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. Jay

    read the article folks...they have had plenty of debates...what was it...18....so in the next 3 weeks he will debate her 2 more times...frankly, that's enough. Clinton machine at it again...."Oh..he doesn't want to debate me...he's scared to debate me...uh...well yes...uh..we debated 18 times before and we will debate 2 more times in the next week...but he's scared to debate me....trust me...I know what you don't know. If you knew the truth." These type of desperate tactics are why people are running from Hillary. I don't want a desperate candidate....we need a candidate to get the warhawks out of the whitehouse.

    February 13, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  2. sqj

    Debates are the only way we really know what each candidate will do in his/her presidency. I have only heard speeches from Obama, promises with no specifics. I heard on one of the morning shows that one of Obama's staff stated that the reason he did not want any more debates is that 'she knows more!' Now that is something worth mentioning! I say, bring on those debates, the more the merrier!

    February 13, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  3. Jesse - San Antonio TX

    WOW. CNN, can you get anymore biased? Geez. Fox News seems more fair every single day.

    February 13, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  4. Jeanine G

    maybe he gets coverage because those covering him have READ his website or gone to his rallies and grasp his plans, whereas Hillary presents the same old thing and thinks the same old party vs party fighting and stalemates is how she'll get things done.


    People know you need to reach your hand across the aisle and work together to get things accomplished. THAT is leadership, and THAT is what Obama offers that Hillary can't grasp.

    February 13, 2008 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  5. Joe

    Please read Senator Obama's "Blueprint for Change". It can be reached via his website. I don't recall him ever stumbling while describing the details of his platform. Senator Clinton may be a slightly better debater, but their ideas are pretty similar. Most Democrats would agree with either platform. In the meantime, a genuine people's movement is going on here, folks, and there is nothing wrong with being a great inspirational speaker. I would argue that it is a good quality in a president. Senator Obama owes little to the powerful interests in Washington, and he is therefore better able to get work done for regular Americans who are struggling. Let's not lose this chance as a country to make history!

    Join the Movement! Obama 08!

    February 13, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  6. Carol

    The reason she is behind is because the bleeding heart liberals are coming out of their Ross Pero comma.

    February 13, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  7. Julie in Boston

    Everytime the Shill/Billy machine goes on the attack, I send another contribution to Barack. Granted, they are small amounts of $$$, but I cannot be alone.

    I think for Lent I am going to give up buying my lunch and brown-bag it. I can call the savings "Lunch money for Hope". Anyone want to join me?

    February 13, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  8. Evan

    They should have one of those debates where Hillary plants questions with the audience.

    February 13, 2008 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  9. slavicdica

    Obama moves people. So does a bowl of oatmeal. Same difference.

    Of course Obama is afraid to debate Clinton; he can't think on his feet. We need to see him away from the TelePrompTer, without someone telling him what to say. His problem is, when he does have to think or talk for himself, without benefit of a speech, he gets all tongue-tied.

    So – if he is the nominee, and is elected President, whose words will he be mouthing then?

    Vote for Hillary Clinton; she can think for herself!

    February 13, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  10. smart grrl in ls mo

    The MESSIAH's followers don't think he should have to debate.

    February 13, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  11. TheONE

    The worse thing to happen to the Clinton's political legacy is Hillary Clinton. After this is over it will be tough to recapture all the good will the Bill had built during his presidency. The only way they can save face as if they concede in the next week or to and fully get behind Obama.

    February 13, 2008 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  12. Vinessia

    Hillary and her campaign are becoming desperate! The last debate was Nationwide, so I'm sure the residents of Wisconsin were able to tune in. Personally, I don't want to hear or see any more debates. As an American citizen, I would much rather hear the candidates speak to me face-to-face in a Town Hall Forum versus to each other on a stage somewhere and to the news media who always twists things around anyway. Barak's time and money is better used reaching out to the actual people versus WAISTING more time debating with Hillary. If her campaign was wise about how they chose to spend their funds, they wouldn't be so desparate about getting FREE air time. Do they REALLY believe that the American people want to see them debate EVERY week!?? What Hillary and her team should have done was not WASTE money on this stupid ad, but use those funds to spend time in Wisconsin reaching out to the people their about their own agenda. She needs to focus less on what Barak can't do and more on what she "thinks" she can do.

    February 13, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  13. Patrice RedEarth

    20 Debates are more than enough. It is important to get out and meet the people. Although Clinton maybe a brilliant debater, the true test of leadership is how a leader embraces his/her people.
    Full agreement with Obama, there is alot of work to be done besides debating.

    February 13, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  14. Anita S, Seaside CA

    I knew this would happen! Hillary is fearing for her political life right now and she has no re-course but to go negative! This is wrong and she knows it! Stay with the issues and do your best ..this is NOT enough for her. OBAMA I want you to win!

    February 13, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  15. Think about it

    I like Hillary. If she were Barack's V.P. then she could gain some experience and run again in 2012 or 2016. Just a thought. I'd hate to see her just go away. She or Edwards would make a good V.P. to Obama.

    February 13, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  16. yowza!

    "Hillary has sanked to a new LOW!!"

    Wow, if your grammar is any indication of how you will vote, you should be deported.

    February 13, 2008 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
  17. Undecided in PA

    First off, I am undecided on who will gain my vote so don't take this as pro Obama but.......

    It's obviously Hillary is pushing for a debate because her campaign blew all its money early on. She can't afford the number of commercials as Obama can right now so what better way than to have a TV organization pay for a debate.
    Let's not forget this is Hillary, who suddenly spins negative against something or someone once she it is a better position for HER, nobody else. She had no problem with Nevada caucaus's on the Vegas strip, until the polls showed her in second and Obama gained the hospitality union endorsement. She had no problem spending big money up front, encouraging Michigan and Florida primaries early even if the delegates didn't count, but now she is losing and is fighting for the delegates.

    Three things stand out about Hillary :
    1. In the face of 9/11, she was no where to be found. Sombody else stepped up as the leader. (Guiliani)
    2. There is no large, factual accomplishment of her Senate term. Everything referred to is during Billy Bob's tenure, and not of hers. What has she done in the past 7 years on her own merits?
    3. Her campaign already squandered the 125 million plus dollars she had to run on, what do you think she will do with a budget of $3 trillion?

    People are supporting her because what they want is the slap happy days of Billy Bob where all you heard were elementary school excuses of "Did I do that?" and "It wasn't me."
    People are looking for a change where individuals take responsibility for there actions, integrity is what matters, and when they admit their mistakes, realize they might not be getting a pat on the back, but maybe a foot in the rear. Integrity also means you don't change your position once the polls show you are no longer in the majority.

    February 13, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  18. mjoy

    you have said it eloquently MI Independent... yes, it was frightening to see Bush win twice it will be disasterous to see the Republicans win again. Uniter? Hillary Clinton is the only DEMOCRATIC candidate with John Edwards that called the DEMS to unite in voting for whoever they decide is the BEST candidate for the job have not heard that from Barack he is only going to say that if he is the candidate. We did not need OPRAH and the MEDIA deciding who is best for our country we need people who are serious on issues and needs and when the cameras, collosums and auditoriums and lights go out are doing the homework that needs to be done to get our country on track. HILLARY CLINTON is the only one doing that now and has been doing it all along...ask the VETS, the children and the low-income families they know she has helped and the rest of us HAVE TO WAKE UP TO THIS TRUTH we cannot afford to have the kind of change that Barack asks for with the help of all his old money croney friends-seems to be the very thing he wants to do away with how does that follow?

    February 13, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  19. Anna Lovell

    I support Obama's goal to meet voter's face to face. Just because she can't afford the cost of ads doesn't mean he has to meet her to debate every week for free advertising.

    February 13, 2008 04:04 pm at 4:04 pm |
  20. Christopher

    Think about why should he debate her before Wisconsin. Think People:
    1. Your team is about to play a game on Saturday against a powerhouse.
    2. The other teams best player is hurt.
    3. They ask to play on Sunday instead so they can have one more day to rest the player.
    4. I don't think so.

    Its called having an EDGE.

    She is down, but not out. This is not the time to help her get up.

    February 13, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  21. wordslinger, chicago

    That's hardly negative. Karl Rove? Give me a break. Barack's a tough guy, he said so. You better hope he can handle this "negative attack."

    February 13, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  22. Larry Batchelor

    Typical Clinton politics! If crying does not work, then just cry foul!
    The Democratic voters in the Potomac/Chesapeake primaries clearly spoke volumes.
    Hillary Clinton is not their popular choice!

    February 13, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  23. RCJ

    I listened to Obama's speech Tuesday evening after he won. It reminded me of Roosevelt and Kennedy and, yes, some of Lincoln, too. I heard plenty of specifics in the speech, but what I valued most about the opportunity was that I saw someone completely comfortable in his skin talking about truly important things. A leader? You bet. No Bushie fibs, no false moves, no patent self interest. Instead, courage and conviction. I liked it. In fact, I liked it a lot. Clinton is not a bad person, but she shows no sign of benefiting from all her experience. Obama gives every sign of bringing all of his diverse experiences to bear on each of the problems he faces. He makes sense, and I voted for him. I hope that I can vote for him again soon in November.

    - RCJ

    February 13, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  24. calvin

    Ok all of you Billary Heads. Listen up. John Kerry was 100 times better debater than G W Bush ( GWB sweated and sturted on stage and look like he was sucking a lemon ) . Kerry beat Bush in the debates. Just because you look good and sound good arguing on a platform does not mean you will win the election. Good debates don't necessarily translate into votes.

    February 13, 2008 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  25. susmita Bando

    Obama needs to debate, one to one with Hillary, at least 7-8 times during the coming months.Obama is a wonderful speaker, but frankly there is little or no substance in his impressive speech. A charming half black senator with a grat deal of motivational speeches - -–
    IS THAT ALL WE NEED to nominate a PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE? I certainly hope not. The web sites of all the politicians are mostly handled by party politicians or political experts, so I want to hear Obama debate Clinton, and relate to the world his grasp and indepth understanding of the current issues. I need to know how he is going to resolve them. I want to hear , in great details, point by point, HOW IS HE GOING TO BRING ABOUT THE CHANGE. One more thing, CNN reporters and newscasters, you need to stop behaving like Obama's Godfathers. YOU NEED TO REPORT ANDSTAY AWAY FROM ALL KINDS OF PROPAGANDA.

    February 13, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
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