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. Danny Campbell

    As a union activist, I am disgusted by the Nevada unions throwing their support to Obama. In Illinois, many of us tried to get Obama to support us in some specific battles with our employers and he REFUSED. He is an opportunist - not an advocate for workers.

    Unfortunately, those lining up behind him just don't know what they are doing.

    Clinton is far more receptive to the plight of workers.

    January 17, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  2. Todd

    2 months ago when it was expected that the Culinary Workers Union was expected to back Hillary there was nothing said out of her camp about the way the Democrats set up this caucus for people who could not get off work. In fact the were boasting on Meet the Press about their "respect in the Latino community". All of a sudden, the day after they learned that the union was supporting Obama, their friends in Nevada filed a law suite to stop their ability to vote. Thankfully the Judge saw right through their little plan and ruled aginst it.

    If you say that it wasn't Clinton filing the law suit, (in fairness it really was the Teachers Union) then say the same about Obama because (in fairness, it really is the Unite Here Campaign Committee on behalf of the Culinary Workers Union running the ads).

    That being said, Kevin in Nevada, Obama has done NOTHING to Clinton and Clinton has done NOTHING to Obama. Have you been reading about this stuff at all?

    January 17, 2008 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  3. Patrick Oliver

    Obama is only a "uniter" when it's politically convenient and advantageous to his candidacy. The rest of the time (and for his entire SHORT political career), it's been "politics as usual". And he keeps proving it. He just "talks the talk". He's yet to shown any "walking of the walk"! That's why so many African American leaders and Hispanic leaders (including Chavez) are supporting Clinton.

    January 17, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  4. kwabena

    It's very unfortunate that Obama campaign team is Behring this. I'm a black and hope he takes very care because politics is not as easy as he see it. Whatever you do today may be indelible and ruin him till he die. The party is supreme and much as American society hate a woman to rule them likewise he cannot become president. Those in the media dancing to the tunes of their Jewish masters criticize Hillary of no apparent reason. When God asked Samuel to select the first king for the Israelites, he was looking for stature etc, but God chose David the tiny little boy. God appoints a king but not ones effort. Those who are saying hossana today will ask for his crucifixion tomorrow. I am praying for Hillary and she shall eventually win the race.

    January 17, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  5. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    The television ad is absolutely fair and true. Clinton did not object, and, in fact, supported the lawsuit filed by the teachers union. The rules were not a problem until Obama gained the support of the culinary union. The lawsuit was a thinly veiled attempt to disenfranchise those lower wage workers from having their say. There is nothing to apologize for in this case. Why shouldn't he stand by the ad? It was a fair and just response to an unfair and unjust act.

    To JD in WI: How is Hillary standing by? She is the one who created the digression into mudslinging after Obama won in Iowa. Hillary created the race issue by patronizing the African American voters and acting as if she's entitled to their vote. Hillary created the management issue after Obama gave an honest response to a debate question. Hillary created the casino issue by standing by her supporters while they filed a lawsuit to change the rules at the last minute.

    January 17, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  6. Denis, NJ

    This is why I have trouble committing to Obama... He's not above the same dirty tricks that Hillary uses in her campaign. Yet all the flack is falling on Clinton whenever she so much as says one wrong word, while Obama washes his hands clean. Perhaps Obama now should go and apologize to the Clintons for this ad, just like his campaign wanted Bob Johnson to apologize for his remarks, and resume positive campaigning... Now that would make him the bigger man...

    January 17, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  7. Joe, SoCal

    Finally someone is calling Clinton out to the the people who tried to block from voting. Hillary's own dirty campign tactics have backfired on her. She tried to change the game in the 9th inning after she wasn't winning!!

    January 17, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  8. K

    I am an independent who leans towards the republicans but i am really enjoying the democratic race. to be fair, clinton started this whole race thing to turn the whites against obama and obama would have done well to ignore her. i am a black man but the fact is there are more white people than black people and if people vote only on the basis of race than a black person would never lead this country. clinton understands that and that's why she started this thing. about the ads, clinton wanted to start a so called black-brown problem during the recent MSNBC debate and i'm glad she failed again.

    January 17, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  9. Joe, SoCal


    January 17, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  10. S

    Ummm, HELLO?! Who cares?

    As a poor 19-year old student, I'm way more concerned about the economy and

    why it is becoming increasingly difficult for me to get a decent student loan than

    the candidates' reactions to an ad that will most likely be pulled by tomorrow.

    When will the candidates issue responses to all the important issues and

    questions that arise?

    January 17, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  11. Zephyr Logan

    Obama didn't make the ad. This demonstrates the Clinton supporter's ability to think before voicing themselves quite well.
    Kucinich/Obama 08!!!

    January 17, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  12. California voter

    Obama did indicate that he knew how to play "smack down" Chicago style politics and he did attack independent ads by unions in Iowa. Sounds like the Obama campaign is using these union workers shamelessly. Can you imagine these workers, many of them Latinos standing up in front of their union bosses and voting for anyone but Obama? Give me a break.

    We need a national primary.

    January 17, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  13. Seyi

    All you Clinton lovers... Lets see if you are remembered by them after all is said and done. Can't Hillary pull her weight in a dignified way by being the former first lady. She and her husband will be respected and wont have to go through all this in the name of power... Al Gore is globally respected and that would have changed if he decided to run.
    Now she has to act and cry and change her tone from I am in it to win to I can bring change which she never thought of initially. America... smell the coffee

    January 17, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  14. G BZ

    I'm loving it !!! now i know this guy has a substance to scare a hell out of hillary as well as hard liner republicans, GO OBAMA GO!!!!!

    January 17, 2008 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  15. Joe, SoCal

    Memo to Hillary: You can't change the rules in the ninth inning, after you agreed to them and hoped they would allow YOU to win. I'm glad you are finally being exposed.


    January 17, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  16. Actually Paying Attention

    I like how the same people who stick up for Hillary saying she had nothing to do with the lawsuit against the caucus sites are the same ones assuming that these ads are sponsored by Obama's campaign.


    January 17, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  17. PW Va

    TO: JD WI

    LOL, LOL LOL...I can hardly contain myself over your comment...wait, wait, just a minute while I try and compose myself.

    YOU stated that the "Clinton's are trying to stay above the fray???" (One moment, please...another fit of laughter). LOL LOL LOL

    Ok...I'm back! Your beloved Clintons are...THE ARCHITECTS OF DIRTY, SLIMEY, BACK ROOM POLITICS!!!! During this campaign season, they've made Karl Rove appear ALMOST saintlym, by comparison, and that's saying a lot!!!!

    January 17, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  18. Wilhemina

    Go Obama! what America is saying to Clinton supporters, either you are arrogant or ignorant or both (like the Judge told OJ about his slickery). No one wants this scandalist pair to run our country. What country would take either of them as a threat, they are looked down on by every overseas government. No to a impeached former President and his wife, My God, have some respect for your country!

    January 17, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  19. james ny, ny

    I thought Obama was this angel with set of wings and a halo above his head:)
    I guess NOT he is just like anyone in politics.

    January 17, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  20. Thomas - Reno, NV

    Dividing Dems? Hillary tried to deny 200,000 voters their right! You Hillary supporters are absurd. As for teh negative campaigns, Hillary has always been the first to draw blood, yet you sheep love the spoon fed politics she feeds you. Wake up and learn how to think freely. Do some research before you faithfully follow the butcher to the slaughterhouse.

    January 17, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  21. tronjaeger


    January 17, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  22. bob gostworth

    obama nation?

    yes, he's an abomination alright.

    January 17, 2008 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  23. YES-WE-CAN


    No one threw a fit when that third party for Edwards did it. No one threw a fit when Hillary does it. Oh, but some third party group for Obama does it and ....."Whaaaaaaaaa!"

    Well, that's what you get.

    January 17, 2008 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  24. Tom, Boston MA

    the clintons should have rejected the law suit. instead, bill pulled the same slick tactic: "we didn't file thye suit". they deserve every bit of insult over this one, and many other things they have done. i guess, after all, they are not as smart as they claim to be.

    January 17, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  25. Manny

    At the start of the campaigns, I wanted a Clinton or Obama presidency. I hope it does not become a republican presidency. If the republicans give me Huckabee, watch out democrats, you will need both Clinton and Obama to get my vote.

    January 17, 2008 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
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