January 21st, 2008
04:35 PM ET
15 years ago

Anti-Obama push-polling alleged in South Carolina

Myrtle Beach, South Carolina (CNN) - Supporters of Barack Obama in South Carolina said Monday that in the past day, black voters across the state have received biased polling phone calls, sometimes known as “push polls,” which they say are favorable to Hillary Clinton and distort Obama’s record.

Columbia city councilwoman Tamika Isaac Devine, an Obama supporter, said she received such a phone call Sunday night.

“[The caller] asked for the female in the household,” she told CNN, “then they asked my race.” Devine said the caller then launched into a series of positive statements about Clinton and negative statements about Obama, asking how each one affected her vote.

That included a direct comparison of Obama to President Bush. “They said that Barack Obama doesn’t want to be an operational president,” Devine recounted, “and they said he doesn’t want to manage things well, like George W. Bush.”

She said the calls also played on perceived African-American dislike of former President Ronald Reagan and Obama’s recent remarks about Reagan. “They asked, ‘Would you be more willing to vote for a candidate that thinks Ronald Reagan was a more transforming president than Bill Clinton?”

This comes after Obama told a newspaper that, “Reagan changed the trajectory of America in a way that Richard Nixon did not and in a way that Bill Clinton did not.”

On Saturday, the campaign sent reporters what it said was a recording of a Nevada robo-call received by a supporter, in which the caller repeatedly emphasized Obama’s middle name, Hussein, and said the senator lied when he said he did not take money from special interest groups and lobbyists.

State Rep. Todd Rutherford, an Obama supporter, said Monday the South Carolina campaign was receiving reports of similar calls.

–CNN Radio Correspondent Lisa Desjardins

soundoff (117 Responses)
  1. Ezzy

    Horrible, but typical. I hope they get to the bottom of who is behind these smear tactics–???

    By the way Justice Watch has just released new Clinton documents from the Clinton library about the Commitee for Health Care that HRC chaired. Would recommend that everyone takes a look at least to educate themselves on this information whether you like the Clinton's or not. You can find them at the Justice Watch website.

    January 21, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  2. Tony Ford

    It's time for the people in America to step up and demand that the word race be eliminated from all documents and from identifying us as a certain group. We are all people, we all breath in and out, we all bleed red blood. It appears to me that some of the media is more interested in keeping this country divided then bringing it together.
    It's time that you all grow up and look where our country is headed. When is the last time you bought something that said made in America?
    If we can't come together as a people, then the American dream will continue to be a road side bomb.

    January 21, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  3. El problematico

    Is Bill Clinton running for president again? I see him more often than Hillary.

    I'm tired of seeing a Bush-Clinton-Bush and hopefully not another Clinton, does it mean that Jeff will be the next Bush.....

    January 21, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  4. s.positive

    I guess the choice still remains America Old politics or New politics, you chose...

    January 21, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  5. IGNORANCE is the principal reason that America is falling behind

    Sen Obama, who happens to be a brilliant academic, is exactly right in his assessment that Reagan ‘changed the trajectory of America’ in a way that others did not. During the course of my graduate study, we did in-depth studies of the dramatic results of the Reagan-Thatcher regimes. Sen Obama was simply highlighting the fact that it was a considerably divergent and novel path.

    It is rather unfortunate that Bill would manipulate the nature of what was said to utilize it as a divisive tool.

    The fact that Sen Obama is able to offer fair analyses of aspects of our political history speaks volume.

    January 21, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  6. Ezzy

    Oh and 1971 guy and Ginny–are you serious? Why don't you do a little research on the Clintons. Of course by the sounds of your comments I question whether you are interested in educating yourselves or if you would just rather walk blindly into the fire.

    The only lying I've seen lately has come directly from the Clinton camp. Oh but we're use to that aren't we. After all, they're past liars, present liars, and certain to be future liars!

    January 21, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  7. James Brown ( Independent )

    I am starting to think the Clintons are mentally unstable "sick people". Disgraceful is an understatement.

    You Clinton lovers want this scum in office ?

    January 21, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  8. Do the math America !

    Hilary versus Obama

    1) Experience
    Hilary – 7 years
    Obama – 11 years

    2) Academics credentials
    Hilary – ordinary pass (Yale Law); failed Washington bar exam
    Obama – Magma cum laude graduate (Harvard Law)

    3) Claim to fame
    Hilary – married to Bill
    Obama – Keynote speaker at 2004 Democratic convention and author of 2 bestselling books

    4) Main strength
    Hilary – Bill
    Obama – brilliant, eloquent scholar with extraordinary organizational and leadership skills

    5) Main weakness
    Hilary – Mediocre leadership skills including flawed approach (disingenuousness, entitled, ruthless and power-hungry)
    Obama – African parentage

    January 21, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  9. Ray

    OMG..Where in this article did it say Hillary was behind this? WHERE?

    South Carolina has always had this problem. To blame Hillary as if she is responsible for this is just plain out unjustified. You Obama cult members will try and blame Hillary for anything. GROW UP!!

    January 21, 2008 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  10. Dr. Ellen S. Ringer

    I thoroughly disappointed with former President Clinton's attempts to denigrate and emasculate Obama's character and career.

    Dr. Ellen S. Ringer
    Las Vegas, NV

    January 21, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  11. PJ, New York

    All this whining by Obama proves he is not strong enough to be our Commander in Chief! Nobody has taken more personal attacks than Hillary Clinton and she just keeps going on. Hillary Clinton will be the next President of the United States.

    Also, why is nobody saying how unimportant S. Carolina is??????? I've said this over and over.... Jesse Jackson won S. Carolina in the primaries when he was running for president. Where did it get him? The media loves to stir up trouble.

    January 21, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  12. Ray

    Guess what happened in Nevada..There was a radio ad in Spanish trashing Hillary and Obama did NOTHING about it. Even after the court case was over. SO, good for whoever is doing this. How does it feel Obama?

    January 21, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  13. kevin

    Neither Obama nor Clinton can win the general election if the democrats are divided. Its very sad to see the mentality that if their candidate lose one eye then the opponent should lose both the eyes! its time to move away from Karl Rove politics and Bush diplomacy. If the voters are dumb enough to believe all these push polling then its their problem. Support your candidate in primary, if he or she doesn't win then lets elect a democrat in general election whoever it might be.

    Vote Democrat 2008!

    January 21, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  14. 1971guy

    OBAMA = divider....

    January 21, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  15. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Lies and distortion need to be legally challenged. The Clintons have always beat the legal system, Hillary as well as Bill, and now they know there are no legal boundaries for them. Voters need to hold them responsible for their lies and distortion by saying NO, that's the only legal ground we have to stand on.

    January 21, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  16. IndependentMO

    Memories of the Clintons have improved with age like a bad vacation. These people were a disaster in the White House. The old Clintons have just begun to raise their dirty, nasty little heads. You REALLY don't want four more years of these lying (no sex?), cheating (how many women?), dishonest (ever hear of White Water?) disasters looking for a place to happen, do you? I am a true Independent voter and proud of it, but the only person I know that I would vote against, is another Clinton. Please people, I am tired of voting "against" presidental candidates – give me someone I can BELIEVE in!!!

    January 21, 2008 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  17. Jimmie - NV

    Hang in there Obama supporters throughout South Carolina – Hillary is making it worse on herself and Bill is not too much help to her, either.

    I am supporting Obama and I do believe he can rise above Hillary and her supporters and, he has never stooped down to Hillary's level during his campaign trading barbs and insults. Obama is a man and has handled himself in a very professional way. Hillary cannot answer questions head-on and she skirts the majority of the issues that has been brought before her. In other words, she speaks in circles – never completes a detailed and accurate sentence. Once in a blue moon she might get in a complete sentence, one that is well versed and practiced.

    Obama is leading a good campaign against Hillary and as long as Bill is out there flapping his jaws, I am positive some of the Hillary supporters will realize how deceiful the Clintons are and move over to support Obama.. Hillary speaks and then she thinks – not very smart.

    You will never hear Obama slander Hillary – Obama is more of a man, how come Hilllary is NO lady?

    GO, OBAMA, GO.

    Hillary will cook her own silly goose before it's over with. I am glad that CNN is one-sided and is favoring Obama – enough is enough about Hillary and her below the belt tactic to make a run for the White House. VOTE HER OUT!! Hannity on Fox News is no Hillary lover, either.

    January 21, 2008 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  18. Murry

    Shame on Billary for these underhanded tactics.

    Barack Obama takes the moral high road. He's humble, honest and he is for real. He inspires his supporters to be the same. Obama is the one candidate that can unite us, not divide us.

    Vote Barack Obama '08

    January 21, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  19. W Action

    Yikes! Secretly-funded negative capaigning by the establishment candidate. Who could see THAT coming? What's next? Racial politics?

    January 21, 2008 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  20. wow

    when will someone call them on this???

    obama is my choice, but he needs to man up...

    January 21, 2008 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  21. Michael McNicholas

    Q: How can you tell the Clintons are spreading lies about Barack Obama?

    A: Their lips are moving.

    January 21, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  22. DemAtty

    If the Billary campaign continues and she wins by dirty tactics...ALOT OF PEOPLE WILL STAY HOME IN NOVEMBER....

    January 21, 2008 08:32 pm at 8:32 pm |
  23. mnjam

    Obama is making his point. Signiicant changes in policy always require changes in political culture (rhetoric and tactics). Reagan, as Obama, points out successully did this. He got his policies through and instiutionalized by changing the rhetoric and tone and coopting the opposition. Clinton failed to do so, which is why most of his initiatives failed (e.g. health care reform) and his successes (raising taxes on the wealthiest and closing the deficit) were erased. It's as if he had never been there.

    Clinton got too caught up in the slash and burn politics of Bush 41 and still is. Bottom line: Reagan's VP was elected and continued his policies. Clinton was succeeded, not by his VP, but the Bush 41's son, borge W. Bush, a bigger Reaganite than Reagan, both in substance and style.

    Real change requires a change in direction and in culture. Obama is different from HRC primarily in the latter. But that may be more important in the end. HRC, if nominated, may not be elected and, if elected, may not get anything anydone. The best defefnse for Obama against Clinton-Bush slash and burn is to make these points.

    January 21, 2008 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  24. Phil

    I said I would keep posting until it is displayed. CNN continues its bias support of Obama and won't post pro-Clinton comments.

    WOW, here we go. CNN is not getting the tide to turn for Obama like they thought they would out of all the "RACE" issues, so now they want to sling mud at the Clinton campaign for "unethical" push-polling. Keep it up CNN, you just might succeed in not only getting the RIGHT candidate (Senator Clinton) elected, but also getting your true colors as PUNDITS recognized. I thought this was a NEWS agency, but the more I read and view, I understand there is a true underlying motivation for what you "report" and what you don't!!
    Again, this probably will be moderated out of view, but I will continue to post until it appears

    January 21, 2008 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  25. Jimmie - NV

    I was so happy to read the message posted by Dr. Ellen S. Ringer and agree on everything she had to say about the caucus held in Nevada. I had just written about this subject on another ticker and was surprised to see what she had to say about the caucus here in Las Vegas. My husband and I attended the caucas at John Fremont Middle School and our daughter and her husband attended one at Western High School. Both sites catered to the Clinton supporters. There was Hillary signs galore posted in the medium along the street and every table that we were sent to was run and operated by none other than the Clinton supporters. A male extended his hand to shake my son-in-law's hand but quickly withdrew his hand when my son-in-law told him 'no" I am not here for Hillary. I, like Dr. Ringer, feel the whole entire Caucus thing was a set-up deal to divert attention away from the other contenders that were running for President.

    In the gym where the supporters were doing the caucus, I observed Clinton supporters sitting in the middle of the gym while both Obama and Edwards' supporters had to sit to the far left or right side of the gym. The "undecided" were forced to sit in the bleachers that were not near the Clinton supporters. Frankly, it did not feel like a caucus, nor did it feel like I was there to express my isupport for Obama it felt more like we were at the Clinton's Democratic Headquarters.

    I left before the caucus were taken because I could not hear a word one of Hillary's supporters were saying – she couldn't stand in the middle area so all could hear, she had to go all the way down to the end where the supporters for Clinton were seated. Those of us supporting Obama had to yell at her to please speak up. She never made an attempt to speak louder nor did she try to move to an area where everyone could hear either. I left because 1) I couldn't hear ( I am hearing impaired) 2) the speaker asked the Obama's supporters to move closer to the center of the gym (we had to stand) putting everyone next to Clinton's supporters and ,3) I left because I am very short and standing behind all the tall people never gave me a chance to see or hear the Clinton supporter speaker. I tore off my name and ripped the ballot into several pieces and threw it on the table where the Clintinites were and left the building in tears.

    That whole set-up left me disturbed for the remainder of the day and night. I actually could not sleep and tossed and turned all night with that in my mind. Yes, I agree with Dr. Ringer, the whole entire caucus was one-sided but, I do believe in my whole heart that Obama will preside over Hillary. If you are a Christian, please pray for Obama. If you are not a Christian, then please listen to Bill and Hillary and what they are doing to gain votes. Get educated on the political scene and listen to (in my case I read the caption) what the Clintons are doing. Get on the Internet and check out what the Washington Post has to say about the Clintons when Bill was in the White House. Over the years, one has a tendency to forgot what it was like when Bill was president, get informed and I guarantee you will not become a Hillary supporter.

    The Culinary Union thing was a fiasco and it all came about because of the Clintons, too. Hillary whined because she felt it was unfair for the hotels to do their own caucus – it goes to court, the hotels win and open up rooms for the caucus. There are over 60,000 Culinary Union members alone, did Hillary get 1/2 of these votes. No, she did not she just got over 2600 votes, that's not even a drop in the bucket. I think the Culinary workers were turned off by her and refused to attend the caucus. Mitt Rommey got over 12,000 votes – that is a lot more than what Hillary got. I understand Obama had 13 delagates from NV and Hillary got only 12. That's good new and I hang my lady's hat on that.

    One last thing, yes, Obama is young, yes, Obama is inexperienced, but don't be fooled, the presidential advisors will help and guide Obama. Obama will learn how to function on his own as each day passes. Don't forget one thing, everyone has to be trained to their new position and Obama will be trained. Alll the presidents had to be trained since it is a whole new ballgame from being a Senator or Congressman.

    Thank you Dr. Ringer for all your hard work and for bringing this to the attention of the readers on this ticker. I appreciate it very much.

    January 21, 2008 08:58 pm at 8:58 pm |
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