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. Bill Jay

    BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA nice name by the way. Real American
    of your parents. Well we hope the devil does not come out of ya.

    February 29, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  2. Mike

    I can remember two "red phone" moments in my lifetime. The first was the Cuban Missle crisis, the other was on 9/11. JFK had the judgement not to immediately order an air force strike on Cuba, as some of his military advisors suggested. His patience, courage and intellect helped us to avoid a nuclear war. If you've ever seen Fahrenheit 911, the most disturbing scene is when GWB is reading a book to children in Florida and is informed about the twin towers being hit. He sits there with a vacant look on his face and only moves when an advisor tells him they have to leave. It's absolutely true that the most important thing we need in a President is to be ready when the red phone rings and to make the correct judgements. I'm voting for Obama because I think he will be more like JFK and react with patience, courage and intelligence.

    February 29, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  3. Allen

    The ad in question poses a very pertinent question. Who would you trust in a catastrophic event? I would trust Barack Obama, he carries himself calmly and dignified. This is the person I would want answering that phone in such a moment. I don't think we should trust our security to someone who cries on demand and who at one moment pastes on a smile then has an emotional breakdown lashing out at her enemies the next. Clinton can’t even answer her own question satisfactorily.

    February 29, 2008 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  4. Closely Watching

    Dare I say, just like a play out of the Republican's Rovian Playbook?

    Shame on you Hillary Clinton! Now who is more like George Bush?

    Obama '08

    February 29, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. cindy

    How can they say it is not the same as the "Daisy" ad. It is EXACTLY the same. The picture might be softer, but it is the EXACT same message. Don't look now Hillary, but your desperation is showing!

    February 29, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. Abner

    I am just tired of Obama reacting every single time Senator Clinton says something. He has the audacity of feeling attacked. He believes he is the center of the universe and that everyone is talking about him. Senator Clinton is simply talking to AMERICA. She is asking a very logical, common sense question that every voter should ask. That is the part of making important decisions. You ask a lot of questions in different, real scenarios. You do not need to decide who inspires you the most, but WHO KNOWS what is going on and WHO HAS what it takes to the job right. Great presidents are not supposed to inspire people; they just have to have PROVEN SKILLS to lead the country.

    February 29, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  7. Yolanda

    Tell you a truth

    Ted Kennedy is another shameless loser, check his scandal years ago, which cost him the presidency.

    Welcome Obama's wife to make another comment

    February 29, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  8. Muhammad, Dallas, Texas

    Like Clinton will even have the strength to get out of bed at 3 AM!!! Really...Really!!!

    February 29, 2008 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  9. Bill Pa.

    BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA wonder what your plans are for the energy crisis in American.

    February 29, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  10. Meg

    If Hillary was in the White House, the call would likely be Bill's latest indiscretion.

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

    No, Michelle will say, Obama stinks

    February 29, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  12. Gale

    what exactly does moderation mean?

    February 29, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  13. Luz

    and Obama wasn't try to scare voters about Hillary's health care plan!!!

    She will make you have to buy it.... even if you can't afford it!!! He said.

    This is very mild compared to what he has put forth against her.

    She is just questioning his experience to deal effectively with crisis.

    February 29, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  14. Kurt

    Riiiiight. Clinton is using scare tactics!!! Obama mails ads to people in Texas, Ohio, PA etc that should a man and woman sitting at a table scared about how they are going to pay for healthcare when apparently their plans are "95 percent similar". Obama mails ads saying NAFTA took away your job!. HE is the one using scare tactics. Republican scare tactics!

    February 29, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  15. HSNP

    Unfortunately, Sen. Obama, the world isn't all sunshine and tea parties. Bad things happen to good people and, frankly, when it does happen I want Hillary to answer the phone.

    February 29, 2008 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  16. dave

    clinton and obama arent about anything but giving welfare to people that dont deserve it....typical democrats!

    February 29, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  17. Chris, Jacksonville


    Desperation is a stinky cologne.

    You CANNOT beat McCain (people despise you)......Obama can.

    Quit the scare tactics, you do not have much "experience" either.

    Being first lady does NOT count.

    February 29, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  18. Bill Pa.

    CNN thanks for not posting my thoughts on Barack Hussein Obama

    You guys reall suck.

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

    A positive ad?

    February 29, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  20. P'd OFF

    Yeah sure, Put Obama in the Presidency, He'll have crisis phone calls transfered to his Uncle Cheney.

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


    I have left several Pro-Hillary posts today and ALL OF THEM HAVE BEEN DELETED!!! Not one has been approved and NONE were offensive. Just stated facts.


    And this post will be deleted within a short minute or 2. I am appalled.

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

    If Hillary's the president, the only person that would be calling the White House at 3:00am would be one of Bill's old girl friends. So there is absolutely nothing to worry about.

    February 29, 2008 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  23. BL-NYC

    Now this is really pushing it too far... This Obama guy does nothing but point fingers and then accuses everyone else of it!!! Have any of you seen HIS AD??? Is it any different??? NO People...

    Mr. Obama did not vote yes or no on the decision to invade Iraq... At least Mrs. Clinton stood up for our country... Perhaps we have all forgotten that we were angry and upset as a nation at that time... She acted as our voice, he did not act or react... People, wake up!!!
    This is a JOKE.

    February 29, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  24. Byron in CA

    This is so funny, obama really keeps dropping the ball especially on this one. He can't seem to shake the trend. Starting out with saying the ad has a legitamate question and then next sentence it's a scare tactic lol(that's called double speak senator), then to say it's not who picks up the phone but the judgement lol, that's what the ad is asking obama and you"re not the one which is apparent by your answer. His comments are worthless as his speeches. All speeches and no action don't add up to an America that will move forward, He didn't vote to go to Iraq because he COULDN'T, he didn't hold a position in the gov at the time. He was making the same arguments for not going to war that every democrat was making at the time, (even Hillary) but when he could vote he has voted just like Hillary or just present (no action). ALL TALK NO ACTION OBAMA, the people are hearing now that you've got little to contribute and unless someone tells you the answer you just plain don't know the answers. Post this CNN it follows your comment policy and is on topic so don't keep me and others that follow your posted rules from having a voice.

    February 29, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  25. JennyM

    I don't think the ad makes much of a difference.

    Hillary failed at health care.

    She voted for Iraq.

    She should stick to answering her cell phone.

    February 29, 2008 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
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