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. kenny cole

    Either you black or white think deeply and look at what the Pastor said most of them are true the only thing is how can we eae the pain and let move on

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

    It seems that the Obama camp is constantly playing with these little political tricks and still want Obama to sound like he is doing his "Change we can Believe in" politics. Anything that the Clintons say or do is immediately attacked. But, if anyone tries to attack Obama they immediately complain about it. As for Richardson, many of us Hispanics are very disappointed and we will not be swayed to vote for Obama because of Richardson. I am sure Gov. Richardson got something in return for his endorsement, like everyone does I guess "politics as usual" huh? But, I find it very difficult to believe that Richardson is loyal to anyone but himself.

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

    To be fair, the target of the comments was not Sen. Clinton, but Former President Clinton. Sen. Clinton often distinguished herself from President Clinton's comments (particularly in South Carolina) to avoid accountability for President Clinton's borderline racist comments against Sen. Obama's campaign.

    To equate an attack on President Clinton to one on Sen. Clinton is disingenius of the Clinton Campaign, as it seems to directly contradict this notion that 'Hillary Clinton is not Bill Clinton.'

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

    Obama should have to do exactly what anyone else would have to do if it came out that they were affilated with an organization or person for many years that are bigots. STEP DOWN, MOVE TO THE SIDE for the good of the party, since his campaign has been saying that for the last few months because Hillary was behind in points. Gov. Richardson says that since she won NEW MEXICO by a few points that he will put his support behind Obama. Well then since shes won all the big states with more SUPER DELEGATES, they should all support Hillary and that means the race would be over today. HILLARY08

    March 24, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  5. Nattie Karma

    It is poor politics to dismiss Fischer’s apology and yet distance yourselves from James Carville's stamement on Richardson. The Clinton campaign needs to accept defeat with honor. Tearing Obama will not make them win. We are tired with Bush-Clinton-Bush-and another Clinton. Please give us a break!!!!

    March 24, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  6. larry grimberg

    Here , yet again, Obama playing the victim and the bully at the same time. To me he is just a whiner!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I am sure that Rev. Whright is nodding to every thing Obama and his campaign are doing. After all, he is just watching his "spiritual" creature trying to seize America. Too bad for them, we caught him on time.

    Anybody but Obama '08

    By the way, I am sure that Rev. Wright was also against the war in 2002 !!!!

    March 24, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  7. Dem in CA - Disappointed in Obama

    This is the type of ugly divisive smear campaigning that Obama said he would not do and has been engaged in the entire time. I guess it is "just words". We need to focus on the issues and stop trying to damage the legacy of a great president – Bill Clinton.

    March 24, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. zina

    Though Bill Clinton brought this on himself, I will say that Barack Obama does not stand for that type of speak. He and Michelle has stated from the beginning of this campaign that the Bill Clinton's infidelities in the Oval office would not be brought up during this campaign. Those words are NOT those of Barack Obama for is a man of honor.

    Obama '08

    March 24, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  9. sad

    It seems like Obama's camp is growing increasingly angry, abusive and personal with their attacks on the Clintons. Comments like "deeply flawed" and comparing McCarthy to President Clinton. If Obama has the slightest hope of unifying the party he should stop disrespecting the strongest, most competent woman candidate in the history of the United States.

    March 24, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  10. Chris

    This campaign season has become absurd. Turning off all political channels and websites until the national convention. It's on big circus carelessly orchestrated by the media.

    March 24, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  11. wale azeez

    I thought he's comment was brilliant...very well said....if bill can tear obama down by saying he's not a patriot...why can't the obama folks do the's called karma

    March 24, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  12. Amused, Las Vegas

    The true colors of the Obama campaign are finally showing.

    This is disgusting.

    March 24, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  13. Margaret

    Sick and tired of the Clinton policies of doing ANYTHING to get into the Whitehouse.

    March 24, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  14. fred

    Just proves that a low life bunch of people work and support Obama!!!


    March 24, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  15. Alston

    Up until now, the only 'gutter' tactics i have seen are from the Clinton campaign.

    It is but obvious that she has no chance to become the nominee and only wants to weaken the dems so that she is the 2012 nominee.

    March 24, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  16. Junis/Brooklyn is a bit upsetting to hear that the Clintons can't take some of their own muddy tactics. Her camp thinks that they are the only ones that can attack Obama and his supportors. He should continue to respond to "everything" from the Clintons. They are some dishonest, divisive, and racist people. God help the Democratic Party that seeks to exclude they most loyal supporters...blacks. I am out of this party as soon as this election cycle is over. I will continue to support Obama and his bid for the nomination, but I am disgusted at the Democratic established, status quo members for allowing this to continue.

    March 24, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  17. Sunny

    It seems the hatred for Hillary for presidency is connected with the hatred for Bill Clinton. The media likes to point to the bad things about people and not the good things. And bill clinton isn't even running for presidency. Obama needs to keep his supporters in check. We don't need a riot from his supporters!!!

    March 24, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  18. nick

    hahahahaha. Clinton: Pwned!

    March 24, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. Becky in In.

    These ststements are much worse than the comments Bill Clinton made before the Primary in S.C. and Ted Kennedy used them as an excuse to back Obama. Well lets see how many Senators use this to come out for Hillary. This was disgusting and tacky and I don't believe for one moment that the Obama camp didn't know about it!

    March 24, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. Collin

    The comment made was dead on and Obama should man up and say nothing. 🙂

    March 24, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. No Obama

    Obama! Please drop off your race and go away!

    American people do not need you, a liar!

    Hillary 2008

    March 24, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  22. kathleen

    "A race with McCain and Hillary would be a race between two people
    that love our country", says Bill, the liar?

    And.............with subliminal messages like that one, Does Bill think
    Americans don't quite get it? Does Bill think Americans are Stupid?
    Yes? Are we? Maybe. Sounds pretty desperate to me.

    What is Bill saying about Obama? Come on, please. Enough Already!!!! from two people that think America is stupid.

    Obama 2008

    March 24, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  23. king from toronto

    does hillary realy wants to go there??????????putting her and bills scandal back in the this is getting good..

    March 24, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  24. Kim in Texas

    They learned the “gutter tactics" from you and your aides Mrs. seems to be the only way YOU know how to run a campaign....

    March 24, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  25. Gina

    Okay....I just have to say that this story is actually funny......I have to applaud the ingenuity of the 'stain' comment. Regardless if you agree or just made me smile. I'm not sure anyone in politics ought to wear a blue dress ever again.

    March 24, 2008 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
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