Senator Clinton Says Obama has been "Missing In Action"

(CBS)
From CBS News' Fernando Suarez:

WACO, TEXAS -- Hillary Clinton delivered a national security speech this afternoon where she brought in to question Barack Obama's ability to handle military issues if he's elected president.

"There's a big difference between giving speeches on national security and giving orders as commander-in-chief," Clinton said. "There's a big difference between delivering a speech at an anti-war rally as a state senator and picking up that phone in the White House at 3 a.m. in the morning to deal with an international crisis. Senator Obama talks about these issues but when it came time to act he was missing in action."

Clinton's sharp tone comes days before the March 4 primary here in Texas, a state once seen as a Clinton stronghold but is now a dead heat. For weeks Clinton has been focusing on the experience issue saying when it comes to national security and the war in Iraq, Obama falls short.

"There's a difference between making a speech when you have no responsibility and having to step up and take charge and take responsibility for your actions," Clinton said referring to her vote to authorize President Bush to go to war in Iraq in 2002 and Obama's anti-war speech before he was elected to the U.S. Senate.

Clinton also accused Obama of being all talk and no action.

"He was missing in action when he failed to show up for a vote dealing with Iran. He was missing in action when he failed to hold a single substantive hearing on a committee he chaired that had responsibility for Europe and NATO and NATO's policy in Afghanistan."

Clinton added, "It is one thing to talk about change it is another thing to make change happen."

Although there was a large crowd who turned out to listen to Clinton, the floor in this large convention center was noticeably empty.

When asked why Clinton chose Waco to deliver her national security remarks, a campaign aide close to the campaign tells CBS News, "Texas is a big military state, and national security is a major issue in this area... National security is always an issue in presidential campaigns; Democrats need a candidate who will engage forcefully, not whine about it."

Clinton's comments come on the same day her campaign released a 30-second TV ad advertisement that features children sleeping, while a telephone is ringing. A voice says, "It's 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?"

Obama's campaign just released their version of that ad, using the same pictures of children sleeping. "When that call gets answered, shouldn't the president be the one – the only one – who had judgment and courage to oppose the Iraq war from the start."


  • Fernando Suarez

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