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

Obama camp hammers Clinton's foreign policy experience

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/03/11/art.obamamemo.gi.jpg 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. Doug, DC

    Please enough with the policy hearing nonsense!! Obama was a leader of a SUB-COMMITTEE, which means absolutely nothing in the Senate!! This might mean something to the uninformed but most can see right past this bologna!!

    March 11, 2008 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  2. Realistic

    Hillary has seriously inflated her claims to foreign policy experience, just ask Nobel Peace Prize winner Ahern who called her claims that she negotiated the Northern Ireland accords "silly".

    But then telling grandiose lies to get into the Whitehouse has always been the Clinton path.

    March 11, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  3. Dalton

    I'm glad to see the Obama campaign finally pointing out the fraudulent claim that Hillary Clinton has all this foreign policy experience. Based on the Clinton logic I should be allowed to perform surgery because my dad was a neurosurgeon and I often watched him prep for surgery and talked to him about it afterwards.

    March 11, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  4. Hillary-Persistence&Smarts 08

    Where is the proof that Obama can deal with National Security issues? Where? Because he talked against voting for the Iraq war yet supported Bush in many other ways? Who is he kidding? He's kidding and manipulating a lot of so called higher educated people who preen and praise themselves because they got a B.A. or a higher degree yet they can't even think for themselves! Poor babies, they have to pay off their student loans and no one wants to hire them because they are little robots who have to have a cheerleader for a president!!! Ha haahashahahahahahha!

    March 11, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  5. Dave

    The other day the sink in my kitchen started leaking so I called my plumber's wife to come take a look at it. I can't figure out why she couldn't fix it.

    March 11, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  6. James

    CNN – WHY DON'T YOU POST THE MEMO? IT IS ON OTHER NEWS SERVICES AND IT IS QUITE DETAILED. IS THIS ANOTHER INSTANCE OF YOU SUPPORTING THE CLINTONS? I THINK SO AND WHEN OTHERS READ THE MEMO, THEY WILL AS WELL. IF YOU DON'T PICK UP THE MEMO, YOUR COMPETITORS WILL AND WE WILL ALL KNOW THEN JUST HOW GREAT YOUR POLITICAL TEAM IS.

    March 11, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  7. NOT FIT

    Clinto is not fit to commander and chief. She is thinking that the White house is hers, because it is an inheritance. Why don't she release the 35 years of experience records for all to see.

    I am really interested in what she really did, apart from being the first lady. She is not entitled to be president and have not earn the job?

    OBAMA "08"

    March 11, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  8. Kim K.

    Obama is not the only one who has asked this question. Clinton's spokesman Phil Singer missed an opportunity to put the issue to bed by not providing details about Clinton's foreign policy experience. It is a legitimate question since she has based her campaign on this issue.

    March 11, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  9. Channell

    This bickering has got to stop!

    A campaign is nothing but words...Obama is not the only one giving speeches...he just delivers them better!

    March 11, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  10. George from Minneapolis

    What experience ??

    March 11, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  11. Mike, Arkansas

    Obama hasnt made any claims on experience because neither have the experience. Sitting in the background while Bill ran the show is NOT experience. I believe Obama will handle foreign policy with tact, respect, dignity, professionally, friendly without lies, deceit, manipulation, favors, deals, donations, like the clintons do.

    Do you all remember China contributed to Bills campaign and then while he was in office he sold them military technology?

    THis is what will happen with Hillary. This is NOT the way to run a foreign policy!!

    March 11, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  12. Susan

    Six more weeks of this and the Democrats won't stand a chance against John McCain. When will the Democratic Leadership lead? Wait? They haven't done their job in Congress, why would we expect them to show leadership for their party? Wonder who they will blame when they lose to McCain in November?

    March 11, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  13. Jen, Gainesville

    Hillary's foreign policy experience claim or her overall experience claim is the largest political fraud in recent history. I am surprised that it has taken the Obama campaign so long to point out that "The emperor has no clothes on!"

    The media is still bamboozled by Hillary's claim. Repeating it 100 times does not make a false claim true.

    March 11, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  14. Jason

    Back and forth, back and forth. . .
    This is like trench warfare in World War I. Neither side is going to give and it's going to be a long struggle.

    March 11, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  15. Ron, TX

    I love the truth. Why doesn't CNN post the full text of the memo? It pretty much shreds apart Clinton's claims fact by fact, point by point. But, oh wait, when has CNN ever served as a source of -information-?

    '08bama!

    March 11, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  16. Alexandra

    Good for you Obama.
    Fight back, the Clinton dirty machine have been attacking you for too long.
    She has more skeletons in her closet and more negatives. If she wants a fight, give her one.
    Remind America of the the scandals and corruption that has plagued the Clinton's.
    HILLMCCAIN IS JUST AN EMPTY PANT SUIT WHO WANTS TO FOOL AMERICANS INTO VOTING TO HER AT WHATEVER COST.

    Obama/Edwards '08

    March 11, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  17. atimebandit

    Obama needs to get back to the point. Forget about what Hillary does or says. She is desperate. He needs to focus on his original message again.

    March 11, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  18. david

    tha facts are the facts .. i just heard the she spoke to king jordan , and he tell her how the middle east are running. i guess she is the president and nobody know it. and by the way i think some prime minister from ireland have a commnet on went she said the she help to bring peace and the prime minister said the she was just following bill clinton the she dindt help at all. i guess went you lie is the same of having experience.

    March 11, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  19. s.b.

    Obama could have had foreign policy experience if he had bothered to convene a meeting even ONCE, while a member of the senate. But he's been too busy running for President on one speech he made in 2002.

    This man criticising her foreign policy experience is a joke.

    He has none.

    March 11, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  20. Lionel

    I can only see John McCain as the next President of the U.S.A.

    March 11, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. Kurtis

    I read a post on some random blog from a women who said that just because her husband coached basketball doesn't make her qualified to coach basketball.

    My response: If you ate, drank and breathed basketball along side you husband for 8 years, you most certainly WOULD be qualified to coach basketball.

    The same is true of Hillary and the Presidency. And yet, there is so much more to her than that alone.

    Isn't it great that Hillary is going to be the next President of the United States of America??!!??

    March 11, 2008 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  22. Sharon

    Did he happen to mention what his experience was in that memo? Or was he simply putting her down?

    March 11, 2008 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  23. carlos

    i read the memo and is very accurate every one of her stories have been debunked......i want to know what she is going to answer about her faux experience now.......

    March 11, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  24. kevin from alaska

    Quit calling it experience! She has no judgement, no experience, no foreign policy agenda.... she has but one agenda: destroy Barack Obama in 2008 so she can run in 2012 as the "I told you so" candidate.

    March 11, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
  25. Josh Greenberg

    It's about time the Obama campaign started calling attention to Hillary 's absurd "35 years of experience" claim. Being First Lady doesn't entitle her to claim vicarious credit for President Clinton's foreign policy achievements - and it certainly doesn't make her better prepared to handle a 3:00 a.m. crisis.

    A suggestion for the Obama campaign: Call into question Hillary's "experience" on domestic issues as well (such as her botched handling of a historic opportunity to achieve universal healthcare, which cost the Democrats control of Congress in 1994).

    March 11, 2008 10:59 am at 10:59 am |
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