December 3rd, 2007
08:58 AM ET
14 years ago

Obama denies new Clinton attack, calls her 'stressed' by polls

Obama responds to accusations about his political action committee Hopefund.

DES MOINES, Iowa (CNN) – Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama denied allegations from rival Hillary Clinton's campaign Sunday that his political action committee Hopefund was used to bribe public officials in early voting states.

"Everything that we've done is in exact accordance with the law," said the Illinois senator at a press conference. "Unless they can show that it hasn't been, I suggest they focus on trying to get their supporters to caucus in Iowa."

Earlier in the day, Clinton's communications director Howard Wolfson called Obama's PAC a 'slush fund.' Obama fired back, adding that some of Hopefund's contributions even went to supporters of Clinton's campaign.

"I think that folks from some of the other campaigns are reading the polls and starting to get stressed and issuing a whole range of outlandish accusations," he said.

A Des Moines Register poll released this weekend indicates that Obama holds a slight lead in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. Obama leads the pack with 28 percent, while Clinton is close behind at 25 percent - within the poll's margin of error.

Obama also attributed some of Hopefund's actions to the fact that he had not been planning to run for president as long as "some of the other candidates have been planning for it."

"By the time we announced that I was running, there was still money left over, which we used to contribute to candidates all across the country to help build a Democratic majority," he said.

The Clinton campaign took issue with that as well.

In a press release, Clinton spokesman Phil Singer said Obama is "re-writing history," adding that his comments are "fundamentally at odds with what his teachers, family, classmates and staff have said about his plans to run for President."

"Sen. Obama's campaign rhetoric is getting in the way of his reality."

Shortly after that, another response came from team Obama.

"I'm sure tomorrow they'll attack him for being a flip-flopper because he told his second grade teacher he wanted to be an astronaut," said Obama spokesman Bill Burton.

Both candidates were in Des Moines Sunday morning following Saturday night's Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum.

The Des Moines Register poll also indicated that fellow Democratic opponent John Edwards had the support of 23 percent of the 500 likely Democratic caucus-goers surveyed. The poll was conducted November 25-28 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percent.

-CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

soundoff (157 Responses)
  1. MikeNJD, NYC

    The Clinton campaign does realize how ridiculous it sounds, right? I mean they have to know that in this day and age, with the ability to get down to the truth of any story via the Internet in mere minutes, the old style of mudslinging politics just doesn't work. It makes the campaign sound desperate, especially to those in the early states. The problem with Sen. Clinton's campaign is that they are still trying to run the type of campaign Bill Clinton ran in 1992. The Internets weren't even invented by Al Gore yet! If she wants to stop seeing her numbers go down, she needs to stop trying to slam Obama every day with a new "story."

    December 2, 2007 05:13 pm at 5:13 pm |
  2. CAROLE ALLENDALE NEW JERSEY

    let me be the first to comment and say how proud i am of obama for running an honest, caring campaingn.. now we are all seeing this man for the president we truly need.. we do not need lies, scandals. tricks and to have a redux of the 90's .. hopefully we can have a untiter not a divider as president.

    December 2, 2007 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  3. Vic, Sugar Land, Texas

    hmmmmm...second grade, teacher, astronaut..that must have been about the time he was getting his foreign affairs experience.

    That's just to show how silly all this name calling, tit for tat remarks, etc. Hillary stressed due to numbers being close. Perhaps Senator Obama himself is stressed for the same reason. I sure wish he'd stay serious and discuss the issues. Seems like the reason he can't is --could it be...inexperience? We'd better all keep it together or the democratic party just might get dust in its eyes from fallout of being out-raced by that other "stressed" group.

    December 2, 2007 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  4. Tevin, Raleigh, NC

    Dang! Hillary is getting ridiculous! She's rattled! I love it! Who would vote for someone who didn't even read the intelligence report before giving Mr. Bush the authority to occupy Iraq?
    She's being exposed and I'm loving it!

    December 2, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. Tired of Corruption LV

    Well it certainly didn't take long for the Clintons to begin their unethical behavior. When a candidate has nothing to offer in the way of honesty, integrity, leadership, and judgement; they fall back on "politics as usual" and start slinging whatever trash they can. Hoping that someone out their is dumb enough to buy it.

    The intelligent public will see this for what it is – and that is desparation on the part of Clinton.

    We've had 8 years of Bush after 8 years of a Clinton and this is the type of behavior that we need to stop. The Rove / Clinton style of politics is not what this country needs.

    Obama 08

    December 2, 2007 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  6. Adam, Virginia Beach, VA

    This is rediculous... stop stressing yourself vice president Hillary Clinton.

    December 2, 2007 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  7. Tony, Mount Vernon, NY

    If the Clinton campaign can prove Obama is using funds to buy support it will be very damaging to his campaign. After all, he's the guy who says he hates special interest groups. It would be ironic if he himself is becoming a special interest group.

    However, rhetoric is just rhetoric. Clinton needs to PROVE her case or move on because insults will not translate into votes for anyone in this change election.

    December 2, 2007 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  8. Nameless,Nashua,Nh

    Looks like he hasn't stopped to pill on her. Mmmmmmmh Hillary, stop getting scared he is climbing the polls and you are dropping!

    December 2, 2007 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  9. Mark, TX

    Clinton campaign is not stressed by polls. They have to bring to surface the demagogy of Obama's rhetoric. His empty talk was allowed for too long and voters are drawn by his populist ideas that conflict the American values. Left-wing politics cannot be the direction in which America goes.

    December 2, 2007 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  10. Joe,charleston,S.C

    Ofcourse she is stressed with the polls. I can not stand Clinton. She is a leir and another Bush Crony.
    Who cares about Clinton/Bush with their controlled media?

    December 2, 2007 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  11. Mark, san francisco, ca

    Here come the daily baseless attacks from Hillary.

    Doesn't she know voters don't want that??

    December 2, 2007 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  12. Henry,Iowa

    Keep the Faith Barack, we have your back. Hillary is just a cheap chip and should not worry about her cheap politics!

    December 2, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  13. Walt, Belton, TX

    Must be true! Hillary and slick Willie probably know more about slush funds, legal and illegal, than any other couple in the U.S.

    Probably one reason Vince Foster isn't around any more.........

    December 2, 2007 06:02 pm at 6:02 pm |
  14. George, ottawa, OH

    Obama is buying votes in Iowa, New Hampshires and South Carolina with his PAC funds.

    When Obama launched his presidential campaign in January, he stopped raising money for his Hopefund, the political action committee he used to raise millions for fellow Democrats in previous campaigns. But in recent months, Obama has handed out more than $180,000 from the nearly dormant PAC to local Democratic groups and candidates in the key early-voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, campaign reports show.

    Some of the recipients of Hopefund's largess are state and local politicians who have recently endorsed Obama's presidential bid. Obama's PAC reported giving a $1,000 contribution, for instance, to New Hampshire state Sen. Jacalyn Cilley on July 25, six days before she announced she was endorsing Obama for president. Likewise, state Rep. J. Todd Rutherford, a lawmaker from South Carolina, received a $1,000 contribution from Obama's PAC on Sept. 24, a few months after he endorsed Obama.

    There is not doblt that the PAC donations were aimed at increasing support for Obama's presidential race. Some activities involving the PAC could be declared in-kind contributions to the presidential campaign that would exceed current donation limits. I can't believe the Obama people can keep a straight face and claim these aren't part of the presidential race.

    December 2, 2007 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  15. Dom Einhorn

    The hostilities have officially started. What a dirty business. They claim to be world citizens, socially responsible, etc. Yet the throw mud in each other's faces like the worst enemies. What a bunch of hypocrites!

    Registered Charities

    December 2, 2007 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  16. Dan, TX

    HAHAHA. Clinton can't be serious. Obama's fund donates to democrats all over the country. THIS FUND DONATED TO CLINTON when she ran for the Senate!

    Clinton paid off $400,000 to Vilsack for his endorsement. This isn't about Obama accepting lobbyist money for his presidential campaign. Clinton is actually complaining that Obama is helping democrats all over the country to get elected!

    This is really poor judgment on her part. Everyone is laughing at her.

    December 2, 2007 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  17. John Adkisson, Sacramento, California

    Senator Clinton has exposed herself as being utterly duplicitous by turning on a dime on the subject of "mudslinging."

    When, in Las Vegas, she was criticized by Mr. Edwards, and (very mildly) criticized by Senator Obama - she protested that such criticism would help Republicans and was "right out their playbook."

    Since that time her polling numbers have slipped a bit and she has launched one attack after another against Senator Obama. Literally, one per day. This barrage isn't even in the realm of "tit for tat" since she hasn't criticized Senator Edwards (who was the most aggressive).

    It's true that "politics ain't beanbag" - but it's also true that "this ain't gonna work." Just as is the case with the rest of her contrived rhetoric, her empty attacks against Senator Obama are slimy and merely confirm her reputation for being calculated and without a politically moral center.

    Sadly, she has become an appalling caricature of herself.

    December 2, 2007 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  18. tom, ny, ny

    Obama's response as so childish

    December 2, 2007 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  19. Steve Johnson, New York

    Here is Obama`s entire response:

    “In a press avail in Iowa today, Obama responded, “I think that folks from some of the other campaigns are reading the polls and starting to get stressed and issuing a whole range of outlandish accusations. Everything that we have done is in exact accordance with the law and unless they can show that it hasn’t been. I suggest that they focus on trying to get their supporters to caucus in Iowa.” Obama also said this about the PAC: “I had not been planning to run for president… So by the time we announced that I was running, there was still money left over, which we used to contribute to candidates all across the country to help build a Democratic majority. That was the purpose of it… That is the purpose of all these leadership funds. That is the reason Clinton’s leadership fund was set up — the same reason why multiple candidates have these leadership funds. We just simply didn’t have the ability to get all that money out. And I would point out that we have made contributions to many people who are endorsing Sen. Clinton instead of me. Again, I think what people need to focus on is that all these accusations that are starting to come out seem to correspond to shifts in political fortune.”

    Maybe Hillary forgot that she will not attack other Democrats:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNoc0tKeXOQ

    December 2, 2007 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  20. Chris, Middletown, CT

    Could it be true...are the Democrats starting to think..and they now see through HRC...wow..if this is true...I'm impressed....actual thinking...

    December 2, 2007 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  21. Captain-Sky

    Does Anyone Notice When Hilliary Makes A Statement At Odds With Mr Obama He Makes Sure He Retaliates,But When Romney,Mcain,Guilliana,Richardson,Dodd,Kucinnich,Fred Thompson,He's Like A Kid Who Forgot How Easily He It Were To Attack Hilliary,A Woman,But He And His Campaign Croonies,Won't Respond To Their Attacks He Shies Away,I Wonder Do He Talk To Michele The Same Way He Attacks Senator Clinton,I Know She Can Handle Anything He Throws At Her,But I Thought It Odd That He Would Hastily Attack A Woman,But Not A Man,What's Wrong Are You Intimidated By Kick Back From The Men Candidates.Mr Obama You Are The Worst Thing That Could Happen to This Country,But It Looks Like Those Arrogant Iowans,& New Hampshire Are Intent On Putting A Arrogant LIAR In The White House,One Last Thing The Republicans Don't Want Hilliary In The White House,What Makes You Think They Would Want You In The White House Over Hilliary,At Least She Is Of Caucassian Persuasion,And You Think Hard About What I Want Say About This Issue And I'am Sure You And The Rest Of Your Croonies Can Read Between The Lines,The Republicans Aren't Even Attacking Democrats Right Now And You Want To Know Why........Because People Like You,Edwards,And Now Biden,Richardson,Dodd,Thompson,Macain,& Gulianni,Are Doing It For Them,And Mr Arrogant So-Called Inteligent Mr Obama Don't Know A Hook,Line,& Sink Job When It Slaps Him In The Face,As Bad As I Hate To Say It,Racism Has Been Around For Over 200 Years What Makes You And Your croonies Are Going To Change That,Because You Have A Black Man That Knows How To Lie Intelligently.The Black & Brown Summit When He Were Asked About How He Were Going To Bring The Hip-Hop Generation Into The Fold,His Remark Were As Follows,We Have To Bring The Hip-Hop Generation Into Fold So We Cant Make Some Changes,Wow I Though That Were The Question That Werte Ask of him.....Mr Obama You Are A Ship That's Sinking Fast,You And Your Croonies.

    December 2, 2007 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  22. Eustace Wallace

    Just thought i'd provide some facts on the HillPAC and other Clinton related funds that they have used to buy political support. The hypocrisy of the Clinton campaign is astonishing... like Obama said.. they are stressing at the thought of someone else gaining the confidence of America...I thought Hillary wasn't interested in attacking other democrats... I guess something is indeed worrying her...

    Hopefund Donated $4,200 to Clinton. Hopefund made two separate donations of $2,100 each to Friends of Hillary in 2005. [FEC, accessed 12/2/07]

    Clinton Used Foundation to Make Early State Donation. "And just this week, no doubt unintentionally, she stumbled on another way to leverage non-campaign cash into a political benefit in a primary state when money from the Clinton Family Foundation, the Clintons' family-funded charity that has given them tax write-offs since 2001, popped up to provide an assist. On Tuesday, during a swing through the hotly-contested early primary state of South Carolina, Hillary presented a $100,000 gift from the foundation to help build a new public library in poor, rural Marlboro County, South Carolina." [Newsday, 11/29/07]

    Clinton Used HillPAC To Pay Employees of Presidential Campaign In January of 2007. Clinton used HillPAC to pay four members of her campaign staff in 2007, when her presidential campaign was in its formative stages. Patti Solis Doyle received $42,165 in wages and consulting fees; Heather Hurlburt received $6693 in consulting fees; Judith Litchman received $4368 in consulting fees, and Peter Daou received $3971 in consulting fees. All four of those people are now on Clinton's presidential campaign. Patti Solis Doyle received her first paycheck from the campaign on 2/2/07, as did Peter Daou; Heather Hurlburt and Judith Lichtman received their first consulting payments on the same date. [FEC, accessed 11/27/07]

    Clinton Used HillPAC to Donate $234,000 to Early States Since 2001; $59,000 In Donations Made In 2006. Clinton gave $234,000 from HillPAC to the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina since 2001. Almost $60,000 in donations, including money to the Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina Democratic Parties, Governor John Lynch, and Governor Chet Culver, were made during 2006. [FEC, accessed 11/27/07]

    December 2, 2007 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  23. EE

    Honestly its getting silly with the Clinton campaigns. This way of conceeding defeat to Obama is stupid.

    December 2, 2007 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  24. Alice, Seattle, WA

    Whatever it takes, huh Hillary? So, you're falling in the polls...so now the goons come out to attack. Just who we want in the WH with control over the FBI to manage her domestic "enemies". Remember the missing FBI files during hubbies terms?

    December 2, 2007 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  25. Smith, VA.

    It’s impossible to hide the truth. Hillery’s campaign is doing their best to cover up the truth. He is for transparent government, while Hillery tries to do things behind the curtain. All this is an ambition that she held back for years. On the other hand, Obama is in it for the working family, for the uninsured people and for a chance to bring up a divided country. Hope leads to action and action leads to change.

    December 2, 2007 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
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