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. character

    This is definitely the best moderated debate. Kudos to George and Charlie. Obama doesn't like questions about his character, but character is as much an issue as policy. For me, character comes first, policy second. Who cares about a candidate's policy if he or she has a serious character issue. Yes. Hillary has baggages, but we all know what's inside. We already know what a Hillay administration is going to be like. But Obama is an unknown who at the very least is sympathetic to terriost and anti-American sentiments. It is very important for the moderators to confront him and make him answer those questions. I'm very grateful that George and Charlie had the courage to do so. I felt that the previous debates held by MSNBC and CNN were flat by comparison. In this debate, I learned a lot more about the characters of these two candidates than all of the previous ones. There is not much reason to debate policies because we are already familiar with them. There is just not much differences between the two. This primary comes down to the question of character.

    Georage, Charlie, ABC, Thank you very much for doing such a good job!

    April 18, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. Julie

    Why didn't CNN make a big deal about Obama's poor performance during his debate with Clinton? Had it been the other way around, CNN would have biasely and LOUDLY headlined Clinton – how obvious!

    Obama gets rattled easily in front of direct questionning – what does that say about his ability to run this great Country of ours?

    April 18, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  3. Aggie/Canada

    Seems to me not that long ago Clinton was crying double standards and stating the media was against her. It must be one of those snipers moments or screw em Bill moments for her.

    April 18, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  4. grant

    Clinton would be one drama after another; obama can handle the pressure; he just needs to get a united party behind him. She doesn't have a chance now; the super delegates will never overturn an election and give the nomination to the person who came in 2nd and is behind in electability. With 58 % negative and rising, her electability is almost nil.

    April 18, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  5. NYC

    Didn't Hillary complain during one of the debates iteslf about the tough questions being asked of her?!?! Are we in the twilight zone now?

    April 18, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. Dean Kent

    And Hillary, of course, has never complained...

    Do people actually fall for these weak arguments from the candidates?

    Why – yes they do. Critical thinking is in short supply, it would appear.

    April 18, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  7. Pat Va

    "Kitchen sink" tactic not working for you, Hillary??? As the self-avowed, "smartest woman in the world", WHEN are you going to come to the realization that you're not wanted by the majority of the American public as the Democratic nominee for the Presidency??? Are you that dense? Even your husband is sabotaging your campaign every chance he gets!!!

    April 18, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  8. Dan (TX)

    What "hard questions" were asked in that debate?? Who cares about silly flag pins? I noticed NEITHER candidate was wearing one during the debate. So what? A metal object doesn't define patriotism – get over it! It's been my personal experience that those that wear their patriotism or religion on their "sleeve" are anything but what they claim to be! Real patriots don't need pins!
    As a Republican I must say that the ABC moderators were anything but fair or balanced. What a crock!
    It wouldn't surprise me if that was the last debate between these two for the remainder of the primary season.

    April 18, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  9. kenai

    This differs from her complaining in one of the last debates about always getting the first question, how?
    Was she not whining that she was being treated unfairly?
    Shouldn't she stop the negativity that she has largely been responsible for?
    She has rarely let an opportunity go by without inflicting a wound upon her opponent. Even aligning herself with John McCain and badly damaging her party's frontrunner.
    Is she tough? I'd argue that she is mean spririted, vindictive, smarmy, deceitful and disengenuous!
    Presidential??? I think not.

    April 18, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  10. operasask

    Toughness, action and solutions are what is needed – Clinton has got it spot on.

    April 18, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  11. Russ, Albuquerque

    Like Princess Hillary didn't complain when she got singled out the short time she was the front runner. These debates have been another example of how reporting is not limited to reporting the facts but instead the "spin" that a particular network wants.

    The parties should host their own debates and use PBS making them available to the broadest audience.

    April 18, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  12. Black Man - PA

    Don't worry about it Mrs. Clinton – If you get the nod. One of your major support bases, won't be there....figure out which one.

    April 18, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  13. tidho

    ...and she complained that she was asked questions first too frequently.
    ...and she complained that the press wasn't hard enough on Obama.
    ...and she complained that...blah, blah, blah.

    I don't even think what Obama said was a complaint. The questions weren't too hard, they were stupid.

    April 18, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  14. Gideon

    She's joking, right?

    Obama was complaining about the pettiness of the early questions, not how difficult they were.

    And in case Hillary didn't notice, she got trounced on the substantive questions. Obama's answer on the Iraq drawdown was the most intelligent I've heard since – well, ever.

    April 18, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  15. Chris

    Is this the same Hillary who whined – during a debate – about how the press and the rest of the world were against her?

    Shocking, another Clinton double standard.

    April 18, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  16. Sharon

    She should know about those pressures, she's handled them now for 16 years.....she's strong, so intelligent, so hard-working. She will be a brilliant President of the United States!
    GO HILLARY!!!! 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂

    April 18, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  17. Buffalo Bill, NY

    Apparently this comment was made after 11pm.... Ones recollection begins to fail @ that hour according to Bill.

    While Hillary criticizes Barack for complaints, she seems to have little recollection of the "pillow for Senator Obama" remark in an Ohio debate (Obviously frustrated and feeling like the target). She forgets her stint on SNL where she played her "virgin mary the victim" role. She forgets Bills rebuke of any media or debate moderator who "ganged up" on his wife.

    Interestingly, I recall a completely different take by media then. In the wake of this most recent debate the reports suggested that Obama fell a bit short. While previously, Hillary was cheered for her "pillow" comment. WEAK!!

    I guess it is OK for a woman to complain and for her man to rush to her defense, but if Hillary complains and Bill must comes a' runnin' maybe it's Hillary who is not president material. TOO WEAK!!

    April 18, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  18. LAWL

    Yes we know your tough Hiliary because you are a politician who plays the game. A game we are tired of because the outcome only benefits you.

    The problem is with your reasons for running for office. We're tired of the same old politics and it looks like the superdeligates are also tired of your shenanigans.

    April 18, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Doug, Florida

    Your posts are all over the place. Sometimes your are for Obama sometimes not.

    Are you off your Med? You remind me of your Candidate

    Go take your Med.

    Obama 08

    April 18, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  20. Garret, Los Angeles

    Does Obama think he's running for prom king? Get a life Obama – that does not include ruining mine. You are running for President. If you can't take the heat – get out of the kitchen.

    Just decided on Hillary – 2008 and 2012.

    April 18, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  21. ds

    He was reacting to the pettiness of the questions, not the toughness. HRC reduced the campaign to pettiness a long time ago, so it's not surprising that she would support the overall tone of the debate.

    She has lead her campaign like Bush leads the war–is that how she'd lead the country?

    April 18, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  22. Philip

    Is not abour hard questions but the relevance of the questions to the american people.

    April 18, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  23. William, Oklahoma

    Clinton didn't you complain in february about getting the tough questions while obama was getting a free ride. Now you are saying he is not ready for the presidency because of him complaining about the questions at a debate. At least be consistent. I support your candidacy, but this is disappointing

    April 18, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  24. BV

    Pot, meet Kettle! Kettle, meet Pot! Oh, I see you already know one another!

    April 18, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  25. Marc - Canada

    Hillary lost this debate. Barrack was honest and spoke the truth. Hillary threw stones and didn't look anyone in the eye and told the world she would attack Iran if they attacked Israel – all without Congress approval. Pretty poor decision by her if she were to make that call at 3 am.

    I'm surprised and disappointed that the media have failed to recognize or investigate why HILLARY NEVER LOOKS ANYONE IN THE EYE when she responds to tough questions, debates or has to think about an answer.

    It's one of the many reasons I don't believe her sincerity when she speaks. She looks down, up left and right but rarely into the eyes of the person questioning her. Some might call that searching your imagination for an answer.

    April 18, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
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