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."

Full story 

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (389 Responses)
  1. sharon

    None of these candidates have ever sat in the seat of the President, now have they? So none of them have the experience until they get there, now do they? As for the phone ad, it doesn't even make sense. So get off of it, Cnn. Voters must make a choice about the solutions, universal health care that is mandated by hillary, universal health care that is by choice by Obama, or leave things as they are, high premiums that are unaffordable as mccain has indicated. Who is best prepared to handle our econmy. McCain who has no knowledge about economy, Hillary who spent millions of our tax payor dollars behind closed doors as first lady on a health care plan that was destined to fail from the start, or Obama who has shown he can run a great campaign and manage the money?

    As far as foreign policy goes, we need someone that can talk with world leaders and still be tough. Hillary's way would be no talks unless we agree, Mccains would be no talks at all, and obama has been chastised for saying he would talk with leaders even if they don't agree on every issue.

    These are the issues you should be concerned about, not all this garbage about a black man (bi-racial) by the way, listening to Hillary distorting the issues and hiding behind her husband and trying to run on his name. or mcCain who is arm in arm with Bush. Now pick your preference.

    Everyone that comes out with negative remarks be it senators or media should be shut off. Their remarks are just that, their ideas about who they want and are using fear tactics on the American people again. Hillary talks about Barack being all speeches but she has the solutions, well what are they? her universal health care has never been put to the people to see if they really want it, she is the decider i guess and she will mandate it. Believe me she will mandate a lot more in our lives. Get off of it people and vote for whomever you want but stop the petty mud slinging and quit listening to the news.

    March 11, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  2. aliou salam

    CLINTON NOW REVEALS TO THE WORLD THAT SHE IS A SEXIST AND A RACIST.

    WHY WOULD ANY WOMAN WANT TO VOTE FOR ANY SUCH PERSON WHO IS OBVIOUSLY USING ALL THE FEMALE TRICKS IN THE BOOK PLUS ALL THE RACIST TRICKS TO GET WHAT SHE WANTS?

    WHY IS THE MEDIA FALLING FOR THIS?
    WHY HAS THE MEDIA SHUT THE OBAMA OUT OF THE LIME LIGHT?
    WHY HAVE WE NOT HEARD FROM OBAMA'S SISTER WHEN WE CAN HEAR FROM CHELSEA ALL DAY LONG?
    WHY IS THE MEDIA NOT PICKING ON HER THEATRICAL MOCK OF HOPE? IF THIS WAS HOWARD DEAN, THE MEDIA WOULD BE ALL OVER THE WORLD WITH IT.

    March 11, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  3. Interesting

    Hillary didn't have a clue what was going on the white house. Otherwise, Lewinsky wouldn't have been playing hide the cigar in the oval office.

    March 11, 2008 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  4. Anacostia

    If the DNC gives this primary election to Hillary – by that I mean going along with this ridiculous revote in Florida & Michigan – then I encourage all Obama supporters to BOYCOTT the national election. Let McCain win. If she has to cheat to beat – McCain deserves to be victorious. How can you change the rules in the middle of the game? If the rules are that the states were stripped of its delegates at the beginning – how can you reverse that now and revote? That is saying that the rules were never broken – and hey never mind about that!

    March 11, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  5. Rob

    Great story. thanks for posting.

    Just what i thought:

    "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."

    he voted present for the war (already then he had no opinion) and even so he was not trying to understand the situation and try to make it better, he just didnt care. he probably would be a great community activist, but thats it.

    Hillary 08

    PS: about the article: why do you guys call her a racist, i think it is absolutely true. i live in SC and i talked to people. sorry guys, but thats the way America is.

    March 11, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  6. libertad

    Hillary Clinton believes that we're all a bunch of fools – she has no respect for the intelligence of her supporters or the American people. This Orwellian/Rovian method of constant repetition until the lie becomes the truth won't work this time. Her claim to 35 years of experience is a lie.

    March 11, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  7. p.g.

    Hillary has more foreign policy experence Obama has Zero,Zip,Nada. He can't do the job he has now and hold hearings on Afghanistan.

    March 11, 2008 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  8. Dave S.

    Gotta love the anger and vitriol of the Clintonistas on here! They can't refute facts, or acknowledge that their biggest "reason" for supporting Hillary is a sham - so they take a cue from the campaign and just make flailing, ad-hominem attacks!

    Seriously, people... if "experience" were really the issue here, you'd either be backing McCain, or have been supporting Dodd, Richardson, or Biden (or even Kucinich!) in the Democratic Primary.

    In TWO years Obama has gotten more bills (and more substantive bills) than Hillary has in SEVEN.

    How about just coming clean and admitting that you're supporting her because she's a woman, or because she's married to bill, or because you just "have a feeling." All the reasons you put forth just aren't holding water. Yet Obama supporters are the alleged kool-aid drinkers?

    March 11, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  9. Ann Kuminns

    Hillary's campaign is based so much on "stretches" of the truth and imagination. If you dig into her real experience, she has perhaps a speck more than Obama. But he has more real world experience than she ever will have. Also his judgement is definitely more superior than hers. Hillary has lived so many of the past years in denial of the truth that it is now hard for her to differentiate the two. Just as Bill could look right in the camera and lie so blatantly, she has also learned the art of doing so. It's time to see that "the emperor has no clothes!".

    March 11, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  10. sara18

    where is proof obama has experience on foreign affairs?lol he aint lying about having any unlike hillary clinton people are now starting to ask questions about her so called experience and she cant answer (nice attack but with facts) 0bama08

    March 11, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  11. Jan in MI

    Do you Obama Supporters really think he is ready to handle foreign policy. At least Hillary has traveled extensively in foreign countries, she knows the people she would be dealing with.

    I am so sick of the blind following that Obama has....nobody asks him any important questions. They just say YES WE CAN.

    YES WE CAN, get our country in a worst position it is now.

    I for one don't think Obama would take Michigan.....everyone I talk to in Western Michigan would never vote for him. They will just sit this election out or vote McCain. It will be a vote against a person rather than for a person. SAD ISN'T IT.

    IT'S A VERY SCARY ELECTION.

    March 11, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  12. P Jackman

    Our system of choosing presidential candidates, is suppose to allow the people to select the person the majority of the people want to see run for the presidency.

    Proportional delegate selection and omitting major states like Florida and Michigan over a rules infraction has created a venomous atmosphere in the Democratic Party.

    The divisions may be so deep many Democratic voters might not vote in the general election if their candidate does not win. In this case no matter if it is Obama or Hillary the Democrats loses. After 8 years of Bush who would have ever thought that could happen.

    A year ago the Democrats could have run Donald Duck and won

    March 11, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  13. Mark, Vancouver, WA

    If Hillary is trying to base her foreign policy experience off of her time as First Lady, bringing up her "role" in peace in Ireland and supporting women's rights in China, then she needs to also take responsibility for the shortfalls of her husband's administration. Where was she in dealing with the problems in Mogadishu??? Where was she when genocide was taking place in Rwanda??? Even her husband has apologized for the negligence his administration had in regards to Rwanda – is Hillary willing to accept responsibility for that and admit she made a mistake? You can't just take the positives and forget the negatives!

    March 11, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  14. Chris

    The question everyone should be asking, besides the HUGE holes is Hallary's foreign policy experience claims is:

    HOW MUCH FOREIGN POLICY EXPERIENCE DID RONALD REAGAN OR BILL CLINTON HAVE WHEN THEY WERE NOMINATED???

    March 11, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  15. think

    no matter what hillary's accomplishments are or aren't, obama's are MUCH less.

    March 11, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  16. Goodheart

    Obama wants to invade Pakistan to get Bin Laden and he wants to meet with the President of Iran. Need I say more?

    March 11, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  17. Abdulrahman

    America claimed to be the no 1 in the world,If that´s true,I have to remind the Americans that a woman being the No 1 in the world is an error in a collossal part.
    My advice is let her (Hillary) plead for the no 2 position if only Obama,The man with the Quality,ability,charisma,and the spirit of leadership could consider her.Obama is the only man who can give the right judgement and will be able to reform American and to bring the world back to Peace.

    March 11, 2008 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  18. Dan

    Does Obama's foreign experience come from his Syrian friend? We know he uses everybody elses speeches and ideas, and we know he has long ties with Rezko, a syrian arab who was probably against the war because he wanted the minority sunnis to stay in power.That's the thing, once you get caught using everybody elses ideas it makes everthing else you say questionable. Rezko has ties with Nadhmi Auchi, the man who was in charge of the oil revenues for Sadam Hussein. Rezko has been arrested involving a 3.5 million dollar loan recieved by Auchi.

    March 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  19. Kathleen, Oakland ca

    Hmmm... if eight years in the Whitehouse is Hilary's "experience", then shouldn't she be subject to term limits?

    March 11, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  20. gene

    My goodness, this man has little or no foriegn experience. Chairman of an important sub-committee involving NATO and to date has not held a single hearing on Afganistan, where NATO is understaffed and more troops are needed and we just sent in an additional 3,000 of our best. What in hell has he been doing besides campaigning for the Democratic nomination, that is what he has been doing. He made a speech against the war prior to being elected to the U.S.Senate, then he has voted for funding the war ever since .

    March 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  21. Dan

    Experience vs Accomplishments – If you've been around the world and accomplished nothing, what good is your experience? What about experience on the home front? Long before Hilary was vainly trying to change the world, Obama was working at home, making a real difference in the world. Although his record may not include failing to bring peace to Northern Ireland, his does include changing the standard of living for residents of Chicago! I would much rather elect someone who can acomplish something, no matter how "small" compared to someone who fails to accomplish anything!

    March 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  22. From PA

    Let the world pray that Obama doesnt win!!!!!!

    March 11, 2008 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  23. Brian

    Of course she's thin on foreign policy experience... she was First Lady, not Secretary of State. Planning luncheons for foreign dignitaries does not make you a diplomat.

    The only 3 a.m. phone call Hillary will be getting after November is from the police asking her if she knows where her husband is.

    March 11, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  24. aliou salam

    I WANT TO SEE MORE OF THE ANGRY LOOKS SHE HAS ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL. WHY IS THE MEDIA IGNORING HER THEATRICAL MOCKERY OF HOPE? THAT IS SO DISGRACEFULL MY CHILDREN AND THEIR FRIENDS HAVE GIVEN IT A LIFE OF ITS OWN.

    IF YOU ASK THEM, SAY, TO BRING YOU WATER, AND THEY DON'T WANT, THEY SIMPLY GO THEATRICAL AND "THE ANGELS WILL FALL FROM THE SKY AND BRING WATER BECAUSE YOU WISH IT" . I'VE GOT TO TELL YOU : IT DRIVES ME CRAZY. BUT I CAN'T HELP LAUGHING. MY HUSBAND HAS NOW JOINED IN: HE WILL PULL HIS MOST WRINKLED FACE TO DO THAT.

    March 11, 2008 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  25. BL-NYC

    Senator Clinton does have more experience, much more.
    Actually, Senator Obama has no experience and we have know that from the start. Here he goes again, "I know you are, but what am I?"
    This guy is such a baby. Amazing that we are even considering him for the most important job on Earth!

    March 11, 2008 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
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