March 24th, 2008
05:20 PM ET
15 years ago

Clinton campaign blasts Obama supporter's 'blue dress' comment

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The Obama and Clinton camps have been trading increasingly negative rhetoric."]
(CNN) - Senior Clinton advisers blasted Sen. Barack Obama’s campaign Monday after a major Obama supporter in Iowa compared Bill Clinton unfavorably to Joe McCarthy and referenced the blue dress at the heart of the impeachment scandal.

"When Joe McCarthy questioned others' patriotism, McCarthy (1) actually believed, at least aparently, the questions were genuine, and (2) he did so in order to build up, not tear down, his own party, the GOP,” wrote Gordon Fischer, a former chair of the Iowa Democratic Party, wrote on his blog. “Bill Clinton cannot possibly seriously believe Obama is not a patriot, and cannot possibly be said to be helping — instead he is hurting — his own party. B. Clinton should never be forgiven. Period. This is a stain on his legacy, much worse, much deeper, than the one on Monica's blue dress."

Fischer was referring to President Clinton’s comments over the weekend that a race between John McCain and Hillary Clinton would be a contest between two people who love their country, which some Obama supporters - including former Air Force Gen. Tony McPeak – have interpreted as an attack on Obama's patriotism.

Fischer later removed the post from his blog, replacing it with an apology. ”I sincerely apologize for a tasteless and gratituous comment I made here about President Clinton,” he wrote. “It was unnecessary and wrong. I have since deleted the comment, and again apologize for making it. It will not happen again. I hope my readers will accept my apology and we can move on to the very important issues facing our state and country. Thank you.” Fischer endorsed Obama last fall.

In a conference call with reporters Monday, Clinton aides said Fischer’s decision to attack the New York senator in “starkly personal terms” reflected “gutter tactics that (the Obama) campaign is now deploying.”

“It would appear to be that their high-minded rhetoric seems to be falling short,” said spokesman Phil Singer.

"This is now the Obama campaign’s primary message to the American people," said spokesman Howard Wolfson. "Not to build him up, but to tear Senator Clinton down."

He also dismissed Fischer’s apology. "That's all well and good… In my opinion the remarks of Gordon Fisher are very much in keeping with the campaign Senator Obama is running. So I don't know why he would apologize."

They also distanced themselves from remarks this weekend made by Clinton supporter James Carville, who seemed to compare Bill Richardson’s decision to endorse Barack Obama to Judas’ betrayal of Jesus.

"I'm not an expert on the topic to give a good answer," said Wolfson, who added that he would not have used those words and that in his view Richardson had served his country honorably.

UPDATE: Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton responded: "As Senator Obama has said repeatedly, comments like this have no place in our political dialogue and he strongly rejects them," said Burton.

In an e-mail to CNN's Richard Greene, Gordon Fischer said of his decision to remove the post: "I took it down becuase it was wrong. And stupid."

UPDATE at 3:29 p.m.: “I was quoted accurately and in context, and I was glad to give the quote and I was glad I gave it,” Carville told the New York Times, after Wolfson told reporters that he would have offered his apologies if he had made the remark. “I’m not apologizing, I’m not resigning, I’m not doing anything.”

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (262 Responses)
  1. Alex H

    So in the begining, Clinton says Obama doesn't have the thick skin needed to handle scrutiny and she knows all about that. So she scrutinizes Obama for months on end. He finally gets that thick skin she said he doesn't have and fights back...

    ... and now he's not suitable to be the president... oh but maybe vice president.

    Obama, please say no to a Clinton VP offer. You're better than that.

    March 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. Jon

    I see this as as the Obama camp wants this both ways. Sure it is easy to say you are soory but in this election as Obama says, words matter. Oh Boy!!!!!

    March 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  3. interesting

    So this is the Campaign of Hope!

    Give me a break. Everyone needs to chill out on trying to be Jerry Springer and get back to issues like Clinton did today. Talk about the economy and how to address it. Obama take notes and quit trying to talk about Rev. Wright issue on conservative talk radio.

    March 24, 2008 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  4. Craig H

    This comment was directed at, and solely in regards to Bill Clinton. It has nothing to do with Hillary or Obama – Clinton opened the door and it came down on him – tough luck – if Hillary finds it offensive and feels it hurts her chances when people says those things about Bill then drop him from your campaign – otherwise when he spouts off and people come back directly at him you need to live with it.

    March 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  5. Persio

    Obama supporters are getting increasingly negative and down and dirty. This is very sad coming from a campaign that promised hope, change and clean politics. I heard so many times that Obama campaign was the new politics coming in to clean washington. Well i see the same old same old with this campaign.

    March 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  6. Rich in Seattle

    If the Clinton's don't like it being brought up, then Bill shouldn't have cheated in the Oval Office with Monica. I know that they want us to forget and forgive, but it is a huge issue for me.

    They can dish it but not take it it seems?

    Hillary lost, it's over, time to withdraw and let the Democrat Party get to addressing the real issues.

    March 24, 2008 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
  7. M. Kelly

    What an awful thing to say . . . What does someone's marriage have to do with anything at all? Please do re-read B. Clinton's entire quote – he said absolutely nothing wrong – what insanity . . .

    Let's see what Obama's next skeleton will be . . . this is reality TV with the Obama's on center stage . . .

    March 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  8. Brenda

    What a joke – Obamites are comparing the vicious personal attacks made against Clinton in the past week to the "mudslinging" done by the Clinton campaign. I don't recall anyone from the Clinton campaign calling Obama names, questioning his personal attributes, or throwing in his face any personal trials or tribulations. If anyone from the Clinton campaign did that they would be called racist and condemned. I don't' think the Clinton campaign has had to sling mud at Senator Obama as he is doing a pretty good job of wallowing in it all by himself in the last few weeks.

    March 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  9. Chris, Orlando

    Abhorrent, just like the entire Obama rise to fame. If Barack wins, I will move my family to France.

    March 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  10. Paul

    Obama is silent, just the way he was about Wright's comments.

    His surrogate is a vulgar advisor. Shame on those who tolerate such behavior

    HIllary- President of The United States of America

    March 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  11. Al, Sacramento Ca

    -The Democrats must unite and support the winning candidate. Do not let the press divide our party. We must vote and stop hatting amongst fellow Democrats.

    If we are all patriots, we will unite and vote Democrat in November.

    Say no to McCain!!

    March 24, 2008 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  12. Richard Lewis

    The Truth Hurts Hillary. If you don't want to hear this maybe you should not have stayed with a man that thought so highly of you and then want and had 5, 10 affairs. You are to blame for staying with him. This is why the Superdelegates will not back you in June. They don't want all this baggage coming forward again. I agree a line was crossed, however, you are responsible for this as well by allowing it.

    Republicans for Obama

    March 24, 2008 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11