February 29th, 2008
03:01 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama: Clinton ad an attempt to scare voters


Obama said Friday Clinton's ad is an attempt to scare voters. (AP Photo)

(CNN) - Democrat Barack Obama said Friday that rival Hillary Clinton is trying to scare voters with a new television ad that raises the prospect of a foreign crisis over images of children asleep in their beds.

"We've seen these ads before," the Illinois senator said at a campaign event in Houston, Texas. "They're the kind that play on people's fears to scare up votes.

"Well, it won't work this time," he continued. "Because the question is not about picking up the phone. The question is: What kind of judgment will you make when you answer?"

The ad, launched Friday in Texas ahead of that state's crucial March 4 primary, shows children asleep in their beds in the middle of the night while a narrator references a potential national security crisis and asks, "It's 3 a.m. and your children are safely asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?"

Obama campaign manager David Plouffe denounced the ad in a conference call with reporters earlier Friday. And in his comments in Houston, Obama said, "We've had a red phone moment. It was the decision to invade Iraq. And Senator Clinton gave the wrong answer. George Bush gave the wrong answer. John McCain gave the wrong answer."

The Clinton campaign meanwhile vigorously defended the ad, and brushed aside notions it is reminiscent of the famous Lyndon Johnson "Daisy" ad, which portrayed a young girl counting down to a nuclear attack.

"This is a positive ad," Clinton adviser Mark Penn said. "Very soft images, not at all like that ad. Soft images. And it poses a question to people that they have to answer themselves: Who do they want to pick up the phone?"

"That ad basically envisions the apocalypse, and that is not what this ad does," Clinton communications director Howard Wolfson said. "This ad basically says, 'You know what? We are electing a president and it matters who is handling a phone call in a crisis at 3 a.m. as president.' That is a legitimate matter for a presidential campaign."

- CNN Ticker Producer Alexander Mooney

soundoff (372 Responses)
  1. Joshua

    I would rather have good judgement answering the phone, not someone who uses fear mongering by picturing their opponent as a radical islamic terrorist that kills children in their sleep. I have lost any respect i had for hillary only based on her desperate attempts to sway the public from a movement that can change the world. She's experienced only in doing things wrong.

    February 29, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  2. Dee

    Hillary in WHITE HOUSE scares me...

    February 29, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. NY

    I have to say, I find it odd senator obama's supporters are so angry all the time. Isn't your candidate the one of hope and against negativity, because if he is that message isn't getting through to his supporters. You need to calm down and stop being so negative, it will do your candidate no good come November (if he the nominee for the democrats).

    February 29, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  4. And the answer is:

    Who do I want answering the phone at 3am? Barack Obama – enough said

    February 29, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  5. Janel, St. Paul, MN

    This is definitely a "scare" ad that turns off many voters, including me.

    Come on Clinton. Be original and stick to the issues. Guess there aren't any, right?

    Give it up!

    February 29, 2008 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  6. Obama single handedly did what?

    I've seen some of his ads in Texas.....he must think you all are really gullable. Senator Obama did not single handedly do anything in the Senate. Check his record!!!!!!!!!!!!

    His ad is a sham!

    February 29, 2008 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  7. chadohio

    i dont see anything wrong with her ad? to be honest i think i will vote for hillary now that its getting closer to march 4th here in ohio- i just think she would do alot better and after i seen Obama on "ellen" i know my vote will be right!!! i dont want a president to be in the whote house the first day and say this is really cool all day!- get to work- and hillary would do that!

    February 29, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. Stephanie from AL

    I like Obama because of his position on Veteran's Affairs and the implimentability of his Health Care Plan. That he is an intelligent man that thinks through the consequences and lives by the value his mother and grandparents taught him is a bonus.

    February 29, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. Blaze


    You are living in a dream world that everything will be perfect and that all your plans will work as you have written them. However, plans never work as wanted and you have no backups or contigencies if they fail. That scares the crap out of me frankly. You are the man of change alright.. when one thing fails completely change it and act like it was that way the whole time.

    February 29, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. Grant

    The only thing we have to fear is Hillary herself.

    February 29, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  11. Arldean Alejandro

    We should be scared if Obama is our next president. We all have seen what ignorance of the job can get us. I just wonder how Obama is going to reward all of the media for getting him that job. Talk about owing favors to big business. I have voted in every election since I turned 18, and this is the first time that I feel that I have no voice. And if Obama is the Democratic candidate, It will be the first time I stay home. We had a chance to make history and we blew it. Obama is the first black man to run for the Presidency.? If we truly believe that this country is not racist, then he is just another man running for the presidency. But I guess that is HIStory.

    February 29, 2008 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  12. keith

    I like his response. For those thinking Clinton is not spreading fear, I would ask you "Why would the President of the United States get a call at 3 a.m. if not because of an emergency?" If your a parent, why else would you get a call at 3 a.m? Barack Obama's answer was appropriate - it's not who do you want to answer the phone, it's what decision would that person be making and is it the best decision? If it's to go to war or not, you only get one opportunity to get it right. Some would say (not Clinton supporters) he got it right. So, if he was the one answering the phone on the war for Iraq at 3 a.m., we know what his answer would have been

    February 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. Grant

    The only thing we have to fear is Hillary herself. And McCain.

    February 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  14. LadyBug

    Perhaps the ticket may looks like this on obama/clinton ors it coulds be lookin like clinton/obama.

    O lordy please helps us.

    February 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  15. Greg

    HEY CNN, stop deleting my posts.. you don't censor the Obamaniacs posting hate filled comments about HRC, but I can't post facts about Obama without being CENSORED!

    February 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  16. Asian's from Obama to Hillary

    Great comeback, Obama, NICe try. You're scared to answer the phone. I used to clap for you, but you speeches are no prolblem solving.

    February 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  17. Steve

    Obama is doing everything to fool people to vote for him. He doesn's have any standard. He can change his promises to please diffenrent people.

    Can I trust him?


    February 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  18. jdennisoneil@verizon.net

    At this point Hillary is unfortunately is doing what comes across as a hot-cold-hot personality. A male condidate would have been written off long ago. Very unfortunate. I think she has the smarts but not the control over her own emotions-how can she build any consensus with others. I wish she and Bill had shown more skills of being able to build a bridge between Democrats and Republicans viewpoints in helping the country.

    February 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  19. terry

    After Tuesday, Nobody will be calling Hillary.

    February 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. Ava

    As always she will say, and do anything. He has children of his own, and does she think he would put his own in danger? Hillary you are dismissed, get over it you are yesterdays news.

    February 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. Koree

    Obviously. Because hillary says anything against barack she is wining. If barack says anything against hillary he is praised for it.


    people... please

    February 29, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  22. Sara

    Go away Clinton. You have no business anywhere near the Whitehouse. Take your sleezy politics with you.

    February 29, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
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