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. John Johnson

    He's right. It probably won't work this time, because people are eerily following Barack Obama like he's the Messiah. I've never seen anything like it and truly fear for this country. Wake up people! Obama is a wolf in sheep's clothing, and only those who have the gift of discernment can see it. Trust me and turn away from him.

    February 29, 2008 01:32 pm at 1:32 pm |
  2. Oregon Voter

    Nonesense. People know the difference between realistic concerns and "scare-tactics." This is not a scare-tactic, and if Obama's followers are "scared" by it then that's because Obama isn't fit to handle emergencies!

    February 29, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. Trevor

    Clinton is only tellin' it like it is. Who needs an apprentice like Obama in the White House?

    February 29, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. Darth Vadik, CA

    Its Rove politics and should be rejected.
    We, the Democrats, rejected it when Bush and Rove did it.
    We, the Democrats, should reject it when Hillary does it.

    ....and didn't Hillary say that Obama is using Rove politics, oh please Mrs. Hillary Rove Clinton spare me your tactics.

    February 29, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |

    Just say no to fear-mongering.

    We are well past tired of it.

    Obama '08

    February 29, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  6. Jose'

    We have nothing to fear!! Obama is hear!!

    Communists for Obama '08!!!!

    February 29, 2008 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  7. Rich in Seattle

    When did Karl Rove begin working on the Clinton Campaign?

    February 29, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  8. Jay

    "Now, one of Clinton's laws of politics is this. If one candidate is trying to scare you and the other one is try get you to think, if one candidate is appealing to your fears and the other one is appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope."
    -Bill Clinton, 2004

    February 29, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  9. Bill

    Great response from Obama, it shows the difference between the him and Clinton.

    February 29, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  10. Mimi

    I don't think the ad itself is scary. It's a nice ad. It doesn't talk about war and other stuff.

    Stop spinning around the story! What really scares me is Obama's presidency!

    February 29, 2008 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. California Independent

    Let's see... where to start. Bar..ack, ack, Brack, ack ack (That's a chicken) or how about sniff! sniff! Wah.....

    One of these days, the guy is actually going to quit whining.

    February 29, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |

    Obama you are also a scary one.
    Who are you?
    Where did you come from?
    How did you rise so quickly in the Political World?
    Who really is behind the Curtain Controlling you?
    What change are you hoping for exactly?
    Questions, questions, questions, but no direct answers from this puppet on strings.

    February 29, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  13. Alison

    I don't think it's a bad ad. I think it is a question a lot of people are asking themselves. Who do we think has the right judgment to lead our country? My answer to that is Barack Obama.

    February 29, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  14. jlixard

    “Now one of Clinton’s laws of politics is this: If one candidate’s trying to scare you and the other one’s trying to get you to think, if one candidate’s appealing to your fears and the other one’s appealing to your hopes, you better vote for the person who wants you to think and hope.”

    -Bill Clinton, 2004

    February 29, 2008 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. anon

    Barak Obama's whole campaign: "Hillary voted for the war. Change! Vote for me!"

    Check his senate record. It's all partisan votes. He hasn't authored one single piece of successful legislation, and the senate committe he chairs has NEVER met while he's been in charge.

    He's all talk.

    Pep rallies don't win the game; actions in the field do!

    February 29, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  16. Jordan - San Marcos TX

    How is this ad positive? It's meant to scare the living snot out of me and my fellow Texans who have already, or are planning on or considering voting for Barack Obama.

    The great thing about the Rovian politics is that they do not work anymore. Espeically among Independents and Democrats and even many Republicans in Texas.

    Obama '08

    February 29, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  17. Brian

    Clinton is trying to use Bush circa 2004 tactics to get voters to support her out of fear, obviously. But what she forgets is that this tactic works on sheltered, small-town Republicans, not world-savvy Democrats.

    Obama doesn't have to go negative with Hillary because she does most of the work herself. Good job Hillary!

    February 29, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  18. TT in NY

    When will Hillary realize that this is the exact kind of campaigning that us democrats hate about the GOP? Obama represents hope, change and a better direction for our future. Clinton represents the same old politics that got us into this mess in the first place. It is Barack's time

    February 29, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  19. Dylan Kay

    We had a "red phone moment" and you failed miserably, Hillary.

    We need to change the way we respond to "red phone moments'.

    Hillary, you are not it.

    February 29, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  20. Nick

    Man, if there is one thing I hate politicians do it's "won't somebody please think of the children" fear mongering. This sort of thing is exactly how the war was sold on us. This is just confirms Hillary is the Democrat Bush.

    February 29, 2008 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  21. laura

    This is a serious ad for a serious question. Who do we want in the white house making decisions? I think it makes a good point. Hillary Clinton is the most capable and experienced candidate on the democratic side. Clinton offers change with predictability and stability, but Obama offers change with uncertainty. Clinton, Obama and McCain are all candidates that will reach across party lines. I am a democrat and if Hillary is not the democratic nominee, I will vote for McCain.

    February 29, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  22. J. in PA

    I denounce and reject fearmongering.
    I denounce and reject Hillary Clinton.

    February 29, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  23. Angela

    Oh please...I can't take it anymore

    CNN – you've lost a viewer

    Anyone who is sick of the CNN bias against Senator Clinton should watch Dan Abrams on MSNBC....I have to pay extra for MSNBC but it is well worth it.

    Lets see if this makes it on the blog – you are so very good at deleting anything negative about Obama. Your delete finger must be very sore.

    February 29, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  24. KC

    Voters should be scared. They should calm down and think why they pick Obama. As I talked to a lot of Obama supporters, they all said Obama is sexy, handsome...

    Hillary is giving a wake up call!! Accept it first, think think think!!

    February 29, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  25. Charlotte

    People need to ask themselves this question. Maybe he'll just say present. Maybe Ted and Kerry can take turns spending the night. Oh wait, they voted for the war too. Hummmmmm Maybe Oprah will be there. No matter the question, his answer is I did not vote for the war. We get it, Obama did not vote for the war.

    February 29, 2008 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
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