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. maya

    And Obama's campaign has been cleverly playing the GOP handbook from the beginning- calling and sending out mailers claiming that Hillary is "disingenuous" "dishonest" "polarizing" "calculating" "saying whatever it takes to win" among other things.

    This is why I do not support Obama. He says one thing ("I'm a uniter" "I would never condone anti-American rhetoric") but does just the opposite by playing sneaky back door dirty politics.

    They are all politicians. Obama just PRETENDS he is not- talk about disingenuous

    March 24, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  2. maya

    I really wish that Obama gave his race speech early in the primaries. So I could believe that it was more than politically motivated damage control.
    The Wright issue won't go away because of Obama's choices, actions, and lack of putting it to rest completely.

    March 24, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |


    March 24, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  4. GoBama

    How low will the democrats go?

    Answer: Until our next President is John McCain.

    March 24, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  5. Damien River

    so much for the kool-aid named "change". i guess it does get some people get drunk and nasty as Obama campaign has shown over and over.

    March 24, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  6. shar

    Must be why Obama needed a vacation in the Virgin Islands...dirty play is tiring.

    One question, IF he becomes president, does he plan to just pick up and go on vacation when he picks a fight with another country and they say "mean things" about him.

    I don't know about anyone else, but I want to know my president is up for the battle and not need to "soak up sunrays to unwind" esp when the average american will not be able to afford vacation this year.

    Go Hillary!

    March 24, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. Independent-Latina-voter, Salt Lake City, UT

    This is just pathetic! What is Bill Clinton trying to do by saying that "a contest between McCain & Hillary would be a contest of two people who love their country?!" He is obviously sending a clear message that Sen. Obama does not love his country!

    TO THE DEMOCRATS: please wake up and see how the Clintons are destroying any chance that you will win the White House, they KNOW they do not have the nomination so now, they are out to destroy Sen. Obama and the Democratic party. Who will reel them in before its too late?!

    The Clinton campaign started the negativity and now blames the Obama campaign............ SO dysfunctional!

    God help us!

    March 24, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  8. Ryan, New York, NY

    When will the Clinton people realize that they've lost and end this ridiculousness? Obama's campaign doesn't need to employ "gutter tactics" to win. Secondly, with her "kitchen sink" strategy, she's far from having the moral highground from which to throw these sorts of attacks about campaign tactics.

    At this point, people are attacking because she won't leave at the end of a party. Like a bad houseguest, she won't leave even though the rest of us want to go on with our lives.

    March 24, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  9. aaron, minneapolis mn

    Hillay hates tasting her own medicine. How many faces does this woman have? I look forward to seeing these tactics used against John McCain, but not a fellow Democrat. Hillary needs to quit being a hypocrit and focus on writing her exit speech.

    March 24, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  10. david

    I'm so sick of idiotic comments by Obama's people and I can't wait to see Hillary become the nominee.

    March 24, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  11. mary

    Obama does anything to get the distraction off of him, it won't work. Obama's problem has to deal with patriotism!

    March 24, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  12. Kerry

    Who is Gordon Fischer? A former DNC chair? So, he's a fellow democrat right?

    Is he employed by Obama? Is he a part of Obama's financial team?

    The Clintons are going after the supporters and voters of Obama now. Sorry Hillary, Obama does not hold a fist around everyone's neck and threatens to squeeze if people utter anything insensitive.

    All Fischer's comment proves, just like the Richardson endorsement, is that the Clintons power and grip on the Democratic Party is that of *fear* only.

    Now that the demise of the Clintons is emminent, people are no longer afraid and speaking up against them.

    March 24, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  13. Joe

    OBAMA is divisive just like his pastor. Hope, Change, Blah, Blah, Blah. I'm glad American's are starting to see through this slick politician.

    March 24, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  14. Realistic

    The Clinton campaign can throw mud, but apparently can't stand to be hit with it.

    Watch out: Hillary will start playing the victim card again.

    March 24, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  15. Candi South Carolina

    It is so sad that Obama and his campaign get blamed for others mistakes. Okay Clinton clans please stop dividing this Democatic Party. When a comment is made Obama always keep is mouth shut until it is absolutely necessary for him to speak. If the sensely people will move on and stop harboring unworthly issues and let the campaign move on it will make everything good. BIll Clinton, the Clinton campaign and HIllary needs to stop negative figures and move on with the campaign. I for one is tired of reading this back and forth childish attitude between the campaign. Hillary please move on and stop allowing all the negative issues from your camp. Hillary only you can stand up like a women a say enough is enough. How can you lead if you have followers that are tearing you down. Think about it please.

    March 24, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  16. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Funny though – the blue dress comment was true....and Bill Clinton will never apoligize for his comment – the kitchen sink strategy only works with the feable minded....if you still support HRC....guess where you fall....

    March 24, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. Mr. C.

    This Wolfson dude is an IDIOT.. A complete one. I do not hear the OBAMA camp whining about the last comment that was made about richardson's endorsement by their camp... instead he seem to whine about a statement that is actually true... The idiot is now saying that the clinton's are GOD that richardson betrayed... what a bunch of ill minded fools.

    March 24, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. Illinois

    Yea, I'm sur e he's sorry....sorry that he got caught! This is nothing new. These people want their candidate to win. Period. And they will do whatever it takes to reinforce negativity about the other candidate in order to "remind" people of how terrible the person is in a desperate attempt to increase their edge.

    Both campaigns do it, but what really bothers me is that Obama preaches that he's above all that yet his campaign is the one who's really taken a negative turn in the last couple of weeks. Hypocrite!!!

    March 24, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. druidmary

    First Obama said he wasn't there when Pastor Wright said things we saw on the videos but then he was there.
    Sounds like Flip-flopping to me. But what makes me angry is that now he flips it from being his problem to being our problem by bringing up race.
    I guess he knows how to turn things around. I want a President who will admit his short-comings and not turn it around to be our problem. We have a President now who won't admit his mistakes about past judgements. Sounds like some people want a man just like him.
    It's amazing how he took a story which many questioned his judgement and turned it on us and it is now our problem about race.
    I resent that! .

    He's got them all bamboozled in the media.Click on some of these links below. Please share other stories at the forum.
    Forum for Hillary is our choice

    March 24, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Democratic Pastor

    Time for democrats to unite. Time for democrats to stop fighting between ourselves. We all know that Obama has won twice as many states as Hillary, and won almost a million popular vote than Hillary. Mathematically hillary cannot win the nomination against the will of the people. Even the big states that Hillary claims to have won, it's not a huge margin. The media is trying to divide the democrats based on issues like race & comments from Obama's former Pastor. I am a pastor myself, I am white, 45 years old, What Obama's pastor said was completely true, he was referring to the injustice America has commited in killing of innocent people. We all talk about 4000 american troops killed. Is anyone, as a christian, thinking about the millions of Iraqi civilians killed in this war ? The Media is silent on these things. If Jesus Christ was here right now, he will say the same things as Obama's former pastor said. It doesn't mean Obama's former pastor is not patriotic, from a pastor's standpoint, I understand his words. The media should stop being a negative propaganda. We all know that Hillary, McCain & Bush all were responsible for this war. The only true candidate I respect is Sen. Obama. We as a nation fought this war for no reason. Iraq had no WMDs, it was not responsible for 9/11. It's a huge mistake commited by our current administration. It's the responsibility of the news media to bring this information out to the public. We have killed almost one million people in Iraq so far. Every Christian out there, think for yourself, is this what the Christ preached us ? God Bless you all

    March 24, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  21. Buddy

    I bet Obama would not wear a red white and blue shirt.

    March 24, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  22. Dexter, MA

    Clinton needs to get behind the party and the American people for the candidate that they selected.

    Obama 08

    March 24, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  23. Gillis

    Bill Clinton makes these types of off-the-cuff comments knowing fully well what the efect would be. The republicans hated him when he made them against the republicans, but we did not care, because he was our AH. Now he is fighting against his own people and wonders why he is not appreciated. Now he finds himself between Barack and a hard place.

    March 24, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  24. ron

    That was certainly going to far, but boy was it funny!!!!

    March 24, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  25. Cathy

    Wow, this is getting very ugly. Now that Obama is in hot water, he and his supporters are doing everything possible to slam the Clintons. So much for new politices.

    Republicans are going to win....

    March 24, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
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