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. Philip, Elkhart IN

    that's it... time for mccain...

    January 17, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  2. Cherish

    Re: Kevin from Nevada

    "Its really embarrasing that Obama continue his dirty campaign against Hillary"

    Please! Every heated and inappropriate argument started since the onset of this campaign has been due to the outright desperation of "the Clintons.'"
    Obviously, the Clinton camp realizes that voters can see they're running a mudslinging, Bush-esque race, or else they wouldn't be yelling at reporters when asked simple questions.

    January 17, 2008 07:44 pm at 7:44 pm |
  3. Kin

    This is pathetic, Obama. In your little truce, you'd promise to shut your supporters up if they were to step across the line. Way to shut them up, Obama.

    I'd recommend Clinton to capitalize on this ad, but the moment she brings this to national attention, the Hillary-haters will be all over her for being a 'negative' campaigner.

    Man, Obama, you are pathetic, though.

    January 17, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. Ray

    how low can you go? Obama, nothing better the scum. Wake up America. What has this man done? WHAT? Someone tell me something he has done for our Country?

    January 17, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. pam , s.c.

    edwards did not help defeat the republications in 2004 . hillary will not defeat the republications in 2008. we need change in this country and there is only 1 person who can bring about change and that is barack obama.

    January 17, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  6. Kate, gb, MI

    I COMPLETELY agree!

    I wonder if Hillary and Bill would have sued if the Union endorsed her?? I sincerely DOUBT it.

    A lawsuit of convenience to block those to want to vote from doing so. She should be ASHAMED of herself.

    ABC!!! Anybody but Clinton!!!

    January 17, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  7. Jim in Oregon

    I've been a democrat leaning independent throughout my life, but I will NEVER vote for Hillary. Hillary is one of the most disingenuous duplicitous individuals around. She is a true hypocrite and feels entitled to the presidency ... What has she actually accomplished during her career. We would have some type of health care in this country if she were willing to compromise back in the 90s. With Hillary it’s her way or no way... politics as usual that’s what you will get. Hillary was for the war, supported it and Bush right after we invaded... and she did that for political reasons not because of conscience (which she doesn't have one by the way). I’m very surprised that any person with an intellect is taken in by her phony exterior. Admittedly all politicians are somewhat plastic, but come on…. she is the worst of the worst. If she is so experienced and so involved in foreign affairs, then please explain to me, why she did NOT have a national security clearance during her time associated with the White House. What are her major accomplishments she so readily says she has.. What major legislation has she passed through Congress that affects your life today…She is nothing more than Dick Cheney in drag….

    January 17, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  8. pete

    people, use your brains. ALL the candidates knew the rules 10 months ago, and no one complained. NOW THAT THE CULINARY WORKERS UNION BACKS OBAMA, THE CLINTON SUPPORTERS ARE GOING TO COURT TO STOP THE UNION VOTE FOR OBAMA. Is this democratic? is this respect for the working class that hilary is supposed to represent? DONT BE FOOLED BY THE CLINTONS, WAKE UP AMERICA!!!!

    January 17, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  9. Liberal Prof

    Given the way Obama has run his campaign recently, there isn't enough money on earth to make me vote for him. Ever.

    January 17, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  10. Bill

    Obama as an agent of change gets his supporters to do a Chicago Style political hit and run on Hillary Clinton. The only thing Obama is looking to change is going from being a first-time Senator to President. Obama accepts the endorsements of Kerry and other Washington insiders and somehow he is the agent of change. Anyone who thinks Obama does not now owe the people he takes their endorsement from or the Culinary Union are deluding themselves. Obama talks a great game but he practices a very different one. Obama needs to speak up about this ad and condemn it not only to the press but specifically to the audience of this station in their language or he looses any credibility as a candidate for change.

    January 17, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  11. Gracious and logical

    This ad in question is from an independent source. A group who has understandably taken offence to the Clintons’ attempt to mute its position. This ad demonstrably is autonomous of Sen Obama and his campaign unlike the situation in Iowa where the ads were linked to the Edward’s campaign.

    All parties were aware of the logistics of the Nevada caucus more than 10 months prior. However, these logistics only became problematic or inequitable when Sen Obama (as opposed to another candidate) got the nod from the Culinary union. Let’s not lose sight of what’s really at issue here.


    January 17, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  12. Chris

    Dems will lose the presidential election because of junk like this. They keep slinging mud at eachother in hopes of being top dog at the end of this race. Unfortunately, the mud (and the backlash) will stick through November. Just pray it's not going to be a rightwing Christian nutjob in the whitehouse.

    January 17, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  13. Justin

    To Laura: I believe you're wrong about Obama not being able to win in the general election. Look at polls from all over the place (specifically Rasmussen) that show, when put against a republican, Obama wins every time. It's the republicans who really need to worry about winning against ANY democrat (maybe less so Hillary because she's so divisive).

    January 17, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  14. Steve

    This latest weasel move in Nevada is just another example of why Hillary Clinton is just not likable. The Clinton campain is forgetting that all elections are popularity contests, similar to running for Class President. In New Hampshire Hillary found a way to become likable, she hasn't in Nevada, Obama will take the State.

    January 17, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  15. Matt

    This is Obama the so-called uniter? Shame on you, Barack.

    January 17, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  16. joseph pierre

    Lay off whatever is clouding your judgment.Hillary is the Queen of Mean.Are you kidding.It's just dysfunctional for such an educated people to be rooting for someone stuck in the past like Hillary.We need to look forward.

    January 17, 2008 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  17. Matt Weiss

    First of all, would all of you people guaranteeing defeat for either of the front-runners just stop? You do not know who will win the election, and if you go and read the comments to articles about the Republicans, they're all sure there's not a soul in that race who can beat either Hillary or Obama. So enough of the catastrophizing.

    About this particular issue–I agree that Obama should ask the UNITE HERE union to stop the Spanish language ads now that the case is over, but I don't think he has to, and I certainly don't think anyone can have too much complaint over the message of the ads.

    What's dirtier, really? Using unions connected to your campaign to try to keep large numbers of citizens from caucusing, or using a union connected to your campaign to point that out. There is absolutely no question that this was the precise and undiluted purpose of the legal challenge to the at-large caucuses. If it was not, the teacher's unions would have filed the suit before UNITE HERE's endorsement of Obama.

    Instead, the suit was filed two days after the endorsement. It is a naked attempt to keep these likely Obama-voters out of the process. That is, in my book, dirty and undemocratic (and unDemocratic, I'd like to think). Why is it dirty for UNITE HERE to point it out?

    January 17, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  18. rob

    Get a life guys. Finally, someone speaks up for Obama after the desperate and BS moves Hillary has been making for 2 weeks now.
    Did you guys realize that the Clintons supported the lawsuit trying to change the voting rules for this Saturday's election. Once they found out that the Culinary union was going for Obama, her comes Hillary's surrogates to the dirty work. Are you guys KIDDING me?

    January 17, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  19. Grace Smith, Charlton, SC

    John Edwards should use his response in Iowa to respond to his own attack.

    Hillary Clinto should feel how it felt to be Obama in NH, after she sent out all those mailers attacking Obama and distorting his record.

    January 17, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  20. jk

    I have been a pretty strong and consistent Dem supporter so far, but if Obama wins the Primary, I am going to go and volunteer for whoever is the Republican candidate. Obama is such an Hypocrite. He says no negative attacks and then starts attacking Hillary with everything (starting with the Punjab connection a few months ago, to Lyndon Johnson flap few days ago, to this despicable ad now). I just hope that he would never be our nominee...

    January 17, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  21. Mea

    Obama all the way. Vote Obama 08.

    January 17, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  22. Jamamel

    Angry Blk Guy from VA your are not an Angry Blk Guy from VA you are a STUPID BLACK MAN from VA – what did the Clintons personally do for you when they were in office – You still had to fight the driving while black issue – But whatever you are the ones constantly marring ugly fat white women so why would you not support that ugly white women – do they make you feel better when you look in the mirror or make you feel like a BIG man – Get a life and research the issues – even though Barack is helping you by initiating his bill regarding racial profiling but you are not willing to support him –

    Your are indeed STUPID –

    January 17, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  23. hugh,tx

    So race isn't an issue?The Latino vote from Nevada is totally irrelevant,as almost ALL of the voters are here illegally.I am leaning towards Huckabee,because he understands the only way to preserve the Union,is to deport EVERY illegal no matter where their country of origion is.Take back America,or welcome to the Third World.This is not even a joke!!

    January 17, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  24. Cathy

    What Hillary and her supporters were trying to do in Las Vegas was wrong. This ad is just pointing out the truth. Hillary is just getting whiny because someone else is beating her at her own game.

    OBAMA in 2008!

    January 17, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  25. joseph pierre

    JE and HRC are both fakes. They had no problem with interest groups running ads in their favors in IA. Did they? or Were you under a rock then?

    January 17, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
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