February 17th, 2008
12:58 PM ET
10 years ago

Kennedy calls Clinton attacks 'fear-mongering'

A new Clinton campaign mailer takes aim at Obama’s health care plan.

A new Clinton campaign mailer takes aim at Obama’s health care plan.

CHICAGO, Illinois (CNN) - Responding to a mailer sent out by Hillary Clinton's campaign attacking Barack Obama's healthcare plan, Obama backer and longtime Massachusetts Sen. Ted Kennedy said the tactics are ones of "distortion, misrepresentation," and "fear-mongering."

"I respect Sen. Clinton and her healthcare plan," Kennedy said, "but I think it does a great disservice to all of us who are interested in universal comprehensive healthcare."

On a conference call with reporters, Kennedy said that as someone who considers healthcare to be the "passion of his life in the Senate," the nation is "much better off being positive."

The ad, being circulated via mailboxes in Wisconsin, relays a theme the Clinton campaign has been pushing since the days of Iowa–that Obama's healthcare plan will leave "15 million people without coverage." The ad also includes a photo of seven people standing in a row underneath text that reads "Barack Obama, which one of these people don't deserve healthcare?"

"I was really shocked and very surprised that Sen. Clinton put that pamphlet out," he continued, adding that both Democratic candidates want universal healthcare but that Obama is the one to get it done since he has the ability to bring the kind of coalition needed to accomplish it.

-CNN Political Producer Chris Welch

soundoff (152 Responses)
  1. King

    The fact that Sen. Clinton stood on the podium with boxing globe, Signifys that as a losser, fighting the last battle the she and her husband will surly turn dirty. But the fact is that it´s too late for them. Americans are not fools and they can not be fooled.

    February 17, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  2. Dee


    In order to get anything through Congress, you need a personality that can draw people to work together.

    Clintons continue to prove their pit bull fight and attack prowess, but no ability to speak straight and work together. It's all about power and limelight for Billary. Their vast political "experience" only proves how thoroughly corrupt they are. Just do a little research into the scandals & corruption that comes with Clinton – ism. They are in L.A. court this week for campaign contribution corruption, for God's sake!

    When will people finally say NO to the Clintons and foul play?

    February 17, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  3. Lee AZ

    Obama's plan is about choice and Hilary's plan is about no choice. I thought America was about freedom and having choices. Hillary has tried this before and it failed but is still attempting the same plan in the same way. It will fail again. This is an attempt to put a spin and divert attention from the real difference with their plans and that is choice. As an American I want not only choices between plans but also a choice not to have one. 15 million may choose not to have a plan. As American's are we saying they shouldn't have this choice?

    February 17, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. curtiswalker

    Fearmongering-is putting it lightly.....It is more like Clinton becoming Karl Rove!


    Now who the heck would want that as the Nations leadership again?

    February 17, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. Peter Kavanagh

    I think we'll see a lot more of this before Ma4 4 but it will only turn off more people . The Latest poll in Texas has him up 2% that's a 7% swing his way . Not bad considering she has been there for a week and he hasn't been .

    It must be painful being a Clinton supporter knowing that the "fairy tale " is about to come to an end .
    Obama 08

    February 17, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  6. Sam

    Kennedy clans are going nuts, I think Teddy should retire from politics, as he is growing old he is going nuts. He has lost my respect since he endorsed Obama, I genuinely believe his brother JFK will be turning and tossing in his grave wondering what has gone wrong with his family. Poor Teddy and poor Obami, one never became the president and other will never become, dreams remain dreams.

    February 17, 2008 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. Ted Christopher

    Which one of the seven doesn't get health care? The answer is they all do. The only people who wouldn't under Obama's plan, are the people who choose not to. Under Baracks plan, no one can be denied coverage for any reason and his plan will save the average family $2500 a year. Sounds like The Clinton Campaign is still doing all the same old tricks they did in the 90's.

    February 17, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. ed

    Go and get retire senator

    February 17, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  9. Susan

    Hillary Clinton is the Mother of all Liars. I don't why anyone is surprised by this. Another example of her slash and burn politics. I don't know how anyone could support her. She knows this attack isn't true. However, truth is not important. What is important is that some people will believe her lies and that translates into votes. Please WI don't let her get away with it!

    Obama 08

    February 17, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  10. kevin from alaska

    This whole health care issue is a sad joke. Everyone should see the film "SiCKO" and then demand more from our candidates.

    February 17, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  11. SheWill

    her mailer is no different than his about her healthcare plan. he was trying to alter peoples minds into thinking hers was more of the same by imitating "harry and louise". that was downright despicable. hers is at least aimed at his "current" plan stating that not all people will be covered, which to me is not universal healthcare. look up the meaning of universal and it doesnt state "not everyone"..

    February 17, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  12. Doug - California

    Obama's and Clinton's plan are the same, except she mandates (requires) everyone to pay for healthcare out of their paycheck and if someone can't affod it, then all other tax payers pay the bill.

    February 17, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  13. Jereme

    Hmmm, thanks Ted, but I don't think that criticizing a healthcare package is exactly the same as fear-mongering. Good try, though.

    February 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  14. SheWill

    kennedy shouldnt be calling the kettle black because if you check his record in the senate, he has co-sponsored more bills with Hillary than most senators there. check it out, if you dare to believe it.

    February 17, 2008 04:27 pm at 4:27 pm |
  15. Wynter, Loudon, NH

    But Kennedy didn't refute that she was right! I wish Ted would just stop spreading rhetoric when the truth is right in front of our eyes. Obama's so-called Healthcare plan is just to "take two asprin and call me back in four years". We need a real plan!

    Go Hillary!

    February 17, 2008 04:28 pm at 4:28 pm |
  16. Manuel Morales TX

    Ted says that Obama is the one to get it (universal healthcare) done since he has the ability to bring the kind of coalition needed to accomplish this.

    And where is the proof that he could get the republicans to vote for universal healthcare?

    Ted himself has spent his entire life working for better healthcare with the republicans, and he has failed. How is a senator with 2 years worth of experience in Washington now suddenly going to make this happen?

    Ted knows that what he’s saying is not true.

    The reality is that universal healthcare will be a huge fight.

    February 17, 2008 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  17. OMG

    Hillary's campaign reminds me of travelgate! people getting fired, financial mismanagement, lies, etc...

    February 17, 2008 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  18. Dorothy

    Who cares what Kennedy thanks, did he complain when Obama sent out mailers with lies pertaining to Hillarys healthcare plan.

    February 17, 2008 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  19. Waiting for Miracles

    Kennedy should shutup and go back to drinking, old prune trying to make his own legacy at the expense of every Americans.

    Not everyone is soldout with Obama, he talks the talk but can't walk the walk.

    February 17, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  20. Cindy

    Typical of the Clinton's. No respect.

    February 17, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  21. Henry

    Always, always the same nasty, stupid and shameless tactics, always the same dirty tricks....

    My God, why don't democrats understand that this woman is bad ? She is ready to put the party in danger, with the same dirty politics of the past, just to win a primary ?

    What kind of woman is she ?
    I'm very shame for the democratic party and for Hillary Clinton, that's the kind of politics she wants to bring to the WH ?

    If you let her get the nomination, too bad for you, democrats you won't say that you weren't aware of all the nasty tricks this woman is capable of...

    February 17, 2008 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  22. Waiting for Miracles

    Obama's healthcare is not Universal, its the same OLD THING we have now.

    Jesus! I can't believe this man calling his self Catholic is as stupid as the rest of his clan. GO BACK TO DRINKING TED AND GROW SOME SPINE!

    February 17, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  23. Chris Blask

    This sort of tone concerns me. I do not understand how a Democratic candidate can take a page from the Karl Rove playbook and expect to get positive results.

    If we want to be frank about the healthcare problem, then I have a question about the Hillary plan regarding self-employed people who cannot have their wages garnished for not buying her healthcare: what happens when I can't pay the fines? Will the government sue me or send collection people (or the police)?

    This kind of thing can put families out of their homes just when enough people are already having enough problems keeping their heads above water...

    February 17, 2008 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  24. everistus etafo

    once again the clintons continue to be so devisive ,and i am so glad that the respected kennedy is exposeing this,how far will they go to win ?my guess is whatever it takes by hook or crook therefore it is sad and so becomeing of them ,planting questions in the crowds,lying,negative attacks,misrepresentation,fear-mongering,distortion ,wow! america beware of the colors that you see. stop!stop! power is not everything! integrity is worth more you!

    February 17, 2008 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  25. trudy mac donald

    H.clinton said in reference to Obama ;talk is and i quote;words are cheap which to me is dispicable.Hillory had eight years in the whitehouse and eight years in the senate to get universal health care and could not deliver. I say give obama a chance .look at where Obama is today ;she has been building her campaign for four years and Obama for less than a year I think he has been amazing .a true under dog My dear departed Mom would say ACTONS speak louder than words OBama has the power of his words plus his character and actions I predict if nominated the US citizens will have healthcare Give obama the chance I do not think you will be disappointed.

    February 17, 2008 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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