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)


    March 11, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  2. CP in NJ

    For those of you who keep asking about Obama's foreign policy experience:

    You're completely missing the point of his rebuttal. Senator Clinton is trying to equate her 8 years as First Lady to 8 years of "Presidential experience". I'm sure she gained something from all those trips abroad and meetings with dignitaries (and their spouses), but it is IN NO WAY THE SAME THING.

    The point here is that Senator Obama is calling her on it, not saying that he has experience that she doesn't. That's the difference.

    March 11, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |

    clinton,what else do u have to say?its finished

    OBAMA 08

    March 11, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  4. tomdavie


    Obama is making a huge mistake here (again)

    Everyone with half a brain knows Clinton was a sucessfull president. Whether hillary KNEW EVERYTHING or not , she surely will if elected.

    You cant tap dance that out of peoples heads. There is no way Obama can convince anyone Hillary cant run the white house.

    Besides nobody HONESTLY believing she cant run the white house, Obama is certainly the LAST GUY who should be talking about experience.

    Regardless if he manages to convince folks she has limited experience in direct foreign policy, all Clinton has to do is go , Yeah? Well you have NONE AT ALL.

    March 11, 2008 11:57 am at 11:57 am |

    I am not happy Obama because you make me wait too long to hear the unique and just answer. HILLARY DOES NOT HAVE EXPERIENCE, PERIOD. The only experience she has is in doing fraudulent business. She should have bought a character before entering the race!!

    Hillary you lack values to even be a state senator!! YOU CANNOT BE PRESIDENT, PERIOD.

    March 11, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  6. H


    March 11, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  7. Melvin Banks, Royal Oak, Michigan

    If Obama is all about words, Oh why, Oh why, is he ahead and winning. Won twice as many states, more votes, and more pledged delegates. Many folks know he's more than just words. The world will know Jan. 1st 2009 when Obama is the next president of the united states. Let the (words) come out of your mouth. PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.

    March 11, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  8. Ann

    Doesn't Obama compromise Clinton by supporting this point? If she will be the nominee to run against McCain, aren't such comments hurting the party chance to get the election? Why do you hold double standards? This happened during all this campaign.


    March 11, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  9. Stacy Clarks, Texas

    Im so glad Obama is finally going after her in issues that are important to both candidacy.

    To all those who are saying its ironic for Obama to go after Clinton since he has less experience (never mind the fact that Obama has spent longer in elected office than she):

    I think it is fair for him to fo this because Clinton is basing her whole candidacy on her experience, so he has every right to go after her for this!

    Don't get me wrong, Clinton is no Laura Bush (who has done absolutely nothing for this country, or barbie doll Cindy mccain), and I in no way dismiss all the work that Hillary has done, but at the same time, I do not think it is okay to grossly exagerrate her "35 years" of experience, and throw it in Obama's face. It is absolutely time to start looking into these expereinces claims, it is fair ground, and I sa GO FOR IT OBAMA!!!


    March 11, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  10. I P-r-a-y For Governor Spitzers' W-i-f-e ... But ...

    I Hope Senator Clintons Supporters Can See W-h-y Following the "M-o-n-e-y T-r-a-i-l" can EXPOSE Who a Candidate Really Is.

    That Being Said: Why Won't Senator Clinton Just Go Ahead and RELEASE A-N-Y of Her Tax Returns For the Past 6-Years?

    March 11, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  11. Goodheart

    Obama wants to meet with the President of Iran! He'll try to make friends of all our enemies while they are planning attacks behind his back. His idea of foreign policy is scary. Go Hillary!

    March 11, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  12. Hay Market

    Hillary Clinton was not regular First Lady; she was heavily involved in political processes, same as Eleanor Roosevelt. There are only two First Ladies of this kind in history of America. She was more as Co-President, and played more role in decisions to make than Al Gore. She was co-running this country, do you like it or not. She has experience and smarts like no one else. How about BO? One person said here: "He got in Senate, dropped his bags and run for President.” Nothing else to say about this guy. Very sad!.

    March 11, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  13. An Agnostic Democrat

    O.K. Clinton cocktail drinkers, slow down. Hillary has not attended ONE Armed Services Committee meeting since she started campaigning. So sorry to see her padded tea and cookies resume FINALLY crumble under scrutiny. A "speech" in Beijing at a womens' conference "doesn't count" (her words, not mine)! This just goes to show you how silly her claim of "35 years" or a "lifetime" (it changes depending on which way the wind is blowing) really is. Again, it's all a mirage that's been exaggerated and padded with Bill's (symbolic) accomplishments.

    March 11, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  14. david

    Look at to see the two democratic candidate's voting records. Its true that Obama has voted "present" or excused on a lot of votes. As a first term junior senator, he hasn't been around long enough to learn the ropes in federal government. Plus, I believe his refusing to consider a "dream team" ticket is egotistical and will ultimately harm the democratic party's chances to beat McCain. The two of them together would be fantastic. They both need to consider the bigger picture: our country's future. While historic, people should not rush to put the first black man or the first woman in the oval office just because they are African American or a female. And Obama should stop harping on the vote that Hillary made for presidential authority to use force against Iraq. She faced the intel that all Senators did at that time, and she made the best choice for our country's security she could based on the information the intelligence agencies provided. She faced a hard choice. There's a difference between facing hard choices and making a pretty speech about your opinion. Obama wasn't even in office at the time so it easy for him to make a stand about the vote, he didn't have to vote on it. He's since voted for additional funding for the same war.

    And they all lie. All politicians lie, including Obama. Pull your head out of the sand.

    March 11, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  15. Lindsay

    Yes! Thank you for pointing out that just because you say you have experience, it doesn't make it so! Hillary running as the candidate of "experience" and then counting every year since she left college as "experience" is a joke! The one thing that she is experienced at is running disrespectful, dishonest campaigns. I'll give her that – she runs one nasty campaign. Maybe after this is all over, she can become a Republican strategist, the next Karl Rove.

    March 11, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |

    Of course Hillary is ready on day one she traveled overseas with Sinbad, now that's national security

    March 11, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. Amy, Kazoo

    in all fairness, I've heard plenty of Obama supporters claim that his childhood years abroad count as experience. Talk about a stretch. If you're going to denounce one, you need to be able to see the forest for the trees and denounce the other.

    March 11, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  18. @americans

    Billary's foreign policy experience of 35yrs claim is her being married to a cheating Bill Clinton and her cosmetic window dressing visits to foreign countries!

    March 11, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. Gary

    It's too late Obama, the voters have given you a chance to beat HILLARY in CA, in TX & OHIO, in FL, you have never closed the deal! You are a weak candidate, in foreign policy, economy & as a commander in chief! Meet us in PA! Beat us there!


    March 11, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  20. ed

    Hillary Clinton points to her service on the Armed Services Committee, the same committe that not proactive enough to allow us to go to war with the Army we had, not the Army we wished we had.
    Was reactive, not proactive, about Wounded Warriors. Show me she cares about the military.

    March 11, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. Tony - Texas

    Why is CNN not reporting the results of the Texas caucus? From what I understand, Obama won the caucus and therefore has more delegates than Hillary, but they are still showing Hillary has won Texas (she did win the primary). Shouldn't CNN show as the winner the one that won the most delegates? Is the caucus still not counted? If not, how come? Do some reporting or get your tables fixed.

    If you always vote for Republicans or you always vote for Democrates, you will always have Republicans or Democrats in office. VOTE INDEPENDENT

    March 11, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. Frank in Missouri

    That's right ! It's time to call this pathetic bluff.

    Last night I saw a doku that debunk her claim that she 'brought peace to Northern Ireland'. What a joke. Also, she opened the borders in Kosovo ? With Sheryl Crow and her daughter at her side a day AFTER the border were opened ! They went there to entertain the troops.

    How stupid do we have to be to buy such a bluff ?

    March 11, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. ha.....

    are any of you guys aware of what your spouse does for a living?...are you ever privy to details about matters at their workplace?....see?
    it's one thing to be the wife/husband of a schoolteacher and have no interest in public education, and quite differently another to be the wife of the president and have a keen awareness of politics?
    it's the Obama effect, i know........feel first, think later.....hey, did you guys notice he ordered turkey sausage at that restaurant in Miss?

    March 11, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. AA

    When you have nothing to brag about your own experience, hammer others'.

    March 11, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. Rose - Baltimore, MD

    I feel sorry for you Hillary. I am waiting for your next lie. You always come up with one.

    March 11, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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