April 18th, 2008
09:45 AM ET
14 years ago

Clinton: Obama 'complaining' about debate

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/04/18/art.clintoncomplain.ap.jpg caption=" Clinton said Obama is complaining about Wednesday night's debate."]

PHILADELPHIA (CNN) - In her first comments about the Wednesday evening’s controversial debate, Hillary Clinton accused Barack Obama of “complaining” about the broadcast and hinted her rival might not be equipped to handle the rigors of the Oval Office.

“I know he spent all day yesterday complaining about the hard questions he was asked,” she told an interviewer Friday morning on WTXF in Philadelphia. “Being asked tough questions in a debate is nothing like the pressures you face inside the White House.”

In campaign stops in Pennsylvania and North Carolina yesterday, Obama criticized both his rival and the debate format, accusing the moderators of focusing on trivialities and saying Clinton was “in her element.”

Seeing an opening after what some pundits regarded as a poor performance by Obama, Clinton used the morning show interview to make the case for her own toughness and determination.

“When the going gets tough you can't run away,” she said of Obama.

Clinton said she had no problems with the debate, a face-off that some critics — and many Obama supporters — claimed was slanted against the Illinois senator.

“The special interests are going to be a lot tougher than 90 minutes of questions from two journalists,” she said, “and we need a president who is going to be up there fighting everyday for the American people and not complain about how much pressure there is, and how hard the questions are.”

soundoff (833 Responses)
  1. RENEA,PLYMOUTH,MI

    HILLARY WHERE IS YOUR FLAG PIN?

    April 18, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  2. AJ

    Obama has gotten such a free ride from the press he isn’t used to tough questions. Throughout this campaign he has had a tendency to become petulant whenever he is asked tough questions, asked for specificity or criticized in any manner. Remind you of anyone? G.W. Bush perhaps? If he can’t take the heat now, the republicans are going to rip him to shreds.

    April 18, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  3. WhineObama

    He's a whiner....please don't ask me questions I have to tell the truth about, don't talk about Rev. Wright, forget about my connections to Tony Rezko, ignore my cockyness and arrogance and last but not least: me and my wife say what we mean until someone points out that it's not the way someone running for President of the Unites States should talk.

    Poor me!

    April 18, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  4. Paul

    Wow, this from a woman who was complaining a few weeks ago why she was getting the first question in the debates.....

    April 18, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  5. MD

    I don't think he complaint about the pressure or about the hard questions. ANOTHER LIE!

    He just said we wasted 45 minutes for nothing.....Who cares if he wears flagpin or not.....Just GROW UP! How many people wear flagpins everyday to work?? Hillary wants to ONLY discuss about these stupid issues......

    IF YOU CAN JUDGE OBAMA FROM WHO HE IS FRIENDLY WITH, THEN WE ALL CAN JUDGE "HILLARY SUPPORTERS" FROM WHO THEY SUPPORT.....after all that she is doing and behaving.

    April 18, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  6. Realist

    Barack cold have easily won the debate with one fell stroke. He could have stressed the Clinton's pardoning the Weather Underground and then went from there to the Clinton's pardoning the FALN terrorists who murdered Americans in New York while they ate at a restaurant. They didn't even ask to be pardoned. Hillary pushed Bill to set them free.

    If he had done that, and he still can if she keeps talking about the debate, what good would that do the Democratic party. We need a leader who is no willing to destroy the kingdom to sit on the throne.

    April 18, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  7. Len in Washington

    Uhhh....excuse me.

    MOST of the viewers of that "debate" are complaining. No matter which side they're on.

    We want discussion on real issues that are important to us.

    April 18, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  8. Ben

    I wish all of you cry babies who say, if Hillary gets the nomination, you will vote for McCain and those who say if Obama gets the nomination you will vote for McCain. Why don't you just shut up and vote any way you please. All your stupid statements just goes to prove how many
    simple childish minds we have in the democratic party.

    April 18, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  9. gary

    didn't I hear Hillary complain to the moderators in a previous debate about always getting the first question? Don't I recall Hillary and Bill both complaining multiple times about imbalanced press coverage. Let's try to be honest (I know it is hard for the Clinton's), but these complaints are gamesmanship, and in this game, Hillary is still losing. She should complain about her husbands harmful statements and her overall poor campaign strategy.

    April 18, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  10. Bubba

    Obama for the fist time lightly dusted with substantive questions and he tries to shift the issue the poor quality of questions. I guess I would think the same if I believed raising Capitol Gains taxes was required for fairness (Did not know he was the Fair Policeman) when I had just benn presented with the fact that raising them will lower tax revenue. Obama ignores the fact that we are not all stupid sheep. People work hard for their mioney and the smart ones get out when the govt tries to take more of their money in the stock/mutual fund market. Just what we need a President who discourages investment...and Hillary is no better. They are one in the same...Bad News for a great country. Worst of all neither of them thinks this country is great in any way or even good...

    April 18, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  11. sj

    I seem to remember Clinton complaining in the middle of a debate that "she gets all the first questions" and has seemed to whine several times.

    That aside, I think that during this debate controversy, we need to discuss the role of media in "vetting" our candidates. It's become clear to me that the MSM is part of the story in that there seems to be some agreement between the MSM with Hillary's stand - which is "she's already been vetted" and so no one need mention anything that the Republicans will certainly bring forth in November (in fact, most Republicans are prepared and hoping for Hillary and her 54% disapproval rating to be the Dem nominee). And per Joe Scarborough on MSNBC – McCain is already "known," so we should not question anything about his acquaintances. Can you imagine if Barack's Florida co-chair solicited someone in the men's room (like McCain's did!). (Scarborough actually stormed off a show after his comment - guess it's okay to do the "vetting of Obama, but not McCain.)

    I believe this is the crux of everything going on. Barack is newer to the scene and he is the most threatening to the "old school" of corporate-influenced politics and corporate-influenced media.

    Everything current and past about McCain and Clinton should be brought forth despite the MSM thinking we already "know" them. This is an election year and we demand equal-opportunity vetting!!!!!

    We viewers have short-term memory and we should be reminded of their acquaintances and foibles throughout their histories too!

    (If you had seen Andrea Mitchell continuing to say Obama's "problem about the Rev Wright" and the woman guest from Politico kept bringing up McCain's connections to crazy religious leaders and Clinton's connections to other crazy religious leaders – Mitchell didn't know what to say. She pivoted back to "Obama's problem...." This is one of many, many examples of how the MSM is only interested in vetting Barack and deciding to ignore vetting the others.)

    April 18, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  12. IF

    She's tough alright. A rhinocero's hide would pale beside her. And she's single-mindedly determined: that either she'll get back the White House or else no one else will. If she can't get the lease back, she'd rather McCain did. After all, if she looses against Obama it will be very, very, clear that people don't buy her (and that's not short of heresy). If McCain later wins, well, she can blame politics, fear of change, even Obama or Dean, or the media.

    As to Obama not being able to stand the pressure, maybe she's so used to it, that she can't see the difference between being a relevant, tough opponent and being sleazy, mean and petty and a liar.

    April 18, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  13. Mike from Westchester

    We get it Hillary, you're a fighter. You fight everyone you can. You look at everyone who is not on your team as the enemy. You will fight the Republicans and the special interests. You will fight, fight, fight. They will fight back. Nothing will get done, just like the first time you tried to push health care. You FAILED.

    Your world view is that everyone is out to get you, so you have to attack, attack, attack; fight, fight, fight. If we keep poking each other in the eye, the only result is that everyone ends up blind.

    You just don't get it, and that is abundantly clear.

    What we need is a leader – a consensus builder – someone who can reach across the aisle and across the globe to solve problems. That's the guy you and your surrogates have been trying so hard to tear down. It is certainly not you.

    Richardson is right – A leader like Barack Obama only comes along once in a generation. The right leader in these troubled times. America needs him now.

    We have faith – Yes we do!
    We can do this – Yes we can!
    Obama '08 Yes we will!

    April 18, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  14. Roofin Reality

    Good campaign tactic by Senator Clinton. When it appears you're behind, the fastest way to catch up is to make the person in front turn around and slow themselves up.

    And, the debate did seem to be a little slanted. Anyone looking at it objectively would complain if Bill Bradley would have been "lobbing" the questions vs. Stephanophulous. That is, anyone who is a Clinton fan.

    I did see the second half of the debate and it did seem that Senator Obama was on the defensive. But then I analyzed what he was saying and it appears that he tried to stay on message as it relates to issues that voters are worried about. Not issues about people who will not have any influence over how he will make decisions.

    At the end, this debate may do for Obama what the New Hampshire debate did for Clinton (when Obama and Edwards appeared to gang up on her).

    April 18, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  15. Bubba

    Obama for the fist time lightly dusted with substantive questions and he tries to shift the issue the poor quality of questions. I guess I would think the same if I believed raising Capitol Gains taxes was required for fairness (Did not know he was the Fair Policeman) when I had just benn presented with the fact that raising them will lower tax revenue. Obama ignores the fact that we are not all stupid sheep. People work hard for their mioney and the smart ones get out when the govt tries to take more of their money in the stock/mutual fund market. Just what we need a President who discourages investment...and Hillary is no better. They are one in the same...Bad News for a great country. Worst of all neither of them thinks this country is great in any way or even good...

    April 18, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  16. Bubba

    Obama for the fist time lightly dusted with substantive questions and he tries to shift the issue the poor quality of questions. I guess I would think the same if I believed raising Capitol Gains taxes was required for fairness (Did not know he was the Fair Policeman) when I had just benn presented with the fact that raising them will lower tax revenue. Obama ignores the fact that we are not all stupid sheep. People work hard for their mioney and the smart ones get out when the govt tries to take more of their money in the stock/mutual fund market. Just what we need a President who discourages investment...and Hillary is no better. They are one in the same...Bad News for a great country. Worst of all neither of them thinks this country is great in any way or even good...

    April 18, 2008 10:54 am at 10:54 am |
  17. Franpee

    Listen to who is complaining.Wasn't Hillary complaining about she being always the first to be asked questions during one of the debates?That's very funny coming from her.

    April 18, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  18. Gal

    I wouldn't consider what he was doing as whining but if you must...Clinton has done more than her fair share of whining about the press treating her unfairly, about taking the first questions in debtes, about SNL...come on . We don't forget even if in her old age according to Bill she does.

    What I want to hear about is the "screw em" comment that 3 people are confirming she said? Why isn't that being investigated and in the public before the April 22 primary? This is much more newsworthy than Colbert don't you think?

    April 18, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  19. Eli

    Obama says now he does not want to debate any more. Poor thing. These states that are voting soon need to realize that this man can not debate, he can not hold up under pressure. Obama is not the best candidate. To win this year we have to go with who can WIN. That person is HILLARY CLINTON.

    April 18, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  20. SJK in Denver

    Complaining! That's HILarious! I thought he was mocking the fact that for half of the debate the issues were not substantive. There is a time and place to be vetted and when people like me tune into a debate, we expect to see real issues being discussed. I was thoroughly disappointed with the debate, I wanted to hear about things that matter to me. This is the pot calling the kettle black–not too long ago the Clinton campaign complained the media was biased against her! Not to mention, part of the problem is that the vetting was biased. If it is going to happen at all (which I oppose), then it ought to cut across equally (I'll spare the list of Hilliary concerns).

    April 18, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  21. John M (PA)

    More ridiculous spin from the Clinton Campaign.

    The debate was a travesty. The "moderators" tried to hammer Obama on trivial issues for the first half and then gave Clinton more time to talk in the second half on the real questions.

    Wasn't Clinton complaining about being treated unfairly in the media? Now the tables are turned and she claims Obama is whining.

    April 18, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  22. Scott C

    Obama kept his composure during the debate, unlike Clinton in the Ohio debate where she openly whined to the moderator.

    He said he didn't like the format and it was trivial, but he is brushing it right off and it doesn't both him.

    If she is going to criticize what he said about the debate, take it all into account.

    She can't win anyway... I can't wait for her concession speech.

    April 18, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  23. Sandy

    Oh my gosh, the trivial back and forth continues. Obama complained about the litany of manufactured issue questions, not the 'tough' questions on issues that voters really care about. There so desperately needs to be some voting to end this for whoever, because the current ridiculous level of engagement just hurts everyone. It used to be really compelling to follow this election, but a couple of months back, it turned, and it isn't any fun anymore – it's just sad.

    April 18, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  24. InChicago

    Obama was ready for tough questions. He WANTED to answer tought questions, just tough questions that actually matter.

    Clinton had chance to do something good for America here by agreeing that the kinds of question asked in that debate dumb down the dialogue and pressing for a more substantial, informative debate next time. Instead, she implied that those questions were relevant to the problems facing America.

    The fact is, she wants America to be dumbed down, because only if we are dumb enough will we fail to see through her cheap tactics and ruthless powerlust.

    April 18, 2008 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  25. dave, michigan

    I hate to say it but I think She's right, from all that I have seen, read and heard about The "Obama Sham" Debate the man is not equipped to handle the rigors of the Oval Office. HE has a record of running away from the tough decision, PRESENT doesn't count in my book, it's the same as pleading no contest in front of a judge, it's either guilt or not guilt, YES or NO in the case of the Oval Office.
    Don't forget that the President is the primmary forgien policy maker and is considered "The Leader of the FREE WORLD". Even if Obama wins the nomination and then IF, and that's a BIG,HUGE IF, he becomes president, I believe, he will be eaten alive by the leaders of friend or foe alike. Clinton OR McCain are the chioces if you want America to continue being a leader in the world.
    I WILL being putting a sign in my front yard that reads " A PROUD DEMOCRAT VOTIONG FOR McCAIN" if Obama wins the nomination. He simply doesn't have the where with all to be "The Leader of the FREE WORLD".

    April 18, 2008 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
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