March 10th, 2008
11:34 PM ET
15 years ago

Obama: Leaked photo, ad signal GOP tactics from Clinton team

JACKSON, Mississippi (CNN) - A few days after an aide to presidential contender Hillary Clinton accused her rival Barack Obama of behaving like Ken Starr, the Illinois senator kept up a recent string of counter-attacks, charging her campaign with strategically leaking a photo of him in African clothing and employing the “Republican playbook” in their effort to re-take frontrunner status in the Democratic race.

“When in the midst of a campaign you decide to throw the kitchen sink at your opponent because you’re behind, and you start - your campaign starts leaking photographs of me when I’m traveling overseas wearing the native clothes of those folks to make people afraid, and then you run an ad talking about who’s gonna answer the phone at three in the morning - an ad straight out of the Republican playbook - that’s not real change,” Obama told voters at a Mississippi campaign event Monday night.

The photo of Obama dressed in traditional local garb during a goodwill trip to Africa surfaced in the days before the critical March 4 contests. The Clinton campaign denied reports of any connection with its appearance, and Obama said at the time that he believed the New York senator’s assurances she did not know anything about the picture before it was published on the Drudge Report Web site the week before voters went to the polls in Ohio, Texas, Rhode Island and Vermont.

"...I take Senator Clinton at her word that she knew nothing about the photo. So I think that's something that we can set aside," Obama said at the Ohio debate late last month - a remark re-circulated by the Clinton campaign Monday night.

In a statement, the Clinton team attributed Obama’s Jackson remarks to his losses in last week’s primaries, and pointed to the Ohio comment, in which he seemed to absolve Clinton herself, though not her campaign, of responsibility for the photo’s distribution.

–CNN's Rebecca Sinderbrand and Chris Welch

soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Paul

    The Drudge Report Web site did report at the time that it got the picture from a Clinton campaign source despite the campaign's later denial. I have never doubted otherwise, and the longer Hillary Clinton slithers through these primaries the more low down rotten "strategies" will be employed. Hillary Clinton needs to slither down her hole and stay there.

    March 11, 2008 02:41 am at 2:41 am |
  2. msk-

    Obama the saint is now attacking. Call that a change?????

    go Hillary.

    March 11, 2008 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  3. Antonia Mincheva-Smith

    I am married to American Philip Smith – He is republican votes for Barak Obama. I ask Him why He do that. He said that America need His ( Barak Obama) change not Clinton or John McCain. Clinton is old name with lots of sins for American people. She try to change now but is to litle too late.
    I believe that Obama wins Texas but no body even talks about that. Why? – Same old people same old politics. Same double talks.

    March 11, 2008 02:56 am at 2:56 am |
  4. JDB

    Hillary Clinton (D) – The D stands for Divisive; cause she sure doesn't seem to be a Democrat the way she is tearing apart our party. The same old thing. Shameful.

    March 11, 2008 02:57 am at 2:57 am |
  5. dave

    the clinton tactics are starting to get old, just like them. Oops did i write that, well its time to get to the real issues like water gate or realising thier tax returns , how bout that.

    March 11, 2008 02:59 am at 2:59 am |
  6. Johannes

    Hi CNN,

    why do you still write about Clintons victory in Texas???
    As far as I know, it is Obamahs victory.

    March 11, 2008 03:13 am at 3:13 am |
  7. Chris

    Good One Obama. Hillary is a monster and does not belong in the US politics. We do not want another Fraud like Bush representing our country. We want you. We want someone new and someone who will restore the pride of the country.

    Go Obama. The whole country is counting on you.

    March 11, 2008 03:16 am at 3:16 am |
  8. marketprofits

    Clintons are finished. Get with it CNN (Clinton's News Network).

    CNN = Clinton's News Network

    You suck CNN, probably worst than Lewinsky. Oops, only Bill Clinton would know that. Sorry CNN.

    March 11, 2008 03:18 am at 3:18 am |
  9. post this cnn

    i wish i could take on the clinton campaign one by one... they absolutely disgust me and the people who support them are the ones who are delusional not the obama supporters. obama critics always say people are being duped and mislead, but the truth is people who claim Hillary Clinton should be president are. This woman is evil and if anyone cannot see through this then obviously you have a problem and need to have your head checked. Comments....bring it

    March 11, 2008 03:19 am at 3:19 am |
  10. jeremy

    I don't know anymore if either are running a fair election, but I can say this: it seems that a majority of the negative attacks are coming from the Clinton campaign and that a greater majority of the attacks of character are from the Clinton campaign... and that is sad.

    March 11, 2008 03:26 am at 3:26 am |
  11. Jot

    Obama you leaked the photo yourself to blame Hillary. By the way, that is your photo what it wrong with it. That is why Clinton says you are unexperience in foreign affairs

    March 11, 2008 03:30 am at 3:30 am |
  12. Andrew

    I like Obama talks of bringing change to D.C. and uniting our parties and country and then he goes and makes a sweeping generalization that Republicans resort to cheap tricks in elections.

    March 11, 2008 03:41 am at 3:41 am |
  13. chevy

    ahaahhah of course shes certain! but her campaign is in involved, i mean in my mind its too consequential that obama lost his 11win streak after these pics and rumors of his nafta deal came into public, which were not true, call me naive but, clinton benefited TOO much from those rumors.

    March 11, 2008 03:43 am at 3:43 am |
  14. Mike, PA

    The only difference between Clinton and Spitzer is that people can empathize with Bill's cheating. I mean Bill doesn't drink. He has no escape! Who can blame him for not wanting to wake up next to muff diving thunder thighs.

    March 11, 2008 03:46 am at 3:46 am |
  15. Marco very hip Obama shirts

    She's just a really bad person

    March 11, 2008 03:52 am at 3:52 am |
  16. PoliticAL

    Senator Obama should stop whining his opponent's campaign. There's no crying in baseball or politics. Thoughen up Senator, we don't need hypersensitive in the White House at this point in our nation's history.

    March 11, 2008 04:00 am at 4:00 am |
  17. psburton

    Considering his senior advisor on foreign policy Samantha Power resigned over her "Monster" remark perhaps Senator Obama should clean his own house before casting aspersions on the behavior of his opponent, double talk on campaign finance and back channeling over NAFTA? Really the difference in the two is one is running on her message and the other thinks He is the message.

    March 11, 2008 04:02 am at 4:02 am |
  18. Lindsay Graham

    The Clintons are scumbags. Wake up America!

    March 11, 2008 04:12 am at 4:12 am |
  19. PoliticAL

    The only good thing about a protracted Democratic Party nomination, is that McCain and the republicans have only two months to wage a campaign. They are in an awkward position because they really don't know who they will face in November.

    March 11, 2008 04:13 am at 4:13 am |
  20. Gene

    Following Obama's logic, you should have DONE NOTHING (bad or good) BEFORE running for president. Just reach the necessary age and voila! -you're a candidate!

    March 11, 2008 04:19 am at 4:19 am |
  21. Prince George, Dallas, Texas

    We knew all along that the Clinton Campaign leaked the picture to spread fear as part of their "kitchen sink strategy". The Clintons will say and do anything to get elected. This time America is ready to turn the page. We do not have room for their brand of politics. In OBAMA we TRUST!

    March 11, 2008 04:23 am at 4:23 am |
  22. prcleburne

    I must have missed something. When was it determined that the photo in question was leaked by the Clinton campaign?

    March 11, 2008 04:32 am at 4:32 am |
  23. E. Bertin

    Thanks Obama and keep going positive

    March 11, 2008 04:33 am at 4:33 am |
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