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. tom henry

    I can't believe how low the Clinton's will go. I would not vote for her for dogcatcher, and that is quite an insult to the dog catchers employed around the world

    February 29, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  2. Clinton is RIGHT!

    It IS a scary thought if obama was the one who was elected President.......

    February 29, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  3. Free Thinker

    The hillary camp has nothing, Its really quite amusing, lets get on with the general election already!

    February 29, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  4. Kitty

    It's definately scare tactics!! How can you Hillary supporters be SO BLIND!
    It's not that we're following Obama like he's a messiah, you guys are just upset because the people want someone like Obama and NOT Billary!
    Change means someone new, with new ideas and prespectives. He's a very smart and HONEST man. He will lead America forward and give meaning to the term 'American dream' again, he has some very great ideas for this country! We need someone to take us into the future since lately we've been going backwards instead of forward!

    Obama is the future, the world will look at us with a new light if he's our president, they will know we as a nation have changed for the better and become that great nation we were always meant to be, but thanks to our corrupt government these last couple years we haven't fulfilled that.
    Hillary is the same old politics that haven't done anything for the American people, REMEMBER it will ALWAYS be her interests first, she only says she cares about the people so she can get their vote. But I mean come on now, how much has she really done? Send our kids to Iraq? Meanwhile Obama was out protesting the war (theres video footage of him in 2002).
    No more fear mongering politians like Hillary, McCain, and Bush!!

    OBAMA 2008!!!

    February 29, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  5. JuneBug

    Hey what in the world is happening here. Let the people vote for who ever them wants.

    February 29, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  6. Liz

    I would want Hillary to answer the phone, without question. Her experience is far more appealing to me than Obama's sound bites.

    February 29, 2008 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  7. EFabian

    Didn't Obama use scare tactics with his healthcare brochure???

    Didn't Obama use scare tactics in his NAFTA ad??

    He absolutely did. This guy can get away with anything.

    February 29, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  8. Heartland Kid

    Someone please tell me one piece of foreign policy experience Hillary has? Just one .... Other than voting for the Iraq War.

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

    DEMOCRATS REMEMBER–Half the people on this board are REPUBLICANS!!! They want us divided. Every time you read a nasty comment, it is a REPUBLICAN. DO NOT BE FOOLED!!!!

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

    I truly hope Barack Obama is elected President just so all the Americans that think Hillary's supporters are blind can feel really duped when he does nothing and ends up raising taxes because he has no way to pay to for anything and we have another Carter-like administration.

    February 29, 2008 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  11. No-good-judemnet

    CNN, why you deleted my comment??? Ridiculous!!!

    Obama doesn't have good judgement. The number one responsibility as president is to protect his country from DANGER. Do you need another 9-11????

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

    HRC wouldn't answer the phone, she'll be stealing china, or chasing Bill from flirting with other leaders wives, or destroying evidence, or lying, or using our tax dollars for her special interest, or crying, or whining, or trying to quickly make her records/taxes available, or talking about her 95 years of experience answering phones

    February 29, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  13. Uncle Sam

    If you were looking to fill an executive position, would you hire the candidate with excellent interviewing skills but no record of achievement?

    February 29, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  14. david

    I think people like Obama because it seems the man has good character and the speech he gives.

    February 29, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. HC

    Bad ad!!! What we should fear (and reject) are those wo spread fear!!

    February 29, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  16. Anonymous

    Thank you poster John Johnson for a perfect display of the result of the fear mongering mentality.

    February 29, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  17. Ashes

    Hey Mickie in PA, George W. Bush had NO experience in foreign affairs. That's Clinton's point. As for JFK, he had a TON of overseas experience. Read some of his background. His father was a diplomat and he spent years traveling and meeting with foreign dignitaries.

    February 29, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  18. jj

    Skip, you said it, Obama would forward the call to someone who might know what to do because he sure doesn't. ll of you who say for Clinton to drop out are nuts, she is not that far behind and if she drops out or if Obama is the nom for dems. McCain will win automatically, the only way that the dems will win is if Obama drops out, that may unite the party. If he is the VP it may unite the party. But if he gets it, then Mccain is a shoe in. You don't get it. Clinton backers are VERY STRONG ON EXPERIENCE, IF WE CAN'T GET IT FROM THE DEMS WE'LL GET IT FROM MCCAIN. Obama is the one dividing the party, not Clinton.

    February 29, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |

    "Because the question is not about picking up the phone. The question is: What kind of judgment will you make when you answer?"

    This my friend (am I plagiarising?), is how you fight this fear mongering Clinton ad.

    Obama just owned Clinton with this response.

    Latino for Obama '08

    February 29, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  20. Anne in Los Angeles

    Talk about driving the bus......putting Senator Obama in charge of our national security, job, economy, and everything else is like having someone without a license driving the bus.........crash.

    And then Senator Clinton will lead the way to get the damage fixed. Only thing is if we the voters do not get her into the White House, Senator Obama will have no one to follow.

    February 29, 2008 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  21. Lloyd Hansen

    I'm scared of an Obama presidency. I'll end up with no paycheck, no civil rights but the bright side is that he will make us all hope for a quick change of presidents.

    February 29, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  22. Cathy from PA

    Obama was not in the senate and did not have a vote on invading Iraq. He was not privy to the same information that Hillary was at the time. Remember that we were an angry, hurting nation at that time.

    What I find interesting is that according to Obama, when he withdraws the troops, he plans on leaving somes special forces there for an indefinate period of time. Doesn't sound like withdrawal to me.

    February 29, 2008 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  23. Belle

    Obama is ALMOST laughable....his followers blog every word out of his mouth....he says Hillary goes negative...then scores of "HATE MAIL" appear on CNN...he says Hillary's Ad is one of fear, the SCORES of "HATE MAIL" calling Hillary a fear-monger appears on CNN....

    Wow...who would ever believe one person could "CONTROL" so many people? I have heard his speeches. The first one, I almost jumped on Obama's band wagon myself! However, I always ask myself the question:
    Remember when you were so crazy about Carter? Look what happened!

    I have a lot of Respect for Mr. Carter today because he has become invaluable to the USA in helping good causes. However, his presidency led me to vote Republican four years later.

    Mr. Obama is very comfortable on stage. That is where his role should be. He has a God-given talent for speaking.

    He stumbles at the debates. He orginally said he would sit down with ANY Dictator...then later amended his answers. He sits behind Clinton's questions, and agrees with her, and then tries to embellish her answer for his own benefit. He does not want to "give up" the Kennedy endorsement, although Clinton won that state, then TURNS around and complains the other SuperDelegates are not voting the way their state does.

    It takes a great deal of courage to put up with the "FALSE" misleading statements Mr. Obama has said of Clinton, yet, he MAKES issues about a picture that was on HIS website, His Middle name, and discounts EVERYONE else around him that disagrees with his point of view.

    I personally have a motto "Change or Die." I believe in change. However, NOT ONE SINGLE IMPORTANT CHANGE in my life occurred without me taking ACTION FIRST.

    Mr. Obama has shown INACTION on one of the Most Important opportunities in the Senate he had. Inaction folks...then he says that inaction will be different once he is president.

    Well my friends...you CANNOT ignore or miss an opportunity to make a difference. Mr. Obama missed his, and then rationalized the "WHY" away. I am surprised Obama supporters are NOT calling him to task on that? How do you EVER plan to hold him accountable as President.

    I really would like to know.

    February 29, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  24. LadyBug

    Hey junebug, i agree with you, we need to stop all this fightin on CNN.

    CNN are good folks....................they just like to stir a thing or to up.

    February 29, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  25. B. Smart

    Let's all vote so that Senator Obama can answer the phone. At 3 O'clock
    in the morning, no one wants to hear Hillary's voice, and John McCain
    won't even hear the telephone ringing.

    OBAMA 08.

    February 29, 2008 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
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