- The Washington Times - Friday, February 29, 2008

HOUSTON, Texas Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is targeting her Democratic rival with a new ad that asks voters who they want in the White House during a national security crisis.

  • Audio Slide Show:Sen. Clinton at the Bob Evans Homestead

  • It’s 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep, but there’s a phone in the White House and it’s ringing,” a narrator says in her new ad, playing in Texas before the state’s March 4 contest.

    On the screen are dark images of children sleeping and a mother checking on them. Mrs. Clinton does not speak in the ad beyond the required disclosure that she approved the message.

    Something’s happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call,” it continues. “Whether it’s someone who already knows the world’s leaders, knows the military someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world.

    The ad does not mention Sen. Barack Obama, but the implication is clear the former first lady has long been portraying her rival as less experienced on national security. She evokes September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the stump and her role as a New York senator in the aftermath.

    The Obama campaign dismissed the ad as “not going to be effective,” and pushed a new talking point that Mrs. Clinton failed her “red-phone moment” by voting to authorize the Iraq war in 2002.

    Mr. Obama of Illinois used a planned town hall forum with veterans here to respond to the ads, saying it is a legitimate question and the point he’d make is, “What kind of judgment will you exercise when you pick up that phone?

    Senator Clinton gave the wrong answer, he said, adding he has the judgment to keep us safe against enemies.

    That is the judgment we need at 3 a.m., he said.

    Obama advisers compared the ad to what was dubbed the Red Phone spot that Walter Mondale ran against Gary Hart in 1984, and political pundits likened them to the Daisy ads President Lyndon Johnson ran against Barry Goldwater in 1964.

    We’ve seen these ads before, Mr. Obama said, and they play upon people’s fears … to scare up votes.

    Ad guru Roy Spence was responsible for both the Mondale Red Phone ad and Clinton’s new ad, a fact Team Obama noted.

    Obama campaign manager David Plouffe, labeled the ad a shop-warn tactic.

    This is about what you say when you answer that phone, what kind of judgment you demonstrate he said. We agree that voters are thinking about who they believe is best able to keep them safe and protect the country and increasingly … they have been settling on Senator Obama.

    Clinton supporter Gen. Wesley Clark said in a statement with the ad’s release that, Inevitably, another national security crisis will occur.

    When it does, voters shouldn’t have to wonder whether their President will be ready. As president, Hillary will be ready to act swiftly and decisively, he said.

    Clinton adviser Mark Penn said the ad speaks to what is in voters’ hearts, and called it a positive spot. Spokesman Howard Wolfson added that the campaign is proud of the ad.

    The full script from the new Clinton ad can be viewed at https://video1.washingtontimes.com/bellantoni/2008/02/new_clinton_ad_its_3_am_who_do.html:

    It’s 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep, but there’s a phone in the White House and it’s ringing.

    Something’s happening in the world. Your vote will decide who answers that call. Whether it’s someone who already knows the world’s leaders, knows the military someone tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world.

    It’s 3 a.m. and your children are safe and asleep. Who do you want answering the phone?


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