Clinton Team Calls on Obama to Condemn Negative Spanish Ads

By Jennifer Parker

Jan 18, 2008 5:23pm

ABC News’ Kate Snow, Raelyn Johnson, Eloise Harper, Sunlen Miller Report: On the eve of the Nevada caucuses, Senator Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager is demanding that Senator Barack Obama’s campaign condemn ads his supporters are running on Spanish language television and radio in the state.

For the second day in a row, Clinton’s campaign held a telephone conference call with reporters to express outrage over the ads, clearly sensing that the ads may be resonating with a critical group of voters.

Hispanic voters represent about fifteen percent of Democratic voters in Nevada and could be a pivotal group in a tight race.

"I just want to say how personally offended I am by these ads and outraged,” said Clinton campaign manager Patti Solis Doyle.

UNITE HERE — a labor group that supports Barack Obama — continues to run a radio ad in heavy rotation, which accuses Clinton of being "shameless" and not respecting the Hispanic community.

According to the Clinton campaign, the group has also spent fourteen thousand dollars to run television ads on Spanish television, including Univision, in Nevada. 

The television ads do not mention Clinton by name, but praise Obama.

"Together we built our Culinary Union and together we are winning the Las Vegas Dream.  The companies can’t divide us by race or by casino or by the job we do," the television ads says in Spanish. 

"Senator Barack Obama believes that the way to change America is by bringing all people together," it says.

Both the Clinton and the campaign of Sen. John Edwards, D-N.C. have called on Obama to disavow the ads.

In Las Vegas Friday, Senator Edwards suggested the ads were bringing racial politics back to the fore.

"Just a few days ago, on a stage where all three of us were participating in the debate, there was a discussion of putting behind us and stopping the race politics that had been going on for a few days before that between Senator Clinton and Senator Obama.  And everyone pledged that this kind of divisive politics that divides the Democratic party and could divide America would come to an end.  Senator Obama made that pledge.  I was sitting five feet from him when I heard him say it.  And now it turns out that in the last twenty-four hours, there’s a radio ad that’s being run—a malicious radio ad attacking Senator Clinton.  That is exactly that kind of divisive politics.  It’s being run right here in Las Vegas.  I denounce it,” Edwards said.

"And from what I’ve seen, Senator Obama has not said a single word about this,” he continued.

Obama has not taken questions from reporters in a formal setting since Monday.

"It’s particularly telling that the Obama campaign is silent about these ads after they expended so much energy condemning labor unions who were advocating on behalf of the Clinton and Edwards campaigns in Iowa," said Clinton spokesman Phil Singer.

On the conference call, Clinton supporter and Hispanic labor leader Dolores Huerta also went after Obama’s credentials in the Hispanic community.

"I have yet to find one single worker that is for Obama. They are totally confused by the union’s endorsement," she said.

On an Obama campaign conference call with reporters Friday, spokesman Bill Burton stuck to his talking points and said that Obama is against outside group spending. He stopped short, however, of condeming the radio ad’s claim that Clinton does not want Las Vegas strip workers to have the right to vote.

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