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. NY

    So let me get this straight, she didn't say his name, she was just pointing out the importance of having someone that knows what they are doing, and somehow it is wrong, and Senator Obama starts whining. Please!

    BTW – To all Obama supporters – HE DID NOT VOTE FOR THE WAR, HE WASN'T IN THE SENATE AND HE SAID THAT HE DOESN"T KNOW HOW HE WOULD HAVE VOTED HAD HE BEEN IN THE SENATE. -So please let this go, if that is all he has I don't see why he should be president, there are other problems in our country, we need someone that can handle all of them.

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

    CNN is Definately Republican owned,they won't print the truth people Blog for Hillary. They want Obama in, thinking everyone will vote McCain. Maybe people will get smart at the General Election – & vote for no one – if their choice is so scary that it's between Obama & McCain. Then they won't be personally part of the irresponsibility of what happens to this country.

    February 29, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  3. mccain for pres!

    obama is a fool and a liar, and we all know what the clintons are about.....lining thier pockets!

    February 29, 2008 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. Alice

    Obama voted over 100 times " present", also said he pressed the wrong buttons when doing important decisions.His right judgement is alsolutely a joke.

    February 29, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. eddie

    Hillary is right, obama is a liability on foreign affairs. He heads the afghan affairs chair committee yet has not held one meeting since he was appointed head chair, yet he continues to talk about how we must change the situation in pakistan yet he is the only person who can setup these meetings! Hypocrisy at it's best

    February 29, 2008 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. Patricia

    I've just learned about another Clinton tactic that won't work... they haven't reported it here yet..... hang onto your hat guys..... The Clinton machine is in full force........ whoa baby.. if they wonder why people hate her, they're going to know now.....

    February 29, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  7. Dan in Chicago

    How many times is Obama going to say something along the lines of "McCain made the wrong choice of going into Iraq," in the next 8 months. It's as if that is all he has to say. We get it. Hindsight is 20/20.

    McCain 08

    February 29, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. Vote-for-Hillary Austin, TX

    If Obama wins, I will vote for McCain

    February 29, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  9. Charlotte NC

    Do I hear whining? Can't be!! Obama said in the last debate that he knows it's all just politics and his team doesn't whine.

    February 29, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  10. bizbizbiz

    Obama runs his campaign on emotional rhetoric. This entire campaign is running on wild emotions, not sound logic. That's why people chant "CHANGE! CHANGE! CHANGE!" without knowing WHAT KIND of change, or HOW the change will come about.

    What's the difference between what Clinton is doing here and what Obama has been doing since he first began? Nothing.

    February 29, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  11. Donna

    BJ...I agree with you 100%. Additionally, how can this young, inexperienced Senator Obama, with only just a few years in the political world have so much financial backing? Who or what movement is behind him, contributing millions to him each month? This is scarey. I suggest Obama write a sequel to his Audacity of Hope and call it the Audacity of Grandiosity. Unbelievable. Please Hillary...Let's bounce him out of the box once and for all.

    February 29, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  12. Sarah L, Fayetteville, AR

    Please, people, Clinton and Obama supporters alike, stop being so divisive. There is no reason to call people "zombies." There is no reason to call people "hormonal." If you disagree with eachother's choices, that's fine. But, please realize that you agree on the Democratic agenda and that you agree we need a Democrat in the Whitehouse. If you care about this at all, you will stop with the rude and nasty comments. Otherwise, you are most likely a Republican.

    February 29, 2008 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  13. Amy

    Keep moving that goal post, hillary!

    RI is the new firewall!

    Texas isn't important....Wisconsin wasn't important.....what's that, Ohio might go to Obama? well Ohio isn't important either!

    RI it is!

    February 29, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  14. Sam

    Go Obama 08

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

    barack, just stop it.

    February 29, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  16. Joan, Richmond, VA


    Am I the only Democrat that is alarmed by the HUGE amount of voters pulling for Obama that are from the most politically unsophisticated segment of the population?

    February 29, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  17. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    OK, Barack, the phone rings at 3AM – whattcha gonna do?!

    February 29, 2008 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  18. TJ, Austin, Tx


    You are playing with peoples emotions and giving them false HOPE. You are telling them that you will give everyone CHANGE in their pocket. She is just telling the truth. What is wrong in asking whom do you want to answer the phone call in case of emergency.

    February 29, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  19. owl

    I prefer OBAMA this time ...you had your chance Hillary ......so I am giving OBAMA his turn and that is my vote now and in Nov.

    February 29, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  20. MyMy

    Interesting.... Isn't this the same person who derided the other candidate at the last debate when she complained about his fear mongering and inaccuracies in flyers being sent out in Ohio.

    For someone who is considered to be an agent of change there appears to be a lack of change when it comes to the hypocrisy that is endemic to current political campaigns.

    February 29, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. Brendan H., San Antonio, TX

    Personal to case:

    You were voting for McCain in the first place, who are you kiddin'?!?!?!

    February 29, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. Joe

    Wow. If Senator Clinton doesn't win the nomination, maybe she can raise more money by selling this ad to the McCain for the fall. I was in Brazil when Senator Obama announced his candidacy and the response from the international community was that he would be a President that would restore America's standing in the world. He is a strong leader and smart enough to know how to handle national security issues. Sorry, you're not going to scare people into voting our fears.

    By the way, isn't this the Clinton campaign's 494th attempt to change message? Wow, it seems like nothing works for her.

    February 29, 2008 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  23. Mani, NJ

    Ah, i see the Obama hypnosis is working again. If Americans do not want to vote for Hillary for themselves, please do it for your children, your grandchildren, your nieces and nephews. Barack Obama's platform of "change" is nothing but a shallow campaign slogan. Yes, Obama is very intelligent but we all know he has only made it this far due to his forceful rhetoric. His ideas are unoriginal and highly partisan, so where is this change coming from again.

    February 29, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |

    Haven't we heard enough fear tactics from the present administration. The sky is falling, the sky is falling but daddy George will protect you!! I hope to god if I ever have to call at 3:00 AM it is Obama that answers the phone and not that wacko Hillary!! Given her bipolar condition I can't imagine what her response would be.

    February 29, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  25. Bubba

    The Hill campaign has made blunder after blunder after blunder! This is just the latest. Gawd, woman, give it up...please ! ! !

    February 29, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
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