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. Matt

    You gotta love how Obama is going to claim that the other candidate doesn't have enough experience. And that all she has are words claiming to have experience. HA! What world is he living in?

    March 11, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  2. Becky in In.

    Obama get a life, you have little to no foreign policy experience, Hillary is ready to lead on "DAY ONE". You do your dirty politics by sending out fliers so voters won't know you will do or say anything to get elected.

    March 11, 2008 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  3. Mike in Calgary

    The 3AM ad would in fact suggest that an OBAMA – RICHARDSON ticket is the way to go!

    The MENAGE A TROIS proposed by Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton would be better directed in private to Elliot Spitzer. He too seems to fancy the seedy side.


    March 11, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  4. CB

    Hey Hillary, I didn't know you were the test proctor for the Commander-In-Chief's Exam. America is still waiting for your own test results, experience and ability to be Commander-in-Chief. You hoped to baffle America with those 35 general officer's support, rather than come out with your true qualifications. My grandmother told me long ago, that the truth requires no support but, a LIE always has to be supported with more lies.

    March 11, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  5. Dick Pittenger

    Clinton supporters should put an end to claims that Obama has failed to hold a single hearing of his subcommittee on Afghanistan. John Kerry is chairman of that committee. Obama's subcommittee's responsibility is Europe. Enough of the lies!

    March 11, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  6. Brian

    Great story, thanks for posting.

    March 11, 2008 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  7. Eric Sievering

    I think at this point Hillary should drop out of the race. Here is my reasoning, if the race continues as it's been going she won't have more normal delegates at the end of this thing. Barack Obama looks like he's going to have the most normal delegates, he may not have the magic number of 2025, but he'll have the most. If Hillary really does succeed in attracting more super delegates, even if she hasn't won the majority of the normal delegates, and she gets the nomination we have a real problem. She would be subverting the will of the people, create a skism in the democratic party, and probably lose the general election because of it. I think for these reason Hillary should drop out.


    Eric Sievering

    March 11, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  8. Chris

    Obama is just like every other politician... he says that he is running a good campaign and wants to change old politics... all he has done this week is attack Senator Clinton... How is he any different than her... Senator Obama you need to stop... this is weakening your claim to be running a "good" campaign... it is starting to look like you are getting desperate for votes... I do not understand why you are starting to question her experience... it is a known fact that she has been very active in the political ring... she could have easily retired from the arena after Bill was done as president... she instead ran for a Senate seat and continued working because she was upset over health care...

    I am starting to wonder if I voted for the wrong candidate... you are starting to show that you lack experience and you might not be ready to be president!!!

    March 11, 2008 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  9. Emerson Francis

    And CNN acts as the stenographer for the slimey Clinton campaign. It is time for you so-called journalists at CNN to research their false claims, and not repeat their lies.

    March 11, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  10. Will-South Dakota

    What has she done in foreign policy that had a major effects in the world and that proved long lasting?

    March 11, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  11. jerry_pgh

    I have been saying this for a long time...Clinton' s foreign policy is Bill Clinton and she might as well say that because that is what she is portraying...I mean yeah she visited 80 countries but she was never directly involved in anything directly...there was a AP story on this over the weekend...Let's here the experience? They have the Muslim countries in there pockets...Bill is giving Qatar and Oman advice and giving speeches over there that is why they wont release White House papers and the W-2 because of the Middle East influence in there campaign...come on people and yall thing OBAMA is tied to the Middle East...wakeup...GOOGLE Hilary UnCENSORED..

    March 11, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  12. Howard Hewlett Des Moines IA

    I understand that responding to Clinton takes him off message but it is clear that Clinton is not going to allow people to ignore her. He has to put the dampers on this to nuetralize her for this strategy is working.

    If he destroys this arguement, and I think he can, this may finally end Hillary's run for I am convinced more than ever that she wants to be presidents for herself, not the American people.

    March 11, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  13. elmerg

    So, is Hillary Clinton implying she was in on Bill's foreign policy decisions when he was POTUS? Sheesh, who elected her anyway?

    March 11, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. Charlotte

    Obama-bots want to connect Hillary to the scandals, but not the successes of the Clinton years? Obama has been campaigning for President since becomming a Senator. The committee he chaired has had zero meetings on the Al Qaeda in Afghanastan. He missed the vote on Iran, hit the wrong button on others. What if he is the President and hits the wrong button?

    March 11, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  15. Debbie

    atimebandit. I disagree with you. This is a point in the debate that Hillary has persuaded the people. Obama must prove that she is all talk. As first lady and senator she didn't have the authority to do all she says she has. His campaign workers can dig up the info and he can stick with his message. He just has to make sure the facts are straight because the Clintons are shrewd. He should also point out all of the other "inexperienced" Presidents that were elected. Ronald
    Reagan, Bill Clinton and others and that judgement outweighs experience.

    March 11, 2008 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  16. txpoodoo

    Obama is trying to expose Clinton for what she really is. A potential employee that is lying on her resume. I know what I do when I find out a potential employee has lied or exaggerated on their resume; that is I don't hire them.....hint hint.

    But atimebandit is right, Obama needs to make sure he don't lose his message in all this mess. Stay the course. It has taken you this far, don't fix what is not broken.

    March 11, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  17. Amit

    Dave March 11th, 2008 10:53 am ET

    "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."

    HAHAHAHA Well said Dave.

    March 11, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  18. Carole

    Obama has no experience – period!! Whatever he claims Hllary has or does not have is still more than him.

    March 11, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  19. LeAnn

    I LOVE IT!!!

    OBAMA '08!!!

    March 11, 2008 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  20. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    This is so trite!!

    One professional politician with no credible executive experience–derailing about an opponents similar lack of credible executive experience.

    The define is indeed found in the absurd!!

    Hey folks–neither of you have what it takes!!

    March 11, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  21. John

    Hillary has forced Barack to go on the offensive with her over-claims as to her own qualifications and I think many people are happy to see Barrack take off the gloves against the mean-spirited, talent-starved Hillary. Alright, Barrack...You go, guy!

    March 11, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  22. HD

    I'm glad to see he is finally challenging Hillary's exaggerated experience claim. Also glad to see him do it in a way that specific to her record rather than being disrespectful to her personally. She sure hasn't shown him the courtesy of respect. Thank Barack! Just remember to stay on your original message as well. It's a good one.

    March 11, 2008 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  23. leejo

    Hello, Clinton is talking about experience can i give a simple example just look at our work place A 20 year experience one or 2 year experienced one perform good . I will say the 20 year will only say i got 20 years experience and the major part of the work is done by the 2 year experienced ones . Just think ...........................

    March 11, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  24. Asian's from Obama to Hillary

    Obama, you ahve more experiences in your fancy speeches.

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

    Dave's point is exactly right (and a funny way to make the point, too!).

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