March 15th, 2008
10:49 AM ET
10 years ago

Obama backer takes aim at Clinton's experience

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption=" Craig had some sharp words for Hillary Clinton Friday."](CNN) - Former Clinton State Department official Greg Craig continued to take aim at Hillary Clinton's foreign policy claims Friday, telling the National Journal that the former first lady has "grossly exaggerated the nature of her experience."

"If you're running for president on the basis of your claims of experience, when you then cite examples, you should be careful to be accurate," Craig said. "The evidence should be accurate. And my point is that Senator Clinton and her supporters have in serious ways overstated, if not grossly exaggerated, the nature of her experience."

"I think she is misleading the American public on the nature of her experience," he also said.Craig, a supporter of Barack Obama, was the director of policy planning at the State Department under former President Clinton.

He was a top adviser to former Secretary of State Madeline Albright and served as counsel to former President Clinton during the impeachment hearings.

His comments come days after he penned a strongly worded memo on behalf of the Obama campaign that appeared to suggest the New York senator was not ready to be commander in chief."Hillary Clinton's argument that she has passed 'the commander-in-chief test' is simply not supported by her record," he wrote in that memo.

The Clinton campaign called the memo a "false and misleading attack."Pressed about those comments Friday, Craig appeared to dial back, saying, "I think she would be a capable commander in chief.

I think Barack Obama, who is my candidate, would also be a capable commander in chief. I'm not denigrating that."But Craig specifically took issue with Clinton's claim of having a role in the Northern Ireland peace process."

It's a little bit presumptuous for the first lady, who would meet people and support people to take credit away from the Irish themselves who did it," he said.Pressed about her role in the process, Clinton told NPR earlier this week, "I wasn't sitting at the negotiating table, but the role I played was instrumental."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Hillary Clinton
soundoff (94 Responses)
  1. Nik

    Hillary Clinton exaggerating her experience? I wouldn't have guessed it in a million years.

    March 14, 2008 03:10 pm at 3:10 pm |
  2. donnajp

    And you wonder why this has gotten so mean – Mr. Craig is calling Sen. Clinton a liar. I do not believe that if she were a man he would do that.

    March 14, 2008 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  3. La Petite Sorciere

    Forgot, thank you Craig for standing up against the Clinton machine who everyone in this country believes have a loyalty or owes something to.........including CNN.

    only good things are published here in CNN about clinton.

    where are her tax returns, and the white house papers???
    CNN is there any articles on this? any news to report?

    the Blizter guy keeps wanting to have Hillary elected, he just can not stop talking about it..

    March 14, 2008 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  4. Bubba

    After what he did in that airport restroom, he should just keep his -oh, a different Craig? I never heard of this guy. What's he, quote of the slow week?

    March 14, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. vjh

    Interesting...... Sen. Obama, please 'press' for a debate before the PA primary and debate the following:

    1. Where are her tax returns ?
    2. Define specifically her 'experience', including foregin affairs.
    3.Has she ever been in a position to answer 'the phone' at 3am ?

    This sherade has to end. Hillary, you are a disservice to the Democratic Party ! Stop being selfish and concede.

    March 14, 2008 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Tim

    Good tactic Obama, keep talking about your opponent's foreign policy experience SINCE you have NONE of your own to talk about.

    March 14, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  7. Independent in California

    This is just the first volley Hillary. You think this is rough? Wait until the Republicans get ahold of you.

    March 14, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  8. Chris (WA)

    This is something that should be discussed a lot more. People claim that she has so much more experience than Obama... but her statements about her experience are unbelievably exaggerated and sometimes just flat out false. I'd like to see Obama call her out on this.

    March 14, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  9. AJ

    Craig is a nobody who is enjoying his 15 minutes of fame. Kinda ungrateful to bite the hand that fed him, isnt it?

    March 14, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  10. Maggie

    Tell Mr. Craig that he just wants to heard. I would never trust people like Mr. Craig as far as I am concerned he is back stabber.

    If all you people out there that are voting for Obama, you must realize that behind the scenes you have alot of white political people who are pulling the strings for him. I want to see what change he will really have if he is elected because its all the same kind of partisan people he has in the background and they are pulling the strings. He is just saying the words that they are feeding to him. So you young and new voters will be very disappointed if he gets elected because he will not be any different than the other politicians. We just see a black man so we think it will be change but it will be the people in the background running the show. So wisen up and be smart with your votes or you are going to be very disappointed.

    Clinton is the stronger candidate and I am still behind her 100% because I am not being fooled with this "Change" campaign.

    March 14, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  11. Gary

    Shut up CRAIG! You're just another Joe Wright!

    March 14, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. Matt

    Even if my vote against Obama won't matter in the larger scheme of things, my conscience will be clear knowing that I didn't vote for that pompous jerk.

    March 14, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  13. M.

    Pay close attention PA, MI, FL...This man knows what he's talking about, unlike Clinton who just throws anything out there hoping it will stick...Unfortunately, not enough of you are really listening so there's a real chance that we will end up with 4 more years of McBush...I so wish I didn't have to pay the price for your stupidity AGAIN.

    March 14, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. Paul

    And the truth be told!!!!

    Hillary is untrustworthy.

    March 14, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  15. Shannon Shiflett

    Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld both had foreign policy experience, and look at how that turned out.
    Obama is brilliant and rational, and his judgment would far better serve the American people than exaggerated and overstated experience.
    Character counts more than embellishment and malicious intent.

    March 14, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  16. Chris, Orlando

    Buried in this report is the line: "Craig, a supporter of Barack Obama...".

    At this point, the story loses all credibility.

    That's like saying: "Senator Barbara Boxer, a Bush critic from California, disagrees with George Bush's Iraq war stance." and then presenting the story as if it's news – or if Barbara Boxer was an independent voice of opposition. She's not, nor is Greg Craig, so stop treating this as if it's anything more than political surrogate mudslinging.

    Anyone stupid enough to not realize that Craig's mouth is moving, but it's actually Obama who's doing the talking should go back into their Barack-induced trance.

    March 14, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  17. Lostfigs

    I'm impressed at how quickly Obama is showing his true colors. He's a politician like the rest of them.

    March 14, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  18. Makarios

    You know what Tim, Obama never said he had as much experience as Hillary claims she has. You see he has enough sense to know not to lie to the "educated," American people, who have enough sense to research and find out if what he say is true. Now that my friend takes character and judgement. So tell Hillary to keep attaching Obama's character and judgement, since she has NONE of her own to talk about.

    March 14, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  19. Brian - Trinidad

    Where does Obama keep digging up these losers from? McCain is going to have a cakewalk to the White House!

    March 14, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  20. bk

    Maybe Craig and Rev Wright can get together and talk about Obama's experinces.

    March 14, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  21. Amy in Iowa

    Why doesn't Hillary refute this by releasing her White House records? If she is over-reaching her foreign policy experience, surely her White House records would prove this.

    March 14, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. Vince

    The point is Hillary's so called experience is a joke. She was first lady, not the President, not the VP, not even a member of the cabinet. She can't make the claim that she's a foreign policy expert when she's not.

    The fact that she's willing to lie about her previous experience speaks to her character.

    March 14, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. Jacqueline Samms

    Anyone surprised??? If this is the case, then Barbara Bush, Nancy Reagan should run for president...they have got years of experience.
    I am sick of Hillary's anything to win tactics. Nasty!

    March 14, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. Politico Jonze

    The difference is is that Obama is not running on his vast experience – Hillary is.

    Now if you want to question his judgment – which he is running on – it would certainly be fair game, but that's for another topic currently a hotbed.

    March 14, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
  25. Kevin

    I've been reading up on Hillary's experience claims and they do look grossly exaggerated to me. This leads me to believe that she is again trying to mislead people. I don't want this type of person leading my country. It's as simple as that.

    March 14, 2008 03:32 pm at 3:32 pm |
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