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."

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- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (389 Responses)
  1. jhs

    I think people should search OUTSIDE of CNN to get facts. There are more than one references to Sen. Clinton's experience. One claim made may have been overstated, but in general, most are true. As far as the 3 am ad, if it was so bad, why did Obama turn right around and copy it? I find it funny everyone talking about the "red" phone, there was NO red phone anywhere in the ad. This whole thing has been blown way out of shape. If Obama would ever start to say anything except "I was against the war", maybe more people would pay more attention, we're sick of hearing the same thing and "copied" answers. No Obama, not ever, not even as VP. Too immature, too arrogant and wrong person for who our country NEEDS right now.

    March 11, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  2. yup

    hi

    Obama would not be where he is if he were not black is true!

    Everything Geraldine Ferraro said is right on..... Last time I checked we have the right to freedom of speech. She told the truth.

    I suspect they will give the nomination to the black man for the same reason. What change? Just because some people do not say it in public – does not make it untrue.

    Obama is pushed by Republicans who you are calling swing votes.... to disrupt the democratic party.... what a tactic.

    March 11, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  3. Obama Nation

    This is negative campaigning...it seems natural. Remember, they are ALL politicians...even the superficial savior.

    March 11, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. fred

    Clinton needs to hammer Obama more on being an all talk no substance candidate !!!

    March 11, 2008 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  5. fred

    Obama is not even a good Senator!!!

    March 11, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  6. James

    Hillary = experience

    Obama = rhetoric, arrogance, present and no show

    your choice – priceless

    March 11, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  7. kim portland, oregon

    i am so glad to see obama is now immediately taking on all the charges thrown at him. from what i understand, it's not even protocol to call the president's private number; if something happens, the president is supposed to read a children's book while the big boys handle the sitation.

    isnt the president's phone in his bedroom for private use only? i'm pretty sure i've heard that if something does happen in the middle of the night, one of his staffers enters the room. it's a stupid ad to begin with, i cant beleive people fell for that, and it's not accurate either. and i LOVE that the girl used is a staunch obama supporter; an easy mistake to make i know, but it's still funny to me.

    i'm so disappointed in the clintons and their karl "el diablo" rovian ways! at first i thought it was really cool that we have a woman running. and i never saw why it's been considered a bad thing that in college they talked about how they would both be president. it would have been a cool thing to have a husband and wife who were presidents; certainly better thean the hideous father-son team we got stuck with. but the more i see of the clintons tactics, having burson-marsteller's president on their campaign team, hiding finances, etc. i am so disappointed in them.

    the important thing is that we beat McSame, he cannot win. and his list of possible VPs is appalling--he's mentioned cheney (god help us all!!), and now clarence frickin thomas and joe lieberman?!?!? i say GO FOR IT, mccaine, pick more war-mongering bush/cheney lapdogs like yourself!

    obama/edwards 08!!!!! THAT is the dream ticket!

    March 11, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  8. George

    Tell people what your experience are, it seems like your candidate has nothing to show for and therefore he is always talking about things he did not do. Well, he not in congress when the vote to go to war was done, so who knows what he would have done, he could have voted present for all we know. It takes a strong person vote yes or no, it takes an inexprienced politician like obama to vote present. When people vote, it is YES or NO. We know you are in congress, please vote present. Stand for something. Till then, you lots of learning. 2016 if you will still be present in the political arena, maybe.

    March 11, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  9. Independent

    Go Obama!!

    March 11, 2008 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  10. Gerry

    CNN should post the memo; it's proof that Clinton's claims are untrue.

    If a cook works in the Whitehouse for 8 years, does that make the cook qualified on national security issues?

    In the end, it doesn't matter-it's about judgement and Obama has proven better judgement.

    March 11, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  11. Nadeem Tahir

    We are not nominating a monkey.

    March 11, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  12. Lilia, from PA

    Good Job OBAMA time to let her taste a little of her own medicine.

    As my husband says, her claim of experience has a name BILL CLINTON.

    I was an uncommitted voter, but now I am leaning more toward OBAMA 08!!!!!!!!!

    March 11, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. Alex

    That's it, if Obama is not nominated, I will vote for Nader.

    March 11, 2008 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  14. Dave

    diane

    – you are not helping support your candidate with your blog. So you mean an, "IDIOT IN THE WHITE HOUSE WHO BELIEVED HALF TRUTHS WERE OK" could outsmart your educated candidate. Speaks volumes of her...

    Maybe if she read it she could have been more informed.

    March 11, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  15. Kevin Miller

    I keep hearing CNN repeat Mrs. Clinton won Texas. This has so far been proven inaccurate, in terms of delegate count after the Texas caucus that was held after the primaries. I think CNN owes it to its viewers to correct this misstated "fact". While I agree it was easy to give her the win after the primary, the record needs to be set straight.

    Mr. Cafferty, with his candid discussion of political issues, should lead the charge on correcting this.

    March 11, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  16. Nadeem Tahir

    We are not nominating a flash in the pan with no experience.

    March 11, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  17. Hillary 08 Ohio

    The time has come for Obama to withdraw from the election. He is not qualified to serve as President or Vice President. He is largely a community activist and a fade, like the hula hoop.

    That statement is VERY TRUE!!!!!!!!

    Hillary The True Winner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 11, 2008 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  18. Hillary unsensord visit youtube. get the picturte yourself.

    Everyone knows that Hillary Clinton political experience is a scam.

    Hillary and Bill Clinton solicited money from Peter Paul and turned against him. Denied taking money from him whereas there is evidence to that infect.Having a Judge that was appointed by Clinton to throw the case away even though there evidence to the contrary.

    Please I beg you to watch youtube video, it will make more sense why she is a scam fraud star. Who you candidate behaviour guys, you should be tired of these kind of politicians.

    March 11, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  19. Ed K.

    I have a feeling this whole Obama show is going down hill. People are getting tired of his same old HOPE speech. I don't think I can stand to hear it one more time so please CNN a little less Obama would be nice.

    March 11, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  20. John

    When will the CLINTONS and there campaign be called out for the constant racial tones they use. First Bill talks about the "fairy tale" campaign of Obama, then Bill's stupid comments in South Carolina saying Obama would get Token votes from the black vote. Then the mysterious photo of Obama in African costume. Now, Ms. Ferraro comes out and calls Obama nothing more then a black joke. This begins to really drive home what the Clintons and there campaign talk about behind closed doors. Of course there whole life in the public service front is done behind closed doors. When will the media stop buying her game and start really hammering her on all the SECRECY surrounding her and her campaign.

    March 11, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  21. anonymous

    Obama supporters you are going down with your leader. It's time to point out that your "true leader" is beginning to flip-fop again. I think I remember somebody daying that he does politics differently; that he doesn't follow the old Washington way. Well it seems to me that it's a lie. He's critising Hillary like crazy. Well we got yo now mister. You're lying about doing politics differently.You're lying to people who are blindly following you. CNN will get it right within the next day or two, and then the truth about you being different and bringing change will come out for the voters to see.

    March 11, 2008 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  22. Alex H

    Alright so first of all it has to say something about Obama that he was able to GET chair of something that, as Clinton is making it out to be, is so important to foreign affairs after only being in the Senate for 2 years. Let's first have it said that the SUB-committee that Obama chairs is responsible for EUROPEAN matters. Afghanistan is a matter that the FULL committee (which happens to be the Foreign Relations Committee) and the Armed Services Committee (if about military action) are responsible for but most importantly with the Near East and South and Central Asian Affairs SUB-committees of the Foreign Relations Committee which Obama is not a member of... but that doesn't matter when no one cares to look up the facts. As a member of the armed services committee (which is more directly influential in matters of Iraq and Afghanistan with regards to security), Hillary Clinton has been ABSENT in February during 2 hearings on Afghanistan and Iraq involving strategies. But I guess that's not as important as campaigning. So how can she hold Obama to a standard she can't even hold to herself?

    CNN DO YOUR JOB AND INFORM YOUR READERS OF THE TRUTH! THE NEWS IS IMPORTANT BUT THIS IS A BLOG CAPABLE OF ANALYZING STATEMENTS. IF THEY LEAD TO VOTES FOR A CANDIDATE DUE TO THE WRONG REASONS THEN YOU SHOULD FIND IT HARD TO SLEEP AT NIGHT!

    March 11, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  23. M. ELIAS

    SORRY. SHE IS RIGHT. SENATOR OBAMA IS A FIRST TIMER IN
    THE UNITED STATES SENATE. HIS EXPERIENCE IN THE ILLINOIS
    LEGISLATURE WAS MINIMAL. HIS ROLE CALL ON VOTES WAS
    BAD. LOOK AT HIS VOTES. OVER ONE HUNDRED VOTES
    IN THE LEGISLATURE WERE PRESENT. THAT IS NO VOTE.
    THAT IS A COP OUT. HE CHOOSE THE WAY TO IGNORE TAKING
    A POSITION WITH HIS VOTE. I CALL THAT NOT ONLY
    INEXPERIENCE, BUT NOT WILLING TO TAKE A STRONG
    STAND.....................

    March 11, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  24. geo

    On the subject of vice president for Obama.

    Hillary could help him become something, intraining they call it on my job. That is if he is willing to learn and really do something for the country.

    Republicans and Democrates that want him now, know he can be manipulate and handled for all their misdoings and the can not munipulate or control Hillary, she can stand up to them....

    Ted Kennedy..... who respects him – murderer!

    March 11, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  25. Kim

    Mr. Obama, what are your foreign policy qualifications? Absoulutely none, even if hers is just being their and being a part of the negotiations, it is still way more than you have, what are your foreign policy credentials. Please answer this question. Please!!

    March 11, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
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