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. John Harrington

    Shut up u old hag...
    dont u think it was distroting when u threw a girl in a car down a cliff

    February 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  2. Karen

    sounds like kennedy is getting a tad desperate here. How are Clinton's mailers any different from the ones Obama's side distributed? Also going by the Obama logic, Kennedy and Kerry need to switch their support to Clinton to reflect the wishes of their constitutents. But they won't do so. ha ha....as usual the double standard.

    February 17, 2008 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  3. LAURA

    Hillary's health plan failed when she was in the White House. She did not do it right then. She is ready on the first day??? Her campaign was almost doomed. She has been changing her theme during the whole campaign. She even copied Obama's initial theme of "Change."

    We want to know why the Clintons are not disclosing their Tax Returns. What are they hiding again>

    We are delighted that Obama is ignoring Bill's legacy: "I DID NOT HAVE SEX WITH THE WOMAN...." Your words are not to be trusted.

    February 17, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  4. Juliet


    This is an argument based on omission and misrepresentation of facts. Obama's plan "leaves out" 15 million people, because Hillary's plan is MANDATORY. Under Obama's plan, the estimated 15 million would be those who have ELECTED NOT to have insurance. Under Hillary's plan, all will be "covered"–even those who CAN NOT AFFORD IT. She has said that she would GARNISH THE WAGES of those who did not sign on for whatever reason.

    Add to that that HRC's plan would cost roughly twice as much as Obama's.

    February 17, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  5. Winifred 4 Obama

    Thank you Senator Kennedy, it is the same Hillary Clinton's divisiveness that killed her healthcare during Bill Clinton's first term. If she is such a tough fighter and solutions person,how come she quit after loosing the healthcare battle during her husband's tenure? This proves that she will QUIT again if her healthcare fails as President. She is a QUITTER...

    February 17, 2008 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  6. indigogrrl

    really –was he also shocked and surprised about Obama's hit piece on Hillary's health plan that was circulated weeks ago?

    February 17, 2008 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  7. Citizen Kaye

    It's funny. The Clinton camp says "words don't matter" and yet, when it comes to Obama, they seem to think that just saying something makes it true. Luckily, the American people have proved themselves smarter than the Clintons give them credit for.

    The American voters are smart and well-informed and realize that forcing people to buy health insurance that they can't afford is not the answer. Obama's plan aims to cut costs and make health insurance affordable, making it mandatory only in the case of children. Independent experts who have looked at the plans (unlike Krugman, who is a huge Clinton supporter) have repeatedly endorsed Obama's plan over that of Mrs. Clinton.

    In any event, the Obama and Clinton plans are not hugely different. So the real question becomes: who can actually get it done? NOT Clinton – who has supposedly been trying since the early 1990s and yet has failed miserably. Obama is the one who can forge a working majority by appealing to Dems, Independents and Republicans alike – by evoking our better angels, not demonizing those who don't agree with him on every issue and nuance.

    February 17, 2008 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  8. arica

    Typical Clinton B/S as usual. I guess this is what happens when you're willing to do anything to get the nomination!!!

    February 17, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  9. Vic

    Well, I'll bet Ted Kennedy WAS shocked and surprised that Hillary would actually criticize Mr. Wonderful. Sorry, Teddy, you're her superdelegate, and you and Kerry are bound to vote for her! Or, will your handpicked guy convince you that you two don't have to do that. Anyway, perhaps in your next "position" paper, you and Kerry can advise the great one on how to "lose" a presidential campaign. I noticed HE hasn't signed you up yet!

    February 17, 2008 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  10. E

    Obama's Health Care Plan Would Cover "More People" Than Hillary's.

    "I've compared the two plans in detail. Both of them are big advances over what we have now. But in my view Obama's would insure more people, not fewer, than HRC's. That's because Obama's puts more money up front and contains sufficient subsidies to insure everyone who's likely to need help – including all children and young adults up to 25 years old…In short: They're both advances, but O's is the better of the two. HRC has no grounds for alleging that O's would leave out 15 million people." – Robert Reich, 12/3/07

    February 17, 2008 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  11. Jason

    Obama has the ability to get it done? Is that overrated Sen. Kennedy in his right mind? I think he's been in the senate way too long and MA should vote for another democrat to take his place - how's that for a change? Preaching, as if you're in a church, does not get things done. Plan and action does. Something, as shown so far, only his advisors can do not him. Who needs a puppet president?

    Of course Ted Kennedy and John Kerry will support him, because they want a job in his administration - y.

    February 17, 2008 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  12. Frustrated Democrat

    Ted Kennedy should retire if he wants change. He is a grouche old man. The only reason he endorsed Obama is because the rest of the Democrats can't stand him.

    February 17, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  13. marytnurse

    Sorry, Clintons. You've tried this (or something similar) in EVERY STATE. The truth is, Barack's plan does NOT FORBID ANYONE from getting health care. He wants to lower the costs, so everyone can AFFORD IT!!!

    I'm a nurse, and a proud member of SEIU. Do you really think, with ONE MILLION HEALTH CARE WORKERS, we'd endorse a candidate whose health care policy didn't stand a chance?

    Barack is, amongh his other skills, an acknowledged negotiator and is exceptionally good at motivating people; let's put him to work as our president, so that he can do just that in the congress. We desperately need a SOLUTION to the health care crisis, and Barack has it. No mandate means no wage garnishment. AFSCME themselves a year ago said a mandate went against what they believed in.

    February 17, 2008 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  14. Deann

    The campaign not only get involve Hillary and Obama, it seem to me the Kennedy has more excitements than Obama, it tell me that his special interest has closed his eyes, because for such premature Senator, No long backgrounds and history can let American being review and trust, but WHY KENNEDY HAS SO INTERESTING FOR???

    February 17, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  15. Lovely

    Barack must really promise Ted the vice president seat. Friend's like "Ted" nobody needs enemies.

    February 17, 2008 04:53 pm at 4:53 pm |
  16. Suzanne

    Mandating health insurance does NOT ensure that every single person will be insured either. If the penalty for being uninsured is less than the cost of the premiums, many people will still not have health insurance. Just look at MA. Many people can't afford the premiums and are paying penalties instead. These people are still witout health coverage. This hasn't solved the problem for them. A MANDATE IS NOT A SOLUTION!!!!!!!

    February 17, 2008 04:54 pm at 4:54 pm |
  17. Carolyn, Buffalo NY

    Clintob's main campaign theme has been the "inexperience" and "empty promises" of Senator Obama, maintaining that he give speeches, and she gives solutions.

    I am from upstate NY, where we have been decimated by plant closings and job losses. During her first Senate run, Hillary Clinton promised to bring 200,000 new jobs to Western NY. She has failed to do so, and, in a recent Buffalo News article, "conceded that she 'might have been a little exuberant' when she predicted she could bring 200,000 jobs to Western New York as a senator" Is this not a prime example of meaningless promises? While the mainstream media is being implored to scrutinize Obama more closely, you may also want to give Clinton's senate record a more public airing...

    February 17, 2008 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  18. indigogrrl

    eally –was he also shocked and surprised about Obama's nasty pamphlet on Hillary's health plan that was circulated weeks ago?

    February 17, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  19. sandra

    Senator Kennedy you are a disservice to the america people when you are trying to stop Vanity Fair from putting out an article about your brother JFK love child. Why not just do a DNA and prove the man is wrong.

    February 17, 2008 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  20. wooha3

    Hillary Clinton lies to Americans every time she releases a false attack against Obama's health care plan or anything else.. This is much worse than a distortion or a misinterpretation. Kennedy is being polite by calling it fear mongering. Our illustrious former First Lady is lying to Americans to get their votes!

    How about a mailer that shows a line of people miles long to respresent the Americans who will be fined, or whose wages will be garnished when they can't afford her MANDATORY heatlh care plan. A mailer that shows an image of a blank check to indicate the possible COST to taxpayers to enforce her MANDATE under her health care plan.

    How about a presidential candidate that will lead with integrity and honor.

    February 17, 2008 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  21. linda bennington nolan

    Having been in healthcare field for 37+ years, Hillary is so out of touch with reality, it's sad. Barack Obama 'gets it' and understands people don't have health coverage because they can't afford it due to increasing premiums and deductibles; garnishing wages, penalizing people for not buying it is just wrong.

    February 17, 2008 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  22. Las mascaras de la nada

    Hey Teddy, have another drink!

    February 17, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  23. Tom,des moines

    I think Ted Kennedy is a Sore Loser and a whiner.I thought he was done when his home town lost big to Hillary. Go Hillary 08!

    February 17, 2008 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  24. Margaret

    I quite agree with the comments made by Senator Ted Kennedy about Hillary Clinton. Its now clear that she is desperate and using any means to damage Obama. The truth of the matter is that she underestimated Obama and this has made her confused. She realizes that Obama is a force to reckon with and is now very bitter.

    February 17, 2008 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  25. erica

    If Ted Kennedy is so concerned with universal healthcare, why doesn't he support the candidate that proposes it?

    He is clearly uneducated on this matter. Please refer him to the factcheck. org website which compares both plans and has industry professionals saying that Obama's plan is in no way universal.

    Please someone stop Ted from continuing to talk so ignorantly!

    February 17, 2008 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
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