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. dixiecharms

    whinny Obama.....if you cannot take the heat now, what will you do under everyday pressure.... A vote for Clinton will place her in the White House and she can take the pressure....we have all seen that happen. God Bless America! Say yes to Clinton.

    April 18, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  2. Keith

    By her own admission Hillary Clinton can't take even take the pressure of the campaign – far less the Oval office. She claims she lied about her Bosnia trip because she was sleep deprived, presumably brought on by the pressure of the campaign.
    Whichever pundits claimed Obama had a poor performance in the debate are bad judges and may also be sleep deprived...

    April 18, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  3. Scott

    That which people call complaints, sheesh~!...my answer to the Clintons is not an answer at all...just a comment: The Pot Calling the Kettle Black!

    I must say though...both candidates sure have much to complain about, just as all of us do...this has been a LONG election. And we Democrats are in serious trouble because of the length of and stench from this race. Something needs to happen, else some of us may vote for Ron Paul!

    I so look forward to Christmas!!

    April 18, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  4. K in NH

    I just read that Obama doesn't want to have another debate - he's considering declining to participate in the next one.

    Through this primary season, I've thought of him as a decent candidate and planned to vote for him if he won the nomination over Hillary. But this changes things. ...Is this how he'd handle things in Washington when things got tough?

    April 18, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  5. Clintonfatigue

    Was it a debate? I thought Obama was under cross-examination from Bill Clinton's former employee Stephanepolous!

    April 18, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  6. Buffalo Bill

    Hillary is right. He's not ready.


    April 18, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  7. Ted van Tol

    If Hillery cold this a debate, she can better
    take office in a clubhouse.
    Talk about the issues. Obama will win on
    all the subjects.

    April 18, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  8. JA Cook

    Hmm, seems I remember her complaining about always getting the first question....and through her sidekick, the former President, they express complaints all the time.

    Obama hasn't complained about the questions being hard, he wanted questions to be a bit more relevant, such as Iraq, gas prices, torture, the environment, the mortgage crisis. Those are harder questions than lapel pin issues.

    I'm ready to hear Hillary provide more substance about what she can do rather than exaggerated hits to tear down her opponent.

    BTW, I'm a very proud American and I don't wear a lapel pin and I can't tell you if my minister loves America more than I do.

    April 18, 2008 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  9. Sam

    It was indeed slanted and at least Obama continued to recognize what was politics and what was not. He is genuine and a real person who does not take advantage of the crap that politics gives us. He was complaining about the fact it took almost an hour to talk about the issues... Clinton and the ABC team took every measure to distract and manipulate the situation when Obama wanted to talk about the real reason he is running for president, the problems facing America. Hillary was in true form using every tactic to distract from issues seeing as people see Obama having a more realistic viewpoint and genuine care for America.

    Clinton was in her element as a negative and decisively manipulative individual who will do ANYTHING to get elected. She spreads her poison around and tries to infect all who she comes across. She lies at every corner and is in no way fit to be a leader of the US. You call Obama elitist, but the Clinton dynasty are the definition of the word. I am sickened by the fact there are still supporters in her campaign. It makes me truly sad to be an American when an individual like this is touted as a solution for our problems. Wake up America... don't let the negative poison of deceit and manipulation steal your god given right to a better life.

    Anyone with any brain can see the debate was lopsided... not only that, Obama is taking on two people with Clinton being even more negative than McCain... She IS destroying the party which just shows how much her venom is corrupting the party. She will do ANYTHING... ANYTHING people.. she aligns herself with lobbyists... even those who are for those things she is against!!! You don't think they have a say in what she does??? Please... take off your blinders and see. How many times has she lied... or should I say "misspoke" about situations, and now she evens says she was just inaccurate with Bosnia. You want someone who served on the board of Wal-Mart and who fought AGAINST unions in the white house. How about someone who fought with her husband for NAFTA just to turn around and lie about it even though there is video proof she pushed it.

    How can you, knowing all of this, still support her. I am scared of her more than I am of bush. Bush is a complete idiot, but at least we know what we have... a child for president. With Hillary, you have no idea what she is capable of. You have no idea what she really means. If Barack Obama was truly off for saying the people are bitter, he just simply chose the wrong words, but imagine the impact if Hillary is plain inaccurate as president. Who knows where our country will be when she is through. Please, for the love of God and country.... come to your senses and finish her off in PA. It is my sincere wish that the country not be destroyed buy a negative, deceitful, and manipulative individual like Clinton....

    And truth be told, I would vote for McCain if Clinton is president. Yes, I differ on issues with McCain, but I am too frightened at what we will get with a Hillary Clinton presidency... I mean truly scared... It will either be Obama as the nominee or I will vote McCain in Nov.

    April 18, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  10. Dawn

    She is strong, quick on her feet, knowledgeable, strong, and she is knows how to get the job done. That is what we need in the White House.

    April 18, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  11. PA Supporter for OBAMA

    Hillary it has nothing to do with whether or not he can handle the pressure. He's already proven that. 45 minutes worth of attack ad questions was a waste of time for both of you. Obama wants the focus to stay on the issues: healthcare, the economy, the war etc. He's actually doing you a favor because the more you attack the more your ratings go down. It's unfortunate you still can see that this is costing you the nomination. It's ok to be a fighter but you have to know how to choose your battles. Obama has mastered that which is why he is leading and will win the nomination! Hopefully McCain will learn from your mistakes when he goes up against Obama.

    April 18, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  12. Robert, Independent

    Hillary: Enough of your lies. Time for you and Bill to go away. Robert

    April 18, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  13. MDR

    That was one of the worst debates ever the moderators sucked. Dont worry though Mrs. Clinton you won't be getting any hard questions you'll be out the race soon.

    April 18, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  14. NickNas

    The issue was not the questions put to Obama but she knows that. The truth is it was the fact that the " Moderators" Spent almost a FULL HOUR attacking Obama. I was ok with it at first because I thought Hillary would get her turn and they would ask HER all of the questions that I wanted to know the answers to. BUT IT NEVER HAPPENED!

    Instead we ALL saw Hillary Jump in at every chance she got to take advantage and take Jabs herself.

    What did Obama do? He kept his cool. Told the truth. Even DEFENDED Hillarys past mistakes!

    Hillary you have no Honor , no ethics and no sense of loyalty and it all showed that night. Why do you think the polls are still on Obamas side?

    Obama will be the PEOPLES next President.

    April 18, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  15. ju PA

    You know what Hillary We are not interested in all those trash. We are interested on how to improve the economic. I think you enjoy been negative. You don't care about American people because you and your husband made more than 109 millions since you guys left office. Americans don't trust you and your husband. Both of you are liars.
    Just drop out of the race please. I will never vote for you. I was one of your support before but after hearing you over and over with your negative talk and ad you turn me off so you lost my vote.
    Shame on you hillary and bill. We need a change we are tied of old pollitice.
    OBAMA 08!!

    April 18, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  16. Theresa

    Obama sucked big time at the debate... I counted 23 studers and um's as he tried to answer 1 question. This type of hesitation is exactly why America needs a leader who can think on their feet. This person is NOT Barack Oboma. Hillary showed her experience and was very calm, collected and informed – unlike Obama.

    Now he is doing exactly what he has accused Hillary of doing....He is being VERY negative.
    He couldn't handle the heated questions at the debate- yet he thinks he is ready for the General election and the presidency????? I don't think so

    I am A FORMER Obama supporter.... The Country and the world needs Hillary to be President.

    April 18, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. Heather

    Once again, let's say it all together now:

    Pot, this is Kettle.

    April 18, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  18. Jan

    Obama and his supporters are whinning like little babies,because
    he was asked questions that we are all waiting to hear and he has been skirting around the answers for weeks now.

    He should just answer the questions and people will leave him alone.

    Obama people don't like it when someone in the media for a change
    challenges him on his lies.

    They point blank asked him and he denied ever saying Rev.
    Wright was his mentor. READ his book and he says that right in his book that Wright was his mentor. LIAR,LIAR

    April 18, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  19. mg

    Being a bed fellow of a white house occupant doesnt exactly mean one has the experience to "appropriately" handle a white house crisis.

    Afterall if you were tired by 11pm and had to mis-speak,God save us when that 3am call comes because you will authorise al quada and hamas to attack US before you realise you even did and then have to excuse it by claiming you were sleep-deprived.

    Between two devils,at least Americans know the better devil as the polls are showing.

    April 18, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  20. Juanita - NC

    It is interesting that Clinton would come out and say another negative comment about Obama when all of the polls show whens she goes negative it hurts her the most.

    I watched the ABC debat and I was disappointed in the lack of issues discussed. It seemed one sided and very negative. It did nto bring out any new information to help voters.

    This process is only hurting the democrats and someone needs to stop this process or they will lose the White House!

    Independent in '08.

    April 18, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  21. mama4obama

    That wasnt a debate and he has every right to complain about being ambushed by your little buddy Hillary. What a dog!

    Every single day I like her less and less. All I see now are the remnants of what might have been.

    Obama 08

    April 18, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |


    April 18, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  23. Daniel

    IN OHIO: "Well," [Clinton] responded, her voice rising, "could I just point out that, in the last several debates, I seem to get the first question all the time? And I don't mind. You know, I'll be happy to field them, but I do find it curious. And if anybody saw 'Saturday Night Live,' you know, maybe we should ask Barack if he's comfortable and needs another pillow."

    AFTER PENNSYLVANIA: "Being asked tough questions in a debate is nothing like the pressures you face inside the White House. In fact, when the going gets tough, you just can’t walk away because we’re going to have some very tough decisions that we have to make. I think we need a president who can take whatever comes your way. You have to stand strong; you have to fight for the American people – because it will not be easy to stand up against the special interests."

    So when Obama complains about a widely criticized "gotcha" debate, he's whiny and can't make the tough decisions the American people expect of him – like whether or not to wear a flag on his lapel.

    But when Clinton complains about having to answer a question on NAFTA or health care first, and then in poor taste offers Obama a pillow in reference to an SNL skit, she's really speaking to and fighting to end the frustrations all Americans have with ... answering the first question, and our disgust with the general scarcity of pillows.


    April 18, 2008 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  24. Debate watcher

    Such drivel. Not a strong argument, Hillary.

    April 18, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  25. Tim from Buffalo

    While I don't think Obama answered these question as completely and as accurately as he should have, the whole point of his candidacy is that this stuff has no place in politics. The refusal of the Clintons to realize this is why he's beating them.

    If Obama is successful it'sthe first real shot at reducing the relevance of all of these Washington insiders, pundits, political radio and TV personalities, swift boat groups etc. who have made their living off of the division of country across fictitious lines. This is why he's attracting so many new voters; this is what many of the media and Washington types can't understand.

    Obama's not perfect by a long shot but he's the best candidate for the country by far because he's the only one running who realizes that the old mud slinging rules are what are weakening this country. Electing the candidate that does the best job beating up their opponent with false or exaggerated accusations and mischaracterizations hasn’t produced results (80% saying US going in the wrong direction); Obama’s the only one who seems to even be trying to point that out much less doing something about it.

    April 18, 2008 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
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