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. Joanna

    Can anyone calculate the voters state by state? I do think Hillary won more voters but less delegates now. Because in the big state, a pledged delegate represents more voters than in the small state. And in the primary, a pledged delegate represents more voters than in the caucuse.

    March 11, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  2. Waaaiit a minute

    atimebandit, Obama is not only staying on point he is also scrutinizing what "experience" Hilary claims she really has. Just cuz she looks old and has been the wife of a President does give her experience, I am sorry.
    Fire away Obama, sometimes you gotta fight back enough with this nice guy thing. Fight back!

    March 11, 2008 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  3. David

    About that 3 am phone call...

    Will the phone be on Bill's side of the bed?

    March 11, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  4. Valerie TX

    Among Clinton's foreign affairs and armed forces experience are two fact finding trips to Iraq where she rolled up her sleeves and waded in, talking about nitty-gritty issues with several generals and soldiers. Later, when a reporter asked those generals who they thought was knowledgeable and competent on the problems in Iraq, to a man they said, "You mean other than Hillary Clinton?" She has actively served on the Armed Forces Committee and had extensive diplomatic experience with world leaders during her tenure as first lady. She was not afraid to stand up to injustice anywhere in the world, including standing alone at a podium on a stage in front of thousands of Communist government leaders in Beijing and forcefully speaking up for women's rights while denouncing the Chinese practice of drowning, smothering, or breaking the spines of babies because they were born girls. One might also consider her answer during the last debate about the man chosen as Putin's successor. She showed profound knowledge and depth of understanding when responding and all Obama could do is say something to the effect that he didn't have anything else to add to what Senator Clinton had said.

    March 11, 2008 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  5. Tom Wittmann

    The very simple truth is that none of them has really any meaningful either foreign nor defense experience.


    March 11, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  6. Richard M. Nixon

    If Hillary was my Sec. of State instead of Henry, we'd still be in


    March 11, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  7. Brian - Trinidad

    However you want to size-up Clinton's experience, it is still 1000 times more than Obama's, and better to have that than the nothingness that Obama brings to the table.

    March 11, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  8. samaki

    obama needs to do both to focus on original message and to pointout the difference,on what she is relying on foreign policy ,because only and the most experience she have is being a first lady and travel the world and shook alot of hands, and if that was enough to make her president, all former first ladies would have to become resident

    March 11, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  9. RejectHillary

    Hillary lies exposed. She does not have any foreign policy she is lier you can not change a ho to a housewife.

    March 11, 2008 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  10. Kentucky

    Well, I'm just an old country boy with little experience in politics, but I will say that if Hillary Clinton has so much experience in politics, Why is this country in the shape that its in. If she was still on the board at Wall mart and their company was in the shape the country is, she would have been fired years ago, especially for supporting NAFTA. Its also hard to keep both eyes focused on the country when a lot of your time is spent on what your husband is doing.

    March 11, 2008 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  11. jd

    Obama/Edwards , a team that has dignity. Billary not only threw the kitchen sink but she risked her character. She is a desperate, whinning, power hungry , corporate politician.

    March 11, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  12. Jay MN

    I'm in absolute awe that Democrats might actually be on the verge of snatching defeat from the jaws of victory for the third presidential election in a row!

    Tear on, Cintons! Tear the party apart to satisfy Hillary's ego. Because this election is clearly only about her, not America.

    All of the divisiveness between the Obama camp and the Clinton camp is like sweet nectar for John McCain, not to mention Karl Rove!

    I actually prefer Obama but McCain will certainly do just fine by me. On a 1 to 100 scale, with Obama being 100, McCain is about an 88, and Hillary is at best a 3.

    March 11, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  13. Hec

    The fact remains that Obama will not be effective toward the situation in the middle east and he can never claim to know what it's like to live in poverty. He and his wfe grew up privileged and at the moment it comes down to the issues and on that note Clinton is much clearer and has deffinitely gotten it done in New York. What has Obama done for his state besides being behind one bill that had nothing to do with Illinois.

    March 11, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  14. Rick

    Rather than tear down Hillary about her supposed lack of experience, why don't you tell us YOUR experience Obama? People tell me that Obama is doing politics different, but they can't seem to admit that he plays the game just like the rest of them. As long as he can win states, he plays all nice, but as soon as he starts to lose, you be he'll do whatever he needs to start winning again.

    I'm not saying that I'm for one or the other, but just trying to point out the obvious to people. It's politics!!

    March 11, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  15. Dina

    I am extremely tired of this back and forth between Hillary and Obama. Has she done her job as Senator of NY while on the campaign trail? I think not! Barack has support on the committee to make the votes count. Come on now.....when you are running for any type of office, the focus will be on campaigning. Maybe Hillary needs to go help her Governor climb out of the hole he fell into yesterday. She knows a lot about a cheating husband...she stood by Bill, NOW That’s Experience she definitely has.

    March 11, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  16. Leo

    I am so please for this response, Wonderfull.

    March 11, 2008 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  17. V in CA

    Oh, my, my. I find it astonishing that supporters of any candidate would not have taken the simple step of reading EACH candidate's website at least. But, no, we go in lock-step for our own candidate, repeating back the pablum we are offered by the candidates and our friends.

    Hillary Clinton's record is astonishingly accomplished. LOOK IT UP. Obama's derisive "having tea" remark about her meetings with world leaders and address on women's rights in China is just ignorant. It diminishes him. He has no relationships, whatsoever, with world leaders, and many are highly suspicious of him.

    March 11, 2008 11:16 am at 11:16 am |

    AMERICANS March 11th, 2008 10:38 am ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    Americans this is the time for everybody to wake up and fight to retrieve our national pride once again,America of all,has come to be a world target of all evils,propelled by G.W.Bush who has the same evil mind that i found out in Rodham Clinton,a woman who knows and calls a fellow being and politician a man with a poor background and pretends she loves the million of people with poor backgrounds.

    March 11, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  19. Manuel TX

    Hillary is a five year member of the Armed Services Committee.

    The significant support that she's received from 35 U.S. generals directly stems from her work on this committee. They obviously know her and her capabilities. 🙂

    By contrast Obama has chaired the Senate subcommittee on Europe, which is responsible for NATO's presence in Afghanistan for 14 months! And in this period of time he has called NO meetings. NONE.

    U.S. soldiers are dying in Afghanistan, Al-qaeda is active in Afghanistan, and Obama simply cannot be bothered to do anything. It’s simply astonishing.

    If Obama was going to completely abdicate his responsibility as chair of the Senate subcommittee on Europe because he was going to be too busy out on the campaign trail he should have resigned his position.

    Words, just words.

    March 11, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  20. Grif

    Foreign eperience you do have more, after all your a Christian.

    So go do some foreign experience, in your little heaven Mr Obama.

    Spend a few years down there.....

    March 11, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  21. Kim Nguyen

    .. Mr. Obama please tell us what is your experience to be a Commander-in-Chief ? from talking? from hope and dream speeches? Most the speeches you have given to the public so far sound very much like your speech 4 years ago at Demorat convention for John Kerry! Thanks goodness, you can't fool me a second time Mr. Blahhblaahhh!

    March 11, 2008 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
  22. loren

    hey Hilary when did you become the teacher that tested the candidates on who could be the Commander in Chief.. Where are your experiences and tax forms i still don't see them how come you are exposing everyone and making you look like a saint.. You get real , cause right now your only fooling those that are still living in the past.. WE NEED CHANGE WE WANT CHANGE THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA HAVE ALREADY CHOSEN THEIR NOMINEE !!! deal with it... I'm from florida and don't agree you should count us because we new ahead of time that we will be excluded but we moved up the date anyways... I wonder if it was states you haven't won in this position would you have fought this hard for them i think not.. your only worried about the states that are most of a convenient to you.. stop being so fake and let the people choose not the superdelegates..

    March 11, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  23. Ed, FL

    Since when being the wife of a president makes somebody expert in foreign matters. Most presidents , all around the world, always travel with their wife. Does that make their wife experienced in foreign policy. Please, Hillary, give me a break.

    March 11, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  24. Rick

    Obama has no right to talk about Hillary's foreign affairs experience.
    I am not convinced that Obama can deliver on his promises. Like in 2007, he basically dropped everything to focus on the elections. He ignored his responsibilities as a sub-committe Chairman on Afghanistan, while he was touting his opposition to the war and that he will attack Pakistan (try to digest that if you are a muslim). All what he did in 2002 is to give an obscure speech which was followed by inaction. On an important issue of this kind, and if you knew better, shouldn't he have gone further and led a movement to oppose the war and lives? You see, this is Senator Obama's problem; he does not have what it takes to carry the ball to the finish line. He is eloquent; but that is not enough.

    March 11, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  25. wakeup123

    Hillary Clinton is a monster, liar, liar, pant suit on fire.

    March 11, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
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