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)


    March 11, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  2. Voter

    Obama tell me more about you and experiance and Larry Sinclair...

    March 11, 2008 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  3. DD, New York

    Obama said he is only going to run for president once...sooooo.....VOTE HILLARY so obama can lose and we will never ever have to deal with him again! Go Phil Singer, Go Hillary!

    March 11, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  4. Benjamin

    I am STILL waiting for a single Obama supporter to talk about his experience. He has NONE. It's not even an arguement. His only hope is to create controversy about how MUCH experience Hillary has, to prevent anyone from pointing out that he has NONE!!

    Get it? The man with NO EXPERIENCE, is calling out someone who clearly DOES have experience, no matter how great or little you want to argue it is. You have all been blinded by faith in rhetoric, and it is a testament to the sad state of American intelligence.

    March 11, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  5. arthur

    obama said he did not vote for the war i am confuss can some one please explain this to me because i also understand that he has been a senate for three years

    March 11, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  6. Debra in NC

    I would like to see the memo, though I have no doubt it exists. I want to see Obama question Clinton's so-called experience much more. Everything she has done is because she was married to Bill Clinton. By her logic, does that mean Roslyn Carter, Barbara Bush and Laura Bush also have experience needed to be President? I don't think so. Being the First Lady means next to nothing. The one thing she was given to accomplish, healthcare reform, she botched. If you read last week's article in TIME about experience, our former Presidents with the most experience also are regarded as our worst. Abraham Lincoln had only served two years in the House when he was elected President and he is often lauded as one of our greatest leaders. Obama has been a much better manager of his campaign than she has been. I find her dream ticket idea arrogant at best. It is like she is telling the black boy to go to the back of the bus. I am white, only ten years younger than she, but I am offended by her behavior, and Bill's throughout this campaign. My idea of a dream ticket is Obama and anyone but her.

    March 11, 2008 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  7. TEXAN


    HILLARY 08

    March 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  8. Channell

    the best quote in the memo...

    "And Barack Obama does not use false charges and exaggerated claims to play politics with national security. "

    March 11, 2008 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  9. jp/michigan

    OK! Mr. Obama let us all know your experiences in foreign affairs. Not the one were you lived as a child in Indonesia, or visited Kenya in 2006 and had their school named after you for monetary reasons. Or the one were you are chairman of an important committee on NATO in Afganistan , you know the one that there have been no meeting on because you are to busy running for President. You think the Senate would drop you and but a reliable person in your place. I just love it when the kettle tries to call the pot black.

    March 11, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  10. kay

    Here's an unrelated and useless thought: This 3am thing, i don't even think she knows whats that about. Why? I'm guessing they slept in seperate beds and rooms in the white house. I wouldn't be surprised if that was the case......who could blame them. They prob. both hate each other given how big their egos are.

    March 11, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. Amelia

    Hey Hillary! I bet you feel pretty ridiculous now that the Irish are laughing at your claims that you had any significant role in their peace process. Also, maybe you should consider Sheryl Crow or Sinbad as your VP since they accompanied you on your so-called "foreign policy" work to help refugees in Yugoslavia. It was a PR mission and nothing more, and now everyone knows it!
    Barack has gotten himself to where he is on his own merits. You, however, have ridden your husband's (tainted) coattails. As a woman, your story does nothing to appeal to my feminism. You only outrage me with you negativity and devisiveness. I would NEVER vote for you!

    Obama 08!

    March 11, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |


    OBAMA '08

    March 11, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  13. Slick

    Wow Chris

    Like a true Clintonian your post is full of typos and mis-pelling. I guess she is getting the uneducated vote. Obama is fresh and not steeped in the politics of old, that's why he is winning and will be the next President. Experience in the current Gov't (35 yrs right) is a bad thing. America sees it why can't Hillary fans?

    March 11, 2008 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  14. Andrew

    Hillary has had 8 years in the Senate. Then she starts claiming 16 years of experience, then 35. I'm reasonably sure that within two weeks she'll be telling audiences she has served this country for 140 years and saw the south through Reconstruction – anything to get a vote.

    March 11, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  15. MH, Texas

    Shut up Obama! You make me sick! WaWaWaWa.....that's all you ever do! Grow a backbone and show your true colors! You think that the Republican's are gonna go easy on you if you are the Dem's nominee? They will not only throw the kitchen sink but all the house and dirt under!

    March 11, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  16. Obama08

    Most of the petty mind games from Clinton and her camp are not worthy of much attention and I know the American people are way too smart to buy into them. But I must say, if Obama is going to give some attention, this is certainly the arena to do it in. The record is clear, Clinton has exaggerated her foreign policy experience and it needs to be exposed.

    Way to go Obama for hammering this very important problem of Clinton!

    It's time for real change in America, it's time for Barack Obama for President !

    March 11, 2008 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  17. Timothy B. Robinson

    Obama campaign: You really want to challenge Clinton on lack of foreign policy experience? I mean, REALLY?! I find that hilarious, when your candidate has ABSOLUTELY NO FOREIGN POLICY EXPERIENCE TO SPEAK OF. Funny, none of you seem to mention this.

    If you're so obsessed with "the math", Obama campaign, here's a stumper for you: less of something is still more than NONE OF SOMETHING.

    March 11, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  18. chad

    cnn and a few other websites have already looked into clintons foreign policy experience and much of it is dead on what she says!this is just OBAMA putting out more lies! he is one shady man! i cant wait to see his face once she wins!- look past that fake charm and wake up folks!- VOTE HILLARY 08!!

    March 11, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  19. Obamaites....

    Experience.....just a small challenge for you all.

    Let's play – lets get informed! It is a great new game where you go to senator clintons website and READ about some of her accomplishments....her foreign policy experience...and interviews from the substantial amount of Generals who are supporting her because of her abilties and EXPERIENCE.

    Then and only then can your adolescent comments have any substance. And oh, by the way – comparing a Democrats experience to a Republicans experience is like comparing apples to oranges......there is none so get smart!

    March 11, 2008 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  20. Take a look

    If you want to know more about Hillary's "extensive experience" in international diplomacy, please take a look at today's, Ben Stein's report.

    He documents many of her so-called experiences. It is truly breathtaking............

    March 11, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  21. Jan

    " college bloggers" again-knowing everything–researching nothing.

    March 11, 2008 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  22. Dom

    Hilary's claim to commander in chief readiness is laughable as it's scary, latter due to the gullible people few who take it in line hook and sinker.

    To the Hilary camp, kindly

    1. Release her tax returns / list of beneficiaries of pardons from her "copresidency" years

    2. Release her detailed experience / CV

    3. Clarify whether she attacked the credibility of a 12 year old child victim of rapre as attorney to the alleged rapist / peodophile.

    March 11, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  23. Betsy

    Ditto what Illinois said.

    Go Hillary '08

    Her experience does count. You can consider her work in the White House more of a dignitary than that of a normal wife.

    She WORKED when Bill was in Office. Sure, she was married to the President and that's how she got in the White House, but she also WORKED to get him elected like any campaign manager or adviser. She WORKED. Don't discredit that.

    CNN will probably not post this because it is pro-Clinton.

    March 11, 2008 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  24. Mike in Houston

    The only candidate with any foreign policy credentials whatsoever is John McCain. Clinton and Obama are fully ignorant of international affairs, mistaking "likeability" for geopolitics.

    Clinton and Obama should focus their debate on whatever issues they really know about.

    March 11, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  25. Tom

    The question is are you content with the same old washington or do want a chance at changing our politics and bringing in millions of new and invigorated youth into our party? Do you want to be progressives or republican lite?

    March 11, 2008 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
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