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Obama Calls Clinton a Liar

Update: Ezra Klein takes some potshots at Clinton as well.

Bill, that is.

From ABC News:

"You know the former president, who I think all of us have a lot of regard for, has taken his advocacy on behalf of his wife to a level that I think is pretty troubling," Obama said during his first morning television interview since coming in second in Nevada. "He continues to make statements that are not supported by the facts -- whether it's about my record of opposition to the war in Iraq or our approach to organizing in Las Vegas.

"This has become a habit, and one of the things that we're going to have to do is to directly confront Bill Clinton when he's making statements that are not factually accurate," Obama added.

[...]

I do think that there should be some standards of honesty in any political discourse. That's part of the change I want to bring about. If you have something that directly contradicts the facts and it's coming from a former president I think that's a problem, because people presume that a former president is going to have more credibility and i think there are certain responsibilities that are carried with that.

[...]

President Clinton went in front of a large ground said that I claimed only Republicans had any good ideas since 1980. And then he added, 'I'm not making this up.". He was making it up. And completely micharacterizing my statement.

Here's what Obama really said about Reagan:

"And, you know, the Republican approach, I think, has played itself out. I think it's fair to say the Republicans were the party of ideas for a pretty long chunk of time there over the last 10, 15 years, in the sense that they were challenging conventional wisdom. Now, you've heard it all before. You look at the economic policies when they're being debated among the presidential candidates and it's all tax cuts. Well, you know, we've done that, we tried it."

You decide.

Either way the new strategy of going after Bill Clinton is one that should pay some dividends for Obama. This really solves the problem that Obama has struggled with for some time: how to attack Hillary without appearing sexist or rude. He obviously will have no such consideration when it comes to attacking Bill Clinton. In addition, he can burnish his toughness credentials by standing toe-to-toe with a former president answering the charge from critics who have questioned whether he is tough enough for the job.

Fighting it out with Bill Clinton also has the extra advantage for Obama in that it sidelines Hillary. By focusing the media coverage on Bill Clinton, Obama helps to marginalize Hillary and raise questions in the voter's mind about which Clinton will really be calling the shots if Hillary is elected. This is surely a campaign tactic that the Republicans will use with vigor against Hillary should she get the nomination. The Clintons will have some tough choices to make about whether having Bill serve as the campaign's attack dog helps more than it hurts.

Obama needed to do something with Super Tuesday coming up or he's going to get blown off the map. The Mr. Nice Guy approach got him this far but it won't get him across the finish line against a pair of rough-and-tumble politicians like Bill and Hillary.



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Rating: 3/5 (6 votes cast)


Comments (7)

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

This is pretty typical stuff for Obama -- talking about fighting back. Talk, talk talk...

If he is going to confront Bill--disbarred for perjury--Clinton every time Bill lies, Obama is going to be the busiest man in America.

Steve Crickmore:

Obama should go after Hillary hard too on her smears aginst Obama on the Iraq War.. 'Meet the Press' January 13, Hillary:

And in Senator Obama's recent book, he clearly says he thought that Saddam Hussein had chemical and biological weapons, and that he still coveted nuclear weapons. His judgment was that, at the time in 2002, we didn't need to make any efforts. My belief was we did need to pin Saddam down, put inspectors in.
Obama's actual witten words on the page she and her spokesman Wolfson referred to..
I believed that [Saddam] had repeatedly flouted UN resolutions and weapons inspectors and that such behavior had to have consequences. That Saddam butchered his own people was undisputed; I had no doubt that the world, and the Iraqi people, would be better off without him. What I sensed, though, was that the threat Saddam posed was not imminent, the Administration's rationales for war were flimsy and ideologically driven, and the war in Afghanistan was far from complete. And I was certain that by choosing precipitous, unilateral military action over the hard slog of diplomacy, coercive inspections, and smart sanctions, America was missing an opportunity to build a broad base of support for its policies.

And let's compare Hillary's need 'to pin down' Saddam with her consistent hawkish 5 year pro war sentiments and statements even long, after the war had become a disaster for America and Iraq. An ardent and early Ahmad Chalabi supporter, she was one of the last of Democratic politicians, maybe event the last, to recognize what was going down in Iraq.

During a trip to Iraq in February 2005, that's 3 months after Bush defeated Kerry, she insisted that the U.S. occupation was "functioning quite well,"

Enough said, she plainly canot not see what is happening in front of her face, until she has consulted pollsters or focus groups and she feels she has no choice but to rewrite her own history . That's the leader America will vote for at least the Democrat nomination because these Democrats, particularly women over 45 and Latinos are still in awe of all things Clinton and she would have the additional cachet of being the first woman President. Frankly, I would prefer Chelsea Clinton, if that is what it has come down to.

Lee Ward:

Clinton has responded to Obama's call out with a continuation of the same claims that Obama is whining about -- here - Factcheck: President Clinton on Sen.Obama's record.

So anytime Barack wants to refute the claims he can -- but instead we have Barack "talking about" what he's going to do -- instead of just doing it.

Talk, talk, talk... Barack always 'talks' about what he's 'going to do' - saying now that he's 'going to' refute Clinton's claims.

Well? What is he waiting for? That page linked from the Clinton web site lists each of the Clinton claims that Obama is whining about -- where are Obama's answers? For several day Barack's been saying that he's going to set the record straight.

Why hasn't he? Perhaps he can't refute the claims?

Here's Barack 11 days ago saying he's going to fight back against Bill Clinton - link.... talk, talk talk... Obama is a man of no action, just talk.

Also, I'm reading a lot about Barack's praise of Reagan -- which Barack did in front of a conservative newspaper editorial board -- and how that has cost Barack big time points among progressives. At the same time I'm reading that the all-important black vote in South Carolina is gravitating towards Obama.

With progressives leaving Barack at the same time black voters are leaving Clinton it'll be interesting to see where things go from here.

Steve Crickmore:

Lee...Maybe, Obama should just have a debate with Bill and settle this...You are right I had the same feeling when Kerry was swiftboated, he refused to challenge his critics.. You have warned that this was to be the new tenor of the debate..Obama has got to define the differences now between him and Hillary and attack some of her high negatives.. There is certainly enough material.

I was a little surprised to find out that Obama's main speech writer, Jon Favreau is only 26 years old. That means that he was 11 to 19 years old when the Clintons were in office. No wonder Obama never brings up that period in his speeches. With a 100 milion in the war chest, Obama needs some more firepower at his fingertips now that the campaign seems on, in earnest.

"Fighting it out with Bill Clinton also has the extra advantage for Obama in that it sidelines Hillary."

Excellent point.

Every time Hillary appears with her husband she marginalizes her stature in the campaign. The recent Bill episodes are a disaster for Hillary.

Obviously I care for neither of them, but if I were a Clinton advisor with any influence I would recommend muzzling Bill. Maybe that was the advice Teddy had for him.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

Steve - "With a 100 milion in the war chest, Obama needs some more firepower at his fingertips now that the campaign seems on, in earnest."

I'll do the job for $99.5 million.

HughS - "Obviously I care for neither of them, but if I were a Clinton advisor with any influence I would recommend muzzling Bill."

As Hillary stood on the stage of tonight's CNN debate Bill was a a big rally in Nashville.

The Clinton's can be in two places at once. You'll be seeing a lot more of it.


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Publisher: Kevin Aylward

Editors: Lee Ward, Larkin, Paul S Hooson, and Steve Crickmore

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