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. June

    So now Hillary is trying to have some votes not counted in Texas as she feels she will not win. What else are we going to let her get away with. She is always wanting to change the rules when she is not winning. It that who we want to run or country, I don't think so.

    February 29, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  2. Taran, San Diego, CA

    There's a fine line between "fear mongering" and "reality".

    This ad is reality.

    The Obama camp ought to get over it. The more they point out the ad, the more people will watch it, and the less they'll be drawn to an Obama candidacy.

    February 29, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  3. Larry Sporn, OH

    And what will Obama do when he answers the "red phone" call? He will "vote" present, of course, so as to be consistent with the rest - albeit brief - voting record on any questions involving difficult decisions.

    February 29, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  4. AMK

    I am a republican and I want Obama in the nomination so the GOP and McCain can crush him in the general election......

    February 29, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  5. Sean, Detroit MI

    I denounce and reject this type of fear mongering and emotional manipulation! Oh, and by the way Hillary: "denounce" is much more aggressive and much more active than "reject" , To reject something you simply turn away from it. To denounce it on the otherhand, you actively speak against it.

    February 29, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  6. Paul

    Actually having Hillary answer the phone wouldn't be bad when you think about it...as long as it's a video phone. Imagine seeing her at 3am without makeup, just getting out of bed....SHEESH, anyone wanting to cause us harm would go screaming into the night in shear terror!

    February 29, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  7. Chris

    I don't understand why everything posted on these blogs has to be so emotional. All these people writing, "Think! Think! Think!" (and asking people to vote for Senator Clinton), or people writing about how "evil" Hillary is. Are you really thinking if you've bought totally into either one of these philosophies?

    A lot of the ant-Obama comments ask for a rejection of his emotional appeal, but all of these comments are extremely EMOTIONAL. The very fact that you would bother to post incredibly negative (and ignorant) comments about either side speaks to the emotion that is involved in the race.

    Don't pretend like Hillary is the rational candidate, and on the other side, don't pretend that Hillary is totally devoid of all capacity for 'change,' or what 'change' really means: an extreme emotional appeal that will hopefully allow for a mandate, and possibly a new kind of politics.

    I support Obama precisely because he has been able to capture this kind of emotional response, and if Americans start FEELING a different way about politics, maybe politics in this country really can CHANGE for the better.

    February 29, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  8. shawn

    Fear mongering is the republican tactics. When the phone rings, president Obama will pick it up and make the right decision similar to when he made the right decision not to invade iraq over bogus and cooked up intelligence. He is the right man to be near that phone than either Hillary or John McCain, and majority of the Americans believe it.

    Obama supporter.

    February 29, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  9. Michael "C" in Lorton, Virginia

    Hillary Clinton has to realize that one does not acquire experience by making experiments by her campaign ads. You cannot create experience. You must undergo it. Experience is a hard teacher because it gives the test first, the lesson afterwards.

    February 29, 2008 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  10. Voted for Obama

    The best reponse I've seen for Hillary's desperate ad employs the words of her husband (who used to believe in Hope):

    "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 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  11. Patrick Peavy Plano,TX

    It isn't fear-mongering it is called being realistic. Why do so many people in this country suffer from the Osterich Effect? We can't bury our heads in the sand and close our eyes and imagine our problems away.

    February 29, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  12. Bill Pa.

    CNN you guys really are scared to allow comments that may or may not offend obama, So why are you protecting him, he has his own secret service, he does not need you to protect him.

    February 29, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  13. Dude

    I would want McGruff the Crime Dog to answer the phone, wait a minute, maybe Superman or someone else from the Hall of Justice.

    February 29, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  14. ESH

    stop talking about experience? can anyone name the most decorated and experienced nominee to get the presidency? Jame Buchanan

    By the way, Buchanan was a failure as a president... didn't stop the south from seceding

    Experience is as much a talking point as what you ate for breakfast

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

    As usual the response from Obama is not clear.

    It amazes me that this guy gets by continually skirting
    the issues....and people think that what...he's just too
    smart, so it must be okay??

    What is scary is Obama as President with no foreign
    policy experience!

    February 29, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  16. case

    Obama is the real deal and Billary is running scared.

    If Hillary wins I will vote for McCain.

    Indpendent for OBAMA

    February 29, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  17. Mohamed

    this reminds me of the Threat warnings we use to get back on 04 while Bush war running for president 2nd term but after he won the Threat was gone i wonder how that was possible. dirty politics wont get you anywhere hillary

    February 29, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  18. JennyM

    Hillary is such a drama queen . what is she gonna do ? Answer the phone "Shame on you !!! OH yeah .. that works - NOT

    February 29, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  19. OYE

    Can’t you see where this is headed? The American Empire is about to hit its Dark Age. It happens to every Empire, when they believe themselves to be the greatest in the entire world that they have become blind to the unraveling of their society. We can see it, but we aren’t stopping it. Unless someone stands up and says, the way things are done here isn’t working, that will be our fate too. For all of you who haven’t caught on, this is your chance to see change, it IS possible. But it is not possible when the same old, fear mongering ways. This is not change.

    Take yourself away from thinking in terms of years or decades, but think centuries ahead, what will the history books write about us? Will we have anything to show besides the decline of a once great society?

    February 29, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  20. Janet-San Diego

    It's funny obama keeps saying "he didn't agree with the vote to go to war in Iraq". Well he was not in the senate at that time when it was time to vote. So, Obama stop lying to the country about you did not agree with the war... What you should be saying is if iI was in the senate I would of voted for it too. Because President Bush lied.................to everyone. Stop making yourself look good. You are arrongant. So is your wife. She said "oh my god fear bomb, they said his name. So what!! They are both lawyers you would think that before running for president they should off known this middle name was going to come up. Grow up Michelle. Your no first lady and they say people should be scare of Hillary!! yup right. Michelle should stay home she is not helping her man at all. You obamamanics are silly. Be careful what you wish for. They will not be proud of america again when he loses. I can never change my vote for him even if he does win the nom.

    February 29, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  21. pj

    i dont think this is a negative ad, its just a terrible ad, it would never influence me. she should really fire everyone in her campaign at this point, they are dinosaurs that just dont get it. she is still telling people her website address on speeches and debates, shows that she is a dinosaur herself, who still spells out their website address and puts out rediculous ad after pathetic ad.

    so sad.

    February 29, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  22. sophie

    i am sick and tired of everyone having to tiptoe about obama!!
    the facts are if the phone rings in the middle of the nite, i want a qualified person to answer it.......pres. clinton.....not some kid who wants to play "grown up".

    February 29, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  23. CJ

    Haters of Real Change will always seek to squash out an inspirational leader like Obama. The Bush's, Clintons, and McCain have had there opportunity to change our country and they have done nothing but diliver empty promises.

    They are so worried about holding on to there positions of power that they will do and say anthing to hold on to it! The fact that Obama is new with little "Washington" experience is fine with me because he has been there long enough to be corupted by lobbyist and special interest!

    It is time for change! Its time for Obama 08!!!

    February 29, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  24. KarenLane

    Please vote for Obama. That will guarantee that John McCain will be President of the United States of America. Keep up the good work, Obama supporters.

    February 29, 2008 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  25. dc

    I read this on another comment string. Maybe Hillary should take some advice from her own husband. It's worked so far....right?

    “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 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15