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. Richard Andre

    The real democratic front runner will soon be known. And this time, there would be no tear, trick, tactic or fraud.

    It is interested to note that NBC went to court to prevent Kucinich appearing on the debate in Nevada. One of the reasons for this censorship is that they are afraid that Kucinich will talk about what happen in New Hampshire. The CNN/Gallup polls were actually accurate; the polls showed that Obama with a lead of 7 points on the eve of New Hampshire primary. Indeed there was a deceit benefiting the so-called surprised winner. Eventually the American people will know the truth, and when the truth reveals the voters’ propensity will clearly go toward the leader with the sound judgment, not the divider. Kucinich really believes that there was a fraud. He supports this belief with hard cash, by paying for the recounts that is now in order. Kucinich believes that Barrack Obama has won the New Hampshire primary; and Hillary Clinton came in second. The Diebold scanning machine were breached For instance, technicians who support the Diebold machines were allowed to break the security seal to change the memory card on the scanning machine during the Election Day under the pretense that the Diebold machine broke down. There seems to be evidence that the surprise winner got a bump of +4.5% and the second candidate’s vote counts were subtracting by 2.5%

    January 17, 2008 09:17 pm at 9:17 pm |
  2. Robert, Gastonia, North Carolina

    selective outrage: You are exactly right. This whole thing is a gross miscarriage of justice. It wreaks of political muscle and union hard ball. Where is our outrage? This is not fair and not the America we call the land of the free and the home of the brave.

    January 17, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  3. SB

    Looks like Hillary may be getting a dose of her own medicine. It's about time, and after seeing the mailers that her campaign sent out in New Hampshire and Nevada, I'm convinced that karma may be coming into play here.

    January 17, 2008 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  4. Glazed, Detroit metro

    What a hypo? What happened to all your crying in Iowa? Does this mean, you are in the same boat edwards was in Iowa? Number 2 is not all that back – for bonehead.

    January 17, 2008 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  5. Dan

    Thank you Druie Cavender. I agree with you. Joe Biden is the only qualified Democrat to be President.

    January 17, 2008 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
  6. Julius

    Obama must win. He is already the president and I support him fully. Who is missing out on this campaign? Please, take a few minutes to listen to Obama. He is the only true candidate in the campaign trail.

    He is the only promising candidate to bring change to America. Change on economy, Iraq war, immigration, health care and many other things. Has any one seen his economy plan? That is what the American people need right now.

    Go ahead Obama. You are the winner. You did not run to lose. You ran because you want change for the American people, you want the American people to have their country back.

    January 17, 2008 09:25 pm at 9:25 pm |
  7. Zac


    January 17, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  8. Victoria

    wow Obama is a uniter...give me a break..first He plays the race card..and get caught red handed at the debate the other night...which work because He will win S.C. and now He got Spanish people fighting among each other... He can try all He wants...But He won't win C.A. over 300 delgates, NY, NJ, PA etc. Totally agree elections should not be held in casino..and the union workers should not have to stand there and be watched by their bosses while the voting take place of course they will vote for Obama if they don't want to lose their jobs...

    January 17, 2008 09:27 pm at 9:27 pm |
  9. Avalon.\,\\

    Keep those ads coming for OBAMA because the more you see them the more you see what his true "change" is all about, which is telling lies, but having others do it for him. What better way to take the light off him and have his supporters do the dirty work for him. This way he shines bright and looks like the innocent one in all this, always putting Hillary on the defensive, while he sits back and says nothing and making him seem like the one who is getting beat up on. Good strategy. Key word is "strategy" here , not "presidential ideating" and in the end, the voters will see that and stick to the issues that concern them most...healthcare,wages, and living the american dream.

    Go Hillary..

    January 17, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  10. joyo

    Clinton and Edwards what goes around comes around, i am just waiting for the recount in NH lollllllllllllllllllllllllllllll, Everyone go to the NH website and see how many errors have already been found in the recount

    January 17, 2008 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  11. billy

    I'm happy Obama finally take up the Clintons and beat them at their own game. Bill keeps attacking and apologizing to Obama at will. Its about time the attack turn to bill cause he seem to be the one instigating the nasty politics. Let the add run

    January 17, 2008 09:30 pm at 9:30 pm |
  12. Seam, Philly, Pa

    Garth January 17, 2008 9:07 pm ET

    It was a matter of time befoer Obama used his race to gain votes, he has lost my vote.

    Garth Brooks, you moron, Obama never had your vote. If he did, you would not let this prevent you from supporting Obama. Are you that naive to believe Obama had something to do with this 3rd party ad? You must haven"t followed his campaign too well. You are lost in all the media hype.

    January 17, 2008 09:31 pm at 9:31 pm |
  13. Lynne

    I'm sorry, but this ad sounds terribly like "Swiftboating" to me, how disappointing. I thought the Obama campaign was supposed to be above this type of thing. Seems to be ok when it serves their purpose though. I'm sure the ads would stop if the campaign wanted them to stop, even if they are being run by "Unite Here Campaign Committee." I also thought Senator Obama was not going to be beholding to any special group...sure doesn't sound like that now. I am only becoming more convinced that my support of Hillary is the correct choice as the Obama campaign seems no different than what they have been accusing their opponents of. Didn't his supporters say the Clintons should have put a stop immediately to their supporters making any controversial or inappropriate remarks also? Well, I guess the truce is over as tonight on the news I heard a quote from a minister who supports Sen. Obama, which if correct, sounded very "un-Christian." I don't think Senator Obama is offering as much change as he has promised if these are examples. Sad, as I had thought he might be a great President in a few more years.

    I also have noticed the 3 Dem. candidates do seem to be held to entirely different standards, and do seem to receive different media coverage: Sen. Obama – all positive; Sen. Clinton – all negative; Sen. Edwards – largely ignored unless he sides with Sen. Obama. The press sure knows how to divide, not unite, the electorate!

    As another poster commented, I am also tired of all of the "lashes out, bashes, slams, etc" headlines from the press. President Clinton did not sound furious or enraged, he sounded like he was making a point he felt strongly about, how many of us would have responded the same way. If the reporter was that "sensitive", he should look for different work. Again, so tired of all of the bias and double standards!

    January 17, 2008 09:32 pm at 9:32 pm |
  14. Andy, New York, New York

    Vote McCain-Giuliani in 2008!

    In McCain, we have military and Washington experiences.

    In Giuliani, we have a fighter of terrorists, criminals, and a strong leader in big government operations.

    January 17, 2008 09:35 pm at 9:35 pm |
  15. Joe, SoCal

    Robert from Gastonia.... do you realize that it was Hillary who voluntarily made the statement about MLK? She didn't have to make it, but it's Clinton modus operandi to throw out dirt and hope some of it sticks. If the comments were twisted it was her fault.

    Here's a quick primer in the Clinton strategy: After the Iowa caucus, Hillary conceeded the black vote. She knew she would not get it, but she also knew that she didnt need it to win the nomination. Hillary, Bill, and surrogates decided to mention race whenever possible. This would lead to herself being seen as the "white candidate", and Obama as the "black candidate." Even if it angered the black community, some of it would stick and would probably help her in the white community.

    Thankfully, it looks like this strategy is starting to backfire on her.

    January 17, 2008 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  16. Carrie

    The ad is the complete truth. The way that Bill Clinton is reacting to this says it all. If the tables were turned, everything would be fine with the Clintons.

    January 17, 2008 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  17. Eric in Massachusetts

    Dear Obama,

    Take a look in the mirror. Do you like what you see? Forgot your own message of hope? Wow.

    I'm unimpressed. It's nice that you are showing more of yourself in the past days and weeks.

    Prediction: You will self destruct by Super Tuesday.

    The only ones left standing by convention time will be Edwards and Clinton.

    January 17, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  18. Jon Cruz

    Just strengthens my support of Hillary Clinton.

    January 17, 2008 09:42 pm at 9:42 pm |
  19. Andrew, NC

    Let's face it, today in politics you can't stay 100% positive. Scrupulous politicians like Bush and Clinton will hit you with so much negative press that everyday there's a new rumor you have to deal with while the opponents talks about the issues and cries. I'm sorry that Obama's supporters (not him) have to show some teeth but it's the reality of politics: no matter what Americans say, no candidate can win without going negative. Americans reward negative ads by second guessing the candidate who is the victim, and as long as these so called "independent" groups that bring up the rumors and negative press are not held accountable for their actions, there will never be a truly positive campaign. That and the media sucks at covering politics. I mean, why not talk about issues FOR ONCE. Then we can bring up the laundry list of scandals the Clintons have been involved in.... America has just about become a democracy of dunces.

    January 17, 2008 09:43 pm at 9:43 pm |
  20. Chris, Orlando FL

    GO HILLARY! The Obama campaign should be ashamed of themselves for propagating this lie and, once again, completely distorting the facts of this controversy. Obama and his backers are going DOWN.

    January 17, 2008 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  21. NickNas

    Hey Garth...... You are so full of it.

    If Obama had a Halo and angels wings you would have never voted for him in the first place.

    You Amature political hacks trying to plant seeds and be slick about it are really funny. It is fun to see how much time you waste trying.

    January 17, 2008 09:47 pm at 9:47 pm |
  22. greg

    Obama's supporters have turned their backs to the TRUTH and bare facts being that Hillary had nothing with the lawsuit. They are now purveying the big LIE that she had. They are really getting more and more desperate with their BELOW THE BELT attacks against HILLARY. If Obama does not disown these lies and black propaganda of which his supporters are guilty, then he is equally guilty. Come on, have Obama's supporters LOST HOPE? Indeed, they have lost hope as evidenced by the glaring show and headlines that they are now making by resorting to lies and insinuations to paint a bad image of HILLARY. Is this the kind of CHANGE that Barack's supporters are preaching nationwide – change for the worse with LIES and falsehoods? Are these lies, flaws and faults what the Obama camp is talking about when they say "SOMETHING IS HAPPENING"? You know what, they are not helping Obama in the long run with their lies and mistakes. Instead, they are indirectly helping HILLARY win as a form of chastisement. If they are, then HILLARY's victory in the end as Democrat nominee cannot be helped.

    January 17, 2008 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  23. Neutral

    First of all these caucus sites where first implemented last year by the request of the Clintons!!! They wrongly assumed that the union would endorse Hillary. The lawsuit was not filed until 2 days after the union endorsed Obama!! Read the facts!! The people that filed the lawsuit are Clinton supporters. They are now trying to disinfranchise the voters that do not support them. This is something that all Americans should be concerned about no matter who you support!!

    January 17, 2008 09:53 pm at 9:53 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    to druie cavender: know any way to do that? Sadly i dont.....

    i am an impassioned supporter of ABH (ANYone but hillary) Billary put down that crown! shout it out hi and lo, dynasty has got to go.....~!

    January 17, 2008 09:54 pm at 9:54 pm |
  25. Nadia, North Carolina

    This one's simple. Anyone who is not flacking for the Clinton campaign because of their own personal reasons sees the truth.

    The Clinton campaign signed off on the Nevada caucus structure last year. It was only after they didn't get the endorsement from the Culinary workers that the lawsuit emerged.

    It's more politics by poor sportsmanship from a campaign that's taken it to an artform. Ask us a question at a debate that we don't like? We'll demonize you and say you're either (1) sexist or (2) from the right wing. Criticize us? You're piling on a poor woman. Won't vote for us? We'll disenfranchise you.

    How about acting like adults members of the Clinton campaign. By the way, Richardson was the only one in this race with any experience running anything anyway. Senator Clinton = experience? What has she accomplished?

    January 17, 2008 09:55 pm at 9:55 pm |
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