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. Scott from Los Angeles

    Hillary, are YOU borrowing from Rove's playbook?

    February 29, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  2. SL

    This is a great response. It shows relative calm which is unheard of in today's political environment.

    February 29, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  3. PH in OK

    It does matter who answers the phone. And I want someone that can answer the question with out saying...."I agree with what Senator Clinton just said." over and over and over. He is a blank screen, she is the real deal.
    HILLARY '08

    February 29, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  4. Jen, Gainesville

    Obama is right on!!

    February 29, 2008 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  5. Steve, NJ

    Experience is one thing, but the inexperience to make sound judgments is extraordinary. Obama is the real deal.

    February 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  6. Tim

    Here's how the Obama campaign should respond. Produce this ad:

    Opening shot: A mother walking down the hallway in her dimly lit house.
    She opens the door to a bedroom, as a voice says,
    "It's 3am. Do you know where your children are?"
    She looks into the room...and an empty bed. Then glances over to the picture of her son, decorated in military uniform.

    Voice over: Yes. We know where our children are. They are fighting the war you voted for, Hillary. It's time to bring them back.

    February 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  7. carol

    That is the right answer obama. Way to go. God bless you.

    February 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  8. dmw

    They should be scared if Obama is nominee. The man has no National experience and he himself said he would not run for President because he knew he had no experience.

    I am scared to death of him being the nominee. It was bad enough with George Bush being a uniter, stating he would change Washington and so likeable everyone wanted to have a beer with him.
    All hell has broken loose since George Bush took office. I do not want the same thing again, this time from the Democrats.

    I vote Hillary or I vote McCain. They both have the experience on a National and International stage. Too much is at stake for hope. Hope has its place, but, the times are too trying for a rookie in the White House again.

    February 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |

    "Tell me what you regard as your greatest strength,

    so I will know how best to undermine you;

    tell me of your greatest fear,

    so I will know which I must force you to face;

    tell me what you cherish most,

    so I will know what to take from you;

    and tell me what you crave, so that I might deny you."

    go home hiliary

    February 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  10. deacon

    "soft images"??? the message is the same...44 years later the same ad..... it's time for change people.

    February 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  11. enoch needles, jersey city nj

    Hillary doesn't have a red phone. She has a princess phone...and the sense of entitlement that comes with it.


    February 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. mike

    Clinton did make the wrong choice. If I had to choose between clinton or obama on experience id choose obama.He may not of been around as long as hillary but the time hillary as been in the senate has not been a good track record.

    February 29, 2008 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  13. Flem

    Hillary Clinton: ready to go negative on Day One!!!

    February 29, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  14. Richard

    Why does Obama ALWAYS invoke Clinton's Iraq vote when anything about him is questioned? Doesn't he have any other basis for running or anything else for his defense?

    February 29, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  15. Maria Christine V from Dallas TX

    the obama supporters and the media act like he is a messiah! Sorry I already have one; don't need another one... in fact many will follow him anywhere even if it lead to the cliff!

    February 29, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  16. Jay

    hmm ..... someone was talking about lifting a trick from Carl Rove's playbook.

    February 29, 2008 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  17. Mark

    Desperate times call for desperate measures, eh, Hillary?

    February 29, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  18. Jim

    Hillary's ad scared me. Matter of fact, I'm so scared (of Hillary, that is), I just voted via absentee ballot for Sen. Obama.

    February 29, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. Foreignerz

    Obama is inspirational and cute. He will a great commander of chiefs

    February 29, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  20. MIKIT

    Obama is not ready for this....He has had no EXPERIENCE.....if a something does happen to the USA then he will not no what to do....
    He should run in the next election.....

    February 29, 2008 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  21. CB

    Yes it matters. Hillary better hope Bill don't have the door locked.

    Go Obama Go! Yes we can! Change we can beleive in!

    February 29, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  22. vl

    Honestly, the ad isn't bad. Besides, do I want someone to answer the phone that has the answers (Hillary) or someone to have to wait and ask, then repeat what the answer is (Obama)?

    February 29, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  23. bj

    I would want the person with sound judgment and capable of making the right decision to answer the phone. That would be OBAMA. Hillary in a business suit at 3:00 a.m. in the morning. That's something wrong with that picture.

    February 29, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  24. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Hillary sounds more like a republican, namely George W. Bush and John McCain. Hillary should be smart enough to know the republicans are using her in their attempt to stop Obama but she is allowing her ambition to make poor choices in her campaigning. The DNC or somebody needs to advise Hillary to cleanup her act or join the republicans. Vote Obama.

    February 29, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. Lou

    Every time Obama supporter say same words and lines on internet comment board, I couldn't help wondering if they were told to say so.

    February 29, 2008 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
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