April 21st, 2008
01:42 PM ET
12 years ago

Clinton campaign criticizes Obama for McCain comments

(CNN) - Top advisers to Hillary Clinton denied Monday that there was any contradiction between the New York senator’s criticism of Barack Obama for saying all three White House hopefuls would make better leaders than President Bush and her comment several weeks ago that she and John McCain, but not Barack Obama, were qualified to serve as commander-in-chief.

“There’s a difference in the context of how voters will look at a candidate in an election and how the person will govern,” said Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson on a conference call with reporters.

Shortly before the March 4 primaries, Clinton told reporters that on the question of who is best-equipped to deal with a crisis, “I think you'll be able to imagine many things Senator McCain will be able to say” in a general election fight. “He’s never been the president, but he will put forth his lifetime of experience. I will put forth my lifetime of experience. Senator Obama will put forth a speech he made in 2002.”

On Monday, Clinton’s advisers would not answer questions about what she thought of the decision by her husband, former President Bill Clinton, to commute the sentences of two members of the controversial group, Weather Underground. Both had been convicted of violent crimes.

Clinton criticized Obama at last Wednesday’s debate for his relationship with Weather Underground founder William Ayers.

They also dialed down expectations for results from tomorrow’s primary, arguing that Clinton does not have to win by a large margin to stay viable as a presidential candidate. They argued that the Obama campaign’s huge outlay in the state – it has spent more than double what Clinton has – did not come simply because his campaign has a significant cash advantage, but because he was hoping for a “knock-out blow.”

“If Sen. Obama can’t win a big swing state with that enormous spending advantage, just what will it take for him to win a large swing state?” said Wolfson.

soundoff (245 Responses)
  1. An United States Sailor

    You know what the funny thing is? The majority of you wouldn't even notice that after all that he has said since the start of this whole process, he NEVER said "John McCain would make a better president than Hillary Clinton". You people have no idea of how dangerous it will be if you were to put John McCain in the Oval Office. For the sake of the future of our military, please put a Democrat in the White House this November. You have no idea of the damage it will cause if it is otherwise.

    A PO2 in the United States Navy

    April 21, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
  2. Just Plain Tired Of It!

    Are you SERIOUS!!!!!! This lady (And I use that word lightly) is the queen of double speak! It's ok for her to say McCain is ready to be Commander in Chief, but it's wrong for Obama to say McCain will be better than Bush?? I'm done – I want this thing OVER. She'll never get my vote.

    April 21, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  3. Joe from Virginia

    The only thing that will make him win is by seeing Hillary drop out of the race... PERIOD (answer to Wolfson's question)

    April 21, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  4. Gorbashov, Long Beach, Ca.

    She is pathetic!

    Typical Washington double speak from a Washington hypocrite!

    This is what we need to change!

    Obama/Nunn in 2008 and beyond!

    Yes we can.......take our great country back!

    Democrats Unite in 2008!

    April 21, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  5. the right way

    This race has been an eye opener. I first could not decide on a canidate but know my decision is clear. Either you love them or hate them. I think that Clinton represents the old way and Obama represents the new and improved way.

    April 21, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  6. REpublican for Hillary

    Obama is the "all that glitters" your mama told you about. CNN has constantly gone after Hillary here are some facts. Hillary can win the big states, has already won Florida and Michigan, let's place those popular and delegate votes in Hillary's column and see how close. I changed my registration to unaffiliated this month just to vote in the Dem primary....I will vote the general election for Hillary or will vote for McCain. Obama is no choice. The Superdelegates need to put an end to this and make Hillary the nominee. Quit blaming Hillary for things Bill did, this is now, not then. Times are very different. And...recently in North Carolina I received a call from the Obama camp...I told them I intended to vote for Hillary...two days later, I received another call, same answer and asked them to remove my name from their calling list...I have since received 4 more calls. His campaign cannot even get my name off their list...yet he wants to be our President...I think not....Superdelegates save us now!

    April 21, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  7. Time for President Obama

    Pennsylvania please vote for Obama tomorrow.
    Yes we can!

    April 21, 2008 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  8. Gary Mitchell

    Shame on you Hillary Clinton. Bill wouldn't have sunk to this level. As a life long Demo I am ashamed to have in our party. You have done more to ensure a McCain win than any of McCain's advisors. The Goldwater Girl strikes again. Please switch parties and create the new dream team because you are a nightmare to Democrat hopes for a new beginning.

    April 21, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  9. Cecilia,Calgary,Canada

    Give it up woman!

    April 21, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  10. Independent, Butler PA

    This is stupid.

    CNN stop posting this crap!!!

    WHO CARES???

    hILLARY – MCCAIN '08

    April 21, 2008 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  11. Hypocrite

    Hillary Clinton is the biggest hypocrite I have ever seen. Now, she said herself that she and John McCain were qualified to be Commander in Chief and not Barack Obama. Now all of a sudden, Obama can't say that McCain would be better than Bush? Heck, I think McCain would be better than Bush but that doesn't mean I plan on voting for McCain...I simply feel it doesn't take much to be better than Bush. Hillary needs to stop it.

    April 21, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  12. SUE, Michigan

    Obama lies-lies about the money trail, about Rev. Wright, about his church, about his questionable friendships...it's a lie, people! A fantasy. Hope is one thing, blind allegiance is something else again.

    April 21, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  13. Brad

    Yes a life time of dodging bullets. Hillary the spy.

    April 21, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  14. honkey white guy from cali

    Well duh!!! how desperate are these people my goodness!

    Of course he had to out spend her she was running a 100% negative campaign or lies and mud slinging! If you believed all the stuff she is selling she has 6 home states!

    It really is sad that she has as many people fooled as she does! I can not believe some people could be so blind but we shall see tomorrow!

    Polls be wrong! I want a double digit win in the right direction.

    Go Obama 08 Yes We Can!

    April 21, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  15. Stu Smith, CA

    That comment by Senator Clinton was the turning point for me. Obama may not be the perfect candidate, but that comment relatively praising the Republican as a way of criticizing a Democrat rival was inexcusable.

    April 21, 2008 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  16. Frosty

    Wolfson is another moron that's running Sen. Clinton's campaign. He'd be better served if he acknoweledged his candidate's weakness to raise money. She had a 20+ point lead not too long ago. If she had to fight for name recognition as Sen. Obama, she'd be nowhere. Clinton spin....tiring!

    April 21, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  17. citizen-Denver

    Obama is the "underdog "and Clinton is the "inevitable "candidate. Now, the Clinton's campaign is changing the tactics. Hey ,we are not fouls....

    April 21, 2008 03:08 pm at 3:08 pm |
  18. MP-Pennsylvania

    Obama said McCain is better than Bush-
    +ve about the Opposing party

    Clinton said McCain is better than Obama –
    -ve about the own party

    WHO IS DIVIDNG THE PEOPLE????????????????????????????

    April 21, 2008 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  19. Baby Girl

    Wolfson you are as low and dirty as Hillary. Why are you sniffing up a controversial debate about Obama. He was correct so say that each candidate would be better than Bush. He didn't say Hillary by herself. She has already stated last week that Obama could be the President. Now why is she or you trying to say he can't fufill those duties.

    You guys like to talk sht and don't have the money to back it up. Barack is not crying because he is fearful of losing only thing he say is may the best candidate win. Hillary on the other hand is whinning her a?? off tring to discourage voters to vote for Obama.

    Hillary needs to be a woman of her word, but come November Hell to the Na I will and my friends will not vote for her. She is a two faced no policticing candidate.

    Obama 08

    April 21, 2008 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  20. Obama Nation

    Sen Obama has the big money elite liberals like Soros backing him financially. They are going to want something in return and it will cost us in the long run...

    Also, he says his health care plan focuses on preventive care. I think that is good, but will the preventive care office visits be a mandate?

    April 21, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  21. Kenneth M

    MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan.
    Hillary Clinton

    April 21, 2008 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  22. NickSanDiegOBama

    Ever notice Hillary keeps saying Obama out"SPENDS" her all the time. The fact seems to be he SPENDS. Hillary JUST RUNS UNPAID TABS! Leaving a wake of unpaid bills in the Million$.


    April 21, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  23. S Mick


    Some of our best presidents did not have the years of experience Hillary claims to have had.

    April 21, 2008 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  24. Jack Walden

    If Sen. Obama can’t win a big swing state with that enormous spending advantage, just what will it take for him to win a large swing state?” said Wolfson"

    Hello Mr. Wolfson,
    If Hillary cant win big with that enormous advantage of Bill Clinton, Chelsy Clinton and Governer Rendell with his huge democractic infrastructure and machinery, shouldn't she quit?. Lets face it. Hillary clinton is a dead cat. No bounces can misrepresent this fact...

    April 21, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  25. Jed in Texas

    She really picked a losing team.Wolfson is also a bum.

    April 21, 2008 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
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