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. Jimmy J Sanborn

    I am not responding to this site, but to the Texas caucus and the New Mexico caucus. Why did they take so long to count and the others knew that night. It is tiume for the caucus to go. They do not allow everyone the same benefit of voting. My 88 year old Grandmother would not have a chance to vote. If some one is working during the caucus and cannot get off well they too can not vote. The caucus system is unfair to the American voter. Plus they take so long to count. Four days after the Texas caucus, and still just 41 percent counted. New Mexico took two and a half weeks to count. Down with the caucus. I am glad to see Porta Rico changed their election from a caucus to a primary. Good for them for being fair to their people.

    March 7, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  2. Changing times

    Some of you guys have no good sense. He's not talking about 2007 tax returns you idiots!!! He's talking about 2006 Duh! For that matter 2001-2006!

    March 7, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  3. Kevin

    Man, some people are terrible at math. Go play with a delegate calculator, y'all. It's OVER, and Sen. Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee. Clinton and her campaign can rage all they want, but it doesn't change the fact that they're mathematically eliminated.

    March 7, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  4. Missouri

    Clinton=Couple of LIARS.

    March 7, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. Steve in Albuquerque, NM

    Hillary Clinton constantly criticized her opponent while running for NY State Senator for, get this, not releasing his state tax returns!

    Was she using Ken Starr tactics then?

    What a hypocrite.

    March 7, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. LeftyLadig

    Senator Obama is not being negative. He is merely trying to make sure that Hillary is "fully vetted". He is not suggesting that there may be something unfavorable in those tax returns, as far as he knows

    March 7, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. Deidre, Birmingham

    I am totally unshocked this disappeared, but please email me and let me know why.

    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    What about Peter Paul???? Clinton is on trial for the biggest Campaign Finance Scandle in this country's history and we hear nothing about it from the media!!!! Vetted my A–! Just google and watch the Hillary Uncensored video clips.

    CNN, I double dog dare you to post this!

    March 7, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  8. Sorcha in Venice

    Clinton claims she is transparent and the most vetted candidate in this election.

    It's not going negative to ask her to back up her talk with action.

    Release the records, Hillary.

    March 7, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  9. clinton

    There is nothing negative about asking that the american people see their tax returns. Stuff like tax releases prevents corruption. How is this negative.

    March 7, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  10. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Does anybody really doubt that Hillary would stoop to ANYTHING to get elected? Does this remind anyone og George Bush and the stolen 2000 election?


    Wake up, people! Hillary is a Bush in she's clothing.

    Calling Hillary a Monster is like calling a pig a hog.

    March 7, 2008 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  11. Karen, NJ

    I can't vote for anyone who is so secretive. Hillary needs to answer a few questions as a candidate. Let's separate what her husband did and ask her, WHAT are her foreign policy experience within those 35 years?

    What critical meeting has she led abroad?
    What foreign president or prime minster has she worked with to revolve nuclear crisis?
    What foreign president or prime minister called the white house to speak with her regarding a crisis?
    What call has she taken at 3AM regarding national security?

    Where's the white house furniture?
    Where are those tax returns?
    Who is her husband now working with overseas? How many terrorist donated to her campaign?

    WE get confused by the name Clinton and allot Hillary Bill's wins but she needs to ask some questions. What has she done in those 35 years that adds up to WASHINGTON Presidential experience?

    March 7, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  12. Kidding American

    Does Mr. Obama think what his wife will do is just signing on agreements and travel around the world after she , if luckly, is first lady?

    March 7, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  13. Janelle

    If she doesn't have anything to hide, then why not release her tax returns? If she hasn't filed 2007 yet, then fine, but release the previous years. She should also release her records as First Lady- let's see what her "experience" really was. If Obama was the one who hadn't released his, the media would be all over the story. Instead, the media makes little news big (the monster comment- OK, it has been taken care of....move on!), and ignores the big news. The fact that Hillary's camp talked to Canada about NAFTA, the Paul lawsuit, etc.

    March 7, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  14. Alice

    Oh yeah! I can't wait to hear Hillary rebut questioning during her fraud trial in October 2008. Let's see. "I don't recall". "I don't remember that". "I had nothing to do with that". Blablabla.... When is this female finally going to get caught in her lies?

    March 7, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  15. Ginger

    Hillary compared Obama to Karl Rove! Her staff compared him to Ken Starr! I think this is what psychologists call "projecting." No wonder an Obama staffer called her a monster. That's precisely what she is. Let's not forget that when she was asked tough questions under oath about her questionable dealings, her response was, "I don't recall..." I hope someone unearths some video of her less-than-forthright answers when her unsavory past was probed. If she wants a dirty fight, I hope someone will air her laundry.

    March 7, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  16. clinton

    Would george washington refuse to show tax returns? No because he was an honest man.

    March 7, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  17. linda

    Hey, Hillary really is a monster. Really. One of the dictionary definitions of monster is," a being whose vicious behavior terrifies and disgusts." Yep, she is definitely a monster. But, what is so puzzling to me is how proud Americans continually support her negative, depressing, unpleasant demeanor and self promoting tactics. Curious to me.

    March 7, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  18. Hattie / Chicago

    In regards to the delegates in Florida and Michigan, It seems that the news media and the Democratic party are taking their cues from the Clinton camp.. She says she wants the votes to count believing that she will end up with the majority and "poof " the media makes this the top issue of the day regardless to the fact that both states broke the rules.. To be fair to both parties involved, the delegates should be split down the middle so that the media can move on and start "vetting" Clinton's so called 35 years of experience and the "wink" she or her staff gave to the Canadians regarding NAFTA.

    March 7, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  19. NY Voter

    I think it is ridiculous that Obama is going negative and the the media is not reporting the facts equally just to keep their coverage going. How hard is it to find any negative attacks on either candidate or party? Just google their names. So if you show one bad thing Hillary did show one bad thing Obama did. The news media isn't reporting the stories they have become this machine that will do anything to keep ratings up. What is a shame is that so many people listen to them and they should be ashamed of themselves for trying to manipulate the America public.

    March 7, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  20. Nobama

    Can someone explain to me how a ghetto boy can afford a million dollar house?

    Because he ain't from the ghetto.

    March 7, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  21. Sarah

    As always, business as usual for the corrupt Clintons.

    March 7, 2008 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  22. Mike Brian PA

    LOL...Tax returns? Obama, please explain to the public for the following things.....

    1. Bought a house, saved 300k through his friend called 'Tony Rezko'.
    2. Successfully delayed 15 parking tickets for over 20 years.
    3. Invented a way to vote on tough issues without jeopardize his political future (voting present 150 times, he should patent it!!)
    4. Secured most campaign funding among all candidates from big insurance co. (that's why he can't support Universal Health Care!)
    5. Successfully hide his middle name – Hussein from Dec 07 to Feb 08. (What else is he hiding? He can not even let people know his real name).
    6. Successfully (for a while) fooled US voters on NAFTA rhetoric.
    7. Made people faint in rallies. (repeatable results)
    8. Made his wife feel proud to be American for the first time of her adult life…
    9. Pressing wrong button 6 times without causing major accident or war.

    March 7, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  23. Dave, Columbus, OH

    I think I recall that somone in the past correctly called Hillary a name "that rhymes with witch"? It seems to me that "__itch" and "monster" are probably both correct.

    March 7, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  24. Hillary for President 2008

    Senator Clinton's money is for the little people like me who are donating to her campain. Senator Obama, You are a phone man.

    March 7, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  25. Russell NC

    I wonder how much longer it is going to take for people to see Clinton for what she really is.

    March 7, 2008 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
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