[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