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. ana

    see Obama making a lot of "inspiring" speeches, with no depth to all that talk. Talk is cheap but where is the beef ?

    February 13, 2008 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  2. jerome baker jr

    Just because Obama does not debate dont mean anything!Hillary can take shots at Obama all she want but it wont work.Its not time for a woman president and we all know that.

    February 13, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. Crown Prince pH

    I think Senator Clinton is digging up an electoral grave with voters here through her verbal diarrhoea and ill-advised negatives ads. Having failed to manage her own campaign and even ariving as late as 2 hours after a rally kick-off in Maine(or was it Washington State?), she proceeds to draft up a programme for Senator Obama!

    Well, if he wants a contest about who is the most argumentative of the two candidates, then she`ll not get that. Right now Sen. Obama is busy giving a speech on the state of the national economy, whilst she is busy trying to tear him down. She has done her multitude of followers a disservive by failing to maximise her chance to make history through bad campaigns and bad strategy, poor financial management and now she should be preparing not for a debate but to interviews possible candidatees for the vacancies her top ides are creating.

    It is sad for her campaign to come this far and sink this low. Yet, they have noone to blame, some people never learn! How the mighty are fallen!

    February 13, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  4. Will SF CA

    Obama is a nothing. If he wins the Nom, i simply wont vote! His followers are just that FOLLOWERS.

    Hilliary '08

    February 13, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  5. yl

    Hilliary's message to me really is:

    Hey, you got to play the game MY way! I am good at debate, so let's debate! When you follow my rule, I'll show you how I can mesmerize you with my ability to twist and turn those words on anything I say. And, don't worry, Bill and I are masters of damage control, we can hadnle whatever consequences later...

    After watching the Clintons so many years, I am conditioned to examine whatever the Clintons have to say. When I compare Senator Clinton with other candidates carefully. I can’t help but feeling wonderful to see the superior qualities other brilliant, sincere, heart-warming candidates have.

    It’s high time to have new leadership in our country. Anyone, but NEVER the Clinton again!!!

    February 13, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  6. Teri B.

    This reporting, particulary from CNN is so unbalanced and biased lately. Obama took about 10 shots over the bow at Clinton in his speech last night, and I don't hear a word about his negativity. All you seem to report constantly is that she's attacking him. Hell, he was going after her for months before she even fought back, which was after she started to drop in the polls.

    Have you people ever heard of journalism. It's disgusted the way your coverage is slanted. I'm an Edwards supporter, and it's clear as day to me the way the media is becoming our democracy's "king maker." Have you no shame at all?

    February 13, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  7. sbrown

    If Hillary can't run her campaign correctly, what makes you think she can lead a country?

    February 13, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  8. Bebble

    This is a new twist........ let's have a debate over a debate issue.

    Give me a break. Obama doesn't want to debate unless he has to. In a debate he can't paraphrase ML King or JF Kennedy as he does in his speeches. For those of us who remember those 2 great men, sit back a listen carefully to an Obama speech and you'll see. He has no original thoughts of his own.

    Well, I like my entire Democratic working colleagues, say we will never vote for Obama (unless it's Obama/Hillary ticket) and are switching party lines and voting for McCain. I thought it was a bit strange when a Republican urges his voters to vote for Obama.

    Atleast with McCain we just go on as we are now rather than be destroyed by Obama making inexperienced decisions.

    I can't wait to see the media spin when McCain wins over Obama. We all know McCain will not and cannot every beat Hillary in an election.

    So, let the games begin.........

    February 13, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  9. IA4Hillary

    Obama has debated Hillary once, not 18 times. The other 17 were debates among all of the candidates, not just the two of them.
    Nice, um, um, try through.

    February 13, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  10. Quinn - Houston, Texas

    So Hillary supporters let me get this straight. Obama must be ALL TALK, because he's so good at it...right? That's like saying all I know how to do is yard work because I'm really good at mowing my lawn.
    It makes no sense. Even most Hillary supporters agree that his speeches are way better than hers so why should he start boring people with statistics like Hillary just to look smart.

    Instead of making ridiculous accusations, take a minute to read about his plans and positions on his website. Compare his site with Hillary's site and you can have an instant debate whenever you want. At least know where he stands before you start spewing hatred for him.

    18 debates is enough already and there are still 2 to go. He agreed to do them even though they are NOT mandatory and he is already ahead in delegates. Obama is no coward. I know he will stay positive in spite of Hillary's attempt to smear him.

    If Hillary plans on running the country the same way she has run her campaign, God help us.

    Yes We Can.

    Obama 08!

    February 13, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  11. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    Just because Obama is inspirational doesn't mean that his platform lacks substance. He is every bit as detailed–if not more so–than Hillary on the issues. Just because you don't see it in a short 2 minute TV segment doesn't mean it's not there. All of his plans are readily available to people who will take the time to read or listen.

    Furthermore, everyone has had the opportunity to hear these two debate.

    February 13, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  12. HookedonPolitics

    Just another typical negative tactic by the 1990 Clinton machine.

    February 13, 2008 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  13. Yes we can!

    George-Texas...that's your opinion.

    They debated 18 times already....two more debates are sufficient...Obama prefers to meet with the voters and talk directly to them. The Clintonians don't have the authority to dictate how Obama should run his campaign. That's why her entire campaign is falling apart...now she has to get volatile because she has lost 8 states consistently....That's right Obama....give the speeches, keep talking directly to the people....run some ads asking her to hand over her and Bills tax returns!!! hahaha

    February 13, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  14. Dani

    Go Hillary! At least she has backbone enough to stick to the issues and bring them to the forefront. People need to see Obama's weaknesses and inability to be an effective leader.

    February 13, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  15. Chief

    Alecki I have to point something out to you. the only one of the candidates with any executive experience is Mike Huckabee. I don't see where all of her 'experience' comes from. Are we talking about the years as a junior partner at Rose Law Firm? First Lady of Arkansas? First Lady of the US? Junior Senator from NY? let me remind you that First lady is largely a ceremonial/ figurehead position. the time is spent in photo ops of non controversial issues.

    What experience? ande where was JFK's experience? come on, I am tired of the experience argument from someone who has no more experience than any other candidate in the race.

    February 13, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  16. Troy-Boston

    Susan, St. Michaels, MD- you sound very ignorant for an investment banker. I would never do business with you, nor your bank, if you call people "Miss. Thang". And Lasierra, are in second grade... I am ashamed I live in the same country as you. You deserve Obama to be your president, he talks the same way.

    February 13, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  17. Elizabeth

    I am sure the first 18 debates are somewhere for all of those wanting to see a debate. They have one scheduled for next Thursday. This is such a ploy, 6 days before the election and 8 days before a debate to whine that he won't do a debate in the next 6 days. . .booo hooo.

    Obama has great information about his stances and experience on his website. I would encourage all those feeling that they need to know more about him to look there.

    February 13, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  18. marge

    Confused.......... February 13th, 2008 12:15 pm ET

    You go Hillary!!!! I am interested and I would hope all of Wisconsin is interested. How come he s shunning the opportunity for us to hear him? Maybe he feels like he doesn't need the votes"

    It's obvious why you picked the name "confused" .
    Obama IS in Wisconsin tlaking to the voters,while Hillary is in Texas. The Texas primary is 3 weeks away!
    It would appear that Hillary doesn't want the votes.

    February 13, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  19. Debbie

    The only reason Hillary wants a debate is for free advertising to offset her dwindling supply.
    Obama simply cannot win with this issue; either he debates her and gives her free advertising or he refuses to and she is going to use it to sling mud at him.
    It is highly interesting that HE hasn't slung any mud or said anything derogatory; but the minute things don't go Hillary's way, SHE IS THROWING ALL SHE CAN.
    Obama has used his time very wisely in his campaigning based on his primary returns. It isn't his fault that she doesn't or can't.
    There is no reason he should change his working system to suit her.

    February 13, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  20. matt hardeman UK


    remember a phrase that says: "don't believe the hype"

    guess what. like it or not, it still applies.

    he's our bush. dont do it.

    February 13, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  21. Stella Oliveros

    Obama won three states yesterday 2/12/08, so I watched his speech....He's following the Martin Luther King format to empower the people. When a nation is sad he knows exactly what they need: a pep talk, a promise of hope, a lifting of the soul. I saw the people roar of emotion for 45 minutes. Perhaps people see Hillary as just a walking suit listing the issues and how she would tackle each one but for 45 straight minutes Obama never once even touched on one issue let alone how he would solve them. It's sad to see a nation falling for emotional peps talks from a guy who's just dreaming the dream but has no idea how to solve them. Here is Hillary with a Masters on Health Reform from Harvard, 8 years Experience in the White House learning hand on hand with Clinton, 6 years as as a U.S. Senator and we can't see she the best person for that job? Just because she's actually focusing on the issues and not on our broken hearts we find her boring? I think we are in critical state, an opportunity that will never come back. It's great to be sheered up when we're down and some people are really good at that like Obama but when he sits in office is his job on TV regularly giving us great empowerment speeches, no his job to sit in office and solve issues and that's when we'll miss Hillary Clinton. The woman who actually went to school to change a Nation in her twenties which was 1970’s way before Obama decided to focus on Change 6 months ago.

    How would I advise Hillary?
    I would advise her that if Obama is using his race as an African American like last night when he said "I would be the first Black African American to ever be elected to office do you really think I would waste this opportunity and let my people down, and whites, and Hispanics and Asian AND the Nation?" and people went crazy. Hillary should use her card on gender, "I would be the first Woman to ever be elected to office do you really think I would waste this opportunity and let little girls down, and women before me and after me and men, AND the Nation?" It's all about the HEART right now...talking from the heart is all people seems to want.....because the Nation is SAD and they just need to be sheered up...don't even have the mental state to retain or follow the important issues which is what’s really important right now but what to do? Follow the crowd and feed them what they want....it's in their best interest not even Hillary's.

    February 13, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  22. Richard

    Maybe she can blame her failure on that Vast Right Wing Conspiracy
    or that mean old Carl Rove.
    Any one but herself. She never takes responsibilty for her self or her actions.

    February 13, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  23. JOHN B

    There has only been 1 debate since the field has narrowed down to two. There Only Debate came in Cali which showed a recorded Number of Viewers... so as u Obama People may Say, "i'm tired of Debates" that b/c Obama doesnt give u that same sparks as he does when reading written speaches. This is only Fact, but True, why play up to other advantages? The reason is, Many Americans do not read, our culture is based on TV for info. So yes if a Debate can big in record numbers in a 1hr long session, Why Not... ur Audience is 1plus million and it would be the biggest crowd that Obama could reach out to... the only problem is... He has a hard time with Debates.. He has a Hard time with Real Issues.. IN TEXAS they asK.. " WHERES THE BEEF"



    February 13, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  24. betty

    Why won't Obama debate with Hillary in Wisconsin? I just read quite an article in the LA Times and I think more people should find out what Obama is all about before the coronation!

    His views which he isn't making known to the public are a whole lot different than the sayings of Hope and Change. Hes acting like a rock start, but once he gets the nod were stuck with him for 4 years. Hes an empty suit on knowledge to run a country. SO SMARTEN UP AMERICA BEFORE ITS TOO LATE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 13, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  25. Carlos

    Obama has a successful strategy, why should he change? It's true that his rallies don't go into as much detail ... but why should they? He covers the general topics and he keeps it exciting and lively. That's why he's drawing much larger crowds than Hillary.

    Hillary's speeches are too detailed and boring ... she should copy his strategy.

    Obama has alot of substance and details if you go to his town hall meetings. You can also find more detailed information on his website.

    If you haven't caught on to his strategy yet, let me explain.

    Hillary has a huge name recognition advantage. He understands that instead of spending time preparing for and participating in debates .. his time he is much more effective holding multiple town hall meetings and rallies.

    In town halls and rallies he can be more personal and connect with the voters better.

    This strategy is much more effective than holding debates and he is proving that. Besides, we've already had 18 debates.

    This is another instance that shows how he has out a better campaign.

    February 13, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
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