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. ez

    This brings back memories; it's just simply funny. lol

    March 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  2. Bukky, Baltimore

    I dont understand why did is being blamed on Obama's Campaign. This man supports Obama but doesnt work on the campaign. Where was this speach given, What did Obama's Campaign have to do with it, Does this guy even WORK for Obama.

    Hillary is fighting hard and she is taking us all down with her.

    March 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  3. Subash Nanjangud

    Come on....there should be a limit to the level the Obama camp can go down...this is below 'gutter' level. Of course Obama will claim that he did not know about this. He does not know what is happening in his church and now he does not know what is happening in his camp. Hooray...Hillary!!!!

    March 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  4. Phoenix

    There's a difference between mud that has something to do with experience, judgement, practicality and such things that have to do with actually running the country; and bringing up old things that have nothing to do with it, except for the general tastelessness of people who are looking into other people's bedrooms when they should be thinking about serious problems we all face. Obviously this campaign is turning into a group therapy session where everyone has to air their old grievances before they get down to the cold hard fact: first, you have to be in the White House to make any changes. The Dems always have to kill themselves over their precious personal principles, while the Republicans keep their eyes on the prize and do what it takes to get there, even if it means getting along with each other.

    March 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  5. anony

    more cry from the Clintons? surpise surprise surprise. can dish it out but can't take it huh Hillary?

    March 24, 2008 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  6. MickyD10

    druidmary said: "First Obama said he wasn't there when Pastor Wright said things we saw on the videos but then he was there."

    Hillary, is that you? Hard to tell between you and your supporters when all these lies start flying around. Like you Hillary, they think that if a lie is repeated often enough it magically becomes true. I guess you must think nobody pays attention to the facts. Not so!

    March 24, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  7. JfromNC

    CNN – Why do you continue to report what surrogates say (not the candidates)? Why haven't you reported on Hillary's complete lie about her trip to Bosnia? This lie came directly from her and is part of her so-called experience to be commander-in-chief. If you are going to hold Obama responsible for the words of someone else, why not hold Clinton responsible for HER OWN lies??

    Obama '08!

    March 24, 2008 03:28 pm at 3:28 pm |
  8. tesdy

    I thought that Barack was going to be difference/change/positive. He is a typical politician. There will be no change. Same old thing.

    March 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  9. from Clinton to Obama

    Sen. Clinton, your attacks are not adding any supporters to your side, instead taking them away, Why not keep shut, and run a nice campaign. I was your supporter until now.
    I am now for Obama.
    Obama 08!!!

    March 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 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 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  11. Angie

    Oh my goodness!! How stupid are you people!!! I guess this is Obama's fault also. He put those words in that man's mouth, right.
    For those of you commenting that this is a smear tactic from Obama's campaign again, get a life or atleast a mind of your own.

    By the way I would like to sell you some swamp land in Florida!!!!! Along with harmless gators. No really, their harmless.

    OBAMA 08

    March 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  12. FashionPolice

    .Buddy...That's because that would be an incredibly tacky fashion faux pas.

    March 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  13. Rebecca

    So much hate. I am deeply saddened by how my fellow american's feel the need to dish out hateful, and hurtful remarks toward either democratic candidate. Hillary is not a cheater, nor is she dishonest. The same can be said for Barak. Shame on you American society for lowering your standards to such hate mongering.

    March 24, 2008 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. Korn

    OBAMA CAMP again twist their own word to American people. They promise clean campaign in front but on the back door deploy such ugly personal attacks!!!!! time after time

    just because you know that the media is on your side and you can continue practicing dirty tricks? Not so fast!!!!!

    American people wake up now

    March 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. vic nashville,Tn

    Obama campaign showing their frustrations on Bill Clinton

    March 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  16. Isaac

    I've been saying from the start that his campaign is dirtier than Clinton's. People aren't seeing it but maybe they will start to. They have been like this from the beginning. Michelle saying she would have to think long and hard about who she would vote for if Obama wasn't the nominee. Really?? The Clinton's have always said they would unite behind the democratic nominee.

    He says one thing and does another and is a Very savvy politician. He is no better than the Clinton's. I prefer Hillary because I respect her, I know who she is for better or worse. I can't say the same about Obama but even I know that I will vote for him in November if he is the nominee. I won't like it necessarily but I will. Can his supporters say the same thing? There is a lot of ugliness going on there.

    March 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  17. lugina

    wow...OBAMA PLS...JUST GO AWAY..

    March 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. Former Obama supporter

    Obama’s supporters are so rude and full of hate. The Obama campaign says they are change, but they have repeatedly gone negative. Obama is just like every politician. Obama does not bring hope or change. If Obama wins the nomination, don’t expect us Hillary supporters to vote for him. That includes Florida and Michigan voters. He will end up losing the general election and become a loser just like John Kerry.

    March 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  19. Heidi

    I don't think the Clinton campaign are as "dirty" as the Obama campaign staff. They are truly vicious and vindictive. I don't think the Democrats are going to be able to unite. McCain will be the next president!

    March 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  20. Brigitte Kahan

    When will the Democrats finally put an end to this nonsense and start concentrating on how to prevent the Republicans from winning the White House again?? It seems like they have lost sight of their goal.

    March 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  21. Rich

    1. Obama supporters are not Obama. Clinton and McCain have also had supporters get out of line, and we can't hold them responsible for this. Each candidate, being only human, has enough flaws and mistakes of their own.

    2. Obama claimed he wasn't at the service of the offending sermon. This has been corroborated. What he said in his speech was that he was in services where statements were made which he thought were controversial and with which he didn't agree. This is not flip flopping if you stop and think about it. If your heart is set on Hillary or McCain, great. But please think through your criticisms before misleading others.


    March 24, 2008 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  22. kent

    On second thought, especially after the criticism by those dear tender hearts that claimed to be offended, an apology was a decent idea. Nevertheless, the orginal point was valid and vividly illustrative of the stain on the fabric of Clinton's character, let alone his legacy.

    March 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  23. gary

    Ryan. from N.y. Dont put the cart before the horse.If you really think the super deligates are going to go to someone like Obama that has no qualifications and dosnt know the whitehouse ,than your blind.If HRC dosnt get elected ,it will be Mc Cain .HRC'S voters will go republican which is smart. Obama would get eatten alive by the republicans. HRC is our only answer to the real changes. To all you Clinton haters. What goes around comes around.

    March 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  24. Vince

    People should be used to the tactics Obama and his followers use.
    They just love to twist the words of their opponents to fit their agenda.

    How many time have they twisted Clintons words and try to turn them into a racial issue? Quite often. So often in fact that one can hardly believe anything one hears coming out of the Obama camp.

    They have been caught in many lies. Then they try to lie their way out of them by blaming the Clintons for the reason they lied. WOW

    If thats not enough there`s his hate filled church and the hate monger preacher who was the leader of that church.

    March 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  25. Melisa osodo

    Truth is bitter,Rev.wright was right. It is not up to Obama to take the blame for the injustices that have existed in the American society for many generations.Come on, everyone should do some soul truthfull searching, to help create "a more perfect union"

    An obamanite 08

    March 24, 2008 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
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