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. gary

    If you dont know what kind of experience Hillary has ,you shouldnt vote.She has done plenty for my state N.y.,shes on the board of armforces.She done alot for vetrens, military etc. Shes brought peace with Northern Ireland,Helped over seas with womans rights, I can go on ,and on what she has done for our country. The question is what has Obama done? Nothing. America will wake up when our country falls ,if he is elected.You young people just hear promises,changes,and hope that you wont see.HRC is our only answer for the changes you want.If you wanrt to be bias against a woman, and vote for your own race ,than you deserve what you get. concerned vet

    March 11, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  2. Tan

    Obama says he would have voted against the war. Obama says he honors our vets. Oh really? If we did not go to War, Saddam would still be in power. We would not have done anything after the towers came down. Pat Tillman would still be alive. Our enemies would think for such a great miliary, we a do nothing country. Sure the war is unpopular, but what war is? War is ugly, but mankind has been at war for the most of the time since mankind's existence. Obama is a bunch of lip service to the men and women in uniform. Obama declaring his no to the vote is a slap in the face to our people in uniform.

    March 11, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  3. Curliss

    Obama supporters are really nasty and its starting to show. Apparently, the older democrats are going to have teach these young Obama supporters a lesson. By supporting Hillary. Obama hasn't really won one caucus fairly...because, older persons, either are in no condition to vote or able to transport themselves to these events. That's why the state's were primaries are held (and write in votes are counted) Hillary has won. EVERYONE had a chance to vote. Obama hasn't won enough big states to even put him in the same category as Hillary. Remember this country president is chosen based on electoral votes and not popular vote. Thank god for that...hopefully it will keep Obama from winning the presidency. So, if it ain't Hillary...then it will be McCain. Also, bare in mind...if Hillary doesn't get the nomination, I would strongly recommend she run as an independent. If not to win, but to keep Obama from winning. We dont need a junior in the whitehouse. But a strong committed leader.

    March 11, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  4. Grant

    Hillary is not going to be in charge anyways....Bill is running the show......

    March 11, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  5. Charles Hardeman

    Of course Hillary only cares about winning. If you had to loan yourself 5 million dollars to do so, i suspect you'd do the same.


    March 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  6. Darlene

    I've big concern regarding Sen. Clinton's claim of experience but not presenting any viable evidence other than she was married to Bill Clinton, former Gov. of Ark. and former President of US. Is her "experience" the Washington Politics that so many of us are wanting to get away from?

    Time for Hillary to put her proof where her mouth about those tax records and phone/travel logs that continue to be delayed?

    March 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  7. Ron

    Hillary has more experience than Obama .Has more guts than Obama .Has a better plan for America than Obama. And sees a better day than Obama.Obama sees sleeping alnight through 3 am as imperative to his beauty sleep and giving Iraq and Ahfganistan a free reign to terroize our nation

    March 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  8. checkthisout

    JOHN McCAIN 08

    Go Johnny Go !!!!

    March 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  9. pat

    I think Hillary is counting her oversight of State Dinners in the White House as high level foreign policy experience. Generally, at those affairs, the first lady sits with the male head of state and the president with his spouse. I'm sure she prompted some signiicant policy changes over the creme brulee,

    March 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  10. The principal

    All the high school kids need to be in school not running caucuses. Could we not find someone old enough to vote? It's 3:00 AM

    March 11, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  11. F. Lynn

    What foreign policy experience? What dish and silverware to use for the upcoming state dinner? Approving menus? Maybe a public relations swing through a country or 2? That is what first ladies do. If there was something more significant, why won't she prove it by releaseing the papers? What's to hide if that is what you say your strength is?

    She has none. What you may see is that she has sold you a bill of goods and you bought it!

    It's time to get real.

    March 11, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  12. NZ, NJ

    This probably won't get posted as usual, but......

    These Obama supporters are so pathetic and blind that they just do not want to see the truth. Are they all idiots to think that the ad is saying that their prophet can't answer the call because he has never been put in that eecutive position to do so? Neither has Hillary but THAT IS NOT HER POINT MORONS!!!!! The ad simply states who do you want to answer that phone call and those so-called educated voters cannot comprehend its meaning. Hopefully this simple-minded PhD can explain it to you.....ALL IT IMPLIES IS WHO DO YOU THINK IS BETTER PREPARED AND MORE EXPERIENCED TO ANSWER THE CALL......I cannot believe that the Obama followers are so ignorant of such a simple question. Hillary has always proposed that she has far more experience that Obama and even his own surrogates have said so ...oh but he is inspirational and that's all he needs for the job?????? This ad is not some underhanded tactic that she is is a fait and legitimate question but the reason Obama doesn't like it is b/c it makes people think about the reality of the presidency and the common sense of having experience for it.


    March 11, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  13. Ann

    Obama is attacking???!!!

    Where is that standard that he was holding on?

    Did he claim he is a different one?

    What will the media say about OBAMA'S ATTACK??? Agree?

    By the way, where is his foreign policy experience?

    Go away, Obama, stay with your so called "standard", if you have one.

    Hillary, 08!

    March 11, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  14. Linda Fisher

    Yay! Finally, Obama is questioning Clinton's "experience" and showing that she has none and has been exaggerating her claims as First Lady. Actually, Obama's experience as editor of the Harvard Law Review , constitutional law professor, and U.S. Senator far outweigh anything Clinton could offer. So, Obama is far more experienced and has the judgment to answer the red phone in the White House when it rings at 3 a.m. He will make a fine President of the U.S.

    March 11, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  15. Charles Hardeman

    If i may just note-

    Of course Hillary only cares about winning. If you had to loan yourself 5 million dollars to do so, i suspect you'd do the same. And i suspect, she's doing it to save our country, despite the widespread slander and cynicism. Internationally, Clinton is a winner. i can say that from experience.

    Here in the rest of the world, Obama mania is waning. Increasingly, we find him somewhat arrogant, naive, holier-than-thou, messianic, and really just a typical politician disgusing the inner ego-trip by whooping everybody up and making people believe its about 'Us' and 'We' when it is most definately all about HIM.

    Obama and his supporters snatched the baton from clinton. He ran with it, and will inevitably stumble, shouldering a resentment that will make Ralph nader seem like a friend.

    Just wait.

    March 11, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  16. Steve

    Hillary's 'experience' claims kill me. You'd think SHE was the president during good ole Billy Boy's term...

    Whats next? Is Tiger Woods' wife going to claim she can win the Masters???

    March 11, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  17. edna rodriguez suris

    Senator Obama is all words and he is decceiving the electorate. We have to be smarter than he is and we can not enter into his deceiveness. Senator Obama does not have the experience nor the
    transparency that is needed to be Comander in Chief...HHe is all Bluff...

    March 11, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  18. all of Ohio is not all blinded by lies

    Yes we can! The good news is Obama is here and here to stay Hillary must step away It is a new day for the Clintons get used to it!!!!
    OBAMA 08!

    March 11, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  19. Trev

    She has more experience in foreign policy than he does. Period.

    1. She never claimed to be responsible for peace in Northern Ireland. She did a good job of brining women's groups to the table.

    2. She never claimed to open the border in Kosovo. She negotiated to keep the opening there when it was periodically being closed and opened.

    3. She fought for women's rights in China when the Chinese government did not want her there. They invited her late because they had to (as a result of all the backchannel pressure).

    And what has Obama done. Oh, thats right, he chaired a subcommittee that has yet to hold a meeting.

    I hope Obama keeps talking about security, because this is a losing issue for him. Between NAFTAgate (which we now know happened) and his "nonplan" for Iraq and his hedging on the Iraq war in his book it should be clear that Clinton is superior on foreign policy.

    March 11, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  20. anthony

    So much for free speech eh CNN?

    March 11, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  21. joe






    HILLARY 08 !!!!

    March 11, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  22. Will

    Obama continues to take the high road and cast a vision of what America can become. Hillary and her supporters remain in the gutter of the old politics of divisiveness, racism and throwing the kitchen sink campaign strategies that belies Washinton politics.

    God is watching us!

    March 11, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  23. Wolf

    Wolf when it does not benefit the Clintons you do not seem to report the whole true, why did't you post the whole Memo For people to read the lies of hillary about the her foreign policy experience. Is it Wolf been biased again. CNN need to fire you and Lou Dobbs and hire some trustworthy and intelegent reporters.

    March 11, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  24. Dawn


    I am glad someone is finally looking into this. All of you Clinton supporters need to be asking yourself what she has to hide in her tax returns.

    When the phone rings at 3 A.M. it will be the Chinese and Saudi heads, special interests and lobbyists calling in their favors. She has said she does not want to share the information in her tax returns until she is the nominee. In other words, never.

    The republicans however, have a good idea whats in there!!

    Google "Clinton scandals". and have a nice read.

    March 11, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  25. PhillyinKY

    I thought the Obama Campaign stated that "Experience doesn't matter"......if that is so, then why question Clintons experience?? Isn't this the same political slander that has been going on in politics for the past hundred years or so??? Whatever happened to the "change" that Obama is going to bring the white house??? Oh, I get it....that's just a ploy to bring in more votes.....just like his harsh criticism of NAFTA.....I can't believe people actually buy into his "change" speeches.....get a clue people...

    March 11, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
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