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. Michele

    Lets get ready to rumble !

    March 7, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. Nick

    She lied about Nafta and Canada, lied about Iraq, stupid enough to go to Iraq... ya, not voting for her.

    March 7, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  3. puppies and rainbows

    Obama really does not play this game well – he needs to go back to his "hope and change" speeches. Maybe he can blow his nose again and everyone will cheer. Bottom line, this is an OK attack but really not that much and repeating it over and over again makes it look like he has nothing to say.

    Obama is great at the puppies and rainbows farce but once the real game gets started he's weak and naive and it's showing in a blantently obvious way.

    There are years and years of financial scruntiny on the Clintons. Not to mention that one infamous investigation by an actual intelligent lawyer that turned up nothing.

    Did anyone even read Obama's famous tax return? Did anyone care? NO. Non-issue.

    Obama went negative – his whole campaign strategy of "hope and change" is now an official joke. LOL.

    March 7, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  4. mike

    Chris Matthews just brought up the NAFTA GATE issue and how it was the Clintons actually telling the Canadians to take it with a grain of salt and he and Nora Odonell and the other guy just laughed it off! What the hell is wrong with these people. Did the hit job on Shuster from the Clinton's really take the spine out of these guys? I am just amazed, where is the fairness in this country. The MSM is truly pathetic. This will be the last Hardball I watch, at least you have Keith Oberman who isn't so gutless as to ignore something as huge as Hillary dubbing the Ohio and Texas voters, yeah that's democracy!

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

    To people calling this negative, that is not the case! This is just pointing out the truth. We Americans are entitled to know how her money is made to ensure nothing shady is going on. But with the Clinton's shadyness has always surrended them, this is nothing new!!

    March 7, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  6. Travis Johns

    Perhaps she is too busy running for president. Isn't that Barack Obama's excuse for not holding a meeting on Afghanistan??

    March 7, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  7. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    Hillary is another Bush.....

    March 7, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  8. I can't believe it!

    Please google Paul vs. Clinton. The trial is set.

    March 7, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  9. Kim Nguyen

    What a cheap shot from Obama campaign. People watched the last MSMBC debate already knew the answer from Hillary. Get a life a boohoo campaign!

    March 7, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  10. lakeyville

    media start doing your job give a real report about billary and mr. pauls relationship

    March 7, 2008 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  11. Manny James

    April is fine by me..clinto 08

    March 7, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  12. Debby

    I wonder what she has to hide. i can show you my tax returns, its no big deal. I dont trust politicians who hide stuff from the people. it means they wont be honest when they are in office. if she is covering up her tax returns who knows what else she is covering up.
    I was going to vote Hillary, i might have to change my mind if she keeps covering stuff up from the people. You want to be our leader then you have got to be open with us.

    March 7, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  13. John -Bartlett IL

    Where is "The Goracle" ???

    March 7, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  14. Wynter (NH)

    The level of whining out of the Obama Camp is taking on a life of it's own.

    This is simply smoke and mirrors to divert attention from the Rezko Trial that is daily putting out statements with Obama's name included in them in the courtroom.

    And all this from a candidate that "claims" to be running a clean campaign! If this isn't "mud slinging" I don't know what else it could be!

    Hillary stated when they would be available and we ain't there yet. So keep your pants on Obama!

    And by the way, where is the clamoring for McCain's Tax Returns? He still hasn't put his out there.

    Simply saying,

    March 7, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  15. Jim

    What about Rezko, Obama?

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

    Releasing tax returns is the issue for the IRS to deal with not the Obama's campaign team. Obama doesn't have time to hold oversight hearing on Afghanistan where U.S soldiers are being murdered but Obama has time to enforce IRS rules. Obama has been skipping and missing in action whenever he is called upon to make tough decisions. How can he be a commander in chief with his just words, just speeches and just change? We need a real leader. Someone's tax returns is a matter for the IRS to deal with and not Obama's campaign team.

    March 7, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  17. trix, OH

    what is she hiding???

    March 7, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  18. I can't believe it!

    Google Paul vs. Clinton. I didn't want to believe it until I saw it with my own eyes. Wow.

    March 7, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  19. Ron R

    What is Obama suppose to do? Stand back and let Hillary pull her shananigans over and over?? If I were him I would continue to point out FACTS and only FACTS over and over until the public understands who he is dealing with. She is out of control and he has every right to fight back. OPEN YOUR EYES AMERICA!!!

    March 7, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  20. Chris

    This campaign has become a joke. We have men and women dying overseas, folks losing their homes, a health care crisis to focus on and all we are doing is calling our candidates names. I don't care about name calling, tax returns, past scandals, whose thighs are bigger, etc. America needs to get out of the sand box and get real. We are really regressing. If our children acted this way on the playground, we would certainly scold them. Listen to these reporters....nanny, nanny, boo, boo. I am beginning to wonder if America is mature enough to even have elections!

    March 7, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  21. voter in WI

    Apparently tax return is the only thing obama camp could talk about..

    March 7, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  22. JP in Vermont

    Wow, even when FORCED to run a story that casts Clinton in an unfavorable light, CNN accompanies it with a glorious patriotic photo of the smiling candidate. CNN, like the rest of the media, is completely in love with, and biased in favor of, the older, more wrinkly candidate.

    March 7, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  23. andrea, Illinois

    Obamba is not going negative. He is just wondering why Hillary has not made her tax returns public. I think we all know why! DIRTY, DIRTY, DIRTY!!!!
    How can anybody trust her and her cheating, lying husband? She is untrustworthy, dirty, power hungry! What was the expression again.... Oh, yeah, that's called a MONSTER! If Obama is not the nominee, I will vote for McCain. America, use good judgement!!!

    March 7, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  24. Jeff

    Interesting to see how Obama's campaign uses the negative attacks when they have previously stayed away from such and claimed to be better than that. If the IRS is ok with her income tax returns, then so am I. Let's spend time on discussing the issues we as a nation have to face with a new President.

    March 7, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  25. Brenda

    Obama needs to stay on the attack. Hillary have definitely stayed on her attacks of him. Hillary needs to be straight with the American people. Releasing her tax returns will show the American people that she has nothing to hide. Otherwise, everything is very, very suspicious.

    March 7, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
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