her role in foreign policy.

Clinton said it's her 35 years of experience that make her the best candidate to take on presumptive GOP presidential nominee John McCain in November.

After losing primaries in Ohio and Texas, Sen. Barack Obama argued the media has not held Clinton's feet to the fire on foreign policy.

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Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. John

    You see a lot in 35 years. That's more time than the age of most of Sen. Obama's voters!

    March 7, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  2. Roger

    You went pretty easy on Clinton with this article. As reported by Washington Post's Michael Dobbs (AKA The Post Fact Checker):

    Chris Thornton, a political reporter for the Belfast Telegraph, said that Hillary Clinton's visits to northern Ireland contributed to the "mood music" that made an eventual settlement possible, but were hardly key to reaching an agreement. "Would we have reached a settlement without that kind of stuff? Yes. Would we have got one without the intervention of Bill Clinton and George Mitchell? No."

    Hillary is making a lot more of her Northern Ireland role on the campaign trail than she did in her memoir "Living History." As the Boston Globe recently noted, her stories of bringing Protestant and Catholic women together have become more dramatic with each retelling. The claim that she brought Catholics and Protestants together "for the first time" seems dubious. This would not be the first time that she has mixed up her chronology.

    His conclusion was " Hillary Clinton seems to be overstating her significance as a catalyst in the Northern Ireland peace process, which was more symbolic than substantive"

    Again CNN Lets her off Easy !!!

    March 7, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  3. Andrew

    So let me get this straight…Obama stands up and gives a speech against the Iraq war and Clinton claims it’s nothing but empty rhetoric. She gives a speech in China and suddenly that counts as foreign policy experience!? So let me ask this, what “solutions” did she offer? What grand accomplishment did she add to back up her speech? Yep, nothing. I’m sorry, but 8 years as first lady does not count as executive experience in my book. So how about we all just “get real”

    March 7, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  4. Where's the Beef?

    I seem to recall quite vividly that when people had concerns of who was running the Bill Clinton White House they were quick to play down Hillary's involvement. Now when it benefits here she can't wait to take credit for Bill's policy decisions.

    Obama has held elected office longer than Clinton and yet she claims experience that she cannot prove because she is dragging her feet on the release of documents detailing that information. Perhaps they are dragging their feet because it proves she actually has no proof? Come on wake up people.

    March 7, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  5. nick

    So what MONSTER.

    March 7, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  6. Zed

    How old is Hillary? 61?

    So claiming 35 years of experience (and having married Bill in 1975) she must now be adding in the time she was actually DATING Bill Clinton, too! (And while I agree that some might think that could really be an experience, it's not the kind the country wants to think about! Can you say ewww?)

    The Clinton campaign's claims are as outrageous as her behavior as first she' the well-documented outbursts directed at staffers, security, even Marine-1 helicopter pilots.

    So what we really see in this Democratic primary is the question of whether old and sneaky will subdue young and talented.

    March 7, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  7. Keith smith

    Hell ya. We all know she is not just a ex-first lady but some one very smart, intelligent and a fighter. I have no reason not to believe that Hillary will be an amazing president who will solve most of the issues we face here at our home .

    March 7, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Vince

    Well, clearly Hillary has much much more experience than Obama. It's not even close.

    Even when people with very high position come out and say that Hillary was essential in helping this and that happen, some people just won't let that be enough. I don't get it.

    Also, Hillary was constantly helping improve people in poverty and children across the nation and around the world. And many times just on her OWN time, not as a paid appointed position. Sounds a lot like Princess Diana, doesn't it?

    I'm not saying Hillary is Princess Di; Hillary is definitely more in politics, but both of them have tried to push to improve in the same general areas for their entire life and NOBODY can prove otherwise, or they haven't done any research.

    March 7, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  9. Horace P Manure

    Amazing how Hillary changes her campaign slogan every week.

    Kinda like her personality and stance on issues.

    March 7, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  10. Jayson

    Of course they haven't. Otherwise they would have to address all the fat check Bill is getting from foreign countries, including Middle East governments. Many of which turn a blind to extremist elements as long as they don't attack targets within the country...

    March 7, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  11. TD Friedman

    So she is resting her foreign policy creds on a couple of speeches? Isn't this what she has complained about with Obama?

    March 7, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  12. Lawrence

    I had to find this in a small section of your website. Why is that? This is what she's been running. I didn't see 35 years worth of stuff in it. I'm not sure if the article had to be cut, but if this is all she has then I think the story should be larger than a small section. You can't lie about your experience then expect to run the country. I know people get fired from smaller jobs if they lie about their college or job experience....or stretch the truth. We'll be entrusting her with the country. I'd like to hear some debate about this.

    March 7, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  13. Darron

    To my knowledge, the only foreign policy experience the 1st lady gets is humnaitiarian support of third-world countries. Pushing for women's rights in China does not equate to nation to nation foreign policy. It does not include taxation of imports/exports, treaties, shared military intelligence, technological improvements, or military weaponry, which is the one thing the Clinton's completely screwed up by allowing China to intercept or steal our military technology, specifically missle technology.
    I ask Sen. Clinton only one question, "What is your specific plan on improving foreign policies between the United States and members of the UN, whom consistently refuse to support the US in its efforts on international terror?" (Support meaning military personnel on a large scale, intelligence support, foreign policy support, such as using US air strikes on Al-Queda training grounds in Pakistan)

    March 7, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  14. Nita

    CNN, I'm screaming in my head!

    Why haven't you headlined the NAFTA scandal that caused Obama to lose in OH?? That isn't right you guys, the people need to know the truth. You have reported all around the story when in fact it should've been a headline!!

    March 7, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  15. priamryobserver

    Why are there no comments here?! This is extremely important. Hillary goes on to say that Barak's denounciaton of the war was when it didn't really count. Clearly, many of her "experiences" were in capacities that had no bearing the the outcome or in which she was not the primary driver of an outcome. How can she claim so much more experience?

    March 7, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  16. California Independent

    Does he really want to go there? Is the campaign imploding or what? Let's see a summary of his foreign policy experience. I don't think claiming to be chair of a committee he couldn't bother with in a time of war is going to reflect well.

    March 7, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  17. Felton.."from around the way"

    My father has worked in Africa for at least 3 decades helping the people..the biggest achievement being Africa University in Zimbabwe...He also worked with King,Jackson,Bond, Gregory, and Young in Chicago in '60-' served as her (Hillary's) Bishop during Bill's term....That's a lot more than Clinton has done (either one). He's not running for President...but has done a lot more than Ms. Clinton wants "US" to believe she did......pitiful


    March 7, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  18. nikki

    I agree! As first lady she is correct in saying that she visited many countries. However, that does not translate into foreign policy expertise. It just means that she is well traveled. Many in the military can say they are well traveled as well. That does not mean she is qualified to be president. And for the record since she has so much foreign policy experience someone should ask her where was all of that experience when over 1 million people were dying during the Rwandan Genocide of the 90's?

    Lastly, I want someone to name one president who did not have on the job training? If you have to think about I will wait and give you a minute.......... The answer they all had on the job training! Absolutely nothing can prepare a person to be the president except being the president. You get the experience by doing the job and nothing else!

    March 7, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  19. Kim, Los Angeles, CA

    At last, Obama's campaign is being exposed as mean-spirited,
    racist, and sexist. The NAFTA LIE was the beginning of the end
    for OBAMAMANIA. Hillary will win in Pa., the votes will count in Michigan and Florida, and HILLARY WILL BE THE NEXT PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
    As for the Superdelegates, they too have gotten off the Obama trainwreck. Where are the 60 Superdelegates that were supposed to endorse Obama on Wed. morning after the March 5 primaries? They are beginning to see the real Obama, and they don't like what they see: too little experience, ineffective leadership,

    You need to tell your supporters that they must support WHOEVER is the nominee of the Democratic party. How dare you threaten that,
    "your supporters won't vote for Hillary if she is the nominee". Talk about immaturity and inexperience, we Dems support the nominee, whoever he or she is for the good of the country and the party. Obama, you cannot change the rules for the Superdelegates just because you are losing with them. Whine and pout all you want: THE SUPERDELEGATES ARE SUPPOSED TO VOTE BY THEIR OWN JUDGMENT, NOT BY VOTER OR DELEGATE COUNT. THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT OF THE SUPERDELEGATES, TO PROVIDE A CHECK AND BALANCE TO THE PLEDGED DELEGATES.

    March 7, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  20. Cecil

    Hello America;

    Think of the great possibilities we can accomplish, when we began to talk!

    Obama 08

    March 7, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  21. Rob, Virginia

    Where is she getting this I'm more experienced notion? She has only been a U.S. senator 3 years longer then Obama. Obama was in the state Illinois senate for 7 years. By my account thats 4 more years experience then Hillary has.

    March 7, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  22. sacto joe

    Why would the media moguls "hold Clinton's feet to the fire"? The WANT her to take the nomination, or at least to engender enough bad will to sour Obama's chances.

    Who do you think is behind this big push to rile up the voters in Florida and Michigan? Here's a clue: What business does a Republican governor (Florida's Christ) have for sticking his oar in the Democratic nomination process? NONE!

    This is the old "divide and conquer" gambit.


    March 7, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  23. Bill L

    So in "35 years of public service" she had 3 minor instances of foreign affairs involment? And that is overwhelming experience?

    March 7, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  24. sabrina V

    i cant believe the ignorance of most obama supporters who trash hillary with so much hate – get a grip.

    If you do some research you will find that she was actively involved in many policies and issues tackled on the national and international level, while her husband was president. You cant discredit her work or contributions just because she was a woman married to her husband at the time. Any other person who did the work that she did with him, would be given the credit they deserve.

    In addition, what has obama done that is comparable to that?

    March 7, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  25. Jason

    Hey Mathew, enough with the bias nonsense. You do realize that they put this fact check out because Hillary constantly states that she is more experienced and has over 35 years of experience. Geez don't you pay attention at all? Obama hasn't been boasting about his foreign policy experience or embellishing his past experience. He continues to make a distinction that he has better judgement which of course, is open for debate. Meanwhile, Hillary continues to state that she has extensive foreign policy experience that helps define her 35 years of experience. What this report is stating is, well, she's not being entirely accurate in her statements. As usual, I doubt CNN will post this. It's always the same Go Hillary or Go Obama rah rah nonsense that gets posted.

    March 7, 2008 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
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