March 11th, 2008
10:11 AM ET
15 years ago

Obama camp hammers Clinton's foreign policy experience

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Obama's campaign launched a fresh attack on Clinton's experience claim Tuesday."]

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Barack Obama's presidential campaign took some of its most pointed jabs to date at Hillary Clinton's claim of experience, circulating a memo to reporters Tuesday morning from former Clinton State Department official Greg Craig that suggests the New York senator uses "false charges and exaggerated claims to play politics with national security."

"When your entire campaign is based upon a claim of experience, it is important that you have evidence to support that claim," Craig, an Obama supporter, says in the memo. "Hillary Clinton's argument that she has passed 'the Commander- in-Chief test' is simply not supported by her record."

Craig served as director of policy planning at the State Department during former President Bill Clinton's second term.

The sharply worded memo follows similarly charged words from many Obama surrogates in recent days as the Illinois senator's presidential campaign appears to be seeking to alter the perception - shown in Ohio and Texas exit polls - that Clinton is more ready to be Commander-in-Chief.

The memo also references Clinton's now-famous 3 a.m. ad - increasingly viewed as keys to her wins in Texas and Ohio - and says the commercial and her claim to foreign policy credentials "consists of nothing more than making the assertion, repeating it frequently to the voters and hoping that they will believe it."

The memo was released ahead of an Obama campaign conference call with Iraq war veteran and Pennsylvania Rep. Patrick Murphy, as well as other Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans.

Reacting to the memo and campaign conference call, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said, "It’s tough to see how Senator Obama can tout his commitment to the military when he couldn’t be bothered to hold a single policy hearing on Afghanistan. Considering that Senator Obama’s record is just words, it’s no wonder that voters are having doubts about his readiness to be commander-in-chief."

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- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (389 Responses)
  1. Nadine van de Griend

    As an outsider looking in, it is getting increasingly frustrating watching the democratic race. To be honest i have nothing against eiter Clinton or Obama. But it seems to me to be simple, At this current time in the world where we have a war in iraq, i truely believe experiance is the key to solving the problem, which means Hillary is the most suited candidate. If we wern't in the mess we are in now i would gladly say we need someone as charismatic as Obama, but sadly nice people also get stepped on easily, which worries me if he where to be elected.

    March 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  2. Derek

    An as far as experience...Hmm Bush didnt have experience but yet he had ADVISORS who made decisions for him. You think a man who couldnt get out a room on national T.V made decisons.....

    What kills me is that yeah alot of Black people are voting for Obama, but they make of such a small percentage of people that vote compare to the rest of the races. Its White people who are voting for Obama an it is White people who will elect him....NOT BLACK PEOPLE....

    March 11, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  3. Patrice E. Oakland, CA

    Blackout the Democratic Vote 2008!!!!

    The dirty Dems. (who are Hillary Supporters) are going to do everything in their power to see that Obama will not get the nomination. They will cheat and steal the nomination.

    March 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  4. Nita

    UGH! I wanted to comment on Ferraro's statement but I was so pissed I couldn't type quick enough and the comments were closed.

    What I was trying to say is:

    To Harvery @ 1055am and everybody else who thinks Obama is winning the black votes because he is black...

    I have to tell you that when Hillary was in Mississippi at one of her rallies giving her speech, she had two unidentified (to my knowledge) black men standing behind her, one on the left and one on the right and no one else around her but them. They were not secret service men. I watched them clap after everything she said. So please tell me who is using the "race card"?? I wonder how much they were paid...

    As a black women I found it very insulting that she thinks black people are so ignorant that we will fall for anything. This is exactly why I will not be voting for her.

    Please if anyone witnessed this please post your comments...

    March 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  5. Ross in MD

    Billary is absolutely prepared to be commander in chief. She has participated in numerous meetings on the Armed Services Committee. I heard that once she held quorum call. WOW! I want her talking with Putin!

    BTW, did you know that Obama didn't hold a single meeting on a sub-committee for Western Europe on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Hello, western Europe has many NATO allies, NATO is helping in Afghanistan, therefore that sub-committee meeting is directly relevant to the war there – more so than the sub-committee on Afghanistan itself!

    Billary 08 – she held quorum call!

    March 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  6. manlius

    Hey, I don't understand why Obama has an problem with counting Hillary's trip to Kosovo with Sinbad and Sheryl Crow as foreign policy experience - wait a second, of course I do!

    As for the idea that a basketball coach's wife could coach basketball simply because she has been "near" the game by virtue of marriage, I guess that is why Indiana hired Bobby Knight's wife to replace him? Wait - that didn't happen? Well, what about all the success John Wooden's wife had at UCLA. No? Remember that time Coach K's wife took over for him at Duke that year he had to leave the team mid-year because of serious back problems? Not registering? Of course not. Because this suggestion is ridiculous, just like Sen. Clinton's claim that Bill's Presidency qualifies HER to be Commander in Chief. She didn't even have security clearance during his presidency, for crying out loud!

    March 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  7. Whats Next

    Maybe Sinbad can answer for her, he was there...I mean pop icons like musicians and comedians that travelled to Kosovo to entertain with HRC should be taken seriously. You can't count out this sort of Global Foreign Experience...what a joke!

    Good Ol' Hood Winking Hillary!

    March 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  8. Tyler in Raleigh

    Clinton has been all about speechs as much as she claims Obama is. The difference is she claims "Experience" in her speechs and for some reason people buy it.

    If working in the IL Senate is not experience, then being the wife of the President is not even close. If she has so much experience and is so proud of it, why does she not release the papers of her time as first lady??

    She is trying to deceive Americans by claiming one thing and then hiding all evidnce of it.

    March 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. Reggie

    I don't understand the logic? Even if 100% of blacks voted for Obama if 0% of whites didn’t' then he still would not be voted in! People keep focusing on how many black people are voting for Obama . . . How many white woman are voting for Hillary? How many white men will vote for McCain? Even if people are voting just based on race, what is wrong with that? I don’t' understand how that is racist. You’re not voting against someone due to their race, you’re voting for someone due to theirs. If I said "I won't vote for any white woman"! . . . That is racist. If I say "I am proud to support a strong African American Candidate", how is that racist? Isn’t that showing my pride in the candidate? For 42 consecutive Presidents we have had one gender, one race. There is nothing wrong with being proud of your race, culture, religion, etc. Some people just cannot stand the fact that a black man might be President. Doesn't that say more about you than it does us?

    March 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. Rupe

    And what is Hussein-Obama's foreign policy experience? Cowtowing to PLO/Hamas supporters, insisting on a defeatist military policy, disarming the US in the most dangerous time in our nation's history.... What a vast amount of experience. Will Hussein-Obama destroy our nation, YES HE WILL!

    March 11, 2008 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  11. anson

    Recent Political Ticker headlines:

    Clinton: My thoughts are with Spitzer
    Obama backer: Clinton camp's talk of Obama as VP 'surrealistic'
    Gov. Spitzer apologizes to family, public
    Obama rejects being Clinton's No. 2
    Obama: Leaked photo, ad signal GOP tactics from Clinton team
    Is scandal enough to sink Spitzer for good?
    McCain to travel to Middle East, Europe
    Misssissippi takes center stage in tight Democratic race
    Sources: Money transfers spurred Spitzer probe
    Does Clinton benefit from so-called 'dream ticket' talk?
    Obama camp hammers Clinton's foreign policy experience
    Obama adviser says Clinton must 'repudiate' backer's comments

    ...but which political ticker headline gets top-billing on the CNN homepage?

    "Karl Rove taunted at University of Iowa"

    ...a story that's 2 days old. CNN – "fair and balanced" or "biased and lazy"?

    March 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  12. LMAO

    Spoken by an Obama supporter.

    "It's not negitive if it's true."

    This is exactly the type of hypocracy that surrounds the Obama camp. The Clintons' have said plenty of TRUE comments about Obama that were negitive, although somehow I don't remember you people touting that lovely sentiment.

    Obama is sinking right into a well of hubris and his supporters are cheering him right along.

    March 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  13. Jack

    This is typical. Obama is unable to go head to head with Hillary Clinton on the issues. The debates proved that. Now he has to try and nit pick her foreign policy experience. Does he have any?

    Northern Ireland is my home. I appreciate what Hillary did there, bringing groups together, as well as her "behind closed door" conversations. Soon the documents that prove her work will be available then Obama will have to look for some other non-existant flaw.

    Meanwhile, I have to ask why his supporters cannot point to anything he has done in the arena of foreign policy? Tell you something?

    March 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  14. Maurice

    Should obama be the chosen democratic nominee then I feel very sorry for the USA as he has no idea about military knowledge or intelligence or strategy and should the might of China – Russia or any other powerful country decide to attack the USA then I for one would not like obama to be that person who would have to answer the red line in the white house @3 am on that particular morning -with all due respect I don't see him as a "saviour" @ all - he will vanish like all the cults before him....

    March 11, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
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