December 3rd, 2007
08:58 AM ET
15 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. Steve, San Francisco, CA

    What was that bumper sticker, "Jesus, save us from your followers". I'm beginning to feel that way about Barack Obama. The candidate seems like a good guy, but the online vitriol that pours out of his followers is scary.

    And what's with the attacks on Bill Clinton? I actually liked the peace and prosperity, myself.

    December 3, 2007 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  2. Carolyn Todd Lynnwood Wa

    Mike you are right on in your comments of the way Hillary's people are running her campaign-it was even worse when they started-but please don't keep repeating the false statement about Al-he never said that he invented the internet-this man is good, solid and real-why can we just not appreciate him?? He has been through more stuff than most of us will ever go through and still cares! Carolyn

    December 3, 2007 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  3. Kay, San Jose, Ca

    To: Captain-Sky
    You're using a gender different to attack Obama. How responding to Hillary could represent an aggressive behavior to his wife? He didn't response to Republican because now he needs to focus on winning the democrat nomination first.
    To the other person whom ask for the release of Obama's senate record, ask HRC to release her record in her husband's presidential term first

    December 3, 2007 01:35 am at 1:35 am |
  4. Carolyn Todd

    To White man-you have not read Obama's books and you know nothing about him-his mother was white and father black-they met while in University-she was single-he spent alot of time with his "white" grandfather-he also spent time with his step father in Indonesia and received part of his education in Hawaii-you see-some people actually are well travelled, educated and outstanding humans-you cling on to your "white" thing hoping that it will be enough -you have never tried to impove or step above how and where you started-it is pathetic of you-by the way, none of us are white or black or anything-those where labels-imposed on us for reasons you are clearly unaware of-your prejudice is killing you, holding you back. Carolyn

    December 3, 2007 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  5. Reggie, Hamburg Germany, N.Y.

    Posted By Joeley Reno, Nevada : December 2, 2007 11:11 pm

    I think most of us agree with your position and would love nothing more than to do as you suggest. However when Obama, Edwards, Biden, Dodd and
    hopefully Richardson supporters read such AWEFUL comments such as those from:

    Posted By Captain-Sky : December 2, 2007 6:44 pm


    Posted By Joe : December 2, 2007 9:22 pm

    Who profess to be Hillary supporters it makes it very hard for us to want to do anything to support her should she be prevail. yes it could be that these comments come from republicans looking to drive such a wedge between us. But when not one Hillary support, you for example, does not take them to task or express their outrage then I for one am turned off by you and Hillaries Campaign.

    It's funny but I read no such commentscoming from the supporters of any other democratic candidate. Such rhetoric seems to be a sickness restricted to Clinton supported ..... sadly.

    December 3, 2007 02:18 am at 2:18 am |
  6. James Andrews IOWA

    Obamas lies are catching up with him...
    CLINTON 2008!


    December 3, 2007 02:25 am at 2:25 am |
  7. STOP OBAMA we dont need another bush/chaney

    During the hostage crisis, Hillary immediately stopped what she was doing, cancelled an important speech at the DNC, showed her care, compassion and warmth for ALL candidates’ workers, WHAT A TRUE PROFESSIONAL CLASSY FIRST LADY AND PRESIDENT IN 2008…
    For all you mothers out there, Please vote for Hillary, we have let these old men ruin out great country, let a Woman show them how it can be done without a war or back yard politics like obama is playing…

    If you let a celebrity like oprah, influence your decision, SHAME on you! You will be selling out your country and your children’s health care and future. If you recently read the article that employees of HARPO prod, said she is power hungry! She would spent every penny to buy a black president and get her foot in the white house, I MOST DEFINITLY WOULD NOT want oprah making any decisions for this country, she wants in the white house anyway she can, we have seem that before. How do you think bush was elected a second time! We the American people! DO NOT have the time to teach obama/oprah how to be a politician, this great country in is need of someone who can hit the floor running in 2008, because the American people do not know all the damage BUSH/CHANEY has really done because they are liars and dishonest and should be IMPEACHED. ALL of the republicans stood back, took the money and let these two stooges almost destroy our great country, is why republicans will loose most likely every election this time around.
    Clintons have already very successfully cleaned up a bush mess. WE HAVE SEEN THEY CAN DO IT!
    Clinton is the Smart and only choice in 2008. Id like to see John Edwards as her VP or Bill Richardson. Obama is the only self proclaimed democrat running like a republican. Send this guy back to school, Oprahs school…

    December 3, 2007 03:00 am at 3:00 am |
  8. Daniel, NY

    Some major congressional news tonight, as the DCCC did a huge ad buy in OH-05 where there is a special election in nine days. OH-05 is very conservative but Dems apparently believe they have a shot. Full analysis here.

    December 3, 2007 03:29 am at 3:29 am |
  9. Coach Haughton NH

    It's disgusting how people characterize the Clintons as corrupt and unethical. Politics calls for dubious behaviors that are nonetheless necessary. Some do it excessively. Others do not. Clintons fall in the latter category.

    If Obama becomes a full time player, as unqualified as he is, we will all see that he is as duplicitous and self-serving as any other politician.

    Remember also that Bush ran as a new-kind of politician who can bring people together back in 2000. Obama will be about as popular but unlike Bush, will get eaten alive by Republican congress when they take over in 2010. Oh, yes, the American public likes to have opposing parties in Congress and the White House. They are inevitably disgusted with the new guy in town and picks the opposing party. Just look at history.

    With that said, let's go, Hillary! Get your stuff together and nail down Iowa.

    Posted By Liberal Chic : December 3, 2007 12:41 am

    Thats because the clintons are corrupt and unethincal. It's clear why you support them because politics as usual is okay with you. People like you and Hilliar represent everything wrong with our political system.

    December 3, 2007 03:52 am at 3:52 am |
  10. Bruce, Washington, DC

    Well, Vic in Sugarland who's quick to return to the spin of "experience", can you explain that in spite of all her "experience" Mrs. Clinton got it wrong on Iraq? And the supposedly "inexperience" Obama got it right? If she'd been president in 2003 we'd still be in Iraq today with nearly 4000 American lives lost and trillions of dollars spent, that's in spite of Clinton's "experience". It just turns out what Hillary Clinton is experience in is not foreign policy but spin. Taking words off the press like "re-writing history", the same words that were used for her lying husband this week, and pushing them on to someone else. The American people are tired of the old time politics of lies, spin and mudslinging. They're tired of politicians who will do anything and say anything just to get in power. They're ready for an honest leader who is not "experienced" in lies and doubletakes. A new leader for a new generation. And that is Obama.

    December 3, 2007 03:53 am at 3:53 am |
  11. Chris Causey, Muscatine, Iowa

    Barack Obama pledged not to accept money from lobbyists and PAC's for his presidential bid, but that doesn't mean he wouldn't contribute to other campaigns. Hopefund has helped underfunded candidates nationwide. It's legal, ethical and not a secret. Many recipients endorsed Obama- some didn't.

    Hillary Clinton, by contrast, held onto an extra $8 million during her senate race that could have helped other candidates in much tighter races. That surplus was rolled over into the earliest presidential announcement in memory. I think she has planned this for years.

    Even if you don't like PAC contributions at all, paying off former Iowa Governor Tom Vilsack's campaign debt to gain his campaign contacts is far more dubious.

    In the end this will all blow over since there is no real crime here. In the years I've spent talking politics with people in Iowa, I have yet to meet an Iowan that would pick a candidate based on an endorsement- even if it's Bill Clinton or Oprah. It's just sad that the Hillary camp has to make excuses for losing ground to a platform founded on changing the way government works, changing our relationship with the world, and $25 individual contributions.

    Hillary Clinton is shocked her famous name won't carry the election. Obama will shock the country in January. Obama will shock the world in November.

    December 3, 2007 05:15 am at 5:15 am |
  12. mark wilkes barre pa

    hillarylover,,,,, I am am not a gainst gay rights or womens rights. I am however a republican. Any decent democrat ? ,,,,, some of us decent rep/dem voters believe its time to end the reign of bush/clinton years. I am for qualified candidates,wether they be men or women. example , condeliza rice, not running but qualified, experienced and able. just so happens she is also a women and her skin is not the same color as mine. It's time both parties looked for a candidate with her true skills, instead of who is popular at the time

    December 3, 2007 05:42 am at 5:42 am |
  13. Alice Newman Center Harbor NH

    Obama says Hillary is stressed? He'd be
    digging out the old PMS remarks if he thought
    he could get away with it.

    I wish he had waited for another election
    cycle so he could gain knowledge and experience.
    It's like teaching – seems easy when you not on
    the other side of the desk ...

    December 3, 2007 06:24 am at 6:24 am |
  14. EE

    Hello everyone. Here lies the facts:

    When Novak said Hilary agents informed him of dirts they have manufactured about Obama, Hilary denied. Information coming out says this is exactly the dirts that Novak talked about.

    Hilary campaign, cant you deny this? I will prove intoto the source of this information when i get a reaction from the Hilary folks. They have more than four manufactured dirts trying to paint Obama as having ties to lobbyst.

    December 3, 2007 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  15. NANDO, Palm Coast,FL



    December 3, 2007 06:39 am at 6:39 am |
  16. Rob, Harrisburg, PA

    Obama is only recently running for President? Oh please, Mr Obama. What was that speech all about at the DNC a few years ago and all the talk then of a run for the White House? I guess it’s not just everyone else being dishonest, huh?

    December 3, 2007 07:19 am at 7:19 am |
  17. AT, San Francisco, CA

    Polls after polls, Hillary beats Obama in having the most relevant experience best leadership qualities, and most electable to be next president.

    Hillary will win the nomination, and Obama will have a dream.

    December 3, 2007 07:46 am at 7:46 am |
  18. Rick, Columbia MD

    This is the exact reason Hillary is dropping in the polls. America wants change and someone they can trust. Not someone who will say anything to get elected. I like Hillary, but the people in America are intelligent and if she wants my vote she needs to clean it up, and regain our trust.

    December 3, 2007 08:10 am at 8:10 am |
  19. massachusetts

    If Hilary is elected president...the past 20 years of American History will have been influenced by two families...BUSH, CLINTON, CLINTON, BUSH, BUSH, CLINTON.

    That's not democracy.

    Go with Obama.

    December 3, 2007 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  20. Glenn,Birmingham,Al

    Clinton is known for attacking anyone who gets close. Obama is a policy change. That scares the Washington power base.

    December 3, 2007 08:11 am at 8:11 am |
  21. AJ; Montpelier, VT

    Obama is just another lying crook. Havent we had enough of that with the Bush administration?

    December 3, 2007 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  22. Rebecca, St. Louis

    Hillary, please grow up. Saying that Obama is lying about his ambitions because in kindergarten he wrote an essay about why he wanted to be president is completely childish, ridiculous and has no place in this presidental campaign.

    If you're going to attack Obama, attack him on something that is actually true and relevant.

    Oh wait, I guess you can't find anything.

    December 3, 2007 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  23. Mike, Houston, TX

    Hillary Clinton is already in violation of election laws by her involvment in a fund-raiser. The Clinton News Network won't report it.
    Obama is honest and his lead in the polls relects Americans exhaustion of partisan politics and an entrenched political establishment represented by Hillary.

    December 3, 2007 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  24. BG, Fairfax, VA


    December 3, 2007 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
  25. Jen, Gainesville, FL

    Great response by the Obama campaign! We also know that we had various dreams or plans in the childhood and in the process of growing up.

    I remember Hillary's ambition in her childhood was to be the first woman astronaut. Are these childhood dreams schematic calculations for career goals? Most people would say "no."

    We need common sense. The Clinton campaign is getting silly. If these are all the dirt they can dig out for Obama, Obama is an angel!

    December 3, 2007 09:18 am at 9:18 am |
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