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. V. Novosad

    All of you folks who are trashing Hillary for talking about Obama's "running for president" as early as his kindergarten years, PLEASE educate yourselvese as to why she made this statement. You'll see that her statement was really in response to HIS ridiculous statement that SHE began running for president many, many years ago.

    If everybody will just listen, you'll see that Obama brings a lot of this on himself. Ask yourself who started these accusations first. It was Barak Obama, and since his latest new best friend, Karl Rove, schooled him about how to beat her by hitting her again, and again. Don't kid yourselves. Rove knows which one will be the easiest to knock off.

    December 4, 2007 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  2. Volunteer, Boston, MA

    This is just a flat-out falsehood by the Hillary campaign. I am involved enough as a volunteer in Barack Obama's campaign in New Hampshire to know none of these accusations are true. I think it's time Hillary tried to explain why she should be President rather than spreading lies about why Barack should not.

    December 4, 2007 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  3. Bob, Roxboro, NC


    Hey,, I have an idea. Instead of we citizens screwing each other over for our political beliefs, why not focus on getting honest men or women to run for office?

    December 4, 2007 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  4. bukky, Baltimore MD

    If somebody got these phones... and I STRESS THE IF... how did she know they were Obama's people. There are a lot of other candidates looking to take her down. Maybe it was anyway she's just pinning this on her biggest competition. SHE's GONE NAGATIVE AND SHE'S TRYING TO MAKE IT SEEM AS IF Obama has gone negative.

    To all the people saying he is whinning whenever he defends himself... what is he suppose to do? Take the hits like he's a punching bag? Let her campaign tell LIES upon LIES...? No he confront each allegation head on with throwing mud back... what more do you want?

    December 4, 2007 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  5. Bea, Hoboken, NJ

    I'm not saying that Obama's campaign condones such behavior because I have no proof that they're behind it, but people HAVE been getting calls from supposed Obama campaigners who when told that they are Clinton supporters start bashing Hillary. Maybe it's just some over eager college kids, who knows?

    December 4, 2007 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  6. David, Gilbert Arizona

    I'm a republican so I don't really care about the name calling you democrats are doing but I did find one post here quite entertaining.

    Hattrick seems to think Obama is unelectable. One question for you. You think Hillary is more electable? Republicans absolutely HATE Hillary. They will come out in droves to vote against her if she is nominated.

    I'm not a big fan of poll data but they also tell a tale of woe for Hillary if she is nominated.

    December 4, 2007 06:14 pm at 6:14 pm |
  7. Lance in Monrovia, CA

    I drove to Nevada and volunteered for Obama's campaign for a weekend. I was told repeatedly, not twice but probably six times, NOT to be negative by Obama staffers. They said, "point out Obama's good points and let them make up their own minds, don't get defensive about Hillary. Let them make up their own minds."

    I was actually sort of annoyed by this attitude on the behalf of Obama's staff. I wanted to put the gloves on and start swinging against Hillary as I went door to door. But they were SO adamant about not going too negative, that I listened and I found that it worked really well canvassing. People didn't want to have me chewing their ear off about Hillary, they wanted to know what Obama stood for.

    So there you have it. I don't believe Hillary's smear campaign against Obama for a moment. Next she'll be attacking him for writing essays saying he wanted to be President in kindegarden.

    Hey wait... she already did that. no joke.

    Obama 08. Stop the hate. Change your fate. Don't be late.

    December 4, 2007 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  8. Dan, NJ

    This "story" comes down to whether you trust Clinton or whether you trust Obama (or, I suppose, whether you trust neither).

    Objectively, if there is an accuasation, you look to the evidence/proof to see if there is any truth. Clinton has levied a number of accuasations lately but I have yet to see any proof.

    These are the kinds of remarks that make me think of Bush's successful swift boat campaign. Take someone with far better credentials in a given area and attack those credentials so often that people begin to believe your opponent is worse than you in that area on shear repetition alone.

    Ms. Clinton, if you have good things to say about your staff or the way you do things, please do. If you have policy critisims, please make them constructively. But if you continue slinging mud and complaining you get "picked on" you show yourself as power hungry, coniving and insecure. when Due to these Bushean tactics, I could not, in good conscience vote for you. Our country cannot stand 4 more years of a President who believes the ends (or desired ends) always justify the means.

    December 4, 2007 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  9. Wayne, Greenville TX

    Hey Senator Barack Hussein Obama with all due respect if you miss important votes that you were elected to do, Senator then you can't comment and stop making excuses.

    Posted By KD, cherry hill NJ : December 4, 2007 4:29 pm

    And JOhn McCain has missed even more votes than Oabam.

    Your point?

    December 4, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  10. Hoping in SA

    Oh wait and see he will get caught. Just a matter of time. It's not that people have this blind worship for him. It's that they think he can. Amazing...... Simply just amazing.... Until now I am still stumped. Some may dislike Clinton but hell she is alot alot alot better than Obama. I read on him, michelle and it's unbelievable that some of you think this is the change. Our country needs a lift not a kick. Come to the light........ CLINTON 08!

    December 4, 2007 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  11. Adam, Sacramento

    Her rush to judgement that push polling if it is occuring is from obama reminds me of her rush to judgement on iraq and Iran etc...

    On a serious note push polling needs to be outlawed it's not like our communications system can't backtrack it.

    I personally believe the best candidates are sitting in 4th and 5th position but if this is the best dirt hillary has on obama kindergarten essays and unsubstantiated allegations I'm thinking he's looking harder and harder to swiftboat.

    In other news Huckabee is getting swiftboated hard at the moment on his prisoner release. I don't see him whining about Giuliani or Romney or the other candidates.

    December 4, 2007 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  12. Trenton Benton Harbor Michigan

    I'm a African American, I honestly can not say that my support goes to that Barack Obama guy. He is a lier and does not have enough experince. Yes hillary voted for the war with the information she received. Obama said that he would not run for president. So the truth is Politicans do lie. I beleive that we need history to be made. Let's elect a women that we know is able to do the job from day one. I beleive Hillary will win.

    December 4, 2007 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  13. Nita - Texas

    My kid has a college degree – not voting for Obama. She said she was listening to him. Then decided he just wasn't the one. Change is good – but it isn't in this man. He is a puppet. He can't think for himself. He is pathetic in the debates. Say what you want about the other candidates but sooner or later just my kid you'll see. Open yourself up to the fact that Obama is not all that he pretends to be. The other candidates are whether you like them or not.

    December 4, 2007 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  14. Jesse, Burnsville, MN

    Monte Brown is a brainwashed idiot!

    December 4, 2007 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  15. Ken, San Antonio TX

    People on the defense are usually fighting off the offenders, the only people I have seen and noticed is playing dirty politics is the Clinton campaign, from the racist remarks of her followers because of who Oprah supports to devlish smile she uses when attacking her fellow democrates, She has experience alright, in dirty tactics, she can teach Karl rove a few things.

    December 4, 2007 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  16. CC, Simpsonville, SC

    I had written this statement earlier but it was posted too late for many to read. So, I am resubmitting it just to show one needs to pay better attention. All the blogs I read points out again and again how we vote. You are not in high school voting for the best looking, most popular, the most white, most black, most brown, yellow or red. That is how "Bush", along with the Supreme Court intervention, was put into office under the guise of "Born again Christian". In the beginning Obama and his wife were on a talk show. Obama's wife, Michelle, made a statement that Obama, being a black man, could not go to a gas station without the threat of being shot, in this country. What a divisive, prejudice and underhanded statement! Barack Obama never said a word. Just laughted. I am white and had a white cousin who was shot dead in a Wisconsin gas station – by a black man. All he was doing was getting his car fueled. He had a wife, children and grandchildren. He was active in his community. So, what does that say, Michelle's statement and the actual event. We have gone amuck in our discipline, decisions and actions. Grow up! Pick leaders who consider the whole rather than the single interest. Our community, the world, deserves our intelligence and good sense.

    December 4, 2007 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  17. NY, NY

    He didn't pay 10 year old parking tickets. He only paid it when he decided to run for democratic presidential race.

    He missed key senate votes like Iran.

    He can't even provide his State senate records. Politicians boast their records and he's hiding it.

    He got desparate and attacked Senator Clinton and when he got attacked he cries foul.

    His issues a mere rhetoric and not the what he would do.

    Oh my and he wants to be US president.

    December 4, 2007 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  18. Lee, Mays Landing, New Jersey

    It's funny to hear her charge since most of us immediately knew Hillary was running for the Presidency as soon as she started to run for the Senate. Please people, let's wake-up and stay away from political dynasties and voting based on name recognition or who someone is related to or married to.

    December 4, 2007 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  19. Marie VanDyke Royal Oak Michigan

    before the campainging started obama said he was not going to do that. just stick ro the facts..well he has no facts that is why he is hillary bashing
    anyone voting for him will help the demise of the usa

    December 4, 2007 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  20. Leo, VA

    "And JOhn McCain has missed even more votes than Oabam.
    Your point?

    Posted By Wayne, Greenville TX : December 4, 2007 6:22 pm"

    The point is: None of them should be considered for a serious job!

    December 4, 2007 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  21. jmaya, iowa

    Iowa dump this Barack hussein Obama-osama in your yard so he never tries to stand up in politics anymore! This guy can do anything to win primary, he is worse than George Bush. HE IS A SCARY MAN WITH HIDEN AGENDA!

    December 4, 2007 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  22. Brad, Stockton, CA

    Whatever it takes to insure that Hillary is NOT the nominee is fair in my eyes, because it is nothing different than Hillary would do to insure that someone else does not receive the nomination. Hillary is as much a corporate democrat as George Bush is a corporate republican.

    December 4, 2007 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  23. C Hilson, Carmel, IN

    It is apparent Hillary is desperate. Barack Obama to her dismay is a serious political force. Americans are ready for a complete overhaul in our government. That includes a President elected by the people and for the people. Barack is gaining ground as the candidate who can make these values a reality. Hillary is an old school democrat. I will not elect someone who voted along with President Bush to take the country into one of the worst eight years of American History. I am sure as election time gets closer Hillary will make more false accusations toward Obama. Go ahead, Barack’s supporters are ready for the mudslinging.

    December 4, 2007 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  24. Ibukun Odugbesan, Sarawak, Malaysia

    Hillary Clinton claims that do we want to leave American future in the hands of someone that has limited knowledge of national and international issues and that he's also new in senate. But from wisdom's perspective, what if this is the unprecedented time in American history that we need someone unconventional to lead this Gentile world power and to take her out of the mess she has found herself. Having carefully analysed global politics and economics, i strongly believe that there's no great intellectual that can predict the future of America and the World. Just like Alan Greenspan said, we are in the age of turbulence, so we must be ready for adventures. Hillary Clinton becoming President won't give us any adventure that's typical of American Politics. I even believe that thye news including CNN will become boring if she's president. Gordon Brown is here at the right time and so is Kevin Rudd. Ban Ki Moon- an Asian is even the UN sec gen. Barrack Obama in the same state is what America needs now. All four- Gordon Brown, Kevin Rudd, Ban Ki Moon and Barrack Obama have the 'appeal spirit' that must be paramount of any twenty-first century leader. I mean they all have the ability to appeal to people. Furthermore, Obama becoming President is a major triumph for American political system in that someone born in Africa, lived four years in Asia and later became an American could be the first citizen of the country. I mean this guy entails everything that's American just like the founding fathers of the country. Obama is the right man in times like these. In conclusion, Obama becoming American President will clearly differentiate the country from every aspiring superpowers because only in America can someone of Obama's origin and life transitions can become President. This is ma glory to America's Political system and forcefully asserting it as the world's model.

    December 4, 2007 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  25. George NYC

    he's lying..look at that face and i read this ..its scary...

    i worked with a muslim and he told me once a muslim always even if your in another church can never rid of it..we do not know this man Hillary is right we do not know this man.hes flip floped and he did again today on NPR,at least hillary has been tested in and outs so if anyone doesn tlike her so be it,at least i know our Country will be in safe hands with her and bill.anybody can see this.only if your blind you wouln't be able to.hes brainwashign these kids that travel over to iowa from illnois to his rally's and to cacus.its need to be look into investigated.

    According to Schlussel's online bio, she claims "unique expertise on radical Islam/Islamic terrorism and a host of other issues" and that her "online fan club is the Internet's second largest for a political personality - behind only Ann Coulter."

    From Schlussel's December 18 column:

    Many months ago, readers began asking me whether Barack Obama is Muslim. Since he identifies as a Christian, I said, "no," and responded that he was not raised by his Kenyan father.

    But, then, I decided to look further into Obama's background. His full name - as by now you have probably heard - is Barack Hussein Obama, Jr. Hussein is a Muslim name, which comes from the name of Ali's son - Hussein Ibn Ali. And Obama is named after his late Kenyan father, the late Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., apparently a Muslim.

    And while Obama may not identify as a Muslim, that's not how the Arab and Muslim Streets see it. In Arab culture and under Islamic law, if your father is a Muslim, so are you. And once a Muslim, always a Muslim. You cannot go back. In Islamic eyes, Obama is certainly a Muslim. He may think he's a Christian, but they do not.

    he does not vote,he started attacking senator clinton first Character now hes going to whine about it...crybaby poop pants you are a rookie,a rookie cant fix problems its like football'she is just hitting back as you dish out .listen to that Npr on line ..he wants illegals not to work here, but then he wants them to have a license to drive.uh ding dong.

    December 4, 2007 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
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