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. An Agnostic Democrat

    No surprise coming from the union-busting, Blackwater connected Mark Penn. The Carl Rove of Hillary's campaign. Maybe he can convince us that Blackwater didn't slaughter all those innocent Iraqi civilians, too (including all the "children" that Hillary allegedly wants to "protect").

    February 29, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  2. Carol

    This ad is very thought provoking and one voters should consider.

    As far as good judgement, using General Tony McPeak in his latest ad is questionable. McPeak was very eccentric and controversial during his commands in the Pacific and the Joint Chief of Staff. Ask any of your friends who served in the military during the 90's.

    February 29, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  3. Tom

    I agree that it's a valid question. If America is in some sort of crisis (which I'm sure we will be again...) who do you want to answer the phone? John McCain, of course!

    February 29, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  4. Carol

    Yes, unfortunately, Hilary did not bother to read the intelligence on Iraq. She made a decision that made all children unsafe in a needless war.

    February 29, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  5. Veronica in CA

    Clinton will not answer "present" when she picks up the phone.

    February 29, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  6. Kwaku, Boulder Creek, California

    The more desperate the Clinton campaign becomes, the more Hillary scares me frankly. Wake up Americans! Don't let fear-mongers cow you into living your life in constant fear. This is so unAmerican! I want my President to offer hope not fear. Fear clouds our judgement and leads to ill-cinceived policies like Iraq. Reject fear and live life hopefully!

    February 29, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  7. Patricia

    Cnn are you guys not sick of hearing the same things over and over again.Please stop campaigning for Obama.

    February 29, 2008 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
  8. forobama

    Obama is our savior! Hillary is an old woman who will never be in white house again!

    February 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  9. Scott

    I think that we should want to be able to say who we want to answer that phone. I have thought about this a lot, and the answer is simple...not Hillary Clinton. 35 years of taking credit for others actions, an actual record of failed policy and horrific voting record.

    She is quick to turn nasty and is stubborn. Exactly the type of personality and decision making that you want to avoid when the phone rings.

    Thanks for reminding me that you are not the answer Hillary.

    February 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  10. wasforhillary

    It's ture.. this is the kind of AD George Bush would run and I am a Hillary supporter. You other Hillary supporters need to get real... this is surely about scary up votes...

    February 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  11. regina

    Obama stop living in the past, it is getting to be old news, you were against the war we get it!!!, but given that you are not capable to know how to get out. we don't need to real live the Iraq vote just like you claim we don't need to re-live the fights of the 90, give me the fights of the 90's anyday. President Clinton has been the ONLY DEMOCRAT to make it to the White House in 28 years!!!!

    February 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  12. Ore

    The reason why Hillary is awake at 3 am is because she is wondering where Bill is.

    Seriously though. Does she really think this is going to work?

    February 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  13. P_Luvs_B

    "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?"

    Ha! Gotta Love It!

    OBAMA '08!!!!!

    February 29, 2008 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  14. Diane / mo.

    Hillary, Shame on you trying to use our children sleeping at night to get votes. That add just made me really angry and helped me make up my mind to vote for Obama!!! Enough scare tactics. from Clinton
    Surely your team can come up with a better idea instead of trying to scare mothers at home and older woman who care about their grand children.

    This is very Typical of the Clintons when the chips are down . And something they have learned from being good freinds with the Bush's.

    February 29, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  15. Yolanda

    He is scare again? Another fear bomb? LOLLOL

    February 29, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  16. forobama

    I think Obama is very cool, I love ya Obama. Obama is hope change and everything.
    Love ya, Obama.

    February 29, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  17. JUDE CT

    Hillary has to learn to accept defeat, then maybe we the people can someday, give her political life a break.You don't scare anyone Hillary, for you are not God. I pray for you all the time Sen Clinton because you are selling your soul to the devil. This election is going to come down to good over evil. Obama "08!

    February 29, 2008 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  18. jm

    Being in New York on Sept 11 2001, I think Obama is mistaking when he calls this fear, it actually is reality. The terrorist who want to bring harm to The United States have not gone away. I truly believe they will try to hit us again within the first year of the next Presidency. Look at history: first attack on the US was in the first year of Bill Clinton's Presidency and the second was the first year of Bush's Presidency.

    Please people for the sake of the people who are going to be attacked open your eyes and see that this is real.

    February 29, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  19. Carole

    Quite frankly Obama, after September 11th I am scared who will be in office picking up the red phone. So I think that ad is a good one and should make people think long and hard about who would be answering the red phone.

    You condemn Hillary and McCain for their vote, but you do not take Kennedy, Kerry, Daschle to task, but instead accept their endorsements. All of them voted to give Bush the authority. You could not vote at the time, so I guess we just have to take your word for it that you would not have voted as they did.

    You are not superior to Hillary or McCain just because of that vote. I do not have confience in you that you will make the right judgment in a crisis at all since you do not have any experience in dealing with a crisis. Goes right back to who has the most experience and who learns from their mistakes. You cannot learn from your mistakes because you have not been around long enough to make any. Sure hate to have a President in training when our world is so unsafe – give me Hillary any day.

    February 29, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  20. B (in Texas)

    This is not a "scare tactic". What's scary is how alarmingly unprepared Barack Obama is to be president.

    February 29, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  21. L. Menezes

    As always, yet again she is only helping Obama. The answer to that question is so simple. Anybody can answer a phone at 3:00 am. I wonder where on earth did Hillary find such advisors. I think they are better off doing cartoons for Walt Disney rather than organising political campaigns.

    February 29, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  22. Mothers in Ohio For Obama - MOFO

    EXCELLENT response from Mr. Obama and Mr. Plouffe! The reason that Hillary and her crew are playing on people's fears is because they are DESPERATE! Give it up already!

    OBAMA '08

    February 29, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  23. HILLARY ALL THE WAY

    Clinton is just speaking the truth. this is a wake up call.

    February 29, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  24. OBAMA 08

    FOUR more superdelegate for Obama just so far today...How many did Clinton get today...CNN needs to UPDATE the delegate numbers they are posting

    February 29, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  25. Andrew

    John Johnson –"only those who have the gift of discernment can see it"... lol. So who blessed you with this gift?

    February 29, 2008 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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