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. TerryD

    Most people believe that the Barack Obama campaign released that photo themselves and then tried to pin it on Hillary R. Clinton.

    What a joke, so what Obama that you look like a dork in your outfit.

    Was that not the same picture that was on your own website originally?

    Barack Obama I think thou dost protest to much

    March 11, 2008 01:26 am at 1:26 am |
  2. Illinois

    That's a kind a tactic

    March 11, 2008 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  3. Patty

    Why is he making an issue of his image as if it is some dirty nasty image to be ashamed of? He appears to feel that he should be ashamed yet I don't know why. Noone seems to be making any big deal about it other than him.

    March 11, 2008 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  4. Tito

    Of course Obama is right to point out Billary's campaign tactics! He is smarter than Billary to get into bickering on a live TV debate in Ohio! He is on a higher pedestal and character than Billary will ever be!
    President we will respect, Obama 2008!

    March 11, 2008 01:30 am at 1:30 am |
  5. Andrew, florida

    Jackson remarks? Oh, you mean remarks in Jackson. Here I thought CNN would perpetuate Clinton's spin. Do you plan on mentioning Clinton supporter Geraldine Ferarro's comments tomorrow?

    "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," Ferarro said. "And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."

    March 11, 2008 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  6. Mike

    ...then what was the garb, is that traditional, mimics his last name I say?

    (I know that this won't get posted)

    March 11, 2008 01:32 am at 1:32 am |
  7. Nanthu

    Sen. Hillary Clinton is desperate and want to win the nomination by telling anything against Obama. This is not a good politics.

    March 11, 2008 01:34 am at 1:34 am |
  8. maya

    Okay- but what is Obama's point? Setting aside the important fact that Obama said that he believed that Hillary did not leak the picture but then turns around and uses it against her, if Obama is using this as a reason as to why he lost Ohio and Texas, he is actually making the case as to why he should NOT be the nominee. The GOP is going to use more of the same and in fact worse stuff against him. If he can't be tough against this pillow punching, Dems are in serious trouble in November...

    March 11, 2008 01:39 am at 1:39 am |
  9. Wayne

    Clinton knew about the photo according to the drudge reprt

    March 11, 2008 01:42 am at 1:42 am |
  10. Wisconsin

    What a surprise, Hillary's campaign is garbage. A vote for Hillary is a vote for fear ad's and lies!

    BTW the girl in Hillary's fear ad is voting for OBAMA to pick up the phone and so is most of America!

    March 11, 2008 01:43 am at 1:43 am |
  11. Dom

    Obama was just being a gentleman – which is proving to be counter-productive when facing off against a scheming, conniving and corrupt opponent who will stoop to any low to win the presidency so that she and her partners (in crime) may make shady deals and pockets large sums of money.

    The Obama camp should continue to seek for greater scrunitiny of both himself and Clinton – and let the people decide who the real deal.

    March 11, 2008 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  12. John White, Texas

    Sen. Clinton is not right for this country and the Democratic Party. She will not win because she is using low down and dirty tactics. All of the Democratic voters know and can see this. Just like the New England Patriots, cheaters never win!

    March 11, 2008 01:48 am at 1:48 am |
  13. Mary,Calgary,Canada

    Clinton went negative,thats a fact!

    March 11, 2008 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  14. Darren

    im still wondering to myself, what exactly is the point of this here article?

    March 11, 2008 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  15. CMS

    Let amateur hour begin...both these people are jokes. Look between the lines, they are manipulators.

    Vote for a 3rd party people! We need a viable 3rd party to keep both the 'Pubs and 'Dims honest.

    March 11, 2008 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  16. Hillary For President!!!!!! Ohio

    Obama Moma would have lost my great state of OHIO anyway!!!!!!!

    March 11, 2008 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  17. clemen adu-larbi

    Obama l have send you some mails so l want to nkow wheather you have received them or not.

    March 11, 2008 02:09 am at 2:09 am |
  18. clement adu-larbi

    Who did you think will winn the democrate nominee

    March 11, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  19. Thomas

    I agree with Obama on the underlying point, but if he wants to be successful in Washington and actually have a presidency of change (working to get things done), he needs to back off the demeaning republican rhetoric. To suggest that the Clinton behavior is solely a republican play is disingenuous and short-sighted, now matter how much I like him, and in the end will undermine his ability to be successful on real issues.

    March 11, 2008 02:12 am at 2:12 am |
  20. Vig

    This seems to be Obama's game: He struts around the stage with one hand on the microphone and the other in his pocket, looking a bit too casual. He waits for Clinton to lobe a challenge his way, and then he turns it back on her. This is Presidential? This is smugness.

    March 11, 2008 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  21. Jamal

    OBAMA '08

    March 11, 2008 02:13 am at 2:13 am |
  22. dave

    Obama, you owe the public to stand up for yourself. You have to let voters know how nasty they are. Otherwise, voters can be deceived.

    March 11, 2008 02:23 am at 2:23 am |
  23. Grif

    Mr OBama! It doe's not matter what you do, or don't do.

    Why is it that a small fry, is so wrapped up ... Mr Obama's illusion of Government :: :: ::

    I have yet to discover. Wake Up OBama!!! So many little Mtoto's.

    In addition, you let them all down. I saw them, but you weren't there.

    March 11, 2008 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  24. JS

    And he accuses Clinton of going negative? Mr. Holier than Thou is throwing an awful lot of negative spin out there these days.

    March 11, 2008 02:30 am at 2:30 am |
  25. U Smart

    Let's not worry much about the past. let's concentraate on the future. Splitzer's odeal is only a tip of the iceberg to what will be obtained in the white house if the Clintons are allowed back. Morality do not mean a thing to the New York Gorvernor or Senator either. Let alone the infamous Bill. Americans, do we wish to go through all that again?

    March 11, 2008 02:36 am at 2:36 am |
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