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)

    I don't like to see Barack stoop to Hillarys level. I wish he would continue to walk the high ground and leave this garbage peddler business to the Clinton campaign. For anyone who is really listening he is far more fluent on the issues (both foreign and domestic). Senator Obama should trust that his rationale will penetrate the Clinton smoke screening and reach the hearts and minds of the people.

    April 18, 2008 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  2. Ken Austin, TX

    NEWS ALERT HILLARY: He didn't complain about the "TOUGHNESS" of the questions, but instead he complained about the STUPIDITY of them. The questions had no depth and did not address real issues.



    Obama 08, 12

    April 18, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  3. Eric

    really? i didnt realize that saying a debate should be about issues on policy and not the drama was complaining?

    i do think that whinning about getting to many questions or always having to field quesitons first does constitute complaining Hillary, so maybe you're the one who should worry about the special interest groups.

    Have a nice life after this race hillary because america is about to realize that it doesnt want to see you around anymore.

    April 18, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  4. ms. sims

    It never ceases to amaze me how people who aren't and have never worn a flag lapel pin can question somebody else about it...its almost laughable. And when Bill O'Reilly admits that the line of questioning for Obama was ruff compared to Clinton it really has to be TRUE!

    April 18, 2008 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. zach

    Good God Woman

    C U Next Time!

    Now get lost

    April 18, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  6. Richard Takwi

    Earlier on,in the different debates in this entire process, Clinton used to compliant of being addressed the tough questions first, but nobody took heed ,all the media said was that she was the front runner.I remember the then moderator asked Clinton about the former Governors attempt to grant illegal aliens ID cards and turned to ask Obama how he felt when his name was likened to ossama.
    Now that he is said to be front runner ,he is complaining.Those are questions from journalist he knows and sees daily, what about the enemy we do not know nor see thier faces when he is President .I feel he is a mounted candidate by the media to face tough challenges left behind by the present Admin.How does he intend to deal with this?Let him be honest with American people.He even takes campaign money ,I cannot believe him.He is too ambitious,let his supporters accept that he is weak on debates.His scripts are written and mastered before appearances.If Obama cannot stay on top of the game and thinks he can seek justification of everything in life,then he will keep getting into trouble with the Republican when he is nominee.He has been havivg a cake walk .Now is the second but last test to becoming President of the World.

    April 18, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  7. Mary, Wisconsin

    I agree. He didn't do well, he needs to get over that fact.

    April 18, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  8. Geri

    This is the first debate where it hasn't been Clinton thats been attacked. CNN & MSNBC are in Obamas pocket so what do you expect. Obama is a whiner and I'm tired of the nastiness of all you bloggers. I'm undecided but the way Obama supporters carry on, I don't think he'll get my vote. That plus how manby more skeletons do Obama and her nastiness, Michelle, have in their closet that haven't come out???

    April 18, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  9. Democrats United

    You mean the same way you whined in the Ohio debate??? Oh the horror!!! You are a liar. You know, I am really trying to convince myself to vote for you in the general election but if you keep lying like you are, I don't know that I can.

    April 18, 2008 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  10. Politicnut

    Obama is taking "sniper fire" over his comments of late. Its unfortunate that media reports didn't include even the whole sentence he spoke re bitterness, guns and religion- it was innocuous and I felt it had the ring of truth. Clinton seizing on this and using it as a weapon reeks of desperation. Someone who can blithely lend her campaign $5 million, like I would lend 20 bucks, really isn't a mensch.....

    April 18, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  11. Lauren

    Last I checked on a debate they had in the previous weeks, Clinton was complaining because they kept asking her questions over and over again, and used the line from a skit on SNL about giving "Obama a pillow"..... humm.... interesting.

    April 18, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  12. Tom A


    These are the same people who complained about the media's treatment of Obama so much SNL did skits for two weeks regarding the complaints.

    How much you wanna bet SNL doesn't do anything regarding this latest debate?

    April 18, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  13. Steeler Fan

    Billary complained about getting asked the first question almost every time at the debates, & now criticizes Obama for complaining about trivial questions. What a hypocrite!

    April 18, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  14. Tim: Louisville, KY

    ABC's handling of the debate was an absolute joke. You'd think they'd have shown more professionalism and been more evenhanded. Also, to focus on issues of actual importance for the whole debate would have been nice.

    The Clintons have been whining and complaining throughout the election about their treatment. It's very ironic that they would come down on Obama about his brief reference to teh debate.

    Seriously, I hope that the folks in Pennsylvania have enough sense to sort through all the crap and base their decisions on issues of substance ... whatever choices they end up making.

    April 18, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  15. dmw

    Obama is not ready to be President. He is arrogant that after one year in the Senate, he would run for President.

    I have never voted for a Republican for President. I might this year if Hillary is not the nominee.

    She is the most qualified and if she does not get it based on Obama giving good speeches, taking Hillary's ideas and making them his own, personally attacking Hillary, the disloyality of former Hillary hanger on's, and his just being condesending; has turned me off of the Democrats this election season.

    So, if I have a choice between Obama and McCain, I will either vote for McCain or I will leave the Presidential slot blank.

    I refuse to reward a person who is not qualified, the most important position in the world. It does not happen in regular jobs and it will not happen for me when picking a President.

    April 18, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  16. no2clinton, cambridge, MA

    Now Hillary (Republican senator from NY) admits herself that she's more interested in trivia, gaffes, and distraction, than really solving problems for Americans. She's hoping Americans are so dumb as to focus on those. She's ready on day one for a circus 'cauz that's all she knows. Now just not in the White House. It's up to voters to stop the perpetual circus in DC.

    April 18, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  17. D.S

    Ummmm.. Didn't Hill "Complain" in one of the first debates that she always gets the first question? Hasn't she repeatedly "complained" that Obama is getting more attention in the media? Do you fine people have a good memory?
    You folks in the great U. S. of A. have a choice this election, a real choice. Make it good please. The world waits with baited breath.....
    An international observer

    April 18, 2008 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  18. David in Illinois

    Isn't Hillary the one who in an earlier debate COMPLAINED that she was always getting the first question. The "hard" questions. Waaaaaaah. Once again, she distorts, lies and attacks. It's the only "solution" she has. Rip Obama to make TRY to make her look better, but it only makes her look petty. Two-thirds of the nation's voters already find her style repulsive.

    April 18, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  19. Lyz in MD

    Obama "complained?" Then so did every reputable journalist in America! Everyone panned that debate. Those questions weren't "tough," they were frivolous.

    Those are not issues; that's why Obama wouldn't take the shot about her Bosnia story. Nobody lost a job because she had a stupid welcome ceremony, and they didn't ask her about the records of her actively campaigning for NAFTA, which surfaced the same day.

    Clinton insisted that these were important issues because she has to take anything she can get. I think that illustrates a character difference much more than some story about Obama's second cousin's hairdresser's neighbor's dog.

    So instead, they just asked Obama if he held every view ever expressed by everyone to whom he has ever said a civil word. Meanwhile, even Hillary Clinton (whom I used to defend until she lived down to everything the Right said about her) never faced _that_ kind of scrutiny.

    April 18, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  20. Greg

    Obama had every right to complain about that debate for one simple reason.

    There is no way one can suggest that it is fair to have a former Bill Clinton-staffer (who Hillary Clinton is very close to) serve as a moderator for a debate in which she is a participant.

    In the legal community we call this a conflist of interest and it is not allowed under any circumstances.

    It is just perplexing how someone at ABC News thought this was a fair and reasonable thing to do.


    April 18, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. Katie

    I used to respect Hillary Clinton. When the race began I truly didn't know how I would decide between the two dems. Now, I find her so repugnant. I am really struggling with the notion that she may win the nomination. I hope not, but I am not sure that I could support her after she has been so nasty, negative, and just plain annoying.

    April 18, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  22. William Worcester

    In the debates at least Hillary answers the questions. You know where she stands on many of the issues. Obama waffles and tries to wiggle out of giving a straight answer. I am glad a debate was finally asking him some hard questions, instead of Campbell Brown making goo-goo eyes at him. The religious forum was so biased it wasn't funny. Hillary was asked why does God allow suffering (a question that has been debated for centuries) and Obama gets asked if he thinks torture is wrong...a question that is very easy to answer since only george w thinks it is ok. Brown also before a commercial break revealed what question BO would be asked later, and Hillary was asked the same difficult question on the spur of the moment with no time to prepare. In my opinion Obama wants to brush aside questions about his relationships with Wright, Rezko, Ayers and others. He wants to give a speech and make the questions go away. That is not the way the real world works. I am sure there are many criminals in jail would gladly give a speech if it got them out of trouble. The fact is Obama can not get off the hook so easily. Both BO and MO cannot recall being at a party where rezko and auchi were at, yet other people at the party place them there, shouldn't Bo be asked about his connection to these shady political fixers?

    April 18, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  23. Tony, Miami

    I don't know if she can handle tough questions since she has been favored during all the debate and seems to have her answers well prepared as she already been aware of them.
    She was not prepared when agreeing with Stephanopoulos about the Obama's relationship with radical Bill Ayers of the Weather Underground group. She said it was relevant because the voters should know and was cut short when Obama mentionned her husband pardon of two CONVICTED terrorist of the same group. She abandon the subject immediately and the moderators did the same.

    I wonder how the DNC will react when Peter Paul trial begin almost at the same date of the general election?

    April 18, 2008 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  24. sascha

    If Sen Clinton would have been asked all these questions, she would say just the opposite now. She is done...

    April 18, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
  25. Uncle Sam

    Why doesn't Sen. Obama think the American people should know the man behind the campaign?

    April 18, 2008 12:03 pm at 12:03 pm |
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