March 11th, 2008
10:11 AM ET
13 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."

Full story 

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (389 Responses)
  1. justobserve

    If Clinton said Obama has not enough experience, how can she downgrade the experienced people in Bush's adminsitration? Experience but bad judgement is not good enough. She had experience but didn't she flopped the health care change in 1992? Character is the most important thing for a president and she has very bad character: she cares only about herself but always spins to look like she cares for others! No wonder her supporters are uneducated, low incomers,... who would grab at anything she lied to them.

    March 11, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  2. king form toronto

    hillary campaign is like the titanic"'the band is playing ,while the ship goes down.lollllll.

    March 11, 2008 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. V Alvarez

    This news is so important, it should be on the Main Page in CNN.com's Headlines. Everyone needs to know the truth about the lying Clintons.

    March 11, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. Pon Mao

    Seems New York state has a lot corrupted politicians, maybe that's why Hillary Clinton moved to NY (instead of going bac to Arkansas) to grab a senate seat ?

    March 11, 2008 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  5. Joseph

    Why are people suggesting that all Black people are voting for Obama because he is black? Black people always vote like this remember a guy be the name of John Kerry, well he got 83% of the black vote in Louisiana Obama wasn’t that far off with 82% but it just goes to show that one candidate can get a large portion of the black vote and it has nothing to do with race. Let’s lay some facts down for the confused ones on here, first he’s not black he’s both black and white (Unity). This guy took a Harvard degree to the South Side of Chicago to help poor people (Hard work, helping other who can’t help themselves). Has not taken a dime from corporate lobbyist this entire campaign (Honesty). And not only has he fought this entire campaign but his whole life from the bottom to the top (Strength). Those are qualities in a leader we should all want.

    March 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  6. Andrew

    Finally, the truth about Hillary and all of her overstated B.S. lies pertaining to her so-called "experience". Diplomats and Nobel Peace Prize winners alike have denounced and rejected her claims in negotiating peace and women's rights across the world. All she did is take 5-star trips to all corners of the world with her daughter and other celebrities. Her "experience" argument is a joke and if she would ever agree to release her files as first lady(and her tax returns), then we could finally see all of the lies that is holding up her house of cards.

    March 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  7. Bye Bye Hillary

    Step away Hillary, slink away let the party show it is strong and vibrant Obama can take it from here thanks!

    March 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  8. NIC

    If MI and FL get a revote, and it's increasing looking like that (HIllary has a good lead in both MI and FL). If Hillary wins PA too, then its good night people, race over and nominee picked. Hillary will be the Democratic nomination regardless of what any of you Clinton Haters have to say. There are almost 500 delegates up in the air between PA, MI and FL (again 3 big states). She won't have the majority, but she be leading Barack. So even though both candidates wont clinch the magic number of 2025, Hillary will have the lead by then in pledge delegates and super delegates and Barack will still lead in popular vote.
    IN, NC, KY, OR and WV will have a say, but they will all split at this point (equal out). It will be very close though, I'll say that.
    So Barack will be asked to step aside. But, to unite and bring together the Democratic party, Hillary will ask Barack to be VP, and he will definitely accept.
    Interesting, this could be a reality come late May/early June.
    Crazy right?! But not too far fetch, she could be the comeback kid! We'll just have to see how this all plays out. Definitely one for history books.

    Oh yeah, by the way, LEAVE GERALIDINE ALONE! What she said was completely taken out of context. And all the Clinton Haters and Media Outlets want to entertain this idea of racism. Grow up guys. If you want to attack someone, attack John McCain.

    March 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  9. Andrew

    Finally, the truth about Hillary and all of her overstated B.S. lies pertaining to her so-called "experience". Diplomats and Nobel Peace Prize winners alike have denounced and rejected her claims in negotiating peace and women's rights across the world. All she did is take 5-star trips to all corners of the world with her daughter and other celebrities. Her "experience" argument is a joke and if she would ever agree to release her files as first lady(and her tax returns), then we could finally see all of the lies that is holding up her house of cards.

    March 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  10. Marcelino R. Gutierrez

    Those who are satisfied with the status quo will vote for either Hillary Clinton or John McCain. Those who want the country to go in a different direction will vote for Barak Obama. I am one who has had it with the staus quo and the experienced politicians who have made a mess of this country..

    March 11, 2008 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  11. gary

    Obama couldnt even go to New Orleans to be with his own race ,without making excuses about leaving his campaign.He like their votes,but when it came timeto go , the only one that did was HRC.She was behind in the race and still could take time to go to New Orleans and a funeral for a fellow officer.Hillary shows how she cares about the people in our country time after time.Obama dosnt even have any accomplishments at all he has done for our country. You Obama voters and supporters will be sorry if he makes office. This country is doomed.Is he going to be to busy and make excuses if the phone really rings? concerned Vet

    March 11, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  12. BrooklynZoo

    If Obama does not win, I will stay home and not vote. Hilary's negative campaigning (this is suicidal in-fighting, and therefore not the same in my mind as a Republican-led attack) has completely turned me off. I believe that many Obama supporters will do the same. It is sad, but true. She needs to stop this "win-at-any-cost" mentality and/or Richardson, Edwards, Gore need to step in and get behind the delegate who, playing by the rules as the Democratic party decided, leads in delegates, states, and the popular vote.

    A New York Latino proudly for Obama.

    March 11, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  13. Illinoid

    Selecting the menu for a Whitehouse dinner for foreign dignitaries is not foreign policy experience, Hillary. Being flown on Air Force one to watch local children perform skits for you is not managing foreign policy experience. it's tourism. I find it dumbfounding to hear you say you helped bring peace to Northern Ireland and the Balkans. That's only true if buying postcards to send Chelsea counts as foreign policy experience. If that's the case, please make me your Secretary of State. I have as much experience as you do. You must have been in the same room with Bill, when he wasn't inhaling, and when Al Gore invented the internet.

    And in regard to that "Who will answer the 3:00AM call" ad? As I recall, the phone was on Bill's side of the bed.

    March 11, 2008 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  14. Kurt

    Obama might have experience but Hillary has more KNOWLEDGE!! about the economy and national security. She is the only senator in NY state history to be on the armed services committee. Everyone on that committee knows she has done a spectacular job! She knows about education and will lead us out of the recession. Obama will not!

    March 11, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  15. don and carolyn

    it seems that none other than george mitchell himself told katie couric that hillarys account about northern ireland is accurate,so i guess he is lying also if the obamaites are correct.Also over 30 generals and admirals ,including two former chairman f the joint cheifs ,most of them especially army combat vets have publically endorsed her,Obamas cheif military endorser is LT Gen Joe ballard who is a engineer with no combat experiance. i for one will take the endorsements of shelton,eaton,tacuba and shevinalzi over ballard any day as thease americans opted for early retirement rather than to continue to support bush and rummys policy in iraq.

    March 11, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  16. Super D

    It doesn't matter who has foreign policy experience. When compared with McCain, they both will look small and pathetic.

    March 11, 2008 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  17. Alexander

    Why does CNN keep stating Clinton won Texas? Obama got more delegates from Texas. She was supposed to win by a big margin, but lost instead. How can you keep saying she won? I'm questioning professionalism in journalism here!

    March 11, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  18. sky

    I wonder how important this experience really is. Is Presidential policy something you can really pick up anywhere else accept on the job? Perhaps the most important qualification is to have a good general and overall view and to be able to surround yourself with people who specialize in all the different areas and then advise you. Isn't that really a presidents job. To find the best and most experienced group of people and inspire them to work as a team to rebuild America. That is the best qualification. All these debates where they ask the candidate how they are going to do something seem fruitless to me other than to give us a general idea as to what direction they are going in. Because a smart wise leader is going to move into office and surround themselves with experts in each field who can help him/or her understand a situation intimately and then make a good decision.

    March 11, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  19. N

    As he would say "that's just silly", "that's nonsense" on this article.

    We want solutions that HILLARY has not "words"

    I loved the "3am" ad-–

    March 11, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  20. Jason

    Hillary is tearing this party apart. They don't care. She has no more foreign party experience as anyone Obama.
    Obama 08.

    March 11, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  21. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    TO DAVID, HELSINKI:

    Hillary was a top adviser to her husband; this is well known. Living in the White House for 8 years gives one "access," dont you think?!

    TO JERRY, PGH:

    Hillary Uncensored is sponsored by the right-wing. Enuf said?

    Hillary still has more exposure to foreign policy than Obama, that's a fact.

    When will Obama convene a meeting of his Afghanistan Committee?!
    Dontcha think that's a little bit important?!?!?!

    March 11, 2008 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  22. gene

    SEE ALL YOU OBAMA NUTS HE GETTING IN THE SADDLE OF OLD MUD SLINGERS HE IS FALLING IN THE HORSE DODO YOU CAN TELL BECAUSE HIS WORDS SMELL

    March 11, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  23. Corey

    If she's touting her husband's experience as her own, can we surmise that she too had/will have an extramarital affair in the Oval Office?

    March 11, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  24. pbj

    Kinda reminds me of those commercials for that hotel chain...

    "I'm not commander-in-chief but I'm married to someone who was" - and that makes her qualified? She travels around the world with her husband and all of a sudden she knows how to be commander-in-chief? What a joke she is.

    I'd be more impressed with her ability to make difficult, decisive, life-altering decisions in incredibly stressful situations if she were able to say, "I was married to a philandering serial adulterer and then I divorced him."

    March 11, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. from Boston

    cnn thrives on this controversy and are the true hate-mongers. If they were true journalists, we would not be fighting with each other. But then again, from what I've been reading, the Obama supporters, who pretend to be so educated and the African American population who just want to be followers, are not truly picking a candidate. Remember, some people are just one hit wonders and Obama seems to fit the bill.

    March 11, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
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