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. Ahtram, Oakton, Virginia

    The more Obama fights back, the more I like him. It's just wonderful to hear someone who rips through the Clinton facade!

    December 3, 2007 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  2. John, Washington DC

    That's right – she's not leading Santa's sleigh anymore – and she's got to be stressed/fearful/angry about that.

    Obama's campaign is smart to institute a Hillary mud-slinging registry – because's she going to be slinging it fast and furious.

    December 3, 2007 03:49 pm at 3:49 pm |
  3. Ginny, St.Paul, Mn

    After all of the media uproar and the premature celebration of the extreme left on behalf of Barack Obama’s short-lived three or four point lead in Iowa, you’d think Clinton would at least get front-page coverage for the recent AP-Pew telephone poll results showing her now five points ahead.

    The coverage of her success is much more muted than that of Obama, the darling of the extreme left – no screaming headlines for Clinton on the front page of the Huffington Post or other MSM. But here’s the score from the new AP-Pew poll for Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina:

    Clinton 31
    Edwards 19

    New Hampshire
    Clinton 38
    Obama 19
    Edwards 15

    South Carolina
    Clinton 45
    Obama 18
    Edwards 10

    December 3, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  4. Rachael L. Kansas

    I'm sorry, did we all forget that Obama's entire campaign has gone something like, "Change, change, change, HATE HILLARY!, change, blah, blah, etc."? Perhaps the Obama campaign could spend less time updating a Web site detailing Clinton's "attacks" and more time on explaining what it is he might actually DO if elected president. So what if Clinton thinks it's fun to fight back (and defeat) those who have attacked her? It's about time we stopped holding her to a different standard simply because she's a woman who decided to stand up for herself and her record.

    December 3, 2007 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  5. Taran, San Diego, CA

    Regarding the whole when-did-he-want-to-be-president issue, this IS silly. ALL of these candidates probably have wanted to run for president for almost as long as they can remember. That's what one would expect! The problem Obama has is that he and his staff tried to make an issue of this with Hillary. They wanted to show that Hillary has wanted to be president forever, therefore, she is only driven by ambition and not cause. The fact is, they are ALL driven (by a certain extent by ambition), including Obama. He clearly was looking at a presidential path in law school and during his time in the Illinois Senate. To bring up his days in Kindergarten is SILLY, but the ENTIRE conversation is silly. It should never have been used against Hillary, not it is coming back to haunt him. Ambition should not be a disqualifier for any of these candidates. If Obama wants the issue to go away, just stop responding to the criticism, and STOP making ambition an issue with reference to Hillary. Both sides shoud stick to the ISSUES, experience, and ability to lead. Period.

    December 3, 2007 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  6. Bob Buxbaum, MA

    So... Hillary claims Obama has a character problem.

    If so, Hillary has a bigger one: it's called "Bill".

    December 3, 2007 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  7. William, Saint Louis, MO

    I like the way Clinton supporters cite old polls to show that she's back on track. The Nation has the goods
    Excerpt "Unfortunately for Clinton, the most current polling data has Obama in front.

    The Clinton campaign cites two polls in its release: An AP-Pew survey that has the New York senator leading Obama by 5 points, and an Iowa State poll showing her ahead of former North Carolina Senator John Edwards by 7 points and Obama by 10 points.

    That would seem to counter the Sunday Des Moines Register data that has Obama with 29 percent to Clinton's 25 percent.

    There's just one problem: Despite the fact that the Clinton campaign's release came out the day after the Register published its poll results, the AP-Pew and the Iowa State surveys were largely conducted before the newspaper even began its questioning of likely caucus goers.

    The AP/Pew poll was in the field over several weeks, from November 7 to November 25. That means it contains some responses that are almost a month old. The Iowa State poll was conducted from November 6 to November 18, meaning that all of its data is older than that contained in the Register poll."

    Like some one else already said, with information as readily available as it is today, the old style of campaign tricks just don't work anymore.

    December 4, 2007 02:40 am at 2:40 am |
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