February 13th, 2008
02:00 PM ET
13 years ago

Clinton goes negative in new ad

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/13/art.clintonad.cnn.jpg caption=" Clinton is taking aim at Obama in a new TV ad."]

(CNN) - Hillary Clinton is taking aim at Barack Obama in a new Wisconsin television ad for not agreeing to participate in a debate there.

"Both Democratic candidates have been invited to a televised Wisconsin debate," an announcer says in the new 30 second spot. "Hillary Clinton has said yes. Barack Obama hasn't. Maybe he'd prefer to give speeches than have to answer questions."

"Like why Hillary Clinton has the only health care plan that covers every American, and the only economic plan that freezes foreclosures," the announcer continues. "Wisconsin deserves to hear both candidates debate the issues that matter. And that's...not debatable."

The ad is Clinton's latest attempt to put Obama on the defensive over his refusal to debate the New York senator more than twice between Super Tuesday and the crucial March 4 primaries in Ohio and Texas. Clinton, who has been widely praised for her debate performances this campaign season, had proposed one debate a week after Super Tuesday.

The Obama campaign later agreed to two debates - one in Ohio at the end of the month, and a CNN/Univision debate in Austin, Texas next week.

The ad is also a sign the Clinton campaign is still aiming for a strong showing in Wisconsin next Tuesday, despite the fact it is devoting much of its resources to the Ohio and Texas primaries a week later.

Responding to the ad, Obama senioir adviser David Axelrod said, "We've debated 18 times, we're going to debate two more, but we've got other business to do here in terms of meeting voters face to face."

- CNN's Alexander Mooney and Chris Welch

soundoff (1,010 Responses)
  1. Art H

    If we were to distill the Obama message, the following is how I would summarize it:

    a) We will change Washington (obviously with all of the washington insiders jostling for space within the campaign !)

    b) Obviously I personally have no examples to show of the "change" I have bought into any large system, capable of being rated as a "presidential level" change

    c) I give "inspiring speeches".

    d) The NY Times has already done an expose` of the kind of change Obama tried to do with the Nuclear plant Exelon. Every time Obama went back to the drawing board, the "change" got diluted, until the legislation finally died in the house. Great "change" indeed !

    Why not debate Clinton, so that the people can compare and contrast ?

    February 13, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  2. John

    Whenever Clinton goes negative, it just turns me more towards Obama. Don't get me wrong, Obama has done his fair share of attacking on Hillary, but 9/10 times Hillary is the original aggressor and here she is with the first bit of raw mud-slinging. This is a shameful tactic to employ. She simply wants more debates because of her lack of funding. It is not a coincidence that she called for 1 debate a week right after her money crisis.

    February 13, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  3. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Hillary knows voters have spoken in support of Obama. Hillary doesn't understand the dynamics of Obama that no debate can change. Hillary should focus on speaking to her supporters as we expect Obama to do. Obama is simply the best.

    February 13, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  4. Mary

    It's about time Hillary took off the gloves. The last debate neutralized Hillary's potency and unique grasp of policies and details – whoever gave her that crappy advice – adios! Place your bets on Hillary winning the Texas Hold Em showdown – they don't call the Clinton's the Comback Kids for nothing.

    February 13, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. Ken Austin, TX

    I love the response from Obama's campaign manager David Axelrod:

    "We've debated 18 times, were gonna debate two more, but we've got other business to do here in terms of meeting voters face to face."


    Obama '08

    February 13, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. Patty, somewhere

    I find nothing wrong with this kind of ad and since Mrs. Clinton gets nothing but negative coverage over most of the media spectrum, debating is the only fair way she gets to have her message addressed. As for Mr. Obama who would rather meet voters face to face, I wonder how many he actually greets and listens to in those large stadium settings he has?

    February 13, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  7. Melanie

    Tsk, Tsk. Why the need to get ugly, Hill-Billy? The only reason that she wanted the debates is because she's running out of money...that's really sad. I hope that the people see through her ploys..and she needs to remember: God don't like ugly. This may back-fire on her. Maybe she'd win more states if she'd get out there and stump like Obama instead of having her husband and daughter run amok.

    February 13, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. Angel

    I'm just surprised it took this long! My guess is that she's hoping to take the focus away from the problems she's having within her campaign organization. Also, since there seems to be a bit of a money crunch there as well, some extra debates would be a way to get some free publicity and get her message out to more people without having to spend money doing it. I predict – This strategy will fail. Obama's campaign needs to focus on getting his message out to the people in the upcoming primary states that need to become more familiar with who he is and what he stands for. Now is not the time for them to be distracted by the Clinton campaign's efforts to sidetrack them from their focus. Stay focused on what you need to do.

    February 13, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  9. Margi

    I live in Ohio and I just voted absentee.
    Hail to the Chief – President Barack Obama!

    February 13, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  10. E in Wi

    Yes great speeches to 10s of thousands. Hillary debate Shuster.

    February 13, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  11. Boy George

    David Schuster was praising Chelsea...please get ur facts straight

    February 13, 2008 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  12. Gabriel Huerta

    More of the same..."on day one" "in 90 days.. bring the troops home"
    "freeze forclosures" "predatory lenders...bla bla, bla bla,

    February 13, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  13. Adam James

    Obama is already here. Clinton isn't. Chelsea Clinton was here on Monday, but it didn't have too big of a draw or media presence.

    Of the two big D strongholds, Barack will take liberal Madison and will have a fight in Milwaukee. However, he's in first and his organization and the enthusiasm here is much, much higher. Look for 30+% turnout in Madison.

    February 13, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  14. MEGO

    I agree.. Obama need to reach voters.. rather than spend time .. working on debates.. THe key in this election is getting voter energized... and Hilliary is not energizing enough. That is what she needs to work on.

    February 13, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  15. john

    Obama should try the McCain Straight Talk Express. He will talk with despots, or leaders of unfriendly nations, but not fellow Democrats, the citizens of Michigan and now Wisconsin.
    I say debate. If people don't want to watch that is their choice, but I would like to hear more on issues and not more glib speeches.

    February 13, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  16. Deni

    In the past month I've left over 50 responses on CNN and have never made it thru moderation. You Obama supporters want to show me who you grease to get thru?

    February 13, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  17. Oregon Independent

    Billary may be finished but the race will continue through the convention with neither gaining the magic numer. This will be a contest decided by the super delegates at the least and most likely be brokered at the convention. The Clintons will not give up; it's not in either of thier nature. It will remain close enough that they will see a way to win through the super delegates. They feel like many of these delegates owe them and they will lean heavily on those that owe them favors. Mark my words this is going to get very ugly after the Texas and Ohio primaries, especially if Billary wins or splits because then they will be about even going into the convention.

    February 13, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  18. Chris

    No one wants to see the ice queen with her caked on make-up debate anymore...really.

    February 13, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  19. Zach

    Obama can only give speeches about CHANGE. It is not possible for him to explain how he intends to bring that about. As long as there are simple minded people in the U.S. who are satisfied with rhetoric rather than substance, he will do well. It is the media's responsibility to provide the public with facts and investigative reporting. I beg the real reporters NOT TO FAIL AMERICA IN ITS HOUR OF NEED.

    February 13, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. Lucas, Nashville TN

    She just wants to keep him off the campaign trail. YES, he would rather make speeches, since that's how to reach people in their home towns. Nobody wants to see more blowhards from the media tossing softballs at poor widdle Hillary.

    She knows that she loses when there is an actual campaign on the ground. She needs to keep him indoors, and that's NOT going to happen. I'm sure people would have preferred for MLK to stay contained... or Ceasar Chavez... Bobby Kennedy... or hell... Jefferson. But that's not how movements like this change the world.

    The only change Hillary represents are changes in her campaign staff. She's toast and she's desperate. Keep up the tantrums, lady. It only makes us stronger.


    February 13, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  21. KB

    The debates are a desparation attempt to get free airtime from a campaign that's running out of money.

    February 13, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  22. anne

    How about Hillary disclose her finances, maybe then there would be something to debate. There are not many big differences between these candidates, let it go Hillary, sorry you are low on cash and this add will only add to your negative image in this campaign. At least Hillary is consistent, desperate times, desperate measures, sad sad sad.
    Obama 08

    February 13, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  23. PJ

    Good for Barack,
    she is scared and just wants the air time because the money's low.
    I wonder if she forgot, she might get asked about her tax returns if they;d debate.

    February 13, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  24. James Moore

    If they aren't going to put on the gloves, then what is there to debate?

    February 13, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  25. Oregon Independent

    If this goes like I suspect; the Dems will be completely destroyed (not as if this would be the first time the Clintons have put themselves before the party) and John McCain will be the next President. That's not such a bad thing considering his record.

    February 13, 2008 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
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