February 25th, 2008
02:15 PM ET
14 years ago

Obama camp slams Clinton team on controversial photo

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i.l.cnn.net/cnn/2008/images/02/25/art.obamasom.ap.jpg caption=" Obama's campaign accused the Clinton campaign of circulating this 2006 photo of Obama Monday. "](CNN) - Barack Obama’s campaign accused Hillary Clinton’s team Monday of circulating a photo of the Illinois senator donning traditional attire – clothing worn by area Muslims – as a goodwill gesture during an overseas trip.

In a statement, the Clinton campaign called the charge “an obvious and transparent attempt to distract” voters from serious issues – but did not issue a denial.

The picture, which appeared on the Drudge Report this morning, was attributed to sources within the Clinton campaign – although the Web site did not reveal how many, or who, might have received the photo.

In a statement, Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, said Clinton’s campaign was engaged in “shameful, offensive fear-mongering,” though he did not point to any proof beyond the original item that appeared on Matt Drudge’s blog.

“This is part of a disturbing pattern that led her county chairs to resign in Iowa, her campaign chairman to resign in New Hampshire,” said Plouffe. “and it’s exactly the kind of divisive politics that turns away Americans of all parties and diminishes respect for America in the world."

Earlier this year, some Clinton volunteers left her campaign in those states after circulating e-mails that falsely claimed Barack Obama was a Muslim – an inaccurate rumor his campaign has worked hard to dispel - and suggesting that his drug use as a young man might make him vulnerable to Republican attacks were he to become the nominee.

Clinton’s campaign manager Maggie Williams responded to the photo controversy with a Monday morning statement that insisted the New York senator’s team “will not be distracted,” but did not directly address the substance of the allegation.

“Enough. If Barack Obama's campaign wants to suggest that a photo of him wearing traditional Somali clothing is divisive, they should be ashamed. Hillary Clinton has worn the traditional clothing of countries she has visited and had those photos published widely,” said Williams.

“This is nothing more than an obvious and transparent attempt to distract from the serious issues confronting our country today and to attempt to create the very divisions they claim to decry. We will not be distracted.”

On a campaign conference call with reporters, Ret. Major Gen. Scott Gration, who traveled to Africa with Obama, said the photo showed that “he did what any great leader should do - he accepted the gift, accepted the hospitality, accepted that token of friendship."

UPDATE: On a conference call with reporters Monday, Clinton spokesman Howard Wolfson told reports that he had not seen the photo, that "I’m not aware that anyone in this campaign circulated it -- I don’t imagine that you have any independent reporting to suggest that we did."

Late Monday, the campaign sent out a memo in which Wolfson said he had not been aware of the release of the photo, and that it had not been sanctioned by the campaign -- but added that "We have over 700 people on this campaign and I’m not in a position to know what each one of them may or may not have done."

–CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand
soundoff (575 Responses)
  1. Denver

    Hillary is just plain pathetic !!

    How much lower can you go?

    February 25, 2008 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
  2. Kyle

    I am OUTRAGED by the tactics of HRC's campaign. The latest is this "Photo Smear". Hillary's campaign plays to the worst in people, while Obama's plays to the best in people. I "hope" that America will vote for what's best in all of us!

    February 25, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  3. tb

    She is unbelievable. I wonder will she deny this and apologize. She can't seem to manager her campaign, but want us to allow her to manage the country. Well Hillary, lets not and say we did!

    February 25, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  4. Makeba

    Answer the question posed Maggie!
    Did the Clinton campaign send out the photo or not?

    February 25, 2008 11:34 am at 11:34 am |
  5. Craig

    Well, is he proud of the outfit or not? If he is, then say so, if not, then say so...why would he care otherwise? How is this a distraction Barack? Perhaps if you spin it with your usual "hope and light" diatribe, you can look like you actually know something about foreign policy.....

    Get a grip – Obama has all the depth of cotton candy or tissue paper....

    Craig

    February 25, 2008 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  6. Tom Swift

    Get ready for 7 days of this, leading up to next Tuesday's showdown. Hillary is backed into a corner... the gloves are off.

    McCain '08

    February 25, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  7. bob

    bring out the kool aid...you fools...and cnn you are just as reponsible for promoting his pep rallies and not focusing on both candidates and real issues...even saturday night live...made fun of cnn bias saturday night..the whole world was laughing at you cnn and obama

    Hillary 08!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    February 25, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  8. David Jones

    Hillary should be ashamed of herself. I don’t see Obama attacking her family history. And she calls herself an american. Seems to me that the point she’s making is that If your family heritage is not like hers then your not a proud American. I know Hillary and her backyard tactics are very disappointing to myself and should be for many Americans because this time she went to far. I would dare say that this tactic borders Racism!

    GO OBAMA!!!

    February 25, 2008 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  9. Mark

    Why would the Clinton campaign circulate a photo of Obama unless they knew it would have a negative effect on his campaign. Obviously they expect people to be racist and vote for her instead in fear of what he is depicted as. What a poor tactic on her part. Why else would they release a photo unless it was divisive, are we to believe that HRC is providing free publicity for the Obama campaign now?

    February 25, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  10. John Q

    Wow, she just doesn't quit. I hope the people see through her desperation, and don't allow her to tear the Democratic Party apart like she's trying to.

    She says "shame on you" and that "democrats shouldn't attack eachother" on healthcare, but somehow fearmongering like the GOP does is somehow ok. Remember when she suggested that Al Qaeda would attack the US is Obama got elected (the reference to Prime Minister Gordon and the bombings in the Glasgow) ?? I used to like her, but this is just disgusting. I hope Obama wipes the floor with her in the debate tomorrow.

    February 25, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  11. Don't see anything wrong with this

    This is true & factual so I don't see issue with this. Unlike Obama who gave false information through fliers, this one is fact. I really don;t see issue because it's true, I would be OK to see these things come out as long as they are factuous, not misrepresented, as long as they are true ,fact

    February 25, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  12. Obamacan

    How can they put out this picture with a statement explain why it should be on the front page of every newspaper and claim that Obama is trying to distract people from the issues??

    SHAME ON YOU HILLARY!!

    February 25, 2008 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  13. Charlotte

    Ah, the truth hurts doesn't Obama

    February 25, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  14. Concerned voter

    Wow,
    Back when it was Romney and McCain still at it, everyone looked down upon them for their campaign tactics while Clinton and Obama played the well-it-does-not-matter-which-one-of-us-is-elected-just-so-long-as-democracts-are-in-the-white-house-card...now look whos playing dirty. So childish. The nu uh, yes huh type thing you see out of 5 and 6 year olds....

    February 25, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  15. Don't see anything wrong with this

    I don't see anything wrong with this because it's true & happened. Unlike Obama who sent false information thru his fliers, these are true. I am OK to see things as long as they are true, facts not false information.

    February 25, 2008 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  16. Sheri, nd

    ..and the hits just keep on coming. WOW! Hillary what a weekend you've had... and this is presidential behavior?

    February 25, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  17. Wendy

    This is Hillary's "Willie Horton"

    She's done it. She's gone over the line.

    She is never going to be able to live this one down.

    February 25, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  18. Veronica

    This is sad. I can't believe the Clinton campaign has taken this to such a low level. I feel sorry for her and where are her advisors?

    February 25, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  19. Dennis

    So what. I saw George Bush dancing with an african tribe

    February 25, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  20. Go Hill!

    Hillary, if your campaign did this. It is shameful!

    What we don't need this this type of fear being circulated in this country. Other countries surely believe we have lost our minds to play on hate, racism, religious intolerance and cultivate all that is white superiority.

    I am apalled and will not vote for you if I learn through my own research your campaign was responsible for sending this message.

    February 25, 2008 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  21. Democrat

    How can they put out this picture with a statement explain why it should be on the front page of every newspaper and claim that Obama is trying to distract people from the issues??

    SHAME ON YOU HILLARY!!

    February 25, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  22. Timo Garcia

    who cares about the photo. OBAMA'S A CHIRADE! GO HILLARY!

    February 25, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  23. Ryan

    Wow, Hillary Clinton is a terrible, terrible person.

    February 25, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  24. Democrat08

    Talk about all-hat-no-cattle.The Obama supporters post unflattering photos of Sen. CLinton all the time.

    February 25, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  25. stuart_zechman

    how dare the vast right wing conspiracy do this outrage to my main man Obama and then have the audacity to blame Hillary?

    Go to swampland at time.com to learn the truth!!!

    February 25, 2008 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
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