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. Sharon

    I don't see asking for a thorough vetting as going "negative." Shouldn't we as Americans know what foreign ties and quid-pro-quo deals she and her family are involved in. Hey, I have a security clearance and, believe me, secret deals with foreigners would have prevented me from having access to US secrets. Why should we ask anything less from a presidential candidate? Plus, she hounded her senate rival in NY for his tax records during that campaign. She can't be surprised this is an issue.

    March 7, 2008 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  2. Independent

    If the Puerto Rico election rules are changed – I'm pretty much done with voting democrate 4 ever. Enough is enough.

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

    Mr Plouffe you are correct "...there is no reason why the prior six years of tax returns couldn't be released right now."

    Clinton do the right thing, release your tax returns and the Clinton Library's papers. Don't spin, just release them.

    Obama '08 don't back down.

    March 7, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  4. m

    You've got to be kidding. The Clinton's ahve financial records on public file for over 20 years. JUST because it isn' what B,O wants to see, she's hiding something. I don't trust B.O and if he gets the nomination will vote republican for the first time in my adult life.

    He never says anything, all this pie in the sky talk but no meat. Just don't trust him. Thought he consistently preaches and that's all he does, that he is above all that. RIGHT!!!!!! I want a President, not a Sunday preacher.

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

    What's the big deal about her releasing her taxes,and I want to know the truth about obama and the convited king pin in his state and the land deal of his property?????? and the money behind that giving to his campaigne? I don't want to keep hearing that was a stupid mistake?

    March 7, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  6. Obama is not fit for president.

    Rezko is his friend.

    March 7, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  7. Vanessa C.

    I just read a the most ridiculous and ignorant comment. The poster wrote that "we all know" that Senator Clinton wants to be president "for the power of it all and her since (sic) of entitlement." The poster goes on to state that Hillary "feels she is privileged and above others." REALLY??? Oh my gosh, have you met Hillary? Do you know her? Or are you just some all-knowing deity??? Please, people. Keep your ridiculous accusations and comments to yourselves. You make us all look bad.

    March 7, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  8. Texas Boy

    It's about time Obama!!! Stop playing Mr. Nice Guy and get real with her. She have had no problem going negative on you and now the first time you go negative on her she wants to call foul. Clinton is so crooked and she has all these Clintonites fooled. Clinton is a liar and she will stoop to anything to lie her way to the top.

    March 7, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  9. clarity

    re: Houston Texas – 'what about Paul v. Clinton in California?'

    Can you read!? In April 2006 the judge in the case dismissed all charges against Hillary Clinton and in October 16, 2007, the appeal was denied! Thats it! Done! You're about two years behind the times!

    You got anything relevant? Next!

    March 7, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  10. Jackie from Virginia

    Senator Clinton will not give the American people her tax return. She is going to lie and steal her way through this. She is going to treat the American people the same way she is treating her tax return. So get ready for more Bush and McCain politics.

    OB 08

    March 7, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  11. Yeah Right

    Going nagative is when a campaign twists someone words, or straight up lies about someone in order to gain an advantage.

    Pointing out facts is not going negative.

    The Clinton supporters jumped on Obama and the Rezko ordeal but Obama gave the money to charity and is not the one on trial. Obama DID NOTHING WRONG!!

    However the Clintons are being sued by Peter Paul in California and this should be questioned. This is bigger than anything that the Clintons can throw at anyone.

    These people can't go anywhere without a scandal popping out.

    March 7, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  12. Dave, SC

    People who are saying Republicans should vote for Clinton. If Obama looses his bid for the Democratic Presidency who do you think (for the sake of the party) he would back?! Just as John McCain backed Bush in his failed bid for the presidency (2000), so too must Obama if he looses to Clinton. Some voters will move away from Clinton in favor of McCain. But, I believe most of the Obama supporters will follow his recommendation and back the democratic nominee. And if you have been paying attention, this has been a record years for the Democratic Party supporter turn-out! Therefore, if Clinton keeps her supports and receive the recommended supporters from Obama she WILL win by a landslide! Is this what you really want? Stop telling Republicans to vote for Clinton!

    March 7, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  13. Thin1972


    March 7, 2008 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  14. jason

    there is so much dirt on the clintons. She should be grateful that Obama's stance is to not play dirty.

    You could be sure McCain would though – making Clinton the least likely to win against McCain.

    March 7, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  15. Greg - New Jersey

    I don't particulary like CNN's sensational "slam" tagline but I agree with the Obama campaign in getting a bit more pointed with their questioning of Clinton's record. When they weren't doing it and were taking all the punches everyone started calling him soft. This is hardly negative campaigning compared to the demeaning, belittling attacks Clintons have leveled on Obama recently. This is a legitimate request for release of information that everyone else has openly provided. If you seem to be hiding something then you open yourself up to this line of questioning. Come on Hillary, release the tax records and let's get back to issue-based campaigning. Unless, of course, you have something to hide!

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

    It is obvious that while Obama is try to change our government, Hilliary's primary focus is simply WIN! "By Any Means Necessary". She is using every underhanded trick in the book to champion his movement. My ultimate fear is knowing that they want stop until he becomes one of them. Well I say, keep you head up soldier! If you don't STAND for something, you will FALL for anything. Let her self destruct......

    March 7, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  17. JoJo

    I see it this way Haley...I teach my daughter to respect others and that attacking others negatively is not the way to gain respect from others. However, if she is constantly coming home with black eyes then she is more than able to fight back. One can only take so many beatings before they must fight back.

    March 7, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  18. Onyemkpa Chukwuma - Brussels

    "the evil that women do lives with them"

    Senator Clinton is just desperate with a blind ambition to be called a president.

    She even said it that she will do WHATEVER it takes to win this election (Texas and Ohio primaries)...!! WHAT MORE DOES THE AMERICAN PUBLIC WANT??

    March 7, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  19. Abe

    If she has nothing to hide, why not release her tax returns?? Every single candidate including Edwards, McCain, and Obama have already released their tax returns.

    I can understand she may not have filed her 2007 return and she is waiting for the April 15 deadline, but why not release the previous years? Unlesee you are working on refiling your previous returns.

    March 7, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  20. Tim

    Obama has challenged Hillary on
    1. her record (NAFTA and the war, especially)
    2. the issues
    3. her lack of transparency and history of secretive, closed door decisions and maneuvers (healthcare failure in 90s) that loseout the public
    4. her negative attacks and distortions
    5. Her ties to PACS, lobbysists, and special interests (let's not forget earmarks)

    In contrast, she and members of her her campaign have attacked Obama on
    1. his faith
    2. his ethnicity
    3. his name
    4. his anti war position
    5. everything in the kitchen sink with deliberate misrepresentation and outright twistingt

    Oh and please add to that that she and her campaign have insulted millions of voters by calling us gullible, naive, cult members who are apparently too foolish and uninformed to make a rational decision and we don't matter at any rate because we don't live in states that she carried.

    I agree that it is foolish to vote for McCain if Clinton is on the ticket and you are an Obama supporter. There are other options. An independent ticket, which is where any true reformer will probably have to come from, or write him in on your ballot. If not, abstain. I will not vote for MCCain. I admire his character and believe he has integrity but I cannot accept tax cuts for the wealthy and endless war. I will not, in good conscience, vote for Clinton. I admire her detailed plans, but cannot support someone as unethical, unscrupulous, and dishonest without any integrity to represent our country.

    March 7, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  21. Dietrich

    Firstly, the Obama camp is far from failing mr./ms. haley. Telling the truth is not negative. Although Clinton's distortions (non-truths) are. Hillary has any negativity coming to her and she should reap it without complaining either. Seems ole' Hillary can play all the cards: Gender, Race, Lies and not get called on it. Well hold on to your seat belts b/c if she's about to reap what she sowed then it's going to be a VERY BUMPY RIDE!

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

    I cannot figure out 1) why people continue to give money to her campaign... it's essentially just throwing money away because there is no viable mathematical path that she can pull ahead in the delegate count, and 2) why Hillary is going so negative... if she wants the VP spot she should stop slamming the one democrat that can actually win.

    March 7, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |

    She is out of control she can not win. Let's see how low she will go before she completely implode. SHE WILL DESTROY THIS PARTY !!!!

    March 7, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  24. Truth Be Known


    March 7, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  25. Todd

    Billary has got way to much baggage to be clean all these years. This is gonna be a good.

    March 7, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
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