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. ted

    I am a registered Republican, have voted party lines my entire life and for the first time ever, because I am so disgusted with the Republican Party, am considering voting Democrat. Of the two I am leaning towards Obama!

    February 13, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  2. Jules

    Do your homeowork folks. He is specific about policies and what he refers to by change. His proposed ethics reform has been called the most aggressive reform to date" No substance? The Washington Post rated his economic plan an A to his HRC'ss C.. I believe one C student in the white house has been one too many, thanks. There's plenty of meat behind the poetry. You just have to make yourself aware instead of waiting to hear it in a stump speech or at a rally. Also, no PAC or lobbysist money. That isn't rhetoric-it's fact, and it speaks volumes.

    February 13, 2008 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  3. Laurinda

    I think that this is the worst election we ever had. It has been going on so long and all the candidates are not very good. It is like trying to choose the best of the worst. I am totally disqusted with the whole darn thing.

    February 13, 2008 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  4. Sanji

    Yes, the years before Bush weren't "all that bad"... the subpoenas, file gate, travel gate, losing a majority in congress, finger waggin' in the t.v. "I did not have sex with that woman..." Great times. Hillary likes to say that it took a Clinton to clean up after the first Bush, it'll take another to clean up after the second... Well,... we then gotta ask ourselves, why was Bush II elected?? did Bill or Hillary have anything to do with it? They prodded and poked the conservative, right wing, fenatical giant with their arrogance and look what we got! George W. You think this year's vote is a referendum on Bush? What was it in 2000? Remember, "restore the integrity of the Oval Office"... Yes, the clinton years were wonderful!

    February 13, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  5. Joss

    "Maybe he'd prefer to give speeches than have to answer questions"

    Actually, yes, yes he would. His campaign has plenty of money for him to continue reaching out to the voters and he has every right to do so. And yet, despite that fact he still agreed to two more debates in the next couple of weeks. I think that is a fair compromise.

    February 13, 2008 04:08 pm at 4:08 pm |
  6. IndependentThinking

    Don't get so caught up in the Presidential race that you forget about who REALLY makes the laws that affect our lives ... CONGRESS!!!

    Who's your congressman? Is your Senator's seat up for election?

    The President is ALL about leadership not legislation.

    If you're not happy about how Washington is representing you ... maybe it's time to change your Congressman and/or Senator.

    Vote smart.

    February 13, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  7. Melissa

    I believe Senator Obama's campaign manager hit the nail on the head when he said "we've got other business to do here in terms of meeting voters face to face". I certainly hope Obama does not stoop to Clinton's level with regards to negative ad campaigning. If she breaks her word to keep the campaign postive, what else will she break her word on?

    Oh, and mandating people to buy health insurance? It won't work, it's too difficult to control, and is terribly inefficient. Her idea is going to cost $110 billion; Obama's plan to lower health insurance costs runs at about half of Clinton's. Where's the fiscal responsibility in her plans when the country has spiraled into the trillions of debt because of a fabricated war that Bush started–which, btw, she voted for?

    February 13, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  8. prasad

    I like Obama and he talks about what people have been wanting from their government. The fact that he does not have donations from the major corporations adds credibility.

    But at some point he has lay out the framework for the changes he thinks will be proposed by him and how he plans to tell the vested interests that have deep pockets and deep roots that they are effectively fired.

    Sometimes i worry. This president in indonesia or something bought about so much major changes like changing the currency and stuff and it did not go well. Change is good, but lets hear it, discuss it and implement it. As they say, beware what you wish for, you might actually get it.

    February 13, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  9. Joe NJ


    While serving in the Illinois Senate, on seven (7) different occasions, Mr. Obama voted "Present" instead of "NO!" on proposed legislation that would either restrict or eliminate abortion rights. His explanation: there are complexities in the Illinois Senate that makes it beneficial to vote "present" instead of "no". Best anyone one has been able to derive; Obama was trying to remain neutral in order not to lose his substantial religious supporters who oppose abortion.

    That if you visit Senator Obama's website and look under ISSUES; there are 20 top issues listed and not one of them pertains to Abortion Rights or the Right to Choose.

    In fact I was only able to find only one article posted which is buried deep under the main heading of "PEOPLE" sub heading "Women"

    A Message to Pro-Choice Voters Regarding the Democratic

    Presidential Primary - NARAL Pro-Choice America
    Beginning in Iowa, continuing into New Hampshire, and now in South Carolina and the states voting in the February 5 contests, there has been an undercurrent of speculation and innuendo that calls into question Sen. Obama's record on choice. This has the potential to divide the pro-choice community and create tension where none should exist. Today, for the sake of our issue and our movement, I am asking that these tactics stop.... Here are the facts pro-choice voters need as they head to the polls...: Sens. Clinton, Edwards, and Obama are fully pro-choice. NARAL Pro-Choice America endorsed all three candidates in their previous campaigns. All of the candidates have voted pro-choice; have publicly affirmed that they are pro-choice; and have taken actions that back up their pro-choice voting records and statements.

    THIS ARTICLE IS THE ONLY MENTION THAT I COULD FIND ON HIS WHOLE WEBSITE ON THE THE ISSUE; The article above, posted on his website, seems to be sweeping some dirt under the carpet. I believe it helps to make my point. There is suspicion and uncertainty Senator Obama, will not take a front and center stand and cannot be relied on will to fight to protect Abortion Rights.


    February 13, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  10. Rebecca

    I think Obama is doing better than Hillary because the Media is in favor of Obama. Obama does get the negative attention that Hillary does. Also Obama does not like to debate because he cannot back up his promise of change with any real plans or experience and when he does tell something that he has done, Hillary is right there to correct it. The media is responsible for Obama's success so far and I have a problem with superficial campaign.

    February 13, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  11. Shelley Thomas

    And this is "negative"?? I am continually amazed at how touchy the American people are, how quick to demonize. Including the media which has become enamored of Sen. Obama. He doesn't fill me with hope per se, he's just a great speaker. I want and the country needs more than that, but never underestimate the shallowness of the American people. He's not as great as it's being portrayed, and she's not as bad as she is portrayed. Let's look at the issues and who's actually addressing them, rather than holding pep rallies. And i am becoming more disgusted with the press, including CNN. True journalism is dead.

    February 13, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  12. William Duane

    I'm an independent and Obama has my vote in Wisconsin's primary. I'm sick of partisanship, I'm sick of griping and dirty tactics, and I'm sick of Hillary Clinton. She brings nothing but negativity to the race.

    February 13, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  13. PA Guy

    It’s time Hillary stops padding the punches. Hillary needs to take off the gloves and bare-knuckle Barrack in the corner. They spent enough time jabbing and never landed any real blows. Voters are willing to go all necessary rounds in order to truly distinguish their stance on issues presented, background, and qualifications.
    Democrats, as well as Independents and Republicans all need to recognize not only who will be the contenders, but who can deliver on the Knock-out in November.
    Obama is “ALL TALK” outside the ring.

    February 13, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  14. snakebaby

    Why no one says anything when Obama attacks? Have you noticed that Obama has been attacking all along counting from after the before super Tuesday debate? It seems that When Obama attacks it sounds like a little kitten mewing, when Clinton attacks if sounds like dog fight? What is wrong with people out there and the media and press? They never get enough of anything negative from Clinton while largely ignored the same from Obama? I don't care how great Obama is, how electable he is (btw, partially the product of the media machine behind), the whole media's unfairness and the way they created Obama someone he's not yet, then came along the blindly painted Obama by his supporters as hero, JFK, or even Jesus like, and he appeared to be so cocky, these type of happenings make me sick of him.

    February 13, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  15. Amsterdam

    Hillary Clinton is taking aim at Barack Obama!
    What else can she do? The Clintons are losing it.
    Now Hillary wants to debate every week! She is the chicken that is running around wondering what to do next.
    The negative ads won't work; this is something out of the past.
    Barrack Obama is for the future if you have been paying attention.
    What else can she do?

    February 13, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  16. Jennifer,

    February 13th, 2008 3:11 pm ET

    Mind you people, Hillary is the only one who could criticize Obama so it will made publicly-known. The media will never post any negative news about Obama, nor asked him any negative questions because they also believe and respected him, they admire him with his Charisma and unproven ability to face the negative criticsms of the public..All we can see and hear about Obama is his hope of change, his repetition of Speeches (which he masters enough to inspire people)…Do you think this qualities he have will be enough for him to face and tackle the job of being the President of a Powerful country??

    I do not think so, first of all, the media will not criticize Obama because he is black and the media is afraid to be called 'racists' , they are a bunch of cowards. Second, Obama has the money of Oprah.
    I wonder where are all those Liberals, feminists who care about women issues and they are supposed to support a woman, I guess, money talks. and Oprah's money is talking loud. How dissapointed.

    February 13, 2008 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. SQ

    Hillary give it up!!!!!! After 35 years in politics, you should have better tricks, so much for experience.

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

    Hillary wants to debate Barack because that is one of the few things she is good at. He doesn't have to say a word in the next debate and he will still win it. The American people have already made up there minds. Move over Bill And Hillary.

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

    Hillary is two faced. She said in New Hampshire that the race for president is not a game. Now who is playing the game? She is just upset that Obama can get in touch with people more than she can. I like the fact that Obama doesn't stiffen under pressure, instead he keeps his peace and go with the flow. He is truly a real person.

    February 13, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  20. What!!??

    Imagine that!! Billary is showing her true colors again!! Obama must be doing well!!

    February 13, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  21. Richard Rodriguez Rivera

    Yes it is a long and winging road, only its gonna get another eight years longer begore she can get another crack at the presidency

    February 13, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  22. Educated Black Female

    Reading is fundamental...I don't need another debate...its on the websites and if you are too lazy to read, then you do not need to vote. Simple as that....Go Obama!!

    February 13, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  23. Kylie-Ayn

    I don't understand why people say Barack is avoiding debates because he can't awnser the questions. If you watched the last nationally broadcasted debate, there was a group of undecided people that was interviewed afterward and all but two of them supported Barack because they said his message and policies were clear and powerful.

    This ad is contradicting her political strategy. Where was she last night? Texas. She wil be skipping over the upcoming states and focusing on Texas ans Ohio, which are considered bigger wins.

    Obama has won states all over the country. He is a uniter. He has debated with Hillary 18 times and will debate her twice more shortly. If this is dodging debates... well, I think more would be ridiculous.

    Please, if you feel you have not seen enough debating.. go on their websites and read their stances....their websited both clearly show their messages.

    I used to be in support of Hillary, but Barack has my vote.

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

    Good for her.
    I'm sick of CNN attacking Hillary on behalf of Oprama.
    It's about time she fought back.

    February 13, 2008 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  25. Sharon

    The reason she is behind is because she promotes negativity, thus she receives negativity in return. Not just from her opponents, but from the media too. This negative call out for a debate is the same ol same ol that gets her in trouble. Granted, with the roll that Obama is on, it seems like she has no choice but to go negative. It backfired on her in S. Carolina. And it will backfire on her again in Wisconson and Texas.

    Hillary (and her followers)... please embrace another strategy.

    February 13, 2008 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
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