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. Emily

    So first Obama lies about his team having anything to do with spreading the racial garbage. Then, once the damage is all done, i.e. Michigan results, he admits in the debate that his team did do it. Of course this wasn't dirty pool...yeah right! His team goes out of its way to get Michigan democrat voters to vote against Hillary just to embarass her. And now these abominable/d efamatory radio messages???

    And Obama's team and supporters have the nerve to say that Ms. Clinton's team plays dirty pool???

    Can we please get some redress here and at least demand that Obama take responsibility for any of the garbage that his people are doing? Any apologies or are we just going to hear more whining and crying on his part?

    January 17, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  2. Juli An

    Want to know the truth about Obama – just go to his website under issues and civil rights – at the bottom left read "The Plan" in adobe format... simply amazing!!! Seems he is more worried about the two African-American Lawyers that were not replaced than any other minority in this country... read on America!

    January 17, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  3. Don, Rochester, NY

    And people think Hillary attacks her rivals!? Not to mention, when did "Hillary's supporters" BECOME Hillary?

    January 17, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  4. Jackson


    January 17, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  5. Kathryn Dugovich

    I would vote for Edwards. The fear is that neither Obama or Clinton, especially Clinton are electable. I do not want to re-live the Clinton years and their machine bully tactics are divisive to say the least. Obama is my second choice. Who would not want to see our country begin to unify with the independents and perhaps some Republicans backing an inspiring candidate? Edwards is being ignored and always is criticized for being a "trial lawyer" like that is somehow bad. Who do you suppose a person would want on their side when the corporations deny you health care or your company goes bankrupt like Enron? Get real and tell the little guy out there the truth. John Edwards has fought for us and will continue to. Maybe someone should read his book, Four Trials.

    I just don't get where Hillary Clinton gets to say her experience as the wife of a governor and a president makes her ready on day one. Give me a break. The media will have a heyday with all its attention on where Bill Clinton is and right now our country does not have time for it. Check the economic forecast and Iraq and notice we need a leader and not a person who will sell us out to the highest bidder. Watch Sicko.

    January 17, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  6. Rob

    Hey Kevin,

    What did Obama do? This is a fight between third party supporters, dummy.

    RE: Angry Blk guy from VA,

    You can get off the plantation now. We were set free a while ago. Didn't get the memo?

    January 17, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  7. lc

    The ad is not just a political ad to support Obama. But the ad displays the tactics that Hillary supporters tried to pull in order to eliminate the vote from the culinary union that endorsed Obama.

    And why did Bill get so defensive when asked about the issue earlier? Because they planned all along to have someone file the suit to block the votes if Obama received the endorsement.

    Do you really believe that as intelligent and political savvy as the Clintons are they did not contemplate the Nevada situation months earlier?

    yeah right!

    January 17, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  8. Jackson

    Go John Edwards!

    Hardly any of the Media except FOX has the story about OBAMA PRAISING REAGAN!!

    Edwards is right ... vote Edwards and stop the nonsense!!

    January 17, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  9. Vincent, Tamaqua, Pa

    I find it somewhat humorous how Obama thinks he is a uniter, when he is dividing democrats by stuff like this and divides Americans with his push of the race card.

    Hillary 08!!!

    January 17, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  10. Dennis, Philadelphia, PA

    I can't believe the Democrats... they are going to nominate another unelectable candidate... Dukakis, Kerry, and now Obama... The Democrats live in a dream world and their delusions help support the Republicans maintaining power and ruining this country... Just like the Democrats helped to derail Gore with Nader.... They'll do it again with Obama... He's unelectable and he does live in a "fairy land" – politics is hard ball – not soft ball – we need hard hitters who can take the hit yet keep on going... Hillary and her team (Bill and others) have proven their sustainability... Obama is just a dreamer... as was George W. Bush, a dreamer... and look where that led us...

    January 17, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  11. Phil Memphis, TN

    Obama the Divider continues his tactics. Not that Clinton is much better. This is getting very very ugly. Go Edwards!

    January 17, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  12. Bruce Beaudine

    I will tell all people to vote for me on a write in ticket. Vote Bruce Beaudine President Of U.S. Democratic Party

    January 17, 2008 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  13. Jacqueline

    What a Poor Ad!! This is ugly and so untrue. Latinos please do not believe the lies being told about Senator Clinton. If anybody is going to help your cause it will be Senator Clinton. I am an African-American woman; and my vote goes to Senator Clinton. I know that she can do the job of a president. Obama just uses talk with no facts and makes things sound pretty.

    January 17, 2008 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  14. AHMIowa

    Now we are finally seeing the underbelly of "Hope". Obama is NOT what he claims to be, and he must not be handed the democratic nomination on a platter.

    I would rather see John Edwards or Hillary Clinton than Obama....but of course, Edwards is the obvious first choice for this country – who would give us a new start, with sincere conviction in his policies.

    January 17, 2008 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  15. Doug

    Obama's argument for "at large" caucuses is solid, but it's unnecessarily aggressive to prolong the ads when their purpose has been served.

    January 17, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  16. randy

    This is our next president.clinton the started dirty politics.but the forgot that obama is from south side of chicago.GO OBAMA

    January 17, 2008 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  17. Derek, IA

    Why are people saying that Obama is running a negative campaign? It completely boggles my mind that responding to Hillary's comments qualifies as negative. John Edwards has run a far more negative campaign against Hillary than Senator Obama. This ad is not a 527, although it should probably be discouraged, and it only expresses the concerns of a large group of people who didn't know whether or not they'd be able to caucus until today.

    January 17, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  18. Laura

    There is no way either Hillary or Obama can win in the general election against any of the Republican candidates (this is just the latest in the many reasons why). Tired of all the celebrity candidate coverage and the petty and divisive bickering? Then vote Edwards, the only candidate who CAN beat a Republican.

    January 17, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  19. DC

    Its open season on third party adds.. Thanks OBAMA

    January 17, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  20. James D.

    Obama did not put out this ad. A union did...and they were absolutely right to do so.

    "Dirty campaign" by Obama? Are you kidding me??? Edwards and Obama both have been SLANDERED by the Mark Penn / Clinton campaign.

    That suit was engineered by Clinton supporters (surrogate hatchet men). The Clintons, at least this once, are quickly experiencing the consequences of their actions and hypocrisy. They got exactly what they deserved. It isn't pretty, but maybe now they will learn to "play nice with others".


    January 17, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  21. JpJ

    Billary is supporting the lawsuit. How is pointing out that fact low and dirty? The timing of the lawsuit is what is low and dirty.

    January 17, 2008 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  22. Mike R

    How could Hillary understand anything other than her own ambitions? That's all that she and Bill Clinton have ever been interested in.

    I'm confident that that voters, all voters, will see that very clearly before this is all over.

    I was very happy to see Chris Matthews' description of Barack Obama's events on Jay Leno last night. Barack can lift this country up again. Hillary and John Edwards cannot. I like John Edwards and I think he do do the job and do a good job for America, just not as good as Obama. In fact, if Barack Obama were not running, I would support Edwards over Clinton any day. He is definitely on the side of the people.

    January 17, 2008 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  23. Nia

    I think Obama would be a great President.People are saying hes not experienced but they are the ones that do not know anything.He would be a great leader for African-Americans.If Clinton was elected President she would just mess up everything just like her husband did and Im not going to say what that was.Just because Obama had a drug problem when he was younger doesnt mean anything he is a grown man now so get over it people.In that case the people that are voting for Hillary just think about how her Husband messed up when he cheated on his wife in that case she shouldnt be President either.

    January 17, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  24. Mary, Michigan

    Everyone take a CHILL PILL. This is a THIRD PARTY surrogate again. I don't know how ANY campaign can control these third party groups that have NO affiliation with a candidate.

    The best candidates can (and should) do is apologize and admonish the groups who do this. Unfortunately, most of the time the damage has been done.

    Same with push polling. I received a push poll from Huckabee supporters. I doubt very much that Huckabee even knew about it.

    January 17, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  25. Candice

    First I have to say Go Hillary!!!!
    But on the other hand I do have to say, Democratic party get it together. The back and fourth mud slinging isn't necessary. I could understand if it was against the republicans. If you keep this up who wouldn't vote republican. That isn't what we want, we need a democratic President in office. Speak what you stand for, and let the people decide. That is the american way. right? You are in the same presidential Party for goodness sakes.

    January 17, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
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