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. Wolf

    don't you have a better thing to report. CNN stop dividing this country.

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

    The Clintons will soon reap all the scum they have tried to iterject in and upon the undeserving. How can they think for even a mili second that the public cannot see their true BLUE colors. "And I will laugh at your calamity"

    March 24, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  3. Nicole

    I thought the comment about the blue dress, hit the nail on the head. If HRC cannot control her own house, how can she control the White House.

    March 24, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  4. debbie,NJ

    The Clinton's taught us well. Thety have been using these tactics for months. You know the saying, you reap what you sow.

    March 24, 2008 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  5. Bit, Alabama

    Hillary and Bill has been long-time friends with Senator Obama and know that Obama loves America just as they do.



    March 24, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  6. joe

    i remember when obama said

    out with the old politics and in with the new politics...

    even standing next to the general when he compared former

    president clinton to mccarthy...was disappointed with obama

    again..first with rev wright hate comments, then with obama

    stating "typical white response" and then standing and allowing

    the general to compare a former democratic president to mccarthy

    March 24, 2008 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  7. Greg, NY

    It's so funny that the Clinton campaign is complaining about 'gutter tactics' when that's basically what they've been using all along. They've fired multiple campaign workers and others have resigned because of this.

    Then they criticize Obama for using these tactics saying that he is straying from his 'high-minded rhetoric.' I guess what's good for them isn't good for others because these tactics unfortunately work.

    March 24, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  8. Matthew

    This is absolutely tasteless. First the "monster" comment and now this. It's really indicative of the "say one thing, do another" approach the Obama campaign is taking. I truly hope Clinton gets the nomination, but if not, I feel much better in my decision to vote for McCain over Obama.

    March 24, 2008 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  9. Richard Phair

    Looks as though Clinton prefers not receive as well as she gives.

    March 24, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  10. The Austrian

    I dunno... I thought that was kind of funny!

    Bill should have a sense of humor about it; after all, he did get away with the scandal without a scratch!

    March 24, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  11. obamania

    how far is too far? even CNN has a moderator i guess, what's wrong with people in the dems party

    March 24, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  12. memfisman

    I do not know if Mr. Clinton was questioning Mr. Obama's patriotism or not. I do know that comments I heard from Mrs. Obama and Rev. Wright certainly leave the door open for such suspicion. While I do have no concerns about Mr. Obama's patriotism, I do have them about some fo those very close to him.

    March 24, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  13. dafew

    It is not an attack on Hillary. It is a commentary on Bill Clinton and how many see his meddling in this political race.

    March 24, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  14. don

    It is funny that the divisive, mudslinging Clintons don't like to get mud slung back in their direction. Hopefully the superdelegates will join Bill Richardson and end this foolishness once and for all.

    March 24, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  15. Vig

    This is something else Obama's campaign should be ashamed.

    March 24, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  16. Sophia

    Do we really want to make the error of James Carville, that Richardson should be compared with anything close to Christ?
    I would never compare him to anyone on such sacred ground.

    March 24, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  17. mk

    I believe the saying is "Turnabout is fair play".
    The Clinton campaign is simply the recipient of some of its own tactics. Perhaps they should begin to think before they launch any new mud.

    March 24, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  18. Obama Nation

    That is truly distasteful...this from an intellect?

    March 24, 2008 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  19. Wolf

    James Carville is an idiot. No body cares what he said, we do not take this guy serious he does not know what he is talking about.

    March 24, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  20. ah! heck?

    here we go agian..........

    ? lets ask, who will put this nation back on the right path?


    March 24, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  21. The truth shall set you free!

    So what..... it's the truth and I wonder if the American public wants another blue, red or green dress in the white house for another 4 years? Once a dishwasher always a dishwasher.

    March 24, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  22. sara

    Oh Please Rev moss, cry me a river, the truth is the truth, rev wright is a racist and obama's standing beside his racist pastor.. facts stand alone, so get over!!!!! vote for hillary clinton or mccain. American cant afford to have obama in the whitehouse!

    March 24, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  23. Carla

    Man, it is difficult to believe that Obamas campaign is one of "Change" and "Unity" when his supporters are saying foul mouthed things like that. They are the ultimate hypocrits.

    March 24, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  24. NOBAMA's a fake


    Some of these things may not be coming out of Obama's mouth, but it's a reflection on the "integrity" of his campaign.

    This is disgusting. We don't need this in our White House!!

    Elect Hillary Clinton in 2008!

    March 24, 2008 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. Brad, Obamaha NE

    did anyone else laugh?

    cuz i find a lot of this crap CNN is posting lately, laughable at best.

    on both sides of this democratic war.

    and its getting boring.

    March 24, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
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