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. American Citizen

    I am tired of Obama asking for The Clinton's Tax returns. What does that have to do with the presidency? NOTHING! Obama need to get off of that kick. Most wealthy people don't file taxes until April 15th. What about Rezko? Obama needs to sweep from around his porch before he tries to sweep from around Hillary's porch. Hillary life is an open book. Obama life is a closed book.

    March 7, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  2. Dan, NJ

    She certainly gives the appearance she is hiding something... I don't trust her to begin with, but either:

    1. there is nothing to hide and she is creating her own problem by refusing to release it OR

    2. she is hiding something damaging that the voters have a right to know.

    Either way she is doing the American people a disservice.

    March 7, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  3. RAF

    Sen. Clinton has made it painfully obvious that she will do anything to get elected. She accused Obama of having a conversation about NAFTA with the Canadians, playing to the fears of people from Ohio and Texas. However, it is now apparent that she had the same conversation. How dishonest of her to mislead the people who voted for her.
    She is hiding many things, that is quite obvious. I wish CNN would give that more air time.

    March 7, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  4. Eric, California

    The supposed "unity" of Obama and his supporters is proving to be the final death blow of any chance of a unified democratic party this November.

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

    Interesting, CNN. You decided to repeat this old "news" from earlier this week. Also interesting that you removed the headline story from this morning – "Obama adviser quits after calling Clinton ‘monster’" from having its own direct link after less than six hours. When Bill Sheehan made an equally personal and inapporpriate attack on Senator Obama in December, the headline remained on the front page as its own link for almost two days. What's up with the unequal journalism?

    March 7, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  6. KOKO

    if you vode for Clintons again be ready for anoth 9/11
    remember Bill was on powe for 8years,
    Bush took power and in 8months they did they long plan
    so how HRC claims that she have a white house experience? whay they did to prevent all this mess, now everything is to blame Bush! wake up AMERICA! terrorist were here before bush came on power! unfortunately all this came up on his term, but thisnk twice.what did clintons in 8 years for NATIONAL SECURITY, strength our military? well do you wants them again to send us in holiday? Better you vote for OBAMA or JOHN McCain

    HILLARY you are:

    1) has NO CHARACTER
    2) has NO INTEGRITY
    3) has NO PLANS
    4) has EXPERIENCE for nothing
    5) is ALL TALK
    6) plays the RACE CARD
    7) is a WHINIER
    speaks of change .. but changes his stances faster than a CHAMELEON
    9) is DIVISIVE

    Go OBAMA GO!!8

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

    "Oh no, I'm not going to resort to negative campaigning or Washington politics as usual." Obama is so hypocritical it isn't funny and will do what any other politician would do to win. Obama's attack is politics as usual and it's time people start seeing him that way.

    March 7, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  8. Matt

    Dishonesty and being a Clinton just go hand in hand like Chocolate and Peanut Butter. She will not release her tax records ever I am sure. And if she did she would probably go to jail for it. Both Hillary and Bill Clinton like to smear the line when it comes to honesty and ethics and when called on it Hillary will first do her psychotic self defense laugh to cover her anger then will seek to redefine what is ethics and the rule of law.

    She is a politician by nature and therefor dishonest by nature. Her husband flat out lied to the American people on multiple occasions and she stuck by him. What does that say about her and the friends she keeps? They delayed investigations into their practices for 8 years till they left office and the issue became irrelevant. She stole items from the WhiteHouse and tried to claim them as hers.

    How can the American people even begin to think of letting them back in power. Talk about the dumbing down of America, this would be insanity.

    In the end she will think of some way to delay releasing these records till after she leaves office just like her files when she was there before. By then the damage is done.

    Don't be fooled America. Fool me once shame on them, fool me twice shame on me.

    March 7, 2008 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. SLO Bear

    Now, I'm sure who would be the more seamless continuation of the last presidency: McCain or Clinton. And I'm getting a lot more scared of the latter.

    March 7, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  10. Kim Lee

    Hillary is such a two faced conniving power hungry Monster. The Obama advisor who called her that should have been promoted . If tricky Hillary released her tax records the voters would see that she is in bed with the same big money power brokers that support the Republicans. Four years of Hillary is just the continuation of the same garbage we have endured for the last sixteen years of the Bush/Clinton dynasty. Please America lets give someone else a chance. It can not be worse that what we have had under both Bushes and Clintonpast.

    March 7, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  11. Liv Manto

    People dont care really... ALL we care is food nour table. Obama has been mudslinging right and left, he cant even explain Rezko. He sends out negative fliers yet claims innocence on wrong doing. I mean , c'mon this guy cant even take responsibility for his actions. And using another white girl to tell the worls Hill is a monster. Very juvenile tactics, and he wants to be the one who can push the red button? We dont trust this guy. If Hill campaigned in the small states, he wouldnt be blabbering. He just have more money than Hill, giving out concerts right and left, almost buying votes actually. Yet in the end, the real people, not the ones who act like they are in spring break party everyday, voted for Hillary. If I were a superdelegate, I would just stop this insanity and send the party goers home. So sick and tired of Obama.

    March 7, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. Nader not looking so bad...

    I do have to wonder... If the Clinton returns had absolutely nothing damaging in them, why wouldn't she have already made them available? I might buy that their 2007 returns aren't done yet, but what's the problem with 2006 or before? I could cough mine up in a matter of minutes. And the fact it is now ammo for Obama makes me wonder even more! If it is a non-issue, she should provide them and end this argument once and for all.

    March 7, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. Jim ( Independent )

    I think the Clintons are about to get a real wake up call. All there dirty laundry is going to be exposed any day now. Hillary and Bill are more crooked then George Bush , and thats pretty crooked.

    March 7, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  14. Cathy

    There is nothing negative in asking for full disclosure from Hillary Clinton. I believe she is trying to hide all the money Bill has made from foreign governments. THIS IS IMPORTANT and I'm glad the Obama folks are finally starting to press this issue.

    Secrecy is a personality trait. It has been on display for years, but people aren't paying attention. This is something that will be hard, if not impossible for her to change.

    March 7, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  15. Rose - Baltimore, MD

    I meant, Monster woman smeared Obama with lies in order to win Ohio, that needs to be brought up. Expose her on the nafta deal with Canada. Please don't be too soft on her. She is taking advantage of the fact that Obama is not practicing old politics. Just quite that Obama! Go extremely negative please, don't pad it, that the languange Clinton understands.

    March 7, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  16. Randy

    I have to admit, Obama makes a good point with this. What does Clinton have to hide? She's had years to prepare these tax returns, why can't she release them immediately?

    March 7, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  17. Yes We Can!

    Why isn't anyone talking about Peter Paul's law suit against the Clintons and the money he raised illegally for Hillary's Senate campaign??

    Where are her tax returns???

    Why is Bill Clinton accepting money for his foundation from a uranium miner while Hillary Clinton campaigns against nuclear power???

    Why isn't more information being provided about NAFTA-gate where it has be discovered that it was the Clinton campaign not Obama, who told Canada not to worry about all that NAFTA talk on the campaign???

    The media can jump on a false tip in no time but can't seem to focus on what is really happening in the Clinton campaign.

    March 7, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  18. Camille

    *rolls eyes* seriously all but this last year are all public record, so if people want to see them that bad, they should look them up.

    March 7, 2008 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  19. Bright

    Obama's campaign team, please stop acting like you work for IRS. I know large number of people who didn't file their tax returns for one year and IRS went for their soul. I don't think the Clintons are doing anything illegal for not releasing their tax returns. Because if they do, the IRS will go after them and not a first term U.S. Senator Obama's campaign team. If Obama's campaign team wants to enforce any federal laws, I will suggest that Obama holds oversight hearing on Afghanistan to save the lives of our military men and women in Afghanistan.

    March 7, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  20. Katie

    WHO CARES about tax returns. Go figure. Obama's camp screws up, and they go back to this petty argument. I don't base my decisions on tax returns.

    March 7, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  21. American

    I am tired of Obama asking for The Clinton's Tax returns. What does that have to do with the presidency? NOTHING! Obama need to get off of that kick. Most wealthy people don't file taxes until April 15th. What about Rezko? Obama needs to sweep from around his porch before he tries to sweep from around Hillary's porch. Hillary life is an open book. Obama life is a closed book.

    March 7, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  22. demos

    Before Clinton ran for president, he refused to release his tax return and we found that he was hiding something that might have prevent people from electing him.
    The country will stall with those people in power with bill clinton having deals with terrorist organization.

    March 7, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  23. Mike, MD


    Hillary is really saying that if she does not win she would rather have a BUSH 3rd TERM.

    She wants to be the first Women President at all cost!! It's Pathetic!!

    She is willing to destroy the party and the AMERICAN people for her gain!! SAY THIS and STOP BEING WEAK!!!!!

    March 7, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  24. Katherine Doan

    Hillary started this. She has to let us know where the money is coming from.

    March 7, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  25. KHAL Houston,.Tx

    I agree with all of the above,I know them, personally through my late friend Ronald H. Brown....he told me some things that i will not repeat except in a book of "How the Clintons don't care about anyone or anything but themselves. You better wake up America.

    March 7, 2008 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
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