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. Vince

    I'd rather Obama answer the phone on any given day. You need a leader who keeps his cool, doesn't rush to judgement, who's steady and reliable. He certainly appears to have these attributes as seen in the debates.

    Hillary on the other hand changes from day to day, first the nice Hillary, then the meanHillary, then the tough Hillary over to the weepy Hillary. Is that the kind of leader we want?

    February 29, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  2. Jordan - San Marcos TX

    What do Hillary supporters want CNN to do, rename themselves the
    "Clinton News Network" and only report on things that are positive for Hillary? They're simply reporting the news here, sorry that it's not good news...the fact is when you've lost 11 straght primaries, and are falling hopelessly behind in many areas of Texas, the news is not going to be good. Especially when your campaign takes on the personality of a spolied child.

    February 29, 2008 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  3. Tom

    We've had enough of this from the current administration. Do we really want more of the same old thing in Washington. Clinton=McCain=Bush...Vote for it and...good luck!

    February 29, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  4. BritPat

    Well if we did let Hillary answer the phone we know how she would react:

    Hillary: "How dare you! Shame on you!..Really, just how dare you."

    It's Hillary who should be taking politics lessons from Mr. Obama.

    February 29, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  5. Kevin

    "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

    Love it!!

    February 29, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  6. Doris

    Clinton is better prepared than Obama, he just can not and will not admit it. How could he how would he look then?

    February 29, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  7. John

    OH yea and by the way his pastor at the "1st baptist" in Chi-town meets with this zakkawi figure.. and not to mention has one been toted as having a racist stance on caucasions.. I am not racist I am in the Army.. I am from the south and did you also know african americans could vote before women in this country?

    February 29, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  8. Eva

    The people of the U.S. may see the ad by Hillary Clinton's
    campaign on "red button issues" as fear mongering, but
    I don't. We've had no attacks since 2001, but I'm sure that
    our enemies have not been inactive in planning during this
    time. It's possible that they have made other plans for
    taking the White House. How about putting their people
    in Congress or the Oval Office? That would certainly help
    their cause.

    February 29, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  9. Diane

    If you read the posts here. You can tell who is a supporter for whom, just by the reasoning and logic ... or the lack thereof... in their post.

    I guess this message should go through, right? Mr. Moderator?

    February 29, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. Chris1 not a blind obama follower

    Cnn stop trying to silence the people by deleting my post.

    February 29, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  11. Fired Up!

    I challenge all of you that says Obama did nothing while being a Senator to go to the Library of Congress and check out exactly what he did. Don't forget to Check out Hillary's as well it will be a quick read. Then tell me he hasn't done anything. It is called an educated vote. Try It!!!

    February 29, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  12. MJ

    EFabian...Mine didn't make it either... let's see if this one does:

    It was not an ad that accused flip-flopping or misleading facts (lies), it mearly poses a question. A good one. Instead of flinging insulting posts...you should consider the question. Consider this as well:

    Hillary has consistently asked to be held accountable for her campaign promises.

    Barack...well, it's always YES WE CAN. WE can...we have always had the power to take charge of this government. My question...
    When something goes wrong and he cannot deliver on the "promise" will he accept the failure or turn to the people because THEY didn't engage in the process.

    The way he has run his campaign on this statement...he will never fail...we will have caused the failure.

    February 29, 2008 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  13. Jordan - San Marcos TX

    DoveSong, Your'e exactly right. This is a weak attempt to appeal to suburban "security moms" that have been defecting to Obama. It's another attempt ultimately to divide my state and ultimately our country by using subtle fear-mongering tactics.

    February 29, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  14. Gion

    “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 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  15. Please leave. Drop out!

    Please drop out. She will not stop at anything! I wouldn't vote for her or McCain! You have only one choice- Obama! He is the best. Stop Hating Everybody! He is the coolest. He makes good judgments.

    February 29, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  16. Eva

    Barack Obama is not Denzel Washington, friends. And this
    is not a movie, a reality show, or "American Idol." This is an
    election for the President of the U.S. Wake up.

    February 29, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  17. tinkles

    Obama talks to me in my sleep! Change we can believe in!!!

    OBAMA '08!!

    February 29, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  18. Peter

    have y'll noticed that has the weather is getting warmer, Hillary is getting more desperate. makes us wonder if she wont explode in August if she becomes the nominee against the GOP opposition

    February 29, 2008 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  19. Jordan - San Marcos TX

    I don't know Dan, how many times is McCain going to defend the worst foreign policy blunder this nation has, perhaps, ever made?

    February 29, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  20. Byron in CA

    All those republicans in texas that are voting for obama, better worry bout McCain winning in Texas instead of making sure they're running against obama in November. Huckabee might have a bigger surprise for ya'll than the one you're trying to pull on the Dems.

    February 29, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |

    Does any of this really suprise anyone.
    I think the only 1 thing we can expect from any Politicians Campaign is that they will do, say anything to get a vote.

    The Campaign is sort of like QVC where they watch and analyze what the reactions are to what they say and depending on the way people react they will continue with the Point or not.

    February 29, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. roberto

    Barack Obama leaves nothing negative unanswered. Once again, the cream has risen to the top.

    February 29, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  23. Karen

    Hillary hasn't shown good judgement during the day! It is frightening to think of what kind of mistakes she would make in the middle of the night! Come on Camp Clinton, you can come up with something better than this 3:00am junk, it is almost as bad as Day One.

    February 29, 2008 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  24. Tony C.


    Politics is a filthy business and you have done some dirty, underhanded things yourself, so if you can't swim with the big kids go back to the kiddie pool.

    You haven't seen anything yet and if you do become the Democratic nominee this will all seem as if Hillary has been throwing roses at you.

    If you can't hack it, get out now, It's going to get a whole lot tougher and uglier, so grow up or shut up! We need a Democrat with guts and thick skin if we are to take back the White House in '09!

    February 29, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. w

    Who gets scared of an ad???? You should be scared trusting someone without any experience to handle crucial decisions... Obama keeps on bringing up reasons of voting for and against Iraq as good judgement but that is already in the past.. and aside from Iraq there so many issues out there like healthcare, foreign policy, jobs, etc, etc.. The ad is a wake up call to people to decide which candidate represents readiness and the answer for me is Hillary...

    February 29, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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