February 20th, 2008
03:10 PM ET
12 years ago

Obama campaign, pro-Clinton group spar over ads

A new ad will be airing on Hillary Clinton’s behalf in Ohio and Texas.

A new ad will be airing on Hillary Clinton’s behalf in Ohio and Texas.

(CNN) - Barack Obama’s campaign is condemning a pro-Hillary Clinton group airing television ads on her behalf in key upcoming contests, sending out a statement that compares the effort to the controversial “Swift Boat Veterans for Truth” organization – a characterization an organizer of the group calls “heavy-handed and hypocritical.”

“The America(n) Leadership Project is organized on the same model as Swift Boats Veterans for Truth and other ‘527s’ operating outside the financing limits of federal campaign finance law,” the Obama campaign said in a memo sent to reporters Wednesday afternoon.

ALP, which includes veterans of the Clinton administration and longtime supporters, is a “527” group, which means it is not bound by federal campaign finance laws as long as it does not directly advocate on behalf of a particular candidate.

In 2004, the Swift Boat Vets targeted Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry.

Jason Kinney, the chairman of ALP, immediately fired back, saying the Obama campaign of “shooting in the dark.”

“We intend to be open and transparent and make all disclosures. Their memo is more than a little heavy-handed and hypocritical on its face,” said Kinney, a former adviser to ex-California Gov. Gray Davis.

He said the group’s donors and budget – as well as much of its planned activity, which will extend beyond the ads that have already been created – will be revealed when the ads themselves begin to air in Ohio and Texas, perhaps as soon as this weekend. Several key voting blocs may be targeted, but the overwhelming emphasis will be middle-class voters worried about the state of the economy and the health care system.

“You didn’t see these kinds of scare tactics every time a 527 came out in support of Barack Obama. It’s kind of a silly response - but this is the silly season,” said Kinney, who added that the group only began to organize within the past several weeks, and was only legally created last Friday.

The first ALP ad, which debuted online Wednesday, does not mention Obama by name - but it praises Clinton heavily, and seems to echo a criticism she has often leveled at the Illinois senator: that he is more focused on words than action.

“If speeches could create jobs, we wouldn’t be facing a recession,” says the announcer in the 30-second spot, which focuses on economic issues. “But it takes more.”

The ad praises Clinton for her efforts to create jobs and prevent outsourcing.

Kinney confirmed that the group – which was first reported on by the Atlantic's Marc Ambinder and ABC's Jake Tapper – includes former Clinton White House staffer and Kerry campaign senior adviser Paul Rivera; former Chuck Schumer and Wesley Clark campaign staffer Erick Mullen; Democratic ad guru Mattis Goldman; and Roger Salazar, a former spokesman in the Clinton White House and for the presidential campaigns of Al Gore in 2000 and John Edwards in 2004, who is acting as the group’s spokesman.

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: Hillary Clinton • Ohio • Texas
soundoff (12 Responses)
  1. Cathy

    Does the truth hurt?

    February 20, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  2. Kay

    I have never heard such cry babies. Anyone that expresses an opinion that does not agree with those of the Obama supporters are accused of "swift boating". Hey fellas, thats what democracy is all about...we all get to give our opinions and express what we believe to be correct. If you disagree, you have the right to do the same. Hey, you might remind your boss it was not very nice, or should I say even rude...or maybe real life swift boating... to interupt the time Hillary was allowed on TV after the Wisconsin vote.

    February 20, 2008 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  3. Janet

    I really think that 527s are an unfortunate part of American politics. I believe that none of these types of ads should air if the candidate themself has not viewed and approved of it. Otherwise they are a channel for lies and deception with no accountability.

    February 20, 2008 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  4. B. Smart

    Hillary and Bills NAFTA PLAN took those jobs overseas.
    OBAMA 08!

    February 20, 2008 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  5. Danny Boy

    We do not need another feel good guy.
    I voted Hillary in the primary voting

    If she does not get the nomination, with her moderate stance and experience we will vote for McCain

    McCain will cream Obama....

    February 20, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  6. BreKa

    Who is really crying Kay? I don't care how many negative ads will be out there in public, Senator Obama will win the nomination. The more the negative ads, the more people will vote for Obaa.

    OBAMA 08.

    February 20, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  7. BreKa

    Who is really crying Kay? I don't care how many negative ads will be out there in public, Senator Obama will win the nomination. The more the negative ads, the more people will vote for Obama. The negative ads will ony damage Hillary Clinton's campaign.


    OBAMA 08.

    February 20, 2008 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  8. mike

    that is why obma can not accept public financung, he needs rules to limit the 527s other wise he could not keep up with all the 527s that support mr. mccain, mr. special interst himself.

    February 20, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  9. hnkaras

    I have never seen such disrespect from one candidate to another...
    When Hillary was addresing her suporters.. Obama decide to enter and make imposible for her to finish her speech. Obama is now moving into gangster's move to hurt Hillary. But Hillary will win and she will be the next president

    February 20, 2008 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  10. Milledgeville, GA

    Bring it on...I will vote for a person with character anyday, before I vote for a self-serving, money grubbing (Hillary charges the Secret Service 10,000. a month to stay in her guest house) former First Lady.

    Say no to Hillary once and for all. Sweep the WH clean of china stealing, hopeless, greedy people.

    February 20, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  11. Linf

    I have to agree with Kay....Obama and his followers are a bunch of cry babies. If Obama can't take the heat now imagine if he is elected President. Yes, it was rude of Obama to have interupted Hillary just so we could listen to some of the same rhetoric.

    February 20, 2008 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  12. Scott

    This approach just screams "I'm desperate". She wants this presidency way too bad, it's bordering obsession. Do we really want someone like this to run the country? I know I don't. This primary campaign has only magnified the a fakeness about her (and Bill) I've never noticed before. I've voted for HRC twice as my senator in NY, and only respected her and her record. But this look of desperation has tarnished that, and I know I am not alone. Perhaps in the interest of reputation (and the people of NY), she should step aside now, and return to being the NY senator and doing the job she was elected to do.

    February 20, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |