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."

Full story 

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (389 Responses)
  1. Conroy

    Hillary Clinton receives high marks on the national security test, when Hillary Clinton grades the national security test.

    March 11, 2008 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  2. GoBama

    Being the wife of a nuerosurgeon does not make you qualified to conduct brain surgery, why does being the wife of an ex president make you qualified to be one? In the very limited exposure Shrillary has had to actually being able to make a difference on her own, she has made dreadful mistakes. So her judgement is sound when Bill is around only? So this will then be a co presidency? Might as well make Bill run again, since in essence thats all that would be happening, at least he is more straight talking than this scheming, coniving, shrill, whining specimen of a woman! I am a woman and am extremely offended by the stereotype she is confirming of women in general.

    True, Obama has not been in 'office' too long, but I would rather back a horse that hasn't taken a tumble a few hundred times than back one who has fallen multiple times in the past, and present! Chances are pretty darn good that many more tumbles are along the way. Oh wait, claiming you did not read the intelligence memo is now an acceptable reason for making a wrong decision to support the war – if you were in the 5th grade!!! If your only job is to read such memos and make such decisions, all it means is that you have no idea how to do your job. If she makes such glaring mistakes as a senator, what in the ham sandwich can we expect of her as a president?


    March 11, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  3. D.

    Hey, Senator Obama, In what position you are qualify to question Senator CLinton's experience?

    It's your campaign slogan that you're different and against washington. Hi, I tell you a news: You are running for Washington!

    March 11, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  4. Linoq

    I second that: Why don't you post the memo or a link to the memo????

    Hillary , the monster, is a farse. Almost everything about her is fake. I wonder if she is also Made in China.....

    March 11, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  5. Willis





    March 11, 2008 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  6. FORMER Obama Girl

    How is Barack Obama's message of 'hope and change' going to translate into anything real? Obama may lead you to think the entire world has transformed and knelt at his feet in the last year, pleading with him to lead us to the promised land, but i hate to burst the bubble: it hasn't. What is it that makes him think he can 'unite' anyone but his own supporters exactly? Even hillary's legislative record is much more bipartisan and unifying, where he's always somewhere out on the fringe.

    Here in the rest of the world, Obama mania is waning. Increasingly, we find him arrogant, naive, holier-than-thou, creepily messianic, and 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. Clever, but not an honest phenomenon, and he knows it.

    March 11, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  7. W. Artis

    She can't or won't produce her own tax records and White House papers. We don't need another administration laden with secrets and feel they are above the law and try to exert executive privilege.

    Just like Bush, Hilliary has a hidden agenda.

    March 11, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  8. Bonnie

    Obama is not straying from his original message. He has always said he would tell the American people what they needed to hear. This is not "going negative" or "hammering" as CNN would perhaps make it out to be, but it is merely introducing detailed distinctions between the other candidate's professed experience and her actual lack of said experience. Although he has 20 years of experience, Obama has never run on that platform. Hillary has. When she opens the door for examination of her claims, why not walk right in? If we do, might we find just a roomful of "empty rhetoric?" Funny–now whose record is "just words?"
    Sure, we have doubts, Singer: about Hillary's ability to manage her campaign. And if we doubt that, shouldn't we doubt her claims of readiness?
    We have no doubts about ourselves. And don't forget, WE are managing the campaign for the other guy. And we're doing a pretty good job. It will be nice to have our country back.

    March 11, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  9. A Dose of REality

    Finally!!! The only thing Obama needs to do over the next 6 weeks is show that he's tough and that he can stand up to Hillary. If he does that, he'll be able to make a convincing case to the superdelegates that he can stand up to the GOP attack machine. The Clintons give him a perfect proving ground.

    Don't back down Obama.

    March 11, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  10. Jen


    March 11, 2008 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  11. Alice Rea

    March 6th, 2008 4:55 pm ET

    Hillary Clinton, is the only one that could brag about her experience.

    She has had first hand foreign policy experience tied to being a first lady. She has walked the corridors of power while she reigned as the first lady. ALL the World loved the Clintons. This role as the first lady in a time that our country was thriving and well respected is "invaluable".

    Wake up America!




    March 11, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  12. thingsthatmakeyougo.hmm...

    For someone that claims to want to "change" washington....he sure is starting to sound like a good ole politician! C'mon people....he's a weak whiner....I don't want someone like that in the White House! We need a fighter....GO HILLARY!!!

    March 11, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  13. Will

    Hillary has no experience.

    March 11, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  14. Darvin Williams; Miami, FL

    Wow Dave. That's pretty harsh but true (and funny).

    I was listening to the BBC when a number of Irishmen who received awards for the peace talks were discounting her claims to have participated.

    I do believe that she has probably been one of the most active first lady's of our country and of Arkansas. I just don't make the connection to that being commander-in-chief or even legislative experience. I wish them luck with it though, some people are buying it.

    March 11, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  15. FORMER Obama Girl

    B A R A C K O B A M A


    1 B I G E G O

    March 11, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  16. Maria F



    March 11, 2008 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  17. Valerie TX

    CNN Moderator: Please post my comments this time:
    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 standing 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 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  18. Stephannie Minneapolis, MN

    Hillary Clinton has made her "35 years of experience" the bedrock of her political campaign - and now she has to prove it. The Clinton campaign paid for the infamous "3 AM" advertisement with the claims that she is more equipped from a foreign policy perspective to answer the "red phone," (and subsequently credited it for her "winning" Texas and Ohio) and doesn't expect her record to be called into question by the Obama campaign and the press? Get real! You cannot have it both ways. You cannot tout all this experience in front of the American voters and then when the press and your opponent shows that it's all smoke and mirrors you feign outrage?! Where's Nell Carter...some needs to "gimme a break."

    March 11, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  19. Amy, Kazoo

    so the obama supporters think they can win in November without the backing of the Clinton supporters and vice versa? this democrat doesn't think it's possible for either to win without the support of the entire party. so enough with the berating and bickering between the candidates, the voters, and the campaign staff. This behavior is unacceptable and annoying.

    March 11, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  20. John Karsten

    The reason that I support Obama is that he never started anything negative, just responed to it and moved on. But a BULLY will never quit if the person does not stand up for himself. So I am glad that he has started to realize that if I take the high road all of the time, he will Lose. As my dear old grand father told me often, sometimes son, you have no choice, but to fight. OBAMA, now is that time brother. We, the people, in order to form a more perfect union, PICK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!
    I know you can't change the world in 4 years, but electing an Afarican-American(SP?) is the starting point, I HOPE and PRAY that everyone see's this.
    I'm a white male living in Virginia and serving the Military, just so you know who Obama's supporters really are. I guess I need to donate some more cash to Obama, as I have every month! I think I need to up the amount this time. Peace People!

    March 11, 2008 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  21. Touche

    Right, okay Obama's record is just "words"... yet what a "dream ticket" it would be to have him as VP.. oh but of course he'll be "seasoned by Denver".. and yet he's only "gotten this far because he's black"... hmm there is sooo much wrong with this picture that to even begin to put some logic to it would take years of psychoanalysis... and you want this woman to be your next president? Why?

    March 11, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  22. Willis

    The American people are tired of corrupt and hypocritical politicians - Hillary go home!

    March 11, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  23. Hong

    Does Obama have a better foreign policy? How much of his policy is different from what have been out there long before he became the senator. Is this campaign all about using the "new politics" trick to execute policy of the "old politics" that so many "old politicians" including Obama's superdelegates have been dedicating their lives to.
    Is the "old politics" a negative term? It seems to hit all most every politician that back Obama. To claim and advocate the "new politics", please draw a line between you and the "old politics".

    March 11, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  24. Craig

    The Cinton campaign would put a smile on Joseph Goebbels face, long live the Fuerheress.

    March 11, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  25. Jack Walden

    CNN.. Seems lately you have fallen prey to senator Clintons "Charm".
    She got trounced in Wyoming 61-38 but picked "good chunk of delegates" (5 to be exact). And you keep reminding us that she won in Texas but please, you have yet to tell us how many delegates she ended up winning in the state.
    How come?

    March 11, 2008 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16