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. mjc

    "politics of change!" ...indeed.

    shame on you barack obama supporters!

    March 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  2. Rob - Niagara Falls, Canada

    People are seriously playing up this patriotism card against Obama. I honestly can't believe how people can think he is unpatriotic towards the country he has devoted the first half of his life to making better. Clinton rhetoric. That's all it is. If he is unpatriotic towards anything, it's the current government, and noone can really blame him for that; but that's just a personal opinion. As an out-of-country Obama supporter, I really hope he gets the nomination. Hillary wouldn't be the worst thing to happen, but it would be the same old song and dance in government. John Mccain on the other hand – if he wins, the world is over – probably literally.

    March 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  3. Tim

    Uh first off, I dont see how you can link this guy to the Obama campaign. He is a SUPPORTER, just like you and me. Second, what he said was entirely accurate. How can Hillary complain? She is putting Bill out there to campaign for her but the doesnt like it when he gets criticized? How hypocritical can you get.

    March 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  4. Robert Santa Rosa CA

    The democrats are doing the unbelievable: taking the moral low ground back from the republicans. This can only lead to losing the general election.

    Where is the democratic party leadership to pressure these campaigns to get back to the issues and solutions? Maybe they are still beholding/afraid of the Clintons?

    March 24, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  5. fred

    Obama is a loser!!! Trying to get the Republicans to register Democrat in PA and vote for him....boy what a loser!!!

    March 24, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  6. Ken


    March 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  7. TKD

    What's this? Bill Clinton was found guilty of lying under oath in federal court? And was suspended from the bar for five years because lying under oath shows contempt for the judicial system? First I've heard of it...

    March 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  8. Turner

    The Clinton camp is so predictable. They throw the 'kitchen sink' at Obama and then play the 'victim card' when someone retaliates. It's all too obvious and the strategy is getting tiresome to watch. Hillary cannot win the nomination and its time to to concede before she further damages the Democratic Party.

    March 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  9. mb

    Another tasteless remark and reference (not unlike Rev Wright) by one of Obama's supporters. The whole bunch of mindless, tasteless obama groupies should be sent to reform school or worse, to Obama's Church where theywould be punished by listening to anti-nationalistic spewings.

    March 24, 2008 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  10. Robert S., New Orleans, Louisiana

    If Hillary had put a muzzle on Bill a year ago, she'd have enough delegates to be nominated by now.

    March 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  11. kent

    After the Clinton and Bush Presidencies, Americans cannot remember what a gifted leader looks like. Have your vision restored and look at Barack Obama. He is far from perfect, like the rest of us (even with vision restored ), but he is gifted for responsible leadership.

    March 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  12. Andrew

    This would be an approrpiate time for Hillary to pull a "shame on you" line.

    It's disgusting they would even bring up Monica when Hillary is running for president. She's not the one who fooled around with Monica.

    March 24, 2008 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. Sick and Tired

    Ok folks. I am sick and tired of the bashing of Barack Obama! As for the Jeremiah Wright's comments, why don't you go to YouTube and look at the sermon's in question in it's entirety. Although i'm not condoning the comment's he made, there are more than just sound bytes, it shows what led to him saying the thing's he said. I challenge you to at least look at the videos and then make your judgement.

    Furthermore, The Democratic Party need to try and find away to pull together rather than pulling the party apart.

    March 24, 2008 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  14. jag

    Now now! We all know that your not allowed to say anything bad about Obama or your a racist. Watching the Democrat party fall apart and back stab one another is better tv viewing than what Hollywood comes up with..........

    March 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  15. Fernando

    Anyone but NOBAMA!!! .... He sounded too preachy for me from the begining and now I know where he got his training from. I don't want to be lecture about race when clearly he is so flawed.

    March 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  16. New Jersey

    What's the big deal ... he said it, but we were all thinking it.

    March 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  17. t-bone

    Its clear the Clinton's are intimidating the Superdelegates by calling in favors from the past.

    The Superdelegates owe the Clinton's nothing. They had their time. They took out Al Gore and now they are pulling down Obama.

    Its disgusting.

    March 24, 2008 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  18. Val


    Very well said. You speak the truth, sir.

    No Obama. McCain 2008!

    March 24, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  19. ca

    Sleazy tactics. I thought Obama was about changing all this type of political banter? And who needs enemies when you got friends like Bill Richardson. What a loser.

    March 24, 2008 03:25 pm at 3:25 pm |
  20. AMB

    Mr. Fischer is a very knowledgable and insightful commentator who frequently appears on a variety of political news programs in Iowa. I don't think he said anything that most intelligent people haven't thought in the past several months. Thank goodness Barack is running! Would hate see the co-presidency of the Clintons...enough is enough!

    March 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  21. Candace

    Please don't be fooled, the only consistently negative campaign in this race has been Hillary's. Her tactics are really destroying the respect she was receiving from Obama supporters. If she gets the nomination, I wouldn't be surprised if Democratic voters chose McCain. It's great that she can display a tough side, but she and Bill have really become nasty. Why should Fischer have to apologize if Bill doesn't? And it seems that any person's comments have now become a reflection of Obama's campaign which isn't fair. He can't control commentators, and their comments are hardly a reflection on his morals.

    March 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  22. Linda Li

    It's an Obama supporter that made this comment, not his campaign. Supporters have their personal faults and opinions. Live with it.

    March 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  23. Hadley (whose comments are NEVER posted by CNN)

    Just so you know, most of Obama's recent speech on race came from his book, Dreams from My Father, published in Jan 2007, before he was even a presidential candidate. Please consider reading the book. It is articulate and profound. Therefore, I am unable to believe that Obama's speech on race is solely for political advantage. However, as he has said repeatedly, he is in this race to WIN faced with an attack on his personal beliefs about race, he responds using long-held and widely published material.

    p.s. When is this race going to be over already? I feel like I need a vacation...

    March 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  24. Walt, Belton,TX

    Sure, Bill and Hillary would never stoop to gutter politics.......................

    They would need to climb up for that sort of tactic!

    March 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
  25. Tasteless

    It is beyond contempt when any man attacks a woman for the actions of her spouse. This is what we call "attacking the victim". I admire Senator Clinton's courage to stand by her convictions and religious beliefs regarding her marraige vows, although some women would have opted for divorce.
    Hillary Clinton is a great mother, devoted wife, and intelligent Senator. She will make a great President. This Obama imbecile is typical of the type of campaign Obama is running, and they have been doing this type of "attack/retraction" smearing from the very beginning. Will the media please hold these chauvinists accountable for their actions. This is why I would NEVER vote for Obama. Maybe at one time, but after comments like these – NEVER. Guess it is easier for them to attack a woman rather than attacking the Republicans for their "Swift Boating" with Rev. Wright.

    Either Clinton or McCain but Nobama.

    March 24, 2008 03:26 pm at 3:26 pm |
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