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. mikefrieman

    um....i don't even understand this add. It is stupid. And honestly...i feel more stupid even thinking about it. lame.

    February 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  2. David

    Hillary is now using Ghetto politics to resurface in the race, but it is already over. Fit to be VP, not President.

    Obama 08 and beyond!

    February 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  3. Charley

    She is going out (if that is her fate) as she came into the political orbit three decades ago - as a smart, serious and sound policy maven who leaves to others soaring rhetoric and stirring emotions.

    He is a very untested blank slate – be careful what you wish for

    February 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  4. Terri Patanus

    She is not trying to scare them they are to stupid realize that this nation will be right where it is 5 years from now. He has no intensions of working. His idea of working is "a dream" not work he wants us to do his job for him.

    It will back fire.......

    Hillary 08

    if Obama is on this ticket I will switch to McCain

    EXPERIENCE will prevail

    February 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  5. Paul

    Shut up obama, we have had enough of your empty speeches
    talk about the issues in detail and stop preaching, and show us what you have done?

    Hillary is our best candidate, she has a plan to lead our nation, we know her for years, and many of us do not even know her in person, thus, we cannot judge her based on perceptions. Go to the facts, we are talking about our nation and our economy. Enough with the dirty politics that you pretend not to use. Let us face it, Hillary is our best chance to succed and improve our lives at this time. Thus, we must support her.

    Hillary for President
    Hillary- Presidente

    February 29, 2008 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. Praetorian, Ft. Myers, FL

    I wouldn't say the ads were attempting stir up fears...just stir up some reason and logic amongst some of you brain washed "Obama HOPErs".

    February 29, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  7. Maria

    Obama is an idiot! What a cry baby! If he is such a shoe-in and a "uniter", what does he have to worry about! He should start trying to win over those Clinton die hards!

    I am not convinced! MOST of his present CNN blog supporters are just plain MEAN! If they are so SURE he is going to win, start playing nice! They should try and UNIT the party not further dividing it by bashing Clinton.

    At this point, I as an independent, I will vote McCain over Obama! This bickering is the same old thing! So much for CHANGE!

    February 29, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. Tim Ohio

    Why is Hillary attacking Obama with these crazy ads she had her chance in the debate, I think Hillary is going to lose in Ohio and Texas because of these negative ads. American people want change we need a leader like Obama who going to fight for us like health care, economy and the war in Iraq. I see so many people in my neighbor with Obama signs for changes. My next door neighbor is a white women and she for Obama she said she tire of Hillary negative remarks against Obama.

    February 29, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  9. db

    If Obama is a blank screen–then Clinton is a soap opera of lies and deceptions. Is there anything the Hill-Billys will not do to gain the White House?

    February 29, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  10. Sean

    Well, if it came down to who I would trust, I think sometimes actions speak louder than judgment. Considering that Obama has been too busy on the campaign trail to worry about his Senate sub-committee duties so he can be elected, he's proven that he thinks talk means more than actions. Again, it's about just talking the talk and not walking the walk.

    And in his reply to that vote, it's easy to stand on the sidelines and cheer or jeer when you're not in the position. And in 2002, he wasn't in the position.

    In relation to who I would trust at 3a.m. to answer the call, that would be both Senator Clinton and Senator McCain. Senator Obama would be the last person I would want to answer the call.

    February 29, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  11. Matthew

    I don't want Hillary answering the phone. Or anything else for that matter.

    February 29, 2008 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  12. Andy

    Mr. Obama you might be busy running for the next election so you won't bother answering the phone. What about neglecting that Senate committee for foreign relations in Afghanistan where you are a chairman simply because you were busy running for president? You either postpone your duties or respond just Present to calls.

    Anyway, by addressing so 'forcefully' the phone ad you just show you know you are vulnerable when it comes to national security. Hillary will be 100 times better than you although she is not perfect either.

    February 29, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  13. Grif

    You're doing that yourself, Obama.
    Honesty is all they require from you, and you are'nt delivering.... Why?

    February 29, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  14. Jim in CT

    Senator Obama and his expressionless, fainting, zombie followers have already scared most sensible, clear thinking, political thinkers a long time ago! As a liberal, who is somewhat to the left of Senator Obama, I'm frightened by the desperation of my fellow liberals and their willingness to embrace a complete political neophyte, who has accomplished nothing more than enrapture us with his oratory and promises.

    February 29, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  15. gene

    Right on! Obama is a kid playing in a sand box. Two wars, looming recession, chaos in Pakistan, mid east in turmoil, gas going to $ 4.00 per hour, Iran going nuclear, North Korea is nuclear, the air stinks and this kid considers this his sand box and wants time to learn. God help us! God help us ! God help us! I "hope" the Obama supporters "change" their minds, If not, there is only one alternative, John McCain.

    February 29, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  16. Nicole

    Clinton is hurting our party!! Please drop out already so we can unite, instead of making the divide larger. If we go to Denver divided we will lose in NOVEMBER!!!

    February 29, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  17. Leah

    Hello? I think it was Obama who was playing the fear and depression card in the past year. Hillary's new ad is a peaceful ad about picking a right person to do the job. Being a president is not an easy job, and you might have to stay up late. It's a REAL job and Hillary is prepared and knows what this job requires her to do!

    Why do you spread fear Obama?

    February 29, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  18. Heather Peterson

    I think I want Obama to answer the phone.

    February 29, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  19. Roger

    Move along, nothing to see here. Just more craziness from the Clinton campaign.

    February 29, 2008 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  20. Texas Terry

    The question more aptly Senator Obama should be will the person answering the phone act appropriately like Senator Clinton does voting 55 more times than you in the 110th Congressional session even though she also is running for President? Or will you answer the phone and not "answer the call" just as you are not performing responsibly in the sub-committee you were elected chair for and have not made a significant contribution to again, by your own words, because you have been on the campaign trail. Talk always has been and remains cheap. Your actions reflect your ability which to date is sub-par to that of Senator Clinton. If you get nominated the Democratic candidate Senator Obama, you are going to have a hard time getting a great number of Hillary's supporters out to support you. It is easy to move from supporting you to her because you have no substance. On the other hand it is very difficult to move from substance to talk..

    February 29, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  21. Skip

    Obama would have White House calls forwarded to someone who knew what they were doing.

    February 29, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  22. Nicole

    Clinton is hurting our party!! Drop out already so we can unite, instead of making the divide larger. If democrats go to Denver divided we WILL lose in NOVEMBER!!!

    February 29, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  23. Sam

    Fear is the best propaganda tactic to use when one is afraid that an argument can’t be won on substance alone. We saw it with Bush. That was his ace in the hole, and the public folded. Let’s hope it doesn’t work again.

    February 29, 2008 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  24. Patricia

    Why should I comment if it's not bashing Hillary then it doesn't get posted. Cnn your network is a joke.

    February 29, 2008 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  25. Texas4Obama

    Senator Obama is about Hope and Unity.
    Seems as if Hillary is about division and fear.

    Be informed and make the right choice!

    Obama '08

    February 29, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
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