January 31st, 2008
09:52 AM ET
12 years ago

Clinton team pegs Obama for attacks

Image from an Obama mailer sent out this week.

Image from an Obama mailer sent out this week.

(CNN) – In the hours leading up to Thursday night’s Democratic debate, Hillary Clinton’s staffers are ramping up recent accusations that rival Barack Obama’s team is engaged in negative campaigning.

In a conference call with reporters Wednesday afternoon, the Clinton camp pointed to direct mailings distributed by the Obama campaign in Connecticut that they said take a Clinton statement about her Iraq war vote out of context.

The Obama flier said the New York senator had admitted to voting in favor of the Iraq war despite the fact that she had not read an intelligence report that cast doubt on claims that Saddam Hussein’s government possessed weapons of mass destruction.

The Clinton campaign called the mailer misleading, saying only “a handful of senators” had read the report itself – and that most, like Clinton, had instead opted for a briefing by the report’s authors.

On Tuesday, the Clinton campaign highlighted another mailing sent by the Obama campaign. The North Dakota mail piece alleged that Hillary Clinton had once supported the North American Free Trade Agreement, but shifted her position to one of opposition as her presidential campaign began. The flier also claimed that she was too close to “lobbyists and special interests.”

Clinton’s team told reporters that Obama and his campaign had been “misquoting and misrepresenting Hillary's views on NAFTA for weeks,” and said that Obama himself had raised money from lobbyists in the past.

Accusations of negative campaigning have dominated the Democratic presidential campaign in recent weeks, with Obama accusing both Hillary Clinton and her husband, Bill Clinton, of engaging in unfair attacks. The Clinton campaign has made similar charges against the Illinois senator, saying Obama campaign trail statements, mailings and ads have distorted Clinton’s record.

UPDATE: A few hours before the CNN Democratic debate in Los Angeles, the Clinton team highlighted another negative mailer from the Obama campaign, this one attacking the Clinton health care plan. The mail piece said those who failed to purchase health insurance under the Clinton plan would be fined, a suggestion her campaign immediately dismissed as false.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. SAM

    Now we know who's telling the truth , Since the beginning of the campaign Obama and Edwards is bashing Sen.Clinton about lobbyist and special interest issues .Obama deny this for 3 months that he has no lobbyist or special interests working and supporting him. The worst thing is one of them is RESKO which he admit as a friend and supporter for 20 years.Obama help this crook landlord who cut electrical power of helpless tenants and TOOK RESKOS CAMPAIGN MONEY AND PROMISE TO RETURN IT WHEN REPORTED. Now you wanna believe this candidate to stand for little people shame on you and wake up AMERICA dont be fooled by this sweet talker and orator who tried and keep pressing division ,unity and change when he has mediocre experience.Theres nothing to unite its 2008 if you are a good leader and you have a good cause American people will unite and help even if you are black or white republicans asians latinos or any race.Obama should stop igniting division or unity.theres no segregation there is no inequality we are not in 1960 or 1970's ,It's 2008 the important is the economy and how can we pay our houses and national debt. American voters are intelligent and they will choose the right candidate for president who has credility ,trustworthy and honest.

    January 31, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  2. Sal in Phoenix

    Obama is a cry-baby and a two faced back stabber..

    January 31, 2008 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  3. Obama-Edwards 2008!

    Clinton's words/lies taste very bitter in her own mouth! Enjoy, Seconds anyone?

    January 31, 2008 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  4. pam,s.c.

    today the new york times has an interesting investigative article on bill today. hey wolf ask hillary why bill will not disclose the donors to his presidential library. also you organized labor people see abc's investigative report on hillary and wal-mart's stance on organized labor. i think before this is over alot more will be coming out about not only hillary but bill. i think the above mentioned fliers pales in comparison to what the clintons did to barack in s.c.

    January 31, 2008 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  5. K

    I was an undecided Democrat in CT until this week...no longer. The Obama campaign made the decision for me–Hillary '08.
    Within the space of 3 days I received 3 political flyers, 2 from the Obama campaign ("paid for by Obama for America") and one from the Clinton campaign. The one from the Clinton camapaign lists the issues for which Senator Clinton stands and her position on those issues and makes no mention of Senator Obama. The 2 from the Obama campaign are each 3 pages of negative attacks against Senator Clinton, reframing and recharacterizing several of her issues with no independent substantiation for the claims and no explanation of Senator Obama's position on any issue, although the text directs me to go to his website to "read his plans". Rhetoric with no substance and negative attacks from the Obama campaign, clearly he doesn't practice what he preaches.

    January 31, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  6. charlotte

    Barack Obama, where's your mother? She should know you best, why isn't she campaigning for her son. Is she still alive? I never even seen a picture is he ashamed of his white blood. Anybody but me wondering?

    January 31, 2008 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  7. observer

    love these who suggest that HRC's campaign mailed those e-mails to make Obama looks bad. Fantastic! Obama really is the saint of our time, I guess. Someone may say here be aware of the prophets.

    January 31, 2008 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  8. James

    Name two of Bill Clinton's biggest accompishments?

    1) Losing the Democrats control of Congress
    2) Nearly getting himself impeached over one of the most stupid reasons imaginable. Lying? He IS a politician, people.

    You have to admit it, the Clintons have been the most divisive politicians in the modern era, with the shortest "coat-tails". If Hillary is nominated, I think we have to say bye-bye to control of Congress.

    January 31, 2008 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  9. Bryce K.

    One notice how similar the Obama is trying to "swift-boat" Hillary! The Obama people seem to have leaned a lot from the Bush's.

    Note: If Hillary confronts Obama its reported as being racist in the Press and on CNN. The Clintons can't even mention Jesse or Al or Martin people they have supported for years in public office, no if they do they are trying to make Obama the "Black Candidate" the truth is he is Black and i don't think anyone forgot or need the clintions to point it out... this is just unfair and vile, and as a Blackman i don't like it and I am voting for Hillary. Obama is the one using race to attempt a win.

    But if Obama attacks hillary its frontpage news and gleeful reporting by the Press.... This is not fair...

    Wolf need's to ask Obama tonight "Where is the Beef" while clinton has substance, debt and history, Obama gives good speeches, like the ad said "where is the beef"

    Hillary 08'

    January 31, 2008 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  10. Mike

    Independant 08:

    What does Bill signing NAFTA have anything to do with Hillary? Are you saying whatever Bill does Hillary has to agree? Hmmmm

    January 31, 2008 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  11. Leonardo

    Does America need to be reminded that it was the impeachment of Bill Clinton that gave us 8 diasatrous years of George W. Bush?

    January 31, 2008 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  12. An Agnostic Democrat

    tomdavie:

    Attack? Not so much! Truth! Even the MSM is finally questioning Hillary's loooong history with telling the truth. Funny thing is you never see the word truth and the name Clinton in the same sentence. H'mm ...

    January 31, 2008 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  13. Go hilary

    Obama is a loser. He will not win. HILARY 08!

    January 31, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  14. Pam -, Arkport, NY

    Why sending E-mail that states it is from Teddy Kennedy's E-mail address when it is secretly from Obama campaign.

    Teddy Kennedy's staff in Washington DC have E-mailed me in the past and when I went to answer the E-mail it came up not Senator Kennedy, but Obama campaign. This is Cheap, Low, Fake, and Unethical.

    January 31, 2008 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  15. rascaldem

    So Hillary negative attacks Obama for a month straight and now she's whining about Obama attacking her? Poor Hillary. Wahhhh!

    January 31, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  16. Russel, NC

    Talk about negative camaigning. Hillary has a negative tone to her voice.

    January 31, 2008 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  17. brian, nj

    i don't see any problem in mr. obama pointing out some of hillary's issues that differ from his. the clinton's can somehow attack for weeks with little stir, but as soon as obama wants to set clear distinctions between himself and THE clinton's, everyone is down his throat.

    January 31, 2008 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  18. SALLY

    I'm surprised Obama is receiving support from Democrats who are not on his staff and are in their right minds, when his campaign platform is just like Hillary Clinton's and we've never had a woman President. Why vote for another man over Hillary Clinton? I'm especially surprised by the Democratic women voters who are supporting Obama instead of Hillary. Shame on you!

    January 31, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  19. denise

    I find it funny that Hillary cannot touch Obama with negative campaigning ads, remarks or anything without Obama wining about it and the media backing it up and sensationalizing it. It seems Obama gets to say whatever he chooses

    January 31, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  20. jerry

    i dont know how old some of you are....but i was working a lower paying job under bill clinton now i make double but dont have a pot to welllllllllll out of.

    January 31, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  21. Connie

    Hillary and Bill need to vote for Obama...and rest their case!

    January 31, 2008 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  22. What?

    RON is an idiot! I cannot wait until your Obama Cult falls. What are you going to do then Ron? Hillary is going to win and thats the bottom line.

    LEONARDO, Bill Clinton completed his eight years!! George Bust won against Al Gore. It wasn't Bill's impeachment that got George Bush into office. It was the people that voted for him that got him into office. By the way, CNN was the only news station that reported that incorrectly. "AL GORE WINS!!!!". That was so funny!! I will never forget that day. Obama is not going to win, the debate tonight will show that.

    January 31, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  23. bdc, phila, pa

    First of all, negative or not... isn't that stuff true? even if most senators didn't read the iraq report.. she still didn't read it either... she supported NAFTA.. and since her plan does mandate having health care doesn't that imply there would be a penalty? Isn't that what a mandate is? I will admit I haven't read the clinton plan but I have heard her call it a mandate herself...

    If its negative but its the truth its fair game isn't it... just like the rezko thing?

    Hillary is the queen of back-stabbing politics anyway..

    i just really wish more people were objective and read these things critically instead of blindly typing "YOU GO GIRL" and "HILLARY 08" while saying she's doesn't do this stuff... she's actually really hypocritical...

    January 31, 2008 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  24. Frank

    Hillary was great in the debate. Clearly the smartest of the two and with a deep understanding of all of the issues. She will be ready on day one to......Oh sorry. I miss read my instructions from Team Clinton. I should wait until the debate is over before I join others and flood the web sites with a positive spin. Someone please wake me when its time. Yawn.

    January 31, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
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