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. Jude

    Can we please stick to the issues??? This is getting horrendous!!! On both sides!!!

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

    Obamas people are immature and ignorant....they are following him, but not listening to what he is saying or NOT saying...his patriotism has been questions by many for is just that the media is finally catching up with what everyone has been saying...he is inexperienced, has no voice of say for himself, has embedded hatred not a uniter, but a separator

    March 24, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. AtlantaVoter

    More sleaze from the Obama camp. I'm sure everyone is hard at work trying to figure out how to spin it so that it is "Change" instead of what it really is...."Politics as usual."

    Obamabots, you better take another swig of that Kool-aid....

    March 24, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. Michael

    who cares. this bickering is getting boring. CNN is only making it worse by reporting this meaningless stuff. btw, CNN SHUT UP ABOUT OBAMA'S CHURCH!

    March 24, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  5. Josh, LA

    Yes, Billary are destroying the Democratic party with their greed to clinge to power at any cost. Now they are campaigning for McCain for free. How sad!

    March 24, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  6. Eric

    This is seeming less and less like a primary race and more like a high school battle of he said she said.

    Stop crying and just realize that neither of your supporters like each other. You look immature when your staff whines about what someone said about you.

    Is anyone else sick of these two yet?

    March 24, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  7. Ben

    Anyone who disagrees with CNN's coverage of this should remove their bookmarks and stop visiting this web site. There are plenty of other news websites which discuss the real issues, i.e. Monters and Critics, Express your dissatisfaction by boycotting the site; make a difference.

    March 24, 2008 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  8. TheLeftNut

    Obama OR Clinton Supporters

    Let's talk about who's "electable". Right now, Democrats in the middle (of Clinton and Obama) are really disgusted with the "extreme" Obama and Clinton supporters.

    If McBush wins in November then "Obama never Clinton" and "Clinton never Obama" supporters that won't vote for "the other" candidate have only yourselves to blame.

    March 24, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  9. Brian - Trinidad

    "Obama good!Clinton bad!"Lets keep chanting that.The voters will believe that and vote Obama in November....NOT!

    March 24, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  10. Alice in Fort Myers

    Wow, Obama is really getting desperate now! ANYTHING to take attention away from the racist hateful anti-American garbage he and his family heard for 20 years from his beloved uncle and that he still hasn't denounced (and originally claimed he never heard). He's done for – he needs to go away. Far, far away – and he should take his church's congregation with him.

    March 24, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  11. Patricia

    I heard the comment made by Bill that Hillary and John McCain would be two candidates who are patriotic to their country running for the presidency when it was made and I took it that he was implying that Obama was not patriotic. It hit me that way immediately, but I hoped that people would not make an issue of it.

    March 24, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  12. actxent

    when are we going to start focussing on change again?

    March 24, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  13. FW

    Fischer doesn't have to appologize for anything. Bill Clinton is the one who said that unwarranted stuff comes out during elections. The word he used is "intrude"
    The Clintons are anything BUT clean.

    March 24, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  14. raf

    I love this!

    Some supporter makes a negative comment, and Wolfson's all over it, pretending Obama said it himself. And then at the same time he buries his head in the sand over Carville's "Judas" comment.

    Wolfson's making this campaign so much more entertaining than it would be otherwise.

    March 24, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. Garrett

    The blue dress was worn by Monica... Not Hillary.
    So this applies how?

    March 24, 2008 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
  16. Brandon

    Loose-lipped, but well stated. Everything in that comment makes sense, but the 'blue dress' could have been left out for PR sake.

    March 24, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  17. Linda

    The difference? When an Obama supporter goes overboard, they recognize it and immediately apologize to both Clinton and Obama for having done so.... without Obama having to tell them to do so!!! When Clinton's supporters go overboard, they don't apologize, and instead they try to justify it or somehow blame it on the other side.

    For sure, there is a fundamental integrity gap between the two campaigns. It's no guess which campaign suffers from a serious integrity deficiency.

    March 24, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  18. alan

    As a long time Democrat, I will now vote for and campaign vigorously for John McCain. I can take no more of the remarks by surrogates of the Messiah Obama. Maybe a McCain presidency and Democrat congress won't be so bad after all. It seems the best option, unless, of course, we could have a McCain/Clinton ticket.

    March 24, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  19. Very Concerned American

    Senator Obama has really hit bottom.
    He is losing all credibilty.

    Obama has lied so much:
    1.) I only worked for criminal Rezko for a few hours.....LIE
    2.) I didn't know that Pastor Wright spoke hate..............LIE
    3.) I didn't know that one of my team talked to the Canadian Gov....LIE
    4.) I won't play political games..........LIE

    Now what?

    March 24, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  20. HAM

    Watching these two slander each other is the greatest show on Earth right now. I hope the Democratic Party can recover. They are paving the way for a McCain Whitehouse... He doesn't even need to through mud... they are doing it to each other.

    This is a sad state for the Democrats... Very, Very Sad...

    Obama's Camp has really sunk over the past two weeks... and Hillary's is no better...

    March 24, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  21. toli

    this is affirmative action at its best.

    if it was hillarys church she would be crucified.

    being its obams church we have to drop the standards.

    when clinton was in office how much were you paying for gas???

    never give up hillary!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    March 24, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  22. Marv...

    Was that piece even news worthy? Com'on.... I think it's time the news media takes the high road.

    March 24, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  23. BobW Rochester, NY

    Well done sir! Apologies are not a bad thing because we know the truth will linger.

    March 24, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  24. Marcia, Marcia, Marcia in CA

    Obama and his cohorts to need to get off the "Cross", we need the wood.

    March 24, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  25. gayle

    Keep up the coverage CNN! We need to know what a potential President of this country is really all about, and not just what he says he is.

    March 24, 2008 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11