February 29th, 2008
03:01 PM ET
6 years ago

Obama: Clinton ad an attempt to scare voters

ALT TEXT

Obama said Friday Clinton's ad is an attempt to scare voters. (AP Photo)

(CNN) - Democrat Barack Obama said Friday that rival Hillary Clinton is trying to scare voters with a new television ad that raises the prospect of a foreign crisis over images of children asleep in their beds.

"We've seen these ads before," the Illinois senator said at a campaign event in Houston, Texas. "They're the kind that play on people's fears to scare up votes.

"Well, it won't work this time," he continued. "Because the question is not about picking up the phone. The question is: What kind of judgment will you make when you answer?"

The ad, launched Friday in Texas ahead of that state's crucial March 4 primary, shows children asleep in their beds in the middle of the night while a narrator references a potential national security crisis and asks, "It's 3 a.m. and your children are safely asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?"

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe denounced the ad in a conference call with reporters earlier Friday. And in his comments in Houston, Obama said, "We've had a red phone moment. It was the decision to invade Iraq. And Senator Clinton gave the wrong answer. George Bush gave the wrong answer. John McCain gave the wrong answer."

The Clinton campaign meanwhile vigorously defended the ad, and brushed aside notions it is reminiscent of the famous Lyndon Johnson "Daisy" ad, which portrayed a young girl counting down to a nuclear attack.

"This is a positive ad," Clinton adviser Mark Penn said. "Very soft images, not at all like that ad. Soft images. And it poses a question to people that they have to answer themselves: Who do they want to pick up the phone?"

"That ad basically envisions the apocalypse, and that is not what this ad does," Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson said. "This ad basically says, 'You know what? We are electing a president and it matters who is handling a phone call in a crisis at 3 a.m. as president.' That is a legitimate matter for a presidential campaign."

– CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (372 Responses)
  1. Long Time Democrat

    Obama, I think that we are all astute enough to understand what the implication is regarding the ad. You are right about not the call itself but the judgement and EXPERIENCE of the person picking up the phone.

    Go Hillary!!!

    February 29, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  2. Carl

    The thing that disturbs me the most are the Hillary supporters who are blindly following her through her standard washington politics, through her negative ads, through her misrepresentation of others words, and through her dirty tactics. Yes she has done some good things but I agree with her on one thing, actions do speek louder than words and we should judge both on what kind of campaign they have run. If that was the only "experience" needed, then Obama wins hands down.

    February 29, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. LAC

    "Now, one of Clinton's laws of politics is this. If one candidate is trying to scare you and the other one is try get you to think, if one candidate is appealing to your fears and the other one is appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope."

    Author of the quote? David Axelrod?.... Nope Bill Clinton in 04'

    Strung up by their own petard. Game over.

    February 29, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. Marie

    Obama, You are the one that is scary to me.

    February 29, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. Bill

    If it looks like a (scare tactic) Duck, and it sounds like a (scare tactic) Duck, and it quacks like a (scare tactic) Duck, then SHAME ON YOU Hillary. Let's get to the root of the matter, research the candidates. Any informed voter has but one conclusion.

    YES WE CAN
    Obama 08

    February 29, 2008 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. READ ON

    HIllary, you will try anything, are you so desperate that will go to any extent?
    this shows exactly who you are...........
    Anyone but Clintons

    February 29, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  7. Clay

    I am voting for McCain,but i do like this new Clinton AD.I have 2 small children and i thought it was her best one yet.It made me think "wow" now thats a powerful message that really makes you think.Well done AD.

    February 29, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  8. JJ in NY

    Born and raised in NY.... voted for clinton as senator and regretted it ever since. Billary touts her advantage in economic issues, yet the economy in upstate NY is so bad that Governor Spitzer held the first ever "State of the Upstate" address because the economy tanked during her watch. If the red phone rang at 3am in the morning, Hillary would still be sleeping on the job .

    February 29, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  9. Bill Pa.

    Hey I would like to Hillary answer the phone at 3AM.

    Rather then obama, he would think I was calling himfor his breasfast menu.

    February 29, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. Amy

    I want Barack Obama to answer that phone at 3 am.

    Hillary has driven enough buses into the ditch.

    February 29, 2008 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. John

    It is scare to have someone without foreign experience to be the president of this country.

    February 29, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  12. Steve Spacher

    If the phone rang at 3:00 AM, I would want Hillary to pick it up, she would want to do a pole first before answering the question.

    Steve

    February 29, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  13. Kris in PA

    Jen February 29th, 2008 2:04 pm ET wrote:

    "Obama will hang up the phone because he doesn't have an answer for you and he will go back to sleep."

    Actually, Jen. Obama would likely turn around and call Clinton to see what her answer would be, then call them back and take all the credit for her great response.

    February 29, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  14. mccain for pres!

    do any of you care about this country????

    February 29, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  15. DoveSong

    I think the ad is trying to frighten people about their children -unfortunately, in the ad, the children are white – I think the implication is evident. As a person who do not take the bait, I can still say that I still do not envision her answering the phone. I would prefer someone with GOOD judgement and in control of thier emotions, not an over-emotional, mood swinging person like she portrayed herself this past week. My vote is still being cast for Obama. She made my choice even more clear.

    February 29, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. Chris

    She is obvoiusly pulling out all the stops the last few days. It's a low blow, but it will certainly help prepare him for the R's. It's sad to see people do anything/everything when they know they are going down, but does it really surprise anyone that the Clinton machine is doing this? Just goes to show you what can happen when you think you are entitled to something and don't continue to work for it.

    February 29, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  17. Nate in Mpls

    Jay with the quote of the day!

    "Now, one of Clinton's laws of politics is this. If one candidate is trying to scare you and the other one is try get you to think, if one candidate is appealing to your fears and the other one is appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope."
    -Bill Clinton, 2004

    Well done!

    February 29, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  18. joseph

    It's the difference between answering the phone, "Who's in charge in that country again?" or "Oh, it's Mr. ABC causing trouble again. I've met him a few years ago. I can deal with it."

    By the way, if Barack loses Texas and Ohio, should the media ask him to drop out of the race? After all, he would have lost every single big State in the primaries, except for his own, and every Democrat knows that the general election cannot be won without winning both Ohio and Florida (he would have lost both). Maybe the Super Delegates do have a legitimate role.

    February 29, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. AMoore

    If a crisis does happen, I can imagine President Obama will have a small nervous breakdown first (about 1~2 hours), then spend 5 hours with his buddy Deval Patrick composing a talk full of words "change" and "hope", after that he will personally diliver the talk on national TV, while stammering everytime there is a forgein name on the teleprompter.

    February 29, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  20. Michigan uncommitted voter

    If Senator Clinton is the one answering the phone it’s because she refused, rejected and denounced any opportunity to talk with world leads until she got the crisis call

    February 29, 2008 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. Kevin

    Laura: "I am a democrat and if Hillary is not the democratic nominee, I will vote for McCain."

    Why are you a democrat? Because John McCain does not stand on any of the platforms of the Democratic party. Obama stands on all of them, just as Clinton does.

    I'll be voting for the democratic nominee. I dislike this ad Clinton has put out and I've been really disappointed by the mishandling of her campaign against Obama. I'm very concerned that she has established herself as the candidate of "experience." How do you think this will play against McCain, who clearly has more experience than either Obama or Clinton. What will you and others say then? Or will Clinton quickly become the "change" candidate and borrow lines from Obama and Bill's speeches on the subject?

    In the end though, unless either one of the two democrats does something completely asinine, I'll be voting for the democrat. That's a vote for change, for security, for vision, for hope.

    February 29, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  22. Karen

    Do you think he'll be 'present' for the call?

    February 29, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  23. lois

    No, not trying to scare people. It s a reality check.

    February 29, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  24. Bill Pa.

    Case, obama is not the real deal, what is real deal anyway?

    February 29, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  25. Matt

    I like the ad.

    We don't need another "nice guy" president that is missing the experience.

    See Jimmy Carter.

    February 29, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
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