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. eyes to see

    ABC must really think America is stupid. How can it not be a conflict of interest that one of the "moderators" was a senior political adviser to the 1992 U.S. presidential campaign of Bill Clinton and later became Clinton's communications director? And Hillary clearly thinks we are idiots as well; she makes these comments after complaining DURING a debate about having to answer first more often than Obama! I had almost forgotten how much I disliked the Clintons - it took a campaign to remind me.

    April 18, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  2. Danny

    Why your MEDIA or your people keep complain about HRC attack BHO? If you don't want some body give you a "JAB" don't run for President ok. Like a boxer if you want to be a champ you should ready for every punch. BHO and supporters are cry baby that's why I said BHO not qualify for President of the United States yet. Anyway if BHO get President he going to be worst President like his cousin JWB because they have same adviser KR, DC, CR and JWB.

    Think first before vote for BHO for nominee or President.

    April 18, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  3. Jude

    She was complaining about how "She always gets the first question"....I have never heard Obama complained. All he said is that the debate was a joke because it didn't focus on the important matters to the American people but for the first 45 mintues...was stuck on things that the media tries to bring up to stir controversy. I was really disappointed in ABC. I watch George Stepho...program on sundays...but I have to admit I was disappointed with him...I thought we would have risen above the "silly" season but I guess not because they probably want ratings.

    April 18, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  4. John Ainsworth

    Barack will be the Democratic nominee. I detest the Clintons. I was deeply sorry and knew what was going to happen (however I never thought they would stoop this low) when she announced she was going to try to get the nomination.

    I am watching this closely.... I think it is possible, that all of the side issues that have little meaning to our economic prosperity and security that the Clintons and Sean Hannity (loser) have focused on are beginning to look "silly" just as Barack has said.

    This is not Rove's America any more. We will not be fooled again. I respect Barack Obama.

    April 18, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  5. Mike J

    Even Hillary's biggest supporter in the state Rendell said that he was disappointed in the debate. Said the debate was better when they started asking REAL questions, meaning that the first part was bad.

    April 18, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  6. John G

    She's a real piece of work. When you step back and think about this situation, it's really sad. Although I've been backing Obama from the beginning, 4 months ago I would have been content if Hillary prevailed over him. Now I find myself loathing her. I sincerely believe that her legacy will be that she tore apart the Democratic Party. If Obama gets the nomination, and McCain wins in a general election, I think she'll have to shoulder some of the blame. Not only is this negativity hurting Obama, but it's weakening the Democratic Party as a whole.

    April 18, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  7. Micah Clark

    I seem to remember a certain someone complaining about always getting 'the first question' last debate...

    Come on, really Hill? One can't get past the idea that she's just trying to sabotage Obama's chances so she'll have another chance in 2012.

    April 18, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  8. Mandy, California

    What some view as soft on Clinton, I think of as savig the party. HRC has gone in destruction mode, mowing down everything in her path on her way to the nomination. Obama sees the bigger pictures and knows that if he decimates Clinton, and he is not the nominee, there will be a Republican in the White House this November.

    Who is really showing judgement here?

    April 18, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  9. McCain or Hillary '08

    Obama is so over.

    April 18, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  10. fernando

    i missed the colbert's show, but based on the transcript in the ticker's news, it looks like obama can't handle tough question. so how can he become the president of the US if he always try to avoid answering those type of question. or maybe he's just afraid to answer the question coz, it will reveal his true personality.

    April 18, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  11. Calling the Kettle

    Oh, so its okay for Clinton to whine about being treated unfairly (using her gender as during the debates but it is not okay for Obama to point out clearcut bias during the Pennsylvania debate? Please go home to your mansion in Westchester County, New York and spend your 109 million dollar fortune! We are no longer interested in the lies and manipulation.

    April 18, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  12. Antoinette

    She needs to quit

    SHe is only making his ratings go up

    Nobody was complaining, he was just stating that people wanted to hear about issues and they were bullcorning around the whole time

    And alot of America agrees so she is only stirring up trouble for herselg

    April 18, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  13. Melanie, TX

    AZM – I am not blindly following anyone. If I believed that in Obama's heart he truly did not feel for the out of work people all over the country, I wouldn't be behind him. That is what this whole controversy is about – Clinton being able to take one snippet of a conversation and make it look like he is elitist and get you and others to believe it. Or at least question it. He has addressed it many times – that is not what he meant, his words have been turned around on him and shoved down our throats repeatedly. But if you don't believe him and you really think he's not the one to turn this country around and get it back on his feet, then don't vote for him. It's that simple. But understand the frustration of those who do believe in him and are having to watch this shrew try to tear him down again and again. It's ugly and it's making me bitter.

    April 18, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  14. Mandy, California

    I think that Obama as the Democratic nominee in going after the Republican nominee would not show the same restraint he has in dealing with HRC.

    April 18, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. Selina

    I'm sure somethings had to be revisited, but 45 minutes of it? And the only thing he complained about was not really dealing with issues that are relevant NOW. Yesterday I spent $35 filling up the gas tank of A NEON!!!! I don't want to hear about his flag pin and lack there of! Those are not important issues! How about those 2 gallons of $5 milk I have to buy every week?? The craziness needs to stop!

    April 18, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  16. Pam

    I saw most of that debate and Obama was flustered and blabbering. He was squirming so badly that at one point he said "he disowned" his former pastor. The moderator called him on it and repeated what Obama said and Obama stammered and said "I mean I disowned his statements." Obama has lost that hypnotic sparkle he had early on. He was asked some tough questions and he couldn't deal with it. This guy is as much a liar as all his supporters claim Hillary is. Some of Obama's plans, from what I heard during this debate, clearly show how inexperienced and naiive he is when it comes to the most important job in this country. I can only warn everyone now, that if Hillary does not win the nomination, McCain is going to win this election.

    April 18, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  17. Hussien for America

    HRC is a SHAMELESS 'DOUBLE-SPEAKING' 'DOUBLE-DEALING' P-H-O-N-Y, whose true character is being EXPOSED more and more daily !
    I cannot even imagine voting for this despicable candidate for any reason – –
    I hope next week's PA primary will turn out into her final 'Gettysburg' moment to exit out – –

    April 18, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  18. Jimmy169

    HARD QUESTIONS!? He was complaining, as well as most of America, because of the NONESENSE questions! You call not wearing a pin or knowing someone who did something bad when he was EIGHT YEARS OLD hard questions!?

    This is the type of bs politics he is out to change, and I think America is ready!

    Obama 08

    April 18, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  19. FloridaDem

    Isn't this how it should be? Don't we, the voters have a right to know what there is to know about a candidate who is applying for the most powerful position in the world? The debate seemed fair, it centered on issues that people DO want to know about such as Bosnia, Avers, the flag pin, and Rev. Wright. If we can't ask senator Obama are we expected to vote for him in the general with troubling questions left unanswered? Sorry but simply liking someone is just not enough to elect them as President. Here is Florida we will not vote for him if he is the last candidate left standing. He alone silenced our votes for this election so we will let him hear them in the general election when we cross party lines and vote for McCain. We are tired of being singled our and snubbed. He doesn't need us now and can silence us so now so we do not need him in the general election. Period. As far as the debate goes his behavior after it by whining all over the place was anything but Presidential, it was immature, childish and unacceptable. Sorry but you applied for the job Obama and hey, the American people are going to want answers not just to select questions but to ALL questions. Grow up, act like a Presidential candidate should, get a backbone and answer the questions. Show people you can take the heat or get out of the kitchen. Can you imagine him whining like this if Russia had a problem with him? It would cause an all out war! Scary stuff there:(

    April 18, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. kathleen retired Professional w/woman for obama

    Yes, Hillary, I read the 14,000 comments on ABC and 9 out of 10 people were pissed. They were infuriated with your friends George Stephanopolus and Charlie Gibson. I think they gave you the
    "wink, wink. Geroge was on Hannity's radio show the day before.
    Obama was "set up." The show made you look like Mrs. Wonderful
    and Obama not so good. And why did the cameras go to Chelsey
    and Rendell thru the whole show????? And when you had the
    opportunity to make the last speech, which I think was planned by
    you and George, and Charlie, they flashed you at the end looking
    at Chelsea like you won and Chelsey looking at you in awe. People
    commented on ABC and were infuriated. A vote was taken and
    last time I looked, 62,000 voted, and 42,000 voted that Obama
    won, and 15,000 voted that you won the debate. You go, girl, out!!!

    April 18, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  21. Bayou Joe

    The media is exposing me. It's the media's fault. Why do they have to ask me all these hard questions. Don't they know they are hurting my chances of pulling the wool over America's eyes.

    Get him Hillary you are the other choice and the Democrats are too stupid to realize it.

    Clinton or McCain in 08

    April 18, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  22. anna

    He was questioned on issues that came up since the last debate. We all know how both of the candidates stand on issues like economy, health care, and the war. Their views are very similar. So these "trivial" issues make a difference for undecided voters. No doubt the ABC debate was biased against Obama, but so were previous debates against Clinton. She just handled it better, during and after.

    I was never a big fan of Clinton, and was very excited when Obama ran and about his message. Since watching the debates and the back and forth between candidates, I'm voting for Clinton. She's tougher, has detailed plans, and will do whatever it takes.

    Over half of the country HATES her, her campaign strategies have SUCKED, and Obama still can't put her away. How's he going to do in the general election? We need a democrat who can win.

    April 18, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  23. Michael G- Ventura, CA

    It took 52 minutes to get a question on the issues. Senator Obama's frustration with this is America's frustration. While Rome burns we're discussing things that happened when he was 8 years old- stuff that built a media frenzy weeks ago, and we're still at war, we still are in a recession, 47 million Americans stiil have no Healthcare,etc.
    The American people deserve better than Tabloid TV in times such as these! That Hillary was comfortable in that setting says much!

    April 18, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  24. Richard

    Poor Obama....he was not awared that 'gotcha' questions has been a part of all 21 debates up to now because these questions have always been directed at HIllary. Obama got surprised and was unprepared....ABC or any other news network should always warned the messiah Obama ahead of time before they have the audacity to ask him hard questions that are difficult to answer. In fact, if he becomes the president.....NO more impromptu Q&A are allowed and all hard questions are not permitted! The new politics Obama is envisioning is a scenario where only easy to answer questions are permitted and no one should ever feel the urge to challenge the Messiah president on his answers! Got it!

    April 18, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  25. Tom

    How many time does Obama have to answer the same questions over and over? He explained Rev. Wright, bitterness and Bill Ayers. It seems that these pundits want a different answer than what he is giving. What else does he need to do, walk on water?

    April 18, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
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