Sen. Barack Obama tells Newsweek that in last week's debate, Sen. Hillary Clinton's response on the question of her First Lady papers "was certainly inadequate."
"When she suggested somehow she didn't have control over whether or not these papers were being released -- what we're talking about here is her husband's presidential library. And when she is making a suggestion that part of the experience that she brings to this office is her experience as First Lady, people have a right to ask some tough questions. She can release these papers," he says. When asked whether or not he thought she was being dishonest, he says, "I think she was being disingenuous."
With the Iowa caucuses, a must win, just eight weeks away, Newsweek's Senior Washington Correspondent Howard Fineman and Senior White House Correspondent Richard Wolffe debut "Report from the Front," a new series featuring online and print interviews with the candidates, in the November 12 issue of Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, November 5). They discuss the sense of urgency in Obama's campaign and the amping up of his new willingness to criticize Democratic front-runner Clinton.
Sen. Clinton's answer on driver's licenses for illegal immigrants seemed to be an example of her not being transparent. Obama says in the
interview, "Look, watch the videotape. She said that she was for the [New York Gov. Eliot] Spitzer plan and in the span of two minutes said she
wasn't for the Spitzer plan. That wasn't something that was prompted by me or anybody else but it was characteristic of her answers on Social Security and her answers on the papers from the Clinton years. Look, I actually recognize that this sort of straddling is oftentimes considered politically savvy in Washington ... It's been rewarded ... The perception is that if you don't allow yourself to be pinned down, then you're making yourself a smaller target in the general election. That's the conventional wisdom. I think it is the wrong way to govern. I think it is not what we need right now."
On whether he is in favor of giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants, Obama says, "What I have said is that it is better off that we
know that people who are driving know the rules of the road, are subject to insurance, are making sure that we know we can track them if they get in an accident. A lot of security experts agree with me on this issue. It's not optimal. What we need to do is make sure that we don't have undocumented workers coming into the country in the first place. But here's the more important point: people know where I stand on this and we can have a serious conversation and debate about it."
Obama also discusses the major failures of the Bill Clinton presidency. He tells Newsweek: "Issues like health care. She wants to take credit for having tried but there were a lot of big mistakes in preventing us from getting health care back in 1993 ... What was she involved with? Where did she participate? Where did she not participate in decision making? And that's one of the reasons why these papers that are currently in the presidential library could be helpful in sorting that out."