March 7th, 2008
08:30 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama camp slams Clinton for secrecy


Obama's campaign manager had some sharp words for Clinton Friday (AP Photo)

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama's campaign stepped up its effort Friday to target Hillary Clinton for delaying the release of her income tax returns, saying the New York senator has a "pattern of secrecy" and has yet to be fully vetted by the American people.

"Senator Clinton is one of the most secretive politicians in America today," Obama Campaign Manager David Plouffe said in a conference call with reporters. "She has consistently refused to release her tax returns. They have said they are going to release them around [April] 15, but there is no reason why the prior six years of tax returns couldn't be released right now."

Obama's campaign has long criticized Clinton for not releasing her previous tax returns, though it stepped up its attacks earlier this week. In a conference call the morning after Obama lost three out of the four March 4 primary contests, Obama strategist David Axelrod said Clinton is the least-vetted candidate in the presidential field because of her refusal to disclose the documents.

Clinton's Communications Director Howard Wolfson released a statement shortly after the call repeating recent assurances that the New York senator will release last year's tax returns in April. He also said over 20 years of Bill and Hillary Clinton’s tax returns are already public.

Clinton did release a Senate disclosure form last May that revealed the couple’s joint income for the previous year was upwards of $12 million. But a tax return would present a more comprehensive account of the Clintons’ income, and include revenue sources that aren't required on Senate disclosure forms.

"Considering the huge amounts of money they have made in recent years, they've contributed their money to the campaign, some of those relationships financially have been with individuals who have come under quite a bit of scrutiny for possible ethics transgressions, its essential to know where the American people are getting there money from," Plouffe said Thursday.

"If Sen. Clinton is not being open and honest about her tax returns or her experience on the campaign trial, you have to wonder if she'll be open and honest with the American people as president," he added.

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (314 Responses)
  1. Steve in Albuquerque, NM

    Hiding things from public view. Does that remind anyone of someone?

    Maybe.... BUSH?

    People say that McCain would be a third term for Bush, I'm not so certain Hillary wouldn't be also.

    March 7, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. MickyD10

    "If Sen. Clinton is not being open and honest about her tax returns or her experience on the campaign trial, you have to wonder if she'll be open and honest with the American people as president,"

    No "if" Clinton is being dishonest about it. It's a fact!!

    March 7, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  3. Alba

    You don't think the Rebublicans will go after this issue in the fall. Get the info out now, so we can really see who is in the best psoition to take on Mcain.

    March 7, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  4. Nobama

    Why doesn't Obama tell us the whole truth about his relationship with Rezko?

    March 7, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  5. J. Dean, Juno Beach, FLORIDA


    March 7, 2008 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  6. Jeremy, WV

    Oh Haley,

    It is abundantly clear, that Barack wanted to keep this campaign clean, but when running against Bill and Hillary–it just can't happen. He owes it to his supporters to return her fire, and good for him.

    He has gone through two weeks of attack, after attack, after attack. So true to Bill Clinton's words, this campaign will not be clean. Good for Barack–because he is not dealing with average opponents. The Clintons are a very ruthless and mean-spirited team, who will stop at NOTHING to win. They will drag him down to their level, and everybody with him, as long as they get there way.

    So good for Barack and good for America. I want him to win, and will be sending another check to his campaign today.

    March 7, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. YEAH

    Clinton should know from the start that her negative attacks on Obama will get more in return for herself, since she has hid way too much behind the campaign. Who want to see two old political couples doing the same old politics again to change the status quo??
    Explain and expose yourself to the public, Clinton!

    March 7, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  8. Wants to see the money!

    Doesn't anyone understand why this is so important! Think Cheney and Halliburton! Clinton could have stocks, money coming from or with drug companies and she pushes for health care reform when she could make these companies very rich!

    Money is power and they know that full well. Money from corrupt governments in your wallets, etc. This is an integrity issue, Hillary!

    She urged her rival to release his returns, so Obama is justified to ask for hers. He has released his long ago.

    March 7, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  9. JoJo

    Oh and one more observation...Clinton attacks because she thinks it the "fun part of politics" while Obama has begun to fight back to avoid being beaten to the ground.

    March 7, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  10. Sherry

    Why is Obama slamming Hillary's tax returns, when Michelle Obama's college thesis has been held closed until after the election?
    It all should be released, or none should be released.

    March 7, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  11. karen

    I don't have to wonder if she'll be open and honest with the American People. The Clinton Presidency was chock full of lies – even now, they refuse to release records and I think everyone who's paying attention to Bill has a pretty good idea of why they don't want their income sources exposed. . They aren't going to change now – and they thirive on throwing dirt around to see where it lands. Hillary LIKES bringing others down into the slime – she thinks this is the FUN part. So much for a substantive campaing. I just wish they 'd slither back under the Little Rock where they came from.

    March 7, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  12. Mike Allen

    Hillary's secrecy is the least of her terrible attributes. All she does every day is to seize on some minor issue and then twist it to her advantage. She is destroying the Democrat Party but is too power hungry to care. Today she once again did her STRATEGIC TRANSFERENCE trick where she picks something she is guilty of and then blames it on Obama. Todays trick was to fault Obama for saying he could get out of Iraq in sixteen months while expecting us to forget that she tried to trump Obama by saying that she would get out of Iraq in sixty days. Does she think we are idiots. Her last trick was to say Obama was two faced on his NAFTA policy while we have sinced learned that it was her staff that contacted the Canadians about NAFTA. Of course she played her trick just before the Ohio vote with no time for the truth to come out. Hillary is the most despicable example of a Maccavellian politician

    March 7, 2008 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  13. here we go...again

    You can't say asking to release your tax returns as being negative. Thats like saying its a terrible thing to ask your children for their report card. A negative campaign move would more be like Obama's advisor calling Hillary a monster, and for doing so she resigned from the campaign because Obama wasn't okay with it. Someone prove to me that Obama has been negative. Thanks.

    March 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  14. Tactics

    Hilary is almost 20 years elder than Obama but their money is not more than his.

    Please tell how he can earn so much money in so short of time?

    If experience as a first lady is just Sign agreement, then is that saying we need also neglect the experience of a president? They looks seem always just signing.

    I can not believe that from a senator`s mouth.

    March 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  15. Maggie

    come on!! Obama don't be a loser, the same way you wonder about Hillary, we voters are also are wondering how much is Oprah, and Rezeko's giving to your campain. just wondering.

    March 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  16. Tony James

    I agree with the lady from Mich above. If Hillary gets nomintated, then McCain is a shoe in! I will not vote for her. She polarizes everyone!! That is the last thing we need.

    Asn an independent, I am going with Obama or McCain. Not that I agree with them 100% on obviously, but a sense of character is #1 and Hillary is out for herself. She is so fake when she talks about her service. LOL. She is on a power trip as far as I can tell.

    March 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  17. Gary

    Obama: What about your dealings with Rezco & how much you got from Oprah! This is an act of desperation! What about your campaign donation records? What about those Obama supporters cheating & manipulating voters in Dallas Texas caucauses? What about your back door policy dealings with Canada? Give me all the answers..... Let's verify them!

    March 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |

    Senator Clinton make me sick I will never for give her saying that
    John Mcain will make a better President then Senator Obama's
    so if obama what to go for her hart i say go for it.

    March 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  19. Lynn

    As usual the Clintons thinking they can do what they want, I have no respect for Hillary Clinton and had enough of the two of themfrom the last time, she started with the negative campaigning, and when Obama, points out a fact about her, then its" he " is being negative, personally, if people can't see what Hillary clinton is and what she represents, then there is no hope. Hillary Clinton the anti-christ.

    March 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  20. change 1

    wake up people. about time. this maneuvering of the media by the clintons is disgusting. THIS WOMAN AND HER HUSBAND HAVE GOTTEN AWAY WITH WHAT AN ORDINARY POLITICIAN WOULD NOT GET AWAY WITH. the media seems like they are scared of the bull dogs (billary) ABSOLUTE POWER CORRUPTS, HILLARY, the white house is not your entitlement because you are a woman. IT NEEDS SOMEONE WHO IS ETHICAL AND TRANSPARENT. RELEASE YOUR RECORDS AND LET US EVALUATE YOU!

    March 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  21. joe average

    if billary gets the nomination through the corruption of florida and michigan, i wont go so far as to vote for mcCAIN but i can promise you I as well as many others wont be voting at all

    March 7, 2008 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  22. JC

    This is so foolish! It's actually CNN trying to smear Clinton.
    How about some truth about Obama and his mountain of Horror Friends that gave him money.
    Obama should be questioned about the NY bombing also. It's his anti war rhetoric that gets these nuts going!
    Come on CNN...Fair and what? Unbalanced...

    March 7, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  23. elaine


    March 7, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  24. Nobama

    Frankalai – The rest of the world is NOT pulling for Obama – most of us in Britain don't want him.

    March 7, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  25. KC, Texas

    Stop it, Obama. You said you wanna run a positive campain and focus on more important issues. If Hillary has anything illegal, file an law suit. Otherwise, stay your focus with your campain and what's good for the country. If you don't have anything more to do, please exit the race with grace. Thank you!

    March 7, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
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