February 29th, 2008
03:01 PM ET
7 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. dede arbuthnot

    Sen. Clinton is bipolar. One day she is an angel, the next day she a devil, then she intellengent, and finally insane. Just imagine what will happen if some one would really call her 3 am in the morning.

    February 29, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  2. Independent

    The first time I watched the ad, I thought it was from McCain. Need I say more?

    February 29, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  3. Pia

    The ad doesn't scare me or my children. However, Hillary herself, does.

    February 29, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. jennifer

    the phone rings, unanswered (I count 6 times) – through the entire ad, until at last Hillary is seen , presumably at 3 am, in full campaign attire and ready, at least, for an attractive photo. Illogical, poorly conceived, decidedly unpersuasive in its attempt to elicit votes through fear.

    February 29, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  5. hg

    If you can't see why the way the campaign is running will reflect the poor leadership she'll show in the white house, then I understand why you're going to vote for her...based on her experience...even though her experience with campaign involvement has spanned over 3 1/2 decades...and she's not showing much of that experience now. ???? I don't get it.

    February 29, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  6. oprah lover

    well, whether this ad is scary or not, that is the problem which HC's campaign should worry about. If they lose their votes because of this, they will face the consequences themselves. I don't see why you got so upset about it, dear B.H. Obama. What are you afraid of?

    February 29, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  7. Erik

    Senator Clinton must have hired Karl Rove under the table.

    February 29, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. Paul

    Well, to answer Hillary's question about who we want answering the phone:

    Barack Obama has little children, and he answers his own phone.

    I'd like to see someone protecting American families who has little kids themselves.

    Obama in 08!

    February 29, 2008 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  9. john

    hey guys, i think right now what america needs is someone who has good communication skills and hillary clearly does not. In a crisis i would expect obama to bring the country together rather than hillary. Look at her now. She does not even know what her position is. She is simply going to break down soon. The clinton campaign simply represents the old politics and i am very sure that obama would get rid of much of the 'dirty' politics that is quite certainly prevalent itn america.

    February 29, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  10. Manuel TX

    Charlotte,

    Ted Kennedy did not vote to give Bush license to use force in Iraq, but Kerry did.

    But I do agree that Obama would let the call go to voice mail and the recording would say "present"..."click". :)

    Nothing scary here, just Hillary competing for these states. The Obama-bots should not be worred...right...they've already won...right?

    February 29, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  11. norb

    Well, whoever is picking up the phone won't be reading a children's book upside down waiting for the photo opp to get over.

    February 29, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  12. Taruna

    all i see is my comment awaiting moderation..cant you CNN guys ever be fair.

    February 29, 2008 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  13. SharonR

    Nothing in the ad attacked Obama we should be asking this kin of question we live in a different world after 9/11 we don't need to far every day but we do need to think about this

    February 29, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  14. La Cruz for Obama

    You know i was always thinking. Why does Hillary act like a republican. Republicans tell us what we want to hear then do nothing for us. But they take our taxes. Did you guys know Hillary was a republican. That is why she voted for the war and uses scare tactics. The scariest thing would be her answering that phone. We would have no idea, which Hillary she is that night.

    February 29, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  15. dee

    Obama it don't take Hillary to tell anyone you don't have a clue to what you are doing, just quoting your book.

    February 29, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  16. Lionel

    Obama campaign: What do you say in the phone when you hear that Al Qaeda is "back in Iraq" ... they never left. Voting for or against the IRAQ WAR is OLD NEWS....MOVE FOWARD and tell us of the FUTURE PLANS not EMPTY RHETORIC.

    February 29, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  17. Julie

    Trying to convince the American public that you're the only hope they have is a scare tactic.

    February 29, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  18. Eric

    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.

    Actually, Obama let the phone ring and didn't answer it. He didn't vote 'yes' or 'no'.

    February 29, 2008 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  19. rick

    between this ad and the attempt to circumvent the texas caucus vote, it has become apparent how desperate hillary had become to win at any cost

    February 29, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  20. Tuesday

    I definitely want the Senator from New York to answer the phone! The ad is not scary and Obama is just looking for excuses and distraction with his vagueness and empty speeches. By the way, I am a 25 year old Black man! I am so shocked at how the media has hyped up this man, who if given the chance to answer the phone he would probably say "PRESENT". If given the chance to answer the phone he would probably put the call on hold and get out a script or manual.

    Senator Clinton all the way! Oh, another writer said something funny and that is that Obama would be too busy running for re-election that he wouldn't have time for the call....

    February 29, 2008 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. Canadian Opinion

    With the Clintons in the White House ,it would be hard to say who would be in the bedroom at 3:00 a.m.

    February 29, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  22. Izabele

    It's not fear, it's a reality. That's what president does, he/she resonds to crisis. And we need to pick a president who will be able to answer that call. I saw the ad, and it made me really think who would I want to asnwer that call, and my answer is simple- Hillary!

    February 29, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  23. James Nelson

    I wish these so-called "independents" and "democrats" (also known as Republican shills in sheep's clothing) who'd rather vote for McCain would just shut up and do so. They and the five other nutballs in America who think he'd do such a great job handling Iraq should be very happy with each other and his new One Hundred Year War.

    February 29, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  24. Claire

    Why is Obama so nervous about this ad? I thought it wasn't any different from any other ads. Hillary wants people to think of the fact that she is more experienced. That's all and that's true. Why is Obama scared of somebody pointing out the obvious?

    Stop being a cry baby Obama.

    February 29, 2008 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  25. KMAN

    So, does Hillary have the RNC writing her television ads now? Apparently fear-mongering is no longer in the exclusive domain of the Republican Party. Hillary, your campaign's use of the tired old fear card only shows how truly dishonest and lame you are! Pathetically deperate on your part ... now wouldn't you and McRelic make for an amusing race ... the two of you trying to see who could out scare the other for votes ... you are both trapped by your old school thinking!

    February 29, 2008 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
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