March 10th, 2008
11:34 PM ET
14 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. Slap Stick, FLORIDA

    Look Obama, stop complaining and do something about it.

    March 11, 2008 12:45 am at 12:45 am |
  2. California Dreamin is Back


    Come on all you OBAMA plants vote for OBAMA, lets chant together..."vote for OBAMA I Believe in RAIMBOWS, HEARTS AND UNICORNS...

    March 11, 2008 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  3. Ron

    No One should be surprised..unfortunately ther will be some people who are fooled. She's a fighter alright..a DIRTY FIGHTER who doesn't care if she leaves a path of destruction behing her like a tornado..Ladies and gentlemen..IT IS ALL ABOUT HER!! and the Hell with the rest of us.

    March 11, 2008 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  4. JJ

    I would not put anything past the Clinton campaign. People need to wake up and realize that Hilary Clinton is trying to pull a 2000 election stunt. If the shoe was on the other foot and Senator Obama was in her place and wanted to have MI and FL to be counted, she would be the first one to say that he has to play by the rules. It seems that the only person who doesn't think the rules apply to them is her!

    March 11, 2008 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  5. Clilntonite

    Why deny your COUNTRY (like your wife: MICHELLE)..??

    Obama is a liar..He knows we tells people one thing and truly means another..>

    With Clinton we know what we get: Success, Strong Economy, More money for College Tuition.



    March 11, 2008 12:55 am at 12:55 am |
  6. jujub

    CNN is grasping at straws again to contradict Barack Obama. He said, "...your campaign starts leaking photos..." He did not say "Hillary leaked photos..."

    Hillary! You did not win Texas. Its all about the delegates and Barack Obama will win more delegates than you when the final votes are tallied. You also did not win Michigan because his name was not on the ballot. You are nothing but smoke and mirrors and Barack is all about integrity.

    March 11, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  7. Jay in Kansas

    So you believe he till she's winning?

    Just admit that the whole concept of your presidency is gone. You're not an inspirational figure because you can't even stick to your own convictions. Imagine if this was foreign policy.. first he takes [insert dictator] at his word THEN he thinks its propaganda.

    If every prom king was president of the United States.. Popularity is not a job credential

    March 11, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  8. Doug from Toronto

    The clintons know how to engage in a down and dirty mud slinging engagement. They're experienced at it and have survived credible and uncredible attacks on their charater. They are numerous broken adviseries left in their wake. If they can get Obama to compete in that forum, he'll be out of place and quickly lose ground. The clintons already are saturated with mud and can only benefit by getting Obama dirty too.

    March 11, 2008 12:57 am at 12:57 am |
  9. Corey

    Sounds to me like Hillary and her cronies are GUILTY GUILTY GUILTY as charged. They have said everything EXCEPT that they are not guilty of these abhorrent acts. Shame on you Hillary Clinton. SHAME ON YOU!

    OBAMA '08....

    Hillary never!

    March 11, 2008 01:03 am at 1:03 am |
  10. Independent

    Throw her tatics back in her face.

    Go Obama!!

    March 11, 2008 01:05 am at 1:05 am |
  11. Leslie

    Did it ever occur to Obamians that maybe the Republicans "leaked" the photo? As for the photo being "leaked", how can it be "leaked" if the photo appeared in publication previously?

    March 11, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  12. Pon Mao

    Hillary Clinton keeps saying that she's a fighter, who is she fighting against? Is she going to start another civil war? or is she going to start wars with other countries? That's really scary.

    Why can't we have peace on earth? Maybe because we have too many politicians like the Clintons?

    March 11, 2008 01:07 am at 1:07 am |
  13. Leslie

    Why does CNN keep fueling the photo thing?

    March 11, 2008 01:08 am at 1:08 am |
  14. LaLainKCMO

    Tactics like Clinton's are NOT real change.

    And now she's throwing in the kitchen sink? What kind of strategy is that? It's like now since she's going DOWN she's going to do it in a blaze of glory.

    Yes We Can. Si Se Puede.
    Obama 2008

    March 11, 2008 01:09 am at 1:09 am |
  15. Ronald Watson

    Obama is ok, but we need some one who can stand up to the republicans.
    as well as corperate america, and i don't think that Obama who sit's there and say's that the republicans hadsome good idea's.
    all they did is cut low income people's programs that helped them get by, do you people forget the great years we had under bill clinton.
    if your smart you will put your vote to clinton, and secure are future,,,,,,,,,,,

    March 11, 2008 01:10 am at 1:10 am |
  16. james bradford

    i feel that hillary clinton must drop out of race she cant win and all she is doing now is helping john mccain

    March 11, 2008 01:15 am at 1:15 am |
  17. JerryZ

    She and her surrogates are slim. They will pay at the end.

    McCain will win the nomination.

    The wisdom of the DNC will let Hillary and Obama slug and bloody each other. Obama has the pledge delegate lead.
    When the DNC super-delegates overturn the pledge delegates for Hillary or run to Obama side, one side will not vote, may vote for Nader or McCain.

    You fools are falling into the conservative republicans plans. If they overrule Obama, 90% of the black vote will be gone and all of the first time and young voters will join.
    If jumping to Obama, over sixty years old and women will protest. I don't want to miss the uneducated that Hillary always says she gets. They don't know better and the DNC are spineless.

    March 11, 2008 01:16 am at 1:16 am |
  18. Fired up & ready to go!

    I'm looking forward to great results for the Obama campaign, tomorrow – Go Mississippi!!! It's your day . . . .

    My grandfather, a Padre in a Hong Kong POW camp for 4 years, knew that hope was important. He had faith and he had hope. He noticed a lack of hope in young people and was concerned about that. If he were here, he would be standing with us saying "Yes we can!"

    March 11, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  19. frank

    I can not stand Hillary Clinton. I voted for her husband twice, defended him against the "right wing conspiracy", and praised his years as president as success. But now that I see Billary will say and do anything to steal the nomination, I forever will despise them for what they truly are- D.I.N.O! (democrats in name only)

    March 11, 2008 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  20. APM

    Her actions are the signs of ruthless desperation....

    But HOPE will prevail!

    OBAMA '08

    March 11, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  21. Marilyn

    Nothing wrong with the ad; it was not playing on fear but rather reality. Nothing wrong with the photo, either. No one has been able to prove that the Clinton camp had anything to do with it. And why is Obama so ashamed of that photo in foreign garb? Nearly every politician does it when visiting a foreign land. Obama seems to be making a big stink over an insignificant photo instead of focusing on the big issues facing the next president. And, believe me, if Obama thinks these two little issues are Republican tactics, he's in for a big surprise should he become the nominee. They'll blind-side him daily with much, much worse than this.

    March 11, 2008 01:18 am at 1:18 am |
  22. Hopeful 4 PA


    Come on Pennsylvania, show the rest of America that you're not deceived by these despicable Clintons. The Spitzer Affair should remind us all how shameful the Clintons were in the White House. Now some are talking about letting them back? No. It won't happen. After a win in Mississippi, Hillary would need 63% of the votes in ALL the elections to follow in order to catch Obama's commanding delegate lead.

    End this madness. Please.

    March 11, 2008 01:19 am at 1:19 am |
  23. Joanna

    Can anyone calculate the voters state by state? I do think Hillary won more voters but less delegates now. Because in the big state, a pledged delegate represents more voters than in the small state. And in the primary, a pledged delegate represents more voters than in the caucuse.

    March 11, 2008 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  24. dale in indiana

    if obama didn't want that picture floating around why did he wear the clothes and let the a.p. take pictures of him. is he ashamed or just naive to think no one would notice, especially him running for the presidency.

    March 11, 2008 01:22 am at 1:22 am |
  25. dale in indiana

    if obama didn't want his picture floating around why did he put those clothes on and let the a.p. take pictures of him. is he that naive to think no one would notice, especially him running for the presidency...

    March 11, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
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