December 4th, 2007
05:15 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama camp denies 'dirty tricks' accusation

Obama's campaign denied Clinton allegations of 'dirty tricks.'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Barack Obama's presidential campaign is denying a fresh accusation leveled by the campaign of Sen. Hillary Clinton that surrogates for the Illinois Democrat are engaging in "dirty tricks" in Iowa.

Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle made the charge in a letter to supporters Monday night. "In both Iowa and New Hampshire, we have heard that Obama staffers are berating Hillary supporters on the phone with negative attacks against her," wrote Doyle.

She went on to describe accounts of a negative campaign tactic known as "push polling" - a practice where voters receive phone calls from individuals posing as independent pollsters who instead offer details of negative and sometimes misleading attributes about a particular candidate.

Doyle also said some of Clinton’s Iowa supporters have received calls that direct them to the wrong precinct locations.

In a statement released Tuesday, Obama campaign spokesman Bill Burton called the accusation a "flat-out falsehood."

"Our opponents have promised to stop at nothing in an effort to tarnish Barack Obama's character," Burton continued. "Push polling or tactics of confusion have no place in this campaign and we don't or won't engage in them. Unlike some other campaigns, we want every potential Iowa caucusgoer to participate in the process, no matter who they support."

Tuesday's back-and-forth between the leading Democratic presidential campaigns is the latest in a heightened war of words one month before Iowa voters kick off the presidential primary process.

On Monday, Clinton charged Obama "started running for president the day he arrived in the U.S. Senate," and in his "rush to campaign" has missed key Senate votes.

Obama's campaign hit back, saying he "doesn't need lectures in political courage from someone who followed George Bush to war in Iraq, gave him the benefit of the doubt on Iran, supported NAFTA and opposed ethanol until she decided to run for president."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • Hillary Clinton • Iowa
soundoff (148 Responses)
  1. Har, syracuse, ny

    Barry Obama probably learned these dirty tricks when he was in the developing country of Indonesia at age 6 to 10, as he said he learned his foreign relation experience in those days.

    Obama has not played fair.

    December 4, 2007 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. David, Akron, OH

    NOBAMA 08...CLINTOn 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    America will not vote for obama vote for hillary if you want to win!!

    December 4, 2007 05:22 pm at 5:22 pm |
  3. Wen, houston, texas

    Obama denied these dirty trick, as he denied last week that his health care plan is not universal.

    When get caught, just denied. Obama picked this up from Giuliani.

    Stop Osama.

    December 4, 2007 05:24 pm at 5:24 pm |
  4. Chuck, Miami Fl

    You all just don’t get it.
    The majority of registered voters are women and like Chris Mathews said, if Hillary gets half of the women to vote for her she will win. This is why the national polls show her in the lead. The Republicans, Obama and Edwards don’t stand a chance. So put all your opinions aside and vote for the woman.

    December 4, 2007 05:25 pm at 5:25 pm |
  5. Mike, Westport, CT

    As a son of Iowa, raised on a farm, I am calling my friends and relatives who live in Iowa and asking them to be sure to vote for Joe Biden or John Edwards.

    December 4, 2007 05:26 pm at 5:26 pm |
  6. Rachel, Houston TX

    This is getting ridiculous. I can't believe Hillary is using such smearing tactics. Even though I am supporting another candidate, I had the utmost respect for her. That respect is slipping with each bogus allegation she comes out with...

    December 4, 2007 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |
  7. Q

    Hillary is a joke, she is digging her own grave, making up attacks from the other side will not fly with voters. She has not evidence, and these baseless attacks make her look like an idiot and her husband trying to defend her does not help her either. It ruins whats left of either of there creditility.

    We need change in this country not more of the same.

    December 4, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  8. Gary, Elmer, ny

    Like Larry Craig, Barrack Obama is a dirty little boy....

    Obama just wants to win Iowa at all costs, and with all tricks (dirty or not). He is simply desperate.

    That Obama plays dirty tricks does not surprise me at all.

    December 4, 2007 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  9. Fair,Washington DC

    Second of all, is there anyone who doesn't believe that Hillary herself didn't start running for President when she became a Senator? Everyone knows that she's been planning her presidential run for a long time, and now that she's seriously threatened, she's getting desperate.

    Posted By Christian, Tampa FL : December 4, 2007 4:26 pm

    You are absolutely correct, she's probably been planning to run even before that, but the difference between her and Obama is she did what she thought she needed to do to become a formidable candidate against whoever the Republicans throw at her. Remember she could have run in the 2002 election, in fact a lot of people wanted her to, but being the smart politician she is, she waited to get herself where she felt she needed to be, unlike Obama who just wants to come in and hijack the primary and go in without any footwork. Like I said in other post he is taking a big gamble, if he wins good for him, but if he takes the primary and doesn't deliver the general my opinion is he'll never get another shot. Some of us Dems are already pissed at him for the way he came in, but Obama hasn't seen anything if he screws up what many perceive as our best shot with Hillary that we've had in a long time.

    December 4, 2007 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  10. Ernie. Truro, MA

    Signs of panic in the Clinton camp

    December 4, 2007 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  11. James L. Nammack; Lexington, Kentucky

    Hillary really seems to be taking leave of her senses lately. But Obama hasn't a clue how to use any of that to his advantage. Hillary is starting to look as though she is losing touch with reality, but Obama is starting to look as though he was never seriously in touch with it in the first place. John Edwards is looking better and better all the time.

    December 4, 2007 05:36 pm at 5:36 pm |
  12. William

    No surprise! My friend just told me that even her friend in florida received these "dirty tricks" from Obama camp.
    You can deny it but people know who these trick players are! there is no politics of hope!

    How can one vote for Obama when he missed 80% votes in Senate. It means he is basically negligent on his job! He was elected to represent people in Illinois by voting on issues THEY are concerned not to use people in Illinois as springboard for HIS own ambition.

    some of posts here from Obama supporters are so ignorant.

    December 4, 2007 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  13. Megha, San Antonio, TX

    Obama supporters are very negative and only speak of Hillary, just like Republicans would. We can see that here in these posts. Although it's Obama's fault, but he does need to stop bragging of a clean campaign. This issue of Obama supporters being rash, rude and out of control has come up on various blogs.

    Hillary 08

    December 4, 2007 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  14. Howard, Huntington, NY

    "In both Iowa and New Hampshire, we have heard that Obama staffers are berating Hillary supporters on the phone with negative attacks against her," wrote Doyle.

    And where is any evidence of this? I know stories like this are great for fundraising, but it's pretty weak to accuse Obama's campaign of doing this without any proof.

    December 4, 2007 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  15. Megha, San Antonio, TX

    Correction to my previous post, it's not Senator Obama's fault for his supporters being full of negative attacks, but then he needs to stop boasting of a clean campaign.

    December 4, 2007 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  16. VN, Sugar Land, TX

    Considering the latest situation with Iran wherein they are NOT progressing on a Nuclear weapons program - perhaps Mr. Obama will think twice about ACCUSING Hillary Clinton of "conspiring with the enemy" with her vote for sending a message to Iran via her vote for the resolution. It's now becoming knowledge that that's the reason Iran is backing off - thanks to the resolution vote. If I were Obama and his handlers - I'd let this accusation rest in peace.

    As far as the other dirty tricks, get real Mr. Obama. You're ruining all future chances for a place in our government. Or as other bloggers have suggested, "GROW UP!" Furthermore, your actions are assuring that the Republicans will continue to rule.

    December 4, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  17. b

    First Karl Rove gives Obama advice.

    And now this!


    December 4, 2007 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  18. Amanda, Bettendorf IA

    This isn't true. I'm an Obama volunteer and everyone is very courteous on the phone. A lot of volunteers are college kids who are finding a new interest in politics and who have had friends go to war. There is no malice in that.

    December 4, 2007 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  19. EFG, SF, CA

    It's interesting to me that I see a lot of the same screen names popping up with the same rehashed critiques of these candidates.

    Most consistently those same screen names seem to be attacking Barack. Looks like the Clinton camp is worried to me.

    December 4, 2007 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  20. David, Dallas Tx

    You know, when the allegation was made that Huckabee supporters were push-polling, there was substantiation. They quoted individuals who received these calls, identified the group responsible, and determined that the group was independent of the candidate.

    Hillary hasn't done any of that. This is an unsubstantiated allegation, the worst kind. Methinks she got the idea from the Huckabee coverage, that's all.

    Patrick in New York said, why are Obama suppoters filled w/ so much HATE

    Hate? None here. I just think of all Democrats, Hillary best represents the worst in politics, which means she's low on my list for president. But every Republican is lower than her, and I'll support her if she wins the Dem nod.

    December 4, 2007 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  21. Cindy, Ames, Iowa

    as much as i used to support clinton....

    it seems like almost every day recently she pratically gives me a reason NOT to support her

    i honestly dont know who to vote for now because i can no longer vote for someone who is her.

    to this alligation...all i have to say is

    wheres the evidence?

    and what happened to the "lets not through mud" from the nevada debate

    ^^that was the hillary i liked. but i guess it only took 2
    weeks for that hillary to die out


    December 4, 2007 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  22. Kat Williams, Huntington, West Virginia

    I am so sick of this one-sided reporting. All I hear is how negative Hillary is getting-what about Obama?! One of the reasons that he and Edwards are moving up in the polls is the never-ending negative attacks on Hillary. How about we talk about the issues and the candidate's experience and how they plan to lead this country out of the mess that Bush/Cheney has gotten us into?

    December 4, 2007 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  23. TD, Waco, TX

    If the best Hillary can do is dig up Obama's KINDERGARTEN essays, Obama is in good shape. Kindergate is a joke.

    December 4, 2007 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  24. anngonzalez

    Many of these pro-Obama comments sound like they are being written by Republicans.

    Hillary is smart, political, (yes, political) and the only Democrat strong enough to win in November. The reeps are trying to defeat her in the primary; they'd love to go against Obama.

    December 4, 2007 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
  25. DeekerJ, New York, NY

    Why didn't CNN report on the merit of these charges? The only thing the article tells the reader is that people in the Clinton camp think Obama is being a dirty campaigner, people in Obama's camp disagree, and there's nothing to corroborate either sides' argument. It seems like just one more instance of CNN putting faux objectivity ahead of competent reporting.

    December 4, 2007 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
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