Clinton Rivals React to Hostage Situation

By Jennifer Parker

Nov 30, 2007 3:40pm

ABC News’ Jennifer Parker Reports: As news spread Friday about the hostage situation at the Rochester, New Hampshire campaign office of Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., the Senator’s presidential rivals reacted swiftly, expressing sympathy and taking security precautions of their own.

Clinton’s Democratic political rival Senator Barack Obama, D-Ill., placed a call to the Clinton campaign at 3:20pm Friday afternoon but was told she was on the phone with the parents of one of the hostages, reports ABC News’ Sunlen Miller.

The Obama campaign said he told Clinton’s aide that his thoughts were with the staffers and that if there was anything they could do, to not hesitate to call.

Obama’s Rochester, New Hampshire campaign office was evacuated as a precaution Friday afternoon, said Obama campaign New Hampshire press secretary Reid Cherlin. Obama’s Rochester office has about three or so staffers and a handful of volunteers.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Clinton team as we await a safe resolution to this situation," read a statement released by the Obama campaign during the day.

The Rochester, New Hampshire campaign office of Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C., also evacuated its two full-time staff members.

"If it happened in some place like Rochester you have to think that most all of your offices would be vulnerable," Elizabeth Edwards said in a CNN interview Friday.

"I thought so much as it was going on about how terrified they must be and their families must be and that broke my heart," Elizabeth Edwards said about the Clinton staffers.

At the Democratic National Committee Fall meeting in the Washington, D.C. area where Clinton was scheduled to speak later in the afternoon, DNC chair Howard Dean announced she had canceled her appearance because of the hostage situation.

Many of her Democratic rivals there expressed sympathy for Clinton.

"As I was on the beltway coming from Wilmington, Delaware my home, I heard the news about Hillary’s headquarters," said Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., addressing the DNC meeting. "and I’m sure like everyone here, I pray to God it all works out right and I wish Hillary the best of luck."

"We are in solidarity at this moment when we think about what she is going through and what her staff is going through," Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio said at the DNC meeting.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the hostages, their families, Senator Clinton, and her campaign staff," said Democratic presidential candidate Gov. Bill Richardson, D-N.M., in a statement.

"All of us have friends and colleagues on the Clinton campaign and our thoughts are with them," Sen. Chris Dodd’s New Hampshire spokesman Bryan DeAngelis said in a statement.

Campaigning in South Carolina, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said he hoped the situation would be resolved quickly.

"It should happen in no place in America," McCain said, "our prayers go out to those people who may be in danger because of what is clearly some kind of lunatic behavior."

The office of Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex., also expressed sympathy for the Clinton staffers. "Our hearts go out to the hostages," said Paul communications director Jesse Benton.

Other campaigns reported taking increased security precautions.

A spokesman for former Gov. Mitt Romney, R-Mass., said their campaign advised all Romney campaign field offices to lock exterior doors.

"As a security precaution, we have asked all our field offices to lock all exterior doors and be on alert for any suspicious individuals," Romney spokesman Kevin Madden said in a statement. "Our thoughts and prayers are with those involved in the situation in New Hampshire. Everyone is hoping for a safe resolution."

The Rudy Giuliani campaign didn’t evacuated their New Hampshire offices, saying all their staff are safe and accounted for.

ABC News’ Sunlen Miller, David Chalian, Bret Hovell, Brian Wheeler, Matt Stuart, Z.Byron Wolf, Raelyn Johnson, Jackie Klingebiel and Nancy Flores contributed to this report.

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