Nasty, again

In a Spanish-language ad, a pro-Obama labor group says Hillary Clinton "does not respect our people."

By Tim Grieve
January 19, 2008 1:35AM (UTC)
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Remember Tuesday night's Democratic presidential debate, the big-TV version of "Kumbaya" in which Hillary Clinton said "we're all family in the Democratic Party" and Barack Obama said that he was "absolutely convinced" that all of the Democratic candidates are "committed to racial equality"?

Never mind.


A Nevada labor group that has endorsed Obama is currently running a Spanish-language radio spot that calls the Clinton campaign's position on casino caucuses "disgraceful" and "unforgivable" and accuses Hillary Clinton of letting her friends "attack the right of our people to vote."

"Hillary Clinton does not respect our people who work hard," the ad says.

Clinton campaign spokesman Phil Singer accuses Obama of "looking the other way as they falsely attack his opponents." "That's wrong," Singer said. "Obama shouldn't be saying one thing about independent groups in Iowa and another in Nevada. While we clearly disagree with the attacks being made against us, we do respect the right of labor unions to participate in the process. Sen. Obama apparently has no problem with groups running ads as long as they attack others. While that's audacious, it's certainly not hopeful."


The Clinton campaign has arranged a conference call with Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and labor leader Dolores Huerta this afternoon to push back against the attacks. John Edwards, who hasn't spent much of this campaign coming to Clinton's rescue, said at a rally in Las Vegas this afternoon that the radio spots break a "pledge" the candidates made at the debate to get beyond the "race politics that had been going on for a few days before."

"Sen. Obama made that pledge," Edwards said. "I was sitting five feet from him when I heard him say it. And now it turns out that in the last 24 hours, there's a radio ad that's being run -- a malicious radio ad attacking Sen. Clinton. That is exactly that kind of divisive politics. It's being run right here in Las Vegas. I denounce it. This kind of ad, I don't care who's doing it -- in this case it's Sen. Obama's supporters -- but this sort of thing needs to stop."

The Obama campaign hasn't exactly disassociated itself from the ad. To the contrary, it's using the Clinton campaign's complaints to pile on further. "Coming from a campaign that is repeatedly launching absolutely false attacks against Sen. Obama, it takes some chutzpah," Obama spokesman Bill Burton tells Politico. "The fact is, their camp clearly would like to have workers' voices silenced and they need to live with that unfortunate position."

Tim Grieve

Tim Grieve is a senior writer and the author of Salon's War Room blog.

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2008 Elections Barack Obama Hillary Rodham Clinton John Edwards War Room