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. Once again...

    Ah ha, once again the champion of hopes is showing us what it means to run a campaign that uplifts instead of puts down, a positive instead of negative campaign...Who is being the sheep here? If Hillary had put up such an ad against Obama, no doubt there would be all kinds of protest.
    The word hypocrite is coming to my mind. Aren't Obama's supporters the ones who claimed he was running a clean campaign? What do you think now? Didn't the man himself claim that he would not play dirty? I have no problem with him behaving like a politician...if he didn't claim that he wasn't really one because he wants to change the system.

    January 17, 2008 08:20 pm at 8:20 pm |
  2. Joann doesn't trust Obama

    Once again, dirty politics that the candidate (Obama) claims he knows nothing about. WAKE UP people, this guy is not what he is making himself out to be. I would be VERY cautious on what you believe coming from his mouth. A good smoozer, a good talker...PLEASE, that does not make a President !!

    January 17, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  3. King David

    You guys have got to be kidding me. As much negativity that has come from the Clinton Camp and her supporters about Senator Obama, she should be the last person to complain about being attack. As far as John Edwards goes, he just doesn't want to be forgotten which he already is. He is not a factor so he will take shots at both Hillary and Obama just to get exposure. Bottom line, "Obama for President". Say it loud!

    January 17, 2008 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  4. David, California

    Nevada citizens,
    Please don't vote for Obama. He is divisive and devious. He has no skills to bring people together as he has divided the Democrats.
    Vote for Hillary or Edwards. My preference is Hillary.

    January 17, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  5. Carolyn Grace

    The Clintons didn't want the students to come back to vote in Iowa and now they tried to stop the casino workers from caucusing. I thought they were for everyone getting to participate in the democratic process. Or is that if they only support Hillary?

    The Clintons are tearing the party apart with their lust for the white house. They were there for 8 years. That's enough. Now it's time to turn the page for Obama.

    January 17, 2008 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  6. jalvin

    Clinton's lawsuit – it's def with her backing and her husband's public support – was over the line of nasty in my opinion. Obama and Edwards have issues, but I'll def vote for either if they are the nominee. But I don't know that I could stomach voting for her after that – it's just so vile. If she's the democratic nominee, I may just not vote in a presidential election for the first time.

    January 17, 2008 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  7. Ray

    Obama..I'm sure is behind this. He's been playing you guys. he's just like all other politician's.

    January 17, 2008 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  8. Mike Orlando, FL

    Dirty, dirty Mr. Obama! What's wrong with you and your followers?

    January 17, 2008 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  9. Leah DiMarco, TX

    American is ready for a statesman as president.

    Obama '08

    January 17, 2008 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  10. Leah DiMarco, TX

    Edited for spelling error:

    America is ready for a statesman as president.

    Obama '08

    January 17, 2008 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  11. Anonymous

    hilary is really cold and fake she will say/do anything to get the vote!! and if she wins she wont remember all the people she used to get to the top. Obama has lived the life that most americans live today he might not have the expirience in the white house but he has the expirience of real life so im pretty sure he can feel for the latinos at least more than hilary can
    ~*~ peace love and unity mwah~*~

    January 17, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  12. Why not a Clinton-Obama ticket in 2008?

    Thomas-Reno, Nevada

    You think that Hillary is dividing the Democrats by denying them their right to vote-–that is ABSURD. Hillary is NOT DENYING THEM THEIR RIGHT TO VOTE, just trying to deny them the right to vote IN THEIR OWN WORKPLACE-–no one ELSE was allowed to vote in their workplaces........we could say that people were DENIED their right to vote in their WORKPLACE now that the others are ALLOWED TO. GET THE FACTS STRAIGHT and tell the whole story--no one is DENYING ANYONE THE RIGHT TO VOTE. Get real.

    January 17, 2008 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  13. Eli, Milwaukee

    Obama is just showing that he will not draw the first blood, but if you bring the battle to him he will destroy you with kindness and just pure humble intelligence.

    January 17, 2008 08:43 pm at 8:43 pm |
  14. Nobodo

    Throwing cheap jabs at OBAMA wouldn't help anything. But rather, go out and vote for the candidate that best represents the ideals and promise of a united, strong and safe America. Your vote is your voice. Dare to speak out truthfully and courageously in this presidential election and use your best judgement regardless of the many endorsements candidates are piling up. An endorsement definitely does not have the connotation of compulsion to vote for any of the candidates, but rather, is an expression of individual or collection opinion of a group or organization in favor of the candidate of their choice – not yours. Your vote is your endorsement and that is what truly matters and definitely will effect the desired change.

    January 17, 2008 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  15. Truethis

    The truth hurt. God hate ugly. And what the Clintons tried to was very underhanded. You can't change the rules two week after the Clinton Union supporters agreed 10 months ago. I curious: Do most teachers work on Saturdays? Go figure.

    January 17, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  16. Wisest

    I see a lot of 'dumb' persons blogging here...when the Clinton's make remarks/comments, nobody raises an eyebrow...when Obama's camp reacts..they say he's 'abomination'...I'm thinking only few Americans are really smart these days...Obama is definitely the right candidate to steer the country into the right direction...ads or no ads...attacks or no attacks!

    January 17, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  17. David from Texas

    So much for the great uniter-it now proves he is exactly like the rest of them. The American people will lose out again-nothing ever changes.

    January 17, 2008 08:46 pm at 8:46 pm |
  18. Selective outrage, anyone?

    In 1995, Barack Obama sued Illinois over its voter registration rolls on behalf of the radical group ACORN, and he now rails against the Clintons attempts to shut down Nevada caucus sites and photo ID laws.

    The vast majority of the people heading to the Strip caucuses will be the underlings of the Culinary - dishwashers, hotel room maids, cooks, etc. - who are the least paid, and most vulnerable to intimidation. And the Culinary leadership has always used them to organize other hotels and vote for their choices.

    The Culinary has full time paid organizers bringing in its masses of members working the low-paying jobs, who will HAVE to raise their hands at the caucus sites for Obama, under the watchful (and threatening) eyes of the Culinary organizers.

    I hope those Strip caucus sites receive a lot of media attention because the Culinary's tactics there will resemble something out of the old Soviet Union, when people casting ballots in boxes under the eyes of Communist Party operatives had to use a special-colored ballot for the Communist Party leader, and another type of ballot to vote against him, making it obvious whom that voter was for.

    It seems obvious that intimidation will be a factor in the voting process at these precincts. Voters who wish to support a candidate will have to do so in front of the watchful eyes of their union reps. These people can then either dismiss or help them with, an harassment claim, a grievance, forced overtime, unpaid labor, or dangerous working conditions etc. etc.

    Democratic leaders insist workers need only show an employee badge. If they don't have one, a party spokeswoman lamely says "we'll somehow accommodate them, hence many illegal immigrants will be voting.

    Many of these immigrant workers are also new citizens and have come from countries where voter intimidation is the norm. So, for them, it would also be expected. If they want to support Clinton or Edwards they will just not go, if they even feel they are able to do that and not place their jobs at risk.

    People should not be caucusing where they work, unless they have secret ballots, again a central tenet of democracy. It is too open to intimidation. There is too much pressure to vote the way the boss or the union wants you to vote.

    I don't think anyone can pretend these polling places would be neutral or unintimidating for those who want to support Clinton or Edwards. Plus many other groups/unions don't get this preferential treatment of setting up special caucus' for a special group, thus others are disenfranchised.

    The Culinary Union should have remained neutral, but they knew all along that they would endorse Obama and made it public days before the caucus. Good for Obama.

    They should be shut down. We should only have Primary ballot votes on elections.

    January 17, 2008 08:47 pm at 8:47 pm |
  19. Duncan, Richmond, VA

    This is a good example of what is wrong with politics in this country. I have no doubt that someone within the Clinton campaign suggested or supported the lawsuit, just like I have no doubt that the Obama campaign had something to do with getting the group to do the radio ads.

    January 17, 2008 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  20. scofield, ohio

    1.) If Clinton filed the orders for the lawsuit THEN we can say that the Clinton's were pushing and backing this case. Since she didn't we can’t ASSUME that she has anything to do with it!

    2.) What is wrong with the supporters of ANYONE fighting to make sure that the person they are supporting is given a fair chance of winning?

    3.) I am still an undecided voter, and personally to me, I think the lawsuit has good substance. Why out of the millions of voters in Nevada, should just a privileged 9 locations be allowed to hold caucuses at work? What about police officers, 911 operators, jail guards, etc. that work a 2nd shift and are unable to make it to their local caucus? If they are not allowed they why should anyone be allowed to vote that are not able to make it to their local caucus?

    4.) Resolution? GET RID OF THE ANCIENT CAUCUS AND VOTE LIKE THE REST OF THE 21ST CENTURY! That way everyone who wants to vote can vote, and you know EXACTLY how that state feels!

    January 17, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  21. Patrick, New York,Ny

    Dirty Dirty Obama!!!

    Clinton 08!!!

    January 17, 2008 08:49 pm at 8:49 pm |
  22. mike

    USA,USA... Hillary

    January 17, 2008 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  23. Ben

    Obama should be ashamed for being supported by people who do not support Hillary and decide to make it public! Someone as low as this should not be president because he plays hardball!

    ....

    That's really all I'm hearing.

    January 17, 2008 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  24. Jim

    John Kerry told Obama's supporters that Obama will not perfect the campaign of swift-boating, he will end it.I think he meant the opposite,I think it's time for Kerry to say : "I was for Obama before i was against him".
    America cannot afford Obama in this troubled time.

    January 17, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  25. sure...

    Watch Obama try and distance himself from this. Then you will see what he is all about. He is dishonest and he plays dirty - he just does it with a "who-me?" face. Shame on him for showing Latinos so much disrespect. He is counting on a lack of information on their part and the strategy is transparent. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter that I can see this. What matters is that the people he is trying to manipulate see through it. I can't believe that people actual think that this underhanded politician and his sarcastic wife can represent America to the world. Change? Only for the worse.

    January 17, 2008 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
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