January 17th, 2008
06:47 PM ET
15 years ago

Clinton, Edwards campaigns blast radio ads backing Obama

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/01/17/art.obama0117.ap.jpg
="Unite Here is allegedly running pro-Obama ads on behalf of the Culinary Workers Union."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) - The campaigns of Hillary Clinton and John Edwards took aim at Barack Obama Thursday over radio ads in Nevada funded by a third-party group that is backing his candidacy.

The spot, running on Spanish-language radio in the state, criticizes Clinton for a lawsuit filed by some of her Nevada supporters that sought new restrictions workplace caucus sites this Saturday. The buy is allegedly being funded by the Unite Here Campaign Committee on behalf of the Culinary Workers Union, which has endorsed Obama.

“Hillary Clinton does not respect our people. Hillary Clinton supporters went to court to prevent working people to vote this Saturday – that is an embarrassment,” says the announcer, according to a translation of the script sent to reporters by the Clinton campaign.

“Hillary Clinton supporters want to prevent people from voting in their workplace on Saturday. This is unforgivable. Hillary Clinton is shameless. Hillary Clinton should not allow her friends to attack our people’s right to vote this Saturday. This is unforgivable, there’s no respect.

“Sen. Obama is defending our right to vote. Sen. Obama wants our votes. He respects our votes, our community, and our people. Sen. Obama’s campaign slogan is “Si Se Puede” (“Yes We Can”). Vote for a president that respects us, and that respects our right to vote. Obama for president.”

On a conference call with reporters late this afternoon, Hispanic supporters of Clinton’s presidential candidacy criticized the union for incorrectly implying that “Si Se Puede” – a slogan associated with the late activist Cesar Chavez – was also the Obama campaign’s official slogan.

The Clinton campaign also expressed frustration with the fact that the spots are continuing to run, even though a judge ruled against the suit today, the ad has continued to air.

John Edwards was criticized by Obama in Iowa for not calling an independent group that supported the former North Carolina senator to demand they pull ads they were running in support of his candidacy. “When Sen. Obama says ‘turn the page,’ he obviously means turn to whatever page is most convenient. He loudly and repeatedly attacked independent ads by unions in Iowa as the product of special interests,” said Edwards Deputy Campaign Manager Jonathan Prince.

“But when a different outside group starts running ads on his behalf in Nevada, there's not a peep from him or his campaign. It must be because he's burning up the phone lines calling the head of Unite Here personally to demand he pulls the ads down right away.”

Late Thursday, the Obama campaign responded to the criticism: “Sen. Obama believes, and has said clearly, that campaigns should fund themselves and discourages supporters from spending outside the campaign,” said campaign spokesman Bill Burton. “But no one should be confused about the effort that was run on behalf of John Edwards in Iowa. In that case, it was not the independent speech of individual union members, each contributing small amounts to amplify their voices. It was a special project of outside donors funding a massive 527 effort run by one of Edwards’ top political lieutenants.

“As for the Clinton campaign's comment, coming from a campaign that is repeatedly launching absolutely false attacks against Sen. Obama, it takes some chutzpah. The fact is their camp clearly would like to have worker's voices silenced and they need to live with that unfortunate position.”

-CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

soundoff (388 Responses)
  1. ddorsey

    The fact is, that she tried to take votes away from casino workers to benefit her campaign. That is un-democratic and un-american. She was completely with them last year when they made the decision to put these caucuses into the casinos, and when the culinary union supports Obama, she sends her cronies to take down the caucus locations.

    Sad for her, she probably lost all of those votes. Before, I'm sure some would have voted for her, but since they found out that she was trying to silence their vote; they won't vote for her. Edwards just had to jump in, you know, since he's in third place and all.

    I think that if you are a passionate political group, and you want to run an ad, then do it. As long as it is not official, then Hillary should have no buisness going at Obama like that. It's not his job to change their message, it's not like he endorsed it.

    January 18, 2008 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  2. Karen, Jersey City

    There's nothing wrong with a 3rd party placing an ad... oh wait.. it's not for the Bill and Hillary show so I guess it's wrong right?

    Only support for the Bill and Hillary show, all others say silent.

    The Clintons are pathetic!

    January 18, 2008 12:21 am at 12:21 am |
  3. KMK, Chicago, Illinois

    Based on what I've read, the lawsuit seems to be an appalling political game and here's why I say that:

    You may have noticed that a Mr. Randy Slovacek wrote: "First of all, the issue of 'at large' caucus locations ISN'T fair to everyone in Nevada. I live in Las Vegas. No one else is being catered to, so why make a special effort to the Strip workers? That simply isn't fair."

    If anyone who put forth the lawsuit was interested in fairness and the issue is that no one else is being catered to, then the logical course of action would be to seek additional at-large locations instead of closing the casino sites down.

    Additionally, though backers of the suit claim they didn't learn of the caucus rules until recently, they were approved at a party convention NINE MONTHS AGO. Nevada Democrats are free to set their own rules for a caucus, it isn't a government-run election. If this were an issue that the supporters of the lawsuit were genuinely passionate about, you would think they would have been carefully watching this nine months ago.

    I'll give the Clintons the benefit of the doubt and will assume that they weren't behind the lawsuit directly. However, both Bill and Hillary have publicly voiced their support for the lawsuit.

    The people paying for the ad are really just calling the lawsuit as they see it and since the ad is based on truth and opinion, I don't see anything wrong with it.

    January 18, 2008 12:22 am at 12:22 am |
  4. Javier

    Latinos! Unite for Hillary!!

    January 18, 2008 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  5. charlieblaze

    I don't get it. The ad was paid for by a 3rd party, and it is truthful. It is condemning Hillary for her bogus lawsuit to keep the caucus workers from voting. If she had not did what she did, then she wouldn't be the subject of it. I'm sorry, I do get it now. Hillary makes mistakes and yet Obama is blamed if he does what any politician should do: capitalize off it. Here's the thing. Either Clinton, Obama, or Edwards would be better than the Republican candidates, especially Huckabee. But Hillary only has herself to blame for her mistakes, and everyone knows that she would do the same to Obama. Obama has been more genteel than Clinton so far, and there is no "race card" being played here. Just the card of letting Hillary hurt herself.

    January 18, 2008 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  6. J, Ca


    What Kerry said was Obama won't allow anyone to switboat him.
    What Kerry didn't say was that Obama would inherit it.
    boy, isn't he a master of switboating?
    so much for charming prince of change.

    January 18, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  7. Jose Card - Independent

    Hillary thinks she is bigger than her party.
    She won't mind taking her party down on her way to the White House.
    She is far from the little girl being pushed around.
    Google 'Newsweek Hillary's Hidden Hand' and you will know more about her.

    How can you expect Hillary to respect you as a restaurant worker?
    You are not in her 'good American' category, which belongs to the lobbyists in D.C. who gave her the biggest donation, larger than every other candidate combined.

    Unfortunately, big donations do not represent many votes,
    while many small donations mean many votes.
    We are not that stupid after all.

    January 18, 2008 12:43 am at 12:43 am |
  8. rw

    Watch Obama lose Nevada.

    January 18, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  9. DP

    This is unbelievable the Clintons have been launching attacks at Obama all day long. I know Obama is not against the add, he is the one who quieted the attacks on race in South Carolina. What is President Clinton doing he is going after Obama? What is he doing? Clintons are unbelievable they are also dirty. She will get murdered if she wins the nomimation. The Republicans will eat her alive. Obama is the best of all the people running. Are we naive as a country and act like our White House is not dirty, please get real. Obama would shake up Washington

    Go Obama

    January 18, 2008 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  10. C Martin

    First of All Obama is running the campaing...a third party is running the campaing....read people. Second....10 month ago every candidate knew the rules and weren't opposed to how it was....soon as Barack got the backing of the largest Union.....there is a Lawsuit.

    Pretty sad in Politics that Hilary isn't part of the Lawsuit and Obama isn't part of the ad. Makes you go HMMMMMMMM

    January 18, 2008 12:56 am at 12:56 am |
  11. C Martin

    First of All Obama is not running the ad...a third party is running the ad....read people. Second....10 months ago every candidate knew the rules and weren't opposed to the voting process....soon as Barack got the backing of the largest Union.....there is a Lawsuit.

    Pretty sad day in Politics. Hilary isn't part of the Lawsuit and Obama isn't part of the ad. Makes you go HMMMMMMMM

    January 18, 2008 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  12. We Love HRC !!!


    January 18, 2008 01:00 am at 1:00 am |
  13. Luke

    Aj is not splitting hairs, 527's are worse in the fact that its a way to funnel money from anyone unregulated into a campaign so that its not directly linked to a candidate (you know that little max donation of $2,300 per person, this is a side step for lobbyist and people with a lot of money to throw influence around). Even though especially in this situation people in Edward's campaign knowingly took part in and ran it. Although I don't agree with the Union taking it upon themselves to attack Hillary, I believe they felt like they were being silenced by another group (the teachers union) which is although not endorsed by; strongly backs Hillary. The teachers union filed the suit stating that this should not be legal only after the support of the culinary union was expressed towards Obama. Coincidentally I'm sure the main group of people that work all over Nevada on Sat. which would be the only people effected by revoking this law are service industry...not teachers... I'm not trying to sway anyone's vote here but please don't let ignorance win this election don't vote with your heart for any candidate vote with your head.

    Robert Schuetz,
    Glad to see there's people like you still around to make me feel better about how I was raised and educated... Sad to see that an ignorant voice and probably less than a high school education (based on your written word) is what the rest of the world sees North America as. In all fairness you should probably thank Barak as previous editor for the Harvard Law Review as well as, a strong believer and lecturer in Constitutional Law in the fact that he would defend your right to free speech.

    To a better tomorrow, make it better for the next generation.

    January 18, 2008 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  14. aisha naeem

    go hillary .u will win nomination and if u dont because of obama,s dirty politics ,then i will vote for mccain atleast he is got some record other than drugs andobama not knowing what obama will do in war issue

    January 18, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  15. stanz

    People become angry when someone tries to take away their right to vote.
    Another apology from Hillary Clinton's camp for remarks about what Barack did as a teenager.

    I also came from a single parent household. Hillary should be glad she had two parents.

    January 18, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  16. lade

    i have nothing against woman, but it makes no sense for Bill Clinton to have sex again in the white house. Especially while running a sneaky third term through his wife.

    Needless to say , how would it feel to know that your Female president is getting laid in the white house.. NOw WHOSE REALLY IN CHARGE ! , the reciever or the giver.
    Picture what he would say.. Who is ur DADDY or President ?

    GO OBAMA.. question to all i'll chose a semi experince smart guy ! over just a person that spent time chilling and things she has experience. all she has is a coach. and not even the bag.

    January 18, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  17. Wynter, Loudon, NH

    And despite Obama's clean campaign image... this is another example of his camp condoning a "free fire zone" on Hillary. For all the pure and ethical image this man claims to have, his campaign is about as dirty as they come. When Clinton supporters voice their opinion in a matter it tends to be informed, clear and balanced. But when Obama supporters voice their opinion it tends to be loud, vicious, and highly inflammatory rhetoric. Is this what we want? No.


    January 18, 2008 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  18. Kalen

    Everytime I turn on the television to CNN and they bring up politics, it is like watching one of the bloodiest boxing matches of the whole year. It's getting tiring to watch these people go at it like this. The Democratic candidates ought to be ashamed of themselves. They have accomplished what I thought would be impossible. They are making the Republicans look better everytime I watch them. I'm still voting for Obama, but I'm beginning to wonder if he is worth it.

    January 18, 2008 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  19. Boca


    January 18, 2008 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  20. jerzee gal

    poor hillary always looking for something to blame on Obama!!!

    January 18, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  21. joe

    obama supporters –all of your hatred and devisive behavior combined with misongyny will not equal a win for your candidate - just a place in hell where all that belongs.

    January 18, 2008 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  22. Hondre'

    I really wish that the folk that support Clinton REALLY understood the issue at hand or are they just appearing not to understand. The decision was made over a year ago to allow workers to caucus at those 9 sites, but the day after the union throw their support to Obama, NOW it becomes a problem. People give me a break. Stop whinning and win fairly.....NOT Gonna happen...gO Obama GO!!!

    January 18, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  23. jerzee gal

    why should he go defend her, she said she was tough enough. He didn't put out the ad!!! What a whiner, i swear hillary is taking women back to before I was even born. Please stop!!!!

    January 18, 2008 01:21 am at 1:21 am |
  24. Anthony

    Clinton Supporters wake-up. We all know that Hillary sanctioned the lawsuit against the Culinary workers. She use to be a LAWYER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 18, 2008 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
  25. Hispanic Point of view

    Ho soon we forget! The bottom line our Country's economy was the best its every been, when Bill Clinton was our President, and you all seem to forget! Its nice to be a manipulated mind by the media and join in as followers of those who want the rapid fall of our Country. Can you realistically think that a man that has done nothing for his own state of Illinois, that has only two years in the Senaate with no call of victory of change and hope on his side of accomplishments. I was in Illinois a few years ago, my aunt and uncle thought Obama was the new God, we went to a ralley and his speach was wonderful, full of change and hope, well the people of Illinois are still waiting for the change and hope. Obama left them and all its citizens with empty words. Is Obama what we are going to trust our precious Country in these cruciall times we are in? Do your homework. I don't care what you think of the Clintons, there is no denying, Hillary has passion, conviction, perserverance, experience and so does Bill. The bottom line my friends Life was better with the Clintons nd it will be even better with Hillary.
    She has passion, stregnth, because lets face it..no one has been so unjustly scrrutinized, morally battered and yet so many accomplishment continue to happen. No in all conscience, I love my country to much to vote this time around for an inexperience man. For a man that I personally heard his speaches in Illinos full of empty promises. We can not put our country in the hands of empty pomises, specially with the challenges that we face. Its clearly Mr. Obama is a nice guy, a very nice guy, howeve weak in experience that is needed to run this country. After all people its our County,its our livelyhood, its the future of our Nation. We need experience to bring our economy as it was with a surplus, we need the Global respect we once had.

    January 18, 2008 01:24 am at 1:24 am |
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